Lighthouse Trails Research Journal

         LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH  
        July 25, 2016
    LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS PUBLISHING

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Letter to the Editor: Reiki in Society? Now Shamanism!

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

SHAMANISM? A recent Columbus Ohio magazine had a story about a reiki center. Among other “professional therapies” offered at that location was “shamanic services.” Shamanism is defined by Webster’s as: “religion . . . characterized by belief in an unseen world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits responsive only to the shaman.”

It’s interesting that reiki practitioners (including ones billed as “Christian reiki”) tend to speak in terms of “energies” and deny the fact that reiki has anything to do with actual spirits; yet now, facilities offering “therapies” like reiki might also offer shamanic healing, which is openly acknowledged as a calling on/connecting with spirits.

Until now (at least, in my experience) references to shamans were pretty subtle. Tiny blurbs in the occasional magazine. But this week, thumbing through the newest issue of a little New Age mag . . . whoa! Several stories/ads about shamans/shamanic healing. In one ad, the shaman even promises to “make death an ally.” (No thanks.)

I decided to search “Christian shaman” online—hoping to come up empty. But I spotted several references. Shaman, sorcerer, witch doctor, medium . . . whatever you want to call it . . . It makes me so sad to think of people engaging a mediator to connect to lesser “spirits,” when everyone is invited to go directly to THE Spirit, the Lord Almighty Himself.

Lynn Lusby Pratt (name used with permission)

Lighthouse Trails is the distributor for a film called I’ll Never Go Back. It’s the testimony of a former shaman who is now in Christ. Because shamanism is taking the same path as contemplative spirituality, we encourage you to watch a clip of this film below. And if you know someone who is involved with any kind of meditation, then get the DVD if you can and share it with that person.

Understanding Shamanism

LTRP Note: For those who think that shamanism is a far cry from the contemplative mysticism being practiced in the church today and that this warning has nothing to do with Christians, think again. The realms reached are the same, and the results can be the same too.

By Nanci Des Gerlaise
(author of Muddy Waters: an insider's view of North American Native Spirituality)

Basically, shamanism is the belief system that utilizes shamans in order to make contact with the spirit world. According to the Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, traditional shamanism “is where the shaman functions as healer, spiritual leader, and mediator between the spirits and people.”1

Shamanism is found in most cultures. In Western society, Native Spirituality is the main venue, but it is not confined to Native Spirituality. The New Age movement began incorporating shamanistic rituals into their own New Age spirituality:

New Agers have felt attracted to shamanism for a variety of reasons. A major factor in this attraction is that, while the shaman is a kind of mystic, the focus is on the forces of nature rather than an otherworldy mysticism. . . . Other attractions are the use of mind-altering drugs, including peyote, and the romanticized images of nature. 2

Within Native Spirituality, shamans depend heavily upon drumming, singing, dancing, and chanting in order to get spirits to enter them and to help them. What many people probably do not realize is that shamanism is very dangerous.

Photo of Chief Shoefoot, a former shaman turned believer in Christ.
Photo of Chief Shoefoot, a former shaman turned believer in Christ. (see video below)

In biblical terms, shamanism is the use of supposed spirit guides to attain spiritual power, knowledge, and healing, but the cost is ghastly, and the “dangers of shamanistic initiation”3 are many. Some of these dangers and symptoms would be identical to what happens in Kundalini, which is a dangerous and powerful energy coming from deep meditation. This list shows what can happen when demonic realms are accessed through deep meditation practices in Native Spirituality, shamanism, and the New Age movement. Shockingly, Christians are now practicing this occultic meditation through the contemplative prayer movement:

Burning hot or ice cold streams moving up the spine.
Perhaps a feeling of air bubbles or snake movement up through the body.
Pains in varying locations throughout the body.
Tension or stiffness of neck, and headaches.
Feeling of overpressure within the head.
Vibrations, unease, or cramps in legs and other parts of the body.
Fast pulse and increased metabolism.
Disturbance in the breathing—and/or heart function.
Parapsychological abilities. Light phenomena in or outside the body.
Problems with finding balance between strong sexual urges, and a wish to live in sublime purity.
Persistent anxiety or anxiety attacks, due to lack of understanding of what is going on.
Insomnia, manic high spirits or deep depression. Energy loss.
Impaired concentration and memory.
Total isolation due to inability to communicate inner experiences out.
Experiences of possession and poltergeist phenomena.4

Other dangers would include insanity and psychosis. What’s more, the use of shamanism in contemporary culture is widespread and the results are often devastating:

[S]hamanism often involves the shaman in tremendous personal suffering and pain (magically, he often ‘dies’ in the most horrible of torments) . . . it often involves the shaman in demon possession, insanity, sexual perversion, and so on.5

Such a terrifying perversion of God’s merciful ways is completely unnecessary, for Christ gives the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of love and goodness—to all who call upon His name and put their trust in Him (Romans 5:5).

Colossians 2:9-10 states the truth for Christians:

For in him [the Lord Jesus Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”

(To understand more about the contrast between Native Spirituality and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, read Nanci's book, Muddy Waters and watch the film I'll Never Go Back by former shaman, Chief Shoefoot. Many Christians are involved with this same kind of occult practice through the contemplative prayer movement.)

An excerpt from I'll Never Go Back: (click here if you cannot view this video below)

Endnotes:

1.. John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1996); (taken from http://www.ankerberg.org/Articles/_PDFArchives/new-age/NA3W0801.pdf).

2. John P. Newport, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s Publishing Co, 1998), p. 34.

3. John Ankerberg, John Weldon, Ankerberg Theological Research Institute (http://www.ankerberg.org/Articles/archives-na.htm, scroll down page to section on Shamanism - 8 parts).

4. "Kundalini, Short Circuits, Risks, and Information" (http://kundalini.se/eng/engkni_1024.html).

5. John Ankerberg, John Weldon (Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, http://www.ankerberg.org/Articles/archives-na.htm) quoted from Joan Halifax, Shamanic Voices, (New York, NY: Penguin, 1979), pp. 7-27.

