March, 2004 Wingspread - Here Comes Trouble!
By Billie Marie Zal
A prophet is never welcomed by Christians who do not want to hear the Truth and obey it. I read once that the life of a prophet is a lonely and a dangerous one, and I pondered on that statement. I do not ponder anymore. It is true. In a world that is fast being immersed in total darkness the Truth is repugnant to those who want to stand with one foot in the world and with one foot in the Church.
We need prophets today, BOLD prophets who let nothing stand in the way of speaking God’s truths without fear.
Jeremiah, often called “the weeping prophet” (and I know why now) was one such man. He was the son of Hilkiah, who was the high priest during the reign of Josiah, King of Judah. He was commissioned at a very young age by God Himself, for God said to him, “Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).
Even though Jeremiah protested (imagine protesting God!), still God encouraged and comforted him with the words, “Be not afraid of their faces; for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 1:8). Then the Lord touched Jeremiah’s mouth and gave him his commission: to root out, pull down, destroy, and throw down all that was false and idolatrous among God’s people.
Who wouldn’t be afraid? But then Jeremiah was promised by God that he would be “like a defenced city and iron pillar, brasen wall around the whole land, the King of Judah, the priests, and the princes and the people.”
From then on, every time Jeremiah spoke, people said, “Here comes trouble.” He said things (to the priests, princes, and people), like, “How shall I pardon thee for this? (God speaking through Jeremiah) Thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods; when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlot’s houses.
“They were like fed horses in the morning, every one neighed after his neighbor’s wife.
“Shall I not punish for these things? Said the Lord; and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” (Jeremiah 5:7-9). Jeremiah was to pay dearly for all these words which he spoke in God’s name.
He was ridiculed, hated, forsaken, and put into a cesspool up to his arm pits. But he prevailed because of the anointing of Almighty God upon his life and his commission. He has been a comfort to me in times when I felt I could not go on. But his faithfulness permeated my being, and I determined to stand and speak as he did. By God’s grace and anointing, I have.
Jeremiah’s life was never a happy one. Joy is one thing; happiness is quite another and comes usually from self gratification. He was willing to suffer with the people to whom God had sent him, and all of his earlier prophecies came true when he warned the people that unless they repented of their sins their
cities would be destroyed. We cannot blame God for what happened. He had a faithful prophet who warned them; they refused to listen and Jerusalem fell in 586 B.C. Jeremiah was given the choice by King Nebuchadnezzar (king of Babylon) of going on to Babylon where he would have an easier life, or of staying with the poor remnant of his own people. And he chose to stay. Later on, the people refused to stay in Jerusalem and went to Egypt, taking Jeremiah with them. He probably died in Egypt.
In a day when the Church is wanting the gifts of God rather than the teaching of the Cross, we would wonder why Jeremiah did not have “success.” We are taught that we should have the best; we are the King’s children and we have the right to have health, wealth, and the good things of life. All of us are prone to want these things, and certainly God does heal, and He does provide. I was healed during a vision one night in 1985, just prior to my call and anointing to the prison work. But we cannot dictate to God, nor demand that He do what we want Him to do. Jesus told us, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” But seeking the kingdom is costly and flesh must die. We do not gain it in a day or a year or even many years because we are fleshly creatures and need to learn how to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice unto God.
Self love hinders the kingdom of God and until self love diminishes and begins to go, we cannot know the God of holiness and love as we should.
But as we grow, and as we speak, we suffer want. Once I attended a PTA meeting and when I walked in, I sat down and later on I noticed that at least two to three chairs all around me were vacant and I had been isolated. Thinking it must be a coincidence I later on had a Bible study meeting at my home ( each person in the church was to hold a study once a week in different homes) and I baked and cooked and cleaned and waited expectantly for the people to come. Only the pastor came. I realized then that God had His hand upon me, and I must not feel bitter or forsaken but rather rejoice that I had been touched by Him and my life would be a testimony to others. What had happened was, that there had been a vote as to whether or not dances should be held in the church basement every week. I voted no. Everyone else voted yes. Also, I was asked to resign my “spiritual life” position for the group.
