Thursday, March 31, 2016

Be set free from slavery into His freedom! May it be so!














































I am never far from our agonies.  Just when I think things are going so well ~ emotionally speaking ~ a dear friend asks about "this or that" concerning our loved ones, because no one ever really understands our whole situation; too baffling, too bizarre, too weird (and I am using this by the way of 'witchcraft or evil supernatural').

How could anyone ever really understand?  The whole situation is FULL of pernicious evil intentions, conniving control and manipulation, cult-like dynamics, and sinners. We don't even understand it and we have lived it, and are living it.

So when someone asks I just answer simple questions with simple answers which they still can not grasp.  I sympathize and understand their dilemma and so eventually I have to express that no one can understand, neither can we, and that it is all cult-like dynamics. 

How can we understand devoted Christians who follow after blatant lies?  This is a dilemma which I, myself, have a difficult time wrapping my mind around. Of course, it is succumbing to pride, sin, and choosing to follow after their own desires ~ if only 'for a time'.

Romans 8:9-11
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

I understand we continue to sin even though we are saved by His grace. The world is also full of LIARS who live to abuse others for whatever gain it is for themselves. 

We have learned that anyone can be deceived. Don't flatter yourself thinking you can not ever be deceived. Christians all around us are following after what tickles their ears especially if it has a so called "christian" label on it.  Put a LIAR in the midst of humanity and they are masters of deceit. 

Be a Berean! Check it out! 

Romans 8:12-17
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,  and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

We are ones who continue to look to the LORD in our agonies, we know He is working.  He is working in us, for sure!  

But He is also working in those we love who are caught in the snares made by the LIARS.  The trouble is that our loved ones may not be listening to the LORD in His truth ~ yet. And so there may be a 'someday' in which they do listen, they do turn back to the LORD in His truth.  And this prayer is always on our lips. 

"Abba! Father!"

Romans 8:18-25
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Our HOPE is totally in the One and Only.  He knows every detail of our agonies.  He also knows every detail of the LIAR's pernicious plans. He is NOT wringing His hands, shocked at what has happened.  He knows and He is working in individuals.  It will be their testimony in Him for He causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those called according to His purpose. 

May it be so!

Romans 8:26-28
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 

Praising the LORD for understanding our groanings and interceding!



Which way did he go, George, which way did he go?





















Photo of beautiful Bald Eagles from Chris in Oregon


Monday, March 28, 2016

What to do with what's left over.




















I finally shortened a skirt and had this beautiful strip of velour left over.  It was weeks before Valentine's Day when I had a great idea. I made these burgundy velour hearts and blessed five ladies with them. Thankful!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

I was thinking today...

"Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why are you disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God."
Psalm 43:5

"I was thinking today..."

These are the four scary words for me to say as I begin to speak with my Beloved, my counselor.

Even more scary than this would be, “I was vacuuming today...”  which means I was thinking. Thinking while vacuuming is actually rare because we have hardwood floors now.

What is it about holidays?  

Oh, yes, memories, happiness, turning to agonies, and then the fighting righteous anger and ugly bitterness.  At least I am at the LORD's feet, praises! 

These last years I have begun to feel "fine" and be normal the weeks before a holiday, even just the week before a holiday. I even begin to believe that I have overcome the great sadness which clouds any special times of the year.

I think traumas, agonies, and tragedies never really leave your memories, your heart; they only go deeper inside of you.  For me, they sure did come out today while "I was thinking."

I was thinking all of the same things, "why, how, when..." which I know there is no answer, only the LORD knows.  

I trust Him.  

His character is to never leave you, always try to woo you back to Him, never let you go or get away with your sins.  

At least I know He is working in me in my agonies, in my life. Just like I counsel other women, though, you can only do your job before the LORD. You can not make anyone else do anything, you can not do their job for them, or make them change, it is their job to listen to the LORD rightly and choose to obey Him.  

You can only do your job before the LORD.

Even though my anger is righteous and I am not sinning with this righteous anger, if I dwell on my righteous anger it will lead to unrighteousness and definitely into bitterness.

Oh, bitterness.   

