The Pressings of God

The Pressings of God

“Let us know,
let us press on to know Yahweh…”
Hosea 6:3 (LEB)

Within the recesses of the hearts of His own there is a passion to know the unknowable One. There is a mystery that our limited vocabularies and minds cannot explain. This pressing of heart and soul is simply the love of Him within desiring to express the Love of Him without. It is a cry which cannot be articulated; it reaches the heart, not the intellect. but the heart. It is the power of faith uniting the seeker with the ever Seeking One.

We seek Him because He first sought us. His love ever seeks to fill the human heart, His grace seeks to overcome weakness, and His Holy Spirit seeks to fill us with the breath of His Divine Nature. The pressings of which Hosea speaks is reiterated by Paul the Apostle in the Book of Philippians:

“I press toward the mark
for the prize of the high calling
of God in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3:14

The pressing is the result of the grace of God moving upon the tender hearts of those whom He has called unto Himself. No man takes this honour upon himself. No fleshly work or religious exercise can produce the cry of the spirit of adoption “whereby we cry, Abba, Father”.

Pursuit is the means by which He is found, hunger is the means by which we are fed, and thirst is the precursor to the drinking of the Living Water. The promises of God are found by asking, seeking and knocking.

“For every one that asketh receiveth;
and he that seeketh findeth;
and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”
Matthew 7:8

Let us read and grasp the words of this promise. Everyone that asks – receives! He that seeks – – finds! Those who knock – shall enter in! While many choose confined and safe places, God beckons His Own into an active pursuit of Him. He is far too vast for us to ever become satisfied with a small portion. The greater our faith, the more fervent the pressing. The greater our love, the more obedience is required to see Him in a fuller and deeper way.

The cross of the disciple, if carried long enough, becomes a source of joy and of power. There is within its bitter workings a freedom to live in the fellowship of His sufferings. It is a fellowship which dims the offerings of former things and brings us into His courts of fire where He alone is magnified.

“As for me… I shall be satisfied,
when I awake, with thy likeness”
Psalm 17:15

Brian Troxel

Words & Deeds – AW Tozer

Quote for Today

“We settle for words in religion because deeds are too costly. It is easier to pray, “Lord, help me to carry my cross daily” than to pick up the cross and carry it. But since the mere request for help to do something we do not actually intend to do has a certain degree of religious comfort, we are content with repetition of words”
– A.W.Tozer

“So speak ye
and so do…”
James 2:12

 

Omission

Omission

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good,
and doeth it not, to him it is sin”
James 4:17

Omission is the fruit of apathy. It is the result of a false gospel which demotivates us to act. Our personal involvement is the shining forth of His Life through us. The non-involved life is a life centered on self, one that withdraws from an active life of faith, of reaching out into the world around. It leads a sequestered existence, safe and insulated from the personal ventures of faith.

“That the communication of thy faith
may become effectual…”
Philemon 1:6

Paul’s prayer for Philemon was that his faith would be communicated to others with an effect. The communication of an effectual faith leaves an effect on the lives of others because it carries the life and power of the Author. Those active in the ministrations of His Life feel the immensity of the responsibility to walk in such a way that there be an actual communication or impartation of the living Christ through their words, their works and their very lives. The impotency and indifference of many people today regarding their “faith” reveals an appalling attitude that they are “increased with goods and have need of nothing”. This “comfort zone” is a gospel of grace with no sense of laying down their lives for the uplifting of Him. It is easier to give money and resources to someone else to do that. It is easy to labour for the unrighteous money of this world yet be careless with heavenly treasures. We are too prone to ignore the promptings of the Spirit of God to involve ourselves in the lives of others. It is easier to “pray” about things than to pour ourselves out for others. There is a cost to obedience. We have invented an insulation from this dilemma of accountability; a gospel woven with the falsity of a devilish reasoning: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good,
and doeth it not, to him it is sin”
James 4:17

Religion often has the correct understanding yet is powerlessness in the realm of doing. Many know right things and understand the words of Life. Yet their faith is one of words without the power and motivation of Love. They believe the tenets of faith with no valid expression of the LIFE of faith.