Letter to the Editor: Follow Up on Together 2016 in Washington, DC

Photo: Thousands of young people join in unity on National Mall in Washington, D.C., Saturday for Together 2016. (Facebook)

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

Regarding the Together 2016 event that you recently reported on and which took place this weekend, I was planning on keeping a close eye on that event. What I found was this:

1. There is a website ‘reset2016.com‘ about the event, their site. It’s an ad that appears when you type ‘together 2016’ in the search box. The first page lists the speakers, the schedule, and all that. When you look there, click on event info, and then ‘week of events.’ I clicked on that, and they listed events for the week leading up to the 16th, and one event included the IF: Gathering. When you read their captions, you identify all the emergent and unity buzz words on the site.

2. On Berean Research, there was a post about Nick Hall and his ‘pulse’ organization being behind the scenes on this event. There was another post about the app for the event, and when a person searched for churches on it, they were lead to a list of options, including ‘gay affirming.’ Then, once the post was up, the app feature was quickly removed.

3. The pope was to make a video appearance at the event, which he did, and the only thing I saw from the news about it is that he was quoted as saying: “Find the one who can give you an answer to your restlessness.”
The name of Jesus was not mentioned there, and He is the only one who can. But that quote can mean anything, from other religions to a gay buddy; it’s so vague.

4. By searching, I noticed there is also a ‘together 2016’ scheduled for Europe, and again the purpose is ‘unity’ among all the Christian churches, organizations, and movements in Europe, planned by none other than ‘Pope Francis.’ He gave a long speech about it and the transcript is there also. You can see it by typing in ‘Together for Europe, 2016.’

5. The event on Saturday in Washington, DC was cut short due to a ‘heat emergency,’ and many had to be treated for heat exposure. I have no idea, but it reminds me of those assemblies in the Old Testament where a portion of the congregation was wiped out. Yet of course these are all in apostasy, it may have been discipline, or simply a sign that it did not have the Lord’s blessing. In either case, that was interesting.

These events will increase as it is all leading up to the one-world religion. The ecumenism with apostasy and the promotion of ‘unity’ at these events, which now include ‘Pope Francis,’ and eventually the other religions will be included until their goal is met. I can just hear the feverish pitch at their golden-calf fest, all in the name of ‘unity’ and ‘revival.’ All they need is Bono with his coexist sign in the back, with all the symbols of these religions, and it’s complete. The site captions for this one include phrases like ‘all are welcome,’ ‘invite everyone,’ and ‘unifying’ phrases. One theme appeared to be unity in general, such as regarding race. It’s like the powers that be create the perfect storm and then usher in ‘the solution’ for everyone to accept; unifying the world regarding religion, countries, race, diversity (gays), and economically, etc. all under antichrist.

Those who won’t unite with their agenda will be called ‘bigots,’ ‘haters,’ and ‘extremists’ to be ‘dealt with.’ (I am against racism and economic polarity due to deregulation that causes the middle class to shrink, but this is about all sorts of things rolled into ‘one’ ball of wax.). We can be one in Jesus. Or, they can be one under the devil in white. Who it’s under makes all the difference.

I figure you know this stuff but we all have various insights on things. And I remember about a year ago they were rolling out all these ‘anti-terrorism’ laws and measures, like in Australia but other places too as it all becomes very totalitarian. New rules for Facebook against those who speak the truth, all in the name of ‘hate speech’ rules.

The world has become such a scary place in such a short time. I think back to around 25 years ago, and the difference is shocking, how peaceful things were compared to now. So many hold their breath in hopes that ‘this too, shall pass,’ but these things will only get worse.

Blessings,
L.M.

Letter to the Editor: Reiki in Society? Now Shamanism!
Understanding Shamanism
Letter to the Editor: Follow Up on Together 2016 in Washington, DC
Lighthouse Trails New Release – Expanded 2nd Edition of Strength for Tough Times
How POKEMON and Magic Cards Affect the Minds and Values of Children (and a Warning About Pokemon Go)
Cutting-Edge Christianity or Shamanism?

Local Kenyan Government Praises Bryce Home Program

Ministry Update from Roger Oakland – Trip to Rome, Italy

SPECIAL PRAYER REQUEST FOR CARYL MATRISCIANA

Hillary Clinton Picks Jesuit-Influenced Catholic For Vice President Running Mate

NEW BOOKLET: Signs & Wonders! Five Things You Should Consider

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2013 LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS YEAR IN REVIEW
Who We Are

Lighthouse Trails is a Christian publishing company and research project ministry. We work with a group of Christian journalists and authors, all who understand the times in which we live from a biblical perspective. While we hope you will buy and read the books and booklets we have published, watch the DVDs we have produced, and support our ministry, we also provide extensive free research, documentation, and news on our Research site, blog, e-newsletter, and now our subscription based print journal. We pray that the products as well as the online research will be a blessing to the body of Christ and a witness to those who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, trusting in Him for the salvation of their souls.

 

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Lighthouse Trails New Release – Expanded 2nd Edition of Strength for Tough Times

Lighthouse Trails is pleased to announce the release of the Expanded 2nd Edition of Maria Kneas’ book, Strength for Tough Times. With a stunning new cover and several new chapters, Strength for Tough Times brings unique insights into what is happening in the world today plus encouragement and exhortation from God’s Word. At 130 pages and with over 100 Scriptures, this is the perfect (and affordable) book to give as a gift to someone who is going through a difficult challenge or who just needs to be reminded that we have an awesome God we can turn to and rely upon.

Book Information:
130 pages | Illustrated | Softbound | Matte Finish
ISBN: 978-1-942423-10-2
Retail price: $11.95
Quantity discounts Available
Soon available as E-book, Kindle, and Nook
Available through Lighthouse Trails or can be ordered from most bookstores and outlets.

Description: Surprising events have been happening in America, and things in which we used to trust no longer seem to be reliable. How can we find security, peace, and joy under such circumstances?

Only God has enough love, power, and faithfulness to be our Defense, our Rescuer, and our Refuge. He is the solid Rock on which we can safely stand (Psalm 62:5-7). Everything else is only “sinking sand.” It promises safety for a while, but sooner or later it fails us.