Working always on bitterness.  I can think I am doing well and even doing good at not allowing bitterness into my heart/mind, when just one thing can happen where that bitterness certainly comes out of my mouth, or maybe just in my mind.  

This is when I realize that bitterness is like a dried up weed pitched into the compost in the hot dry summer.  There is no way that dried up old weed could survive, but sure enough weeks can go by when it rains and that dead weed is revived, and if allowed, it will thrive.

Bitterness is like this dried up dead weed.  It is just waiting for a little encouragement and , poof, it begins to show it has a life after all.  I have seen bitterness up close and personal in certain people I know.  It is gross and it is ugly.  There is no way I want to become bitter because I live for the LORD, but knowing what it looks like, and acts like, gives me more than a word picture of horror.

How can we go on when we have such traumas in our lives?  

We must always read His Word, preach to ourselves, have someone trustworthy remind us of His truths when we falter.  Do not give in to your anger, do not feed your bitterness.  This life is not fair, for sure, but God can work in you.  This life is not the end all.  We have our Hope in Jesus and someday we will see His face and celebrate praises in His freedom!

Find great comfort in these words:

"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Do not lose heart, sisters! The LORD knows your sadnesses, He is your comfort and strength.  Spend your time reaching out to Him, knowing that He is the One who is carrying you.  

Do your job in obedience for Him, and thus, glorifying Him. 

This will be our joy in life!



Thursday, March 24, 2016

Narcissism at it's height?









How far must we go to prove the height of our narcissism?  

I am mortified at humanity, and then I remember myself.  I may not take "selfies" but I can not hide from my own sins.  

LORD, praising You for Your mercies and for Your Word which is readily available to remind us who we are and who we can be in You.

"...all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 
But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world."
1 Peter 5:5-9

“...God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. 
Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 
Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you...."
James 4

"...Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others....So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain..."
Philippians 2




6 Truths about waiting for the LORD

Paul Tauges, on February 17, 2015, at Counseling One Another wrote about waiting on the LORD

He begins by saying, "Do you like to wait?...Our flesh cringes at the thought of having to wait, yet God's Word compels us to wait upon Him..."


I agree with him that waiting on the LORD is not passive and that, as he says, "It demands a great deal of effort."

His six truth about waiting are:

Waiting on the Lord requires divine strength and courage.

" ...Rushing ahead to fulfill our own will is not difficult at all; it comes naturally. However, surrendering to the will and ways of God requires a constant resistance to the flesh..."

Waiting on the Lord means trusting in God alone.

"...God has a way of stripping idols out of our lives so that He alone receives our attention..."

Waiting on the Lord is essential to discerning God's will.

"...As long as our determination is fixed upon what we want, God's will remains a mystery..."

Waiting on the Lord includes confident expectation of His mercy and grace.

"...In times of uncertainty, we must have confidence in His character as a God who is gracious, compassionate, and full of mercy..."

Waiting on the Lord means trusting him with our hurts.

"...waiting on the Lord means trusting Him enough to leave these matters with Him..."

Waiting on the Lord results in experiencing divine strength.

"...God delights in us when we wait on Him because He receives more glory and we experience the joy and pleasure of soaring on the wings of His strength and grace..."

Be blessed as you read Paul Tauges whole post, and continue to learn from the LORD the beautiful art of waiting on Him in all things.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016

You're a Jewel

by Joni

"The Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of His people.  They will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown"
Zechariah 9:16

The Bible gives us this unusual detail about the construction of the Lord's temple:

"In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel, or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built."
Kings 6:7

An unbelievable amount of scraping, hammering, chiseling had to be done on those mighty rocks that were used in the construction.

But it was all done out of the view and out of earshot of the temple site.

It's a little like the way God "dresses" us, fitting us for heaven.

The apostle Peter reminds us that you and I are living stones, and we are being mined in the quarry of earth, a place of noise, chiseling, and clouds of dust.

God is using our sufferings and afflictions to hone and shape us so we might fit perfectly into heaven's landscape, where there is "no hammer, chisel, or any other iron tool."

Where there is no suffering, No tears, pain, sorrow, or death.

As polished stones, not only will we fit in heaven, we will fit as glittering jewels in His crown.

