March, 2008 Wingspread
As I was looking through newsletters of past years I started reading some of the News Notes that Billie had written. These little notes, examples from an ordinary life, touched my heart in a way no lofty message ever could. I hope you all feel the same.
From the April, 1994 Wingspread News Notes:
It seems that someone recently shot down a golden eagle who was nesting, and a lady with a bird society was trying to treat the eagle so that it would not die.
As she spoke, she held the great bird in her arms and my heart was broken. She told us that it is well known by anyone who studies the habits of birds, that a male eagle will never, under any circumstances, give a distress call to a female eagle other than his mate. But when this particular female eagle did not return to her nest of two eggs, the male eagle did something completely contrary to his own nature. He let out one piercing distress call after another, all the while hovering over the two eggs himself, to keep them warm. And strangely enough, another female eagle did answer that call. She came to his rescue and began to nest in place of the injured mother eagle.
This story may not seem unusual to those of you who do not take time to think upon God’s way with His creatures. But there is something very significant in this story. You see, that male eagle had more sense than us humans, because he is in touch with God and gets his directions from God, he somehow knew that his species is dying out. Due to gross neglect and greed by humanity there will soon be no golden eagles. And so in desperation the male eagle gave up his own individuality, his own natural instincts, in order to save his kind from extinction.
I was just thinking how wonderful it would be if more people who know God, and who carry their Bibles around proclaiming His Name, would be wiling to do what the eagle did - go against their own instincts and natural desires in order to save mankind from extinction. But there seem to be so few who will lay down their lives for a friend, much less an enemy. We have a lot of noise going on and a lot of witnessing, but nothing is really happening to let people see God.
Thinking upon these things, I wonder if maybe we might not see a lot more eagles in heaven than people?
From the March, 1997 Wingspread News Notes:
MY INVITATION: I didn’t get to tell you that I received an invitation to the inauguration of President Clinton. It was a grand surprise and I don’t have the slightest idea of why I was invited. Of course I could not go; this ministry consumes my days and besides, expenses would have been way too much for us. But I intend to frame it. It’s beautiful, with the God Presidential Seal.
Then I thought of that Great Invitation that God has made available to all men throughout the ages: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). If you accept THIS invitation you will receive the Great Triune God’s Seal upon your lives - the Seal of the Holy Spirit, and you will be saved.
Jesus Himself invited us: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). And again, “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). I speak from personal experience. The invitation is real. It brought me into the family of God, and the same invitation is open to you. Ask God to give you godly sorrow that works repentance - no excuses - just asking for His mercy to extend itself to YOU, and you will receive the gift of a brand new life. It’s all true. It will really happen. And you can look forward to eternity in heaven.
From the November, 1996 Wingspread News Notes:
THE MYSTERY OF LIFE: There are two peach seeds on my kitchen counter. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them in the garbage, for deep within those two seeds is life. Untouched yet, unable to break forth yet, but it’s there. I am reminded when I look at them that deep within each of us is a life, no matter how much we ignore it. It is that life that waits to burst forth, if we only realize that we have really, apart from Christ, never lived.
The peaches will never bring forth a tree unless I plant them and nurture them, and wait. For we are told, “Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone; but if it die, it brings forth much fruit” (John 12:24). We can never begin to live until we die. But when we die, then Life begins and how much fruit we bear depends upon how deeply we are buried in Christ, and are willing to let the “old life” go.
Maybe some of you have never understood this simple principle. You are still waiting for that life that you tried to live and never made it. You might be still making excuses that if you had done this or that you wouldn’t be so lost. But we are all lost until we are found. And we are found when we are quite ready to let the One who created us take hold of our hand, and lead us into eternal life.
From the November, 1994 Wingspread News Notes:
I recently found a little red flower pressed between the pages of my Bible. There is a story in that flower. Early this past Spring I bought a pot of lovely Dahlias. Something happened, and all but one of the three plants died. I would NOT give up on it. I kept on watering and feeding it, and finally, just before Winter arrived, there was one solitary flower. It spoke to me, that flower. There had been some kind of plant disease in the soil and the others just gave up. But there was a tenacity of will (if plants have wills) in my Dahlia plant. And it cooperated and grew, and finally fulfilled its purpose. It bloomed.