Did I hurt? Of course I did! I loved the people there. I saw their need and their hurts. But I was removed. I had not condemned dancing. People can dance if they want to. But God’s Word is sure; His place of worship should be just that: a place of worship. I do not know when the recreation part came into the church, but somewhere along the way, God was lacking a prophet and all the barriers fell down and the Body of Christ became like ordinary people.
But as members of Christ’s Body, we are NOT ordinary people. Why else would Jesus have given us the Beatitudes? Listen to His commandments to us: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven . . .” (Matthew 5:44-45).
Not until we display the obedience to these commands are we able to be bold prophets and speak the Truth, no matter what it costs. Jesus Christ is our model Prophet. We are always hearing about “peer pressure.” Why not let God give us the boldness to stand strong and alone in the midst of a perverse and wicked generation? Why not? It may cost us everything. It usually does, but what about the glory that awaits us in Eternity when all that we are here declares what we shall be there?
We need to be people of the Cross. Suffering is inevitable, and though we don’t like to suffer, if we
submit to the working of the cross in our lives, we learn to count it all joy because we know that we are headed for Glory and if we suffer with Christ now, we reign with Him when His kingdom is set up.
Elisha the prophet was a man whom people living a lie sought to avoid. Truth makes us feel guilty if we don’t want to quit sin. Anyhow, when the Syrians went against Israel they captured a little maid and the king of Syria chose her to wait on his wife. This happened for the glory of God; for the king of Syria had leprosy and the little maid testified to her mistress: “Would God that my lord (king of Syria) were with the prophet in Samaria! For he would recover him from his leprosy” (2 Samuel 5:3).
Of course this word was picked up and got to the king of Syria. So he decided to write the king of Israel and tell him that he would be coming to the king to be recovered of his leprosy (He also sent gifts to the king of Israel, possibly thinking it would give him a better chance of healing).
But when the letter arrived (by the hand of the king of Syria’s servant), the king of Israel really blew up. He rent his garments (a sign of helplessness and sorrow) and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? Wherefore, I consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me” (2 Kings 5:8). In other words, the king of Israel figured that this was a set up.
However, there was the prophet Elisha (“Here comes trouble”) who heard that the king had rent his garments, and he sent word to the king saying, “Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? Let him now come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel” (2 Kings 5:8). It is significant here that the prophet asked for nothing. His only desire was for King Naaman, the Syrian, to KNOW that God still had a prophet in Israel.
Israel’s king, thankful to get off the hook, got the word to King Naaman to come to Elisha’s house, so the king came with his chariots (today it would be limousines) and waited outside.
A prophet of God is never impressed by pomp and power. Elisha did not even come outside. Instead he sent word to Naaman to “go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come unto thee again, and thou shalt be clean” (2 Kings 5:10).
Naaman had a temper tantrum. He had already assumed that Elisha would come out, put his hand on him and call on the name of the Lord and recover him. But God does not bow to the will of any man. So Naaman went away “in a rage” saying that the rivers of his country were far better than the Jordan.
His servants, however, wanted him healed and they urged him to do what the prophet had said. Naaman conceded to them (he wanted healing more than to save his pride at the moment) and he went down and dipped seven times in the River Jordan. The Bible tells us, “And his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (2 Kings 5:14).
The king was grateful. Imagine being healed from leprosy! He went back to Elisha’s house “with all of his company” and he gave testimony to his belief that “Now I know that there is no other God in all the earth, but in Israel. . .” (2 Kings 5:15). Then he offered a “blessing” to Elisha. In other words, he would pay Elisha for what God had done. In today’s Christian society it is called sowing a seed to the man or ministry that gets the miracles for us. But Elisha was a true prophet of God. He had no time for such things. He refused the gifts and sent the king of Syria on home. He wanted the king to know God’s gift was free.
Elisha’ servant, however, had not learned the lesson of obedience, and without telling his master Elisha, he ran after the king of Syria and said in effect that Elisha had changed his mind. So he received two talents of silver and two changes of garments and went back and stood before Elisha.
A true prophet of God sees through people. For his mind is cleansed and sanctified by God, and he knows the thoughts of men. So, when Gehazi, Elisha’s servant got back, he asked Gehazi where he had been. Gehazi, at this very moment, had the opportunity to confess his sin and to repent. But he lied. He said, “Nowhere.”
