He Walks Among Us
By Billie Marie Zal
One of my favorite paintings is a scene inside of a great cathedral. It is filled with worshipers and all of the “activity” is centered down front. The pulpit, the candles, the lights all shine with an ethereal “glow” and probably anyone who IS ANYONE has front row, center pews.
But, at the very back of this scene we see Jesus. He is clothed in Light, and He bends down and comforts a woman whose poverty is obvious. He is not where you would think He should be - UP FRONT, showing off, frantically begging people to come to Him. He knows those who are His and frantic activity is not part of His methods of love. He walks among us.
I never did get that painting. It was far too expensive for me, but every time I went to the shopping Mall, I made my way to that window where I could see Him, as He really is.
Jesus goes where you would never expect Him to go. He goes to the slums of the city and touches the men who lie in the filth of the trash bins. He goes to the home of a widow woman whose life has been one long time of giving and caring. And He goes to little children - some who have never heard His Name, except through curses, and they know who He is and they love Him.
In our society today, we do not find Jesus very often walking among us. Society is too busy promoting the next healing campaign, the next “revival,” the next big patriotic “show.” The Church has too many plans, too much spiritual hysteria, too many deceptions concerning God’s Word. Jesus will not be there.
For years I have prayed that the Body of Christ would be delivered from deception - from strong delusions - but the end of the age of grace is fast coming to a close and the Church turns a deaf ear to Truth and instead substitutes show business for the presence of a Holy God.
Like the Israelites of old, the Church has lost the Light of the gold candlestick and individuals don’t even know it.
There are so many discrepancies that I stopped listening long ago. A preacher will get up and use the very Word of God to get money for his ministry. He will list his achievements, his many converts, the numbers in attendance of campaigns, and all the while God’s Word forbids “numbering.” Ignorance of this admonition has cost many an evangelist his fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
In my Bible study I have discovered God’s plan not only for His people, Israel, but also for His Church, the members of His Son’s Body on earth, but spiritually in Christ, in Heaven. God does not want us to entrust our spiritual teaching to some individual and let that person do our thinking for us. We are responsible to our Father in Heaven to know His Word in its entirety and to obey it.
And so, when I see the great emphasis on “numbers” today as proof that a ministry is being blessed, I know that this error and ignorance has overtaken the religious leaders.
What usually happens is that satan might fail to break down a child of God by one plan, but he immediately revises his tactics and plays on the weakness of the human soul. Humanity loves importance and recognition, and this is how satan got King David to sin. God permitted satan (because He knew David’s heart could overcome) to tempt David to “number the people.” The people had been numbered ONCE, by commandment of God, and there was no need ever again to number them.
The divine promise was given to Abraham, who became the progenitor of all the Israelites, that his seed would be as the “stars of the heavens.” God said it, and it would come to pass. But for an individual - King or not - to be so foolish as to insist on numbering just because of his pride of what he considered his own accomplishment (the defeat of his enemies), he was severely reprimanded by God and caused the death of 70,000 of his people because of his sin. If you have no idea of what this story is about, take the time to read Exodus 30:12 and find out the reason for Moses to number the people. It was for redemption money only, and nothing else.
David’s desire was to seek for a “personal cause” for the great victory over his enemy. He wanted to know the strength of his standing army (which he made his glory instead of God), and he looked beyond God from whom the victories came and this sin brings famine, defeat, or death unto the soul of any of us who proclaim Christ as Master of our lives.
I’ve seen ministries that spoke the Truth during their “beginning days.” They did not have the carnality which possessed them later on, when spiritual victories were gained. And I would not take the time today to listen to them; they have suffered a defeat to their souls by trying to carnally verify a divine promise, which means one
thing: we must walk softly before God and claim nothing for SELF. The numbering of today in religious circles has brought in deception from the master of deception - the devil himself. Numbers” do not prove that the Church is successful. In order to understand this Truth, you must get to know the Apostle Paul who was chosen by God to receive the revelation of the “Mystery of the Church,” which has never been revealed by anyone else.
What did this revelation do to Paul? It struck him down in his pride of being an important member of the religious Jews, the “Pharisees.” This group of men dictated the Law to the Jewish nation and they were the ones to whom Jesus Christ spoke His most harsh words when He walked among them. The “Law” had become a burden because proud men had added to it and become religious hypocrites. Jesus Christ offered them Himself as their new King and had they received Him, the Kingdom would never have known Him. But they did reject Him, and we are permitted a greater victory- to be an actual member of His Body, where He sits at the right hand of God the Father and “ever lives to make intercession for us.”