“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing,
nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh* by love”
Galatians 5:6
(a faith which produces the works of love)

John in his epistles constantly prods the people of God in his day unto love and good works. The Book of Revelation declares to each location of the One-Church that God is beholding “their works”. It is the works of a life that show evidence of faith in that life. “I know thy works” is the Word of God to every Church.

“My little children, let us not love in word,
neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth
1 John 3:18

One deed that springs forth from the Love of God is worth far more than the confessions and proclamations of a thousand sterile lives. Jesus saw the “two mites” of the one who gave of her living rather than the rich offerings of those who appeased their conscience by words and platitudes. A life uninvolved with the lost, the wayward and the stagnant, is a life uninvolved with God.

Omission is the revelation of a inert and lethargic life. It is the one sin which is easily ignored but which paves the road to spiritual bankruptcy.

“Thou wicked and slothful servant…”
Matthew 25:26

The sin of the one to whom the one talent had been given was the great sin of omission; the sin of doing nothing with the great and unmerited gift placed in his trust. The resulting eternal judgment was one of loss and sorrow. Those faithful to the gifts given to them were rewarded with ruling and reigning in God’s coming Kingdom. The truths of His gifts given to each of us are eternal issues. Faithfulness now brings great reward in the unveiling of His Kingdom then.

“Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me,
to repay to each man according to his work.”
Revelation 22:20 (ESV)

Brian Troxel

Leadership

Leadership and the New Wine Skin

Part Two

“Peter saith unto him,
Thou shalt never wash my feet.”
John 13:8

Peter’s deep reverence for Jesus had elements of worldly esteem. His carnal conception of what leadership was to be, was offended by this act of humility. Washing the disciple’s feet contradicted Peter’s idea of how Jesus should be; he deemed it denigrating. The humility of Jesus is an affront to all who desire pre-eminence in religious circles. True leadership of the New Emerging Wine Skin will be by those who understand this powerful truth within the depths of their being.

Leadership in the Spirit is simply a life consumed with following Him. It arises from those who follow the Lamb. Their vision, their purposes and their desires are not to lead others but to follow Christ. The true sheep follow those who bear the nature and the likeness of Christ. They have no earthly agendas, no grandiose concepts of personal greatness; their glory is to serve and honour Christ.

Paul could say freely and simply:

“Then whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God. Be without offense both to Jews and Greeks, and to the assembly of God. Even as I also please all in all things, not seeking my own advantage, but that of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ
1 Corinthians 10:31-33; 11:1* (see note below)

Paul’s leadership was founded in the cause of Christ; he did nothing for his “own advantage”. It was a leadership poured out in the edification and admonishment of others for their growth and apprehension of Christ, free from personal gain and agendas. The heart and soul of this new leadership being raised up will not build up anything unto itself. It will not seek its own nor use others for its advantage! It will be free from the pomp and the pride of anything other than the Lordship and Majesty of Christ. It will not walk in the pretense of a false humility. It will not be presumptuous or jealous of others. Rather it will welcome and foster, at every opportunity, authentic expressions of Christ and extend to others an invitation to sit and partake of the fellowship of the Spirit. It will not cut itself off from others nor walk in the spirit of Diotrephes who “loved to have the pre-eminence”. (Such corruption will subject them to the Judgment of God). Those who view any gathering of the people of God “my church”, “my people” or “my fellowship” will find themselves excluded from the New Wine Skin. There must be stamped upon our hearts the living truth:

“Unto Him shall the glory be”

Paul in his epistle to the Philippians declared that many of that day sought their own things and not the things of Christ. Those who refuse to humble themselves in this hour, who refuse to open their hearts to the ministrations of others, will reap sorrow and judgement.

This new leadership will have written upon their very hearts a pure desire to see the Unity of the Spirit become the reality here on earth until we come to the glory and power of the Unity of the Faith! (Ephesians 4:3,13) Any ministration which does not seek this One thing will be cut off from the commonwealth of His Life and Glory! Only the Life of Christ can produce such pure and holy lives.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good. In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate to one another; in honor preferring one another…”
Romans 12:9-10

The new and emerging leadership must exemplify this heart. They are to be “ensamples” to, not lords over God’s heritage.

