We Have Today

We Have Today

“For man also knoweth not his time”
Ecclesiastes 9:12

The great deception of life is the blindness of its own mortality. The foolish man declares tomorrow I will do this or that; in truth we have only today to walk uprightly and to treat others with the wisdom and kindness of God. We only have today to hear His voice and to live our lives to please Him. The Psalmist declares…

“So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”
Psalm 90:12

The wise man who walks in the fear of the Lord knows the importance of each day. Those with an understanding of “the Holy” know that each day presents opportunities of faith and accountability unto Him who sees the very intent of a man’s heart. Our days are not to be spent foolishly or without regard to Him unto whom we must give an account. In reality the journey of man is brief and filled with foolishness but those who “number their days” make a concerted effort to apply wisdom.

Men who fear the Lord seek out fellowship with others who know of this wisdom. They gather for no other reason than to worship Him who alone is worthy; to speak and exhort one another to live each day to the doing of His Will.

“Then they that feared the Lord
spake often one to another:
and the Lord hearkened, and heard it,
and a book of remembrance was written
before him for them that feared the Lord,
and that thought upon his name”
Malachi 3:16

This is the fruit of those who have tasted and touched the Holiness of God. Sadly many allow each day to pass without the application of His Truth and His Will. God speaks daily to one who has ears to hear and a heart to obey.

“Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith,
Today if ye will hear his voice
Harden not your heart”
Hebrews 3:7, 3:15. 4:7

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

THE WAY TO PURITY

THE WAY TO PURITY

“How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word”
PSALM 119:9 (NASB)

Purity of heart is not only relative and progressive it is attainable! The simplicity of the above verse is powerful and within reach to every believer no matter the circumstances in which we may find ourselves. The provision for purity of heart, required by the scriptures, that enables us to see God is set before us to grow and delight in. The one requirement is simple and yet profound… obedience. By keeping His Word, reading it, cherishing it and DOING IT we receive the benefits of a heart that grows in purity and in that growing purity we see God more clearly and profoundly (Matthew 5:8). Obedience is the lamp by which we see His Face.

True obedience is by its very nature sacrificial. It is the way of the cross that leads us into the footsteps of the Son and the doorway into the growing dynamic of His life in us. In order to obey I must lay aside my will for His. I choose His Word and His Way over my own. In the doing of this I not only discover the hidden resources of His Life but I find His Word preserving my life in Him from the trappings and temptations of this world. For example:

“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes”
PSALM 101:3

By taking heed to this I am preserving my thought life and the purity of my heart. In embracing such a powerful truth I must disobey the lust and desire of the old man and keep the integrity of the new man that is being created in His Image! How simple and just are His ways. By the keeping of His Word we grow in righteousness and peace. In the keeping of His Word we are freed from the wages of sin and death! Obedience is the only way to know of this purity.

“Seeing ye have purified your souls
in obeying the truth through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love of the brethren…”
1 PETER 1:22

Though the keeping of His Word is simple in its application it does require the empowering and enabling work of the Holy Spirit to see us through. Within the confines of a growing relationship with our God there is the constant need for us to walk, live and move within His Holy Spirit. The more we obey His Word the easier it is to know of this divine enablement. With each new step into the transforming Life of the Son we find our great Shepherd leading us onward in the “paths of righteousness”. How precious and glorious are His Ways!

Ω

“The proximate result of obedience to God
is inward conformity to the Divine image”
Charles Hodge

Brian Troxel

Captivated by Beauty

“Captivated by Beauty”

“After this many of his disciples
turned back and no longer walked with him.
So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life”
JOHN 6:66 – 68

The “seeing” of Him is the essential element of TRUE discipleship. Discipleship on any other basis is simply religious fervor that leads to legalism and fanaticism. On the other hand, men who have not seen the unparalleled beauty of the Son pursue nothing. They are quite satisfied with the knowledge of being a child of God without any real desire for a deeper relationship with Him than what they have now (Philippians 3:7-14).

We see here in Peter’s response to Jesus that they could not go away for they had discovered in Him the words and the source of eternal life; their hearts had been captivated by a beauty beyond compare. In one of the parables of Jesus concerning the Kingdom of God Jesus said…

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,
who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it”
MATTHEW 13:45 – 46

The ardency of the pursuit of Christ is the revelation of what one has seen. The fruit of seeing is a life of following and seeking. The true beauty of Christ ruins us for the trappings of religious contentment that knows not the cry for a knowing of Him. It is in the FINDING OF HIM that the merchant goes and sells all that he has to purchase this great treasure.

