Archive for December, 2006

Turn and Return

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Submitted by B. Hoag 

I was praying the other day and talking to the Lord about the Word “Return” and asking Him to continue to speak to me and reveal more of what He wants to say to me regarding it. Just as I was crying out to the Lord, my cat Kisses jumped up into my lap. My eyes were closed so it was a bit startling, but almost immediately I knew it was the Lord answering my prayer. I realized how she was a sign of the Word in that she had been lost recently for over 2 weeks and then found! We discovered later that she had actually been just across the street under someone’s porch almost the entire time, yet she couldn’t find her way home – she didnt’ return.

Sometimes in the midst of distractions, obstacles of daily life, situations (expected and unexpected), thoughts, feelings, etc., we may get confused and convinced that we’re so far from Him or that He is so far from us – but it is a lie! He is as near as our very breath! He is in us!! He is nigh unto us! He will never leave us or forsake us! All we need to do is turn in His direction – turn and return to Him! All Kisses needed to do was get across the street, but instead she lived out in the cold with none of the provision that was available to her – for over 2 weeks. We were here all along – calling her name, looking for her return.

BUT GOD in His mercy calls out to us – He looks for us to return unto Him and to receive ALL that He has for us!

So whether you’ve been “just across the street” or “in a far off land” like the prodigal son, turn and return to Him! He is waiting for you with meat to feed your hunger, living Water to quench your thirst, covering from the storm, and a Light to guide your way. He is a faithful, mighty God Who upholds His Word and desires to bless you for a cause – His cause! Hallelujah!




Saturday, December 30th, 2006

How I love this proclamation given to us in the gospel of Luke.  There is no greater TRUTH on which to “dwell” when we consider the times that we are in.  It is an easy thing to get caught up into the chaos, the unrest and tragedies which are happening around us on a moment to moment basis.  The world is becoming smaller and smaller as each day passes.  Technology has brought Iraq, China, and Afghanistan into our homes in the US.  Hundreds and thousands of lives are lost. Everyday, in our own country, the death count grows from senseless, selfish crimes.  It can be overwhelming to see and hear these things on a daily basis. Although we cannot ignore what is happening about us, I would ask you to consider to remember what was said to some shepherds in a field at a time when the world as they knew it was also chaotic, full of tragedies, and unrest.


“Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy; which shall be to ALL people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,

which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall

find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:10 – 12

Often when I am experiencing some type of difficulty, the Lord will remind me – everything will be ok – for BEHOLD, I BRING YOU TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY!  This TRUTH can be a drink to a thirsty soul, hope to a hopeless situation, comfort to someone in pain, it can turn your mourning in to dancing again.  Because this child, who was the Savior of the World, was born, EVERYTHING CHANGED!!!  The world is different because JESUS came.  My prayer for all of us is that we can capture what the angel of the Lord was trying to reveal to us in that statement.  I encourage you to “DWELL” on THIS TRUTH.  God gives us opportunities everyday to touch other’s lives.  When someone calls you and shares with you that they are in a difficult place, speak these words, ‘BEHOLD I BRING YOU TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY!” 

Fervently Pursuing the Will of God

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

In conversation recently a Scripture came up that reminded me anew about the necessity and vitalness on my part to be actively and fervently pursuing the will of God for my life:

Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended by Christ Jesus.  (KJV, bold emphasis mine)

Though God made the first move towards me, and apprehended my life and made me His own, the ball is now in my court to passionately and devotedly apprehend all that He has for me to receive and to accomplish during my pilgrimage on this earth.  Verses 13-14 (once again, bold emphasis mine) go on to say:

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before,
I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
In these three verses alone there are four words and/or phrases that emphasize effort and activity on my part: follow after, apprehend, reaching forth, and press.  The Greek definitions of these words reveals I am to be stretching myself forward; pursuing; taking eagerly, seizing and possessing all that God has made possible in so great a salvation!

I remember seeing an advertisement years ago that compelled me to write its content on one of the back flaps of my Bible so that I could periodically be reminded of the type of posture and attitude that God does not want me to have!  The ad was for some kind of drink to aid in the losing of weight and it touted this tempting slogan for the would-be dieter:


That’s ludicrous! But, sadly, isn’t that what a lot of us as Christians want?  We want to experience the presence of God; receive the promises and blessings of the Lord; have changes that will produce Christ-likeness in us, but we want all of these things to happen with minimal effort (or better yet no effort) on our part! We just want to go about as we’ve been doing – God forbid we’d have to change our lifestyle! I’m not talking about getting caught up in dead works, or busyness without fruitfulness but a true fervent spirit that follows hard after the Lord with whole-hearted dedication, devotion, commitment and consecration.  Apprehending with such determined purpose that we will let no one and no thing get in the way of or hamper our pursuit!  The rewards, blessings, fulfillment and satisfaction of such an all-out/sold-out pursuit are beyond description! 

I encourage you to take a quiet moment before the Lord and allow for a long, hard look to examine the manner and the premium you have put on “apprehending that for which I am also apprehended by Christ Jesus”.  Remember this:

If you are looking for excuses you will find them.
If you are looking for God you will find no excuse!

