Thought for Today – The Threefold Cord

Thought for Today

The Threefold Cord

“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith,
and labour of love, and patience of hope
in our Lord Jesus Christ”
1 Thessalonians 1:3

Authenticity in a believer is substantiated by the life it produces. Paul is remembering the evident character of the believers in Thessalonica. He is gripped by the substance of their walk and life in Christ! The Apostle is bound by the Spirit of God in him to the authentic expression of Christ in them. Life ever calls out to life, deep calls out to deep as we are inextricably joined to the verity of His life in another. This is the power of the true Body of Christ. The call to relationship, fellowship and active love is the binding agent of all who live and walk in Him. If the Spirit of Christ is ruling within, our heart will be drawn to true relationship with others in Christ. When carnality rules, people are content with exclusive*, powerless and shallow relationships in their lives. In contrast, the threefold cords of love to be found in the true Body of Christ are set forth here with clarity and precision.

ONE:

Work of Faith

Faith, in order to be living, active and pertinent in the lives of His own, will always be expressive of the person, the glory and the substance of the Living Christ. If there are no works of faith it is because the faith of the individual is dead; it is a faith in word only. It is a faith in a doctrine or a teaching which has no life or power. It is stagnant and sterile. One cannot be vitally connected to the Living Christ and live a non-effectual life in this dark world. The Greek Word used here for “work” is where we get the English word “energy”. There is vitality and power associated with a true and living faith within the lives of His own. The Work of Faith is simply the doing which springs forth or originates from the power of His Faith in our lives (Galatians 2:20).

TWO:

Labour of Love

The Greek Word used here for “labour” is literally translated “the beating of the breast”. It is a burden which can only be known by the love of God beating within our hearts over the condition of others. It is the very Love of God producing prayers, intercessions and words of encouragement and admonition. It is a labour to see the Kingdom of God arise in the earth and especially in the household of faith. Those who do not have the love of God beating within their hearts will not know this travail of Spirit over the condition of God’s people in this Day.

THREE:

Patience of Hope

The word “patience” is much better translated “endurance”. Endurance speaks of faithfulness, consistency and self-sacrifice. It communicates a life which is committed to the goal or purpose of God regardless of the obstacles and the apathy of others; it holds true to the mark set before it. The beauty of this grace is born out of a complete abandonment to the promises of God. It is a life which does not falter for it holds the character of God as its surety of recompense. It disciplines the heart to the works of faith and the labour of Love. It is the anchor from which the other graces of faith and love remain constant. The word declares that hope is the “anchor of the soul” to which the wandering tendencies of the human heart is held firm to the end.

This threefold cord is the true revelation of the living Christ ruling and reigning within the lives of His own.

“…a threefold cord is not easily broken”
Ecclesiastes 4:3

*Note: Exclusive relationships are closed, secular and carnal. They are the product of the blindness of the religious endeavors of men who seek the preeminence for themselves and the need for association with others to bolster the assurance of their walk with God. People who only find fellowship within the man-made boundaries of teachings, organizations, ministries and associations have become insensitive to the love of God in Christ.

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – A Clean Heart

Thought for Today

A Clean Heart

“Create in me a clean heart, O God”
Psalm 51:10

The cry for such a heart arises from those with a passion for God. It ascends from the discovery of our true condition. Those who live by doctrines and positional truths can pacify their need for change; for those who truly desire Him the necessity of a clean heart cannot be ignored.

David’s actions brought him to a place of devastation and helplessness. Deep within his heart he knew that offering the blood of the sin offering was not sufficient for his condition. He recognized that his need was far beyond forgiveness. He needed a new heart, a clean heart; one that would not wander into the abyss of lust and murder. There is something more than forgiveness. There is something beyond the cycle of sin and its wages. It is a clean and right heart incapable of repeating the former things! It is called change and transformation which is only possible by the power of God working within.

The Hebrew word “create” is a word used only in reference to God. It literally means to make something out of nothing. It is used of God when He “created” the world (though in a different tense with divine purpose). It is used here in the imperfect tense signifying an ongoing and uncompleted work. The depths and the mystery of the human heart, the very spring from which all our actions flow, needs the continual and ever-present influence of God Himself. It requires an abiding in Him, a leaning upon Him and a moment-by-moment reliance upon Him. There is no point of arrival for even perfection is dimmed in the presence of God. Abiding in Him brings us to new vistas of His glory, His purposes and the continual unveiling of deeper truths. These new truths require a deeper dependency upon Him to walk in the wonder and reality of them.

