Will You Also Go Away?
By Billie Marie Zal
While religious presses are insisting that a great revival is going on, and separate groups of believers are discrediting one another’s leading, claiming that they alone are the “true Christians,” I personally do not see very much Christianity around me, and Christian living is not being displayed.
The trouble is, that in order to win converts in this age there has to be a “gimmick,” and if there is a gimmick there is not the blessing of God upon the service. And naturally, if there is no blessing of God there is no service.
The blame for such a situation can be attributed to satan, but in all fairness he is not wholly to blame. A child of God has a will and he can use it for Christ or for satan, whichever way he prefers.
We are not ignorant of the fact that when a person is born again satan must of necessity make an all out play for the individual’s allegiance. There are realms where he can and does operate quite successfully in order to cause a child of God to discredit the Lord by an inconsistent life.
Therefore, in order to discover how this happens we must uncover satan’s devices and locate the realms in which he operates.
We find the answer to this dilemma in the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel where Jesus has worked the miracle of feeding the five thousand and by walking on water in the presence of His twelve. Further, He had previously healed an incurable ill man on the Sabbath. And then toward the end of chapter six of John, He presented Himself as the Bread of life. He was, in effect, telling His listeners that He was greater than any miracle.
Human nature being what it is, Jesus’ miracles were far better received than He Himself was received. For one thing, His discourse, declaring Himself to be the true Bread sent down
from heaven, offended the religious hierarchy, for to eat of His flesh and drink of His blood repelled them in their thinking. It is a tragedy that they did not accept His Word as truth, for had they accepted this Word then they would have received the divine revelation that the Savior of the world stood before them and that He was speaking of heavenly things. They would have been candidates for salvation.
But their minds and wills were intent on receiving physical compensations and they wanted health and wealth and will worship more than they wanted to be saved from themselves.
While in previous accounts of Jesus’ ministry there had been multitudes following Him, in chapter six we read of the great division. When He refused to become their earthly King because He knew that they worshipped Him for the miracles He had performed, and not because He was the Lamb of God, He offended the religious society of His day and, as the Bible tells us, “From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.”
Then it is written in John 6:67, “He turned to His twelve and asked the question, “Will ye also go away?”
Unless as a child of God you have lost converts because of the determination to obey God’s will regardless of what it many cost you personally, you can never begin to understand the heartbreak in these words of the Master. His humanity grieved at the loss. And His divinity grieved at the loss. And knowing the heart of men, he could not but ask the question of those who were so near to Him, “Will ye also go away?”
Of course we know from the record that Judas Iscariot would in time go away also. He had been called as had the other eleven. But I shall always thank God for the eleven who somehow saw themselves through the terrible time of Calvary and afterward agreed to follow the Christ without compensation.
At any rate, in the Book of John we do see how satan operates upon the will of those who have chosen to follow Jesus. And we can narrow his workings down into three categories: a lust for food (wealth, i.e., material possessions); a lust for health (a freedom from any kind of pain either emotional or physical); and a lust for will worship where one can choose for himself what god he is to idolize.
Let us take the health problem first. Why is it that so many disciples followed Jesus as
long as there were healings, and then at the first hint of what it would cost to follow Him they fell away?
One reason could be that no one likes to hurt. And in our pollution ridden world most of us suffer some kind of discomfort all the time. It is becoming increasingly difficult to survive the onslaught of viruses, noise, air pollution, and pressures upon the mind that bombard us on every side.
I know that there have been times in my life when I would have tried almost anything to be healed, for time and again I have gone through bewildering, excruciating pain. But looking back, I have seen God’s hand carefully guiding me along and usually I did not have the means for relief, much less a doctor bill! Rather than believe my heavenly Father unkind (it is impossible for Him to be unkind), I have been blessed by revelation that in my very afflictions I have come to know the Lord in an intimate way. One verse came to me at such a time. I was in horrible pain and suddenly the room was filled with God’s presence. There is no mistaking His presence when we are living in obedience to His will. And the verse came to me, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13).
I am thankful for this experience, for it kept me from error. But certainly I do not try to suffer. No child of God tries to suffer, but if, in the course of following God we do suffer, then we can be assured that God means it unto good! Satan, however, has used our very human desire to be free from pain to his advantage and has in many areas turned the emphasis in Christian lives upon the healing of the body rather than the sanctifying of the soul through the Spirit.
