Shepherding One Another

In my correspondence with Naomi, she told me that she believes the enemy can attack us, regardless of the will of God. She told me she put out a fleece to confirm that and it was confirmed. Because of that, she exempts herself from many of God’s promises. She condemned my insistence that the promises of God applied to all of us as. She longs for the Rapture as the deliverance for her from her present misery, but shows no desire to stand in the presence of God. In fairness to her, here is her letter to me detailing what I believe are some of the issues she has with God:

Hi everyone,

It’s been an interesting day with all that’s happening around us. It’s happening so fast, it’s difficult to keep up. I don’t watch the TV news, so I don’t know the current lies, but our state is getting the National Guard activated for riot control. I think the “shelter in place” order is about to go out. 

I wish I felt as optimistic as you do, Jerry. I’m looking for the rapture instead of believing myself “bulletproof”. Katie [her daughter that died] wasn’t spared, Donna [another sister in our fellowship] wasn’t spared, and I’m not well right now. Lonnie [a brother in our fellowship] is struggling. My bowel problem isn’t from old age. My already shortened colon is being destroyed by some unknown disease process. I’ve been dealing with it for 6 weeks now.

I know the promises of God. His ways are not our ways, and a lot of the time, in my experience, the rosy picture is absent. I don’t give thanks for this suffering. I’m not embracing it. I’m praying for help to survive. I don’t feel convicted for not being thankful for something the devil is inflicting on me. I think there’s a distinction between trials and attacks of the enemy. Sorry for ranting. I’m tired of showering multiple times a day, ruining my clothes with bleach, living through terrible embarrassments, this restricted diet….. I’ve had some blessings this week, which help a lot. For those I’m very thankful.

My son is blind to what’s happening around us. I’ve been trying to show him from scripture what’s coming. He knew these things when he was younger. He’s lecturing me about the rules. I shouldn’t be leaving my house. It’s very disappointing.

You’re so right about the peace we’re able to have in spite of the “sky is falling” atmosphere we’re in, Jerry. We know whom we have believed and are persuaded that He is able to guard that which we’ve committed unto Him. (II Tim. 1:12) 

Forgive me if I’ve said anything offensive. I’m at that exasperated place where Elijah cried out to God about being pursued by those trying to kill him as they did the prophets before him, only my attack is on my health. My dehydration headache is getting bad. I’m going to send this on. 

Prayers for all of you. 

Love, Naomi

Here is my response (hopefully, led by the Holy Spirit and based on the promises of God) to her message:

Good morning, Beloved of God,

From the very beginning, our God, whose depths of love we can never begin to comprehend put Himself in our debt by the promises that He has made to us. He didn’t have to do that. When we sinned, He could have blotted us out and the four living creatures before His throne and the myriads of angels would have burst forth with a chorus about the righteousness of God.

God didn’t do that, though any one of us would have. Instead, He has indebted Himself to mankind through a series of promises; a series of covenants. He demonstrated His initiative in this by putting Abraham into a deep sleep when He ratified the promises He had made to him. He made these promises to Abraham long before he was circumcised, so Abraham is the father of us all in faith, not just Israel.

It is this system of promises, made by God and recorded in scripture by which we live. He has promised us salvation; a promise that has already been fulfilled by the death and resurrection of His Son. All we have to do is confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, and we will be saved. Is it legalistic to believe that He will fulfill that promise or any other of His thousands of promises to us?

The book of Romans is a paradox. It is a step-by-step declaration of the legal elements of our salvation through the grace of God. It is a brilliant description of the provision that God made for us, freeing us from the penalty of His Law by identifying us with the death and resurrection of His dear Son, Jesus.

The life we now live, we live in Christ Jesus. We have no standing before God apart from Christ. As the Church, once we have been justified in Christ, we are baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. No other group of saints has gone or will go through this latter process.

For many months, I have, almost obsessively, been studying the prophetic books of Daniel and Revelation. Nothing but the amazing grace and love of God that I have seen revealed in the book of Romans could have pried me away from those studies.

At the same time, as I have grown in God, the burdens of my heart have shifted from myself and my own concerns to those that God has put before us to serve. The members of this fellowship have been the primary focus of my concern and prayers and the main burdens on my heart. I have no desire to influence any of you except to bring you into a closer walk with our dear Lord.

I have not condemned anyone but myself, and that only to ask for your prayers on my behalf. To hold up a promise from God or to look to the examples of the people of God in scripture when they faced similar and even more severe trials condemns no one. We can walk as they walked. We can have as much of Jesus as we want.