Soon we will enter the utter serenity of heaven -- a place of peace and quiet -- and God will set us in His diadem as sparkling and dazzling jewels.

God's quarry is still busy.  He is active with his hammer and chisel in your life, honing you and shaping you for a high and eternal destiny.  The shaping isn't always easy.  How well I know!  But take heart today, friend.  Bear a bit longer with the noise and hammering.  Serve others while you wait.  One day all of heaven will be in awe over what the Master Jeweler has accomplished in your life.

Lord, even though I am still in process, still being shaped and chisels, I pray thatYour radiant beauty would shine through my life today.



Why?

This is a basic question of life in this fallen world.  

Why is there pain and suffering in life when there doesn't seem to be a real reason?

In John 9:1-3 Jesus explains about reasons and about suffering:


"As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, 

“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 

Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; 


but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him."

We can understand what Jesus says here in John 9, but then when our own life agonies happen we sometimes have difficulty understanding the "whys and hows" until we think biblically about our situations.  This may take time to pull ourself out and away from the sufferings and analyze and remember how the LORD works in us.

This is a difficult reality to allow in our thinking: that the LORD uses our sufferings in us and in others.  Mainly, the LORD is glorified when He has allowed suffering into our lives, and we choose to cry out to Him and draw closer to Him during and after any pain we live in.  

It is wrong thinking when we think we are here in our lives living, and living happily, like we are supposed to do. Let's not forget where we are ~ we live in a wicked fallen world where sufferings happen.  This is normal life.  

The LORD can transform our broken lives in the midst of agonies, when we choose to allow Him to be our great God in our life.  We must learn we can not do this life, but we can do it in Him and His strength.  This is when we learn about JOY, His JOY!  This is not "happiness", but the joy of being His child in and out of sufferings.

In the Culture of John 9's time the basic thought was that, "If I do good, then good will come to me, thus, if I do bad, then bad will come to me."  

Are we any different now?  I think as Believers we tend to think that our life will basically go on happily if we follow the LORD, and so when tragedy comes, and it will, we are completely surprised, and hurt, and troubled about "why?" and "where is the LORD?" and "how could He allow this?"

We must let the LORD be our God.  We must be in His Word and think biblically throughout our days.  We must remind ourself, we must preach to ourself His truths, and we must capture our wayward thoughts, our unbiblical thoughts.  

This all takes time and effort.  If you are struggling with keeping your wrong thoughts captive and then thinking biblically, just keep going. Already you are closer to Him because you are choosing to draw closer to Him in His Word and your thought life.

Let's allow Him to use us for His glory. 


Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Kilted Bunny for St. Patrick's Day




My Grandma was mostly Scottish and she thought it s a funny thing 
to send my family a St. Patrick's Day card every year.  

It was a sweet thing for us also and I remember it touched my mother every year.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Okie Dokie Smokie, After While Crocodile


Dragons, Maidens, and our Culture of Death

"It will come as no surprise to those who know something about dragons to learn that a dragon-culture will devour the innocent in a feeding frenzy of salacious wickedness."

Joseph Pearce succinctly writes about our ever increasing wicked culture in this post,  "Rescuing Our Maidens from the Culture of Death".  

I am not naive, as I do keep up to date on what is happening in this world, but I do not immerse myself completely in the news, so my heart was greatly grieved as I read his statistics about women, especially the young and innocent, rampant pornography, destroyed lives, and suicides.

Mr. Pearce ends his piece with this final paragraph:  

"In a world where virtue is shunned, vice will prevail.  In a world where love is replaced with lust, the most vulnerable will be systematically abused.  In a world which boasts of its Pride, it is the weakest who suffer.  Such a world is destined for anarchy, which Oscar Wilde rightly called "freedom's own Judas."  Anarchy is the morally lawless society in which the morally lawless prey upon the weak.  It is a world that has unleashed the dragon.  In such a world, characterized by the increase in the number of damsels in distress, we need an increase in the number of those prepared to go forth like St George, armed with courage and the grace of God, to rescue the maidens from the dragons of the death-culture."