How can the believer apply these Scriptural principles to everyday life? Strength for Tough Times contains practical lessons that were learned the hard way—in the furnace of affliction. That is where we discover how much we can trust God.

The author knows something about affliction, because she watched her husband die, and she herself is a cancer survivor. She can testify that God is faithful. He loves us, and He promises to bring good out of everything that happens to those who love Him (Romans 8:28)

Author Bio: Maria Kneas writes from experience, from a lifetime of needing God’s strength for the many challenges she has faced. As a result of these difficult times, Maria has paid close attention when preachers or authors or friends shared insights about receiving God’s strength, comfort, and encouragement. Through prayer and careful study of God’s Word, she has confirmed those things which are in accordance of the Scriptures.

All backorders have been shipped.

Table of Contents

A Rude Awakening
Helping Broken Hearts
Be Cautious and Alert
Trusting God
Be Encouraged!
Common Sense & The Bible
The Train Station
Four Kinds of Soil
Casting Our Cares on God
Blessings in Disguise
The Importance of Love
Taming the Tongue
Resisting the Devil
A Clean Heart
Overcoming Obstacles to Trusting the Lord
Forgiving
Taking God Seriously
Romans 8:28
Facing the Unexpected
Scripture-Verse Index

How POKEMON and Magic Cards Affect the Minds and Values of Children (and a Warning About Pokemon Go)

pokemon-goLTRP Note: With the recent Pokemon Go craze, we thought this article from 1999 by Berit Kjos about Pokemon was very timely and needed. For those who aren’t sure if Pokemon Go is OK or not, do a search on the Internet to read some of the scary stories happening to people. We linked to one of them below Berit’s article.

By Berit Kjos
Who are the strange little creatures from Japan that have suddenly become global super-stars? Most kids know the answer well: They are called Pokemon (short for POCKEt MONster and pronounced Poh-keh-mon), and they have stirred up some mixed reactions.

“We just sent a letter home today saying Pokemon cards are no longer allowed on campus,” said Paula Williams, a second-grade teacher in Danville, California. “The kids know they’re supposed to be put away when they come in from recess, but they’re often in the middle of a trade, so they don’t come in on time. In the more extreme cases, the older kids are getting little kids to trade away valuable cards . . . . It drives a teacher crazy.”1

It concerns parents even more. “Recently, my children were given a set of Pokemon cards,” said DiAnna Brannan, a Seattle mom. “They are very popular with the children at our church and elsewhere. I was instantly suspicious but couldn’t discern the problem. We have since been told that they are stepping stones to the ‘Magic cards’ that have been popular for the last few years, which we do not allow.”

She is right. For instance, children exploring some of the most popular Pokemon websites 2 will find links to a selection of occult games. At the site for the Wizards of the Coast (makers of the Pokemon and Magic cards), a click on an ad for “Magic the Gathering” brings Pokemon fans to promotions such as this:

“A global games phenomenon, Magic: The Gathering is to the 1990s what Dungeons and Dragons was to the 1980s, but with the added dimension of collectibility. Here is the official reference to the biggest new teen/young adult fantasy game of the decade, complete with full-color reproductions of every existing Magic card.”

THE POKEMON MESSAGE. The above websites gives us glimpse of the mysterious little creatures called Pokemon. Ponder the suggestions in this greeting:

“Welcome to the world of Pokemon, a special place where people just like you train to become the number-one Pokemon Master in the World!”

“But what is a Pokemon, you ask. ‘Pokemon are incredible creatures that share the world with humans,’ says Professor Oak, the leading authority on these monster. ‘There are currently 150 documented species of Pokemon. . . . Each Pokemon has its own special fighting abilities. . . . Some grow, or evolve, into even more powerful creatures.. . . Carry your pokemon with you, and you’re ready for anything! You’ve got the power in your hands, so use it!'” 3

What if children try to follow this advice? What if they carry their favorite monsters like magical charms or fetishes in their pockets, trusting them to bring power in times of need?

Many do. It makes sense to those who watch the television show. In a recent episode, Ash, the boy hero, had just captured his fifth little Pokemon. But that wasn’t good enough, said his mentor. He must catch lots more if he wants to be a Pokemon master. And the more he catches and trains, the more power he will have for future battles.

So Ash sets out again in search for more of the reclusive, power-filled, little Pokemon. His first step is to find the “psychic Pokemon” called Kadabra and snatch it from its telepathic, pink-eyed trainer, Sabrina.

Or so it would seem to a first-time viewer not familiar with the contradictory themes. Actually, Ash doesn’t try to “catch” Kadabra, an evolved version of the Pokemon Abra. In spite of the prodding to increase his inventory of Pokemon warriors — and in spite of the constant reminders to “catch them all” — Ash was merely trying to win a standard battle. With the ghost Haunter on his side, it should have been a cinch!

But Ash underestimates the power of his opponent. When he and Sabrina meet for the fight, both hurl their chosen Pokemon into the air, but only Abra (who becomes Kadabra) evolves into a super-monster with a magic flash. Haunter hides. “Looks like your ghost Pokemon got spooked,” taunts Sabrina.4 Click here to continue reading.

Related Articles:

Pokemon Go is Dangerous – Someone’s story

Three Ways to Protect Your Child From Harmful Toys & Games by Berit Kjos

Local Kenyan Government Praises Bryce Home Program

Presented by Understand the Times, International

Compiled by the Bryce Homes in Kenya Board

THE SURVEY REPORT OF BRYCE HOME PROJECT KENYA

 BY THE KENYA GOVERNMENT OFFICERS

 FROM THE MINISTRY OF GENDER AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

While the Bryce Home support project have been making progress in Kenya, it came to our attention that the local government at the grass roots had been following keenly. This made them invite the board to their office where many questions were asked. We explained the objectives of the project and the kind of activities we have conducted so far.

The office therefore sent a representative (officer) to one of the homes which has been receiving support. Due to cost implications, we identified the home of Francisca which was in the neighborhood. The board members accompanied the officer to the home of Francisca where inspection was done and a report done on the same.

