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Spiritual Terrorists, wolves at the door
So where do I begin? There are terrorists who come to destroy our lives in this world and then there are the terrorists that are über -terrorists, they are the wolves that enter the pen, but not through the gate. Most of them come by way of a truth, a faith that we believe. The ring leaders are charismatic and master manipulators.
My faith is Christianity, but there are many more faiths I am aware of. By and large, most faiths advocate peace and kindness to others, but then there are those who follow religion, they are zealots and many are way too pious for their own good as well as the good of those who may follow them.
Satan is the greatest deceiver, capable of providing displays of power and authority that mimic those of the Holy God. Prayers be to those who are deceived and cheated out of their eternal reward.
Are cults spiritual terrorism groups?
Sometime ago, I found myself worshipping at a church that seemed to be following the word and commands of God. They also spoke of Jesus and of His teachings, how we should follow His examples and make those examples our lives. This was a mid sized church and part of a larger church within the same state and I had even attended worship services there.
What struck me as odd were several things, for one the service always ended in the selling of Cd's and DVDs, this happens I'm sure at other churches and even at my current church after special events. But sadly for those who feel otherwise, I feel the church is an inappropriate place to sell such items after regular worship services and equally I feel uneasy about the manner in which they were sold. To push one into buying something they don't truly need or can afford is wrong. This practice is akin to that story in the Bible of the money changers, Matthew 21:12-13 (ESV) 12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
The sellers and the buyers removed by Jesus. If Jesus was so unhappy in those actions, would we think that continuance would bring about our salvation?
A second problem I saw with my fellow believers was the worthless chatter during events such as picnics, who brought this and how much it costs, again this could be almost any church and at anytime, for we do make mistakes, but this should not be the norm. We have a calling from Jesus to accept others just as we find them or they find us, we are not to judge and especially in such nonsense. We are to nudge, nudge each other towards santification and to be delivered from evil as written/instructed in the Bible. During this time of attendance, I felt shunned, I was then a smoker and a nudge was at first given, about the body being a temple and yes I do agree we should not harm these bodies we were given, they are not our own when we finally realize whose they really are. But to shun and repeatedly, those who need nuturing support in their addictions is not a Christ based action. As a side note, I did finally give up smoking when the Spirit convicted me of the harm in continuing.
My falling away from this group led to my wandering alone, apart from God for several years, I had not found a group of true witnesses of Christ, I had instead found a group that worshipped status. My wife continued along with th§s church for a couple more months, until she was told she had not born fruit, obviously a new spin to 'bearing fruit' was at work in this church.
Practically every cult has certain characteristics that can tell the careful observer that something is wrong.
For instance, what does a group think about Jesus? Jesus Christ is God, Lord of all, the only source of salvation. Invariably, a cult will put something else on an equal footing with Christ. It will have a ritual that is equal to Christ, or it will have a doctrine equal to Christ, or it will have a leader who is equal to Christ. In other words, even if it acknowledges Christ as Savior, it will say that you need something else before you can get into heaven. Cults teach that salvation comes through Christ, plus their little unique way. Some cults do not acknowledge Christ at all. They may make Him coequal with their religious teachers or with certain great men of history. The quickest way to recognize a cult is by its treatment of Jesus.
Second, cults frequently attempt to instill fear into their followers. The followers are taught constantly that salvation comes only through the cult. "If you leave us, you will lose your salvation," they say.
The third area has to do with the exaltation of the leader of the cult. Cults often center around a man or woman who is trying to gain power, money, or influence from manipulating people. A true leader who serves Jesus Christ has one goal, and that is to exalt and manifest Jesus. When someone says he has unique insight into God or is the special one that God has anointed to reach the world, you are dealing with cultic behavior.
A final mark of a cult is the unwillingness of the leaders to let the people grow up. A true shepherd will do everything he can to bring Christian people to maturity as quickly as he can. He will not seek to avoid necessary teaching, nor will he try to keep people from maturity. Many cults perpetuate spiritual dependence so that their followers lose the ability to make independent, rational decisions. Often techniques of brainwashing are used to create robot-like behavior. (From www.cbn.com 200 questions)
A house divided ...
We just don't seem to be on the same page! How many times have I heard this phrase and as always, grace needs to be applied and an understanding sought.
At all times and in all ways, we are of one God, adopted in Sonship through Christ or ...of God's chosen people. But we are all different as well and where there are differences, there is the capacity for quarrel.
He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Acts 15:9 (NIV); Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. Acts 15:39 (NLT); But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. Galations 2:11 (NASB) and one more: What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but have not works? can that faith save him? James 2:14 (ASV)
You may have noticed how I did not use the King James Version, the reason being that not only can we disagree and be 'not on the same page', but we can disagree on the entire book as well, as in which version is the proper/correct version.
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12 (KJV)
Work out our own salvation, do you suppose that means 'to interpret'? Because that is how I literally 'interpret' that passage. Communion, baptism, faith or works and other points of interpretation, are we becoming blind or deaf? This Bible we possess, in whatever version, does Jesus not say we are to love one another above all other things, except that the loving of God should be first?
Instead of fretting over one passage or one page and perhaps bicker over even an entire chapter, why wont we resolve to show grace to one another, as we all read from the same book?
The Bible as read by me
18Children, it’s the end of time. You’ve heard that an antichrist is coming. Certainly, many antichrists are already here. That’s how we know it’s the end of time. 19They left us. However, they were never really part of us. If they had been, they would have stayed with us. But by leaving they made it clear that none of them were part of us.
20The Holy One has anointed you, so all of you have knowledge. 21I’m writing to you because you know the truth, not because you don’t know the truth. You know that no lie ever comes from the truth.
22Who is a liar? Who else but the person who rejects Jesus as the Messiah? The person who rejects the Father and the Son is an antichrist. 23Everyone who rejects the Son doesn’t have the Father either. The person who acknowledges the Son also has the Father. 24Make sure that the message you heard from the beginning lives in you. If that message lives in you, you will also live in the Son and in the Father. 25Christ has given us the promise of eternal life.
26I’m writing to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27The anointing you received from Christ lives in you. You don’t need anyone to teach you something else. Instead, Christ’s anointing teaches you about everything. His anointing is true and contains no lie. So live in Christ as he taught you to do. 1 John 2:18-27 (ERV)
Who would do more harm to our faith, than one that comes from within. There are many who believe in God, but when we say we believe Christ Jesus to be the only begotten Son of God, fully man and fully God, some will fall away, they can't or wont admit that.
Tel evangelists, Prophets for $Profit$
Since the days of PTL, the scandal involving Jim Baker, can we ever trust anyone who proclaims the Kingdom of God on TV?
Many, even now, hold doubts about the motives of those not only on their TV screens, but even on the radio. When we listen to these men and women, we need to bear in mind testing their word against the scriptures. Are they self-promoting, do they promise wealth and prosperity without mentioning the hardships that the scriptures say ALL Christians must endure.