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Compare the walk to the talk!

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Titus 1:16 “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”

     Paul was referring to the teachers of the Law that wanted to impose religious requirements upon the people that the Gospel simply didn’t call for. These ‘leaders’ were using their position and influence to force others to comply to their way of thinking not God’s way. One commentary points out that times haven’t changed; “. . . taking the church at large, there are many such, and the fact that there are such persons is the grand hindrance to the triumphs of religion on the earth. ‘The way to heaven is blocked up by dead professors of religion.'”

    Jesus nailed this kind of fake religiosity; “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” (Matthew 23:13-15)   Thankfully, Jesus didn’t mince words when the truth was on the line.
   
     Sadly, there is no shortage of self-righteous hypocrites who love to place illegitimate requirements upon those who are striving to follow Jesus.  Some demand a specific form of worship such as only a particular way of dancing claiming that you’re not really worshipping if you aren’t dancing ‘just so’.  Some will claim that unless you exhibit specific charismatic gifts then you don’t have the Holy Spirit.   The demands and false claims grow and grow until the only one that conforms to the fake holiness is the false preacher!

     Matthew Henry rightly states that such fakes and false doctrines must be opposed; “Faithful ministers must oppose such in good time, that their folly being made manifest, they may go no further They had a base end in what they did; serving a worldly interest under pretence of religion: for the love of money is the root of all evil. Such should be resisted, and put to shame, by sound doctrine from the Scriptures.”

    The Gospel Good News is straightforward;  believe in Jesus (John 3:16),  follow Jesus (John 8:32), live and love like Jesus (Matthew 25:40).  The Forerunner Commentary points out that a great many fakes preach and lead people away from the Gospel; “A number of years ago, a Protestant pastor commented that the church has become good at turning wine into water. In many cases, modern Christian services and teachings are nothing more than entertaining paganism and in other cases, a Sunday morning fraternal organization.”

     Ask yourself; ‘What is the Gospel?’ and ‘Is it preached and followed in my church?’  Go and look up the answers in God’s Word – the Holy Bible.  If you can’t answer those questions for yourself (and don’t take my word or anybody else’s for it) then you are open to all kinds of potential abuse.  The Bible tells us; “Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2:2,3)

     The time is short. Don’t be fooled; “But woe to the earth and the sea,be cause the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (Revelation 12:12)

      And Jesus calls; “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

     Praise the Lord!

The tools and the trade!

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2 Timothy 3:16,17 ” All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

     What skills and knowledge are needed to do God’s work in this world?  Some would say that you need management skills.  Others would claim that ‘people skills’ are the most important.  Bible schools and seminaries have entire programs set out to grant diplomas or degrees for those who wish to make a career out of doing God’s work in the world.  Many will claim that knowledge of Greek and ancient Hebrew is essential to understanding the Bible and communicating its message to others.

     What does the Bible say?   You need to know Scripture.   You need to know the Bible. Interestingly, 2 Timothy 3:16,17 was written in Greek and referred to the Old Testament which was written in Hebrew. Jesus spoke in Aramaic in His daily life.  This scripture was translated into Latin (a dead language) then into English and many other languages.  The Bible doesn’t say we need to learn Greek or Hebrew, or Latin for that matter, to help us understand.  God has been in the communication business a lot longer than anyone. His Word tells us what we need and He provides!
   
     The Bible does tell us that we need the Holy Spirit to help us understand Scripture.  This is a promise from Jesus; “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26) As a matter of fact the Holy Spirit will be our guide; “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13)  You don’t have to go to college to learn from the Holy Spirit!

     What kind of ‘good work’ does God want us to do?  God is working in us to change and perfect us; “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6)  We must co-operate with God as He does this work in us; “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2) Being open to His Word and lead on a daily basis is our first priority!

    God has plans for you.  Once He has prepared us, He has a job in mind for each one of us; “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)  What is this work?  Is it running a church?  Is it doing mission work?  Is it evangelism?  Is it earth shattering, mountain moving miracle work?   Maybe, maybe not.

     What does Jesus say?  “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)  Going for the big stuff could swell your head and lead you into the iniquity of self-righteous pride!

   What does Jesus tell us to do; “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)  Don’t idolize anything or anyone especially yourself.  Treat your neighbor properly.  If you’re like me that’s a big job in itself.