General Inspection of the Home

The following findings were made;

I.Three roomed permanent house found.

I. A well maintained permanent pit latrine and a bathroom.

III. A well maintained dish rack.

IV  A small kitchen garden

 Interview :

Through an interview, the officer established the following findings . . . Click here to continue reading and for more photos.

Cutting-Edge Christianity or Shamanism?

By David Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails Publishing

I find it rather interesting how God has orchestrated things in life, which demonstrate His great love and ongoing mercy to ordinary people like myself. But, more specifically, I am thinking right now about how years ago I happened to come across a copy of a nearly forgotten book at the university library while working on a project. I still find it amazing that this secular humanistic library even had a copy of Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires – a book written by a missionary to the Canadian Native peoples of the 1800s sharing not only his life among them but the amazing stories they would tell him as they would warm themselves before a fire. This book is a treasure of the long-forgotten heritage of the Cree and Saulteaux tribes and how their lives were wonderfully transformed through the proclamation of the Gospel.

Though I first read that book over thirty years ago as a young university student, in 2010 God put it in our hearts here at Lighthouse Trails to publish this nearly forgotten book; then, when we were preparing to release it for publication, Nanci Des Gerlaise, a Canadian Cree, contacted us about a book she had written titled Muddy Waters. The great surprise was that Nanci, whom we then sent a review copy of the Wigwam manuscript, recognized in it the name Mask-e-pe-toon as being the name of the best friend of her great, great grandfather. Nanci agreed to write the forward to that book. We also agreed to publish Muddy Waters. Later we added a DVD (not our own) titled I’ll Never Go Back!: The Testimony of Chief Shoefoot. In this film, Chief Shoefoot shares his own story of what life has been like for him both before and after he received the Gospel, hence his words “I’ll never go back” became the title of the video. Chief Shoefoot is a member of the native people known as the Yanomamo. The Yanomamo reside in a northern region of South America bordering Venezuela and Brazil. Hearing that Chief Shoefoot is part of a Yanomamo tribe especially caught my interest because I remembered studying these people in an anthropology class back in 1972.

Anthropologists have been studying the Yanomamo for many years now, and the typical reaction by many anthropologists to missionary outreaches to these people is that they would have been better off if they had been left alone. Granted various missionary efforts were probably not conducted as they should have been, the fact remains that Jesus commissioned the Gospel to be shared with the whole world. What makes this video unique is that it is the testimony of an actual member of the Yanomamo tribe sharing his viewpoint and his side of the story, and his conclusion is an emphatic yes to having received the Gospel. Contrary to what these anthropologists are saying, Chief Shoefoot makes it clear that his life has been forever changed for the better.

Today, even much of the mission field has been marred by the mentality that we should be less intrusive about sharing the Gospel (see New Missiology). Now don’t get me wrong; it’s true that there may be many non-spiritual aspects of a culture that don’t need to be changed, but the Gospel is very intrusive in calling all people everywhere to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus came as Savior to the whole world, and people from all tribes and nations are offered one way to God. But today organizations, like YWAM, have been taking a more politically correct approach in assuming that every culture already has within their religious traditions an acceptable pathway to God, and our only duty is to encourage them in what they already believe and are already doing with little more than perhaps an occasional reference to the Jesus Christ of the Bible. The sad truth and reality is that, although many peoples and cultures may believe in some type of supreme being and do have a sense of right and wrong, the Gospel is unique in that it is God’s revealed Word and offer of salvation based on grace through faith alone as opposed to a gospel of good works based on a belief in the innate goodness of mankind and God’s willingness to accept any and all man-made plans of salvation.

The truth is that God has declared in his Word that all are sinners and in need of a Savior. So while it may be true that God has not called us to impose European customs on the indigenous peoples of the world, the Gospel is God’s “culture” for all mankind in that it calls all people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. All I can say is that I personally am so glad that God “imposed” Himself on me when I received Christ as my Savior; and in both Muddy Waters and in the I’ll Never Go Back video, you will witness the powerful and convincing testimony of two people – a medicine man’s daughter (in the book) and a former shaman or witchdoctor (in the film). Their stories are evidence that knowing Jesus Christ as Savior is more precious than anything the world has to offer and does require us to forsake those things that are displeasing to Him.

So, while it may be true that people from all over the world have a sense of right and wrong, the spirituality of all tribes and nations must give way to the truth of the Gospel rather than trying to reshape the Gospel to make it more palatable to any culture. After all, what part of the Gospel would we change? The fact of the matter is that the “preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Thus, it remains that the Gospel will always be offensive and politically incorrect to the unbeliever regardless of cultural setting. The Gospel is offensive not because it is the “white man’s religion” (which it never was) but because it is the way God chose to redeem mankind – which appears foolish to the carnal mind. But as Scripture declares, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

Now, let me share something that caught my attention as I was watching the I’ll Never Go Back video. I was listening to Chief Shoefoot share how he became a shaman or witchdoctor and about  the spirituality that ensued, and I was amazed by the realization that as he was describing his spirituality as a shaman, he was describing the spirituality that is being promoted in the church today as “cutting-edge Christianity.” In fact, Chief Shoefoot’s spirituality was far ahead of contemplative spirituality and the New Age of today. Furthermore, they were already incorporating spiritual disciplines into their meditative practices. When I realized this, I listened to Chief Shoefoot very attentively and with much interest because I understood then that they had been practicing “contemplative spirituality” and the “spiritual disciplines” probably for many centuries – perhaps even longer than the Desert Fathers. In listening to him describe his spirituality as a shaman, I also realized that he was at the same time describing where the spirituality of contemplative prayer, the New Age, and the spiritual disciplines will be in the future.

So, while the meditative practices and disciplines of the Desert Fathers phased out to near extinction after the Middle Ages and is being resurrected today, the Yanomamo have preserved and developed these practices and brought them to full fruition. In other words, as the church and the New Age movement are in unison developing these practices, they will in time become like the Yanomamo.