Paul never numbered. He never bragged about the many converts who heard and believed his words. He never “looked up” to those Jewish Pharisees whom he had admired so much, before Christ came down in Glory and gave him a new life. And for this, Paul was never accepted by those who should have seen that God lived within him.
If you want to consider “numbers” as a sign of a successful ministry, you might want to know that of all the thousands who heard Jesus and received healing and all the things He did for them, only 120 were considered true believers. They were told to wait in the upper room for the coming of the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. And while Jesus hung on the cross, where were the “thousands” who should have endured the awfulness of that cross with Him?
And what eventually happened to the Apostle Paul? After a life of endless efforts and ministry he was executed because he had refused to stop preaching Christ. All of the disciples met with horrible deaths, except John, who was exiled to the Isle of Patmos and spent his years there, perhaps working in the mines. But during that time he was given the Book of the Revelation by God Himself. And we know what to expect as the end of our age draws near.
I thank God that throughout my Christian walk I have been encouraged by a few men who never gave in to the power of popularity and wealth and “success.” One pastor way back in the 50’s often said that the Church is trying to run on its own power. He
said that this kind of Christianity makes God sick, because it is trying to run a heavenly institution after an earthly manner.
He also said that if he could have the divine power of God then he would shut down the whole business and walk out. I feel the same way and the Church that wants God’s power will have to give people something besides social clubs and “shows,” and “entertainment” under the guise of “contemporary Christianity” music and dancing. The individual who wants something more than that is on his way to getting to know God.
God has withdrawn Himself from the sanctuaries of modern Christendom and the results are evident. If ever there was time on earth that filth has taken hold of the human mind, it is today. A man’s thoughts must become a “clean sanctuary” and how can a person with filthy thoughts, malicious and evil thought, egotism, deception, and dirty thoughts ever have any kind of fellowship with the Blessed Holy Spirit? He can’t.
Satan has really had his way with modern religion today, including the Church which should know better than to behave like the world. The advertisements, the promotional material, the fake letters which are sent out in “bulk mail” and everyone gets the same letter. This is deception and how can it bless? Once after my daddy had gone to heaven, a “famous” minister whom daddy had sent offerings to sent out a letter to him. I opened it and I read, “My dear Brother Clarence, . . . I was flying in our plane over Northwest Arkansas and I knelt in the aisle and asked God our Father to bless brother Clarence, and return his offerings to him one hundred fold.” This preacher is still a very prominent man in the “inner circle” of the big shots today and I will not listen to him preach. Lying is not an example of belonging to God.
As the time draws near for all of us to meet God (and everyone instinctively knows it won’t be long), I pray that the time I have spent with you in the stories that my Father in Heaven gives to me will not have fallen upon deaf ears. You know the Truth. You have heard what God has to say to those who either want to be saved, or who are already saved. And it is your duty to search your heart and find out if you are in any way ready for that day when you go before the Judgment Seat of Christ and what you have done, and said, and thought, will pass through the refining fires of a Holy God. I hope you make it through.
Most of you know that Rodney and I read your letters out loud to each other. Usually I will read and Rodney makes notes. Your letters are important to us knowing how little contact with the outside world most of you have, and how few letters you receive.
I have been so comforted by how many of you who have been praying for the healing of my eyes. Thank you for all the caring words and thoughts. Hopefully I am on the mend. Right now I can’t see how it’s going to turn out, as far as my sight and healing goes, but I trust God and He knows it all. Dr. Scott always said, “God is on the corner before you get there,” and so He is. I thank Him for this time of learning to know Him as my strength through a difficult time. He has a way of teaching us a further dependence on Him, if we see our need for His help.
The need for God is something not taught in today’s churches of “you can do it yourself” type of Christianity. Christian book stores are full of “how to be a Christian” type books, like this is something we can work on and do ourselves. But the fact is, try as you may in your own strength, you can not truly make yourself a child of God. That takes the “new birth.”
Adam and Eve were given a beautiful garden by God. They could eat and enjoy everything, except for one tree, which God forbid them to even touch. And the moment they disobeyed God and rebelled against their Creator, just as satan had done, everything changed. And we have inherited that same rebellious spirit, if we are completely honest with ourselves. We will know that the self-life is always front and center in every decision we make. In every circumstance our thoughts go to “how will this affect me?” Until the day God sets us free, we are bound by our own needs and desires.
I remember when I found Romans 7:15: “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” Now that was me, and I was so thankful and hopeful that if the Apostle Paul had those feelings, too, then maybe there was hope for me. In verses 18 and 19 he continues: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.”
