Burdens

Burdens

“For every man shall bear his own burden”
Galatians 6:5

There are many types of burdens in this life. Paul in this chapter of scripture illustrates two types, both of which are essential in the life of His own. The one quoted above concerns our own burden, it is a burden of life and of responsibility. This is a God-given one, which is ours to bear in faithfulness unto Him.

Paul knew of this burden personally and spoke of it in every epistle. It was a burden borne of the love of God.

“In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
2 Corinthians 11:28

The burdens of the Lord pulsate with power and love. It is love that produces the burdens of the Spirit. When one cares for the life and well-being of another there is a wonder in it and a blessing to receive in our faithfulness to the call of God.

The unconcerned, the distant ones from the heart of God carry burdens that are selfish in nature and there will be no Paraclete (Greek: παράκλητος) to carry or be yoked to such. The burdens of Christ within an individual’s life are His burdens being shared with them. They are born of love, carried in love, and are filled with His presence. They can bring us to depths of prayer and intercession and straightness of spirit but there is always a dominion of peace within their garments.

The greater the self-less love of God that dwells within us the burdens of Him will be of equal weight. To go through this life without knowing the cry of the Lord for others is to miss out on the joy of being in Him.

No one can hold the love of God in their hearts and not know of His burden for others. If Christ the great intercessor for His people is ever offering prayers on our behalf and if we are in Him and He is in us then it would be incongruous to not know of His heart.

“He that saith he abideth in him
ought himself also so to walk,
even as he walked.”
1 John 2:6

See: His Word, His Burden

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“Pray not for a lighter load,
but for stronger shoulders.”
Augustine

Brian Troxel

Religion and Light

Religion and Light

 

Religion and Light

“Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
Matthew 15:12

We can only imagine how the disciples felt at the growing realization that their Master was becoming unpopular with the leadership of the religious order of that day. Here we see them seeking to “inform” Him of the rising animosity. Healings and miracles had drawn the common people to Him, for He walked among them, ate with them, and related to their everyday life in His parables.

But His words pierced the religious with the light of truth. They revealed the hypocrisy and the vanity of men drunk with pomp and self-proclaimed importance. As centuries passed they slowly twisted His Word to support their own darkened ways, resulting in a blindness that bolstered their own pride and filled them with contempt for the common man.

Jesus responded to His disciples’ concerns with:

“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
Matthew 15:13-14

The religious teachers of that day were not teachable. Their hard hearts and pride prevented the beauty of Truth from invading their consciousness. Their knowledge and pre-conceived ideas prevented them from seeing the Glory of the Father standing before them; moving, healing, forgiving, and pouring out the mercies of God to all who would come. Jesus made no attempt to reach such, for spiritual blindness is the result of obstinacy and self-will.

Religion is simply men seeking to make God in their own image. Religion defines God for themselves rather than seeking to discover who He is. The true in heart do not allow others to define them or their God. As they grow in Truth they see themselves as they are and become free in the light of Him.

God is true. He is who He is. Those who fashion their religious ideals to suit their own forms of brokenness and blindness will never find Him. To those who come in childlike faith and humility, He will show Himself in the wonder of His own way in the human heart.

“And ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free.”
John 8:32

Truth alone restores the broken heart. Truth alone fills the unmet needs, cravings, and deep distress of the human race. Ideas, suppositions, and the banter of words will never alleviate the human condition.

Christ alone can set the captives free. In Him is Life and that Life is the healing balm for all who would come with their wounds, their lusts, and their sorrows. No one but Jesus can touch a life in the intimate places of the spirit.

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
John 10:10-11

He did not come to bring another teaching or to add to our knowledge. He came so that all who will receive Him have the right, the privilege, and the power to become the offspring of God!

