Chats With Diane: August, 2018
Sufferings not worthy to be compared to the glory
(As a registered ICU nurse), I have watched so many families suffer as their loved one succumbed to disease. Now Casey and I are in one. I take comfort in the words of Paul in Romans 8 “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.” Though our little pea brains cannot grasp God’s complete purpose in this, we know that He loves each of us so much that he would have sent His Son to suffer on our behalf if we’d been the only one that needed salvation. It’s funny we don’t have a word for that; like omnipresent…omniamorous? All-loving.
If His whole purpose was revealed to us, we would grow hoarse from shouting with joy. He has a real thing for faith though. He covets our faith, and our praise. The acceptance of Jesus through faith alone is the thing that makes the Bride special. ‘Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe’. We pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will comfort Karen and you in her affliction. Deliverance is at the door.
I would be very wary of any Adventist preacher. I have not heard of the one you mentioned. I have had nothing to do with Adventism since the early 70s. Adventists have a way of making the keeping of the commandments as a path to salvation sound like the most simple, obvious interpretation of scripture. They come as an angel of light. Their teaching is another gospel that denies the power of the blood of Jesus to save us. I sent a message to my mother, pleading for her to accept the eternal, irrevocable gift of salvation that comes only through faith in Jesus blood, and abandon any idea that her ‘good works’ had any value in saving her. The letter was effectively to the whole family, and it turned out to be a real bridge burner.
I have to tell you about our cowbirds. We have twelve bird feeders around our yard, and this summer, in addition to the Goldfinches, House Finches, Chickadees, and a few other varieties, these dark brown birds that I didn’t recognize began eating at our feeders. They were larger than most of our other birds, and their numbers increased until they had driven the others away. My next-door neighbor knows almost everything, and he told me they were cowbirds, a parasitic species that builds no nests. They wait until the mother bird of another species leaves her nest, often destroy her eggs, and lay one of their own in the nest, to be hatched and raised by the other bird.
We were alarmed and immediately sought ways to get rid of them. God reminded me that there was one feeder with a fruit and nuts blend that they ignored, so we changed all of the feeders over to that, and they disappeared within a day. I sought God about why He let us feed this pernicious, voracious flock of evil birds, and He showed me that our link to our Adventist families had been like the cowbirds. They fed off of the love and joy we have in the Lord while giving back nothing except condemnation. They would agree together about us in ways that effectively constituted witchcraft. Our separation from them is no loss, in fact, it has freed us in many ways. Now, the Goldfinches and other songbirds have returned, and we will never feed cowbirds again.
We want to continue to share God’s bounty with you on a regular basis so that you are no longer in need, but we have become quite a family, and need to budget our resources so that everyone is taken care of. Toward that end we need to know how much you need to feed you, buy toilet paper and other necessities like gasoline each month. I’m talking three meals a day here, or whatever your preference is. God’s resources are limitless, and I know we can bless additional brothers and sisters from our online family by getting them involved if we need to. But Casey and I believe He will give us the resources to sustain this family He has created.
Be blessed today in the knowledge that God is on His throne, and that all trials that we endure at His hand will yield wonderful rewards.
In Christ, Jerry
Meeting My Needs
What an interesting analogy with the cowbirds. I haven’t seen one around here in many years. It made me mindful of the wheat and tares analogy in the Church. You, however, were given a way to separate the songbirds from the cow birds. How awesome is that!?
I’ve come to believe that prayers are sustaining Karen’s life. I’m grateful for that, but not for her suffering, though it’s because I’d rather suffer in her place. A parent never wishes to see their child suffer. I know her suffering is producing something in her that the Lord is pruning and growing. I’m sorry you’re in a similar place. Is it your son who’s ill, or another family member?
I’m not sure what to say about my neediness. I retired at 63, because my disability income had been reduced to $719 a month, and I couldn’t survive on that. Monthly income went up about $400, but after paying bills, I have only $343 to live on all month. I’ve asked the Lord to increase my income or help me figure out what more I can do without. You and Casey came into my life as an answer to that prayer.
I know I need about $100 more a month to make it, but I’ve never had the Lord meet my needs quite the way He has through you. He obviously was connecting us for more than groceries. I think much of His Church is isolated and scattered, and this is one way He’s bringing us together. I’ve met a few other believers through the internet who are living very similarly to me and you.
If you feel the Lord is leading you to meet my needs for more than this past month, I would be grateful to receive that, but should the Lord have other plans, I’d love to just be your friend and family until He comes. I pray for your needs to be met, too. Jesus taught the disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” That didn’t include next Tuesday and so on. Just “this day”. It’s how I’ve been living for a long time.
