May, 2004 - Don't Look at the Clouds or Wait on the Wind
By Billie Marie Zal
      I was listening to a TV program the other day and the evangelist mentioned something about not waiting for the wind before we sow the grain.
      I thought upon this. Being human beings who try to play God most of lives, we do tend to “figure” too much. But the Bible says that if we observe the wind we will probably sow our seed and never get a harvest. The truth is, if we “observe,” then we wait for the wind that is not so harsh and we fail to plant.
      And the clouds. I think back upon my life, and I learned early on never to look at the clouds. They scare me. Or rather, they did, until I learned not to look at them! It’s like going fishing. Sometimes I can hardly wait to get to the lake. But then a “weather specialist” butts into the program on the car radio and tells me that a “front” is moving in, and I turn it off. Front or not, I am going fishing!
      So the lesson is: let God Himself guide us and thus decide our destiny.
      We have examples in the Word where no one observed the wind or looked at the clouds. The Apostle Paul was a religious man before his conversation on the Road to Damascus. His name then was “Saul,” and he took pride in the fact that he had helped bind and imprison Christians. Believing them to be a threat to the God of Heaven and earth (Paul was a Jew), he thought he was doing God a favor.
      But then Jesus Christ appeared to him - The Christ of Glory, and as he came into that Light, it was so awesome that he fell to the ground. The Lord Jesus spoke to him then, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” And Paul, without hesitation asked, “Who are YOU?” Jesus replied, “I am Jesus, whom you persecute. . .”
      Paul did not use that intellect of his, or his authority from the ruling religious body, the Pharisees. One word from the living and glorified Lord Jesus Christ and he was humbled to the dust of the very road he was traveling. His immediate response was, “Lord, what wilt thou have me do?” Jesus then told him to arise and go into the city and he would be told what he must do.
      Paul obeyed. He was blind for three days and nights, and he had to be led by the hand into Damascus. Can you imagine the thoughts that must have penetrated the mind of this brilliant, educated man? But he neither observed the wind nor looked at the clouds. HE HAD SEEN JESUS CHRIST. It was enough. He received his call to go unto the Gentiles, and his life is a spiritual
     history of one who has chosen to bring down the kingdom of heaven to earth.
      There was another person who did not observe the wind, nor look at the clouds. In the book of Luke, Chapter 7, there is the story of the widow woman whose only son had died. As Jesus and His group of disciples and followers started to enter the city called Nain, this woman was carrying out her son in the funeral procession. It is said that many people of the city were with her.
      She was not looking for Jesus. Her grief was such that her total concentration was on her loss. But then Jesus passed by and He saw her sorrow and said to her, “Weep not.”
      Can you imagine how she felt? Here was a Man who was saying to her, “Don’t cry over your son.” How can any mother NOT cry over a son who is dead and on his way to the cemetery?
      But she must have stopped. Because it is written that “He came and touched the bier: and they that bare him (the dead son) stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.”
      Then “he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he (Jesus) delivered him unto his mother.”
      This woman, so overcome with grief that she had not even noticed Jesus, reaped a harvest. Her son, who was dead, LIVED. And Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, was glorified and “fear came upon all.”
      And there is another person who did not observe the wind nor look at the clouds. She was a widow woman in the city of Zarephath and the drought had come upon all the inhabitants because of God’s judgment. Elijah, the prophet, was commanded of God to go to that city where God had said that He had commanded a widow woman to sustain the prophet.
      Elijah was accustomed to obedience. If God spoke, then it was as good as done, and so he entered the city. When he got to the gate of the city, sure enough, a widow woman was there, gathering sticks. So Elijah called to her, “Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”
      Prophets don’t think, they OBEY. To most men she would have been an unlikely prospect of supply. But God had said it, so He would do it.
      The woman instinctively went to get the water. The Word of the Lord, spoken by an anointed servant, does that to us. And “As she was going, to fetch it, he called to her and said, ‘Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.”
      Her reply this time gave him a picture of her circumstances. For she replied, “As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
      Elijah didn’t bog down by the enormity of her declaration. It truly was a hopeless situation. Instead he said, “Fear not, go and do as thou has said, but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus the Lord God of Israel saith, ‘The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.”
      Hearing the Word, she obeyed. Once God’s Word comes to us, we lose the fear of loss; we lose the desire to manage our own lives, and the lives of those around us. We obey and it is done.
      So the Bible tells us, “. . . and according to the saying of Elijah, she, and he, and her house did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, spoken by Elijah.”
      GOD reaches down and touches us and reveals Himself to us in impossible situations. Saul, the persecutor of Christians, himself becomes a Christian and when he is old, he is beheaded for Christ’s sake.
      The woman who had no hope for her dead son joyfully received him as he sat up in the bier and rejoiced in the miracle of resurrection.
      The widow woman had no hope. Her last handful of meal and a few drops of oil were all that could sustain them, but she heard God’s Word and the Word became a reality.
      Are you in an impossible situation? Is all hope gone? Have you come to a “dead end” in your life and do you feel that no one cares or remembers you in your need?”
