Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Hear the Word of the Lord

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Submitted by Bobbi Hoag

Ezekiel 37:1-14

In the miracle of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37, everything hinges on “hearing the Word of the Lord.” By “hearing the word of the lord”, God is obviously not talking about just being within earshot of something that is being said so that it passes through your auditory sense! He’s also not talking about a religious sort of hearing that “nods the head” and hears “good advice, sound teaching, or positive platitudes”. NO!! He is talking about hearing His Voice! Hearing the Word at His mouth! Hearing the Voice of the Almighty, Sovereign Ruler, and Creator of the Universe! Hearing the same Voice that Moses heard, and Abraham heard, and Sarah heard, and Daniel heard, and Samuel heard, and David heard, and Joseph heard, and Elisha heard, and Ruth heard, and Peter heard and Matthew heard, and Mary heard, and Paul heard, and Lazarus heard, and the dry bones heard! They ALL heard the Word of the Lord. And as a result, miraculous, supernatural events took place in their lives. They were people of faith because “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. (Ro. 10:17)

So back to Ezekiel 37. We see that the whole chain of events begins with Ezekiel HEARING the Word of the Lord himself and actually carrying Out that Word by the power and authority of God contained in that Word. In verse 4, Ezekiel HEARS God telling him to prophesy and to say to the dry bones that they too must HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD! Not the word of a mere man –but the Word of the Lord through this man chosen and empowered by God. An earthen vessel just like you and me. Verse 7 bears witness to the fact that Ezekiel prophesied as he was commanded which means according to verse 4 – that he told them to “hear the Word of the Lord.” What follows verse 7 is nothing less than miraculous and amazing and bears witness to the reality that the bones did “hear the Word of the Lord.” They didn’t hear “a good sermon” or “an interesting teaching, or a positive, encouraging word of advice”, or “a loving suggestion from a concerned Christian brother” – – NO!! THEY HEARD THE WORD OF THE LORD! They heard the Voice of God through Ezekiel and they received it and believed it and clung to it with determined faith. Like the Thessalonians who when they received the message of God which they HEARD from the apostles, they welcomed it not as the word of mere men but as it truly was THE WORD OF GOD which effectually did its work in them. There were supernatural results in the dry bones, in the Thessalonians, and in ALL who hear the Word of the Lord and not the word of mere men. (I Thess. 2:13 AMP)

What would have been lost and forever different if they had not “heard the Word of the Lord”? How long would they have continued in their dry, hopeless, cut-off state? But they DID hear! And Ezekiel DID hear! And, oh, the amazing power in the Word of the Lord as it is heard, believed, received, and released under the anointing and direction of the Holy Spirit. May we determine to settle for nothing less in our lives than hearing the Word of the Lord, clinging to it with determined faith, and walking in the power of it each and every day!

And your ears will hear a Word behind you saying, This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left” – Is. 30:21

Assembly Required

Monday, February 19th, 2007

 Ephesian 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

“fitly joined”: to render close jointed together, to organize compactly

“compacted”: to force, to drive together, to unite

“joint”: a ligament, as fastening

“supplieth”: contribution

I recently purchased a small end table from a store here in Crane (shop local!:) that required some assembly. As I was putting it together, the assembly process spoke something to my heart regarding the body of Christ and how we go through a similar process when it comes to being first “fitly joined” and then “compacted” together so that “every joint” can supply their part.

In attaching the shelves of the table to the sides, screws and dowels had to be first placed in the pre-drilled holes of the one part and then placed into the same type of holes of the other part. I believe that we too, according to His plan; according to His will for our lives, already have in us “pre-drilled holes” that are carved out purposely, and sit empty and void, ready to be filled by other parts of His body – a void that we cannot fill alone, but is meant for connection to, by and from other members.

After completing this step the two parts of the table were now fitly joined together. By just looking at them, they looked completely and securely joined, but that of course was not the case. The slightest pressure would pull them apart. They were “set” in their designated places but they were not yet “compacted” together and secured. This next process took using what were called “cam locks”. Once these were set into the proper places and then tightened you could literally hear the “click” as the two separate pieces of wood locked together. They were now completely joined and connected to each other. Hard pressure and force could be used, one piece against the other, but they were not going to be separated. Now they were each ready to do their “part” because before that, the sides of the table could not stand on their own and the shelves could not be suspended in the air on their own! They came together in a joint, and at that joint was found the supply of their strength. Their function and contribution was not realized independently but joined together their individual and unique purpose could now be accomplished.

There were many parts yet but one table. 1 Corinthians 12:20 says, “But now are they many members, yet but one body.” Verse 27 of this same chapter, in the Amplified Bible, reveals even more clarity that can still be gained from the table assembly analogy: “Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body and [individually] you are members of it, each part severally and distinct [ each with his own place and function].”

