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  July, 2003 Wingspread

      LEARNING TO ENDURE HARDSHIPS
     
      By Billie Marie Zal
     
     
      It's a really hot summer day, but we needed some hot days; there was too much rain during May and June, and we are thankful for that. But the flowers didn't "take off" until the past few days when the sun is really shining. Rodney had to water our little "Missy's" flower garden which we planted over her grave out back..
     
      That little dog was so precious. She was born severely handicapped but she was so tough.
     A lady gave her to me. She raised Cairn Terriers and when Missy was born, she recognized that she had "hydro encephalitis" and she was going to kill her. I heard about it and went and got Missy. She had an over sized head (fluid on the brain) and was off color for a Cairn Terrier, but she looked at me and I could never have not done everything possible to let her live.
     
      The vet shook his head and said she'd never make it. She also had a herniated rectum which was so painful. I had to get surgery for her, and it hurt me deeply to see her so much in pain but I held her a lot and she felt safe. She never complained.....she was not much bigger than my hand and yet she survived the surgery and was so very brave. I knew if something could not be done about her head, she would die. But the vet would not operate.
     
      One day her hernia began to reappear and I couldn't bear it; I just knelt down immediately and said, ‘FATHER, PLEASE........" I didn't rebuke the devil, or remind God of His promises, I just said, "Father, Please...." And He knew my heart and how hurt I was for this precious little creature. And I felt Missy JUMP as though something had gone through her.(I had my hand on her when I prayed).
     
      I looked down at her, and her hernia was GONE, and so was the enlarged head.....the fluid had disappeared instantly.
     
      When I eventually took her in to our vet, he was shocked. I told him what happened and he just shook his head. He had not expected her to survive over a few weeks.
     
      Well, Missy lived to be ELEVEN YEARS OLD, and never had another time of trouble with the hernia, and her head remained normal. God had healed her and she had a wonderful life surrounded by love and FOOD. She could never get enough to eat and I would go ahead and feed her even when I knew she had enough. Later, after she died, the vet told me she had a thyroid condition which makes a person hungry day and night. I am glad I let her eat, she lived out her sweet little life anyhow. And now she is buried in the garden out back, near our back door. And beautiful flowers cover her grave and remind Rodney and me how blessed we were to have this little girl for all those years. Rodney only had her for two years or so, she died year before last----but she adored him, and likewise.
     
      I just saw a snake out back.....he was on our back walk, probably looking for frogs since I have water dishes out for the frogs. He sneaked beneath the big crack in the concrete wall and Rodney sprayed some insect repellant to discourage him from returning. I don't know what kind he was, but I believe he was a young black snake. I'd probably be alarmed if I could see all that goes on in our animal kingdom during the night.
     
      Our cat Bruno, who is one tough guy, decided he would spend the night inside with us last night. He could hear fire crackers going off and evidently when he raised himself alone in the forest before he found me, he has been shot at. He is one smart cat, he learned to survive as a kitten and he claimed our yard, driveway, and home and the flower gardens as HIS TURF and nothing comes around anymore except of course the wood chucks, the raccoons, and the possums. He walks right past them and takes no notice of them. I used to have a cat who would eat right alongside the possums. She was a precious little female and she lived to be 18 years old. She, too, raised herself in the forest and would not come inside so I'd fix her a box on my front porch with a heating pad and blanket and she loved it during the cold winter days and nights. God has blessed us here with so much of His creation and we thank Him for sending them to us when everything else is being destroyed by "progress" in this area.
     
      We live in what they call a "metro-plex" which includes Fayetteville, Springdale, and Rogers Arkansas. We are so thankful to have this 40 acre plot of total seclusion from all the building and tearing down of the beautiful forests that were here before all the growth began. We live only 11 miles from Fayetteville and after they put in the new by-pass a few years ago, we are only 25 minutes from Springdale and maybe 30 minutes from Rogers, so we are right in the middle of it all, and yet no one can move in on us in any direction. It's wonderful and we have kept the trees and we have a small pond up above us for the frogs, fish, water birds, etc. It used to be my horse Rosie's favorite place, beside that pond. She is buried there, in a beautiful grave.
     
      I feel sad that this area is becoming exactly like what happened in southern California when one city would meet another, and the entire area was ruined concerning fresh air, etc. We intend to keep everything as it is when God takes us HOME. I found out that we can legally set up the 40 acres as a protected environmental area and no one can ever touch it.....it will belong to God forever.
     
      Sometimes I feel like Moses must have felt when he was just outside the promised land. He was not permitted by God to enter in. God had to give him a reason for not letting him enter in after he had traversed the desert for 40 years with some 3 million rebellious people. Once Moses got angry and God had told him to strike a rock for water once.......and Moses struck it two or three times. Bible scholars say this is why Moses did not get to "enter in" but I believe that Moses represented the LAW and the promised land, Canaan, represents grace.....so the LAW could not enter in. Our promised land is Heaven, so we stand here and wait, and live as though we have already entered in. And we are protected and loved by the One who created this plot of ground eons ago. Gail said wouldn't it be wonderful if one day after we are caught up either in physical death or the rapture, and God's Kingdom is set up in Jerusalem, we could come back here and see this place which is so sacred to all of us. Maybe we can---we will have our glorified bodies, and it wouldn't take time to come back.
     
