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Archive for the ‘An Open Heaven’ Category

Discovering God’s Ways

THE SEALED BOOK AND OUR BOAZ

“…and she came softly,
and uncovered his feet,
and laid her down”
Ruth 3:7

We live in a day of information overload with data available at the click of a finger. This data, transferable at incredible speeds, can be accessed from anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. A whole Bible translation can be downloaded in less than a minute. One would think if ever there was a day where men could know God surely this is would be that day. Yet there has never been a day of greater darkness upon the world. The Word itself testifies of this day…

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words,
and seal the book, even to the time of the end:
many shall run to and fro,
and knowledge shall be increased”
Daniel 12:4

We read here that “even to the time of the end” Daniel’s words are shut up and the book sealed (ready to be revealed in these days Ephesians 3:5) while men run from place to place and knowledge is increased. Knowledge will never pry open the mysteries of God. Men in their pursuit of knowledge will never access those Holy places of Divine Revelation and Understanding. We have seen endless books written about such things but with the passage of time they are often found futile and obsolete. Time itself is the verification of all truth. Men peering into the pages of the sacred scriptures (without an eternal view) will always seek to bend truth to the moment in which they live to support their agendas. God will not reveal His ways to such. The Greeks sought God by wisdom and the Jews through religious works and miraculous signs (1 Corinthians 1:22). Our world is now filled with a multitude of religions and Christian sects comprised to varying degrees of the mixture of these two carnal ways; an effort to conciliate the unfulfilled cry within their hearts and the search for value and meaning.

“…the world by wisdom knew not God”
1 Corinthians 1:21

The discovery of God’s ways is out of reach to the carnal man. It is not to be found in the accumulation of data, nor in the religious works of men, nor in the “running to and fro” of men to conferences, teachers and sages. For Truth is a person (Jesus said “I am the Truth”) not a teaching or doctrine (John 14:6). He is the living TRUTH, (1Timothy 2:5) Eternal, Just and True and His ways are past finding out. Truth is, in all reality, the life of Jesus living within man. The measure of truth within a man is revealed in the life that he lives!

“Ye shall know the truth
and the truth will make you free”
John 8:32

No amount of teaching or the accumulation of data will set a man free from himself and the world around Him. No more than a man by jumping with all of his strength can free himself from the law of gravity. It takes a power and a life to so invade a man as to effect such a radical change from within that men are able to know this freedom of which Jesus spoke. This power is found in only One and His name is Jesus. It is in Him that men “move and have their being” (the Greek here is literally “are”). It is to this end “that all creation is groaning and travailing” (Romans 8:19-23). Through man’s disobedience, enticed by the promise of eating of the tree of knowledge, the Book of Life was sealed and man became subject to the “law of sin and death”. The sealing of this Book was in accordance to the law of Righteousness just as a man who disobeys earthly laws is subject to imprisonment and loss of liberty. This Book of Life was sealed in heavenly places out of the reach of fallen man.

The Sealed Book
Revelation 5:1-14

When John saw the “sealed book” in heaven he wept for there was no man who was worthy to open it!

“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne
a book written within and on the backside,
sealed with seven seals

And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice,
Who is worthy to open the book,
and to loose the seals thereof?

And no man in heaven, nor in earth,
neither under the earth, was able to open the book,
neither to look thereon

And I wept much,
because no man was found worthy
to open and to read the book,
neither to look thereon”
Revelation 5:1-4

This Book of Life was sealed through man’s disobedience and the only way for it to be opened was by a Man whose obedience was perfect and complete. While John wept over the “sealed book” an Elder spoke to him…

“Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah,
the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book,
and to loose the seven seals thereof.

And I beheld, and, lo,
in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts,
and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb
as it had been slain,
having seven horns and seven eyes,
which are the seven Spirits of God
sent forth into all the earth.

And he came
and took the book
out of the right hand of Him
that sat upon the throne”
Revelation 5:5-7

We must pause here and give all Glory to Jesus for He has prevailed! He came and took the Book out of the Hand of God Almighty and opened it on our behalf! The reason we have life is because He overcame and in the ministration of His Life into us we are also to overcome. His desire is to bring forth a people who will rule and reign with Him; not on the basis of a teaching but because of the operation of His Life within us producing and bringing forth His Victory in our own experience.

“And when he had taken the book,
the four beasts and four and twenty elders
fell down before the Lamb,
having every one of them harps,
and golden vials full of odours,
which are the prayers of saints.