During the time that Paul wrote this he was visiting the churches he had established and preaching the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet he saw himself as the cheifest of sinners, and I am convinced that if a person does not to one degree or another see himself in that light also, they are not born again and the Spirit of God is not in them.
He continues in Romans 7:24-25: “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank our Lord God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” To know how human, how much the Apostle Paul was like us, gives me great hope for all of us. We won’t ever be perfect, not until the day God brings us Home. But may we be able to say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will give to me on that day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” 2 Timothy 4:7-8.
We hear from a lot of you who are seriously studying your Bibles. That’s what we should be doing. The Bible was not given to us to be kept on a shelf as a good luck object. It is the Word of God, His letter to us, How He talks to us, so that we may know Him and His character and His ways in dealing with mankind.
One morning as I was preparing for another painful visit to the eye doctor, I looked to God’s Word for the strength which I don’t have in my own self. All of the Psalms are great. David could never have written these words without having lived them first: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us, as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” Psalms 103:11-14. And Psalms 121:3: “He who keeps you will not slumber.” That’s all I need to know! If we are committed to follow Him and give Him control of our life, then all the promises of God are ours (2nd Corinthians 1:20) and can be depended upon, in every circumstance of life.
“The Word of God is quite sufficient to interest and bless the souls of men throughout all time; but novelties soon fail. ‘Surely,’ cries one, ‘we must add our own thoughts thereto.’ My brother, think by all means; but the thoughts of God are better than yours. You may shed fine thoughts as trees in the autumn cast their leaves; but there is One who knows more about your thoughts than you do, and He thinks little of them.
‘The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.’ To liken our thoughts to the great thoughts of God would be a gross absurdity. Would you bring your candle to show the sun? your nothingness to replenish the eternal all? It is better to be silent before the Lord, than to dream of supplementing what He has written.”
The Greatest Fight in the World: C.H. Spurgeon’s “Final Manifesto,” 12-13
Prayer Requests for May, 2010
For everyone at Florence, Arizona. They have cut back on the number of meals they serve there and this is causing tension and violence at the prisons.
For our friend, Henry Afamefuna, who ministers in West Africa. Henry asks us to pray for “Sister Thessy” who is a patient in a University teaching hospital in the Ivory Coast. Henry says the teaching hospitals there are filled with “occulted people” and asks that we pray for Sister Thessy to be healed and released from the hospital.
For Johnny Carruthers, Florence, Arizona, that the prison system there will provide him with a hernia operation, which he needs.
For Stephen Clayton at Grady, Arkansas, who has a bad liver.
For Willie Scott at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, for his health. Also, Willie comes up for clemency later this year.
For Paul Copas, Florence, Arizona, for understanding, and that he gets help with his court problems.
For Ken Hogan on death row at McAlester, Oklahoma. He has pain due to a shoulder injury.
For Jimmy Huff, Colorado City, Texas. He needs transportation.
For Willie Clark, Iowa Park, Texas, that he’ll be transferred closer to Houston to be near his family.
For Cleveland Cook, Buckeye, Arizona, that his family will come back into his life.
For Michael Small’s son, Derek, that he will come back to the Church. Michael is at Menard, Illinois.
For everyone at the Cimarron Correctional Facility at Cushing, Oklahoma, for the racial tension and violence to end.
For William McAllister, Danville, Illinois, and for his friends, Juan & Idaliza Menesses, “that Christ will set them free.”
For Anthony Grayson, Comstock, New York, that God will send someone to help with his appeal.
For Sister Ann & all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock.
For Frank Williams, Jr., Death Row, Grady, Arkansas, who is preparing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
For Freddie Lee Lott, Galesburg, Illinois, for his health and that he stays “cancer free.”
For our friend, Sandra Beckcom, Prairie Grove, Arkansas, for strength and healing as she continues to battle cancer.
For Willie Harper, Joliet, Illinois, that he stays “cancer free.”
For Robert Heffernan, Grady, Arkansas, for his health, and that the Arkansas Supreme Court will order DNA testing in his case.
For Ed Ewing, Visalia, California, who is 88 years old and in bad health.
For Pastor Scott & her ministry (The University Network) in Los Angeles.
For all of us at Wingspread
“Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
1st Thessalonians 5:17-18
Note: Pastor Scott recently gave us several dozen copies of her pulpit entitled “Faith in the Promises of God.” If anyone wants a copy let us know. If you’re at OSP at McAlester, submit a request to the Chaplain for one.
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