Vindication, Will It Happen In Our Lifetime?

lady justice

He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? The LORD’S voice cries unto the city, and wisdom shall see your name: Hear the rod, and who has appointed it. Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the short measure that is abominable? (Micah 6:8-10 KJ2000)

This morning I was led by a dear sister in Christ to read a blog of another sister who had been raped and had gone through all the mental and spiritual trauma that goes with it. She came out the other side even closer to our loving Father in heaven. Both these dear women had gone through rape and abusive relationships in their lifetimes and have been healed over a period of years as they cried out to Jesus for help. I am finding that there are many women like these two out there who want to have their story heard, be free of the stigma of those horrible events, and be vindicated. With the help of our loving Father, many of them are being healed and are reaching out to other abuse victims.

Vindication is tricky business. I have never been raped physically, but I have suffered much abuse from power hungry men in many church circles we have been part of over the years. It seemed like it would never end. No matter what church we became part of, it happened again! Then one day I was sharing my latest church abuse story with a sister in the Lord, and she said something very profound. “When you go into a yard and start up the front steps, and a big mean dog comes out from under the steps and bites you on the leg… maybe you should get the message that you don’t belong in that yard!” That was it for me. I knew that I had heard from God (not the first time) about this issue of trying to make Sunday church work. Now, I just keep walking down the street and no longer try to go to front door of any of the “houses” I encounter. I finally found out that Jesus does not live in houses made with hands (see Acts 7:47-51 and Heb. 13:11-14).

Now about this issue of seeking vindication. One of the many churches we tried was taken over by a cult with the pastor’s permission. At first I was taken with their message about living lives of holiness to the Lord, but then it became evident that only they had the right to determine who were living “holy lives” and who weren’t. One of these leaders wanted to come over and spend an evening in our home, and we were honored at the thought. We found out later that he wanted to come over to do a critical inspection of my wife’s housekeeping (not always totally orderly with four growing kids in the house) and anything else he could find fault with. He was not there for a loving time of fellowship as we had hoped. Only these two leaders had the right to determine who was “holy” and who wasn’t. If you knuckled under to them and did all their wishes, you were “holy,” but if you failed to do this in some way, you weren’t! They were heavily into the subjugation of women as well. After we left that group (and the town), we heard that they went as far as renting an isolated house and using it for a women’s prison for those poor sisters who needed “extra attention.”

The final outcome of trying to make this church continue to work for us and submit to the pastor, was to come under fire for not submitting to their heavy handed authority over us. We finally saw it for what it was, another damned cult! What started out with the promise of being a fast track to God’s holiness turned into a living hell.

After we “got out of Dodge,” we found out that a baby of a couple in the group had come down with rapid onset child diabetes. They treated the crying child as rebellious with spankings, and they deprived him of medical attention until he slipped into a coma and finally died. It was then the authorities investigated the group and it was all down hill from there.

Meanwhile, I had been “scape-goated” by the leadership and sent out into the wilderness to die with their sins on me (see Lev. 16:8-22). I was told later that they put out the word for no one to have anything to do with me because I had “seven demons.” It was almost ten years before we went back to that town and tried to make contact with various former members of that church. The trouble was that none of them wanted to be restored to us in any way. The group had fallen apart, yet despite my warnings while we were with them, somehow in their minds I just represented a bad memory. There was no real restoration with any of them. These were the same people I had been close to before the cult split us up–people who had been like family to me.

After we left I spent months, maybe years, praying, “God, vindicate my name! Show these people that I was right and correctly warned them not to follow these men!” I never got any vindication from men. That was not what God had in mind. But I was to eventually find out that HE knows how to vindicate the abused in His own way. But first He gave me this promise that I would be vindicated… but not by people.

 “No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication is from me, says the LORD.” (Isaiah 54:17 RSVA – emphasis added)

We have a saying in America that goes, “Pay-backs are hell.” With God this is not always literal, because He wants all men come to repentance and call out to Him for healing. But in some cases these molesters, rapists and murderers (both physically and spiritually) have to “pay the piper.” Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8 RSVA). There is a sowing and reaping principle. God notices the things we do to others in our lives. If we sow judgment and cruelty, we will eventually experience the same in this life.

The same is true of sowing seeds of love and forgiveness in the lives of others. Eventually we will reap the same into our own lives. Paul goes on to say, “And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10 RSVA). Sowing and reaping is a spiritual law in this world. It took me a long time after this church wounding to come to the place where I was determined to pray for the grace to do what Jesus said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45 KJ2000).

When I finally quit back biting people who did me wrong, started praying for them and praying that Father would put His love for them in me, things started to change in my life. I found that all the critical people that attacked me started to disappear, too. After planting seeds in your garden, you can’t go out and start pulling up carrots the next day, but in due season you get back what you planted, and not just weeds.

So what happened to the two cult leaders who tore apart our church, and what happened to the pastor? It was not pretty. One of them died of cancer less than six months after the church split up. The other one went to prison for his part in the death of that child. And what happened to the pastor? The cult leaders won his wife from him. She divorced him and took their kids with her into the cult as the groups’ “prophetess.” I have since been restored to this brother. He has suffered much over the years, but is remarried to a widow. His kids have finally started to make contact with him now that they are adults. His heart has been broken and changed by God for the better, and he is a wonderful brother in Christ.