Men who have not truly found Him do not pursue Him; there is no compulsion within to know this ONE PEARL of great price. It is only in KNOWING HIM that we are privileged to see the surpassing beauty of His Glory. To such an end have the promises of God been given…

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled”
MATTHEW 5:6

“Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth;
and he that seeketh findeth;
and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”
MATTHEW 7:8

Let us take note of the tremendous assurance of His promises; Ask… IT WILL BE GIVEN, Seek…YOU WILL FIND, Knock… IT WILL BE OPENED! The real beauty of these promises is “for EVERYONE that…”! How can we sit idle or find comfort in simply knowing Him from afar? How can we linger with such promises given?

We live in a day of such apathy and ungodly contentment; where men and women hold the “knowledge” of God in a lukewarm and casual manner. We speak of salvation as a one -time event that having now been born again the work of God is complete and I can live my life with very little ongoing growth or development. We are content with remaining servants without any desire to grow from servants to friends with God.

“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call you not servants;
for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth:
but I have called you friends;
for all things that I have heard of my Father
I have made known* unto you”
JOHN 15:14 – 15

Friendship with God requires obedience and hearing. It requires one who is coming to know the heart and the ways of God. It is a RELATIONSHIP that is ever growing and it necessitates change on my part. It requires a seeking and a desire to know HIM who is the ONE GREAT LOVE of the FATHER.

Where else can we go, to whom else can we turn? Nowhere but to Him who is the source of all life, hope and glory!

*γνωρίζω gnōrizō; to make known; it is used here as an aorist verb. See John 17:26 where Jesus in speaking to His Father said “…I have declared unto them thy name, and will (continue to) declare it”

To learn is to grow and to to grow is to live.

Brian Troxel

CHILDREN OR SONS? Part One

Children or Sons?

PART ONE

“Beloved, now are we the sons (Greek children) of God,
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him;
for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in him
purifieth himself, even as he is pure”
1JOHN 3:2 – 3

This powerful, liberating truth of God speaks to all those who by FAITH have been born anew into the family of God; “…we are God’s children NOW”! This is not determined by the feelings or circumstances of life; this is the certainty of God. We are now children of His whereby we cry “Abba, Father”. To most of Christendom this is as far and as deep as things go. The beginning has become the end and we have manufactured a doctrinal thesis to keep this as the status quo. We see here in First John that there is to be a living hope that beats within our hearts of us growing into the full undimmed expression of HIM in our lives…that when HE appears we SHALL BE LIKE HIM! This is manifested by the maturation of a growing purity within the hearts of those who know of this living hope.

Doctrinal hopes have no power to convey this quest for life. It is simply a teaching that we believe which lays no claim to our personal lives. It is a religious concept that robs the WORD of its power and authority (Mark 7:13). There is little or no cost associated with such a “belief” and the adherents of such go through life with very little change. Children of God, loved of HIM, yet bereft of experiencing the glory and privilege of growing and developing into the sons of God. In the New Testament the Greek words used to differentiate between these two (for children and sons) are distinct*. As a child develops added responsibilities are given and with these responsibilities the added privileges of life. We do not give a three year old the car keys. God measures out to His own the pounds and the talents according to their “ability” and we see the withholding of truth to those who are unexercised in the development of true spiritual discernment.

“For every one that useth milk
is unskilful in the word of righteousness:
for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age,
even those who by reason of use
have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil”
HEBREWS 5:13 – 14

And again:

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual,
but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat:
for hitherto ye were not able to bear it,
neither yet now are ye able”
1CORINTHIANS 3:1

Strong meat belongs to those who have grown from a child toward that full-aged development by the exercising of their senses to discern “good and evil”. Discernment is developed by growing into a pure heart so that we can see clearly and objectively (1Corinthians 2:15). “Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Malachi 3:18). It is only by us becoming pure in heart that we shall see God and have the ability to discern between good and evil.

“And everyone that has THIS hope in him purifies himself as he is pure”

The revelation of our hope is revealed in a growing purity. That hope is the bridge between what we are now and what we will be when HE appears. All we need to do is to look at the parables of Jesus. They all speak of faith as a living, growing dynamic that is filled with HIS very life. The parable of the sower clearly states that the fruitfulness of a life is completely dependent upon the soil of the heart into which the precious seed falls. The seed that fell on the stony ground is the SAME seed that fell into the soil that brought forth the hundred fold harvest. The only difference is the soil; not the seed.