     What would a righteous ministry look like? Again what does Jesus say? “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ” (Matthew 25:37-40)

     Keep your eyes open for opportunities to do good work!  Follow His heart!

     Praise the Lord.

The truth will set you free!

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People will often say; ‘the truth will set you free’.  I’m not sure  if  they know are quoting Jesus.  Actually, Jesus said a little more than that; “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

TruthWillSetYouFreeHowever, if the truth brings freedom, why wouldn’t everybody want the truth?  Doesn’t everybody want to be free?  Yes and no.  Everyone thinks they want to be free but not everybody wants others to be free.  Often people prefer the comfort of their prison to the uncertainty of leaving it.  Yet others may not know they are in prison.  And every jailer will tell his prisoners that it is best for them to remain well-behaved behind bars.  Some will sing and dance; “I’m free, I’m free!” – all the while bound up with heavy chains of deception, fear, obligation and guilt.  The truth will only set you free if you hear it, believe it and follow it to freedom!

The Bible tells us that the familiarity of captivity has its own comforts that people will long for; “Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”  (Exodus 16:3)  Prison life is dependable, routine and you get fed every day!  You don’t have to take any responsibility for your life.   Many like it that way and there is no shortage of willing jailers in this world.  Freedom comes with a cost.

Not everyone is willing to pay the cost of freedom.  And here we come to the often ‘not quoted part’ of Jesus’ statement; “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”  Freedom comes with following Jesus, by holding to His teachings and being His disciple.  This costs!  Jesus, Himself cautioned us to consider the cost; ” And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—  lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, . . . ” (Luke 14:27-29)  If you want to know the truth, if you want to be set free, then you will have to pay the cost of following Jesus.  What is that price on freedom?  The cost is the cross!  If you want to live with Jesus in His freedom, you have to die with Him.

There are many fake ‘easy ways’ to freedom.  Living wild for the lawless, who confuse freedom with wantonness and who worship the pleasures of selfishness.  Or, idolatry, for the religious and bowing down to the many who would be little gods who tell you they are prophets.  Such idolatry provides freedom from maturing and taking responsibility for your own life!

The Bible tells us the hard way to freedom; “. . . when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  (Ephesians  4:21-24)

The truth is the truth wont set you free!   The devil knows the truth – he isn’t free.  The devil’s demons know the truth – they aren’t free.  Many false prophtets know the truth, yet they teach the doctrine of demons and they aren’t free.  Many idolaters know the truth and dance and sing; ‘I’m free’ – but they aren’t free.  The Bible tells us; “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.”  (James 2:19)

The truth is that if you follow Jesus, hold to his teachings and pick up your cross then you will know the truth.  And He will set you free!

Jesus said; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

That’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

No one but Jesus!

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1 Timothy 2:5,6 ” For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”

    Don’t let anyone try come between you and God.  That spot already belongs to Jesus.  Any prophet, priest or preacher who tells you different is a liar.  Any false doctrine that emphasizes the superiority of the pastor in any way as a prophet, miracle worker, healer or in any other gift freely given to all believers by the Holy Spirit is poison to your soul, if you are taken in by it.  Scripture tells us; “There are different kinds of gifts. But they are all given by the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. There are different ways to work. But the same God makes it possible for all of us to have all those different things.” (1 Corinthians 12:4,5,6)

      John Wesley points out that this is a caution against idolatry; “We could not rejoice that there is a God, were there not a mediator also; one who stands between God and men, to reconcile man to God, and to transact the whole affair of our salvation. This excludes all other mediators, as saints and angels, . . . and idolatrously worship as such: just as the heathens of old set up many mediators, to pacify their superior gods.”   Lying prophets who would be little gods themselves lead their flock into soul killing idolatry.  They do this by insisting that they and they alone know God’s will for their flock!  In their self-proclaimed superiority they stand between God and their flock!

     Jim Allen claims that today, as in the past, Satan’s forces always work toward getting people to abandon their faith by believing in lies; “Today is the time when all the forces of the evil are coming against true believers to test their faith as never before. Genuine believers must recognize the trial of their faith will increase as deception deepens. Preparation for apostasy begins now by coming into a knowledge and command of the many forms of deception now deeply embedded in the church.”  Twisting scripture to twist people and elevate a leader far above his flock is the work of Satan.