In the film, Chief Shoefoot describes how he was introduced to shamanism at an early age because he was far advanced for his age in spiritual acuteness. Like contemplative prayer and New Age meditation, connection with “God” is accomplished by going into an altered state of consciousness (i.e., the silence). A drug is used for this purpose along with chanting (mantra), rhythm, and dancing. Spiritual disciplines – to include the withholding of food and sleep (i.e., fasting) – were also used to make the spiritual senses more acute. Chief Shoefoot, as I listened to him describe his story, was much more advanced than the mystics and contemplative prayer leaders of today. He literally saw into the spirit world and beheld various spirits which the Yanomamo even had names for.

The Yanomamo shaman recognizes the spirit world as a reality, not a superstition. According to Chief Shoefoot, spirits of various sorts are seen as desirable and are invited to “get inside your chest” while others are avoided as being evil. I am reminded how contemplative leader Richard Foster warns his students to beware of dangerous spirits when they practice contemplative prayer. In Faith Undone, Roger Oakland talks about this:

Proponents of contemplative prayer say the purpose of contemplative prayer is to tune in with God and hear His voice. However, Richard Foster claims that practitioners must use caution. He admits that in contemplative prayer “we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm” and that sometimes it is not the realm of God even though it is “supernatural.” He admits there are spiritual beings and that a prayer of protection should be said beforehand something to the effect of “All dark and evil spirits must now leave.”1

What Chief Shoefoot realized too late is that none of these spirits are good and those considered to be evil cannot be avoided either. He learned that once a person enters into the occultic or contemplative realm, he becomes subject to the spirits that inhabit that realm. Christian mystics who engage in contemplative prayer think they are encountering the Holy Spirit, but Chief Shoefoot literally saw that this realm is inhabited by nothing more than demons who in time also made their habitation in him (and in other members of the tribe).

Understandably, much of the activity of the tribe was marked by immorality and violence. Even anthropologists who are unsympathetic to the Christianizing of these tribes recognize that there is a problem in their social and domestic interactions. Consider, for example, the following quote from an anthropological source regarding the role and treatment of wives in Yanomamo culture:

It is interesting to watch the behavior of women when their husbands return from a hunting trip or a visit. The men march slowly across the village and retire silently into their hammocks. The woman, no matter what she is doing, hurries home and quietly but rapidly prepares a meal for her husband. Should the wife be slow at doing this, the husband is within his rights to beat her. Most reprimands meted out by irate husbands take the form of blows with the hand or with a piece of firewood, but a good many husbands are even more severe. Some of them chop their wives with the sharp edge of a machete or ax, or shoot them with a barbed arrow in some nonvital area, such as in the buttocks or leg. Many men are given to punishing their wives by holding the hot end of a glowing stick against them, resulting in serious burns. . . . It is not uncommon for a man to injure his errant wife seriously; and some men have even killed wives. Women expect this kind of treatment. Those who are not too severely treated might even measure their husband’s concern in terms of the frequency of minor beatings they sustain. I overheard two young women discussing each other’s scalp scars. One of them commented that the other’s husband must really care for her since he has beaten her on the head so frequently! . . . Some men . . . seem to think that it is reasonable to beat their wife once in a while “just to keep them on their toes.”2

For lack of space, let me just say that the interactions of men with each other both within and between tribes is often not peaceable either. But, in any case, Native Spirituality plays a highly significant role in the happenings of these tribes.

Now, I imagine my statement made earlier that those who practice contemplative prayer or New Age mysticism will eventually become like the Yanomamo must now sound too extreme or at least a tongue-in-cheek statement. Actually, it would bring me much comfort if I were to know that I am completely wrong in this assertion. But I am deeply concerned about people, many of whom are Christians, delving into contemplative prayer, eastern meditative practices, and New Age mysticism thinking that they will better themselves by doing so. All of these are occult practices that will tie the user in with the demonic realm though he may think he is connecting with “good” spirits or the Holy Spirit.

It is not unusual for people to join the New Age movement or engage in Yoga or meditative practices like contemplative prayer to reap health benefits to include higher levels of relaxation or to live a more victorious life, but, all the while, they are being introduced to something demonic both in origin and operation. The Bible makes a clear statement about occult or mystical practices in Deuteronomy 18:9-12 by sounding the alarm that these practices are “an abomination unto the Lord.” Then, too, Jesus warned against praying as the heathen do by using “vain repetitions” (Matthew 6:7), which is a clear indictment against chanting or the mantra-like words and phrases used in contemplative or meditative prayer.

Yet, more and more Christians are joining in contemplative or mystical prayer, thinking it will make them stronger spiritually when the opposite is the case. In fact, what Christians are being drawn into is very antichrist in nature. Our research shows that those who engage in contemplative prayer in time see less and less relevance to the Cross (the atonement) to where it becomes unnecessary. The reason for this is quite simple: contemplative prayer makes a person feel one with and a part of God to where a sacrifice for sin no longer makes any sense.

Contemplative prayer is one and the same thing as New Age or mystical prayer; both are occultic practices in that they bring the practitioner into the demonic realm though he believes all the while that he is connecting with God. Then when I heard Chief Shoefoot’s testimony, I realized that shamanism is one and the same thing as contemplative or New Age mystical prayer as well. As one adherent of mysticism explains, “The meditation of advanced occultists is identical with the prayer of advanced mystics.”3 Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk, who helped pioneer the modern-day contemplative prayer movement identified with Buddhism (saying he “intend[ed] to become as good a Buddhist as [he] can”)4 because he realized that the prayer of the Buddhist monks was the same as his. Alice Bailey, whom I consider the mother of the New Age movement, predicted that New Age (or occultic) spirituality would not go around the Christian church but rather through it. She called it the “the regeneration of the churches.” In explaining this, Ray Yungen says:

[I]nstead of opposing Christianity, the occult would capture and blend itself with Christianity and then use it as its primary  vehicle for spreading and instilling New Age consciousness!5

In other words, occultic prayer all over the world is coming to a head and bringing about the great falling away that the Bible predicts will happen. Modern day proponents refer to it as quantum spirituality; and through borrowing terms used in physics, they tell us that if enough people meditate at the same time, we will achieve a critical mass, and we will then witness the dawning of the age of Aquarius where peace will guide our planet. However, Alice Bailey and New Age leaders who have followed her see Christians who do not practice New Age style meditation as in the way because they are not being “vibrationally sympathetic.” Such people, they maintain, will have to be eliminated! Having come from the New Age movement, Warren Smith has been warning Christians about this for some time. New Age leaders speak of love, but those who have birthed and perpetuated the movement have something much more sinister in their hearts.

