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Posts Tagged ‘Growing in Jesus’

CHOICES

“…choose you this day whom ye will serve”
JOSHUA 24:15

Choices. The life of a Christian is a life of choices. Choices reveal the act and the exercising of a person’s will. It is here that faith is exercised and made strong within the life of every believer. We choose who we will serve. Serving the Lord has very little to do with going to church on Sunday. Serving the Lord is the daily doing of His will. In this day of apathy I hear men declaring that they can do nothing unless they get a word from the Lord. They are helpless, saying they cannot do anything unless they have a word, failing to realize that the Living One resides within our hearts to do His Father’s will! The Word of God is full of the expression of His Will.

“…rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS”
PHILIPPIANS 4:4

“Husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the church”
EPHESIANS 5:25

“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine”
TITUS 2:1

“So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
JAMES 2:12

“…speak evil of no man”
TITUS 3:2

“These things speak,
and exhort, and rebuke with all authority.
Let no man despise thee”
TITUS 2:15

“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you:
for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another”
1THESSALONIANS 4:9

This is just a small collection of scriptures requiring our daily attention and investment of our will into serving Him. The scriptures declare that we should be daily hearing His voice and doing His Will. Men who do not do, never grow. It is in the doing that we become strong. We are exhorted in 1Timothy to “exercise thyself rather unto godliness”.

Jesus said that we are the light of the world. We are to speak and demonstrate His Life, His Word and His Way into the world around us. It is in the doing of these things that we discover the need for His grace and power to grow into the things of Him. It is in the crucible of doing His Will daily that we come face to face with our weaknesses and stubbornness. The power of HIS Life in us makes us to LIVE beyond our own will and resources. These are the glorious choices of our will that bring the reality of the Son into our daily life.  According to the scriptures HE has and is making known to us His Will and it is our privilege to walk in it.

“Having made known* unto us the mystery of his will,
according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself”
EPHESIANS 1:9

*NOTE: The phrase “having made known” is a Greek Aorist Active Participle best rendered “making known” unto us the mystery of His will… This is ever an ongoing revelation as we grow and mature in the things of our Father. Only a small baby is free from responsibility. The greater the Life in Him the greater the responsibility and the greater is the blessing. God is not looking for those who are like the horse who must be led by the bit and bridle (#1), He is looking for those whose will is compliant to HIS WILL. A ten year old child will know in a measure how to function in the home according to his development and maturity. A twenty-year old should have a far deeper understanding of what that should mean. So it is with the knowing of His Will. To be twenty years old in the Lord and to declare that there is nothing we can do is a tragic statement and a reflection of the apathy of the present day (#2).

1. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle…” Psalm 32:8-9

2. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God” Hebrews 5:12

“The most important thought I ever had
was that of my individual responsibility to God”
Daniel Webster (1782–1852)

Brian Troxel

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DILIGENCE

“giving ALL DILIGENCE, add* to your faith…”
II PETER 1:5

The key to spiritual growth and vitality is found in the heartfelt DILIGENCE of every believer. We live in a day when salvation is presented as an event rather than a life. In this scripture we see that it is a life of growing, a journey of development; in Corinthians Paul compares it to a race that must be run. Diligence is the passionate result of a LIFE that LOVES JESUS. It is the fruit of a heart that longs to know HIM more and to reap the great reward of a deeper growing relationship with HIM.

We are exhorted here in II Peter to add to our faith virtue, and to our virtue knowledge, to knowledge self control, to self control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness LOVE. Peter then goes on to say….