Sisters in the LORD... let us do what we can to come alongside those who are in our sphere of influence.  Let us not turn our heads away when we see "Red Flags" because it is not our business.  Instead let us listen and watch for opportunities to come alongside those who are vulnerable or hurt, and at least let them know we have an 'open door' for them to come to us if they choose to come.  Let us cry out to God for His mercy and grace for the "damsels," and for our strength and comfort if He allows us to help rescue them.

                         

Monday, March 14, 2016

With all Diligence


























Your thought life:
"Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life."
Proverbs 4:23

Your relationships:
"Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. 
2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 
3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 
4 Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 
5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 
6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 
7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 
8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 
9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 
14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 
15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 
16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 
18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."
James 3


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Just a Few Tuesdays







Peanuts

Just a little bit of the sillies in honor of my weekly Tuesday morning with very treasured ladies.  Sweet fellowship, a little lunch, and even some Hand and Foot Canasta with them as they love me up, and I am so very blessed.

Praising the LORD for all of my Card Ladies, and Chuck!  My Titus 2's.

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, 
not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, 
teaching what is good, so that they may encourage 
the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 
to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject 
to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored."
Titus 2:3-5


Sometimes hair cuts just feel awkward


Be concerned about your inner person more than your 'makeup'





























In this day let ~
"Your adornment must not be merely external—
braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 
but let it be the hidden person of the heart, 
with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, 
which is precious in the sight of God. 
For in this way in former times the holy women also, 
who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, 
being submissive to their own husbands; 
just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, 
and you have become her children if you do what is right 
without being frightened by any fear.
1Peter 3:3-6


Friday, March 11, 2016

Precious bouquet from my Beloved


We need to cry out to God for help

Even Charlie Brown cries out to the LORD for help!

Psalm 35:1-3, 22-28
Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
Take hold of buckler and shield
And rise up for my help.
Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me;
Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”...

...You have seen it, O Lord, do not keep silent;
O Lord, do not be far from me.
Stir up Yourself, and awake to my right
And to my cause, my God and my Lord.
Judge me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness,
And do not let them rejoice over me.
Do not let them say in their heart, “Aha, our desire!”
Do not let them say, “We have swallowed him up!”
Let those be ashamed and humiliated altogether who rejoice at my distress;
Let those be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves over me.
Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication;
And let them say continually, “The Lord be magnified,
Who delights in the prosperity of His servant.”
And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness
And Your praise all day long.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Happiness is a kitty that loves you!


Gossip #4 Finally! Final Thoughts

Oh, ugh...My goodness....Here I am again writing about Gossip.  I have to admit that I am sick of this subject.  I suppose this may be because of the painful memories I have had to contemplate just to write only minute (tiny) parts to make a point.  It is no wonder it has taken 3 years to post this information on Gossip.

In my first post, "Thoughts on Gossip", I was thankful for the commenter who pointed out how abusers can further abuse their victims by unjustly accusing them of gossiping.

Anonymous said:

"I would add this: "gossip" is often an accusation leveled at abuse victims who are trying to seek help and counsel. It's a means of trying to make them be quiet, and not bring the wicked deeds of the abusers to the light."

We have certainly dealt with these accusations through all of these years from our own pernicious "certain group of people" ( Grand Manipulators/Controllers).

After a person has been manipulated and controlled, I do not think they can ever forget the feelings, the fear, the anxiousness of when they were controlled by their Abusers.  They now have "Red Flags" popping up all throughout their life in all sorts of subject matters.  It is like a door has been opened to detect deception. 

"Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears"
anonymous

I have heard it said that former abuse victims can see the "Red Flags" of others (manipulators and controllers) even though other people do not see it.

Note:

Although this is a really good thing for the former victims, sometimes other 'normal' people may scoff at you for being so "critical" of others. We have certainly seen this in so many Christians who are not thinking Biblically, but only with their feelings.  

Do not discount your "Red Flags", but be cautious as you deal with other people.

Reality:

When the Abuser continues to try to control you even when you are no longer part of them, these horrible feelings can be 'front and center' to some degree. I can remember how I used to handle their accusations, with fear and trembling, until time passed and I remembered who I was in Christ and, then, I finally began to think rightly even when they would accuse. Praise God!