What a privilege we have to know the only One who can and will create in us a clean and right heart! Every disappointment, every fresh recognition of our inability to walk with Him, can bring us to the ardent pursuit and hope of His creating within us a clean heart. They who are content with forgiveness only miss out on the creative wonder of His work! He came not only to bring forgiveness but to change us from “glory to glory” even to the extent that we bear His image in our lives (2 Corinthians 3:18). The New Covenant is about much more than just forgiveness for repeatedly sinning and falling. It is about His power creating within us a clean heart that overcomes sin and wickedness by the power of His life within.

David’s cry for this creative work of God and his use of this powerful word comes from a thorough knowledge of his own depravity of being. He knows the need for the “creating” work of God to bring forth a clean heart out of his own nothingness. He is not interested in a mending or a fixing of his heart; he is crying out for the New Creation work of God.

God is willing and able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask.

“A new heart also will I give you,
and a new spirit will I put within you…”
Ezekiel 36:26

It takes a new heart to receive and abide within the newness of His Spirit.

Brian Troxel

The Secret of Receiving from God

The Secret of Receiving from God

“To him that overcometh will I give…”
Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26-28, 3:5, 3:12, 3:21

His table is set for us in the midst of our perplexities and adversaries (Psalm 23:5). His bread is rich in the spiritual nutrients of grace and the fruits of His Spirit. It is not in the absence of trouble that we grow and develop; rather it is in the midst of the very things which seek to undermine us. It is in the very face of our adversities that we are outfitted to walk and apprehend his call.

Little did Joseph’s brothers know that in their treatment of Joseph they were in fact unwitting vessels setting in motion the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Saul did not comprehend that his pursuit and envy of David were the means through which God raised a man after His own heart. Whether it is apathy, envy or distrust of our brothers and sisters, the forgetful butler (Gen. 40:23) or the unfeeling jailers of God’s people, the vision stands sure. God will accomplish His ends if we hold fast to the faith He has placed within our hearts.

It is not simply those who have vision who will receive of God’s gracious hand. It is those who overcome through hope in God’s vision who receive the prize of the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. Doctrinal visions fade with the passing of time. However, a vision received in the heart, held by hope in the ONE who cannot lie, is an unassailable power which will persevere until the day dawns and His purpose is fulfilled.

Overcoming is simply the result of His Life beating within our breast. His Life is the resurrection from death itself. No grave or disappointment can withstand Him. So not only do we hold to His promises but with the passage of time is the realization that we are held by Him! Through the mountains and valleys of our journey the flame of hope lights our way even in the darkest of nights. The flicker of the eternal keeps us bound to the vision He has birthed. As Paul stood before Agrippa bound in chains, held fast within the Roman penal system, he declared with all boldness…

“Whereupon, O king Agrippa,
I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”
Acts 26:19

True vision holds one to a life of obedience regardless of the circumstances. This was not a personal vision which held Paul; it was a “heavenly” one and as such it could not fade because of earthly circumstances. This vision supplies to the beholder faith, obedience and the wonder of Hope as an anchor to our soul. Those who let the vision fade become weary, pragmatic and compromised in a world which seeks to undermine the intense fire of all true pilgrims.

Overcomers are those who keep their feet moving forward, their hearts beating with the fervor of a love which cannot be quenched. In their times of discouragement and failure they rise because of a Hope that cannot be denied. True overcomers are those who follow the “heavenly vision”.

“So often we have a kind of vague,
wistful longing that the promises of Jesus should be true.
The only way really to enter into them
is to believe them with the clutching intensity
of a drowning man”
William Barclay

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

In The Beginning God… Part 2

In the Beginning God…

Part 2

All life begins with God. Without Him nothing exists materially or spiritually. He is the beginning and in Him life is filled with endless beginnings. He is ever making all things new. The glory of creation is always giving way to new wonders and countless beauties. Every sunset has its own glow and signature. Every plant, every creature has a uniqueness which, though it belongs to a certain species, has something distinct about it. No two things are the same. The creator can never be exhausted in His creativity. From birth there is always the first step, the first word, the first moment of conscious thought. At each step of the journey into the expanse of His world we become more aware that we are eternal creatures moving toward a call; the apprehension of a mystery that can only be known in Christ. He is the Word by which we were begotten in the fullness of His time and will. In the mystery of this relationship His thoughts, words, ideas and omniscient care may seem intangible yet somehow there is an inner knowing that He is near.