“For he who lacks these things is shortsighted,
even to blindness, and has forgotten
that he was cleansed from his old sins”
II PETER 1:9

Without the divine diligence working in our heart the ability to add these critical elements to our faith is missing and we become short sighted and blind in our Christian walk. There is no substitute for DILIGENCE. It is the heart beat of all who love HIM. In the Greek the word that is translated “ADD” is an *Imperative verb which by definition makes this word a command not a suggestion. It is the same verb form that is used when the Gospel is preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit in Mark 1:15 where Jesus speaks “Repent ye and believe…”

“And we desire that EVERY ONE of you do show the same diligence
to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
That ye be not slothful,
but followers of them who through
faith and patience inherit the promises”
HEBREWS 6:11-12

The desire of every true minister of God is to instil and exhort every believer to maintain diligence to the very end of their life. Where there is a failure to admonish all to follow and seek HIM with diligence there will be a corresponding slothfulness in the people of God. They will be short sighted with no purpose in their walk with Him. They will have no vision to pursue and there will be no powerful ministration of the life of Christ within them. Short sighted Christians are passive and have no burden for the condition of the church or sense of their own responsibility to be faithful to the talents and the pounds that have been graciously deposited in their lives by the mercy of God. The day of the Judgement Seat of Christ awaits every believer and we will have to give an account for what we have been given. Woe unto the shepherds who have not presented a Gospel that urges the people of God to a life of diligence and faithfulness.

“Wherefore the rather, brethren,
give DILIGENCE to make your calling and election sure:
for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly
into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”
II PETER 1:10

* “The imperative mood corresponds to the English imperative, and expresses a command to the hearer to perform a certain action by the order and authority of the one commanding” Blue Letter Bible Greek Parsing Notes

Brian Troxel

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LEARNING RIGHTEOUSNESS

“Let grace be shown to the wicked,
Yet he will not learn righteousness;
In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly,
And will not behold the majesty of the Lord”
ISAIAH 26:10 (NKJV)

Righteousness is not the product of our environment nor is it the result of favor being shown to us. If everything was to go our way, and the blessings of all that this world has to offer were given to us, it would not help us to learn righteousness. For Righteousness is an issue of the heart not of our surroundings. The righteousness of God is known on the basis of Judgment, not favor. In the verse that precedes this one (which gives us the flow of God’s thought here) it states…

“…For when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness”
ISAIAH 26:9

The righteousness that is available to us in the New Covenant is because of the terrible Judgment that was poured out on our Blessed Savior. Men who fail to appreciate the reason for the cross are never really impacted by the corresponding grace that flows from Him. Righteousness is not only a gift it is a life that we LEARN by walking with Him. Men who take sin lightly will never learn righteousness; the change of whom and what they are is temporary and ethereal. Our environment and how we are treated will not change what we are in heart. Righteousness must be learned by walking and interacting with our God.

The true child of God knows of His discipline and His chastening. It is of necessity that we know of this in our lives. For it is in these things that we LEARN and GROW in righteousness.

“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord,
nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth…”
HEBREWS 10:5-6

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,
but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth
the peaceable fruit of righteousness
unto them which are exercised thereby”
HEBREWS 10:11

How good and right are His ways with us. As a loving Father with a child HE deals with us according to His plan and purposes. Joseph did not know that the path laid out for him was the means by which he was made ready to rule and reign. God waited and watched carefully over Joseph until the “Iron entered into his soul” and his word came!

“He sent a man before them, even Joseph,
who was sold for a servant:
Whose feet they hurt with fetters:
he was laid in iron:
(Hebrew “Iron hath entered his soul”)
Until the time that his word came:
the word of the LORD tried him.
The king sent and loosed him;
even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.
He made him lord of his house,
and ruler of all his substance:
To bind his princes at his pleasure;
and teach his senators wisdom”
PSALM 105:17-22

His judgments are always meant to be remedial and redemptive in purpose. Men who spurn His discipline and harden their hearts toward Him pay the bitterest of prices. For it is those who are “exercised” by His chastening that receive the peaceable fruits of righteousness. May we be a people who are quick to submit ourselves to His dealings that we may grow in His righteousness and love. He knows the things that lie before us and His preparation work is that we may become “vessels of honor” unto His Glory in the days ahead.