We at Lighthouse Trails, as do other ministries like ours, have a sense of urgency to call all Christians to return to their true roots – namely the Gospel. Our loyalty needs to be with our Savior and not with the traditions of men. Whether we are Native American or of any other descent, Jesus Christ needs to be more precious than any of the things that would make us appear politically correct or gain the favor of men.

Notes:

1.  Roger Oakland, Faith Undone (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing),  p. 99.

2.  Napolean A. Chagnon, Yanomamo: The Fierce People (New York, NY: Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 3rd edition), pp.112-113.

3.  Richard Kirby, The Mission of Mysticism (London, UK: SPCK, 1979), p. 7; as cited in A Time of Departing, p. 32.

4.  David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969), as cited in A Time of Departing, p. 78.

5. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd edition), p. 124.

Note: To access information about the books and DVDs we mention in this article, click here.

I’ll Never Go Back – DVD

 

Ministry Update from Roger Oakland – Trip to Rome, Italy

LTRP Note: For many years, Roger Oakland has been educating believers about spiritual deception in the times in which we live and witnessing to unbelievers, giving them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please pray for Roger this coming week as he travels with a team of Christian brothers to Rome, Italy where he will be representing biblical Christianity. Below his post is a photo from the past (from 1991). It was the day the Soviet Union collapsed, and during this trip Roger was asked to speak to the nation by television to tell the Russian people about creation and the Creator.

By Roger Oakland
The purpose of this short update is twofold. I want to personally invite you to our two-day Understand The Times conference and ministry gathering in Regina, Saskatchewan August 13 and 14th,. Details are available by clicking on the following link on our web site. http://www.understandthetimes.org/uttgathering2016/utt2016page.html.

Saturday events are open to all at no charge. The only sign up required for the two-day event is the Sunday turkey dinner that will be a catered event. We will need to know in advance how many will be attending. Children under 12 are welcome with adult parents at no charge or a small offering will be accepted at the door.

Second, on Monday July 18th, four of my friends will be leaving with me for Rome, Italy where I am scheduled to present a paper at a conference on the environment representing Bible-believing Christianity. This is not the first time I have been asked to make a presentation of this nature.

We will also be documenting this trip by camera and visiting the typical sites tourists visit when they make trips to Rome. Our plan is to obtain video footage to make several video documentaries documenting our findings and revealing to our viewers some of the key things to understand regarding the times we live.

Also, Lord willing, we will be sending back reports via the Internet regarding this trip so that our followers can keep track of the events and locations we will be experiencing first hand.

Please pray for these two events.

Roger Oakland

Understand The Times

Praying in Red Square with Fred Lutsenko—December 1991. This was the day the Soviet Union Collapsed.

Photo: Praying in Red Square with Fred Lutsenko—December 1991. This was the day the Soviet Union Collapsed. From Roger’s biography, Let There Be Light.

 

July 20th, 2016 Update: As we reported a few days ago, Roger Oakland headed for Rome, Italy with four other Christian brothers this week. Roger will be attending a symposium on the environment in Rome where he plans to present a report he has written from a biblical point of view (this report may become a Lighthouse Trails booklet in the near future). Roger will be sending audio reports each day he is in Rome to his webmaster Ron Pierotti. (see below)

Reports From Rome

Report 8 (Final Report for this trip)

Report 7 With Larry Demejo

Report 6

Report 5 With Larry Demejo

Report 4 With Rob Yardley

Report 3

Report 2

Report 1

Segment One of the Report Roger took to Rome on the environment from a biblical point of view.

 

 

SPECIAL PRAYER REQUEST FOR CARYL MATRISCIANA

As you know, veteran film-maker Caryl Matrisciana (also a Lighthouse Trails author) has been battling cancer for over a year. We have reached out to our readers on different occasions asking you to pray for her. And she has been so grateful for those prayers. Actually, people from all over the world know of Caryl's work, and we know so many are praying for her.

We know our lives are in God's hands, and we each have an appointed time to die. We also know that the Bible tells us to pray for the sick that they might be healed. It may seem like a paradox, and some may say why pray if we have an appointed time. But while we may not fully understand these things now, we do know we can trust God in all things. So we come to you again and ask you to pray for Caryl. Caryl's cancer has spread significantly throughout her body, and she is in excruciating pain. She has not taken the normal route of high doses of pain killers for late-stage cancer as this slows the body systems down (and she has not given up the battle for survival). She is currently, as we write this, receiving a special alternative health treatment.

Please join with us and pray for our dear sister that the Lord will heal her and give her peace and comfort during this time. Thank you.

Photo: Caryl on radio from the 1990s

Update on Warren Smith: We want to thank all of you who have been praying for our author Warren B. Smith during these past several weeks. Warren's property in central California was threatened by two forest fires, and in the middle of those two fires, an unrelated house fire due to faulty wiring caused extensive damage to the house and the loss of four family pets.(source) Warren and his wife, Joy, have now found temporary housing for six months while the house is being repaired. They wish to convey their deep gratitude for all your prayers and support during this time.

Hillary Clinton Picks Jesuit-Influenced Catholic For Vice President Running Mate

LTRP Note: The following is posted for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement of the source or the content.

“Kaine’s Catholicism has been strongly influenced by the Jesuits – the order Pope Francis is part of that has long been associated with education and social justice.”—Washington Post

Photo: Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks to reporters following a discussion on immigration reform at Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Va., on Thursday. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

“‘A Pope Francis Catholic’: Now that Tim Kaine is Clinton’s VP pick, will his faith matter?”

