April, 2003 Wingspread
      By Billie Marie Zal
      One of my favorite paintings is a scene in a great Cathedral. It is filled with worshipers and all of the "activity" is centered down front. The pulpit, the candles, the lights all shine with an ethereal "glow" and probably anyone who IS ANYONE has front row, center pews.
      But---at the very back of this scene we see Jesus. He is clothed in Light, and He bends down and comforts a woman whose poverty is obvious. He is not where you would think He should be---UP FRONT, showing off, frantically begging people to come to Him. He knows those who are His and frantic activity is not part of His methods of love. He walks among us.
      I never did get that painting, it was far too expensive for me but every time I went to the shopping Mall, I made my way to that window where I could see Him, as He really is.
      Jesus goes where you would never expect Him to go. He goes to the slums of the city and touches the men who lie in the filth of the trash bins. He goes to the home of a widow woman whose life has been one long time of giving and caring. And He goes to little children---some who have never heard His Name, except through curses, and they know who He is and they love Him.
      In our society today, we do not find Jesus very often, walking among us. Society is too busy promoting the next healing campaign, the next "revival,." The next big patriotic "show."
     The Church has too many plans, too much spiritual hysteria, too many deceptions concerning God's Word. Jesus will not be there.
      For years I have prayed that the Body of Christ would be delivered from deception---from strong delusions---but the end of the age of grace is fast coming to a close and the Church turns a deaf ear to Truth and instead substitutes show business for the presence of a Holy God.
      Like the Israelites of old, the Church has lost the Light of the golden candlesticks and individuals don't even know it.
      There are so many discrepancies that I stopped listening long ago. A preacher will get up and use the very Word of God to get money for his ministry. He will list his achievements, his many converts, the numbers in attendance of campaigns, and all the while God's Word forbids "numbering." Ignorance of this admonition has cost many an evangelist his fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
      In my years of Bible study, I have discovered God's plan not only for His people, Israel, but also for His Church, the members of His Son's Body on earth, but spiritually in Christ, in Heaven. God never wants us to entrust our spiritual teaching to some individual and let that person do our thinking for us. We are responsible to our Father in Heaven to know His Word in its entirety and to obey it.
      And so---when I see the great emphasis on "numbers" today as a proof that a ministry is being blessed, I know that this is error and ignorance has overtaken the religious leaders.
      What usually happens is that Satan might fail to break down a child of God by one plan.
     But he immediately revises His tactics and plays on the weakness of the human soul. Humanity loves importance and recognition, and this is how Satan got King David to sin----God permitted Satan (because He knew David's heart could overcome) to tempt David to "number the people."
     The people had been numbered ONCE, by commandment of God, and there was no need ever again to number them.
      The divine promise was given to Abraham, who became the progenitor of all the Israelites, that his seed would be as the "stars of the heavens." God said it, and it would come to pass.
     But for an individual---King or not---to be so foolish as to insist on numbering just because of his pride of what he considered his own accomplishment (the defeat of his enemies), he was severely reprimanded by God and caused the death of 70,000 of his people because of his sin.
     If you have no idea of what this story is about, take the time to read Exodus 30:12 and find out the reason for Moses to number the people. It was for redemption money only, and nothing else.
      David's desire was to seek for a "personal cause" for the great victory over his enemy. . He wanted to know the strength of his standing army (which he made his glory instead of God), and he looked beyond God from whom the victories came and this sin brings famine, defeat, or death into the soul of any of us who proclaim Christ as Master of our lives.
      I have seen ministers who spoke the Truth in their "beginning days." They did not have the carnality which possessed them later on, when spiritual victories were gained. And I would not take the time today to listen to them; they have suffered a defeat to their souls by trying to carnally verify a divine promise. Which means one thing: we must walk softly before God and claim nothing for SELF---the numbering of today in religious circles has brought in deception from the master of deception---the devil himself.