“…Or despisest thou the riches
of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering;
not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart
treasurest up unto thyself wrath
against the day of wrath and revelation
of the righteous judgment of God”
ROMANS 2:4-5

Ω

“The steady discipline of intimate friendship with Jesus
results in men becoming like Him”
Harry Emerson Fosdick

Brian Troxel

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HOLY WORDS
HOLY LIVES

“Now when they heard this,
they were cut to the heart…”
ACTS 2:37

True and anointed Words of the Holy Spirit convict and bring men to places of decision and repentance. They are Words that are living, powerful, penetrating and convicting. They are words of truth that reveal all that is untruthful; words that bring men and women to places of CHANGE. Faith without works is dead and so is repentance without change. John the Baptist declared in his day…

“Therefore bear fruit in keeping*
(Grk congruous or of equal weight)
with repentance”
MATTHEW 3:8

The depth of our repentance is revealed by the depth of change wrought within our lives. Where there is little change there is little power in the words spoken. How accustomed we have become to powerless sermons and teachings that bring information without change. Every Sunday, all across our land, sermons are given and songs are sung in our many gatherings yet we see so little in terms of CHANGE in the lives of those that hear. If there is no conviction there is no repentance and if there is no repentance there is no change.

The disciples of Christ were of the common sort. They were fishermen, tax collectors, political zealots and such. They faltered, misinterpreted him, misunderstood him, and had very little inkling of the call that was upon them. However, after three and one half years of being with HIM, walking with HIM and waiting and seeking the promise of the comforter, on the day of Pentecost they became flaming ministrations of the HOLY SPIRIT! Let us consider the contrast of what we see in our land today.

Where are those words of life that bring conviction and change? Where are the hearts of those who would dare seek to represent HIS TRUTH in this hour? Where are the sermons that cut men to the very core of who they are? Where are those who cannot continue with a religion that has no power or reality?

We are more concerned with sympathy than conviction. We surround ourselves with those who make us feel good about ourselves. We associate with those who will not and cannot challenge us beyond the depth of our present walk. The unsaved and unbelieving are comfortable in our midst and can sit in our meetings without the slightest concern over their condition. Why and how can this be?

We speak of witnessing rather than being witnesses. We speak of truth as something that can be held in our intellect rather than being a power that produces change within ourselves and in the lives of those around us. We cannot compromise with sin in our own lives and expect to have a word that will convict others. If that Word of Life does not produce change within us, how can we give to others what we have not experienced ourselves? It is a day to consider our ways; a day to objectively consider what we have wrought in this life. Have we impacted the lives of others in terms of righteousness and truth and pointed them unto HIM who can transform into vessels of righteousness and glory?

Holy words proceed from Holy Lives

Ω

“Let us search and try our ways,
and turn again to the LORD”
LAMENTATIONS 3:40

Brian Troxel

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BLESSINGS AND PROMISES

“Give me a blessing:
for thou hast given me a south land;
give me also springs of water.
And Caleb gave her the upper springs
and the nether springs”
Judges 1:15

It is the Father’s good pleasure to give to those that ask and to give without measure to those who seek out His inheritance. (Ephesians 1:18). Here Caleb’s daughter is asking for her inheritance of the Land of Promise. According to the law only sons had the right to this inheritance. Likewise, under the law, we would all be excluded from any of the inheritance of God. But Christ has come and, even more importantly, IS COME. HIS FATHER is now ours because we have been born into HIM. These promises are ours by relationship not by teaching or declaration.

“For all the promises of God IN him are yea,
and in him Amen, unto the glory of God
II CORINTHIANS 1:20

The promises of God are fulfilled in HIM and become ours through relationship with HIM who is the HEAD of this body. The LIFE of the Body flows from the HEAD just as the branch lives by drawing the LIFE of the vine. The WISDOM of the Head becomes the wisdom of the body as it listens to HIM through a LIVING relationship. These promises are ours for the Glory of God, not for us to consume for our carnality or selfish purposes. The true blessings of God glorify HIM. His promises are given that we may enjoy the manifold expressions of His life in and through us.

“But unto them which are called,
both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God,
and the wisdom of God”
I CORINTHIANS 1:24

Contained within the calling of God is the promise of HIM to be our Power and our Wisdom. Power to endure, power to remain faithful, power to overcome and to become true, authentic expressions of all that HE IS. Power to reveal strength in our weaknesses, power to love our enemies, power to remain true when all around us is compromise, religion and lies. Power to face the issues of our own hearts knowing that in HIM they are to become “bread for us” (Numbers 14:9). Power to refuse to compromise with the world without and the issues within. Power to BE is greater than the power to DO (Matthew 7:22-23).