    Sadly many who are lead by false teachers don’t recognize their predicament because they are captives of the deception; “. . . people in error do not view themselves in error about their doctrine and herein the power-hold of deception on the heart. As a for instance, people in a cult or mainline church operating in error will view anyone who leaves them as apostate.” (Jim Allen in “When Wolves Lead the Flock“) Often it is the person who questions and points to the truth in the Bible who is kicked out of such spiritually sick assemblies.
   
     What is the telling mark of a fellowship in the grip of idolatry and apostasy?  It is an attitude of the group being right and others being wrong.  This practice of black and white thinking always puts a wall up not so much to keep others out but rather keep the captive congregation in; “. . . We are so comfortable with our little circle of influence that we just refuse to listen to anybody else. This is dangerous practice. It guarantees that if we ever embrace false teaching we will most likely never leave it. This is a cult like attitude.” (Larry Anderson quoted in When Wolves Lead the Flock) Here is the terrible danger of idolatry and false teaching – captivity, exploitation and finally destruction.

     The fruit of such an unholy assembly is exploitation of its people and their ultimate destruction – leader and followers; “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” (2 Peter 2:1-3)

     How do you call friends and acquaintances back from the brink of their own self deluded destruction when they hate you for telling them the truth; “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16)  How do you reach out?  The Bible tells us; “Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:25.26)  Help us Jesus!

     An honest man is left with the only way forward – speaking the truth and hoping that his friends will listen; “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:14,15)

     Remember no man-made idol, false doctrine or false prophet is your Savior – Jesus is!

     Praise the Lord!

Idolatry kills!

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2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

     Idolatry kills. It is the most pernicious and terrible of all religious inclinations. The corrosion of idolatry is dissolving souls in many church fellowships as I write this. The Forerunner commentary states; “The apostle Paul prophesies of an apostasy in II Thessalonians 2:3, 9-12, and he prefaces it with a warning against being deceived. The great apostasy may already be fully underway, spurred by the rising tide of deception in society. . . . . This is especially true for those who do not really believe the true source of knowledge, God and His Word. Thus, after subtle doctrinal changes, many of the brethren have fallen away.”  If you do not love the truth you replace it with a lie that you love in its stead.  This is idolatry.

     For some idolatry is a false doctrine, for others it is a person who claims to be a prophet and it is often both – the false doctrine issuing from the false prophet. This process of deception isn’t always perpetrated on the unsuspecting.  Many can read God’s Word in Scripture and so are able to tell the difference between falsehood and what is written in the Bible.  They prefer the lies; “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3)

     The lure of the golden calf will always beset our fellowships; “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” (Exodus 32:1) And there will always be priests who will be only to ready to provide for the idolatry and the doctrine to go with it; “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me. So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’ ” (Exodus 32:2-4) Note the lie – the idol brought them out of Egypt! And the people who knew better, believed the lie and danced to its tune (Exodus 32:6)

     In the end, it was death for them.  They had to drink the bitter cup of their own idolatry; “And he [Moses] took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.” (Exodus 32:20)  And many died of the plague that followed (Exodus 32:35)  In the times of the early church, idolatry was clearly listed among the poisons that killed the soul; “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)

     Dr. Steven Lambert writes; “Idolatry and false teaching are synonymous terms. Idolatry always has associated with it some form of false teaching, and false teaching is always an ilk of idolatry. As Tozer so brilliantly articulated it: ‘The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.’ In other words, the person engaging in idolatry simply contrives his own doctrine concerning spiritual matters and the composition of ‘truth,’ and conducts his life based on those determinations even though they are not congruous with the real Truth which emanates from and is defined by God as Truth in His Word.”  If you don’t really believe in God’s Word you can make up any convenient lie, believe it and teach it to others.

      Big trouble starts when an idolater idolizes himself and gathers a group of willing followers to do the same.  Though such a false teacher may promote false doctrine he uses enough of God’s Word to seem good. Indeed he is good enough to fool people for a time while he consolidates his hold.  The seed  of a cult comes to fruition when the false teacher and his followers promote each other; “. . . just as nobody decides to join a cult, cult members never think or admit they are in one. Cult members like to reassure themselves in collective self-delusion that they are superior, even denouncing other groups as being cults and/or congratulating themselves on being the true path, being rational and objective and even trumpeting their own non-cultism!” (Cults)

    The false teacher and his followers are locked into a spiritually downward spiral.  Jesus warns us; “”Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)  As the hypocrisy, deception and pride grows, many followers are lead astray;  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” (Matthew 23:15) The Pharisees idolized themselves and their own self-righteousness; “Their morality was self-justifying motivation and therefore spiritually pathological. At the bottom of all their law-keeping they were actually breaking the most fundamental law of all.[to have no other gods before God!]” (Tim Keller)  A false teacher’s pride in self is the same and when his followers see him as a ‘stand in for God’ the church becomes spiritually sick.