The twelve disciples, unlike the multitude, were privileged to walk with Jesus and be taken into His confidence as in Matthew 13. Only Peter, James and John went with Him to the Mount of Transfiguration, or near the place in Gethsemane where He cried out to the Father prior to His arrest. Finally, it was John alone who was privileged to receive the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

To see the trials we face as something other than the chastening of God, the means by which the Holy Spirit works in us to prepare us to stand before God’s throne, and for His service, misses out on the grace of God. Why would Satan have more access to us than God allowed him to have to Job? The promise is that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. That’s us!

Certainly the diseases and injuries we suffer, we suffer at the hand of the enemy. Israel was chastened over and over, being murdered, raped and enslaved by this people and that people, but those ungodly servants of Satan were eventually judged as well.

It served God’s purposes for the Children of Israel to be hauled away to Babylon for 70 years. It served God’s purposes for me to have my right hip replaced four times in fifteen months. It served God’s purposes for me to lose a lucrative career that I enjoyed. It serves God’s purposes that I have little stamina, constant ringing in my ears, constant fatigue, constant pain, incontinence and whatever else. I thank God, and I praise Him for it! It has brought us so much closer to God, no credit at all to us.

I look back at the poverty, injustices and the familial and marital trials we have struggled through, some of them lasting for years or decades and I would not change a thing. God has used them to bring us to this point in our walk with Him.

We are best prepared to help those coming from the same traps that we ourselves have been freed from. Legalism and a religious spirit are the most insidious of all of Satan’s snares. I condemn no one here. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ. That’s us!

There is a place though for exhorting one another. None of us is a law unto ourselves. There are no special cases in the Body of Christ. The same promises apply to all of us. Regardless of any fleece you may put out, it does not trump the word of God, it does not override the promises of God.

No matter who you are, there is someone who was like you in scripture. Who is your example? Mine is Paul; going about self-righteously condemning the people of God, ignorant of the path to salvation. God smote me, crippled me, met my heart, then led me up the road of grace. The overwhelming awareness we had when we experienced His presence for a few seconds over 40 years ago was the boundless love He has for us. We know that He is real and that He loves us.

It has taken decades to shed the religious thinking and legalism, and to make love the first principle of all that I do. The Holy Spirit still has much work to do in me, especially in that regard. In my flesh, I certainly do not measure up compared to Paul in any way, except in his failings. But God has chosen me, and God uses me. The same is true of you. So tell me, who do you identify with in scripture? What has God saved you from and what is His purpose for your life? I know He uses each one of you.

I know you are tired, worn out, at the end of your tether. This is the trial that we knew we would face at this crucial time, to endure as Satan works to wear out the saints. Hang on! Rest in Him. Trust Him. He is faithful, and He will bring each of us through this time. By faith and by His power, we can resist every attempt to take away our crowns. Our faith is put into action by the confessions of our mouths, our declarations of faith in the promises of God.

Vent about your trials to this loving fellowship all you want. That’s part of what we’re here for. We cannot share your burdens unless you share them with us. You are no longer alone in your walk with God as we shepherd each other along the path.

The various theories about what is now occurring are off the hook. Who knows what to believe?

Believe the word of God. Believe that His hand is on the tiller, that events are taking the world right where He said they would lead; to a one-world government led by the beast. Forget about remedies to the crisis or warning people about how phony it is. Preach the Gospel, share our Blessed Hope. They are all that matter. Those are our tasks right now.

Here is a very funny video about the history of toilet paper I want to share with you. This guy makes a very informative and often educational video every day, and usually is very serious in his presentation. He was, however, overcome by the content in this one and couldn’t help laughing. Of particular interest to us right now is his account of how a joke that Johnny Carson told on air, back in the 70s I think, caused a nation-wide shortage of toilet paper that lasted three weeks.

By noting, erroneously, that there was a toilet paper shortage, he caused people to run to the stores and buy up what was on the shelves. Then, when other people saw the bare shelves, they would buy up whatever paper the grocers put there when they tried to restock. It demonstrated how that if you want people to panic, just show them empty shelves, like the media has done daily since this thing began.

Forgive me if I have offended any of you. Try to extend to me the same grace that God has shown to me. Thank you for your kind prayers on my behalf and that of my tractor. I’ll try to send more pictures soon,  I love you all,   Jerry

Top of page

Photo Credits

  • Adapted from #91237724/Jankovoy-adobe
  • #24261728/Vibe Images-adobe
  • Don’t Mess With Israel by Greg Lauer