By Michelle Boorstein and Julie Zauzmer
Washington Post

Many of the most circulated names for Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick are Catholic – a fact that both says a lot about the influence of America’s huge Catholic population, but also reveals, when you look more closely, how far the country has moved away from basic religious tribalism.

Clinton on Friday chose U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a former missionary who personally opposes abortion and who pleased anti-abortion advocates earlier in his political career by saying he would aim to reduce the number of abortions by promoting adoption and abstinence education.

Yet it’s not clear what impact Kaine’s faith — or that of any Catholic — would have on voters. Click here to continue reading.

Related Reading:

A Jesuit Pope? Understanding The Jesuit Agenda and the Evangelical/Protestant Church

NEW BOOKLET: Signs & Wonders! Five Things You Should Consider

NEW BOOKLET: Signs & Wonders! Five Things You Should Consider by David Dombrowski is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract.  The Booklet is 10 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Signs & Wonders! Five Things You Should Consider, click here. 

BKT-DD-sw-sSigns & Wonders! Five Things You Should Consider

By David Dombrowski

Setting Things Up With Great Delusion

Jesus taught his disciples that in the last days, a time of mass delusion will come upon the earth. He said:

For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. (Mark 13:22-23; emphasis added)

Likewise, Paul spoke of this time when he said:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)

If we look at what is happening in the world today, the only logical conclusion is that we have already entered into that period of history. The world is going through a mystical paradigm shift where an increasingly high number of people are engaging in occultic mystical practices which are leading them into a New Age all-paths-lead-to-God kind of mentality.

This is not only happening in the world, but it is happening in the church as well. It is shocking to see that doctrines and values formerly held sacred are now being discarded. Many Christian leaders today have replaced the reading and study of Scripture with having spiritual experiences or what Jesus referred to above as signs and wonders. In effect, multitudes of Christians are being led to believe that if they can have some type of spiritual experience or witness a miracle, that will bear more validity than the words of Scripture itself.

What we have now generated is a delusion so great that if one has an “experience” that contradicts the Bible, one will hold the experience as valid and not the Bible because the experience is seen as tangible and therefore more real. But this is an insult to our God because as David points out in a Psalm:

I will worship toward thy hold temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2; emphasis added)

God holds His Word in highest esteem as being entirely truthful, but many would rather trust and rely on their own experiences as their standard for truth.

We have become like the masses in former centuries who believed that the world is flat (because it appears to be flat), while the Bible itself refers to it as a globe (Isaiah 40:22). Frankly, in a practical day-to-day sense, it makes no difference to me whether the earth be flat or round, except perhaps a fear of falling off the edge if I went too far, but when it comes to spiritual matters, the truth is essential as to where I will be spending eternity. You see, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ Himself, who is all Truth and paid the price to take us to heaven; but we also have a deceiver, Satan, who is the father of lies and is intent on leading us to hell.

It is imperative to realize that not all paths lead to heaven, or should I say, there is only one path to God, and Jesus is that Path (John 14:6). All the other paths of the world believe that man is intrinsically good and can therefore earn his way to heaven. Only the Gospel reveals the truth that we were born sinners, and our transgressions have alienated us from God; but Jesus paid the price for our sins, and through His death and resurrection we have, by faith, salvation (having been forgiven), righteousness (imputed and not earned), peace with God, and the grace for holy living (being “raised with Christ”).

Nothing could make the enemy of our souls happier than to steal away our soul, and his primary way of doing this is through deception because Satan is a master of lies.

Are All Signs and Wonders From the Same Source?

Knowing that we are in a time of great delusion, let us focus here on one aspect of it, where Jesus referred to it in Mark 13 as the realm of signs and wonders.

In doing a Scripture search on the words “signs” and “wonders” appearing together, I expected to find only a few references but was surprised to find eighteen references in the Old Testament and fourteen references in the New Testament. The majority of these references in both the Old and New Testaments were used in a positive sense. In the Old Testament, the most common examples were those referring to how Moses delivered the Israelites through signs and wonders, while in the New Testament, the most common examples were those of God confirming the preaching of the Gospel by the apostles through signs and wonders. When used in a negative sense, the words “signs” and “wonders” were usually used together in a prophetic warning to avoid false leaders and prophets.

Now, the point I wish to make here is that we cannot make a sweeping statement saying that all signs and wonders are bad, nor can we say that they are all good; rather we need to look beyond the physical manifestations and determine the source from which they come. But in the cases of Moses and the apostles, God was confirming the ministry and message of these men. Too often, however, signs and wonders are unquestioningly accepted as being “from God.”

As a former Catholic, I can remember stories from my youth up of miraculous signs taken as divine confirmation that God has spoken, be it the apparitions of Mary giving messages that contradict Scripture or of communion wafers that bleed or pulse contradicting the message of the Gospel (Jesus clearly said that the “flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63) and the book of Hebrews speaks of a sacrifice made once for all time—Hebrews 9:27-28;10:10,12,14). In the case of the Catholic Church, there are strange manifestations that inevitably glorify man, and those who perform such wonders bear a message that requires redemption through human performance as opposed to grace by faith alone. It is not always easy at the surface level to recognize the meaning behind a sign or wonder, but we do have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God as witnesses for us.

A key passage from the Old Testament that strictly forbids the unquestioning acceptance of all signs and wonders is the following:

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-4; emphasis added)

Notice how explicit these instructions are about maintaining a faithful and unwavering devotion to the Lord even when the sign or wonder has “come to pass!” It is never enough that a sign or wonder happens; it must always be tested as to whether or not it supports and confirms God’s Word.

Yet, for many people today (including many Christians), if a strange, paranormal manifestation occurs, that is evidence enough that it must be from God without any recognition or acknowledgment that dark supernatural forces can do these things. For example, the manifestations of holy laughter, “slaying in the Spirit,” jerkings, convulsions, twisting, contortions, and animal-like behaviors have all been witnessed under the “ministering” of eastern gurus who draw on kundalini energy (serpent power) to do their work. And, as discerning believers, when we listen to the doctrine or teaching of these ministers (who are so wrapped up in manifestations that they hardly preach at all), we can only conclude that these are wolves in sheep’s clothing deceiving and being deceived. Many of the ministers actually even mock the preaching of God’s Word and arrogantly proclaim or imply that because they have the power to do these things, they are greater than all preachers. But God has chosen to use the “foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

Now, I’m not saying that these ministers necessarily know they are wolves. For the most part, they believe they are doing God a service. But as Jesus pointed out, many ministers are just hirelings in that they “careth not for the sheep” (John 10:13); they will fleece the flock for gain, but they will not lay down their lives for the sheep. Jesus said, “I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15).