Aren’t our lives a lot like this plant? We are born into a world that more often than not is hostile. Sometimes the disease of sin eats away at our lives, and some of us give up. Others choose to go on and fulfill their purpose. There is in each one of us a will to choose. Otherwise, God would not be fair. And what we choose determines how much our lives will reflect God’s purpose. It is my prayer that each of you will choose NOT TO GIVE UP, but to grow, no matter what. And then no matter how hard it is, life will be good.
From the February, 1997 Wingspread News Notes:
IN LOVING MEMORY: Earl Van Denton, Tucker, Arkansas, who died by lethal injection last month. I was privileged to minister to Earl for ten years, and I thank God that he is now “absent from the body, present with the Lord.” He is SAFE.
IN LOVING MEMORY: Calvin Patrick, Joseph Harp Correctional Center, Lexington, Oklahoma. Calvin was a dear, dear elderly brother who was so faithful to keep in touch with me for many years. He was cold, and God blessed him with sweats; he was hungry, and God put money in his trust fund account; he was a stranger, and God took him in; he was sick, and God visited him . . . “If ye have done it (ministered) to the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto ME” (Matthew 25:40). Calvin told me that this past Christmas was the very best Christmas in his whole life. He was in his mid seventies, and God gave him a wonderful Christmas, and I was so happy and thankful. Then he wrote to me on January 3 of this year and gave me his usual blessings. He was hoping it wouldn’t be too cold. He wanted to go hear all the music they were planning to have at church there at Joe Harp. My last letter to him, post marked January 12, came back two days ago marked: “DECEASED.”
MY JOY: Apart from the tears, I find myself full of joy for these two brothers. I am gaining a family in heaven and one day I will see them again. I never saw either of them face to face, but I will know them. You can bet I will know them. So I praise God that now they are SAFE.
From the May, 1994 Wingspread:
By Billie Marie Zal
I collect stones. Not from shops, but in the common places of my Father’s world. Sometimes I find them at the Oceanside. Sometimes, lying half covered by the dust of the road that leads to our gate. But I always choose a stone that has the imprint of nature upon it. I choose a stone that has been smoothed by the washing of waters, or shaped in some peculiar fashion by volcanic forces of ages past.
There are two stones on my night stand. And when I am oppressed by the darkness of spiritual forces I am often comforted by these stones.
One is a soft grey color, with black streaks. I found it at Malibu Beach in California, far back under an old pier. The waters have given it a peculiar beauty, and it fits exactly into the palm of a closed hand. The other is all white - the purest of white - and it reminds me of the purity of the One who cleansed me from ALL my sin.
I am sure that God chooses His stones for His spiritual Temple in much the same manner. He chooses lively stones, i. e., those Christians who have the imprint of nature upon them? He passes by the dull, ordinary, self-protective lives and claims instead the lives of those who have been through the agony of death to self and have submitted to the fires of purification and the “washing of the water by the Word.”
I pray that in that Day, when God establishes His Temple, I may be found among His stones. Until then I will go on collecting stones that, by their very marks, speak to my heart.
From the April, 1996 Wingspread:
This little poem, whose author I do not know, says it perfectly:
Not merely in the word you say
Not only in your deeds confessed,
But in the most unconscious way
Is Christ expressed.
Is it a beatific smile?
A Holy Light upon your brow?
Ah, but I felt Him when
You laughed just now.
And from your eyes He beckons me
And from your heart His love is shed,
Till I lose sight of you and see
THE CHRIST INSTEAD.
I pray that this is how you see me - and if I have not presented Jesus in all His fullness to each of you, then I have failed. I will have no brilliant crown to give back to Him. And I would have a wasted life.
For this reason, I pray that I see every one of you on that Day when we all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. I can give back to God what He so lovingly gave to me - a ministry of the Cross, and the Crown that comes because of it. He alone deserves it.
We have some good news and some bad news. I’ll share the good first:
We thank God for the prisons which allow audio cassette tapes and players, such as the prison at Florence, Arizona. There is no better way to learn the word of God than to hear Dr. Scott teach. The publishing company which sells his books, CD’s, etc., had discontinued the audio cassettes, but Rodney wrote to them and told about our ministry and what these tapes are being used for. We got a letter back telling us that they would make an exception for us and that they would convert the CD’s to audio cassettes. Ms. Scott knows about our work and cares. How rare is that?!
Anyway, we will soon have a new batch of audio cassette tapes and that’s good news. We’ve ordered several of what Dr. Scott called his “Nitro Pills.” We will dub them onto “clear tapes” so that they will be allowed at the prisons.