If you will think about this little table one more time in its preassembled state; various pieces scattered here and there; nothing connected together, you see how it could not yet be used for its intended purpose.  It’s also just as easy to see that in order for the body of Christ to function and flow; to flourish and grow; to show forth His praise and glory in the earth we must submit ourselves to Him and allow Him to set us, join us, connect us, and compact us together as it pleases Him.  This takes complete, total and utter surrender, devotion, commitment, dedication and consecration on our part, not just to the Lord, but also to His body.  To accomplish this there is a basic step that cannot be skipped, left out, thought little of, or ignored:ASSEMBLY REQUIRED

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.


Stand Up and Be Counted!

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

 During our recent corporate assemblies the word of the Lord has been very powerful in getting across to us God’s heart, intent and vision for the Body of Christ. It has been impacting me strongly and deeply and I can now see more clearly than ever three expectations that He has for me within His body. He wants me to be counted IN; be counted AMONG, and be counted ON.

1.BE COUNTED IN – Herein lies my agreement and support with the vision and emphasis of the particular body where He has placed me and set me. My inclusion and participation on the direction and leading that the elders bring forth. “Yes! Amen! I agree! I am with you. I am for you. Let’s do it, let’s go, let’s build, etc. You can count me IN!!”

2.BE COUNTED AMONG – This is where my actual presence comes in to play. I am an active and present member. I whole-heartedly participate in the events, the ministries, the outreaches, the get-togethers, the fellowshipping, the worship, the assembling of ourselves together. My presence, participation and support can be seen, heard and felt by the other members of the body! I am neither M.I.A. (missing-in-action) nor M.T.A (missing-THE-action!) When the elders “pass the hand” over the flock I am there and accounted for! I am counted AMONG the flock of God, the household of faith, the people of His pasture, the sheep of His hand! Therefore I am able to be current and in stride and in cadence with what God is saying and doing in our midst! I am not “apart” but “a part”! It’s my desire to “be in that number”…(remember the old song?)

3.BE COUNTED ON – I realize the reliance and dependence that we all have on, first of all, Jesus Christ the Head, and then Jesus Christ, His many-membered Body. The other members are looking to me. They can rely on and count on my presence, my devotion, my commitment, my passion, my encouragement, my prayers, my contribution, my participation, my love, my strength, my gifts, my anointing, my help, my support, my time, my money (ouch!), my consistency, my obedience, my fellowship, my enthusiasm. If they need me – I’m there. If they turn and look for me – I’m there. If they reach out and feel for me – I am there. You can call on me. You can depend on me. You can COUNT ON ME!

So, what are you waiting for! If you have allowed yourself, for whatever reason or excuse (whether from your own apathy or lethargy, from the world’s busyness, or from the enemy’s deception) to be missing out on the blessing that’s in the “cluster” you can change that right now as you read this and you can stand up and be counted for!

Our ignorance and misconceptions about God’s rich purpose and provision that is found within His body causes the advancement of the Kingdom of God in our communities and region to be halted and stymied. It’s nothing less then heartbreaking! Instead of being able to equip, inform and build upon week after week after week, valuable time has to be spent on “catching people up” and bringing them current on what God has been saying to the body, or worse yet, having to send out search parties looking for the sheep!

 I can’t imagine wanting to face the workplace, the world, the lost, or even my spouse and immediate family – without having been in His rich, manifest presence found in the assembling of the saints before Him nor miss out on the equipping and edifying that comes from the function and flow of His body. The enormous pressures and responsibilities of our daily workloads alone are all the more reason to rush in to the strong tower of His body and be refreshed in His presence and strengthened within from hearing His Word! We need Him, we are indebted to Him, we need the Body and are indebted to one another! Do you believe that?

The hour and times that we are in are so exciting as well as crucial in requiring the full attention and participation of the entire body of Christ; each member growing and maturing in Him so we can be a valuable asset, actively obeying and participating in what He has called us to in our lifetime as we “serve our own generation by the will of God”! What a privilege, what an honor, what a joy, what a mandate!




Weighing In

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Submitted by Beth.

This morning Craig spoke of God adding weight to us in 2007, and I began to think of all that entails. 

In the natural, we think of our weight, mope over our added weight, rejoice over our reduced weight, and concentrate on how we can adjust everything to change our weight.  We can apply so much of what is in the natural to the spiritual – “first in the natural, then in the spiritual”.  Here is what God put on my heart to consider this morning:

What you eat is what you are.  In the natural we know that if we eat fatty foods, we will gain fat, not muscle.  So our choice is to eat healthy and be healthy, or eat what we crave naturally and suffer the consequences.  In the spiritual, we have the same choice.  We can choose to dine on God’s Word (written or spoken) and gain spiritual muscle or to gorge ourselves on worldly pleasures and gain spiritual fat. 