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“But as many, as received Him, to them He gave the right to become God’s children, to those who believe in His name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
John 1:12-13

Brian Troxel

The Remnant – Watchman Nee

The Remnant – Watchman Nee

“When at the incarnation God visited His people, but a handful of them looked for the redemption of Israel. They believed God was going to act, and through them and because of them He acted. Then in Jesus’ own lifetime multitudes followed Him, but again it was a much smaller group who protested: “To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” And once more, before His ascension, He instructed His own to await the promise of the Father.

In practice, it seems to work out that God has always to move through a faithful remnant who, within the larger number and for the sake of God’s purpose in the whole, will be utter in their obedience to Him today.”
– Watchman Nee

BT

Fervent in Spirit

Fervent in Spirit

“Be Fervent in spirit”

“Do not be slothful in zeal,
be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”
Romans 12:11 (ESV)

To “be fervent in spirit” is the result of a heart that has touched Him, the touchstone of all creation.

Fervency in spirit is the Divine imprint upon a heart made alive by the fire of His being filling our own. Intensity is the fruit of love and abandonment. His fire within cannot coexist with apathy and lethargy. The true apprehension of us by Christ is described in the pure language of the scriptures.

“When He ascended up on high,
he led captivity captive…”
Ephesians 4:8

His resurrection is the basis of this captivation by Him. He took my addictions, my lost and captive heart and by the revelation of His wonder, those things lost their grip. Resurrection Life is the source of true freedom! There are no self-help strategies, no answers for the human condition other than Christ Himself. It is not the Christ of religion, words, and doctrines. It is only as the resurrected ONE reaches down from heaven’s Throne of Grace that men and women are set free.

Paul’s whole premise of faith was the Resurrected One; not words about Him but the very Life of Him. Who can behold Him and remain pragmatic, dispassionate, and satisfied with anything less than the fire of God burning within?

“And if Christ be not risen,
then is our preaching vain,
and your faith is also vain”
1 Corinthians 15:14

To all who struggle with sin, with failure within and without, come to Him, seek Him, for He will not turn away from a broken and contrite heart. He came and more importantly IS come, to set the captives free and to make them new creations filled with the vibrancy of His Life.

“For whosoever
shall call upon the name of the Lord
shall be saved”
Romans 10:3

Addictions are simply our attempt to fill the emptiness, the hurt, the abandonment, and the sorrow of heart that comes to all in this broken world. Freedom is found in His love, His forgiveness, and His life filling us unto the true freedom for which He has redeemed us. When Christ fills the heart there is no room for other things! His fulness is our freedom.

Fervency of spirit is the resounding wonder of a life captivated by His beauty.

“Do not be slothful in zeal,
be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”
Romans 12:11 (ESV)

It is the fervent in spirit who serve the Lord.

See: Morning by Morning

Brian Troxel

Weakness and Power

Weakness and Power

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

Paul clearly saw his weaknesses as necessary for the power of Christ to be revealed. Those who rely on their own inherent strength to serve the Lord will never know the joy of this hidden secret. Our human weakness is the platform from which His glory is revealed! Faith glories in our inabilities and in our willingness to be lead. The carnal man uses weakness as an excuse to not obey God’s leading. But those who live in Him find their weaknesses advantageous to stepping into God’s strength and resources.

“For when I am weak, then I am strong…”
2 Corinthians 12:10

There are graces and resources of God hidden in our weakness. The sling of a young child slew the Goliath of the enemies of God. The source of this victory was God’s grace and the willingness of a young man to obey despite the circumstances.

“He that observeth the wind shall not sow;
and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap”
Ecclesiastes 11:4

Those who rely on their own strength observe the outward conditions with their own eyes; they see the obstacles rather than the divine strength of God. The eleven disciples beheld the storm yet Peter alone ventured into the storm because of the faith of God moving within. It was only when the priests stepped into the Jordan that the power of God parted its flooding banks. It was not until Paul and Barnabas worshipped God that the prison was shaken. Let us not consider our own meager resources in serving our God. Let us not be ones who behold the winds and the clouds – our God is able!

“He that observeth the wind shall not sow…”

As we feel the winds of adversity arising in our land may we still be faithful sowers.