      "Numbers" does not prove that the Church is successful. In order to understand this Truth, you must get to know the Apostle Paul who was chosen by God to receive the revelation of the "Mystery of the Church" which had never been revealed to anyone else.
      What did this revelation do to Paul? It struck him down in his pride of being an important member of the religious Jews, the "Pharisees." This group of men dictated the Law to the Jewish nation and they were the ones to whom Jesus Christ spoke His most harsh words when He walked among them. The "Law" had become a burden because proud men had added to it and become religious hypocrites. Jesus Christ offered them Himself as their new King and had they received Him, the Kingdom on earth would have been set up then, and those of us who are members of that heavenly Church would never have known Him. But they did reject Him, and we are permitted a greater glory---to be an actual member of His Body, where He sits at the right hand of God the Father and "ever lives to make intercession for us."
      But Paul never numbered. He never bragged about the many converts who heard and believed his words. He never "looked up" to those Jewish Pharisees whom he had admired so much, before Christ came down in Glory and gave him a new life. And for this, Paul was never accepted by those who should have seen that God lived within him.
      If you want to consider "numbers" as a sign of a successful ministry, you might want to know that of all the thousands who heard Jesus and received healing and all the things He did for them---only 120 were considered true believers. They were told to wait in the upper room for the coming of the Third Person of the Trinity---the Holy Spirit. And while Jesus hung on the cross, where were the "thousands" who should have endured the awfulness of that cross with Him?
      And what eventually happened to the Apostle Paul? After a life of endless efforts and ministry he was executed because he had refused to stop preaching Christ. It has been said that all of the disciples met with horrible deaths except John, who was exiled to the Isle of Patmos and spent his years there---perhaps working in the mines. But during that time he was given the Book of the Revelation by God Himself. And we know what to expect as the end of our age draws near.
      I thank God that throughout my Christian walk, I have been encouraged by a few men who never gave in to the power of popularity and wealth and "success." One pastor way back in the 50's often said that the church is trying to run on its own power. He says that this kind of Christianity makes God sick, because it is trying to run a heavenly institution after an earthly manner.
      He also says if he couldn't have the divine power of God then he would shut down the whole business and walk out. I feel the same way and the church that wants God's power will have to give people something besides social clubs and "shows," and "entertainment" under the guise of "contemporary Christianity" music and dancing. The individual who wants something more than that is on his way to getting to know God.
      God has withdrawn Himself from the sanctuaries of modern Christendom and the results are evident. If ever there was a time on earth that filth has taken hold of the human mind, it is today. A man's thoughts must become a "clean sanctuary" and how can a person with filthy thoughts, malicious and evil thoughts, egotism, deception, and dirty thoughts ever have any kind of fellowship with the Blessed Holy Spirit. He can't.
      Satan has really had his way with modern religion today, including the church which should know better than to behave like the world----the advertisements, the promotional material, the fake letters which are sent out in "bulk mail" and everyone gets the same letter. This is deception and how can it bless? Once after my daddy had gone to heaven, a "famous" minister whom Daddy had sent offerings to sent out a letter to him----I opened it and I read, "My dear Brother Clarence, .....I was flying in our plane over Northwest Arkansas and I knelt in the aisle and asked God our Father to bless Brother Clarence, and return his offerings to him one hundredfold." This preacher is still a very prominent man in the "inner circle" of the big shots today and I will not listen to him preach. Lying is not an example of belonging to God.
      As the time draws near for all of us to meet God (and everyone instinctively knows it won't be long), I pray that the time I have spent with you in the stories that my Father in Heaven gives to me will not have fallen upon deaf ears. You know the Truth. You have heard what God has to say to those who either want to be saved, or who are already saved. And it is your duty to search your heart and find out if you are in any way ready for that day when you go before the Judgment Seat of Christ and what you have done, and said, and thought will pass through the refining fires of a Holy God. I hope you make it through.