The one thing I hope to leave with you is that God is the one who vindicates us, but we first have to give all our pain over to Him. If we cling to our anger and bitterness, it binds us where we are. Do we have to trust those who wounded us and submit to them once again, even though we forgive them? No. Unless they have proven themselves to have been changed by God’s power and filled with His love, it would be wise to stay clear of them, knowing that they are capable of abusing us again and again. As for abusive husbands? I cannot tell a woman to hang in there when she and her kids’ lives are constantly under threat. Sometimes it takes a wife leaving the abusive spouse to finally get his attention and seek help from God. God is always in the business of restoring sinners to Himself and to wholeness, but not all will repent. I have also observed that most abusers were abused in their own childhoods, and they are only acting out what they have suffered. This is why Jesus was able to truthfully pray on the cross, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”

 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 NIV)

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37 comments on “Vindication, Will It Happen In Our Lifetime?

  1. kenneth dawson says:

    yes I think it is best to leave all things in the hands of the fathers management for he is the only one who knows whats best–the rest of us are just guessing at best.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Kenneth, well said. The older I get the more I see how true it is what Paul said, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”(Romans 8:28-29 KJ2000).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great post you wrote, my brother. What a gripping narrative!

    It is so good to know that “vindication comes from the Lord”, Michael, isn’t it? Since what could men offer us? Smart-money or perhaps only a clammy handshake? Okay, I admit I am kidding here a bit, since I was reminded of an event in my past that – meanwhile – makes me grin because of its absurdity. However, before I had been able to forgive and before the pain had been healed, I felt uncomfortable when I thought of THIS.

    Not so long after I had been raped by three Muslim men (at the age of 16), one of them seemingly repented. That means, he contacted me and apologized. “It was not right what we did to you.” Hmm…….. Today I would say that true repentance ought to be a bit different (feeling VERY sad and shedding some tears should to be in it – or not?). Instead, that man, who was the oldest of those three, wanted to make amends for the rape committed by (hold on tight!) proposing marriage to me so that the shame could be removed. OUCH!!! That was not at all what I wanted to hear back then!

    Reading your article, I found a few verses in the same chapter of Isaiah which refer to my experience and to how, finally, the Lord led me out of it all.

    “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth […]. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.” (Is 54:4-6 ESV)

    It is so good to have an Eternal Husband who is perfect and good, who restores all the years the locust has stolen, and who loves us with an eternal love no man could ever offer. Nonetheless, as you said above, Michael, loving our enemies, that’s what it’s all about. As to the hidden spiritual place where this power of love eventually comes from, I recently wrote a poem about it which I dare to link here.

    https://susanneschuberth.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/the-beauty-within/

    Thank you, Michael! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, thank you for sharing your story with us on here. Such a tale of grace, love and forgiveness and the power of God to heal. I can’t imagine the terror you went through as a young 16 year old girl being gang raped and then being approached later by one of them with a proposal to marry! God truly has done a miracle in your life for as Isaiah said, you are no longer ashamed, confounded or disgraced for you have truly found our Father to be your husband and your All. You no longer are cast off or afraid. It was good for me to see that the arm of the Lord is not short and that He has rescued me form all these negative reactions and pent up emotions from the abuses I have gone through over the years at the hands of religious leaders. I know enough about your story that you also have experienced these things as well in your life. It seem that the worst evil of all that Satan can design is to molest and attack one of God’s kids and make it look like it was His doing by using church men to do it.
      I am so glad that we both have experienced the healing power of our Father and the restoration process that has brought us once again into His marvelous light. It is a privilege to know you, Susanne. God bless and keep you always.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Susan Moore says:

    So glad to be getting the WV messages in my inbox….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. devon leesley says:

    Michael I might have posted this before. Not sure my friend but it goes along with your experience. Remember in the movie Ben Hur where Jesus gives water to Charlton Heston? Then the guard says ‘don’t give him any water’. Jesus stands up and stares him down. Now that reaction the guard had is the same reaction we got from many ‘pastors’ through the years. They couldn’t wait to get away from us. The following are a few examples.

    Our-first pastor, after we got saved, wouldn’t allow blacks in his church. So we left.

    Our second pastor was dealing in corruption over some church property. So we left.

    Our third pastor robbed the people of their building investments. So we left.

    Another pastor we knew who ‘lorded it over us’ locked his wife in the basement, feeding her under the door. He went to prison.

    Another pastor we knew that rejected me got caught flashing himself on a highway. Jail time.

    Another preacher that rejected me got caught molesting small boys. Jail time.

    Another pastor that threw me out after 2 years of successful revivals in his church, lost his church completely.

    Another pastor we know continues to sleep with different women in the church. He rejected my ministry. What else but.

    Another pastor where I did a couple of songs whereby the Holy Spirit fell on the folks, rejected me. A while later his wife and another lady were killed in a car accident.

    Another pastor where I held 2 wonderful revivals 2 years in a row, cast me out. He was 35. He died of cancer 2 years later.

    Some vindication does take place with our knowledge and we are NOT to rejoice but turn it completely over to God like you said Michael. God bless everyone on this site.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Devon, That is quite a list! We also have had such a list of fallen ministries where the leadership targeted me and did not receive me as from the Lord. It makes me see greater depth in what Jesus prophesied in Matthew ch. 23 and how it applies today.