“…he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap”

Let us not fear, let us not restrain our outreach into the world around us – He is able!

Once we recognize our weaknesses in the Spirit of faith we no longer ask God for deliverance from them but recognize that these are the very things through which HE has chosen to make Himself known. Many say “when God strengthens me – THEN I will go forth”. But years pass, weaknesses remain, and this short life ends in the poverty of unbelief. Faith moves. It trusts and knows that God uses the “weak things to confound the wise”!

“For the sake of Christ, then,
I am content with weaknesses…”
2 Corinthians 12:10

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“Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak:
for your work shall be rewarded.”
2 Chronicles 15:7

See: Moments of Faith

Brian Troxel

The Hidden Life

The Hidden Life

 The Hidden Life

“And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.”
2 Kings 4:4

Deep transactions with God are often secret. Elijah instructed the widow to shut the doors; the grand thing the Lord would do was to be done within her own family. No one else would touch the sacredness of God moving on her behalf. Contrast that with the fanfare and emotion in many gatherings today, where often glib and empty works are “staged” to garner the praise of men. Worship often becomes a performance upon a stage where talent is extolled rather than the hidden beauty of brokenness, with true praise arising unto Him alone who is worthy.

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly”
Matthew 6:6

It is difficult for the carnal man to pray in secret, to have works hidden from the eyes of others.  We must walk uprightly before God knowing that He who regards all things will, in due season, cause us to know of His good pleasure.

The harvest of a true disciple may take many years to come to fruition, yet those who trust Him leave the reaping unto Him who judges the motives of every heart. Our sowing is in secret, our prayers for others to see, touch, and feel the wonder of God are known to Him alone. The true Christian Life is one of those secret things that the disciple lives unto his/her Master. If He is pleased it matters little what others think.

“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”
Psalm 51:6

External things may be noticed by many, but God’s desire is that our words, our actions, and the overriding intentions of our hearts, be true. Those who are pure within are free from the yoke of self. They are free from selfish agendas, jealously, envy and ambition. To live unto Him is the highest call. It requires a daily grace to live in the simplicity of Christ.

See: “The Days are Come”

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“The primary thought in the area of religion is— keep your eyes on God, not on people. Your motivation should not be the desire to be known as a praying person. Find an inner room in which to pray where no one even knows you are praying, shut the door, and talk to God in secret. Have no motivation other than to know your Father in heaven. It is impossible to carry on your life as a disciple without definite times of secret prayer.”
– Oswald Chambers

Brian Troxel

 

Friendship with God

Friendship with God

“Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart!”
Psalm 36:10

There is an endearing ministration to those who walk closely with the Lord; wonders and mercies through the bonds of relationship. As we draw near to Him, we touch unspeakable aspects of His glory that are beyond the thoughts of men. Life, His Life, cannot be assimilated by the natural mind for God is beyond comprehension. Who can truly understand the mystery of a beating heart, the unfolding of a flower, or the intricacies of a relationship between a husband and wife? These are things we can see, feel, and appreciate for their simple beauty, but to try and understand them intellectually is folly. The enablement to see the growing dynamic of God, His Life, and His Wisdom, requires faith and surrender to His work in us.

“In thy light
shall we see light”

It requires the Christ within to enable us to “see” the Father as He is.

“All things were yielded up to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and the one to whom the Son purposes to reveal Him.”
Matthew 11:27

Jesus is the lens through which we behold the Father. He alone can impart to us the substance and being of all God is. Our depth of abiding will determine our knowledge of Him as He is. Jesus spoke parables to the masses (God’s own people; John 1:11), but His own disciples he would take aside and expound to them precious truths through the intimacy of friendship.

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant, does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
John 15:15

What was the vital truth which precipitated this transition from unknowing servants to friendship with the Son?

“You are my friends
if you DO what I command you.”
John 15:14

Obedience is the highest expression of Love. The summation of the Life of the Son in the earth can be bound up in one culminating crescendo of love.