“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty;
and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city”
PROVERBS 16:2

It is the Father’s joy to make available to us through HIS SON the power (Grk. Dunamis) to become by Grace what the Son is by Nature. In HIM we have become partakers of this Divine Nature BY the promises of God!

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:
that by these ye might be partakers (participants)
of the divine nature”
II PETER 1:4

These promises are ours that we may become participants (κοινωνός)* of the Divine Nature. It is in giving that we receive and in doing that we become. In the interaction of our lives in HIM we grow and BECOME more like Him. We cannot read the parable of the Vine in John 15 without being struck with the impact of the vital truth of the New Testament; HE came to produce a living body not a collection of doctrinal adherents. He did not come to establish another religion in this dark and lost world. HE CAME to make us the light of the world!

Let us rise up in faith to explore, appropriate and live in the promises of God in Christ. Let us not settle for a nominal “christian” experience. His pleasure is to give, His glory is to watch His children grow into the full stature of the Son by the ministrations of life that HE has so freely given (Ephesians 4:11-16). “Unto the FULL STATURE….” May we lift up our eyes and place our hope and confidence in the God who CANNOT LIE.

“And we desire that every one of you
do show the same diligence
to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
That ye be not slothful,
but followers of them who through faith and patience
inherit the promises”
HEBREWS 6:11-12

*G2844. κοινωνός koinōnos; gen. koinōnou, masc.-fem., neut. koinōnon, adj. from koinos (G2839), common. A partaker, partner, companion, used in an absolute sense in 2 Cor. 8:23; Phile. 1:17. Followed by the gen. of person of whom one is the companion, with whom he partakes in something
Complete New Testament Word Study

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An Open Heaven?

PART TWO

OBEDIENCE

“Truly, truly, I say to you,
you will see the heavens opened”
JOHN 1:51

An open heaven is a progressive life of revelation and change; it is dependent upon our response to His leading in order for us to grow and develop in the purpose that HE has for us. An Open Heaven is the result of a life of Obedience to Him. Without obeying Him we are sure to live a life of stagnation and impotence. This is no destination worthy of the God who has called us with an eternal and infinite call. His purposes for us are also eternal.

“That in the ages to come
he might show the exceeding riches of his grace
in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus”
EPHESIANS 2:7

An ever opening heaven should be the normal Christian experience of every child of God. The things of heaven should be becoming more real and precious to us while the things of earth will, in direct proportion, become dim and distant as we behold the wonder and glory of our God. This life of the ever opening heaven is only realized through the life of obedience. In truth faith and obedience are inseparable. Sadly in our day faith has little to do with obedience for we have separated the two to such an extent that what one believes has little or no consequence to what one does.

OBEDIENCE

Whether it is in the Old or New Testament, the accounts of glory discovered by men and women, who on the basis of obedience were afforded the unique revelations of the Most High God, are there for our learning and admonition. Had not Jeremiah gone to the Potter’s House he would not have received the message of God for Israel. Had not the man with the withered hand responded to Jesus (in the midst of great unbelief) he would not have been healed. Had not the disciples got into the boat they would not have seen the Christ walking on the water in the midst of the storm. Had not the widow begun to pour oil out into the empty vessels her poverty would have continued and her sons would have been taken. Had not the priests stepped into the river that was flooding there would have been no way for the children of Israel to enter into the promised land. Had not Phillip gone to Gaza he would have missed the appointment with the Eunuch. Stagnation sets into the lives of God’s people when obedience is replaced by religious concepts and teachings. The open heaven becomes closed when men no longer expect nor receive the afforded grace of the WAY of GOD. The ever increasing dynamic of HIS life in us is energized by the glimpses of His Glory as we obey Him in the secret places of our hearts. Fresh revelations of Him in our daily lives keep the warmth of His presence alive to continue to follow Him wherever He leads.

