Quote for Today – John G. Lake

Quote for Today

“The great majority of the Christian world is still weeping at the foot of the cross. The consciousness of man is fixed on the Christ Who died, not the Christ Who LIVES. They are looking back to the Redeemer Who was, not the Redeemer who IS.”
–John G. Lake

Quote for Today – William J. Seymour

Quote for Today

“The Pentecostal power, when you sum it all up, is just more of God’s love. If it does not bring more love, it is simply a counterfeit.”
— William J. Seymour

Quote for Today – D.W. Stevens

Quote for Today

“Love without truth and honor is licentious in nature.

Love without commitment is promiscuous and fleeting.

Love without virtue and understanding is savage and selfish.

Love without respect is short-lived.

Love without these conditions is without God.”
D.W. Stevens

The Evidence of Salvation

The Evidence of Salvation

“Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
Acts 9:6

Paul on his way persecuting the church was confronted on the road by Jesus Christ. His way was interrupted with God’s way and his surrender was immediate and complete. He understood Jesus to be the Lord of His life; not a part time occupation or a Sunday morning exception to his schedule; not Someone to run to when everything else failed. “Lord” was his heart-felt response. Much of the gospel presented today is of a Saviour who is ever willing to help us cope with life, to assist us on our journey while we chose the way and manner in which we live. Such was not the case in the early church nor in the presentation of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit His people presented Jesus as Lord; a living Saviour who is to be Lord of our hearts, our thoughts, purpose and conduct of our lives.

The church today considers the life of Paul as something out of the ordinary and an anomaly in the average Christian experience. Our expectations of Him determines our experience. Expectations are really the evidence of our faith. A faith that expects little, receives little. There must be a radical change in the perception of whom He is and who He is to be in us. The nominal Christian life is one of low expectations, contentment with the status quo and a vague concept of who Christ is. Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit declared…

“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting
1 Timothy 1:16

Paul’s life was the “norm” not the exception! How long will we be content with reading the sacred scriptures which speak of one thing while our lives experience something else? When will the contradiction spark a longing within our hearts to know Him as Lord and Master? We must acknowledge the issue is not with Him but with our own dismal expectations. Paul was no different than any of us. He was a man subject to the tendencies and frailties of us all with one distinguishing characteristic: “Lord, what would YOU have me to do…” The Lordship of Christ is the pivot which transforms ordinary lives into extraordinary expressions of His grace and power.

This is the evidence, the nature and the desire of those who are filled with His Spirit and Life.

The disciples who were being persecuted for their zeal to declare Christ to the world replied to the religious leaders of their day:

“For we cannot but speak the things
which we have seen and heard”
Acts 4:20

A people who see little have little to declare. When the church is full of uninspired teachers presenting principles rather than His Life and when the people of God are content with hearing from the pulpit rather than hearing God within their own hearts;  then we must acknowledge we are living in the Day of Apostasy!

The life of faith in the individual believer is revealed in their everyday experience. Their expectations, the company they keep and the fire which burns within their hearts is the public disclosure of their faith.

This is the testimony of the ministration of Christ in early Church:

“These that have turned the world upside down
are come hither also”
Acts 17:6

Ω

“If you here stop and ask yourselves why you are not as pious as the early Christians were, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor through inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.”
– William Law

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – The War Against the Soul

War Against the Soul

The War Against the Soul

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims,
abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul”
1 Peter 2:9

The aged and seasoned Peter beseeches the people of God to abstain from the fleshly lusts of this world which have long embattled the souls of the pilgrims of faith. Throughout the varied history of God’s people, the tendency has been to compromise with their enemies rather than eradicate them. The enemies and vices with whom one generation makes covenants/compromises, rule over them in succeeding generations. The things that one generation allows become the excesses of the next; the purity and the life of Christ ebbs away with each passing generation.

We are called to abstain from these things for they war against our very soul. These lusts and desires wither and shrink the vision of our Beloved. They taint the thought life, the inner sanctum of our being, and blind the soul from the light and glory of God Himself. It is an all-out assault on the minds and souls of God’s people. There is but one answer: the Lordship of Christ within the life of every believer. Victory! His Lordship coupled with our obedience insulates us in His Holy Presence. Joseph fled temptation and in the end became the Zaphnath–paaneah of the known world. If Christ’s Spirit does not rule within, our outward life will not stand in this day. His Kingdom starts within the thoughts, desires and intentions of every heart.

The Kingdom of God is not a message; it is a life. It is not a teaching, a word or a concept; it is the rule of God within the heart of man. It is a state of being; a heart fully submissive to the intonations of His Holy Spirit. His will is our will. His thoughts are our thoughts and He is seen and heard within the lives of His own.