“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”
Hebrews 10:7

The Holy-Spirit inspired scriptures go on to describe the effects of that Divine Will on our lives.

“By the which Will we are sanctified…”
Hebrews 10:10 (capitalization my own)

True sanctification will always be to the measure that His Will becomes our own. Those who are truly His, pursue one thing; full conformity and union with the purpose of the Son. “Lo, I come to do Thy will”.

“Then Jesus answered them and said, My teaching is not mine in origin but belongs to the One who sent me. If anyone is desiring to be doing His will, he shall know experientially concerning the teaching…”
John 7:16-17 (Wuest)

True disciples do not initiate their own doctrine. They read His Word with the eyes and the heart of a little child; what the word declares they believe. They make no allowances for self which always seeks to justify its aberrations from its purity. They seek earnestly and fervently for faith and grace to see their lives conformed to its truth. They understand that the same Spirit through which the Word became flesh in the Son has been given to work that same devotion to the Will of the Father in us.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3:18

Why is the ministration of the Spirit of God-given? To change us “into the same image”; the same likeness and demeanor which characterized the Son.

“Lo, I come to do Thy will”

The full revelation of Grace is expressed in our obedience to the Will of the Father.

“through whom we received grace and apostleship in order that there may be obedience to the Faith…”
Romans 1:5 (Wuest)

Brian Troxel

Established in Love

Established in Love

Established in the Love of God

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

Love is the foundation from which we are able to comprehend the vastness of God. Without this foundation, we are left with words, concepts, and a small view of all that God is. As we open ourselves up to the word of God, He will highlight things to us, and we see something we can build our life upon. Here Paul is writing to the Thessalonians. (Recognize that whereas James, John, Jude, and Peter are writing to the whole church, Paul’s is a more specific apostolic ministry). He writes to the church in different locations and even personal letters to address and strengthen and encourage them in those areas where they have a particular need. He is laying foundations whereas the others are calling God’s people to build on those foundations. Allow these words in the Epistle to the Thessalonians to enter your heart:

“Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”
1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

Love is the most stabilizing grace in God. As we grow in the love of God we grow in His stability because love is the character and foundation of His relationship with you and me. All His working and doing in us is because He loves us. Whom the Lord loves He chastens. Whom the Lord loves He blesses. Whom the Lord loves He fashions and strengthens and encourages that we might strengthen and establish others. The Greek word used here, “that He may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness” is the same one that Jesus used when He spoke to Peter, “When you are converted, strengthen your brothers.” As you grow in your establishment and as we allow Him to convert us from our selfish ways, God allows you to strengthen others through the same love that has established you. Even in the biggest mistakes you make, you keep discovering this unfathomable love of God and you wonder… why does He stay with me? Because He is your foundation.

As you grow in God, He develops patience in you for others, because the love wherewith He has loved you is now being formed in you to love others to the end that they may be established. He is telling Peter, when you are converted, strengthen others; the depth of your conversion is revealed in the divine enablement for you to strengthen others. Knowing Him who is love enables us to love others with the same love wherewith He has loved us.

In Thessalonians, Paul addresses the day of God’s return. The man of sin is going to arise, there will be shakings and desolation, false prophets, etc. As you read this book there is a “flavor” all the way through of the Love of God. There were false epistles being written to them saying that the resurrection had already happened, and they had missed it. Paul is calming them down in the Spirit, asking them to remember the former things that had been ministered to them. “Don’t you remember when we were with you, and we told you the things that were going to characterize the day of the Lord?” (1 Thessalonians 3:4) He is settling them. God wants to produce in us that ability to settle, to strengthen, to confirm, to correct, and to reprove each other; that we may be established in the power and the wisdom and the glory of God.

BT

Loving the Truth

Loving the Truth

“And I beseech you, brethren,
suffer the word of exhortation”
Hebrews 13:22

Truth is simply the manifestation of the Life of Christ. His unrelenting quest within each of us is for purity and perfection. He does not spare His Own from His piercing gaze as He searches our hearts with the divine flame of His Love. His Word is living and sharp. Its cutting seeks to free us from that self that cannot and will not submit to God.