You have been apprehended, chosen, and called, and have come into the Kingdom for such a time as this.  “Be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord”!  (Romans 12:11)  The word “fervent” is one of my favorite Greek words in the whole Bible.  It’s the word “zeo” (dzeh-o) and it means: to be hot, to the boiling of liquids and the glowing of solids.  Now that’s hot!  And that is the type of posture and attitude that God expects and desires from us.  When I read that phrase I can see that the first statement is interchangeable with the second – to be fervent in spirit is to be serving the Lord; to be serving the Lord is to be fervent in spirit! To think we can have one without the other is to only be fooling ourselves, and only amounts to presenting to the world a diluted, compromised, impotent form of Christianity that they will not be interested in having! 

Be encouraged and compelled to follow hard after Him, to follow on to know the Lord, to follow the Lamb wherever He goes, to seek Him with your whole heart.  You will find that the workmanship of God that takes place in your life will have been so worth the effort, and that the godly lifestyle changes wrought in you will cause you to be “sought out” by those watching and observing your manner and standard of living!  Be counted among those who want to apprehend the Lord. Be not in the company of those who have settled for a complacent, apathetic walk with the Lord that requires “no work or lifestyle changes” – but with those who want ZEO!

One Stone

Saturday, December 9th, 2006

While I’m working out the process for allowing other users to post to this blog, here’s a submission from Jared B.  This came from his heart while on his morning run. 

one stone to turn!

let us not be distracted by the old prophet
who tickles the ear and swells the head
with new terms and ways of worship
empty rhetoric turning gold to lead

it is not just strict discipline
our discipline can fall into degrees
adhering to the utmost strict guidelines
will this bring us to our knees?

to receive your anointing LORD
there is only one stone to turn
can we drop the empty rhetoric?
and turn the one stone….the pages of your word!

Lord Jesus let us seek your word and disregard the word of man.  I can rest in the palm of your hand.  Give me faith to place my burdens on you to carry cross the land.  You comfort me Lord and deliver me from sin to never return again.  Let me be not tempted by this world.  If so, let temptation find me steadfast, vigilant, alert and aware always turning to you.  Your will be done! Amen.

Christian Perfection

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 
The other day I read a quote from a book that I was reading that was freeing and a revelation that I always keep in my heart in everything that I do, think, and say.  Here is a quote from the book, “My Utmost for His Highest”, by Oswald Chambers.  “Christian perfection is not, and never can be human perfection.  Christian perfection is the perfection of a relationship with God that shows its self to be true even amid the seemingly unimportant aspects of human life.”  The above scripture testifies to the fact that we cannot please God unless we do everything by faith.  Faith requires us to believe in, trust in Him for every aspect of our lives; which means we must grow closer to Him to be able to trust and believe in Him.  Thus, Christian perfection comes out of faith and desiring to please Him. 
To try to achieve perfection by works is like a dog chasing its tail.  It can never be achieved.  We come to Him and we say look at all the good I have done for you; and all He can say is I could have accomplished all of this without you.  My greatest desire is you.  So, even in works, He is trying to bring us in a closer relationship with Him.  Faith requires us to depend on Him and hear Him for every instruction, for every nudge, for every quiet, still voice in hearing Him, even if that instruction is to do nothing.  That way, in doing nothing, which is sometimes harder than doing something, we become closer to Him.  In this we achieve what God wants – a relationship with Him. 
Most people would say that all this takes is obedience, and in a way that is true.  It is obedience to His voice.  What Jesus was trying to get the religious world to see was that the perception of obedience needed to be changed.  The religious then, and the religious now, think that if they follow the scriptures to the jot and tittle they will be okay with God.  And yet, He is disappointed.  What He desires is that they obey His voice and do it while referring to and according to His written word.   This makes God –  a living God, and not just a God of instructions.  Everything that God has done, and will do will is to the same purpose; reconciling His people unto Himself.  This is what pleases Him.


Monday, December 4th, 2006

“Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until he shall have mercy upon us.” Psalm 123:2 

“My soul wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him.”  Psalm 62:5

As ironic as this sounds, yesterday afternoon I experienced a very clear example of what “expectation” is when I was not expecting it!

I had just pulled our car into the carport and was about to enter our side door into the house when I decided to peek over the fence, as I sometimes do, and check on our two dogs in the yard. They could not see me yet but I saw them – sitting there with rapt attention, their eyes fixed in the direction from where they heard the car pull up, watching and waiting expectantly to see me. When they finally did see me their posture softened, their ears laid back and, of course, tails started wagging. Though I had not intended to, I decided to go ahead and let them come in the house for a while and enjoy their company.

Anyone who has known me for very long knows what a HUGE animal lover I am, and more specifically – dog lover, so it didn’t really surprise me that the Lord would use an example that included canines to show me something! Dogs seem to be able to exemplify earnest expectation toward their “masters” in expert fashion. It just spoke to my heart that the Lord and Master of my life would desire for me to have that same expectation and anticipation of being in His presence. Longing and yearning for Him, my gaze fixed in His direction. And His heart responds and is moved accordingly by lovingly drawing me unto Himself.