“He shall set me up upon a rock.” Psalms 27:5
It has now been three years since Billie’s “home going.” Time passed has a way of allowing us to see more clearly what is important and what really has very little value.
So we decided to take everything out of storage and have a garage sale. There were memories connected to all of Billie’s little “things” - Christmas and birthday gifts from years gone by. But I believe Billie would be pleased that these things could be enjoyed by someone else, and the money used to continue the prison work she so loved.
I was deeply touched some weeks ago when I heard about the tragic event in Pennsylvania where the little Amish girls were killed. This horrible tragedy would have been almost more than any person could endure. Yet these Amish folks gathered around the families, and included the wife and family of the man who had killed their sweet little girls. They even went to his funeral and took care of the widow financially. I cried. I never see such love in our so called organized Christian society. Christians today usually react with rage and hate and can’t wait to witness the execution and get what is commonly known as “closure.” They find it impossible to forgive, yet claim Christ has forgiven them. Not so!
As I saw these events unfold and looked at all of Billie’s things, I knew why she had become such an important part of my life. She had that special love that only comes from God and gives a person the strength and courage to not only forgive, but also to love in the face of terrible hatred and injustice.
So looking through her “things,” all that seemed important were what she had written; written to no one but herself and God. Billie left journals going back many, many years. We found one from 1934-36 when she was just a school girl. She was always the writer.
She had wanted her journals read, and so I did. So much of it was just the ordinary life experience, but here and there I found a paragraph or page which was like a gem, a jewel, showing forth how a true lover of the Lord should feel and live. On November 15, 1993 she wrote, “I look at God’s creation and I wonder how can anyone doubt Him and not love Him? I wish I had more of Christ’s disposition in me. It will come - but by self dying. And it hurts. I’m not scared of storms anymore. I’ve been through them all - and now they are only shadows. Storms come and go. God is always there.”
I started reading “Under the Shadow of the Almighty” by Elizabeth Elliot this week. She is the widow of one of the five young men who were martyred bringing the Gospel to the Auca Indians in South America. I could see that she had the same intense devotion and single minded love for God that Billie had. Her husband, Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he can not keep, to gain what he can not loose.” Do we have such Christians today? I wonder. What I see falls very short of what should be the normal Christian experience.
So what we are trying to show by sharing Billie’s private notes is what a Christian life should be. In Luke 18:8 Jesus said, “When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” I think He will find very little.
Prayer Requests for November, 2006
For Willie Davis at Danville, Illinois, for a good job, and for an acquittal of his conviction.
For Jimmy Huff, Loraine, Texas, for his health and for his ministry.
For Willie Clark, Abilene, Texas, for a transfer near Houston.
For Ponnell Buchanan at Dixon, Illinois, that he will get his lost good time back so that he can go home next year.
For Jessie Cummings, Death Row at McAlester, Oklahoma, that the courts will see that he is innocent.
For Jerry Herring’s friend, Sue Wayman, that God will touch her. Jerry is at Huntsville, Texas.
For Johnny Dunnum, Lexington, Oklahoma, for his shoulder.
For Randal Smith, McAlester, Oklahoma, for a transfer to Joseph Harp at Lexington, Oklahoma.
For Sister Ann and all the nuns in Little Rock.
For Robert Heffernan, Brickeys, Arkansas, for health and for DNA testing.
For Willie Harper at Menard, Illinois, who also asks us to pray for his family, and for Chaplin Cline.
For all of us at Wingspread.
Something from A.W. Tozer regarding prayer that I wanted to share:
Prayer among evangelical Christians is always in danger of degenerating into a glorified gold rush. Almost every book on prayer deals with the “get” element mainly. How to get things we want from God occupies most of the space. Now, we gladly admit that we may ask for and receive specific gifts and benefits in answer to prayer, but we must never forget that the highest kind of prayer is never the making of requests. Prayer at its holiest moment is the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame and remarkable answers to prayer appear something very far short of wonderful by comparison.
A.W. Tozer - The Set of the Sail
A note of thanks from Brian for all the cards and notes he received on his birthday. He wanted everyone to know how much he appreciated the thoughts of kindness.
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