      “And [you] say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Therefore you are witnesses unto yourselves, that you are the children of them who killed the prophets. Fill you up then the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the judgment of hell? Therefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall you scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, whom you slew between the temple and the altar… Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, you shall not see me again, till you shall say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
      (Matthew 23:30-39 KJ2000 emphasis added)

      Like

  5. Scarlett says:

    Hello Brother Michael and friends,
    I think most of us have struggled with this issue of vindication in our Christian walk. It seems that simply by virtue of choosing to live for Jesus, this problem is going to rear it’s ugly head in one way or another. The “world”, and it’s followers, who know not our LORD in a real and personal way, seem to be the very ones who will come against us; even those who we encountered in the churches we used to believe were going to be brethren who would never betray us.

    I understand this, (now), but as a new Christian back in the day, had a really tough time dealing with it. I simply wanted and needed to be understood.

    More recently, I’ve had to deal with the issue, and actual need for vindication in the form of neighbors. Four months ago I moved, with great difficulty, to a new state, and into a small, tight knit apt complex. I was very tired and stressed out from the move. All I wanted was to live in peace and harmony with my new neighbors.
    On one hand, my new next door neighbor was a legalistic professing “evangelical” Christian who has an apt full of Catholic idols and talks to her dead son and mother. She has for nearly the entire 4 months, practiced passive-aggressive hostility toward me in between 4 fits of cussing me out with vile language, to which I didn’t respond. This has gotten so bad I finally realized that the Lord didn’t want me to stay and try to fight this battle spiritually, and I have applied to be released from my lease so that I can move. There will be no peace possible with this woman.

    On the other hand, an agnostic, non practicing Catholic neighbor decided from the get go, that she wanted me for her BFF and zeroed in on me, whether I liked it or not. I tried to gently let her know what I believed and who I served, but she had other things in mind for me, and so, for the last 4 months, I’ve had to listen to her daily rants, sometimes for hours about all her many problems, her family, and how bad life has treated her. I would gently interject at times, bits and pieces of my testimony, a scripture or something I felt would help her, trying every which way to be kind, understanding and a good witness. It all fell on “deaf ears”. She was taking over my life, and in a sense manipulating and controlling me, plus stealing my time with Jesus, prayer and study.

    Then one day she called me and said that it made her “uncomfortable’ when I talked about Jesus and the bible. In other words, she was dictating and defining the terms of the way she had decided she wanted this “friendship” she had thrust on me to be, and that any talk about Jesus was unwelcome, off limits, and out of bounds. This has been maddening to me, not to mention unacceptable.

    I had been used to loosing non believing friends, as a new Christian, but I’ve never had the experience of a non believing dysfunctional person glomming onto me, and then expecting me to be like them, and to sit down and shut up talking about Jesus at all. I finally had to try and explain with the gentlest verse I could think of, that “Can two walk together unless they be agreed?”. That our world views and spiritual beliefs were at impossible odds. (I made no mention at that time, the worldly stuff she had been forcing on me to endure was totally repulsive to me).

    She self righteously countered that she accepted people of all faiths. I explained that I couldn’t embrace that concept, if “accepting” them meant accepting their faith as well, and as bosom friends. She didn’t buy it.

    So, here is the upshot, this woman who is deeply in debt by living beyond her means, full of demons tormenting her, and on the verge of a nervous breakdown has now made me the villian in the scenario and is highly offended. Go figure..?? I love her but have finally come to the realization that you can’t reason with a crazy person.

    There is no way I can see that I could have avoided this. But I believe the Lord has shown me that I must be willing to be misunderstood just as he was. After all, even He, the Lord and Savior was misunderstood in a much greater degree than we will ever be, and he took it, silently, and with love for those who abused him. And he is still misunderstood and rejected by the world he suffered and died for to this very day.

    Thinking of it in that way, I can forgive and be willing to love those who misunderstand me, to pray for them, and just let it go. There is some residual pain I’m dealing with, but I know all with be OK in the end because Jesus loves me.

    I suppose the fact is, that the majority of people simply do not understand the nature of Christianity, and it’s almost as if one becomes a moving target by being a Christian who actually believes the Word of God, loves Jesus and tries to walk accordingly. He warned us didn’t he?
    Love in Christ,
    Scarlett