     In any church or organization where the leader is idolized, a bitter empty decay sets in; “And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, And reward them for their deeds. For they shall eat, but not have enough; They shall commit harlotry, but not increase; Because they have ceased obeying the Lord.” (Hosea 4:9,10)  Both priest and people caught up in the addiction of idolatry; “In some ways, idolatry is like addiction writ large. We are ensnared by our spiritual idols just like people are ensnared by drink and drugs. We live in denial of how much we are rebelling against God’s rule just like addicts live in denial of how much they are trampling on their families and loved ones.”(Tim Keller)

     Stick with Jesus.  Run from idolatry and do not worship anyone or anything other than God.  Scripture tells us; “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:20,21)

Praise the Lord!

   

How a man becomes a god?

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The road to godhood is  a terrible journey that destroys the man who walks it as completely as it destroys those who worship him.  A man and his followers can move along it unaware of the deplorable direction they are headed in.  In the pursuit of other things like money or power or both,  a man may develop  inclinations and habits that are as toxic to his soul as they are to the souls of those around him.  What are the conditions that allow or promote such a terrible metamorphosis to occur?  Is it the man alone who is flawed and prone to evil or do those who come to prop him up on a pedestal have some role in the process?  What does this process of deification do to a man and his followers?

What kind of man wishes to become a god?  What kind of man wishes to control and exert despotic power over those around him?  Such a man needs to be charismatic and have no conscience.  The public side of the man must be able to attract while the inner side must be able to mercilessly exploit and manipulate; “. . . having charisma is perhaps most useful during the stage of cult formation. It takes a strong-willed and persuasive leader to convince people of a new belief, then gather the newly converted around him as devoted followers. . . . Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret
.” (Captive Hearts Captive Minds by Madeline Landau Tobias and Janja Lalich pp. 67-79)

Not every charismatic leader is a psychopath but psychopaths are more common than we think; “Dr. Robert Hare, one of the world’s foremost experts in the field, estimates that there are at least two million psychopaths in North America.” (Captive Hearts Captive Minds by Madeline Landau Tobias and Janja Lalich pp. 67-79)  Also psychopathic tendencies cover a range of severity so so individuals differ to the extent they exhibit cold-blooded behaviour.  Their rage betrays them; “‘Their anger is frightening. Frequently they take flight. Their relations with others are highly problematic. When close to another person they fear engulfment or fusion or loss of self. At the same time, paradoxically, they desire closeness; frustration of their entitled wishes to be nourished, cared for, and assisted often leads to rage. They are capable of a child’s primitive fury enacted with an adult’s physical capabilities, and action is always in the offing.’ Ultimately, “the psychopath must have what he wants, no matter what the cost to those in his way.'”   (Captive Hearts Captive Minds by Madeline Landau Tobias and Janja Lalich pp. 67-79)  Such people become angry little gods.

The first thing needed on the way to deification is a source of willing followers who are desperate enough or vulnerable enough to be controlled.

idolatryAddicts , families of addicts  and people who have experienced trauma especially in their childhood are all groups of hurting people who are potential ‘recruits’.  In general, social predators looking for followers use this criteria; “Two main aspects seem to be predominant in making a person vulnerable to cult recruitment.  The first is that they are between substantial life affiliations.  These are times such as between college and a job, traveling for an extended period, arriving at a new location, recently rejected, fired, or divorced.  Any time that a person does not have a compelling connection in their life, they are extremely vulnerable to the seeming familial-ness of cultic recruitment.  The second aspect is that of depression.  A person suffering from depression that is not completely debilitating, is very malleable and easily soothed by the honey coating of cultic deception.”  (Cultwatch)