Relationship is by its nature a mystery. While religious men consider God in abstract terms and religious concepts, something unfathomable transpires in those who touch the hem of His Holiness, Love and Power. It is at times unsettling, more than any mere human is able to comprehend, yet there is a fragrance within the wonder of it all that draws His own near. Isaiah in Chapter 6, caught up to the very presence of God, was immediately struck with God’s glory and the contrast of His own dreadful condition. Yet in the face of such contradiction and terror, He hears God speaking within the Holy Trinity: “Whom will WE send, who will go for US?” There must have been an unspoken love shrouded within that dreaded Holy Place that enabled Isaiah to whisper, “Here am I, send me…” It is in these intimate moments where we catch glimpses of the new beginnings in God. Though Isaiah had already prophesied mightily for five chapters, infallible words from God, we can rest assured he was not the same man after the seeing of Him. So it is with us; when we truly see Him we can never be the same and that ever increasing light leads to deeper places and growth in the knowledge of Him.

“But the path of the just is as the shining light,
that shineth more and more unto the perfect day”
Proverbs 4:18

The light of Him is the life of Him. While many consider light to be the ability to understand certain doctrines and teachings, or to hold scriptures in the intellect, true light is the revelation of His light to us with the intent that it shine through us.

“In him was life;
and the life was the light of men”
John 1:4

The only light we have is the life of Him ruling and reigning within us. It is in the holding of Him we have life. When one wanders from Him the life and the light fades into darkness and futility. The life never leaves the Son for He Himself is the light. People speak of getting saved as an event that occurred at one point in time failing to realize that eternal life is not something a person gets by complying with a statement of faith, it is the very life of Jesus living and abiding within us. He who has the Son has Life; He who has not the Son has not life; a very simple statement yet one that is far reaching in its eternal implications. Eternal Life is not something we hope to get when we die rather it is ours by having Him present tense in our life by relationship. It is here the true believer experiences the continual life of new beginnings. His word, His ways, our seeing of Him is ever increasing, calling us to higher and deeper places of knowing Him. This is not a static religious concept; it is the way of His life within us. To many the way becomes dreary and filled with uneventful meetings, prayers and discussions but to those who hold His life dear within their hearts, life here is but the womb of greater things. We see new songs being sung in the heavens; new creations do new things.

“And they sing as a new song before the throne”
Revelation 14:3

Not just anyone can sing this new song. It is a song reserved for those who follow the lamb wherever He goes. It is for those who are free from the systems of men and walk in a way that pleases Him. The true things of God are not to be had by claiming promises; they are ours as we come to abide in Him.

“For all the promises of God in him are yea,
and in him Amen”
2 Corinthians 1:20

All of God’s promises are in the Son and as I grow in relationship with Him they become mine. Just as the life and the fruitfulness of the branch can only be known by abiding in the true vine there are attributes of God which can only be mine by being in Him. It is here that the revolutionary walk of identification and love is known. There is a fountain which ever flows in the Spirit. The psalmist says there is a river which makes glad the city of God. It is a river which has no beginning for it flows from the very throne of God Himself. It flows with the intent that men might walk into it, drink of it and wash themselves clean. Those who separate themselves from others find themselves outside of the flow and the wonder of His life. Jesus walked with the common people, He ate their simple food and He understood the plight of every man. Just as in the parables, the normal things of life become vehicles to convey God’s heart and truth. This is where we will find Him still teaching, still instructing us in heavenly things if we have eyes to see and ears to hear and comply with His whispers. Relationship implies the sharing of personal and intimate things, and we need to be close enough and still enough to have that privilege.

It is here we find those new beginnings with each step we take into the mystery of knowing Him. Abraham went out not knowing where he was going for he had caught a glimpse of the ONE who is the way, the truth and the life. For many it is much more comfortable to linger in things of the past than to take that first step. Fear holds men and women where faith falters. They die to spiritual things and new beginnings are a thing of the past. Life has become a series of days filled with rote and stagnant activities.

But to those who hold Him dear within the very recesses of their hearts He remains precious, living and true. It is in these ones that fellowship is a most desired and coveted thing. As each member beholds Him and shines that forth into the lives of their brothers and sisters we see the manifold work of new beginnings within each life; a Body that beats with His heart for one another!

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Hope Will Not Disappoint

Hope Will Not Disappoint

“And (the) hope maketh not ashamed;
because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts
by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us”
Romans 5:5

Hope will not bring a true believer to shame for the true hope is not a whimsical wish or vain thought. The true hope is a power that holds one’s heart firm in the midst of storm and trial.