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Scarlett, good to hear from you again. I am sorry you have no rest in your new apartment and have such hostile neighbors. Yes, Jesus warned us saying, “…These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”(John 16:32-33 KJ2000). Yes, we are so many “moving targets” the moment we forsake this world system, whether that system is that of carnal men who rule over it in the more easy to see way, or it is the world system that rules over most churches with the same top down lording-over mentality that is in businesses, social organizations or governments driven by the flesh. While discovering this in churches, I actually wondered if there was something about me that those people could see that no matter how hard I tried, I would never get to be “one of them.” Finally, one day I cried out to God about this dilemma and said, “Lord, I DON’T FIT! I JUST DON’T FIT!” To this He replied, “YOU are NOT SUPPOSED to fit!” Well, it was “back to the drawing board” for me! That was the beginning of my search to sort out the Church (ekklesia) of Jesus from the churches of the world who claimed to be His. The largest part of my problem was wanting to be accepted in this world… an inward drive that stemmed from my father rejecting me from the time I was one year old over a fight he had with my mom on how I should be raised. It took me many years to finally see that I was acceptable IN our Beloved Christ and what men, even church men, thought of me didn’t mean squat! Paul had this same revelation and spoke of the apostles in Jerusalem saying, “But of these who seemed to be somebody, (whatsoever they were, it makes no matter to me: God accepts no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somebody in conference added nothing to me…”(Galatians 2:6 KJ2000). God is NOT a respecter of persons, nor should WE be. This is the carnal way of those under the world system. When we fail to bend over and kiss the church leaders “hand” out of respect for Jesus, who alone purchased us with His blood, we make ourselves a target every time. Paul made it clear that we who are in the body of Christ should give more abundant honor to those who are the LEAST and most uncomely members of His body, not the “beautiful people” and the powerful as the world sees it. Jesus put it this way, “What you have done unto THE LEAST OF THESE, my brethren, you have done it unto me.” So, among the body of Christ, I always look for the meek and the lowly for fellowship for I KNOW that Jesus lives in them, not the self-assertive and proud.

      Scarlett, I pray the Lord directs you to where He would have you live. But I know that He desires us all to live in peace and HIS peace surpasses all that the world can throw at us.
      May He bless and keep you in HIM always,
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Ann says:

    Excellent post and a true reminder of who is in authority here, Matthew 28:18-20. There is tremendous thankfulness in this article in the fact that the clergy/leadership and lordship system within your former church did not destroy your marriage nor your relationship with your children. I have heard many horror stories where the “churched” reward the obedient spouse (the one they can brainwash/control/and manipulate with their false doctrines), and proceed to “punish” the spouse they personally label as “rebellious.” And it doesn’t take long before they have literally destroyed what God has joined together using the twisting of Scriptures as their “battle cry” so to speak. I came out of a charismatic/pentecostal church where the subjective “god spoke to me” syndrome was heard every Sunday along with the current stream of “god speaks to us through every dream”, which were used as pseudo truth fodder to manipulate the unsuspecting into believing they had that extra elitist spiritual “connection” with god (not the God of our Bibles!).

    Many believe that I am unsaved as I have chosen not to be a member of the organized church system and no longer hold a tangible church membership card in my wallet. Through much pain, (I had my name ripped off of the church mailbox (they were kind in leaving my husband’s name on the box though), they stripped my name from their church newsletter’s “birthday list” and then they removed our wedding anniversary date from their letter’s “anniversary list,” in no longer publicly recognizing those dates. It is as if they are trying to eliminate my name from “The Book of Life” as if abusive church people have this authority…..Praise Jesus….they do not. Through much hurt and pain, and buckets of tears, God has been with me every step of the way in showing me His Way which is so different than what I have experienced in the institutional church.

    Still healing by our LORD’S mercy and grace. Psalm 1.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Ann,

      Yes, if Dorothy and I had not gone through another Christian cult experience that had already done its damnedest to destroy our marriage and split us up this cult experience might have succeeded. The former one did a lot of damage to us by convincing us men that it was our responsibility to get our wives under submission, even if we had to beat them. I remember hitting my wife once! I stood there over her on the bed feeling like the lowest creep that had ever lived. At one point she did leave me because of my verbal abuse and was gone for three days without telling me where she went or when she would be back, if ever! By the middle of the second day, my heart was so sick that I could hardly walk or stand. Thank God she came back on the third day or I think I would have died. God let me have the full impact of the pain I had caused her precious heart!

      As for the cult that I wrote about in this article, they got heavily into women needing to wear head coverings in church meetings, so my dear wife went down to the import store looking for one of those huge wall hanging size sombreros to wear to church the following Sunday, but they were OUT! I would have stood with her in her “rebellion” on that one! I had learned my lesson well and was not going to be part of subjugating her ever again. When I finally got my eyes opened that this cult was another rerun of the last one, we were out of there! My parting words to these cult leaders were, “I have had all this ‘fun’ with you Christians I can stand, I am out of here! If you want to look me up I will be on the back side of Median. I will see you in about 40 years!” And I MEANT IT!

      I stood strong with my dear wife from that point on and refused to let any man (“holy” or not) put our marriage asunder. Ann, If I was your husband and they banished you from the fellowship, and then erased your anniversary from the church membership book, THAT would be all the message I would need that these people are of the devil and doing HIS work to nullify your marriage. I have seen this act before… these hypocrites usually divide the couple and come down on the side of the one in the marriage that IS MAKING THE MOST MONEY and cajole them and plot against the other… usually this is the man who is the bread winner and whose “bread” they are after! I have even seen cases where the man is promoted to a church leadership position and granted permission to marry another woman in the church with their blessing!!!

      So, dear Ann, I hear the pain in this story you have shared. I pray that your husband finally opens his eyes on what is going on before it is too late. I am also grateful that you have not let them turn your heart from Jesus who is our true and loving Bridegroom and that your love for Him has weathered this assault of the wicked one.

      As for the guilt trip they put on you about “do not forsake the gatherlng together, sister!” Well, guess what? THAT is NOT the assembling (in those steeple houses) that God is talking about in Hebrews chapter ten! Here is what the Spirit has shown me about this verse and its context https://awildernessvoice.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/just-who-is-really-forsaking-the-assembling/.

