Billie obviously wrote this general letter at Easter, 2003, the last year she was with us. Her deep concern and care for the eternal destiny of everyone was always at the forefront of her writing. And she did all she could to show us the way.
April 19, 2003
Dear Friends and Brothers of Wingspread,
This is the day that Jesus was in the bowels of the earth. God alone knows what He faced there. Imagine! The very Son of God who had dwelt throughout the eternities in Heaven where there is only beauty, song, praise, adoration and LOVE - went down into the grave after that awful cup of sin which He drank, and the trial, and the crucifixion, and yet He came out - TRIUMPHANT.
Can you even begin to think of what He suffered, not because of any sin of His own, but for us? We are born into sin and have no hope at all to overcome it unless we are shown by God’s divine grace the utter horror of what we have become, and our need for a brand new life. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
People take it lightly, this thing called salvation. People take God for granted and say that He is begging us to come unto Him. God does not beg. He does not have to, He is God and He will not beg us to come unto Him. He INVITES. That is all. And just as we might receive an invitation in the mail to someone’s home or fellowship, and we refuse it, then it’s over.
I recently received an invitation to a dinner down in Little Rock, which I declined. I didn’t get any further letters “begging me to come to the event.” Bill Clinton doesn’t have to beg. His appearance was announced, invitations were sent out, and that was all. I did not go, and I received no further invitations to make sure I would be there.
Why would we expect God to beg us to come to Him, when He created us in the first place? Adam made such a mess of the race of human beings that it is a miracle to me each day to recognize the reality of my own new birth. I was born of Adam and there was no hope at all for me to ever be cleansed and delivered from my sins. I knew that. Growing up in church, I found the Scripture verse “Be ye therefore, followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.
“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not fitting; but, rather, giving of thanks.
“For this ye know, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man (who is an idolater) hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Ephesians 5:1-5).
Again, I thank God that even as a child I believed that Word. My Mama was shocked when I told her I would go to hell if I died. “Why, Billie,” she said, “you won’t go to hell. You’ve joined the church and you are a Christian.”
But I knew better. By God’s great grace, he permitted me to see into my own heart where all the sins of the world lay. I knew it. I knew that I could lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, covet, deceive . . . do all of the things which lay dormant within my heart. And I never stopped hoping that one day I could somehow be set free from that bondage of sin.
It took another fifteen years or more for me to find that cleansing blood of Christ and the forgiveness that I sought for all of my life. But it happened.
The “Church” failed me. Individuals had no idea of what the new birth was, so they could not help me. I never heard a sermon on the filth that we are as we grow up into sinful living, and of how desperately we need a Savior. I still don’t hear it. Not often. But Jesus said it would be so in the “end times,” and obviously we are almost there.
But God did not fail me. Time and again I would “go down” when the “invitation” to be saved was offered, and time and again nothing happened. I had no idea of the horror of sin until I had lived it out. And THEN I knew that God’s Word is true and alive and I could of my own self answer HIS invitation to come to Him, holding nothing back, ever. I was born again, of His Spirit, and I became a new creature in Christ Jesus. Galatians 2: 20-21 became clear to me:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
“I do not make void the grace of God; for it righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
I hear from scores of individuals who claim citizenship in Heaven - but are you sure that you are born again? Has anyone ever told you that what a man thinks (when no one knows what he is thinking) is what he truly is. A person’s thoughts make up the person himself.
I have often asked those of you who draw crosses on your envelopes, and use the Name of Christ in your letters to be very sure that you have made that total commitment of your SELF to Him. He knows whether or not you have, and He warns us in His Word that IF we have not become so sick of ourselves that we cry out to God the Father for mercy and forgiveness and cleansing, then no matter how many church meetings we lead, or how many choirs we belong to, or how many Bible studies we conduct - IF that SELF has not been “crucified with Christ” then the day could come and will come when Jesus says to you, “Depart from me . . . I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23).
The Word puzzled me and I looked it up in the Greek and Hebrew “Lexicon,” a huge book of translation of all the words in the Bible.
