No Turning Back
By Billie Marie Zal
When we are truly born again of God’s Spirit we do not manipulate God and go about our own way. Life is never the same again. We begin to walk by faith, not by sight, and if the experience is real, the “old man” within us becomes a battleground where the forces of evil attack continually and never give up.
We are not “unearthly” people. We are human beings with the gift of eternal life; but never make the mistake of believing those who say, “Even if you sin after you are saved, God doesn’t see it. It’s all under the blood.”
Sin is an abomination to God and that is why He goes to so much trouble to bring us out of darkness into Light and set us free from every thought that is held captive by the evil one.
Like a bird caught in a snare, our minds can be caught and held by the enemy of souls until we live helpless and hopeless and never become true men and women of God. We lose the battle though we may limp into Heaven.
But we need not limp. We can march! Besetting sins are always present. We gain the victory over lying and we see another obnoxious quality spring forth. So how can we ever become victorious and reflect the image of God’s dear Son?
By dying. I have been listening to religious broadcasting a lot lately and I am alarmed by the omission of the message of the cross. We need to rejoice and be able to sing praises to God. But we also need to REPENT. As a Church (all of us being members of the One Body) we are failing miserably to keep the faith. And how can we keep the faith if we don’t know what the faith is? Repentance brings God into our immediate presence and in His presence there is infinite love which causes sorrow to fill our hearts because we KNOW we are not living in fellowship with Him.
When I was saved I ALMOST got into that easy belief that plagues the Church even today. I didn’t want it. I didn’t trust it. But it’s all I heard. “Just BELIEVE” and it’s done. Well, I believed, and it wasn’t done. I had a sin attitude (though after I was born again I didn’t act upon in) and I didn’t know what to do with it. I sought out other Christians - the mature ones. One man smiled sweetly at me and said, “My dear, whatever the sin is, just believe it’s done and it’s done. It doesn’t matter at all how you feel or what you do.” In other words, he was telling me that since I was born again God didn’t even SEE my sin. Because I was never satisfied with a halfway victory, I refused to accept his counsel and I “pressed forward” to the high calling which is pure FAITH.
But what is faith? I’ve heard messages all week on faith and the only ones that made sense and gave me the challenge to go on, never looking back, were preached by Gene Scott, a rather controversial man on the West Coast who has never compromised the Word of God to get converts or money. His language is sometimes coarse and he displays fits of anger, but behind the man there is a message that intensifies my desire to get to know God better and press on from faith to faith.
His message this week (though it was preached under great duress) concerned the persecution of his people and the attempt by satan to take away their church property and their satellite. My heart was warmed by his love for our God and his expression to stand and fight, even unto death, before he gave up on this obvious attempt to destroy his ministry.
We need that kind of preaching. I also read the book by A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, and every word he wrote during the fifties is coming to pass today. He mentioned the “great god of entertainment” and how, if Christians did not return to the faith of or fathers, it would eventually take over the Body of Christ and the Glory would depart.
It’s happened. I am alarmed in my spirit over the attempts to worship God by having fun. A couple spoke with me today and the man smiled and said, “You can’t tell the religious programs from the rock and rollers anymore.” And it’s true. I personally will not be drawn in by it. Never make the mistake of thinking that we serve a God who wants us to copy the world in it’s music, it’s songs, it’s actors and actresses, and it’s productions.
The saddest thing that ever happened to the Body of Christ was the pulling away from the holiness of God. While it is true that some people went to extremes in the “holiness” movement, I still worship a God before whom the angels veil their faces and none would dare to put Him in a mold where “contemporary music” makes Him comfortable. The old songs manifest His holiness.
We will never be perfect. Sin will rear it’s head every day of our life, but never should we give in to it. And that means you die - die to the old man within you. Die to every desire, every hope, every pattern you had established before you were saved. And perhaps-just perhaps, you will be a vessel that God can use.