*NOTE
Huios (son) at times refers to a legal heir and thus, by implication, an adult. It seems to underscore the character or maturity of the individual. Teknon (child or children) is a more general designation for offspring and contemplates the individual as one who is parented, one who has been born to another. For example, Jesus is never designated as teknon or teknon Theou (gen. of Theos (G2316), God), Son of God, but always ho huios, the Son, the Son of God or the Son of Man

Also:

“The difference between believers as “children of God” and as “sons of God” is brought out in Rom. 8:14-21. The Spirit bears witness with their spirit that they are “children of God,” and, as such, they are His heirs and joint-heirs with Christ. This stresses the fact of their spiritual birth (vv. 16, 17). On the other hand, “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God,” i.e., “these and no other.” Their conduct gives evidence of the dignity of their relationship and their likeness to His character.” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testaments Words, by W.E. Vine)

Brian Troxel

BY FAITH ~ PART TWO ~

BY FAITH

PART TWO

“For by it (Faith) the elders obtained a good testimony*
HEBREWS 11:2

Faith is the only means by which men can please God. Faith is the “essentia” of man’s witness unto God and the only expression which garners God’s approval. Through faith these men and women of old OBTAINED a worthy commendation from the living God! By their lives being governed by the promises of God they “reckoned”, “accounted” and “judged” God faithful to see them through. Just as “faith without works is dead” so are works without faith dead and worthless. We must see that the life OF FAITH, a life lived IN FAITH and a life lived BY FAITH is the only thing acceptable to our God!

“…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin”
ROMANS 14:23

Faith is to be the indispensable element of our daily walk whether at home, work or any other situation of life. Faith is the criteria by which all our actions are weighed. Whatever point we are at in the development of our faith is what we reveal in the common flow of our life. We cannot live in the estimation of others for true faith is only concerned with the pleasing of our Heavenly Father. As our faith develops so will the revelation of that faith be in our life. Many try to live their lives according to the acceptability of what others may think, to attempt to please or impress others with their carefully planned actions, but this is neither faith nor a life pleasing to God. Faith seeks ONLY to glorify its Author. There is a freedom in simple childlike faith that gives us liberty from the opinions of men, living solely for His pleasure.

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith:
as it is written, The just shall live by faith”
ROMANS 1:17

The righteousness of God can only be revealed through our lives to the degree that Faith has been developed within us. Our life of faith is progressive “from faith to faith”, a living dynamic gift that God has given to us by His Mercy. Faith must grow through the experiences of life, through trial, tribulation and seeing God’s hand move in the daily aspects of our life! How good He is to those who trust Him! How faithful He is to those who rely on Him in all that we go through! How can we not desire that our trust in Him grows as well as our love FOR Him? Is He not to be the sole purpose of our life? Can we not seek to live our lives to the fullest extent of the faith that is at work in us, so that we may please Him more and more in the passing of our days?

“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren,
as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly”
II THESSALONIANS 1:3

Ω

John Paton was making a translation of the Scriptures into a language spoken in the country where he was a missionary, and searched long for the world for “Faith”. The natives had no word for “believe” One day, while working on his translation, a native entered his room, exhausted and flung himself down on the nearest chair, and placed his feet on the chair across from him. The native remarked how good it was to lean his whole weight into that chair. Dr. Paton noted the word he had used for “lean his whole weight.” He had his word for “believe”.
John G. Paton

*“Literally, “were witnessed of;” that is, an honorable testimony was borne to them in consequence of their faith”
Barnes New Testament Notes

Brian Troxel

SEASONS

SEASONS

The young tree sprouts in emerald green
From the womb of fertile earth
Expectations of grandeur’s dream
Arise in its emerging birth

Spring and Summer
Grace its young life
As it stretches and grows
In days of delight

Fall’s impending chill
Brings new doubts and fears
What’s to become of this new life I feel?
Are these days of goodness to disappear?

Deep green leaves begin to fade
Into shades of crimson and gold
Life begins to wither and age
As youth grows dim and cold

Summer’s leaves lifelessly flitter
In grey days of barren skies
The life of Summer’s past lay littered
In angst the young sapling cries

Winter’s blast and freezing breath
Complete the Fall’s initial task
And in the grip of seeming death
The young sapling’s hopes are finally dashed

Yet Spring’s tender call whispers,
Awakens the tree in hope’s embrace
And from Death’s chill and hopelessness
Comes the warmth of God’s amazing Grace

The familiar face of warming sun
And the retreating Winter’s snow
Proclaim the witness that Spring has sprung
A season of life, a season to grow

And in the passing of the seasons
Through the passage of the years
The Tree will understand the reasons
Of all the joys and bitter tears

In Spring’s joyous rush
……….The Tree recalls Fall’s fading hush
in Summer’s joyous rays
……….The Winter’s grey and dreary days
in Fall’s fading sigh
……….Hears Spring’s tender call nigh
And in the grip of Winter’s death
……….Clings to Summer’s healing breath

May we be instructed
From the seasons of the tree
Whatever the experience
Of the moment may be
We are at rest and peaceful still
Knowing this season too will Pass
But HIS FAITHFULNESS never will.