Setting up a framework for an exploitative organization to function in the ‘real world’ is necessary.  It can come in the form of a church, a rehabilitation center or not-for-profit charitable  organization.  Whatever the form the organization takes, the charismatic leader shores up his power by choosing his inner group carefully.  Charles Dederich the founder of  Synanon followed this strategy; “Dederich became chairman of Synanon’s board, packing it with persons loyal to him whom he was sure he could control.”  (David Gerstel, Paradise, Incorporated  p. 36)  In abusive churches, the same ‘cherry picking’ of willing ‘yes men’ occurs; “Abusive pastors also carefully select the leaders for their congregations. They choose men and women who are willing to give total and unquestioned allegiance to the pastor in return for positions of prominence and power in the church. These leaders become the abusive pastor’s agents for controlling and manipulating the congregation.”  (Thugs in the Pulpit)

The end result is the leader becomes unaccountable to anyone and is always right.  Should he be a prophet – he can never be wrong even when he is wrong because no one would dare to question a prophet who has God’s ear and tongue!  Dissenters are quickly silenced;  “Within cults there is immense pressure to conform. They use a combination of flattery, threats and guilt. A system of punishments and rewards is used to encourage group learning and reduce unwanted behavior. Punishments like isolation, shunning, ‘tut-tuts’ and humiliation are used to cause fear and obedience, while, alternatively, recognition, praise and ‘strokes’ are sparingly awarded by older members for obedience and loyalty to Groupthink by the newer ones.” (Cults)

The leader and his inner group become caught up in their own propaganda; “Their ego and sense of self-importance swells, and they lose all accountability to anyone else. They see themselves as the only ones truly doing God’s work.” and “The followers are indoctrinated with a persecution complex and a deep sense of paranoia towards the world. They will finally only trust and obey their one leader or organizational dictates. . . . and this becomes a drug that insures their continued obedience with a fanaticism that no logic seems able to dismantle. Like the heroin addict who needs his fix, the cause or leader is their drug that must be retained at any price, even to the point of death. (Religion can be a much stronger and more addictive drug than heroin.)”  (Profile of a Cult Leader)  By this time the world of the cult leader and his followers has become a kind of ‘little bubble universe’ with only a tenuous connection to the wider social reality.  The birth of a small god of a small universe has occurred.

Once the infrastructure of exploitation is in place,  an up and coming god must  do everything possible to deepen his hold on the loyalty, love and commitment of his followers (victims).  The predatory person will always seek to become ‘intimate’ with his mark.  He will share some general negative characteristics about himself and encourage you to confess specific sins or shortcomings.   As the  leader, he has ‘overcome’ these problems and you are still struggling with them.  Fear and guilt is nurtured; “Fear and Guilt: Induced by eliciting confessions to produce intimacy and to reveal fears and secrets, to create emotional vulnerability by overt and covert suggestion or threats, as well as alternation of punishment and reward.”  (How to become a Successful Cult Leader)  This is always a nasty kind of fake intimacy with the sole purpose of probing for weakness that can be exploited; “Learn everybody’s weaknesses. Not just those of certain people, those of everyone you ever encounter. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a good start. People need food and shelter. Someone who is cold and hungry is more easily manipulated, their rational mind is weakened. People under stress, . . .  are a little easier to control.”  (How to Control People)

Deception and manipulation provides the methodology of control within a cult.  Every thing that is said and done serves to elevate the leader and subjugate his followers.  Tre Taylor in his article on ‘How to become a Successful Cult Leader‘  writes; “Learn the value of Recruiting and Fundraising with hidden objectives and without full disclosure of the use of mind controlling techniques; use ‘front groups, or business opportunities’. Display behaviors reflecting integrity and honesty in regards to honor and commitment. Give your best speech on your philosophy. Promise money or favors, but never in writing.  Change the rules when it comes time to deliver your end of the deal. Always make use of the ‘ Hand Shake Contract’. Learn the art of lying congruently at will. ”   Often cult groups hide the shameless servicing of their leaders needs behind good works and socially positive contributions while their followers are harshly controlled and overworked to support the one ‘they owe it all to’.

A little god loves to control.  The essence of illegitimate control is manipulation.  Yet with every manipulative act more ground is given over to the spirit of Jezebel; “The Jezebel spirit releases witchcraft against your mind and emotions. The purpose of the witchcraft is to wear you down little by little in an effort to control your life. Witchcraft is one of the demon spirits in Jezebel’s network.”    Francis Frangipane tells us that the spirit of Jezebel doesn’t just work in women only, it works in men as well.  It is a spirit of manipulation and control.  Paradoxically, as the predator moves towards ‘godhood’, his own spirit shrivels and is locked away by the very spirit he uses to control.  As a man becomes a little god he corrodes others as he corrodes himself.  In his desire to become what he should never  become, a little growing god evolves ‘special powers’ of a supernatural kind weaving a terrible spell on his followers so that in the end; “He makes you conscious of himself and encourages you to rely on him as your guiding spirit. He guides and empowers you in life. He is a greater reality in your life than Jesus is.”  (Religious Deception)  Not only does this little god steal your life, he steals your salvation!