The necessity of the Open Heaven is the means by which we become that heavenly people. It is the essential aroma of those who follow the Lamb in the reality of their lives. There is an unmistakable hope that beats within the hearts of those who endure by the seeing of Him who is invisible (Hebrews 11:27). The Open Heaven causes men and women to believe and know that they are to participate in His return. They are not just waiting without purpose but that they are a PART OF HIS RETURN; through the life of Obedience they are hastening His appearing.

“…when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared”
1PETER 3:20

God’s judgment on the earth waited for Noah to finish the Ark!

“Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there”
GENESIS 19:22

God’s judgment on Sodom waited on Lot to leave the city!

Jesus said HIS return would be as it was in the days of Noah and Lot. Can we not see and understand the implications of our life in Him?

Peter enjoins us to ever be…

“…looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God”
2Peter 3:12

The Holy Spirit here is telling us to “HASTEN” the day of His return.

“…and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled”
2CORINTHIANS 10:6

The Open Heaven is necessary for us to see that through the power of His Faith in us we are HIS BODY and HIS LIGHT in the earth. We are bone of His bone and as such we are to KNOW HIS WILL and walk in it.

Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
See then that you walk circumspectly,
not as fools but as wise,
redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be unwise,
but understand what the will of the Lord is
EPHESIANS 5:14 – 17

Ω

“The golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters
is not intellect, but obedience.”
Oswald Chambers

Brian Troxel

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An Open Heaven?

PART ONE

FAITH

“Truly, truly, I say to you,
you will see the heavens opened*
JOHN 1:51

How wonderful is the spontaneous response of Jesus to Nathanael’s heartfelt declaration “Rabbi, You are the Son of God!” An “open heaven” is really the ability of an individual to see and understand the things of God; to see past the appearance of a thing and to see the substance and reality of that which is real, eternal and true. The open heaven is not available based on our intellect, cleverness or schooling. It is open to all on the basis of Faith, Obedience and Purity of heart.

FAITH

“By faith we understand…”
HEBREWS 11:3

Without the faculty of FAITH the word remains sealed and uninviting. It holds facts and doctrinal statements that we may use to form a religious guideline by which we navigate this world with an understanding of its precepts. While there is great benefit to be garnered by these we are merely sailing upon the surface of the waters of life that he has for us. We can study the scriptures and put together sermons based upon a topical analysis of them with some profit to the hearers. There remains however that hidden dynamic pulsating with the breath and life of the Son. It is the precious function of FAITH to enable us to see THE SON in the reading of the WORD. While some see facts, concepts and precepts others see and hear the Living God and because of this they are pilgrims and sojourners in a strange land. They feel the futility of man’s ways and efforts and the absolute necessity of why Christ was crucified. They know that without the branch abiding in the vine they will wither and die. They are no longer content to dwell and gather in temples made with hands for they have heard and seen a LIVING TEMPLE “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”. The Word is no longer a historical document, no longer an ethereal book that tells us of things to come after we die. For those who by FAITH survey its sacred pages it is THE TRUTH that is LIVING and RELEVANT TODAY. As it states in the Book of Hebrews “TODAY if you will HEAR HIS VOICE…” Those who are content with the status quo, the division and sectarianism and the powerlessness of the religion of today, have not touched the heart and cry of the SON. Those who are not broken over the carnality, strife, emulations, and the spiritual poverty of the North American Church have not felt the heart of the Son; that same Son who wept over Jerusalem and the fate that awaited her. They could not see HIM of whom the scriptures spoke for they had not the faith of Abraham. Jesus said that “Abraham SAW HIS DAY and was glad”. Faith ever sees and beholds the Living Christ. An OPEN HEAVEN is the fruit and the recompense of the wonder of HIS FAITH living and breathing within our hearts.

Ω

“The Bible without the Holy Spirit
is a sundial by moonlight
DL Moody

*Spoken of the heavens, to open the heavens or to have the heavens opened or divided so that celestial things become manifest (Matt. 3:16; Luke 3:21; John 1:51; Acts 7:56; 10:11; Rev. 19:11) SPIROS ZODHIATES (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)

Brian Troxel

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