Then the prophet said, “Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive groves, and vineyards, and sheep and oxen and menservants and maidservants?
“The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee and unto thy seed forever. And he (Gehazi) went out from his presence a leper white as snow” (2 Kings 5: 26-27).
We need such prophets today in the body of Christ. It is a fact that we are being taught that it is already a “time for receiving” and we are to live as though the Kingdom is already come upon the earth. This is spiritual deception at its worst, for in this manner satan comes in with his fallen angels and deceives and permeates the Church with his false doctrines.
I wish the Kingdom had already been set up. I hurt when people fall away whom I love. I hurt when expenses exceed our income. I hurt when people look up and you KNOW they are thinking, “HERE COMES TROUBLE!” I hurt when people I love refuse to receive the discipline of God’s Spirit and “choose the beggarly elements of this world” rather than the HEAVENLY riches of God’s Son.
But I will never dispute God’s governmental order and “go after the king of Syria” (wicked spirits in heavenly places who can give me what I need) thus letting men think they can buy the gifts and healings of God. I read in a book written by a man who suffered seventeen years in a prison (Communist) that the only reason we have jobs is to give it back to God (what we earn). He did not mean that people were to suffer want if they gave. He meant that the Body of Christ is One, and we are to “have all things common.” The Church failed to follow through on this Word and so has fallen into decay.
We are seeing miracles today. Jesus worked miracles in His earthly ministry and the people came and they listened to His teaching, and they received His miracles, but He did not receive their hospitality. When the thousands were to be fed the disciples told Him they didn’t have anything to buy food with (We are told today that Jesus Had a home and a bank account). So Jesus Himself met the need and worked the miracles of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Yet, when the “fragments” of the bread were picked up for the disciples there were only twelve baskets full. Jesus was forgotten. He always is. And He will be, until that blessed day when His Kingdom is set up on earth.
May I, as His servant, NEVER concede to the enemy who whispers to me, “Give it up! You’re nothing but TROUBLE!” And I praise Him for the grace to stand.
From the July, 1991 Wingspread
WHO AM I?
By Billie Marie Zal
January, 1992 - from Vol. XXVI No.I
The forest is quiet with the winter nothingness of sounds. Trees stand bare against the sky. Once in a while a muted birdsong caresses a breeze. The pond lies still and green beneath a cover of algae. And I rejoice!
The God who made this forest, and birdsong, and trees that can sing, and green water, also made me.
I am reminded of the Word, “Who is man that thou are mindful of him?” And who am I? A little creature in a huge swirl of creation, living out endless days and waiting for what? For SOMETHING!
If only I could tell. But who can tell? Where was I when my Father measured out the heavens and set the stars in place? Or when He held the waters in the hollow of His hand, and set limits to the ocean’s boundaries, that they might go so far and no farther.
Or where was I when He made the wildflowers, and the creatures that live in the snowy Arctic, as well as in the fiery jungles of Africa?
I was nowhere. But I was somewhere. I was in the heart and the mind of God. I was planned, and with one breath He drew me out of many waters and gave me entrance into a world that has all but forsaken Him.
For this I praise Him! And so I will stand in the gap and make up the hedge. I will bear the brunt of the enemy’s attacks and bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ. I can do that for Him. I will wait with Him this one last hour.
Are there others? Probably, I do not know. But it is worth it all even now, in the midst of trouble. It is worth it all when I see one bright star hanging over our mountain on a dark, wintry night. And when the pines murmur as the winds roar through. It is worth it all when I look into the yellow eyes of my wolf and sense that yes, he is displaying all of the habits of wolves even though confined away from all that he deserves - a great forest to run in; ponds to splash in, and the thrill of a hunt and a kill. God made him a wolf. He will never be anything else.
I can learn from him. I was created to be holy, righteous, kind, loving, and filled with joy. And I must display those characteristics or I will deny the very One who indwells me and makes me like Himself.
