God's Last Call
By Billie Marie Zal
We live in a time in history where life is as uncertain as the thunderstorm that comes in a split second on a calm, rainy day. We must not be surprised at such at time as this. Those of us who love God’s Word and treasure it as our most valuable possession know instinctively that we are possibly entering that phase of history where the end of our world as we know it is in sight.
The tragedies that occur only prove to us that God will keep His word. And we cannot disbelieve that which is so obvious. Jesus describes in detail what will happen in the “end time” (if you want to know, study Matthew 2: 4-31). It is there, and God’s Holy Spirit confirms it within your heart, if you belong to Christ.
We wonder, then, how did all of this come to pass? Why did God create the world and mankind, only to judge it in the end? The answer is found again in God’s Word, when He declares, “Thou art the covering cherub . . . Thy wisdom and beauty where created in thee in the day thou was created.”
In one of A.W. Tozer’s messages he says: “Consider the fact that there was a day when God loved the devil as He now loves the angels and archangels - because at that time He saw in the devil traces and proofs of His own wisdom. I believe that God loved that Being because it was, not an image of Himself, as man is, but a reflection of what God could do and an evidence of His artistry - His moral artistry, and His omniscience, too.
“But the devil sinned . . . In a way not quite like man’s sin. He sinned in some way that erased forever everything of which God could be proud and in which God could rest, so that God no longer loved the devil. He sent no Redeemer for him. There isn’t anything in satan that could remind God of Himself.” (From the TOZER PULPIT, Vol. I, Copyright 1994).
I had never even conceived that God could stop loving someone. We are taught by
preachers in today’s society that God is a “good ole Boy” who cleans us up and pats us on the back without so much as a rebuke.
But God is not that kind of God. I realize now that yes, there can come a day when if an individual sells out to sin and to the power of evil which makes him a devil and not a man, then he is definitely beyond the love of God. This is what Dr. Tozer has taught me and this is what I believe.
Perhaps I never wanted to think that anyone could live his life in such a way that the grief of God over his soul finally sees that this person has nothing within himself to remind God, as Dr. Tozer explains, of His own life within that person. And so He no longer grieves over what has gone. A severe warning to those of us who would live our own lives the way we want, do what we please, and forget that we are created in the very image of God, and we owe Him our lives, forever, to do His will whether we like it or not.
There is a terror much worse than the terrorists can put upon us by bombing our buildings and infiltrating our lives with poison. This terror is the devil’s power over us. He has control from the moment we draw our first breath, and he is careful to keep us within that frame work of his dealings until we have gone so far as never to want to submit ourselves to the total dominion of God’s Holy Spirit over us.
Either way, we are under someone’s control - either God’s or the devil’s. Why else would we have this tendency to do evil instead of good? It is because we are not yet redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.
God in His Eternity planned for our escape from such bondage even “before the worlds were formed.” That’s what He says. He tells us in His Word that He knew us, “before we were formed in our Mother’s wombs.” You can either believe or disbelieve this fact; but disbelief does not alter the Truth. God says so, and so it must be true.
This is what God did: He “elected” certain individuals throughout the ages to become His own, by faith in His Son Jesus Christ. How He did this, I don’t know. But He did. Why did He elect only certain people to be saved? Because God is “forever.” The Bible tells us that He is “yesterday, today, and forever.” So nothing is hidden from Him. His majesty and glory and honor and wisdom are within Himself and He KNOWS those who will - if given the chance - receive with great joy the salvation from the penalty, guilt, and bondage of sin through the blood of His everlasting covenant - the Blood of the Lamb of God, His Son.
Once a man said to me while I was at the Mall, “I see you have a cross on your lapel. Are you one of those people who try to get people saved?”
I smiled at him. Then I said, “I couldn’t get you saved if I wanted to. It all depends upon whether or not you are one of God’s elect.”
Astonished, he asked, “What do you mean, one of God’s elect?”
Then I told him what I hope turned him toward seeking God. “God in His foreknowledge, knows who will receive the salvation He offers to all of us. If you aren’t interested, then you are not one of His elect, and you won’t ever be saved. If you are interested, then begin today, seeking Him and you will find Him.”
The man was definitely scared. His arrogance disappeared like the fog when the sun’s bright rays shine through, and as I walked away, I knew that God had given this man - a stranger - a Truth that might eventually lead him to Himself.
In our pride we often present God as Someone who must answer to us for His actions. We all hear the question, “How could a Holy God who is supposed to be all Love permit such a thing to happen?”
God does what He does because He is God and beside Him there is no other. He has infinite Love which belongs to Himself and He bestows it as He wills, without hesitation or reason. He is the “High and Holy One who inhabits eternity.” He is the One who “created the heavens and the earth, and all there is therein.”
He is the Eternal One who occupies the Throne set in heaven, who - according to the Revelation of St. John, “like a jasper and a sardius stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like an emerald. . .
“And round about the throne were four and twenty thrones. . . and upon them were four and twenty elders in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. . .
“And out of the throne proceeded lightening and thunderclaps, and voices; and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God” (Rev. 4: 1-5).
Now those of you who ask, “How could a Holy God permit such a thing?” Think about this description of who He is. Then DARE to question anything He does, if you will.
I always say, “Don’t mess with God.” Even if you are born again, and belong to Jesus Christ, if you sin there is a consequence. God has a right to do what He pleases. He is a God who created us for His own pleasure, no other reason. If there is a break in your fellowship with God, you know it. No excuses. You have joined league with the devil and agreed to His insidious whisperings.
But the joy of being a child of God is this: you don’t have to continue in sin. Grace (God’s unmerited favor) will definitely abound if you confess your sin. Only then is He able to forgive you your sin, and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. This is in the Book, and God cannot lie.
