A Sorry State of Affairs
By Billie Marie Zal
When I was a little girl, my Daddy would often say, “This is a sorry state of affairs.” His remark could be directed to the matter of politics, society, or even things going on in our family. But he was always right. And when he said these words, it meant that he would do what he could to set things straight.
He was a direct man, saying what he thought; and this didn’t win him any popularity contests. We never win when we are direct and speak the Truth. Eventually, maybe - the martyrs of old have been proven right in their refusal to compromise their love for God and lose their lives.
But usually we go along, accepting ridiculous things and not saying a word to contradict what goes on. Everyone wants to be liked, to be accepted, to belong to the crowd.
That is a normal desire for those who have never tasted of the glory of God, His power, and His Spirit. It’s normal for those who have never known what it means to see oneself laid bare before almighty God, to go blithely to Him, with the sinner’s prayer, “Oh Jesus, I have sinned. I am sorry for my sins. I ask you to come into my heart. Now I am saved.”
This prayer is not the prayer of a sinner who has seen himself in the light of his own conscience and whose life is laid bare and ugly and putrefying to a Holy God. It is not the prayer of a moral leper who KNOWS he has no hope in himself, he is “clean undone,” and he needs a Savior from the surety of the wrath of God that comes against sin, whose blood removes him from that iniquity of uncleanness, and expiates his sin. This happens ONLY when that individual moral leper realizes that he is lost, helpless, hopeless and can make no deals with Almighty God. And when this does happen, and the man is saved - really saved - there will be no more foolishness or playing around with sin in whatever form it takes in the human heart.
There is a Savior who not only saves from the judgment of sin (which judgment Jesus Christ took upon Himself, suffering the wrath of God Himself for us) but also from the guilt and the penalty of sin. If we are saved, we no longer sin willfully, or deliberately. We hate sin. We want deliverance at any cost and it costs everything. Salvation is free but sanctification costs us the thing we all love most in this world: ourselves.
And so today things are in a sorry state, and no one lifts a voice to cry out against the spiritual mess in which we find ourselves.
It is my habit to surf the channels to try and find even one good message - when I say good, I mean one that hit’s the core of sin in a heart, and gives it a jolt big enough to want to let it go. I hear all about how good God is. And He is good, He is the only One who is good, the Bible says. But what does the speaker mean when he says over and over, God is good?
God does not give us whatever we want. It’s popular today (another evidence of the sorry state of affairs) to say that the believer can “agree” with someone else on earth and get it done in heaven and receive whatever he asks.
Not so! If we are spiritually minded and have not been brain washed by popular evangelism, we know that we can never get whatever we want, or ask, if it conflicts with God’s will for our lives. Being selfish individuals, we often make ourselves little gods and go around “commanding” God to do this or that. Or we “command” satan to go, not realizing the tremendous power he has, which he obtained legally when he caused Eve to cause Adam to sin.
He is a powerful being and I shudder at the thought of how he must laugh when he hears these “commands” from individuals who have never gotten rid of the basic sins, let alone the big ones. The verse, “Greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world” is also grossly over used. Of COURSE Christ is greater than satan but who can truthfully say at any given time of the day that he or she is in full fellowship with the Holy Spirit, that there is no known sin in his life, grateful to serve God at any cost? Not many.
So if these facts are not true concerning our fellowship with the Holy Spirit, then we cannot “claim” that Scripture and assure ourselves that God is in control. Unless at some specific time or other, one has given Him total authority and control with no excuses or arguments, over his daily life, then one cannot feel safe, using that verse for protection.
Another situation must please the devil very much. Isolated texts are taken out of
context, and we are assured that if we are saved then our house will be saved. I have seen houses that were not saved, yet the one in authority was godly and obviously a lover of Jesus Christ and His Word. We forget that God saves INDIVIDUALS and each human being on earth is responsible for his own standing with God Almighty. We cannot save another human being, or we would be taking away the glory of the cross of Christ and God’s great and eternal plan of salvation.