I looked up the words, “I never knew you . . .” And the word, “knew,” means to have a “covenant relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
If we do not have that kind of relationship with God, then God does not even KNOW us, and our prayers don’t even hit the ceiling. In the Scriptures the person who had done all the “good things or works” that man can do was unrecognized by God.
That satisfied me. I have a Covenant relationship with God, and let me tell you that this kind of relationship is not taken lightly. It is a sober, terrifying thing to “claim to be a child of God” and live like the devil himself. Maybe not outwardly, but inwardly you know that your heart is full of all the sins listed in the above Scripture verses, and you have never been finished with them.
This is why it is dangerous to “try to get others saved” if you are yourself just born again. A baby is helpless and so is a baby Christian. We are so full of ourselves that it takes years - up to ten or more - to begin to live a life that glorifies God.
For those who have truly been saved, there is a difference right from the start. We know we are not the same person, and never will be again. We are changed and as we seek Him in His Word (where else, but the Bible?) we find the answer to every problem, every question that comes to us as we walk our pilgrim path on our way to Glory.
Jesus did not drink that cup of every sin that a human being can commit without much sorrow and pain. In fact, it hurt Him so deeply, being sinless Himself, that under such stress, He sweat droplets of blood. That is how horrible it was to Him, the sinless One.
And His disciples did not bother to “watch with Him” in the agony He knew he would endure. He asked them to watch with Him (three of them) and instead they slept. And He was lonely.
I fear today we have a “sleeping church.” We are supposed to be HIS BODY right here on earth. We are supposed to look like Him (His beauty was the peace upon His face and the Love within His heart). We are supposed to talk like Him. And we are supposed to love like He loves.
I must admit that to love as He loves costs us everything. I had a “wonderful” Christian life for ten years after I was born again. I had been through some harsh time (like the seven years in the basement room) but God took me out of that, and I had what I always had longed for: A Christian husband, a Christian son, and a Christian home. I served Christ and thought it would always be this way.
But in a swift stroke of God’s hand, everything was gone. I had nothing left. But I had my Father’s love and I realized that His love is enough.
It is always enough; it was enough when I lived for many years in physical agony, and in spiritual darkness and oppression from those who should have loved me for Jesus’ sake. It was enough when the purse was almost empty; when loved ones turned away when I most needed them. It was enough when I said goodbye to my parents and buried them, knowing that one day I would see them again and never have to say goodbye.
It is enough today, when I was so thankful and sure that each of you in prison who have felt God’s love and received His goodness, and I hear that you have fallen back into sin. I wonder then, did I tell you enough of God’s intentions for your life? Of His abhorrence of sin, His refusal to fellowship with you who are so called “back slidden?” I believe that I have warned you, have shown you the Way to salvation, have shared your sorrows and your joys with you; but I cannot save you. I can only share the graces of God’s Love in my life with you, and if you seek Him then you will surely find Him.
God would not have been unjust if He had just let mankind perish because of Adam’s sin. He knew ahead - even before He created Adam - that all this would happen.
I think to myself, would I have gone ahead and created a man who would by his own will ruin everyone who was to come after him? I wouldn’t have done it, because I am only human myself. But once I have been given God’s gift of divine Love, then YES, I would have done the same thing.
That is why I never give up on any of you. I see you grow, and then fail. I see you rebel, and I see you come to your senses. I see you hate and then realize that hatred is murder (Jesus says so), and you leave it behind.
But I see some of you refuse so great a gift and my heart breaks because within my own heart
is the great heart of our Father, God.
In the morning, we will be all bright and new and clean again, IF we have tasted of that heavenly Gift of the Lamb of God, who indeed on that dark night preceding Calvary, drank the cup of sin in our stead.
People can be saved and continue in sin and test the Scripture in Romans 5:20, “but where sin abounded grace abounded much more” - but the Bible says, “God forbid.” May these words help to bring you into that new life of peace and power and a new beginning. We praise Him.
