May, 2003 Wingspread
By Billie Marie Zal
Every so often the Church goes through a “phase” and the ones in a leadership position grab on to it, especially if it brings in the crowds and more importantly to them, the money.
I have seen these phases come and go. Years ago it was the “charismatic” movement. I tuned in the radio one day and heard all this shouting and yelling and unintelligible language and a man who was prominent in religious circles shouted, This is the revival. This is what the prophet Joel meant when he said in the last days God would pour out His spirit upon all flesh. . .” I sat back and wondered. Is that really what God meant? Anyhow, I searched the Scriptures and to this day I do not believe that speaking in tongues is a “sign” that one is filled with the Holy Spirit. One evangelist spoke in tongues every Sunday and visited the brothels all week. He was not filled with the Holy Spirit.
In a desperate effort to pull out of the dead orthodoxy that prevailed for so many years, people who wanted to know God grabbed at straws. I don’t blame them. I grew up in a church that was dead. I didn’t know that there could be life, no one ever said so. My Sunday School teacher was late to our class on Sunday mornings because she had been out partying all night the night before. No one said anything, including the preacher, so I thought it must be all right.
But in pulling out, has the Church gone too far?
The one great sign that Jesus gave us to know that we are in the last days was “LYING DECEPTIONS.” There would have to be first a strong delusion given by God to men, since they had chosen NOT to believe His word and obey it. One choice to follow the crowd can destroy our testimony and our ability to get to God.
But there are more desperate attempts to get into the mainstream of Christianity and leave behind the very Word of God. There is a new thing that has happened in the Church which is called “holy laughing.” One morning while waiting to go on a visit to prison I turned on the TV set and to my amazement people who looked quite respectable were laughing hysterically. Some had fallen to the floor (in the building where the meeting was being held) and others began to run as fast as they could around the sanctuary. The evangelist who led the holy laughter walked as though in a trance. His words would never have caused me to laugh, but laugh the people did! I was embarrassed that God’s Holy Spirit was subjected to such a display of raw emotionalism. I turned it off. But the man has now been hailed as a wonderful instrument of God’s hands to bring “revival” and restore the “joy of the Lord” to the Body of Christ.
The word of God says that Christ comes “without observation.” The Holy Spirit is depicted as a dove, so gentle that at the least uproar, He would depart. And in the Gospels no one mentions an outpouring of laughter that renders one helpless to retain one’s dignity. No one can dare say that God’s Spirit would behave in such a manner. When they do, they are speaking of some other spirit.
The question is, why do the self acclaimed leaders receive this man’s teaching as an indication that God is visiting His church as Joel prophesied?
The truth has to be - aside from the fact that Christians never study their Bibles and do not have the foggiest idea of what the Word really says - that everyone wants something for himself. The evangelists wants a huge following to prove his success; the healer must have the crowds; the individual members refuse to examine themselves to see “whether they may be in the faith” and go to some Christian therapist who tells them about their “inner selves” and assures them that they must learn to love themselves. This is what everyone wants - self gratification, and if they KNOW the Word of God is being desecrated by false doctrine, so what? Self has been satisfied and it feels good to “belong” and to be “loved.”
At the present time there is great emphasis on “THE ANOINTING.” Another phase. And I listen carefully to what these teachers and evangelists and pastors are saying. I won’t be misled, so I listen and then check it out with the Word of God.
The anointing of the Holy Spirit comes as God wills WHEN God wills. It does not necessarily prove itself. A man or woman can be anointed by God and no one will ever really know that person, not even the ones who had helped themselves to that life which was hidden in Christ by God. If a person has the gift of healing, everyone assumes, “This is the anointing.” Not always so! I have heard people speak in tongues who were possessed by demonic spirits. They were in no way “anointed.” And if we want to prove anointing, it is a sure sign we do not have it.
This leads me to one conclusion: the one message that would give the Church back what it has so desperately cast aside (it’s sanity) and bring it back to anointed teaching is that which the Church has refused since it’s beginning days: The Message of the Cross.