Abusers definitely want to hide their sins!  After all, they have put themselves way up on that (unholy) pedestal they built for themselves.  It has taken years of manipulations and control of innocent people they have used and abused.    

When you (one of their victims) actually speaks up and points out their evil, they can not allow this! They must do all they can to discredit you and destroy you, if you do not obey and be quiet.  They will use all their minions (the other victims of their manipulation and control) to where you begin to question yourself because in the past you have trusted the minions!

Just one of a zillion examples I could share:

We have never shared everything of our ordeals of our agony out in public, but we have asked for prayer once in a while. The Manipulators' sins are already known, one reason is because they have a huge history of their behavior and the other is because the whole church body knew. In the past our counselors have tried to speak with our Manipulators privately.  I say all this to show that the Manipulators really do not know all that we have shared, only that we have spoken with certain others. 

*Anyone who is deceptive will assume evil is being perpetrated against them.  This is where their minds go.

*It is really a gross thing to "watch" pernicious people connive in their evil schemes.

My one example: Years later out of the blue we were told, "you can see 'so and so' if you repent and communicate to everyone all over the world and telling them that you are the evil people."

The ridiculousness of this demand was laughable, if it wasn't so tragic.  

Can you see the "Red Flags"?

Today:

We live in the long standing accusations for years now.  It is a difficult road, but the LORD is with us.  We have His Word, and He gave us trusted, solid Christian friends who we counsel us when the manipulators mess with our thinking.  Meanwhile, we live our lives for the LORD and glorify His name.

Two more thoughts:

Sin, any sin, can lead to a deeper sin and then to other sins.  Gossip is just one of the sins.  You need to realize that what you feed is what will grow. Stop feeding your sins!

Galatians 5:13-15
"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Gossip #3 Watch out for the Red Flags of Gossip

In the past we have dealt with a "certain group of people" who claimed Jesus’ precious name.  We trusted them, loved them, shared our lives with them -- but only to realize in the end that we were lied to, betrayed, used by them, and abused by them. 

How did all this happen, and why didn’t we actually recognize their true behavior before we were taken in by them?  

We have many thoughts about this which may have been factors in the “how” and “why” we couldn’t recognize their true characters, nonetheless, it happened and we certainly have learned from our experience with them.

We were with this “certain group of people” for about 3 years, but even after our departure they have still tried to perniciously manipulate and control us. 

I say “our departure”, but it was actually the LORD who “blew” us out of there, although not without great agonies with which we still live.

In my blog post, “Gossip #2”, I dealt with gossip at work.  My solution was to not stay around those women who were gossiping. If one of them had asked me why I wasn’t there any more I would have shared with them my reason, but because it was a work environment I didn’t think it would have been appropriate to share it out right.

Years later it was a different situation, though, when we met this “certain group of people”.  As we got to know them we noticed their love of talking about others.  Every time we were with them they had to gossip.  They relished it.   

By this time, although we did not realize it, we were already under their manipulation and control where there was a huge undercurrent of whatever it was (their scary control of us and others) and so we said nothing to them.  Yes, it was fear, but we did not think rightly about it at that time, so how we handled it was to just change the subject.

Every time they began to gossip we kindly found a way to change the subject.  It became our exhausting job in this cult-like group of people to politely change the subject “to help them” (we thought) to stop gossiping about others.

Well, as you can imagine, it never worked at all.  They would just go back to talking about others. 

Why didn't changing the subject ever work for us?  

Changing the subject was not the solution.  The solution was to come alongside them, and gently point out their sin so that they could choose to get right with the LORD on their own.

I can pretty well say what would have happened in this cult-like group if we had done the Biblical thing, coming alongside them and helping them realize their sin ~ we would have been "in trouble", "only spoken to by them with their teeth gritted", and eventually shunned, all of which are Red Flags pointing you to get out!

So what is the Red Flag to look out for when you are with others who claim the name of Jesus?  

Gossip

Although we live in the agonies brought about by this "certain group of people", we praise the LORD for setting us free from them, we continue to cry out to Him, draw closer to Him, and trust Him with our very lives.

Praises to our Almighty God!