Brian Troxel

They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. Isa. 65:22

PSALM 23 – THE PLACE OF FEASTING – PART 17 –

PSALM 23

PART SEVENTEEN

THE PLACE OF FEASTING

“Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies”
PSALM 23:5

This table has been set with rich provisions and is there for us to eat and drink and become strong thereby. It is not a table for mere talking and listening but it is the table of the Bread of HIS LIFE which must be consumed in order that it becomes a reality in our lives. We have had much in terms of teaching; in fact much of our Christian experience in this land is really one of LISTENING to didactical teaching and the dissemination of information. It becomes an intellectual exercise and much of it remains purely theoretical in its actual application. We have become good at hearing, debating, and discussing the doctrines and concepts of men without the substance of LIVING in the reality of the LIFE OF CHRIST. The outward FORM of TEACHING is necessary for a season but somewhere it must give way to the EXPERIENCE and WALK in every true disciple. Notice that this TABLE OF PROVISION is not set in the confines of a nice and comfortable Christian Setting but in the PRESENCE OF OUR ENEMIES! The PROVISION comes as we OVERCOME our enemies.

It is in the conflicts of life that we discover His strength. Here, as the WORD of GOD is eaten and made real, we no longer live in ethereal teachings, concepts and good sounding religious ideas. Instead HIS LIFE is discovered WITHIN the conflicts of our daily lives! We discover the wonder of a living FAITH that must bring what I have heard into my WALK! This is where Christ becomes the EXPERIENCE of the individual believer. By its very nature the life of overcoming can only be appropriated on an individual basis. The corporate expression is only as valid as the authenticity of the individual. Just because I LISTEN to good teaching does not mean my Christian experience is valid. The validity of my LIFE in Christ can only be known by the expression of HIS LIFE in me. In order for that to be the truth of my life it requires not only a hearing of HIS WORD but it must give way to a doing of that WORD; obedience is the ONLY way to the life of OVERCOMING. If there is no obedience there can be no OVERCOMING!

In the Gospels we see and hear Jesus teaching the WORD concerning the Kingdom of God and we are struck with the wonder and the wisdom found within the beauty of HIS words. However, HE does not allow the Disciples to linger in the place of hearing only. Because HE is not just a teacher (but has come to fulfill His Father’s will) we see Him sending the Disciples to live and walk out that which He has spoken of. He sends them out to heal the sick, cast out demons and to declare the WORD of the Kingdom! Likewise the WORD must become flesh in our own experience. We must eat of the provisions of this table in the presence of our enemies! Not only the obvious, external ones but more importantly the enemies of our heart, the weaknesses of our flesh and the “I” that is always clamouring for pre-eminence, comfort and its own way. We must find HIM as our victory here or it will matter very little what we know. Judas heard and saw the Glory of Christ yet in the end he betrayed HIM for his own ends. It is not enough to know and have an association with Jesus; we MUST EAT OF HIM at this table “prepared” for us in the “presence of our enemies”!

Men love knowledge and understanding. We love to discuss things, debate things and share things but Jesus came that men may have “LIFE and LIFE abundantly…” He did not come to bring a new teaching or to tickle men’s ears with revelatory speech. HE came to be the very EXPRESSION of the all that God is. Not an expression only but the MEANS by which the fallen race of man would become “THE BODY OF CHRIST” in the earth. For this reason HE sets this table of provision that we may BECOME “bone of HIS bone and flesh of His flesh” in demonstration in our daily life. It is crucial to see that the conflicts and tribulations of this life are given to us to become strong. May God save us from teachings that leave us impoverished, impotent and unable to walk and may we find HIS table “prepared” for us in the “presence of our enemies”.