     PRAYER REQUESTS: FOR; Jimmy Huff, a former prison inmate who now has a prison ministry to others. Pray for his brother's healing. FOR: Shirley Warnock's twin sister, Joan Ling, that her ankle will heal completely of the torn ligaments. FOR: Teddy Jenkins' boys to be protected from evil & the Lord will bless his mother with her health. Also that God will grant him favor with the court of criminal appeals and overturn his case. FOR: Daniel Keith Perry & his grandmother that God will keep them safe & strong. Daniel is at OSP, McAlester. FOR: Sandra, a neighbor, for her completely healing and also for Jerry Brock's total healing. FOR: Stephano Deon Jackson's new baby nephew, "Jeremiah Dae Sean Stephano Palmer, born to his sister on Dec. 31, 2002. The baby's daddy, David Palmer, left for Afghanistan & asks for our prayers. Stephano is at OSP, McAlester, Ok. FOR: Michael Kinley, as he goes up for parole. Also his cell mate who needs to get to know that God loves him. Michael is at OSP, McAlester, Ok. FOR: Edna Schmidt, a dear friend & her daughter, LuAnne. FOR: Tommy Christmas, our little brother at Lexington (Joe Harp) as he starts over. May God's peace be his.
     FOR: Tony Z. Trevino, that God will show him favor next year so he can go home. The prison is heavily over loaded. Tony is at Abilene, Texas. FOR: Rudy Sisneros, in a camp at Buena Vista, Colorado. He asks our prayers that he gets an approved visit soon & he will receive guidance as he looks forward to discharge soon. FOR: Jim Holbrook, our dear brother at Lansing, Kansas, as he prepares to do all the planting for the yard. He is a wonderful horticulturist & friend.
     FOR: Robert Dean, to be paroled. He is at McAlester & has two baby daughters whom his Mom cares for. He wants so much to be with them. FOR: Eric Daniels, that he might get a full scholarship in Bible studies. Eric is at a camp at Trenton, N.J. & a dear brother in Christ.
     FOR: Randal Smith;'s niece, 17 yr. Old Jessica Smith who was shot 3 times in the back and is paralyzed. Randal asks us to ask God for her healing. He is at OSP, McAlester, Ok.
     And never forget to pray for the seven of us, that we might never do less than glorify our Lord Jesus Christ by the way we act and think and feel. We long to be His vessel to each of you.
      "There is no darkness where Christ cannot find us."

John Michael Hooker, Jr., my precious little brother for ten years, is now "absent from the body, present with the Lord." I went into my closet alone for the last hour of his life , and I shared God's loving Spirit with him during those last moments.
      John began to write to me about ten years ago; he was extremely brilliant and lots of fun. He began to think deeply about the day he would be executed when his cell mate,
     Castro, went up for execution. John was not present when Castro left, but when he returned he found a note propped on his bed. Castro, an artist, had drawn a little Mexican boy, peering across a wall with one tear on his cheek. And the note read, "Goodbye, old friend."
      Here are a few words that John wrote while awaiting executing. I want to share them with you because all of you should know how a friend or brother must feel during that last week of his life, knowing he would die.
      In John's letter dated March 13, 2003, he wrote: "Thanks for mentioning me in the latest Wingspread newsletter. Without those prayers, God knows that I couldn't have made it this far. It is those prayers that have caused me to come thus far and to walk in this path without fear. I am not fearing death, I fear God". . . .And in his goodbye card he wrote, "I don't know what I would have done without you and the ministry. An officer came by tonight (one that I admire) and asked, "John, if you were to die tonight, would you go to Heaven?" I said, "Yes," and he said, "How do you know that?" I said,
     "Because I have confessed my sins to God and asked for forgiveness." The officer then said, "Oh, I just had to ask you that." It made me feel good to know that he cared.
      Billie, you are a light unto the path, and I thank you sincerely for that. God bless, always......" "Peacefully, John Hooker." God has blessed John. He is alive & well.

John Michael Hooker, Jr. - Born October 9, 1953 - Executed March 25, 2003

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