Now, the bad news: As some of you already know, the prison at McAlester will no longer allow us to send books, except to the prison library. We have asked officials there to reconsider this policy. In the meantime everyone should make this a matter of prayer.
Shirley had cataract surgery on February 18th. It’s a simple procedure and usually takes only about fifteen minutes in the operating room. However, Shirley coughed during surgery and somehow particles from the old cataract were caught in the sack behind her new lens, somewhere near the retina. It’s all very complicated and hard to understand, let alone explain, but yesterday, the 29th, she underwent a delicate surgery to remove the particles. Everything went fine, and she had a good report from the surgeon this morning.
We all have our part in this ministry running smoothly. Shirley has always had a willing heart to do whatever needs doing, be it running errands, printing the newsletter, caring for the kennel dogs, etc. So we believe she will be healed quickly and be able to return to her normal routine in a few weeks.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalms 37:23), so what happened to Shirley was ordered by the Lord. I believe that. But why? There are lessons to learn in all of God’s ways with us. Shirley will no doubt learn a deeper dependence on God and Him alone. That is how God uses our trials. And the willingness on the part of everyone else around here to pick up the slack will hopefully create a deeper spiritual growth in all of us. So God deals with us all, if we are open and want our faith to grow.
Regardless of what is being taught today on television its not all about getting blessed and healed. Salvation is by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and all by grace (unmerited favor). If you are being taught that we also need to add works and signs to our salvation then you are hearing a perverted gospel. Galatians 1:7 says “. . . but there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” Verse 8 goes on to say “But though we, or any angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Very strong words, but this prosperity message we hear today is a false gospel. We don’t learn by being blessed and prosperous.
We may be a little late in getting the newsletter out this month. We had a computer problem and the computer was in the shop for a few days so we got behind with things. Also, Rodney has had back pain for several weeks now, and it may have slowed him down a little. He really has toughed it out and kept going. But he needs relief from this pain so pray for him. There is so much work to be done.
Jesus speaks of the sparrows in Luke and says that not one of them is forgotten by God. Luke 12:7 says that even the very hairs of our head are numbered and Jesus says, “Fear not, therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows.” I love that, and think of it often when I see the sparrows in our yard. Think on His Word. There is an answer to our every question and problem in the Scriptures, and always a word of comfort.
Prayer Requests for March, 2008
For Willie Clark at Iowa Park, Texas, that he’ll be transferred closer to Houston near his family.
For Willie Scott, Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He was “cancer free” at his last checkup and will be checked again in 6 months.
For Jerry Herring, Huntsville, Texas, to be released soon. Prayers for a place to parole to were answered and he’s waiting on the paperwork to go thru.
For Isaac Douglas’ friend, Dexter, who had hip surgery, and for his daughter, Tiajuana, that she will be transformed according to Romans 12:2. Isaac is at Canton, Illinois.
For Robert Heffernan, Grady, Arkansas, for his health, and that he’ll be able to walk on his own soon.
For Clay Huff at Angola, Louisiana, that he gets to go back to the metal fabrication shop.
For Marshall Ellis’ parents, Robert & Ira. Robert has pancreas cancer and Ira has Alzheimer’s. Marshall is at Chester, Georgia.
For Juan Cervante’s two daughters, that they are doing alright. Juan is at Lexington, Oklahoma.
For David Harp at McAlester, Oklahoma, for his health.
For Stephano Jackson, McAlester, Oklahoma, for a stronger faith, and for better control of his temper. Stephano is also asking to be transferred to another facility.
For Earl Oswalt, Cushing, Oklahoma, for a good celly.
For Michael Small, Menard, Illinois, that he will get to meet his birth mother and half sister.
For Richard Taylor, Taft, Oklahoma, who is still having problems bleeding from his ears.
For Ted Ricks and everyone involved with the “Parole a Pet” program at Cushing, Oklahoma.
For Raymond Sanders and everyone at the Allred Unit in Iowa Park, Texas. There is a bad flu making everyone there sick.
For Anthony Grayson, Fallsburg, New York, who is working on his appeal, and for his Mother who has recently had hip surgery and breast cancer.
For Tommy Hayes and everyone at the Stevenson Unit at Cuero, Texas.
For Pastor Scott and her ministry in Los Angeles.
For Sister Ann and all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock.
For all of us at Wingspread, especially for Shirley, that she recovers from her eye surgery, and for Rodney’s back to be healed.
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