The cross of Jesus Christ involved suffering. Intense suffering, in the realm of our souls. For how can flesh die unless it suffers? We would like to die all at once and become spiritual giants and enjoy the riches of the Lord before the time. But God will not have it so. God Himself says in His Word, “We are made perfect through suffering.” And each time flesh dies, the Holy Spirit anoints that part of us which is dead - dead to the thing that had cost us our love for God and a holy kind of living.
God, the Holy Spirit does not anoint flesh. The sacrificial lamb was first slain, and then the oil was poured upon it. Do we think that Jesus Christ, our Sacrificial Lamb, would not expect the same devotion to the Father’s will that He had? He would expect it and He does expect it. And He will not anoint that part of our lives which has never given itself over to the dying which is so necessary to living.
But no one except those who have come to the place in their lives when they cry out to God, “I am the chiefest of sinners, have mercy on me,” will ever receive the anointing that is being taken so lightly today in religious gatherings. The crowd never wants to suffer. I believe it was A. W. Tozer who once said everyone watched the crucifixion but nobody wanted to look at the dead men the next day after the vultures had finished with them. People hate death.
There is a book written by F. J. Huegel entitled, Bone of His Bone, which should be a “must” in every believer’s library. It is significant that few have heard of him today; he was of another age, an age where believers were warned of the disastrous results of refusal to embrace the cross.
In one passage he writes, “Witness the ‘isms’ springing up, all under the eaves of the Church. Strange doctrines that have to do with the gifts of the Spirit and that seem sound enough, and sufficiently grounded in the Scriptures, are causing fatal convulsions in the Body of Christ, and plunging earnest Christians, seeking fuller light, into the abyss of fanaticism. ‘Doctrines of demons’ which, according to Paul, would in the latter days come as a flood upon the Church.”
And he goes on to say, “little is said, I repeat, of that which was so real to the Savior, in His conflict with evil; yet, Satan walks with His millions of cohorts through the land, oppressing, deceiving, murdering, inciting to evil, and plunging souls into the abyss of unutterable estrangement from God.
‘His chief strategy, at present, seems to be an adulterated Christianity. In a thousand and one ways He is draining out the essence--He is removing the savor from the salt--He is watering down the pure wine of the true Christian life. As has been said so often, He will float any number of truths to get into circulation one lie. . . He will even give you a revival if only you keep it all in the realm of the ‘flesh life.’ A revival which does not exalt the cross, and brings no soul to co-crucifixion, to a deep realization of an inner oneness with Christ in death and resurrection, simply fails to register in Heaven.”
And what gathering today exalts the cross? What evangelist dares to stand up and say that any “fruit of the spirit” or “anointing” that did not come to us through an intense suffering and loss is not the true fruit of the Spirit, or the true Wine?” I fear for the sanity of the Church and my prayers are lifted up daily for Satan’s hold on this last day generation to be broken.
Perhaps it is too late. The Church has now become wealthy and powerful and anyone who questions those who run the show, so to speak, are warned that they are heretic hunters and that someone will “kill them.” I have always believed that when God gives us utterance, then we are to speak and the Apostle Paul is my example.
This Apostle, chosen by God to reveal the Mystery of the Church to humanity, is exalted from the pulpits today, but his doctrines are swept under the carpets of the sanctuaries. He spoke the truth, no matter where he was, and it cost him his head. He is perhaps the most anointed human who ever walked this earth after Christ, and yet he was beaten, ignored, ridiculed, abandoned, forgotten, hungry, cold, weary, given over to hopelessness, and had a “thorn in the flesh” which he called a “special messenger of Satan” whom God sent to buffet him.
And why? Because God in His wisdom knew that any man who had been given the revelations and anointing that Paul had been given could become wise in his own conceit. And when Paul asked on three separate occasions for God to remove that thorn, God said “No.”
I listen with dismay at those who preach that God never sends sickness. What about Job?
And those who say that God cannot permit evil, that He would never permit evil things to happen to us---then I say, “Yes, He does.” We live in a world dominated by Satan by right, where men have a free will, given to them by God. And when they do evil, God will not (except on rare occasions where it suits His purpose and Glory) stop the evil. God is bound by His own rules and He will not go beyond the limits which He sets.