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”
Romans 8:7

Our hearts are revealed in our openness to receive exhortation. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews pleads with us to “suffer the word of exhortation” to the end we may walk a life that is pleasing to God. Truth must expose within us all that is not of Him. Being the perfect manifestation of all that is true, He has great love and determination to change us from “glory to glory”. While many readily receive His forgiveness, the real test is in our receiving that Living Truth which pierces even to the dividing of our “soul and spirit”.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

Those who bear His Word must know that work within themselves. Only In becoming free from self, with all its devious and corrupting ways, will we be able to communicate to others that same word of exhortation. A word of exhortation can only be received by those who because of their love of truth suffer its liberating ministration of life.

May we all hear the “beseeching” of the Spirit of God to embrace His Word. To love truth is to receive His corrections and the pruning of His two-edged sword.

“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights”
Proverbs 3:11-12

“For whom the LORD loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives”
Hebrews 12:6

The true in heart desire correction. They know within their own being the necessity to receive His reproofs and exhortations. The passion to become true outweighs the tendency to hide from His probing gaze. Many love the promises of God but few are willing to endure the correction necessary for His promises to come to fulfillment in them.

“If you endure discipline,
God bears Himself to you as to sons”
Hebrews 12:7

It is in the crucible of correction that the true in heart reveal their sonship and love for their heavenly Father.

“Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it”
Psalm 141:5

See: Psalm 23 Chapter 14

Brian Troxel

By One Spirit

By One Spirit

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body”
1 Corinthians 12:13

By One Spirit

“And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee:
nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you”
1 Corinthians 12:21

Anyone with a vital, living relationship with the Head (Christ Himself) cannot say: “I have no need of thee”! Only those who live independently, disassociated from the Law of Life, can say “I have no need of thee”. If the eye is not intrinsically attached to the Head, it has no sense of its relationship to the rest of the Body of Christ. There is an inherent blindness that will isolate and insulate that one from the wonder of His Life.

A disconnected member has no divine enablement to “feel” the heartbeat of the body. “I have no need of thee” is a revelation of one’s true spiritual condition. The deeper our union with Him, the deeper will be a corresponding desire for a relationship with all others who share this common heartbeat. The power of His Life breaks asunder the carnal bonds of denominations, closed and isolated fellowships, and disconnected cliques.

Pride, unforgiveness, envy, jealousy, and the desire for preeminence, will sever the bonds with Him who is the life, the heart, and the author of peace.

“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all”
Ephesians 4:4-6.

The only means through which we can be ONE Body is by living in the ONE Spirit. To be outside the Life of the ONE Spirit is to be alienated from the ONE Body. Doctrines, teachings, and religious dogmas have nothing to do with this ONENESS. Those who live in Christ do not compromise truth for oneness because the Spirit of Truth pulsates within. They know the truth, the truth (Christ Himself) lives within, and He alone produces unity in hearts that can never declare “I have no need of thee”.

We know that we have passed out of death into life,
because we love the brothers.
Whoever does not love abides in death”
1 John 3:14

The authenticity of our relationship with Him who is THE LIFE is revealed in our love and concern for our brothers and sisters. It is the carnal, the disconnected who are oblivious to this truth.

Brian Troxel

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“By the figure of the vine and the branches, Christ illustrated not only the relation that should exist between him and his followers but also the union between every believer and his fellow believer. The branches of the vine are related to each other, but they are not alike. Each has its own individuality, which cannot be merged into that of another, but all have a special connection with each other. The root that supplies nourishment to one branch supplies nourishment to every other branch. Each must depend alike on the vine for sustenance; all must be joined to the parent stalk. The life and growth and fruitfulness of each depend alike on the parent vine. In obedience to the laws of nature, their common hold of the true vine make them one; in their diversity there is unity.”
– EGW