      I remember the lady who sold the place to us telling me about the angels here. She was sitting way out back meditating, and she heard voices which sounded musical and yet she could not understand the language. She looked up and all around this place at tree top level were white robed figures, and they were speaking an unknown language. I knew when she told me that the angels would be here and perhaps were discussing our arrival. It was just before we signed the papers to buy the place. So it's a peaceful and sacred place for us.
     
      One night long ago I remember when funds were so low and I didn't know what to do, I just went outside late at night, and I found a large stone. I put it down by the driveway entrance and I put my foot upon it, held my hands up to Heaven and told my Father in Heaven that no matter what, I would never leave this place or give up on it. It belonged to Him and it would be a place where His Holy Spirit could "rest the sole of His foot."
     
      As I prayed, a soft wind began to blow, and it gained in strength and I knew that this was God's good pleasure. He had a people, a witness, and a land on earth and one day He would tell His Son to sound the trumpet and call us HOME. We feel so privileged to "occupy this land till He comes."
     
      I am often reminded that God expects us to love Him with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. He put us here, in the midst of the world/system, to live out His love toward others and become one of the local bodies of His dear Son's church. We are not spoiled by God; He never spoils His children, instead He gives us chastenings that we might learn to forget about self gratification and instead, "follow Him."
     
      We cannot expect the love and favor of the world. And by the World, I do not mean the world that does not recognize and follow Christ. I mean the religious world. I was talking with Brian today and he has been hospitalized and very ill for a month, and I said, "Brian, when this is all over, you will discover that you have a deeper dedication to the will of God, and you will thank Him."
     
      He replied, "Billie, I had no idea of how little compassion I had for others who are helpless and sick, until this happened to me. I have compassion now, because I experience their helplessness, and I have a different attitude now in my heart."
     
      This is why God chastens us---not for any kind of ""punishment" but for our spiritual growth and for His Glory. After all, He is God. Men can say He does not exist, and preachers can misrepresent Him and tell the crowds that He wants to give them money, health, etc. But God's Word is sure and IF we want to become like His dear Son, we accept the chastening with patience and love and gratitude that we are counted worthy to be refined and made pure .We live out these last days on our little plot of earth,& we pray that God WILL be glorified and there WILL be those individuals who will "stand in the gap" for the church which fails to live out His Word, and that our lives, when scrutinized by God's Holy Fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ, will be counted worthy to receive the rewards for those whom He says will come to those who love Him.
     
      We might THINK that we love Him, but the test comes when we are low on funds, circumstances suddenly come to us which deplete our budgets, take away the hope of a "store" and are often sick and lonely. It is at such times that we know that YES---we do love Him, we do trust His work in our lives, and we do KNOW beyond a doubt that He is well pleased with us. Once---many years ago----I was being attacked by one who was possessed of the devil. I refused to show any fear, and instead I said, "You can kill me, but it will be your loss. I will go to Heaven and you will go to Hell."
     
      Then I said, "I have the favor of God." I was shocked at the response of the evil spirit who spoke back to me. This Spirit began to laugh---an eerie, unearthly laugh and with a voice filled with disgust the spirit said, "You have favor of God???" Then the laughing started and went on and on. I praised God that the demonic spirit within that human being, was so disgusted that someone actually possessed the favor of God and all he could do was ridicule and leave.
     
      I thank God for this wonderful realization that God owns us, He shows us favor no matter what happens, and we have the certainty of living with Him forever and ever. Make sure that you have this same confidence, and the joy will set you free from fear of losing favor with the world.
     
     PRAYER REQUESTS: FOR: Ronald Dean Williams in prison at Joliet, Ill. His little brother was shot & killed. He asks special prayer for the family & for himself. FOR: Tommy Hayes, at a camp in Arkansas, as his DNA is checked to prove his innocency. FOR: Richard Russell, OSP, (Ok.). He asks all of us to pray that God will soften his mother's heart & she will write to him. He hasn't heard from her in 12 years. FOR: Jody Ross at OSP. He asks prayer for his mom & Dad who were in a bad auto accident. He also asks that God will make a way for him to go to a camp where he can complete a drug program. Jody also asks prayer for his two brothers, Kevin Holden at OSP & for Cody Ross, at Lexington C.C. (Ok.) FOR:That the gang fights will stop at OSP as the hot weather begins & things get out of hand. God loves these boys, and can give them a way to find a better solution to their problems than fighting. FOR: Cedric Brumfield, at OSP as he asks us to pray that their family can have unity in the faith. FOR: Russell Forrest at a camp in Teague, Tx. He asks all of us to keep his wife & family in our prayers & that his marriage can be saved. FOR: Jeff Burns, at Jess Dunn at Taft, Ok.. He asks our prayers for his Mom's healing of cancer & that he might find favor with the court when he comes up for parole in Feb. 2004. FOR: David Beasley's 16 yr. Old daughter that God will heal her and show the physicians what is wrong with her. He calls her his "little angel." FOR; Tony Trevino & his cell mate Charles Green, that they might be faithful to God's will in some hard circumstances. They are at the Robertson Unit at Abilene, Tx. & PRAY FOR US on our mountain For Jimmy Huff's ministry in helping the children of prisoners who cannot send presents to their kids at Christmas. He's at 125 S. Main #13, Loraine, Tx 79532.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     




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