We often mistake holiness for something in others that we can see. The Apostle Paul was not the kind of person who “looked holy.” He was probably the most earthly of men. He spoke emotionally, he loved, he hated, he felt despair, he felt victorious, he spoke harshly to his erring people, and he spoke with kindness. But he was never away from the faith in his God who had chosen him to reveal the mystery of the church to the world.
We need to read the life of this man, Paul, and get to know the God whom he gave his life for. In an age where we feel guilty if we are sick (we are told by the successful believers today that God never lets us be sick and we don’t have to be sick), it is difficult to love a
God who causes His grace to fall upon those who have found the formula for health, wealth and happiness, and leave us behind.
I don’t believe most of it. I suffered for years and years, and I never stopped believing that the day would come when I would be healed, if not on this earth, then in Heaven. But I didn’t blame God for being harsh with me. And I didn’t covet the health of others and feel left out. He has a path for each of us to walk and it leads to Calvary. Mine was a path of physical pain; I walked it, and in the walking sin after sin was dealt with and left behind. For me, there was no turning back.
We must define sin as believers. Sin, if premeditated, is obnoxious to God though it is true that it was all paid for at Calvary. But real faith in God causes us to be sensitive to the very things that were contained in the cup that His Son drank and which caused Him to turn His face away from Jesus and for a little while, forsake Him. So our faith brings us to the conclusion that it would be pretty cheap of us to continue in the very things that brought such agony to the Father and the Son . . . a separation because of sin.
From the moment that we put our trust in the finished work of Christ and say we “accept Him as our personal Savior” there can be no turning back. It isn’t a case of “maybe I will or maybe I won’t.” I MUST. God doesn’t play games with us. He keeps His Word and we must keep ours.
I am concerned that many of you are “adrift in the midst of a sea of circumstance” and you really don’t understand exactly what your “faith” is. I urge you to find out. It can make the difference in eternity, whether you spend it there in Heaven or in hell.
I want to share with you what God by His Spirit has taught me by bringing to my attention the words of Dr. Tozer concerning faith: “This generation of Christians must hear again the doctrine of the perturbing quality of faith. People must be told that the Christian religion is not something they can trifle with. The faith of Christ will command or it will have nothing to do with a man. It will not yield to experimentation. It’s power cannot reach any man who is secretly keeping an escape route open in case things get too tough for him. The only man who can be sure he has true Bible faith is the one who has put himself in a position where he cannot go back. His faith has resulted in an everlasting and irrevocable committal, and however strongly he may be tempted he always replied, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”
I fear there are many of you who read these words and who know that you have always left a secret escape route if your faith brings you into uncomfortable circumstances. Many of you play games. I’m not speaking just to men in prison, but you Christians in the free world. God is God and besides Him there is no other. And the day is coming soon that your faith will be tested in the fires of trial and terrors such as we have never known. If we have not practiced it, we will fail. I agree heartily with Dr. Tozer. With God, it is all or nothing. Do you have faith? I pray that you do. And God bless.
This has been a month when I have often looked up and repeated David’s prayer from Psalms 40:13: “Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me.”
Most of you know that we have had one trial after another the last few years. It started with God suddenly taking Billie home in 2003. A few months later it was the IRS, which is still ongoing. Then one of Brian’s credit cards was stolen and thousands of dollars racked up in charges. Then last fall he fell off a ladder and broke his leg, which led to no work all winter. During the time of his rehab and slow recovery we were all plagued with the breakdown of refrigerators, central air and heating units, car problems, and the failure of various other appliances and equipment. Then the ice storm, which beat every storm I have ever seen. The damage was devastating. The insurance adjuster assessed our damages at $30,000, but the company refused to pay our claim using a small print in the policy that excluded ice damage. Just this month we were able to get some of the kennel roofs repaired and most of the damaged limbs and trees out, but there will be more clean up to do this fall.
If all of this was not enough, Brian was laid off from his job a couple of weeks ago. He had worked at the same company for over 20 years and was supervisor over all of the workers in the tool room. He received no notice or warning that this was coming and I don’t know how they could have done that to him, but the mighty dollar rules over most of the population. The economy is in bad shape and there just isn’t much work for tool and die makers.