If I have children in my family, I can be faithful to God, keeping His Word and obeying whatever He asks of me. But my children, being taught of Him, will either receive His life or reject Him. We have choices. My only prayer for my son was, “Oh God, let me live before you so obediently that my prayers for my son will never be hindered, and one day, too, will see You and know You are who You say that You are.” If I lived an ungodly life, no matter how much I love my son and pray for him, my prayer would not get through to the highest heavens, where Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of the Father, and makes intercession for us.
Do parents realize that this is the ONLY way they can get through to God for their children? I don’t think so. When I was first saved, or received the new life in Christ, I was amazed when I saw Christian parents catering to the needs of their children, whether the need was right in God’s sight or not.
I was amazed when I met Christian women who longed for their daughters to make the cheer leading squad, or even groom them to become a future “Miss America.” It doesn’t seem possible that Christian parents could believe that such an activity could possibly be the will of God. No use to argue, but if asked I speak the truth. It’s a sorry state of affairs when a child is groomed to love self, self, self and never give a thought to the needs of the world. God’s heart is sad.
There are so many other texts that are systematically used to obtain money for “the work.” God’s Word is clear on the subject, if we live by the Apostle Paul’s Gospel which is the Gospel for the Church today. He never asked for funds, nor did he expect others to pay for his service to God. He didn’t even like to take up a collection for the poor, and instead instructed the collection to be made before he came. I never have seen a word to justify the frantic begging for money to come in that I hear on every Christian station today. Years ago, when one minister first began his ministry he made a public claim that he would never, never ask for funds. He said that God had shown him that whatever he received would be from God, and that was to be the way God works.
I agreed at the time. But today his messages end with an urgent request for more money so that more people can be saved. And so the urging for money goes on. If I replied with a gift to every ministry from whom I receive a request, we would not have enough for our daily bread. God’s people no matter where they are will hear His voice. In the darkest forests of Africa many years ago a young African, the son of the chief of his tribe, was captured and held captive by the enemy. They bound him with poisonous vines and sent word for a ransom.
One night, while this young man was in captivity, a great light shone in the forest and the vines which confined him were broken. He heard the word to flee, and he did. He ran and ran and had no light except for a miraculous light which shone on the path before him, guiding him through the jungle away and out of that place.
He found himself finally in the village where missionaries lived and they told him about God, about the salvation that Christ won for us, and he was born again. He was not satisfied however with just the salvation experience and he asked to learn about the Holy Spirit. They told him there was a school in the United States were he could learn about the Holy Spirit and he got on a cargo ship and they sailed for America. When they asked him what bunk he would want, he said, “the one nobody else wants.”
The men on the ship derided him and mocked him, but he stood and loved them. And by the time the ship arrived in New York, every man on that ship was saved.
There were no TV stations, no satellites, nothing but the Spirit of God who chose to reach down and set this young man free. God can use our means of reaching people but if we fail Him, He can do it all by Himself. We cannot take credit for so great a salvation and His Word says over and over, “He that hath ears to hear let him hear.” If a person is seeking God, no matter where he is, God will surely find him. And God will reveal Himself to him.
Do we need preachers, then? Yes. The Word says, “How shall they hear without a preacher?” But if the preachers are full of self, and of unforgiving sins which they refuse to confess, then their message falls deaf on the ears of those who hear. The Holy Spirit must have the preeminence and that is why those who claim to know and love and serve God must clean up the filthy places and start over. God forgives us seventy times seven, so it is never His fault that we die with unconfused and unforgiving sins in our lives and thereby lose our rewards and the place that we could have had in eternity with Him. We will get there, but with what loss.
There is another Word which preachers seldom mention. It Is a fearful Word and it says
in effect that when a person or God’s own people don’t WANT to hear and obey the Truth, then He places a judicial blindness upon their hearts and they CANNOT HEAR OR SEE. This is an awful judgment and the true lovers of the Lord Jesus never cause it to happen. But to those who want to live the so called good life down here and make it to heaven, the following Scriptures affirm that God can and does send down a blindness so that one cannot hear or see: Matt. 13:14; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:20; John 12:40; Acts 28:26, 27 and Rom. 11:8.
Eventually, according to God’s Word, the Church Herself will be purged and refined. Right now we are living in captivity to the world. All of the revivals we see and hear about won’t matter to God. It is the individual heart that He scans with His penetrating, all consuming Light, and when we stand before Him, there will be no excuses. We will be naked and alone, and we will accept our gains or losses because He is God.