“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power”
1 Corinthians 4:20

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;
but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost”
Romans 14:17

It takes power and an authority beyond the scope of human nature to bring this kingdom into the heart and soul of man. Just as in the days of Israel, our enemies are stronger and more powerful than we are. The secret of victory is in our humility of learning the ways of His warfare. His Spirit teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight.

“He teacheth my hands to war;
so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms”
1 Samuel 22:35

“Blessed be the Lord my strength,
which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight”
Psalm 144:1

The war of the soul takes place in the unseen realm of our thoughts, far away from the sight of all but God. It is here that the battle rages. It is here that the unseen foes are defeated by the power of His Spirit working within our lives.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

The authority of His Kingdom is known first and foremost in the secret places of the heart.

“For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it”
Matthew 8:9

True authority in God’s Kingdom will be revealed through those who are under His authority. Many may claim authority because of knowledge, associations, and strength of personality; but God sees into the secret places and sets His love upon those who love Him.

“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men
by Jesus Christ according to my gospel”
Romans 2:16

It is a day to avail ourselves of His grace to find the strength to fight the fight of faith and having done all to stand victorious in this evil day! To Him be the Glory and the Power and the Praise!

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,
that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand”
Ephesians 6:13

Brian Troxel

The Mixed Multitude

The Mixed Multitude

“And a mixed multitude went up also with them”
Exodus 12:38

The great multitude that left Egypt (well over one and half million people) was comprised not only of Israelites but also of foreign slaves and Egyptians; a great diversity of races, cultures and motives. There were no doubt sincere followers of God in every one of these nationalities* for the promise of the Passover was to all: “when I see the blood I will pass over”. The blood was the reason for the pardon; not the nationality of the people inside the house. Even here we see glimpses of the New Covenant promise which is based upon faith and not natural birth. This mixed multitude were called the children of Israel. The wilderness was the crucible where many offending elements of the throng would be judged and purified (1 Corinthians 10:1-6).

Historically within the purposes of God mixture is a common malady. Within the hearts of all exists various motives for following after God. There are those who join themselves to the multitude for the blessings rather than out of a pure love for God. After the Sermon on the Mount a great multitude followed Him enthralled by the pure words of grace and wisdom which He spoke.

“When he was come down from the mountain,
great multitudes followed him”
Matthew 8:1

Later we read that multitudes followed Him because He fed them.

“Ye seek me…because ye did eat of the loaves,
and were filled”
John 6:26

Jesus began to speak of deeper things; truths which were no longer pleasant and soft but offensive to the natural mind and the religious culture.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,
and drink his blood, ye have no life in you”
John 6:53

The multitudes began to shrink and many fell away. The way was becoming narrow and the gate unpopular. Many of His “disciples” began to murmur.

“Many therefore of his disciples,
when they had heard this, said,
This is an hard saying; who can hear it?”
John 6:60

So too in our day the multitudes enjoy the broad way focusing only on the elementary things of God. Discipleship, dying to self, the pursuit of true righteousness and holiness are forsaken for the golden calf of the masses. In our day the masses are the proof of a successful church or ministry and often the truth is crucified at the hands of those who want the approval and esteem of men. Nevertheless, there are those whose hearts are set upon following Him. It is to the disciple that His sayings become costly and His way becomes narrow. The self-life must be left behind to move forward in the mystery of His Way. It is the hard sayings of Jesus that cause many to stumble.

“From that time many of his disciples went back,
and walked no more with him”
John 6:66

In our day we have many places where people can congregate to ease their conscience and pacify their convicted soul. They can hear His words without having to follow Him and call Him Lord without obeying. It is a new “gospel” that claims one simply has to believe and heaven is assured and God is pleased. A relieved conscience and a no-cost gospel are nothing more than a religious sedative for a lukewarm environment.

“Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people;
Ephraim is a cake not turned.
Strangers have devoured his strength,
and he knoweth it not…”
Hosea 7:8-9

Even so God calls out to us to draw near in truth and in purity of heart; to leave the crowds and the broad paths. There is a refuge and consolation to be found there. Even the weak, the downtrodden and the lonely are made strong in the way of our God. The Great Shepherd Himself will lead us through the labyrinth of compromise and mixture into truth, righteousness and holiness.

“A faith which works not for purification will work for putrefaction.
Unless our faith makes us pine after holiness,
it is no better than the faith of devils,
and perhaps it is not even so good as that.
A holy man is the workmanship of the Holy Spirit”
Charles Spurgeon

* Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite; one example of several non-Israelites. For his faithfulness to God, Caleb was given an inheritance of the Tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:13).

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Taking the Land

Taking the Land

“And you shall take possession of the land* (see note)
and settle in it, for I have given the land
to you to possess it”
Numbers 33:53

Our apprehension of God’s Word is by degrees; its sphere of influence grows as we yield to its dominion. Our ability to impact the lives of others will be to the degree to which our own heart has been impacted. The work of truth starts within our own hearts. Its power must be felt within our own lives before we can effectively move in ministration into the lives around us. God’s purpose is that by His Spirit, His Truth and the Life of the Son we begin to take possession of our own hearts.