Why must it be so hard to be what He created me to be? I think on that, and then the answer comes. It is because as a human, I have a will that can choose. I do not, like my wolf, act from instinct, but from choice of will. I choose to love or to hate. To give or to get. To lie or be truthful. And that makes me like no other creature on earth, save other humans.
This, then is the glory of God: TO CHOOSE TO OBEY. Now I know who I am.
Prayer Requests for March, 2004
For: William McAllister at Danville, Illinois, who just informed us that he has a heart condition. For: Crystal, Ponnell Buchanan's friend (Ponell is at Galesburg, Illinois), who has HIV and has been in the hospital the last four or five months.
For: Ronald Pearson at McAlester, Oklahoma. He says he is happy but still missing his family. He asks us to pray for him and his family; and also, for all the inmates and staff at OSP.
For: Tony Collier at Dixon, Illinois, who was admitted to the hospital for some testing. He is still awaiting the results and ask that we pray for his health.
For: Francis Nolan Holland at Tucker, Arkansas. His younger sister just passed away and He needs our prayers for his strength and continued faith. Also, Francis' Clemency Application has not been decided yet and he asks for continual prayer until the outcome is certain.
For: Raymond ("Peanut") Sanders at Tennessee Colony, Texas. Peanut was diagnosed with terminal cancer a few years ago, but after he and Billie agreed in prayer to let the cancer "rest upon Jesus" the doctors reported that indeed the cancer was gone. He just had his yearly exam and tests, and has reported that the cancer continues to rest upon Jesus. We should thank God for coninuing to answer prayer.
For: Tommy Hayes and for everyone at the Robertson Unit in Abiline, Texas.
For: Randy Demello at Graterford, Pennsylvania. He lost one of his legs in a horrible accident in prison He suffers physically and mentally and needs prayer.
For Dewey Moore on Death Row at McAlester. Pray that the DNA testing which now being done in his case will prove Dewey's innocence.
For Theodore Ricks at OSP, McAlester, Oklahoma. He wants to claim peace from God and be free of lonliness, depression and confusion.
For Willie Scott at Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He was denied Clemency recently but he did receive a "Letter of Reconsideration," so he asks that we continue to pray.
For: Judy Oakley........her Leukemia is now in remission. Pray that it stays that way and thank God for what He's already done for her.
For: Our neighbors Jerry and Colleen Brock. Jerry is now home with Hospice care. Colleen's daughter, Sandra continues to battle her cancer so pray for her strength. And Ginger, whom we asked you to pray for last month, is recovering from her surgery and is doing great. Also, Ginger's sister, Cheryl, who had a tumor removed from her spine area recently is now home and doing her rehab. Thank God for these blessings, and ask God to comfort and strenthen Colleen and the entire family.
For: Anthony Grayson at Fallsburg, New York. Anthony said to keep him on the prayer list until his habeas efforts are exhausted. So we will.
For: For Sister Ann and our sisters in Little Rock who encourage us and pray for all of you and for us daily.
For: Sister Yolanda and her church in Jersey City..........Bethany Browne Memorial United Methadist Church as they continue with their new prison ministry.
For: Tony Collier at Dixon, Illinois, who just wants prayer for his family to be healthy, safe and blessed.
For: Marcos Zavala at Lubbock, Texas..........He is still waiting to see a doctor about his hip and leg pain. Pray for his healing.
For: Eve Maytubby. Eve is a friend of Cantrell Watts who as at OSR at Granite, Oklahoma. She has pain in her hands and Cantrell wants us to pray that whatever causes this will be healed.
For: Willie Davis at Danville Correctional Center in Illinois, who says prayer is good (man, is he right!). He asks for nothing in particular.......just mention of him in your prayers for all things according to God's will.
For: Ronnie Chaney at Brickeys, Arkansas. His older brother just passed away and he asks that we pray for his Mother, Ella Chaney, as she has to go to Mexico to tend to her late son's business. Pray for Ronnie, too, for his health.
For: Johnnie Dunnum at Lexington, Oklahoma. He's taking a medication for high blood pressure which causes him to develop sores on the inside of his nose. Pray that he will adjust to the new medicine and that this side-effect will go away. Pray that his blood pressure and health continue to improve.
For: All of our brothers on death row in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
And pray for all of us at Wingspread.
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