      God bless and keep you IN the Son always,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Pat orr says:

    Thank you, Michael, for the blog and the like Christ that you have lived. It is so uplifting to read about your pilgrimage in THE WAY.

    Love in Him,

    Pat Orr

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      You are welcome, Pat. Glad to hear from you again. Jesus said, “The disciple is not above his teacher, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his teacher, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” (Matthew 10:24-25 KJ2000). May we continue to follow Him… all the way to the cross.

      Love you, my sister!
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Marshall says:

    People sometimes remark or suggest that I have been “abused” by religious people, yet it is not my possible mistreatment that was in mind through all the absurd and difficult times a la institutions (church & parachurch). Seeing religious leaders so often cutting off their own spiritual legs was painful to watch; seeing the children asking “why?” was seering to hear, while may Father forgive them as they can’t possibly understand what they do.
    Men may be able to “destroy” marriage, though I am doubtful they can destroy “what God has joined together”… they can shove it aside or ignore His hand, while His work does endure. May our faith for Him continue to be strengthened and renewed. Since counting all things as loss for Christ gained, “What can man do to me?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Welcome Marshal Diakon. I must admit that I had to read your comment about three times before I got the drift of what you are saying… I think. It is like what Jesus said of His persecutors, “Father, they don’t know what they are doing.” They were clueless! Jesus said of this same power click, “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do…”(John 8:44 KJ2000). Now contrast this with what Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”(Philippians 1:21 KJ2000). The question is who are we obeying? I am convinced that most of these attacks that happen against the saints of God are done by people who have not given themselves over to Christ and have bought the deception that they are an independent self. Yet, we know that we who are Christ’s are not our own, we have been bought with a price. I believe that one who stands up and announces that it is HIS church that he presides over or functions in this kind of mindset is deceived and the enemy already has him. One pastor of a church I was in told the congregation, “If you can’t get behind the vision i have for this church, then go find a pastor who’s vision you CAN get behind.” Did not Jesus say that it was HIS church? Is it any wonder that those who are Christ’s become targets of a man like this and are seen as infiltrators and his enemies?
      Thanks for dropping by, Marshall.

      Like

  9. I digress a bit. But here is more of the same Michael.

    He sent His servants..they were cast out!
    Matt.21:33-46
    God lets His vineyard out to husbandmen. Then He sends His servants to receive the fruits thereof. The hot shot husbandmen in their arrogance and self importance beat up the servants sent and cast them outta the vineyards(synagogues). No one is going to mussel in on their little corner on the market.

    I knew this brother for decades Michael that had waited years before moving out as an evangelist. When he finally did, signs and wonders verified his ministry. Souls saved, saints set free, bodies healed, burdens lifted, a real move of God in His meetings. One problem. The self exalted leader called ‘pastor’ would get jealous and eventually shut down the meeting. After all, he’s supposed to be the only conduit for Gods blessings. Right? The big cheese as it were.
    This brother would have to move on down the line. After years of this sort of treatment, he finally got discouraged and gave up.
    Now I know some here are going to pounce on him for giving up but before you do, you need to walk a mile or 2 in his shoes. See if you could hold up under the constant rejection and being despised by the church leaders.
    I agree that he should have hung in there and waited on God for strength. But when you have to stand alone, it wears on you.
    He died just a few months back.
    I’ve seen these same kind of leaders through the years welcome with open arms false prophets and false teachers with dollar signs in their eyes, with a false anointing. What I call the ‘football game’ anointing. Whooping and a hollering meeting. Don’t sit in the front row without a towel.
    Why do they gush over these phonies and reject with disdain the real deal? That’s a no brainer. The phonies have not the Holy Spirit backing what they are doing. No Spirit, no convicting presence of God. The broken servant, who has paid his dues, is not welcome. The Holy anointing is on his ministry and boy, does that convict the leadership of their sins, their envy, their avarice, and whatever else.

    I have witnessed this time and time again.

    The word says that God sends His son to the vineyard. What happens? He is killed. I see this played out when God moves in a mighty way only to have the leadership kill it or quench it by trying to contain the move in a prescribed religious container, man trying to direct it on his terms.

    The false leaderships cast out the servants sent and even kill the Son who is sent.

    This continues to play out over and over then we wonder why no revival. Reformation is needed but not heeded.

    We need to cast down the deeds of the Nicolaitans and repent of our arrogant love affair with the clerical/ laity system that Jesus hates.

    Yea I said it again. After 2 years of holding revivals, all the ‘pastors’ said ‘no more’. The success of those revivals drove those self appointed shepherds berserk with jealousy.
    God said to me ‘now stop. Stay on your day job. I’ll show you later why such evil exists in my vineyard’. Been 40 years and holding.

    Well He has opened up the scriptures on the subject. And it’s not a pretty picture.