I’m both grateful and honored to know you. You hear from the Lord, and that’s good enough for me. If there are others with greater needs, I’ll be okay. I used to give away much of what I made, but not working – well, you know about that. How wonderful that the Lord has blessed you to be able to give. It’s a gift.
May He lead you in the way you should go.
Preparation for Our Work in the Kingdom
The ailing family member I was referring to is your daughter Karen. I can’t imagine many things that require more faith than to face the suffering of a beloved family member. From October 1971 until July 1972 I watched my older brother wither and die a very painful cancer death. His illness threw me into a crisis that culminated in my joining a fellowship of believers who had received the Holy Spirit. The Lord paired me with Casey at that same time and we married less than two months after my brother’s death. We didn’t leave the Adventist church in some kind of a doctrinal snit, the Lord simply led us away to something living and powerful.
That trial produced a depth in our spirits, a resolution to walk with God regardless of what came. That begs the question though; if He is about to snatch us away from here, why put us through more trials? I can only guess that it is to prepare us for our ministry in the coming Kingdom, and our witness as the Bride of Christ. Knowing why you have to take a bitter pill doesn’t improve the taste, but it gives us the encouragement, the strength and hope to continue in His will.
We’re still holding it before the Lord, but I think we can probably help you out with around $350 per month. It sounds like that may be adequate for your needs at this point and even allow you to pass some on as opportunities arise. We’re all walking in those good works He prepared for us to walk in before the foundations of the world. God knows all of our needs, and He is able. If emergencies arise, He will address those as well. We were able to help Lee out with some much-needed car repairs this last month.
I guess that’s it for now. I wish there were more we could do for Karen, but it looks like it’s another case of ‘stand still and see the salvation of the Lord’. We continue to hold you both up in prayer before our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Christ, Jerry
Living in the Refiner’s Fire
I trust that the Lord is answering our prayers for you. I hope you’re feeling strengthened and encouraged. I know I felt encouraged as people lifted you up in prayer. How wonderful is our Heavenly Father, our rock of refuge, our shelter in times of storm.
I do wonder, as you mentioned, why the Lord is allowing these trials at this late hour? So much of my life has been lived in the “refiner’s fire” and I hear that in your story, too. We’ll know the purpose for our suffering one day soon, because our King is coming!
My heart is warmed by your and Casey’s relationship. Having been through an abusive marriage, I love to hear about good marriages and good people. It’s reassuring to know good relationships do exist. I’m thankful to know you two.
I was really writing to say thank you once again. You’ve eased so much of my struggle to survive, it’s overwhelming to me.
May you see the Lord’s hand and feel His love for you today.
A Demonic Assault
I almost have to laugh at the unpredictable effects our prayer sometimes produce. The night after I asked for your prayers, I was awakened by what I believe was a demonic assault, as if the enemy was contesting my deliverance. Such attacks have occurred before during the last seven years. Casey was at work for all but the last two, still working at a rehab hospital.
Until Casey was present for one, I though the attacks were merely physical. I would awaken in sudden agony with massive cramping in the muscles of my thighs. I know a lot of people suffer from night cramps, but this is something different. When the attack hit Friday night, it was if a serpent slithered into the muscles of my right leg, and then about thirty seconds or a minute later the left leg, transforming them almost instantly from a state of complete relaxation to agonizing cramps.
A few months back, an attack hit me and I cried out. Casey was still up and came in. When she put her hand on my leg to massage the muscles, she dropped to the floor; like she’d been struck by lightning. I am nobody special and have no idea why I would come under such assault. What I do know is that God almighty is sovereign, and that nothing can separate us from the Love of God. I am seeking His wisdom to know what is going on here. I don’t believe in coincidences. The fact is that something is happening in response to our prayers. Nothing can touch us unless He allows it, for His glory, our good, and in this case, the condemnation of some demonic force.
I don’t want to creep you out, or magnify the devil. Our victory over Satan is complete in Jesus. God is on the move; purifying and positioning us for His service. That service won’t cease at the rapture, in fact, I think we have barely begun to serve Him. We are to rule and reign with Him in a very real sense. The Church is portrayed in Revelation as the twenty-four elders, crowned and sitting on thrones before God. We will be kings and priests over those indwelling the millennial kingdom.
Sin will still exist and we will have an active part in the redemption of mankind. That’s us atop the army of white horses that accompany the Lord at His second coming. If you’re a king and priest, you need someone to rule and intercede for. It’s not just a meaningless description of us. We have work to do.
We thank God that we are able to share His bounty with you. He is the one who knows all of our needs and has promised to meet them. Our dependency is on Him and He will care for us. In the story of Esther, Mordicai was trying to persuade her to go before the king to save Israel. He expressed his certainty that God was going to save them whether Esther chose to serve Him or not. God will continue to provide for you, regardless of what may happen to us. We are not the source of supply, but we thank God for the blessings that come with serving Him.