If we can be diligent in knowing God’s Word we will be safe. For the emphasis there (and it is the only place that counts) is not so much upon bodily healing - in fact, never upon bodily healing - but rather upon the saving and sanctification of the individual life. Regardless of satanic suggestion, we can never base our fellowship with god upon the fact that we have been healed physically. We can base it only upon the fact that Christ died for our sins and we have been saved and sanctified by God’s Spirit. This knowledge can save many a Christian from getting sidetracked and from “going away from the Lord also.”
With the reason for satan’s luring us away from the Lord through the health problem done with, let us go on into the second realm, the wealth problem. We all know that regardless of how much money we have, if we can’t eat our money won’t do us any good. And so food
and wealth are indispensable to one another.
Jesus knew this when He performed the miracle and fed the five thousand. He knew the heart of man and He knew that they would grab on to this miracle and use Him to solve their food problem. But He gave them bread anyhow. It was a test, and they failed.
But there was something more than bread that the multitude wanted. They wanted life to be free from care. They wanted to be able to have what they wanted when they wanted it. And if they stayed with this Man, they thought, they would have success in its highest sense.
It is this desire for success so that we may have a life free from cares about tomorrow that drives many a believer into the snare of satan. Playing upon this natural weakness in man, he comes in and counterfeits God’s work. I often wonder at the many “great works of God” that appear to be happening today. I see a rather hysterical activity, a putting forth of “the work,” and I wonder if satan has not quietly slipped in by the back door and diverted their minds from seeking Jesus Himself. Jesus did say that to seek Him for His works was not enough, and from God’s own Word we read that pure religion is to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27).
And then the last realm in which satan has lured Christians away from following Jesus is in the realm of worship. They (the multitudes) would have made Him King for His works and Jesus would have none of it. God alone is to be worshipped, yet in today’s Christian society we have lots of “people” worshippers. Or we have “idea worshippers.” It seems we are all bent on worshipping something other than Jesus Christ Himself.
Perhaps this is why the “Jesus Revolution” is going on.* Youngsters are kicking over the traces of traditional Christianity and are revolting. Yet in this very attitude satan can deceive them, too, and they can become just as orthodox in their lives as their parents are in theirs. The important thing is to sit down and take a good look at yourself and find out what your love for God means to you and how it affects your most private moments before you go around revolting. And we do not conform to the image of Christ by revolting against anyone or anything. We conform to the image of Christ of “knowing Him, and the power of His resurrection, AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS. . .” (Philippians 3:10)
How do we break that verse down into common sense living? First, knowing Him involves the experience of salvation from the guilt and penalty of our sin. Second, knowing
* This was a movement in the 1960’s and 70’s of the hippies.
the power of His resurrection involves the experience of daily cleansing of our sin by responding to the Holy Spirit’s convicting hand upon us. And third, the fellowship of His sufferings involves accepting without question all the things that come our way - the good times and bad times, the pain of loneliness, the bewilderment of loss, and the desertion of those whom we felt so near to us. Then Jesus would never have to ask us the penetrating question, “Will ye also go away?”
If you, as a believer, are finding your security in the fact that you enjoy physical fitness and so the Lord’s blessing must be upon you be sure that this is true. If you have good health it does not necessarily show God’s blessing on you.
If you are finding your security in the fact that you have plenty of “bread,” be very sure that every penny you possess is blessed by God. Sometimes we can make money without God’s approval.
Or if you are finding your security in the fact that you are a part of some great “movement,” and you have come close to idolizing the preacher rather than the Christ of the preacher, take a second look at your loyalties and get right before God.
I am so thankful that I have somehow escaped a path that leads to nowhere and am anticipating that Day when I can see Him face to face. It is such a wonderful life, knowing that there is nowhere else to go, but with Jesus. It is my fervent prayer that you, too, will cast aside every hindrance to such a life and begin to participate actively in the life of the Body of our Lord right here on earth until He comes!
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From the August, 1973 Wingspread
Ocean, wide flowing Ocean Thou,
Of uncreated Love;
I tremble as within my soul
I feel thy waters move.
Thou art a sea without a shore;
Awful, immense Thou art;
A sea which can contract itself
Within my narrow heart.