    My friend was a true servant with the power of God on his gift. He was cast out of the vineyard because of sheer envy on the part of false ‘pastors’. Charlatan shepherds that care not for the sheep as they should or they would have welcomed a true servant of Jesus. They would have repented of their self elevation.
    By the way, when these men reject true servants of Christ, it never turns out real well for them down the road. This is not what I wanted. This is not how I planned it. I do not rejoice over these men that eventually crash and burn.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marshall says:

      Devon and all, it seems significant not to have the pharisees & scribes sponsoring the work of God in us. Certainly it’s Okay if they gawk (as they did for Jesus), but surely not that anything from Him depend upon them.
      It seems that with each new day Father is at work in me toward helping others know they are not “alone” in Christ. Even so, there may be moments… when Simon is denying his Master, even Jesus experienced a time that men forsook Him. If Jesus had then stumbled to see Peter deny Him, I would not “pounce on Him for giving up”, but rather we need be reminded (as was He) that we are not truly alone; that we have not been called by these “pastors” or any “hot shot”… we are called and chosen by the Living God.

      Like

    • Michael says:

      Jesus warned the disciples that this was what was coming to those who are His as well.
      “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Mt 5:11-12 ESV)
      So we get the same treatment that the Son got when He went to take the Father’s vineyard. Should we be surprised? We have been amply warned. I stewed over this treatment I got from them for years, but finally He told me to let them be saying, “They are blind guides leading the blind… let them fall into the ditch.” It takes a few times of following men into ditches to finally wake us up to the fact that we are not called to follow mere men, but Christ!

      For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
      (Hebrews 13:11-14 KJ2000)

      Remember my brother, “We have an altar, of which they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle.”(Hebrews 13:10 KJ2000). So let us move on with Him.

      Love you my brother,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  10. wayne roper says:

    Ann and Michael i had a similar experience . a few yrs after coming away from the system and looking for where the Lord was leading , the presence of the Lord was powerful at this time, this brother came into our lives.my wife and i had come through some healing time in our marriage but my wife was still having a hard time in her relationship with the Lord and reading the word, this brother prayed an cast out devils from her and ministered to her and within the next day her foggy head cleared . she was able to read and she consumed the word. this brother had a powerful teaching anointing, i had been around a lot of good teachers but not like this guy. i thought this was from the Lord and wanted to support anyway i could . my wife and i drove this guy and his wife around for yrs all around the states and ministered with them. in the beginning all was well as long as i agreed with him. he liked to rebuke people and that became a way of controlling. in the beginning he would tell everyone to test what he was teaching to see if it was from the Lord but after awhile he said that when he was teaching he was locked into the Lord and what he said was God. i started to challenge some of these things,especially when he said he was my covering, and he started to cut me off and before it was over he had turned my wife and some of my kids against me along with the people associated with him . he said anything i shared was in the soul and not of the spirit. after some time of being an outcast, even though i
    was a part of the group, the Lord opened my wife’s eyes through prayer and a scripture i read to her eph5:22Wives, submit yourselves to your OWN husbands as you do to the Lord, not someone else’s husband, he would usurp the husbands authority as a pastor, and that Christ was the only mediator between God and man.as the leader saw my wife had changed he started to reject her also and together we got out of that place and since that time our relationship has grown stronger , both together and with the Lord, .we have also had others that left that group talk with us and we assure them that it is ok and God is not against them, these groups have a spirit that says if you are not with us you are against us and God. we ran into people we knew and loved from the group and they wouldn’t even make eye contact with us as we talked. you think i would have learned in coming away from the church system. but i still got caught in that trap but thanks be to God who delivers us from the fowlers snare.i have finally worked through the pain and anger enough to pray from my heart that the Lord would have mercy on them but also to expose the error of their ways and to protect the people they have contact with. the wild part of this is this guy ministers all over europe and most people love him.i am glad that season of my life with him is done ~ wayne

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Wayne,

      I am glad to hear that you and your wife made it through this situation without this false leader dividing you or causing more damage than he did. One of the earmarks of a cult that I watch for is when leaders set out to get unquestioned authority over the people of God. Paul warned the elders of the assembly at Ephesus saying, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts 20:29-31 KJ2000). Men arise over the faithful for one reason… to draw away disciples after themselves. Paul did not make disciples after himself, but rather pointed all men to God and rebuked the Corinthians for following men (see 1 Cor. 3:1-7) . This was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn… to find Christ as my sufficiency. Paul wrote, “And such confidence have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God;” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5 ASV). “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (1 Timothy 2:5 KJ2000).

      We are in a time of great deception on the earth and we have been warned. Signs and wonders are not to be trusted. Paul warned, “But evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13 ASV). “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ESV). Jesus said that HE is the Truth and our only refuge is to put all our faith totally in Him. David warned, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” (Psalms 118:8-9 KJ2000).

      So, dear brother, we have been close enough to this strange fire offered up by men to get burned but God was faithful to save us from our folly. Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice and follow HIM and that they will not follow the voice of strangers (John 10:4-5), yet how many today who call themselves Christians really know HIS voice when they hear it? I had to get out and away from the voices of the strangers in the churches of men for a period of time before I became accustomed to the voice of the Good Shepherd and able to recognize it as being Him. So, Wayne, thanks for sharing your journey with us and for the encouragement.