Preparing the Way . . . But For Who?

Unbeknownst to themselves, many of today’s ministers are paving the way for the Antichrist. They are like John the Baptists for the Antichrist as their efforts are actually preparing the hearts of the people for such a leader. This is especially true of ministers who minimize the preaching of sound doctrine and maximize on manifestations “from God.” I say this because the Antichrist will be a master of signs and wonders, which will actually be his trademark and likely the primary way he will get the world to believe in him. In speaking of the coming Antichrist, Paul had this to say:

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10)

Meanwhile, people’s hearts are being conditioned for this figure who will integrate the economic, political, and religious sectors together under a worldwide peace plan while confirming his authority and power through lying wonders. It will be a “grand day” for the world as millions will be duped by a man with a charismatic mantle and anointing like unto Adolf Hitler who stirred up a nation; but this time it will be the whole world. In fact, there are many similarities today between our country (the USA) and much of the world with that of the mindset of much of society in Germany prior to Hitler coming into power: In both cases, we see an emergence of anti-Semitism, even among those claiming to be Christians; churches and Bible colleges are becoming more and more liberal and humanistic in theology and rule; spiritual apostasy can be seen everywhere; and political powers are bringing about radical changes to the infrastructure of our society. At Lighthouse Trails, as we watch the pace of things accelerating, we often wonder if we may have less time than we think.

This is a time in history when it is imperative for Christian believers to stay alert and warn all we can about the delusion coming upon the world and the apostasy taking place in the church. The future will unfold as predicted in the Bible, but we can be prepared and help prepare others for whatever comes.

Signs and Wonders, and A True Minister of God

As for the signs and wonders delusion, it is important to remember that if someone performs a sign or a wonder, he is operating beyond the realm of his own strength and mere physical laws, but we cannot automatically assume he is operating from God just as we cannot assume he is operating from the demonic realm. To help us discern, we can apply the test of 1 John 4:1-3 and ask ourselves what is the message of the person performing the wonder? Is he glorifying God and promoting the Gospel, or is he glorifying himself as if he were greater than all other ministers? The mark of a true minister of God is humility and not pride. Jesus said of the true John the Baptist, “Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist” (Luke 7:28). Here is a man who was anointed of the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15, 41). Yet, we also read in John 10:41 that “John [the Baptist] did no miracle.” John was a unique individual, and we need more like him. When he said of Jesus, “this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:29-30), in a few words, John indicated his attributes. He was a humble man with the right priorities who remained obedient to his mission. He did not need to do a sign or a wonder because he revealed Jesus and had prepared the way for Him.

The Purpose of Signs and Wonders

Signs and wonders are performed for a purpose.

In the Old Testament, they were performed to deliver God’s people:

Which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel, and among other men. . . . And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders. (Jeremiah 32:20-21)

In the New Testament, Jesus performed signs and wonders to show that He was approved of and from God. Peter spoke of this on the day of Pentecost:

Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs. (Acts 2:22)

The apostles likewise did signs and wonders:

And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. (Acts 2:43)

The book of Hebrews makes it clear that these signs and wonders were done to confirm the Gospel message:

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation [the Gospel message]; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? (Hebrews 2:3-4)

Yet, we know that Jesus rebuked the seeking of signs and wonders where the Gospel is not received and believed:

Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. (John 4:48)

And this is the way it is today. People flock to witness manifestations, but they will not flock to hear the Gospel—to hear about sin and judgment and faith in the finished work of Christ on the Cross. The fact is, we do not need to be seeking signs and wonders because that is not where the real power lies. The prophet Elijah, a man who called fire down from heaven to burn his sacrifice, subsequently had an encounter with God while hiding in a cave. As the Lord passed by, He sent powerful manifestations: first, in a strong wind that “rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord” (1 Kings 19:11); second, there was an earthquake; and third, there was a fire. Yet, it says that the Lord was not in any of these, and Elijah remained unmoved from his fear and despair. But, after the fire, there was “a still small voice” (vs. 12) and then we read, “And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave” (vs. 13).

The point is really quite simple. While God can demonstrate His power in marvelous and supernatural ways, it was the word of the Lord that brought Elijah out of the cave, encouraged him, instructed him, and sent him on his way. And this is the problem with signs and wonders that are not accompanied by and supported by God’s Word; nothing really changes of lasting value. People may witness signs and wonders, but that is not going to bring personal transformation or eternal salvation to them. Only when a life has been surrendered to the Lord through faith in hearing the Gospel do we have changes that are of a true and lasting spiritual value. We know that the apostles went out to preach the Gospel, and signs and wonders followed them—the emphasis being on the Gospel. Paul made it clear in his letters that the power that changes lives for eternity is in the Gospel. It is the power to save:

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

I know there are people reading this who have great needs and are hoping for a word of encouragement to get through a particular situation. And there always will be needs of one sort or another where at times it seems that it would take a miracle to get through the present challenge. If you feel this way, let me say this: God is faithful, and He is there for those who hope in His mercy (Psalm 147:11). But as Christians, let us be careful not to be caught up in fear and worry that would rob us of our effectiveness for God and of the abundant life God has for us. Jesus said:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Remember also that Jesus said:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [our needs] shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

God is faithful, and He can be depended upon to deliver us in whatever trials we face. Peter writes in his epistle:

Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:19)

We are on a journey through life, and there are many obstacles along the path that would slow us down and rob us of our attention to the things of the Lord. Let us not lose sight of our destination.

To order copies of Signs & Wonders! Five Things You Should Consider, click here. 

 

 

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