by Jonathan Robinson, a splendid explanation and revisiting of the
classic book on spiritual warfare by Lorenzo Scupoli, making it easier to
understand and apply in contemporary terms. Prayer as a weapon. Working for
holiness. The importance of humility. Spiritual exercises. This book is for
the serious student of spiritual warfare as well as those who simply run up
against forces of darkness -- as really we all do! [see original classic
BIZARRE MANIFESTATIONS AND TRAGIC EVENTS OCCUR WHEN WE VEER IN SEARCH OF MYSTICISM TO ANY EXTREME
A few weeks ago we noted that there is no longer much difference between "naysayers" and "skeptics" -- pointing out that they have become one and the same (skepticism and mockery) in this age of materialism that so disdains the supernatural.
But there are other extremes, times when believers begin to believe everything, veering into a zone that can be equally negative (and sometimes dangerous).
There is the case, for instance, of a doctor who was famous for his near-death research and had started out sober enough -- writing with thoroughness and objectivity. Later, however, he drifted into spiritism, past-life regression, reincarnation, and then what he calls "psychomanteums" -- dark rooms with candles and crystal-like objects or mirrors into which subjects peer until "deceased" loved ones were said to materialize in the reflection or (supposedly) walk right out of the quicksilver, conversing as if they are right there.
A legitimate endeavor -- by a man of science -- veered into occultism or eccentricity. His research lacked Jesus.
Pure danger. Prayer need. A man of medicine was now conducting seances.
Finances disappeared. So did two marriages. The same can happen with any form of mysticism.
It is better to believe than not to believe, but it is best to realize that not everything is worthy of belief. Even the most well-intentioned can be deceived.
We are at a time of extremes and must be cautious that enthusiasm doesn't turn into fanaticism and then obsession. From time to time, we all can be gullible and must always pray to stay from falsity and superstition.
There are those who feel inspired or receive a word of knowledge that turns true or gives them peace but who then decide that they will receive such messages at will and begin to spew forth all kinds of missives from Jesus, or Mary, or angels.
A legitimate "word" becomes something less than legitimate.
Look for a red flag if messages come in a torrent (with fantastic specificity).
When we "want" too many messages, Satan -- or familiar spirits -- are happy to accommodate.
God mainly speaks to us subtly, through the natural. He directs through the quiet of prayer and intuition.
The aforementioned doctor ended up traveling to Greece to visit ancient "oracle caves" where thousands of years ago people practiced what he now does: contact with the "dead" in secluded settings (the caves). He claimed he and his wife encountered Socrates (who gave them a tour of the caves). This was a man, a medical doctor, who had conducted truly monumental work but at one point went so far that his father (also a doctor) had him committed to a mental ward.
Another prominent researcher broke up with her husband and went to live with a spirit.
Yet a third recently made news when he was arrested for "waterboarding" his 11-year-old daughter, with some wondering if this man, who had written about children and near-death episodes, was punishing her or had gone to such an extreme with his research that he was experimenting. (He too had been seeing a psychologist.)
Life is all about finding a balance. It is often about finding an in-between.
That doesn't mean compromise. Nor does it mean being lukewarm. It is not a gray area.
It means prudence.
And there is no book that can teach it -- none save for the Bible, through the Holy Spirit, Who illuminates the truth when we can get our pride (and imbalance) out of the way.
[resources: spiritual warfare books and Michael Brown retreats on spiritual protection and healing: September 29: Chicago, October 13: Northern New Jersey-New York; and November 3, Minneapolis]
[resources: The Spiritual Combat Revisited]
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