And they sung a new song, saying,
Thou art worthy to take the book,
and to open the seals thereof:
for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us
to God by thy blood
out of every kindred, and tongue,
and people, and nation”
Revelation 5:8-9

The drama of this transaction being played out in the heavens resulted in all of heaven worshipping and glorifying Jesus, the Lamb of God! The scriptures declare “Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…” We see here the fruit and reward of His Obedience and Suffering. Shall we not in this hour find in Him the strength, virtue and ability to overcome the trials in our day? Knowing this on a doctrinal level is not sufficient to impart the ability to abide in these living truths. Jesus said that the “words He speaks are Spirit and Life”. As such they can only be received by a heart which is compliant to His Will and abiding in His Spirit.

“And we are his witnesses of these things;
and so is also the Holy Ghost,
whom God hath given to them that obey him.”
Acts 5:32

The depth of our receiving of His Holy Spirit is determined by our obedience and the yielding of our lives to His Will. The reason for the Holy Spirit being sent into this world is to guide us into all truth. He has come to lead us into the very life of Jesus by a new and living way. It is by way of relationship; taking His Yoke upon us, learning of Him and following and abiding within Him. These are not intellectual concepts but a discipline and a surrender of our will to His. The discovery of His Ways will not be by the efforts of men trampling through His Word with carnal wisdom but rather by a heart which has been broken and acknowledges its own condition.

“…but to this man will I look,
even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit,
and trembleth at my word”
Isaiah 66:2

We live in a day in which few “tremble” at His Word. To believe His Word and obey it is not only unpopular but scorned in those who would uphold it in the midst of a “crooked and perverse generation”. Men who do not tremble at His word treat it as a historical document, a book of instructions and good sayings, a source of religious sermons and quotations. Men who see His Word as Holy, walk carefully through its sacred pages with a desire to be instructed, comforted, reproved and made right by its ministration. The heart that finds its sole source of hope and salvation in His Word seeks to grow into a life of yielding to it. It is to such that the Word becomes living and vibrant. It is they who see the face of God in His glory and hear the voices of the prophets in its substance (Acts 13:27).

Our Boaz

Those who tremble at His word gaze upon it with awe and wonder. They approach it in prayer and with reverence.

“…and she came softly,
and uncovered his feet,
and laid her down”
Ruth 3:7

What a beautiful picture this is of Ruth who, though not belonging to the House of Israel, an outcast by the Law, her husband dead and therefore in need of someone to redeem her portion in the earth, came in to Boaz (who had the right of redemption by virtue of marriage to an Israelite) softly (not upon the grounds of a right but upon the grounds of mercy); uncovered His feet (desiring to learn of His Way); and laid herself down (resting from her own works) to rest in His. Boaz means “In Him who is strength” (in the Hebrew) rises upon her behalf to redeem her inheritance. This same Moabite woman became a part of the very lineage of Christ. So it is that those who walk softly, and with contrite hearts, seek to lay themselves down in His presence and uncover His ways will so find themselves with a redeemed inheritance in Him!

”I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,
by the roes, and by the hinds of the field,
that ye stir not up, nor awake my love,
till he please”
Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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An Open Heaven?

PART THREE

PURITY OF HEART

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

An open heaven is progressive in its nature and outworking; the experience of it in our lives is directly related to the condition of our hearts.

Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God
MATTHEW 5:8

The ability to see and understand the ways of God is an issue of the heart not the mind. The heart is the lens through which we “see” God. Its purity of motive and intent is an essential requirement to the knowing and understanding of HIS WAYS. In the religious world today there is very little concern over WHY a thing is done. The actions of Ananias and Sapphira go unchallenged today because in large part we do not concern ourselves with motives and intentions. As a result we see very little in terms of depth of understanding or truth. Holiness has no real meaning in our day because of the “teachings and concepts” of a worldly gospel. When will we realize that the judgment on Ananias and Sapphira is a New Testament reality? God HAS NOT CHANGED. Where truth becomes a mere religious teaching God hides Himself; the greatest judgment a people can ever experience. But those who desire to see HIM will pursue a pure heart.

“…for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed”
1 SAMUEL 2:3

All our actions are weighed in the balances of His Holiness. When things are done to please people, to garner the praises of men, or to seem spiritual, the thing done has little value in the eyes of HIM that burns with the PURE flame of heaven (Revelation 1:14). A pure heart is when we live our lives to please HIM and honor HIM in all that we do.

“For the word of God is living and powerful,
and sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing even to the division of soul and spirit,
and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner
of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
And there is no creature hidden from His sight,
but all things are naked and open
to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account”
HEBREWS 4:12 – 13

The recognition of our need for purity of heart is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is the HOLY SPIRIT; not just the Spirit of God but the HOLY SPIRIT of God. It is in a living relationship with HIM that we realize that Holiness is not simply a nice religious word but that it is the ESSENTIAL requirement of any heart to grow in the knowing of our God.

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness,
without which no man shall see the Lord”
HEBREWS 12:14

Ω

“This desire for heart purity
is a creation of the Holy Spirit at work in the heart”
Duncan Campbell

Brian Troxel

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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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