-Billie & Family
It has definitely been the hottest summer in many years. And I think this is true for many parts of the country. We had no rain for six weeks and during August we were at or above a hundred degrees most every day. Most of the flowers we had planted during the spring bloomed briefly and then withered. Some of the Oak trees lost their leaves during this time. It was just too hot for anything to survive very long.
But now we are into one of our favorite seasons, the crisp cool days of autumn. The deer are coming in, sometimes large herds of twenty or more. Shirley loves to feed them and now they know that this is a place where they can find water and food.
And of course the raccoons visit our front deck every night. Harry the cat hates them and we hear a lot of threatening sounds out there most evenings. Squirrels are everywhere, of course, and there are so many birds. I think its unusual to see so many yellow finches, but they come in big flocks and there again, it’s probably because Shirley feeds them lots of seeds.
Sometime during June a couple of house wrens built a nest on our front deck, in one of the hanging baskets. We were able to see them sit on the eggs, feed the young, and go through the whole process of raising a family. Then a few weeks after that they repeated the entire process using another hanging basket (Rodney had taken down the old nest after the babies flew). How do they know what to do, except that there is a God who gave them that wisdom and instinct in their hearts.
Then I heard something on the news that makes me both sad and angry. There is a man who is considered the smartest man on earth. His IQ is very high of course. Anyway, he had come to the conclusion that there is no Creator, but that everything - from the universe to all living things - came from one little
microscopic speck, and it was all more or less an accident. “The fool has said in his heart there is no God” (Psalm 53:1).
Now this man, with all his intelligence, is without any spiritual light. He may even have read the Bible and it was only words to him, but of course I’m only speculating. This man with all his brains missed out on knowing the greatest intelligence, the loving kindness, and mercy, and most of all, the Power able to do all things, even create a brilliant mind. We will all stand before God one day, and so will this man. And then he will know that “yes, there is a Creator.”
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called; But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise . . .” (1st Corinthians 1:26 & 27, in part).
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain” (1st Corinthians 3:19-10).
If you have even the slightest interest in the things of God, thank Him for that light, and ask Him to increase your faith, and He will.
Dr. Scott always suggested to us, to look for a promise from God in the Bible. The Psalms are a good place to start. Take that promise - whatever it is - and hold on to it by faith. When I have been in pain or sorrow I have found great comfort in His Promises because I know they are real and true and can be depended upon.
“Thy throne is established from of old; thou art from everlasting.” (Psalm 93:2)
“We often hear of ancient dynasties, but what are they when compared with the Lord? Are they not as the bubble on the breaking wave, born an instant ago and gone as soon as seen? . . . The ungodly are all foam and fury, noise and bluster during their little hour, and then the tide turns or the storm is hushed, and we hear no more of them; while the kingdom of the Eternal abides in the grandeur of its power.”
October, 2010 Prayer Requests
For Earl Oswalt (and family) who recently lost his Mother. Earl is at Taft, Oklahoma.
For Cleveland Cook, Buckeye, Arizona, that he can be baptized soon.
For Johnny Carruthers, Florence, Arizona, who will be having hernia surgery any day now.
For Willie Davis at the Cook County jail in Chicago, who is being retried after an appeal.
For Anthony Grayson, Comstock, New York, who just filed his appeal.
For Willie Scott at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, for his health. Also, Willie comes up for clemency later this year.
For Jimmy Huff, Colorado City, Texas, for his health. He also needs transportation.
For Willie Clark, Iowa Park, Texas, that he’ll be transferred closer to Houston to be near his family.
For Michael Small’s son, Derek, that he will find a good job. He has a young family to take care of.
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 Willie Harper, Joliet, Illinois, that he stays “cancer free.”
For Robert Heffernan, Grady, Arkansas, for his health.
For Pastor Scott & her ministry (The University Network) in Los Angeles.
For all of us at Wingspread.
A NOTE - Some of what Jesus taught us about prayer:
“When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and at the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Verily I saw unto you, They have their reward.
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into they room, and when thou hast shut they door, pray to thy Father, who is in secret; and they Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the pagans do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Matthew 6:5-7
For further instruction from Jesus on prayer, you can go to Matthew 6, starting at verse 9.
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