“In your patience possess ye your souls”
Luke 21:19

There is a warfare, a battle of extreme proportions within our own being. The enemies are real and they are more powerful than we. It is in the crucible of our own victories whereby we minister grace and power into the lives of others. The land within must be taken; the enemies of self-will, self-determination and self-seeking must be conquered by the operation of His Spirit within. The lessons learned from these battles equip us to understand the struggles of those around us. We discover patience, mercy and wisdom from our own frailties.

King David fought his own battles hidden far and away from the sight of others. These were his preparation for Israel’s Goliath. Had David not had victory over the lion and the bear he would not have had the faith and fortitude to face Goliath. His personal battles prepared him for Israel’s foes. It is no different today. The land of our hearts must be conquered if we would be vessels of honor unto Him. The battle must be fought with spiritual weapons not carnal ones. It is something we learn.

“Blessed be the Lord my strength,
which teaches my hands to war,
and my fingers to fight”
Psalm 144:1

The first step is knowing that the “Lord is our strength”. Just like Peter, it will not take long to discover the unreliability of our own resolve. Let us take courage even in our defeats for, as Peter, we have a “High Priest” who is ever interceding on our behalf.

“For if ye live after the flesh,
ye shall die:
but if ye through the Spirit do mortify
the deeds of the body,
ye shall live
Romans 8:13

The Life of Christ is found and experienced on the battlegrounds of our own heart! His Life must be individually apprehended by the personal pursuit of every believer. The Apostle beckons us to

“work out your OWN salvation with fear and trembling”
Philippians 2:12

No one else can work this out for you. Just as Jesus must be our personal Saviour so also is our ongoing relationship with Him. The Prize is attained individually as is the reward.

“To the one who is victorious, I will give the hidden manna.
I will also give him (individually)
a white stone inscribed with a new name,

known only to the one who receives it”
Revelation 2:17

It is in these things that we become partakers of His Victory. We are to overcome even as He overcame.

“To him that overcomes
will I grant to sit with me in my throne,
even as I also overcame,
and am set down with my Father in his throne”
Revelation 3:21

The validity of His Life working in us is expressed in victory over the enemies of our hearts.

“Who is he that overcomes the world,
but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
1 John 5:5

There can be no victory without the struggle; there can be no Crown without the Victory.

It takes fortitude, grace, hope, holy determination and the Lord as our strength. Let us not grow weary or faint-hearted for greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world!

*Note: Within the New Testament understanding the Promised Land represented a life that can be entered into here in this life. It is not a representation of Heaven but a life which is to be “entered into” in the here and now.

“Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. Do not be stubborn like those who rebelled. Who were they who heard God and rebelled? All who came out of Egypt with Moses rebelled. With whom was he disgusted for forty years? He was disgusted and angry with those who sinned and died in the desert. Who did God swear would never enter his rest? He was talking about those who did not obey him. We see that they could not enter in on account of a lack of faith (unbelief) (disobedience). While the promise of entering his rest remains, let us fear that one of you might come up short and not enter. Indeed, we have had good news presented to us. They also had it. But the word that was heard did not benefit them because they were not united in faith by what was heard (Hebrews 3:15 – 4:2)

The above declaration by the Holy Spirit defines a people who by faith came out of Egypt (salvation from the world) but failed to enter into the land of promise because of unbelief (disobedience); the good news of their day was not apprehended. So too, in the New Testament understanding, we are to enter in on the basis of a living faith (obedience). The exhortation to those who know of His salvation is to GO ON into the fullness of His life within. It is by faith we drive out the enemies of deceit, lying, lust, envy, jealously and all the other works of the flesh; for they who do these things shall not enter the kingdom of God.

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21)

The exhortation to God’s people (who have already tasted of God’s gracious deliverance from the world) is one of going on into His fullness. Anything else is falling short of His purposes in Christ.

“Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest,
lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief”
Hebrews 4:11

God has given us this land, past tense, even as the land had been given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. However, there came a time when His people had to possess it by entering in and driving out the enemies who inhabited it.

“for I have given the land to you to possess it”
Numbers 33:53

The promises of God in Christ have been given to those who by faith have overcome the enemies within and the world without. To them alone are his promises fulfilled.

“He that hath an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life,
which is in the midst of the paradise of God”
Revelation 2:7

“He that hath an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death”
Revelation 2:11

The “gospel” of today preaches the promises without the overcoming. It tells His people they have already entered into the Kingdom of God while living and abiding in the “works of the flesh”. It is a solemn day and we must avail ourselves of His power to live above and beyond our own resources. The faith of God has caused us to find in HIM all the enablement to overcome and possess our possessions in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info