Another wonderful thing is this, according to Dr. Tozer, who was God’s prophet for God’s time. He says this: “God loves all lost men now - in prisons, in asylums, in saloons, in houses of ill fame. He loves them now because the last trace has not been erased, and He still remembers that His Son on the tree had a body like theirs. . .
“The day will come when he that is filthy will be getting filthier still - and therefore, the day will come when lost man will no longer be loved by God Almighty” (from THE TOZER PULPIT, Vol. I).
I found myself weeping as I typed those words. God help people to see that this world is not all there is. There is a heaven and there is a hell, and where we go when we die depends upon our relationship with the Creator of all the world and everything that is in it.
Once a young man in jail was saved when I said, “Everyone lives forever, either in heaven or in hell.” He had never thought of that. People who defy God want to believe that once death comes the mind and soul are annihilated and there is a “nothingness” which prevents remorse and sorrow.
But look at the rich man in the Bible who died and went to Sheol, the place of the wicked dead. He’d had it all and had never considered God’s claims upon his life. And according to Jesus’ own story there is a hell:
“And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who was lain at his gate, full of sores.
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table, moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
“And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom; the rich man also died, and was buried;
“And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
“But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is tormented, and thou are tormented. And beside all this, between us and you, there is a great gulf fixed, so that they who would pass from here to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come over here.”
This makes it very clear that there is a hell. And people who refuse to receive God’s deliverance through the blood of His Son, go there. It’s a fact. There is one difference today, in our time. Because Jesus Christ shed His blood and went down to Hades, He “led captivity captive,” and left only the wicked dead to wait out the centuries until the great White Throne Judgment which comes at the very end of the ages. We cannot “mess with God.” We will end up in Hades if we do, and the rich man pretty much told us what it is like.
I hear a lot of ridicule in today’s society about those who believe in “fire and brimstone.” Laugh as they may, they will one day discover that all of it is true. They might as well enjoy life now because there is no enjoyment for anyone apart from Christ after they die. Only torment. And it’s not God’s fault. He has done everything He is ever going to do, to save us from ourselves. He will do nothing more than warn and rebuke and chasten, and give “that blessed Hope” to those of us who “love His appearing.”
I hope that I have frightened each of you sufficiently by this message to cause you to stop, take note of who you are, what you are doing, and where you are going.
And I pray that the day will never come when God no longer grieves over your lost soul.
- From the October, 2001 Wingspread
There is a lot of “religion” going on today. There is a church on almost every corner, and it seems that everyone believes in some kind of God, usually one of their own imagination. The God of Love and no hell is a favorite.
Jesus said, “ye must be born again” (John 3:7). So what in the world does that mean? I wondered a lot about this when I was growing up. I was told that this person or that person was born again. But they all looked the same and pretty much acted the same. I saw no real change in people except that they went to church more. All I knew for sure was, that whatever it was they claimed to have, I didn’t have it.
The organized church has since then come up with a “formula,” kind of like a one fits all program. And it’s the “Sinner’s Prayer.” But Jesus also said in John 3:6, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” A.W. Tozer says it well in his book THE DIVINE CONQUEST: “The flesh can never be converted into spirit, no matter how many church dignitaries work on it. Confirmation, baptism, holy communion, confession of faith - none of these, nor all of them together can turn flesh into spirit nor make a son of Adam a son of God.” Jesus said in John 6:44, No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”
I don’t believe a true born again experience comes about except the person first feels lost, helpless and unable to save themselves. In other words, they have come to an end of themselves and their own resources, and like Peter sinking in the waves cry “Lord, save me.”
God is a spirit and only He knows the heart and when that desire is real. He implants part of His spirit in us. As we walk in obedience to His Word the spirit in us grows and Christ is formed in our heart by faith. It is an ever growing faith, as His spirit grows in us. The new man in us displaces the old little by little and we become “a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
Salvation is not by works, but is a gift of grace from God. Yet I have noticed a similar nature in all God’s children. They are able to forgive and put the tragedy or evil done to them behind. They have a giving nature; they freely give of themselves, their time and their money. And they love one another.
I see these graces in the people around me and know that they have the spirit of God in their heart. And I am thankful.
Prayer Requests for October, 2006
For Jimmy Huff, Loraine, Texas, for a good car, his ministry, and for his health.
For Willie Scott, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, for a transfer to a county jail work program, and that the Governor will grant him clemency.
For Francis Nolan Holland and his family. Nolan’s father recently passed away.
For our friend, Ronnie, who recently got out of prison and is having trouble staying away from drugs.
For Juan Cervantes’ daughter’s family. They are living in a motel and struggling to make ends meet.
For Willie Clark’s son who is in jail.
For Ronald Deon Williams, Mt. Sterling, Illinois, for an out of state parole.
For Robert Casto at McAlester, Oklahoma, who also asks that we pray for all the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For Cantrell Watts, McAlester, Oklahoma, who recently suffered head, neck and shoulder injuries.
For Ted Ricks, McAlester, Oklahoma, for a transfer to Joseph Harp at Lexington, Oklahoma.
For Jessie Cummings, McAlester, Oklahoma, that the courts will see that he is not guilty.
For Sister Ann and all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock.
For Ponnell Buchanan at Dixon, Illinois. Ponnell has several prayer requests: For Brian Lykins’ Mother who suffers from alcoholism and depression; For Scott Peterson’s Step-Father who’s having lung and respiratory problems; For Jason Hammond’s Mother, Diana and his Father, Richard Hammond, for possible upcoming surgeries and other related health issues; and for Ponnell’s Sister, Yolanda Buchanan, who is facing attempted murder charges.
For all of us at Wingspread.
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