Author unknown - From The Divine Conquest by A.W. Tozer
Summer is upon us with a blast of heat and dry parched ground. We water almost every evening, but its impossible to water everything and the trees in the forest are showing heat stress, shedding their leaves. I know it’s hot everywhere. Thank God some of you have air conditioning.
Shirley and Ed just celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary. And Shirley had a birthday also. She thanks everyone for all the cards and letters she received. Its always nice to be remembered, and she had a good day.
The IRS is of course still breathing down our neck. Once they get a victim they don’t like to let go. So we will try to work out a payment plan with them. And the outcome of that is of utmost importance because how much we can do for our friends in prison will depend on the money that we are left with after our payments. We can either let this make us despondent, and loose faith, or we can use our faith and let God have an opportunity to work. Brian and Gail have been handling the paper work, meetings, etc, to do with all this, and they stand firm in their belief that we have done nothing wrong, and that God is on our side. The preachers of today teach us to just “claim it” and God will give it (whatever it is) to us. This is not true. Jesus said, “in this world ye shall have tribulation.” (John 16:33)
The cleaners I have faithfully done alterations for have changed owners and they decided not to give me any more work. This was a shock after 36 years, and having been there through many different ownerships. I can’t tell you how I felt, except it was like a bomb hit. I went to God for a Word. I wanted peace. All of us here live with the Word close to our heart and know it is God speaking, and that He has all the answers. I received two Words: “Think on me, Oh God, for good” (Neh. 5:19), and He possessed my reins (inward parts) and covered me in my mother’s womb.” (Ps. 139:13) These words saw me through the next few days, and now I know God meant it unto good. As soon as I recover from the eye surgery (which I will have had by the time you get this) I have another job waiting, which may be better for us all.
Some of you may know this, but for those of you who don’t know, H block and death row at McAlester, Oklahoma is under ground with no windows. The cells are literally a concrete box, and no fans are allowed. The air conditioning and heat “blows” when it “feels” like running and a great deal of the time the men are either smothering from the heat or just cold with stale air. I have seen God working in the hearts of some of the men there, and it is nothing short of a miracle of His grace.
The grace to accept our circumstances comes at a hard price to the self life in us. The “self” (who we are) wants control, freedom, to do as it wants, to not be told what to do. It is selfish, self centered and can become very angry and violent when crossed in its path to attain its own way.
Few people who claim to be Christians ever lay their own self on the alter. Death to self is a life long battle. Paul the apostle said, “I die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31), and in Philippians 4:11 he says “for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Thank God for Paul. He showed us the way from a prison cell, and I trust you can all learn from his life.
Prayer Requests for August, 2006
For Andre Barry at McAlester, Oklahoma, for a transfer to Oklahoma City.
For Tommy Hayes’ family in Lufkin, Texas, and for everyone at the Estelle Unit in Huntsville, Texas.
For Brother Peanut at Iowa Park, Texas, who has shingles.
For Joe Gomez at Lexington, Oklahoma.
For Michael Jones’ cousins, that “they each get their life together.”
For Willie Scott at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, for a time cut from the Governor.
For Clay Huff at Angola, Louisiana, that he will be able to endure the side affects of treatment he’s receiving.
For Randal Smith, McAlester, Oklahoma, that he feels better; and also that his sister starts writing to him.
For Willie Clark, Abilene, Texas, for a transfer to the Houston area to be near his family.
For Ponnell Buchanan’s daughter, for a safe and healthy baby delivery.
For Margaret, that she recovers from eye surgery on August 1st.
For Calvin Watkins at McAlester, Oklahoma, for a Christian girlfriend.
For Robert Heffernan, Brickeys, Arkansas, for DNA testing, a lawyer, and healing from a stroke he suffered.
For Dorothy Weese, Prairie Grove, Arkansas, who recently had heart surgery.
For Michael Small’s son, Derek, that he will come to know Christ.
For Calvin Huddleston at Menard, Illinois, that he gets his property back.
For Sister Ann and all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock.
For Everyone on H Block at McAlester, Oklahoma, that the air conditioning will stay on.
For the state of Israel. It’s the land that God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their generations for an inheritance forever.
For Margaret’s Uncle Arne in Sweden, for healing of his back. His back was injured while working in Africa as a missionary.
For Wingspread, that we will be able to work out a reasonable payment plan with the IRS, and for rain.
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