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul,
both sure and stedfast,
and which entereth into that within the veil”
Hebrews 6:19

In Hebrews the living Hope of His own is equated to an anchor for the soul. The purpose of an anchor is to hold a boat firm so it does not drift away from its position. The line to which the anchor is attached passes out of sight, a picture of faith and hope in the common course of life. The anchor has no ability to hold on its own. It must find its resting place on the terra-firma below. It is not an empty religious hope; it is a hope that “enters in within the veil”. The inner sanctum of the temple/tabernacle is called the Holy of Holies. It is the place where God dwelt and manifested Himself. “The Hope” (as rendered in the Greek) is not some imagined expectation based on hearsay. It is the power of the fruit of faith, an anchor to the very soul of man. The power of Hope brings men and women to a life of stability and authenticity. There can be no stability in those who are not authentic. Those who live and walk for appearance sake only will not withstand the storms of life. It is in those storms that we are made bare. Not only is The Hope an anchor for our soul, it is also a living power to purge us of all pretense and ignorance. It beckons us to be “…found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith”. This Hope works in the lives of His own to penetrate the fog of our own thinking and the deceitfulness of our own hearts to bring us to the light and glory of the One who dwells within the veil.

“And every man that hath this hope in him
purifieth himself, even as he is pure”
1 John 3:3

This Hope pulsates with the very light of God and rests in the character of His being. It is an anchor through relationship with Him who is immovable. Hope brings character, for character is the revelation of a pure heart.

“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways”
James 1:8

Left to ourselves, by nature we are double minded (or as the Greek would render it (“double souled”). The religious man seeks to serve God and self but as Jesus spoke so clearly “no man can serve two masters…” Sooner or later the choice must be made and the life revealed. It is as we hold on to this living hope that a fire is set within and we know the purging and purifying power of His hope. “This hope” makes not ashamed, will not disappoint and will not leave us “barren nor unfruitful” in the things of our God.

“And hope maketh not ashamed;
because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts
by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us”
Romans 5:5

The end of “the Hope” makes us not ashamed “because the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost”! The true and living Hope of God working within the lives of His own must culminate in God’s Love being expressed in our lives! His hope will not allow us to be ashamed because His Love will be the surety of its own authenticity.

“He that loves not knows not God; for God is love”
1 John 4:8

Ω

“And now faith, hope, and love,
these three things remain;
but the greatest of these is love”
1 Corinthians 13:13

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

PSALM 23 – PART 8 – THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH –

PSALM 23

PART EIGHT

THE VALLEY
OF THE SHADOW
OF DEATH

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”
PSALM 23:4

Throughout this Psalm we read of Him leading us to places of quiet waters and green pastures, in paths of righteousness and yet in the midst of all this we read here of walking “through the valley of the shadow of death…”! How can these things be? Is He not our Shepherd? Is He not in charge and in control of all the things going on around us? We are so struck with the contrast and the suddenness of this verse that we rarely embrace its context within this Psalm. We often hear it quoted because we see all around us God’s precious people walking in, enduring and experiencing this valley that is to them the very dark and real “shadow of death”. How difficult it is to relate this to the purposes of God, to relate this to “Our Shepherd” in whom we are to place our absolute trust. We question, we struggle and we wrestle with the “whys” and the “purposes” of such suffering and often in these experiences we know silence and a seeming sense of aloneness. It is here that we must draw upon HIS character and discover that the “Valley of the shadow of death” is really an extension of the “paths of righteousness” and that HE who loves us most is not deterred in His purpose to MAKE us sons of God by causing us to walk in the same paths that HIS only begotten Son walked. HE walked in them to “become” the Captain of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10); we walk in them to “attain” the reality of HIS life and salvation!

“…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,
and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead”
PHILIPPIANS 3:10

The “power of HIS resurrection” is the life that springs forth from identification with HIM in HIS death. May God work in us the growing realization that the “valley of the shadow of death” is the door way into the knowing of HIM and the power of HIS resurrection! It is the means by which we experience the greatest depth of fellowship with and in HIM! The life of the true Christian is one filled with contrast and contradiction; strength OUT of weakness, beauty FOR ashes, the oil of Joy FOR mourning, light shining OUT of darkness, victory OUT of seeming defeat, love IN the midst of hatred, forgiveness IN the face atrocity and hate, and resurrection life OUT of death! Who is sufficient for all these things? ONLY JESUS the RISEN CHRIST! It is HIS life in us that gives us hope for the dawn. It is HIS life that is the resurrection life and as we walk in the “paths of righteousness” we are found walking in the way of the discovery that HE is in fact “our hope of Glory”.

The “valley of the shadow of death” is the way by which we come to know and trust in HIM in all things. Such knowledge is not learned quickly, it is not learned by sermons and teachings, it can only be known in personal identification with HIM as we WALK with HIM who is “the WAY, the Truth and THE LIFE”.

We (if we have “tasted of the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come”) are all pilgrims and fellow heirs of this life and this walk and as such we must discover the need for greater depths of fellowship and relationship than what we see around us today. For if we are truly in fellowship with HIM it must be revealed in fellowship with those who are walking in this way! “If we walk in the light in the light AS HE is in the light we HAVE fellowship one with another”. The verity of one is revealed in the reality of the other.

Brian Troxel