      Take heart! God loves to place us in impossible situations so that His Glory will be manifested and people will KNOW THAT He is indeed God. He is the God of regeneration (Saul became Paul, a Christian himself); he is the God of resurrection (the widow’s son was dead, headed for the cemetery); and the God of our daily bread (the widow woman of Zarephath).
      There is no problem too great for Him. There is no sin that He cannot forgive. There is no need that He cannot supply. But if we observe the wind, or look at the clouds, we will never partake of His divine promises. We will never be set free from the old life, nor will we ever experience the reality that we are free indeed - free from the penalty, the guilt, and also the power of sin in our lives.
      There is life in prison. Abundant life. There is power to overcome in prison. Great power. There is freedom from guilt and memories in prison. God’s Word is alive and true today; He says, “If the Son of man shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” He says, “I will supply all your needs according to the riches of Christ Jesus in Glory.” He says, “I will change your disposition, give you a new heart, a new mind, and a blessed hope.”
      Impossible? I think not! Those of you who want deliverance will get it. If you don’t want
     deliverance, you will look at your circumstances, at your lack, at your self and your sins, and never experience the reality of the wonderful Truths of God’s promises.
      I found that Reality one night long ago when I had come to a dead end in my life and I wanted to die. God reached down and told me I was free, and thank God I never observed the wind nor looked at the clouds. And I have never looked back.
      Try Him, and believe Him, and see what will happen to you!
     - Originally published in the May, 1991 Wingspread

Something to share from Billie's Journals
April 20, 1982
      I take my life personally. I SEE what God - the everlasting God - has done for me. He gave His Son up as the ultimate sacrifice . . . He who knew no sin . . . so that I, born in sin out of the first Adam, might be set free from its power and dominion over me by the SECOND Adam. I will take this life personally every second of every day throughout eternity. The joy of it surpasses the anguish of my deepest trials. When I REALLY think upon Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection, I can hardly bare to believe that it was all for me - the chiefest of sinners. I take it personally when I display the dominion of my soul upon my body rather than the dominion of my SPIRIT. Soulical life is tasteless, miserable. Spiritual life gives me buoyancy, hope of a glorious eternity and a certainty that one day I shall see my Lord face to face . . . and my Father God . . . and my blessed Holy Spirit.
      For now I see darkly. I take that personally, too. Would the day come ever so soon that I shall be . . . “Where He is?”
      I rejoice in life.
      It is so very personal to me.
Prayer Requests for May, 2004
For: Sharon Franzen and Terry Franzen, Brian’s brother and sister-in-law. They live in Florida. We just found out that Sharon has been diagnosed with lung cancer. She obviously needs our prayers and so does her husband, Terry.
For Loren Shepard at McAlester, Oklahoma. His cell partner, Daniel Keith Perry asked us to pray that Loren’s daughter be able to visit with Loren.
For Earl Peel at Florence, Arizona. He asks that we mention in our prayers that he will be sent to a good half-way house.
For: Timothy Haynes, Miami, Oklahoma, who recently lost his Mother after a long illness. He is experiencing grief and (unwarranted) guilt and needs to be free of that.
For: Ronald Deon Williams, who is at Mount Sterling, Illinois, and he asks us to pray for the Adams family as they are trying to relocate; also, his grandmother needs prayer for good health and strength.
For: Kathleen Taylor, Billie’s sister, who lives in St. Louis, Missouri. She just underwent a fairly serious procedure to repair the aorta to her kidneys. She is doing great but we ask all of you to pray for her continued strength and health.
For: Vonda Kay Barnett, that she “would be more understanding and forgiving;” also please pray that Derek and Carmen come back to the Church and to God.....These prayer requests were submitted by brother Michael Small who is at Menard, Illinois.
For: Randal Smith, McAlester, Oklahoma, who has seizures....pray that he will get some relief from these frequent occurances.
For: Jimmy Huff, who has a prison ministry in Loraine, Texas. He recently spent eight days in the hospital and has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He is home now but needs our prayers.
For: Ponnell Buchanan’s friend, Crystal, who has HIV; and for Ponnell, too, as he is requesting a transfer. Ponnell is currently at Galesburg, Illinois.
For: Willie Davis, Danville, Illinois, who in his own words simply says: “ I would like to respectfully request special prayer, and would like to be included on the newsletter prayer list.”
For: William (Billy) Johnson at OSP, McAlester, Oklahoma, who recently broke his wrist. Also, he wants us to pray for his family, that they will find Jesus; and to pray for his cell partner who has been helping him since breaking his wrist.
For: Katheren Peters of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who needs prayer for her health.
For: Pete Kerns’ (who is at Lawton, Oklahoma) Grandmother, Fada King, who needs a healing from depression.
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. Also, pray for Willie’s health, that he will be cancer free.
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: 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: Our neighbor, Sandra, who continues with her battle against cancer.
For: Tony Collier at Dixon, Illinois, who wants prayer for his family to be healthy, safe and blessed.
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: All of our brothers on death row in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
And pray for all of us at Wingspread.

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