Work out to build to change your fat to muscle.  In the natural, experts tell us that to improve your quality of life, exercise combined with diet is the fastest and best choice.  Exercising takes you from a place of lethargy to a level of higher energy.  Exercising also restructures your physique – toning you and building muscle.   In the spiritual, we learn that only ingesting God’s Word is not enough – just hearing can make us spiritually fat.  We need to exercise the Word – put it into action.  Then, we can gain spiritual muscle – toning us and building spiritual muscle – giving us a higher level of energy to do God’s work here on earth.

Fat versus Muscle.  The Webster’s definition of fat is “having too much adipose (fatty) tissue” – not what we desire in the natural.  The Webster’s definition of muscle is “to strengthen or toughen” and “a tissue composed of cells or fibers, the contraction of which produces movement in the body” – both of which we esteem in the natural.  How we should desire to have spiritual muscle – to have movement in the Body of Christ – to strengthen and toughen our most holy faith.  WOW!  Remember – muscle weighs more than fat!

Looking forward to putting on some spiritual weight (muscle) in 2007!

But, God…

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Many are the afflictions of the righteous.

Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.

We are troubled on every side, we are perplexed, we are persecuted, we are cast down.

How are they increased who trouble me,Many are they who rise up against me,Many are they who say of my soul “There is no help for him in God.”

With men it is impossible.

Feeling a little discouraged yet? Depressed? Well, you should be because those words leave the listener or reader without hope or remedy. I am sure you probably recognize that those “statements” are actually Scriptures. I purposely left out the second-half of the verse that begins with one small and yet very significant word: “BUT”

Let’s look at those verses again in their entirety (bold italics mine):

Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:19)

For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,and gross darkness the people:but the Lord shall arise upon you and His glory shall be seen upon you. (Isaish 60:2)

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed but not in despair;Persecuted but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8,9)

How are they increased that trouble me, many are they that rise up against me, Many are they that say of my soul “There is no help for him in God” but You oh Lord, are a shield for me; my glory and the lifter of my head. (Psalm3:2,3)

With men it is impossible but not with God:For with God all things are possible. (Mark 10:27)

Hallelujah! What a difference! What faith, hope and joy come when we get the whole picture! Yes, the circumstance or situation may be factual, it may be actually happening, we may be seeing it with our eyes, or hearing it with our ears, or feeling it in our bodies BUT be sure you bring into account the God-factor – what God has said about the situation!!!

Too many times we, as Christians, let a conversation drop without making sure that God has the last word regarding the situation. Before you hang up that phone, or walk away from that conversation, or maybe send that letter make sure you have interjected and boldly declared and proclaimed what God, the Alpha and Omega; the Author and the Finisher; the Beginning and the End has said regarding the present circumstance! Don’t leave the hopelessness and heaviness hanging in the air. At times you may have to be the bearer of bad news, or may be on the receiving end of hearing a bad report but don’t ever let the communication end there.

The other day a dear friend called me with serious developments in an ongoing situation that were weakening her spirit and eroding her faith. If our conversation had ended right there we both would have hung up feeling defeated and despondent. But as we turned our communication to what God has said; as we reminded ourselves of what we believe; as we ended the conversation with prayer it made all the difference in the world to her countenance and the strength of her spirit. We both hung up edified and encouraged!

Even in the bleakest and grimmest of circumstances if you can only eke out and proclaim just this one pervading and dominating truth – but with God all things are possible – you will leave faith hanging in the atmosphere, something for both the listeners on the earth as well as in the heavens to reckon with!

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.


Thursday, November 30th, 2006

A few weeks ago a Scripture came to me while in prayer that I hadn’t thought about in a long time: Song of Solomon 7:10 which says:

“I am my beloved’s; and his desire is toward me.”

What stood out to me at that particular time was the word “toward”. To know that the definition of that word is “in the direction of” creates in me a great sense of security as well as anticipation because what it is saying is “It’s coming directly at me;it’s aimed at me; I am its intended target; it’s HEADED MY WAY”!!! My Beloved will see to it that I am a recipient of His desire, His longing, His passion. And I can prepare my own heart to receive from Him all that He has for me. It reiterates to my heart that He’s for me, not against me; that He’s with me, not forsaking me.

Two days ago, again during a time of prayer, another Scripture containing this same word rose up in my spirit. It was 2 Corinthians 9:8 which says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you. ..” Wow! As if it wasn’t enough to have His desire directed toward me, He also wants to send every bit of His grace in my direction as well! I know that the context of this passage refers primarily to a grace for giving, but after meditating on the fact that His grace abounds toward me (and you) it became so clear, so obvious, so apparent that He purposely makes it His aim and sends in our direction His grace to be forgiven (as well as to forgive); grace to be saved; grace to be healed; grace to be delivered; grace to be helped; grace to receive a breakthrough; grace to overcome and triumph; grace to serve; grace to be His witness; grace to lift up His Standard in the earth. I think you get the point!

While we know all too well that the enemy sends out fiery darts and missiles to hamper us or even take us out completely, his attempts will be fruitless – mission UNaccomplished- as my open and willing heart receives from my God all that HE has sent out towards me. Bullseye!