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
No Weapon Will Prosper
I don’t even know what to say about what you’re experiencing. It sounds horrific. I’ve had my own encounter with evil when I was married to a man involved in a multitude of sins. I understand what you’re saying and can empathize. Most people don’t have close encounters with the enemy like that. It’s the days we’re living in. I’m so sorry.
Claim Isaiah 54:17. “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.”
I’ve found scripture to be very powerful when we’re up against the unseen evil that would harm us. I just saw a reminder today about putting on the whole armor of God. Good advice.
My prayers continue. Our God is mighty to save. He will redeem us from the hands of our enemies. I’m asking that He will hedge you about with his warrior angels, especially as you see your doctor on Tuesday. We are in a more difficult battle than we’ve been in before. Satan knows time is closing in on him.
With love and gratitude,
Flak Over The Target
I think the what I wanted to convey to you with that war story is that, through our prayers, we have stirred up the enemy. One of my favorite mottos is ‘If you’re not getting flack, you’re not over the target’. Well, we’re certainly getting flack and that assault was an admission by the enemy that we are on target. We are already victorious, and he is soon to be consigned to the abyss.
The whole armor of God; perfect. Though we may feel the blows, we are protected from harm by our Lord. I really am happier than I have ever been. I rejoice that I am counted worthy to suffer in service to the Lord. Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for He is with us.
I feel like Karen, you, Casey & I and Lee are standing at the shore of the Red Sea in our current trials, commanded to stand still and see the deliverance of the Lord. Lee has already seen a partial victory with those Satanist neighbors; one I believe will be completed with their conversion.
In Revelation 2, Jesus promises “and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives it.” I have thought a lot about that new name. I believe it will be a name which is unique, and which defines us perfectly in relation to Him. The reason no one else can know the name is because it reflects all of our trials, the victories won through our faith in Jesus. The white stones won’t say Jerry B and Diane M. Our stories of redemption are a part of what will make us effective witnesses of the Love of God throughout eternity; Jesus’ trophy wife.
I enjoy our correspondence.
Weary of the Battle, Tired of Suffering
I was so happy your appointment went well, and the doctor showed compassion for your suffering. I’ve had doctors treat me the opposite, and that’s not what you need when you’re hurting and looking for answers. Answered prayer is a joy.
I understand that the enemy finds you detestable to the point that he attacks you in spite of prayers to protect you. He must fear you, or just hate you to an extreme. I’ve heard someone say, if the devil doesn’t make a target of you, it’s time to examine your walk with God.
I’ve seen my daughter deteriorate a lot since Sunday. She doesn’t want to go back to the hospital. She’s at home with nursing care. I’m not sure she’ll make it through tonight. When I saw her this morning, she wasn’t very coherent. My heart is aching, but God is at work, and if He takes her home, she’ll be able to walk again. She’ll be healed. She’s so tired of suffering.
Thanks for your prayers for Karen and I. It’s been a difficult 6 weeks. I wouldn’t have made it through without prayers and God’s kindness.
I’ll write when I can or text Casey.
He Has Torn US, But, He Will Heal US
Blessed be the name of the Lord!
It sounds like Karen is content to rest in the Lord and go where He takes her. The situation is beyond anything that we can do to remedy, and that is where God always steps in. In His love and mercy, He cares for us so deeply. “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33.
I am currently studying the book of Revelation and have been impressed with how everything that occurs is ordered by the Lord. The rise of antichrist, the assembly of wicked kings; though they hate God, they are compelled to perform His will. How much more, in our lives, we who are willing servants, are our paths determined by His will. The enemy cannot touch us except by His permission as He shapes us into eternal vessels for His use.
Watching as a loved one dies by inches is one of the hardest things to bear.
“Come, let us return to the LORD.
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.” Hosea 6
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help in any way.
In Christ, Jerry
Karen Healed and At Peace
You’ve been such a wonderful support to me through Karen’s 38-day struggle that ended this morning at 2:20 a.m. She’s no longer hurting and she can run and walk again. Her Lord healed her by taking her home to Him. It wasn’t my choice, but it brings Him glory and Karen is whole. I only ask for comfort for my aching heart.
Thank you for helping me in so many ways. God knows what He’s doing when He introduces His people and makes connections. I’ve been blessed beyond measure for meeting both of you.
Karen’s brother, dad and I are meeting tomorrow at the funeral home. I probably won’t be available much of the day. I’m divorced from Karen’s dad, because he abused me and our children. It’s not easy dealing with him now. Nothing has been easy about this. God has given me strength.
May He shine His Light on you.
Jesus At The Crossroads
There is never a single blessing that goes in one direction only. In adding you, Donna and Lee to our lives, The Lord has ended the solitary walk we have endured for decades.