Throughout the many, many years of my service to God, I have seen “movements” come and go. I have rejoiced each time, hoping and praying that the Church had come to her senses. But she hasn’t. While the church dances and sings and attends conferences and healing campaigns and revivals and camps, our precious Holy Spirit stands outside the camp, as He did of old when sin came to its fullest and God’s people went into captivity.
He stands and asks his people of old inviting those who love Him to forsake their idolatries and speak out for Him while there is yet time.
As in the days of His first advent, Williams has often said in his commentary, ceremonial zeal is seen everywhere, but the weightier matters of the Law (in our case, as members of His Body, the law of Christ) which are justice, judgment, and mercy are disregarded.
We will pay for the refusal to have compassion on the widows, the fatherless, and yes - even those in prison who have committed murder and yet who are as clean and new as the brightest star if they have repented and been forgiven. We are murdering our brothers and sisters in prison, whether we like to call it that or not. And God waits, and His heart is sad.
We accumulate wealth when the Bible forbids it, we make idols of our businesses, our bodies, our homes, our children. We forget in our hurry to get all that we can in this world that-like God’s people - judgment is promised in that coming “day” when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven in flaming fire (2 Thess. 1), he will judge every thing and everyone (2 Thess. 1:12), those of us who are proud and lofty, arrogant, and self sufficient.
George Williams comments on these passages, as follows: “The great and haughty, the proud governments, likened in high mountains and lofty hills (v.14), with their standing armies (v. 15), their navies (v. 16) and their idols (v. 18) shall be utterly destroyed.
Those of us who are faithful to God’s Word and who are blessed enough to be caught up in the Rapture won’t have to go through this horrible time. But be careful in your life. God’s Word will not be nullified nor besmirched with filth. And remember, you are a living testimony to the Life which you say dwells within you: the very Life of God.
I would urge anyone who reads my words to stop and take account now of how you stand with the living God. I am ever aware of His majesty, His honor, His awesome ability to know me and know my thoughts and my heart. I long to please Him, to let Him so live through me that those of you who have never once given your life back to Him will think seriously of what the future holds for you. I only pray that you will, by your own volition, seek Him with all of your hearts - not only those of you who are saved, but those who are NOT. There isn’t a lot of time left.
Originally published in February, 2000.
We have made it through another year. It was a year that will no doubt go down in history because of all the tragic events all over the world. Is God giving us a taste of things to come? All we know is that “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5:9)
I think it’s a good thing to start the new year with a “tough” newsletter. It’s long, so there was not much space for news notes.
We do thank all of you for the cards and gifts. We received so many cards this year and are thankful to you all. We had a good Christmas, and we were able to send a gift to every inmate that had been in touch with us throughout the year. This is important. It is the grace of God that enables us to do anything. Do not treat His grace lightly because it is the love of God in us that cares.
Happy New Year from us all.
Prayer Requests for January, 2006
For Karen Griffin at McCloud, Oklahoma, who has a spot on her liver.
For rain in all of Oklahoma, requested by Johnnie Dunnum of Lexington, Oklahoma.
For the family of Thomas Bible. Thomas is at Menard, Illinois.
For Nolan Holland’s Dad and family. His father is very sick.
For Robert Heffernan at Tucker, Arkansas, for an attorney and DNA testing.
For Barry McClure’s Grandfather who has slight dementia.
For Marshall Ellis’ friend on death row in Alabama who hasn’t much time left on his appeals.
For Keith Christie at Granite, Oklahoma, and for everyone at Granite, that there will be peace there.
For Lester Warren at Lawton, Oklahoma, that he will find a good job.
For Randal Smith at McAlester, Oklahoma, that he will get to see his family soon; also that he will be transferred to Lexington, Oklahoma.
For Tommy Hayes & everyone at the Estelle Unit in Huntsville, Texas.
For David Painter’s Mother, for her heart.
For Ronald Pearson at McAlester, Oklahoma, that he will get his GED.
For Calvin Huddleston’s Sister who was shot in the back.
For the Carmelite Sisters in Little Rock.
For Wingspread, and for rain on our mountain.
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