I like what F. J. Huegel says concerning God and His powers: “Even Christ Himself could not set a soul free from Satan’s power which failed to avail itself of the efficacy of His death, and in the power of that death failed to renounce the ‘flesh life---the so called ‘old Adam life.’ If He did, He would be untrue to the Universe. He respects even the rights of Satan. He respects the laws of the Universe. He can only save man in ways wholly in keeping with the higher claims of nature.” (From Bone of His Bone.)
If there is any question about this statement, check it out in your Bible. The life of Judas, the betrayer of Christ, confirms this truth. He was a partaker of the companionship of Jesus Christ when He walked this earth, yet because Judas realized that there would be no earthly Kingdom NOW for him, he sold the Lord Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
Which brings us back to the subject of the “anointing.”
If works, and pomp and power and wealth and a big ministry does not necessarily mean that the leaders (and individuals of that group) are “anointed,” then what does?
It is the very life of Christ within a person, living out the Beatitudes, that determines the anointing. The anointed person is one who loves when there is really nothing in the object of that love TO love. It is a person who is always willing to die to self that others might live. It is one who stands firm when everything is falling apart around him....someone who actually does turn the other cheek and receive the blows for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The anointed person is one who gives out of his own need, and who never turns his back upon the stranger, the prisoner, the sick, the poor, the hungry, and the ones whom society shuns. That person is one who is not really known, for there is the scent of Frankincense and Myrrh about him (embalming spices and the cemetery tree). This person carries in his heart the death to the flesh life which is so repulsive to anyone who is not seeking God’s purest Love: JESUS.
It would also be someone who is often left behind, who has been hurt and who suffers much, and his needs are never met. Someone who reaches out and forgives seventy times seven and even more than that if asked to do so. The anointed person goes about, doing good, seeing not the outward appearance of those to whom God sends him, but instead, sees the heart. This person also always offers spiritual Love to that heart that is so longing to know God.
God showed me in my spiritual infancy that the Beatitudes were the only way to go, if I was ever to be conformed to the image of His dear Son. I didn’t think that I could do it. I was raw material, often hoping for more than God could give to me. I actually wanted a life where I could settle down and “live happily ever after,” and one day I realized that there can be no such life for us down here who do embrace the cross and live out the Beatitudes.
We can either grab on to the Kingdom now---before the time---or wait till our Father’s time and never suffer loss at that day when we stand in the presence of the Lord and receive our rewards. What we keep for ourselves here, we lose in Heaven.
I pray daily that I am on my way to that complete immersion of my self- life into the very Life of Christ. There have been so many crosses, and there will be more. Sorrows await me, I know that, and I will embrace them because they come from the One who is refining me as gold, and making me ready for the Kingdom.
But the one prayer that I hold in my heart is the request to be able to say--when my life is done---I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but to them also who love his appearing” (II Timothy 4:7-8).
It is the Word that the Apostle Paul spoke on the eve of his execution, and if we have the anointing then we will be able to meet Christ with joy.
If you want this anointing, you will suffer. Why not go for it?
PRAYER REQUESTS: FOR: Tommy Hayes’ family, especially his big sister to get well. Tommy is at Abilene, Texas. FOR: Shane Boyd’s healing. He has been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, & needs a miracle. Shane is at OSP, McAlester,Ok. FOR; Ken Hogan, who was again charged with the death penalty in a new trial. We ask God to give Ken that perfect peace that passes understanding and the joy that only Christ can give. Ken is at Ok.State Pen. McAlester, Ok. FOR: Darryl Davison, that his cousin Marcus Dale, will be able to get him an attorney on his upcoming case. FOR: Lonnie Wayne Cole’s dear friend in El Dorado, Ark., Tina McQuery, whose husband was killed in front of her and their 10 year old son. He was shot to death & ask God’s comfort to be their’s. Also pray that Lonnie’s clemency hearing will go well, he is at Brickeys, Ark. FOR: William Turner who has begun an 18 month time on C/M. He needs prayer that in 6 months he might get out of solitary. William is at Florida State Prison. FOR: Cory Roberts, our friend, Cheryl’s daughter, who needs much prayer. FOR: Robert Crowder, at Logan Co. CC in Lincoln, Ill. He needs to hear from his lovely daughter “Rijshiika Crowder.” He asks us to pray that God will watch over her & she will feel his love & write to him.
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