Ω

Obstacles in the pathway of the weak
become stepping-stones in the pathway of the strong.
Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881)

Brian Troxel

RIGHTEOUSNESS

RIGHTEOUSNESS

PART ONE

“The Gentiles shall SEE your righteousness”
ISAIAH 62:2

We live in a time of great religious activity within the landscape of a secularized Christian “church”. Within this environment “righteousness” has taken on a profession of a faith that is to be stated and debated rather than a life that is actually to be lived. To the normal Christian “righteousness” is a term and a legal standing that we have because of the incredible sacrificial death of Jesus on the Cross; a powerful truth and the STARTING PLACE for all of God’s people. However we are exhorted to LIVE and GROW in this righteousness because of the LIFE of the Risen Christ who is the power and the source for us to LIVE in righteousness by the New Law made available to us; “The Law of Life that is in Christ Jesus”!

We see here in Isaiah that the real prophetic purpose of the New Covenant is to bring forth a righteousness that is real, true and actual in our daily lives. The “Gentiles shall SEE” this righteousness for it is not based on a teaching; it is revealed in the everyday life of EVERY believer! Righteousness first and foremost is CHARACTER. It must become the essence of what we are to such an extent we reveal HIM unconsciously in how we conduct the affairs of our life. Fruit is the expression that flows from character, from what a thing IS. An apple tree brings forth apples because that is the revelation and the offspring of what it is in itself.  Apples are the RESULT for fruit is simply the expression of the latent life of any organism. Love, Joy, Peace… are the EXPRESSIONS of a righteous life and godly character. The futility of trying to “do” or “express” the fruit of the Spirit without being connected as a branch to the vine is the horror and angst of a powerless religious life.

“In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river,
was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits,
each tree yielding its fruit every month.
The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations”
REVELATION 22:2

This “TREE OF LIFE” is the revelation of all that HE had purposed in the Creation of the World. We see it in the Garden of Eden in Genesis and we see it standing teeming with LIFE and FRUITFULNESS in the City of God! HIS purposes have not altered and HIS provision for this to BE the reality in our own lives is rich and full because of the Resurrection Life of the SON. This TREE is nourished by the RIVER of LIFE and so must our lives ever move more and more to that end. Trees grow from tiny seeds to a majestic stature, and so must we. The provisions we have and the wisdom of our great Shepherd in HIS dealings with us as we travel through this dark world on the path that ever leads onward and upward is for us to BECOME SONS of God by a new and living WAY!

“…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified”
ISAIAH 61:2

It is in receiving HIS BEAUTY for our ashes, partaking of the Oil of HIS Joy that comes from mourning and lamenting our selfish carnal ways, that we are garmented in the PRAISES of HIM who is ABLE and WILLING to cause this to BE the substance of our lives. This life of BECOMING is one of trial, temptation, failure, victory and joy. It is a journey that must eclipse that which we now walk in… for a man’s vision must always surpass that which he currently knows.

Ω

“Brethren,
I do not count myself to have apprehended;
but one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind
and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
I press toward the goal for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind…”
Philippians 3:13 – 15

Brian Troxel

FRESH FAITH

FRESH FAITH

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing; NOW it shall spring forth”

ISAIAH 43:18 – 19

It is the nature of the true living Faith within a man to ever press upon the individual the desire to be and do whatever it sees the SON DOING. Growth is the revelation of a man’s faith. A man who ceases to grow has ceased to LIVE. Change is the evidence of GROWTH; things that sustained us years ago will be insufficient for today. The Bronze Serpent that was at one time a means of healing had to be destroyed years later for it became an IDOL unto the people of God. The manna that sustained the people of God for forty years in the wilderness had to give way to the provisions of the NEW LAND that was to be conquered by a NEW and living FAITH. The FAITH required to cross the Red Sea that opened BEFORE the children of Israel crossed must now develop to the point of stepping INTO the River Jordan BEFORE it parts. It is now a FAITH that must be exercised before the power of God is released. While much of the religious world spends time discussing doctrines, beliefs and concepts there are those who have a passion to WALK, DO and BECOME expressions of a FAITH that is not their own; a faith that has purpose, substance and is costly. This rare and precious FAITH has only one purpose and that is to please and obey its AUTHOR. In the life of a Christian faith is not an option it is a necessity!

“Without Faith it is impossible to please God”
HEBREWS 11:6

Faith is the only means by which we can please God. Faith is not a belief, a teaching or a doctrinal statement; it is A LIFE. Faith that does not produce a life within the believer that has substance, character and reality is DEAD. The faith that was required to “accept Jesus” many years ago must GROW to sustain our walk with him. His will must rule and reign in our hearts. We fellowship and interact with the people of God that we may grow and develop our life in Him. We challenge, exhort, comfort and admonish one another to excel at loving Him thereby becoming expressions of HIM in these dark days in which we live.

“For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world:
and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith”

I JOHN 5:4

Brian Troxel