The followers are hollowed out – their emotional insides dissolved by the ravenous needs of their god.  The leader becomes a pathetic shell of a man.  He has to portray a false caricature of a brilliant wonderful leader dialed into the Divine 24/7 all the while having his actions controlled by Jezebel.  The followers become eunuchs serving the Jezebel spirit of manipulation and deception by blindly servicing their little god.

Jezebel’s eunuchs want to be controlled. Eunuchs don’t want godly counsel or wisdom they want someone to make decisions for them. This is the fruit of Jezebel’s witchcraft because eunuchs have given up their wills to the Jezebel long ago. Eunuchs just look for another controller.  Eunuchs surrender their will to Jezebel and allow her to make final decisions. As the witchcraft beats you down you slowly give ground. A Christian should surrender only to Christ not to Jezebel. Jezebel’s witchcraft releases confusion, loss of personal identity, and emotional dullness. The dullness is similar to a drunken stupor.  (Read more: http://www.jonasclark.com/spiritual-warfare-prayer/witchcraft-loneliness-church-jezebel-spirit.html#ixzz2hXLJIHkm)

The final outcome of a man becoming a god is spiritual death – the spiritual death of the man and  his followers  This is the result of idolatry and to see it at work in a church or organization is a terrible thing.  Many are hurt, many leave and many become so disillusioned  their faith is shaken to the core.  The horror of the process is that once started those involved in it – leader and followers –  are on a path to destruction that is hard to stop.

idolatry2

For those who have faith,  repentance is the only way.  Yet for the cult leader/ little god; “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age  and who have fallen away,

to be brought back to repentance.”  (Hebrews 6:4,5,6)  For those followers who had faith, they have been blinded and their idolatry has cut them off from the One who can heal them; “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”  (2 Corinthians 4:4)  Idolatry gone too far is ruin for all!

If you suspect you are being conformed into the image of a false god by being taken in by idolatry, stop and repent now before it is too late!

This is God’s will!

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1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

     There is a lot of talk about what God’s will is.  Some will say that they have a ‘special’ knowledge of God’s will for everyone they are ‘responsible’ for. They often call themselves watchmen or prophets.  You will hear them say things like; “I’m the watchman and I’m responsible for everyone here – if you don’t do what I say sudden destruction will come on you!”  Or they may say; “As the prophet I know God’s will for everyone here.  You need to ask me and I’ll tell you what to do!”  Rarely will such ‘prophets’ or ‘watchmen’ point you to God’s will as it is written in Scripture.  If they did they would lose control over your life.

     The plain truth is – if you want to know God’s will you can read it in His Word.  The Bible will tell you all about His will for your life.  Scripture tells us to live clean in body and soul.  To live clean  means to honor your body and others by behaving in a moral fashion.  Don’ t use people sexually, emotionally or financially.   Find a wife and honor her; “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” (Hebrews 13:4)  Treat your neighbours with respect.  “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

     Indeed, self appointed watchmen and false prophets who utter directives over every detail of your life place themselves on a throne that doesn’t belong to them.  “And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:22)  Jesus is the head of the church and we are the church.  God’s will is for us to listen to Jesus; “Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7)  Honest preachers will tell you that!

     Scripture tells us to live a quiet productive life in community supporting each other with love avoiding co-dependence; “Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. . . . Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”  (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12)  Some may think working with your hands means manual labour. Perhaps it did at one point in time but try to imagine doing any kind of work without your hands.

     Living a clean and sober life following what the Bible tells you to do is God’s will for you.   Putting a  little celebrity in your life on a pedestal because he calls himself a watchmen or prophet is not God’s will. Rather it is idolatry.   God’s will is that you have no other gods in your life but Jesus; “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)  Right living in accordance with the Bible is God’s will and silences the little celebrities in your life; “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.” (1 Peter 2:15)

     Praise the Lord!
   

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