I am praying this morning for the Lord to reveal Himself to you, in His love and mercy, in a way more tangible than you have ever experienced. Casey and I had an experience over 40 years ago where we were at a crossroads, preparing to follow some hare-brained friend out into the wilderness. We were alone, praying together, and were suddenly aware of the presence of the Lord. There was no apparition, no voice; just His presence. It lasted only a couple of minutes.
The thing that impressed me most was the recognition of my heart. It was like someone you have always known and loved walked into the room. The familiarity was stunning. Worship immediately began flowing from my mouth. The Lord loves us so much. That revelation of the Lord has sustained me in the decades since, no matter what we went through. No argument of doctrine or atheistic ranting could prevail against that revelation that the Lord is living and powerful, or more accurately loving and powerful.
The Lord met our hearts at that time, and we stayed with the local body of believers. I think we can still count ourselves as those who have not seen and yet believe, since He didn’t technically appear;) I pray that the Lord will meet your heart in whatever way you need; give you gladness instead of sorrow. It’s OK to be sad. That’s how He made us. But when we praise Him through our tears, it glorifies Him, and lifts us into His presence. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people. His whole purpose in this will likely not be revealed until He shows us how He has led us, in Heaven.
For now, rest, eat, heal, look to Him to heal your heart. If, along the way, you ever wished it would just be over, that’s OK too. That patience of the saints is a muscle that must be developed. Karen is at rest now, awaiting the rapture like the rest of us, only not having to cope with that body of sin and death. At our ages, the years just clip by, and no matter how long we have to wait, He will be here before we know it!
If there is anything you need, please let us know.
In Christ, Jerry
The Last Enemy To Be Destroyed Is Death
We had a private viewing by family members at the funeral home today. Our last good-bye to Karen, my beautiful daughter who was so ravaged by disease. I’m writing to tell you something that occurred that may have been an answer to your prayer for me.
I had a similar encounter with God to the one you experienced when I lost my first child, but I won’t go into that. What happened today was orchestrated by the Lord; no doubt in my mind.
Karen and I both loved butterflies. When I left for the funeral home, there was a monarch butterfly just outside my door on a yellow flower. When we were allowed to enter the room where Karen was laid out, the video screens on either side of her were showing a monarch butterfly on a yellow flower. Just a while ago, when I returned home, a monarch butterfly flew right to me. I know these are little signs from the Lord that Karen is with Him, and she is healed and at home.
Thursday is the funeral and visitation. I need strength to get through that time, but then I can focus on seeing Karen again, on our journey home. Like you, it’s what I want more than anything. Just to be with our Lord in the home He’s prepared for us.
Thank you for being my family. It’s been awkward and at times hurtful to spend time with my ex-husband and his 3rd wife at Karen’s bedside, and now in saying good-bye. I didn’t have to feel alone, because I’ve met you, Casey, Donna, and I know Lee is there, too. I’ve felt your prayers and support.
Come, Lord Jesus! Take us all home.
He Is King Over All The Earth
He is King over all the Earth and all of creation. What a wonderful way for Him to show His love, mercy and comfort and to show us that He is always there with us, no matter where we are or what it feels like. We stopped believing in coincidences a while back, and I agree with you that these butterfly appearances signal nothing less than a declaration by our Lord that He has Karen in His arms. We should have given her a list of people to say hi to for us. No matter, we can do it ourselves soon.
Your story just blessed the socks off of me as I recognized His hand at work. The Lord is being very quiet right now, testing the patience of the saints. Casey and I give joyous thanks to Him for the family He has given us. Thank you for opening your heart to us. I feel unworthy. Now we look to Him to lead us on the path ahead. Sorry for this string of consciousness discourse. I developed a very painful, and for me rare infection on my shoulder over the weekend and have been hitting the pain pills a little hard. Loopy, you know. Casey blessed me last night and the infection seems better today. I’m debating about seeking treatment.
I have been wondering about God’s purposes in Karen’s trial that we all shared. Are there other family members who need to come to Jesus who may have been influenced through this? I guess we could speculate endlessly, and ultimately to no purpose. His ways are not our ways. We thank Him and praise Him each step as He leads us along the Way. None of these concerns will matter to us once we’re with Him.
I will check out your Facebook later this morning. If you look on my timeline, I have a lot of pictures in albums. You can see what we look like, our home and many of our critters. We have ten new chicks (though I haven’t managed to post their pics. Maybe Casey did.). There are also pictures of a lot of former family members. God has been showing me just how deadly their gospel of good works is. It comes clearer and clearer to me why He repeatedly and openly rebuked the Pharisees. Anyway, never mind that. I thank Him for answering my prayers.
In Christ, Jerry
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