All of us are very aware of the fact clearly spoken of in Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The Apostle Paul then goes on to tell us in verses 13 thru 17 to take on the whole armor of God, above all the shield of faith. This life of commitment to God will always be spiritual warfare. God is a Spirit and He has put some of His Spirit in us, and the evil forces of satan will always hate and despise all that we stand for.
Then this week our Barney, the Chocolate Lab, became very ill. I sat on the floor with him one night waiting for the morning to come, so that we could take him to the vet. It was a long night. He spent 3 days and 2 nights at the hospital getting IV antibiotics, steroids, and fluids. He is home now and doing better, but he is not out of the woods yet. It is probably a serious tick disease, but could also be a blood disease. We will know more later this week when all the lab work comes back.
My sister and her husband came down from Illinois for a visit during this time, and I thank God for the timing of the visit. God knew I needed the love and cheering up of my sweet sister, and I thank them for coming. It helped get my mind off our troubles for a few days.
Billie began her message by telling how the “old man” or “the flesh” in us becomes a battleground and how we will be attacked by evil forces. This is true. I have heard Pastor Scott say, “God must love me a lot, all the tribulations He trusts me to endure.” Its His way of refining us, like He did to Job, and showing satan that in spite of the failures of mankind there are a few still left who love and trust Him, in spite of trials. And in the end, as the trials come, those few will come forth pure as gold.
Prayer Requests for June, 2009
For Robert Heffernan, Grady, Arkansas, that his case will get back into court soon; also for Robert’s health.
For Roger Best at McAlester, Oklahoma, for his health.
For Willie Clark, Iowa Park, Texas, that he’ll be able to visit with his son soon.
For Chris Harley & everyone at Florence, Arizona, that they will be allowed to have fans this summer. Also, Chris’ daughter, Andrea may have a leak in her aorta valve and she needs prayer.
For James Devers at Helena, Oklahoma, who is having pain in his lower back and legs.
For Jimmy Huff & his ministry in Colorado City, Texas.
For Michael Small’s son, Derek, that he will come back to the church. Michael is at Menard, Illinois.
For Freddie Lee Lott, Galesburg, Illinois, that his cancer stays in remission.
For Willie Scott at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, for his health and that he stays free of cancer.
For Bobby Linscombe at Iowa Park, Texas, that he’ll be released soon.
For Anthony Grayson, Comstock, New York, who is working on a new appeal.
For Frank Williams, Jr., Death Row, Grady, Arkansas. The State Supreme Court is deciding his case.
For Sister Ann & all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock.
For Willie Harper at Joliet, Illinois, that he stays “cancer free.”
For Pastor Scott and her ministry (The University Network) in Los Angeles.
For all of us at Wingspread, especially for Brian, that he will find a good job soon.
Tozer on Tozer
“Some of my friends good humouredly - and some a little bit severely - have called me a “mystic.” Well, I’d like to say this about any mysticism I may suppose to have. If an archangel from heaven were to come, and were to start giving me, telling me, teaching me, and giving me instruction, I’d ask him for the text. I’d say, “Where’s it say that in the Bible? I want to know.’
“And I would insist that it was according to the scriptures, because I do not believe in any extra-scriptural teachings, nor any anti-scriptural teachings, or any sub-scriptural teachings. I think we ought to put he emphasis where God puts it, and continue to put it there, and to expound the scriptures, and stay by the scriptures.’
“I wouldn’t - no matter if I saw a light above the light of the sun, I’d keep my mouth shut about it ‘til I’d checked with Daniel and Revelation and the rest of the scriptures to see if it had any basis in truth. And if it didn’t, I’d think I’d just eaten something I shouldn’t have, and I wouldn’t say anything about it. Because I don’t believe in anything that is unscriptural or that is anti-scripture.”
A. W. Tozer
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