      Your brother,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  11. wayne roper says:

    michael-an addendum to what i wrote i realized later we had become a stepping stone to bigger and better things. ~ wayne

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tim Shey says:

    It is great that you got out of that Christian cult. Here is my experience in a Christian cult:

    http://hitchhikeamerica.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/a-christian-cult/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Well, Tim, I am glad you only had to spend one day in a Christian cult to figure it out. Some of us were seduced into our cult experiences with a lot more smoothness than these guys used, believe me. For me it was the, “How do you boil a frog?” technique that they used. It is when Satan appears as an angel of light that things get a bit more tricky. Yet, I can look back on my cult experiences and see how I have grown from them and drawn closer to my Shepherd after seeing a few wolf snouts under those sheep skins.
      Thanks for your comment and story,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  13. fishhawk says:

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    http://asthecrackerheadcrumbles.blogspot.com/2014/11/sites-to-see-410.html

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Innperlenburg says:

    I was thinking about this entry this morning, and realised that the word ‘vindictive’ comes from the same root. There were many times in the past (when I was going through the process of de-tox after leaving the system) when vindictive thoughts came into my head. I would have loved to have vindicated myself. Treated wrongly, the natural thing is either to want to vindicate oneself, or to hope that one day, God will vindicate us. I remember being stunned, the day I remembered that after His resurrection, Jesus never spoke a word about those who had crucified Him, except to say that those things had to have happened to fulfil the word of God. He saw everything that had happened as a result of God’s sovereign, loving intention. The beautiful thing is that when His resurrection life rules in us, we won’t need to say a word about those who have hurt us either, except to say that the Lord allowed it for our blessing, to make His resurrection life more visible in us.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks for your kind comment, my sister! I agree with all you said. That is why He told me that HE would be my Vindication. I was not to seek it from mere men or even try to justify myself to them, but leave it in His hands. Boy did He ever justify me in the case I wrote about! But that does not always happen as it did this time with me… sometimes those who wound just keep wounding others. The point is, will we see it as from His wonderful loving hands as something we need or kick against it, for ALL things DO work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to HIS purpose. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting. Bless you as you seek His face.

      Liked by 1 person

    • @ Innperlenburg

      That’s a great point and observation, indeed. You said, “Jesus never spoke a word about those who had crucified Him, except to say that those things had to have happened to fulfil the word of God. He saw everything that had happened as a result of God’s sovereign, loving intention. The beautiful thing is that when His resurrection life rules in us, we won’t need to say a word about those who have hurt us either, except to say that the Lord allowed it for our blessing, to make His resurrection life more visible in us.”

      So true, dear sister! 🙂

      I just wondered why we, finally, can stop talking about those who once hurt us and instead begin to pray for them “because they did not know what they did,” even though they might never repent from their wrongdoing. It appears to me that the reason could be that we love them just as much as Jesus did on the cross.

      Actually, we are all partakers of His resurrection power as soon as we have died to our old self with its fears, pains, and desires to live our best life in the here and now on earth apart from His Spirit. Nonetheless, all we might desire and wish for can be found even in the here and now when He grants us access to the former invisible Kingdom of God inside us (“in our midst”).

      Every blessing to you!

      Much love ❤
      Susanne

      Liked by 2 people

  15. ellagamberi says:

    Hi,

    My husband and I had a very similar experience to you. We were in a small church which was taken over by a christian cult and for 15 years we watched as the elders of this cult ripped marriages apart, destroyed families and caused suicide, nervous breakdown and destruction of many lives. The elders who have been kicked out of this cult are not able to understand their own part in this. They are convinced they are victims and are not open to discussion about the fact that they preached a false gospel for decades and shipwrecked the faith of hundreds. We have tried to talk to them, to get them to recognise their sin and repent of it, but we were not in a good place ourselves. All we did was create more friction with nothing to show for it, but more hurt and pain.

    Ten years after we left our church, all our friends of many decades and what we thought was our faith, God has shown us our own folly. We have found that the teaching we were receiving from the first church we were in was aberrant because the elders were rebellious men who followed the dictates of their own hearts. As a result many of their followers were rebellious with self-centred hearts. They were led into an abusive church with controlling elders because they were also controlling. God has shown us that birds of a feather flock together and that though these men were wicked and destructive, God gave us many warnings not to join the cult group (before we knew it was a cult) yet we ignored them because we favoured acceptance from our friends more than we did acceptance from God. We can’t blame these men for the damage they did, we allowed ourselves to sit under their teaching,and God has held us accountable.

    It is amazing how much can change when you begin to humble yourself under God’s mighty hand, and recognise the state of your own heart. it doesn’t happen quickly, and it took us many years to peel away the layers of our own hardness, but God is faithful and has shown us where we have needed to change.

    It really does just come down to putting our own flesh to death. All that desire for revenge, all the anger, all the fear of man, all the pain is a result of our own disobedience to God. And when we are able to see the fault in ourselves, our hearts towards our enemy change as well.

    We are still walking down this path, which although it is hard, steep, dark and narrow, is the way of life.

    Praise God for your testimony, and I am so glad you are coming through the darkness towards the light!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Ella,
      Thanks for taking the time to write out your own story on here. You have made some great observations about how it is what is in our own hearts that keep us in these cults and then how we are held captive by our own anger and hatred after we get out! I was raised by an alcoholic father and wife and child beater and these Christian cult experiences I had fit the pattern of what I thought I deserved and needed. The one I wrote about in this article was actually my second cult experience. The leader of the first one is still alive and he has never admitted his part in the destruction of hundreds of lives, marriages and the faith of many who came under his influence… even that of his own children many of whom are a mess!

      My healing came from seeing my own messed up childhood for what it really was, agonizing over it and then forgiving my parents for all they did and shifting my gaze onto my REAL Father who is in heaven who loves me without fail regardless of my own failings. It was then that I was free to walk on after Him and see Him for who He as He manifest Himself to me through His Son. I thank God that I am free of not only cults and cultish churches, but also of my anger towards any of them… free to seek our Father’s kingdom and let the blind guides lead their blind followers into God’s appointed ditches, knowing that He has this in His control as well. Bless you my sister as you also walk toward His marvelous Light in the Son.

      Liked by 2 people

      • ellagamberi says:

        Michael,

        Sorry the above link led to an empty blog. But better an empty blog with humility than a busy website filled with pride. God has been dealing with my obsession with the great oracle Google and subsequently I had to take down my blogs and stop broadcasting my opinion on every subject under the sun and start focusing on God himself and the real world. But thankyou for your interest.

        PS. This is in no way a reflection on the many worthy sites from which I have gained comfort and insight written by members of the body – including this one of course.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Ella, you have touched on something that I wish more people who blog would consider… “am I just filling the internet with words so I can post something every day whether it is inspired by God or not?” Years ago, I prayed that God would make me like Jesus and that I would learn to only speak those words I hear my Father saying. Well, that opened me up to many hard years of trials with Him teaching me with verses like this one, “A fool utters all his mind, but a wise man keeps it in until afterwards.” The lesson goes on and on! Now He is has been talking to me about every idle word and who I will be held accountable for them. Ouch! Then to see the pain I cause others that I love with my misspoken words and feel it in my heart the way they do! Double Ouch!

        Ella, may the Lord keep drawing you to Himself and to spending your time on things important to Him… doing those things you see the Father doing.
        Michael

        Liked by 2 people

  16. I found this post very meaningful. I am a child abuse survivor. Many abuse victims carry the emotional, physical, and psychological scars of their experience into adulthood — sometimes for a lifetime. While my own situation was familial, thousands were abused by Catholic priests. But abuse is by no means limited to the Catholic Church. Read the blogs of most survivors, and you will find them filled with grief and anger. Like me, a large number lose their faith. I was fortunate in that the Good Shepherd restored me to Himself. Sad to say, the Catholic Church has been very long in reaching out to abuse victims, instead disputing their veracity. The church need not have raised the legal defense of Statute of Limitations which invalidated those claims which were not made within the period prescribed by law. That could easily have been waived. While I have been able to forgive, those who have lost their faith (or view God as sadistic now, and do not come to faith) frequently view survivors who forgive as “traitors”. Forgiveness allows us to lay our burdens at the foot of the cross, and move on with our lives. But church counselors (in and out of the Catholic Church) are all too often poorly trained, and force forgiveness on survivors before they are ready to accept it. That can amount to another violation, disrespecting abuse victims and the pain they have endured. We can only trust that the Lord will Himself intervene with these survivors, as He did with me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Anna,

      Thanks for sharing your heartfelt comment about your own history with abuse and healing. I went to your website and read some of your pages on there and you gave me much to think about… One of these things is what you wrote here, “But church counselors (in and out of the Catholic Church) are all too often poorly trained, and force forgiveness on survivors before they are ready to accept it. That can amount to another violation, disrespecting abuse victims and the pain they have endured. We can only trust that the Lord will Himself intervene with these survivors, as He did with me.” Excellent point, dear sister.

      I think that child abuse by a relative is a mind scarring thing that only Christ can heal. But then is it any less scarring of an experience to be abused and rejected by key figures in church leadership “in the name of Jesus”? Both of these can produce a situation in which the person either hates themselves or ends up hating God or both! But as the saying goes, “The same sun that hardens clay also melts wax.” I know one sister in particular that has gone through both these forms a abuse and after much mental anguish and suffering and a miraculous healing encounter with Christ it has made her soft and pliable in God’s hands and a lover of people more than most. There is not a judgmental bone in her body… though God has had to take her though years of step by step forgiveness and healing. Like Jesus said, “For man this is impossible, but for God ALL things are possible.” What a wonderful God we serve! Anna, I am so happy to know that He has healed you and made you such a kind and wonderful person through it all.

      BTW, You can read part of Anna’s story on Amazon and order her beautifully written book here:
      http://www.amazon.com/The-Rose-Garden-Daughters-Story/dp/1602478902#reader_1602478902

      Love in Christ,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • How very kind of you to respond at such length…and to mention my book. I was not expecting that. I agree with you that the censure by men supposedly of God can be deeply painful, leaving long-term damage in its wake. God though can heal even profound wounds, as you say. Despite or because of your ordeal, you have clearly been given a voice for victims of religious abuse.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Anna, thank you for taking the time to read my comment and respond. Yes, my heart is way out there for those who have been wounded and abuse by ecclesiastical power in the churches as is yours for those who have suffered sexual abuse (though God seems to be enlarging my heart for these as well). I think that He does this for and in us when the “Joseph principle” kicks in… we become so thoroughly healed from the offenses we have suffered that we can truthfully pray, “Father, forgive them, they were clueless to what they the did to us and the depth of pain that they caused us.” It is THEN (it took Joseph 23 years) that He can use us to even reach out to those who meant it for evil, knowing that God has turned it to our good IN Christ as sons and daughters of God. What a wonderful God we serve!

        Liked by 2 people

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