“We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also”
2 Corinthians 6:3-13 (ESV)

The verity of all ministry is to One End:

“that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”
Colossians 1:28

“of which I was made a servant, according to the stewardship of God which was given me toward you, to fulfill the word of God,”
Colossians 1:25

What does this life look like?

“for which I also labor, striving according to his working, which works in me mightily”
Colossians 1:29

__________________________________________

“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 2:5

*Note: The statement “Be imitators (followers KJV) of me, even as I also am of Christ” has grievously been isolated from the context of the truth of what Paul was presenting in 2 Corinthians, chapter 10, by the placing of a chapter division; some have erroneously interpreted this scripture to their own ends.

Brian Troxel

The Elect of God

The Elect of God

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God,
holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness,
humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering…”
Colossians 3:12

The “elect of God” reveal their call and election through their expression of Christ-like character. They bear unfeigned aspects of His heart and passion. In spiritual things, we are revealed by what we are and what we are is expressed by what we do. In religious things, it is not necessary to have a connection between being and doing.

David breathed a prayer which was “after the heart of God”.

“Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth:
unite my heart to fear thy name”
Psalm 86:11

A united heart is an authentic heart; a heart full of the fear and wonder of the Lord. The inconsistencies of our being become united by the singularity of His rule within. Growth in Christ is revealed in the spontaneous flow of His nature into the world around us. The desire for a united heart is the affirmation of His Spirit at work within us.

The purpose of truth is to make us true. True to Him, true to one another and true to the world around us.

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence
to make your calling and election sure…”
2 Peter 1:10

Brian Troxel

The School of Christ

The School of Christ

“Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ”
Philemon 1:1

The school of Christ is the privilege of discipleship. It is a life of instruction filled with the ministration of powerful truths whereby our life in this natural world becomes subject to the realities of the Kingdom of God. Paul, writing from a Roman prison, lived and dwelt in dark and damp quarters, yet referred to himself as “a prisoner of Jesus Christ”. His view was heavenly. The intense lessons of the school of Christ had brought him to the place of sowing and reaping in all circumstances of life. He was not a prisoner of Rome; he was in fact the emissary of Christ!

The known world at that time was largely under a one world government and for the most part ruled by the iron fist of Roman decrees. Many of our brothers and sisters today live under the oppression of tyrannical regimes and savage Christian persecution. I have had the privilege of meeting with the underground church in a couple of countries and it was both humbling and inspirational. There is a feeling of oppression in our land of “freedom” which does not seem to exist for them. There is a liberty of the Spirit of God of which we have much to learn. These precious ones go forth each day with a boldness to declare the love of God in Christ which is both refreshing and convicting. Many of the things we call freedom here are based on our “legal rights” and reveal themselves in a spirit of entitlement and arrogancy rather than the humility of Christ. This so called religious freedom is founded in worldly declarations instead of the true liberty arising from a grace wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit. In those persecuted countries the true freedom of spirit is garmented in meekness in contrast to our demands to maintain our legal rights. The freedom in which they walk is that of the Spirit and not of man. It is one which has at its foundation the truth of our heavenly rights*. This freedom is only known to the extent to which we are freed from the life and the dominion of self. The truth of the Sovereignty of God can only become real in those who are in truth dead to self and alive in Christ.

True freedom is only known in our submission to Him. Wherever self reigns, there can be no freedom of the Spirit. The natural life will always reflect its natural surroundings, so also in the spirit. Those who live in the Spirit cannot but reflect the graces of the Spirit regardless of their natural surroundings. Bitterness, envy and anger are expressions of the carnal natural life. The school of God brings us to dark and trying circumstances that we might learn how to live in heavenly places. In our oppressive situations there are opportunities for us to discover hidden treasures of great value.

“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord…”
Isaiah 45:3

The school of Christ is a difficult and arduous journey. It is the “way of the cross” and blessed are those who follow the Lamb through obedience. There is a grace which quietly works within those who choose His way above their own, and a freedom which comes from His bonds at work in our lives. We will know the power of true fellowship as we walk in His growing light and develop in obedience and submission to Christ.

The life of Paul abounded in this rigorous school of Christ. His heart was set upon learning and growing in God. These lessons are reserved for the true disciples of Christ. The graces learned result in a life of victory in all circumstances.

“Not that I speak as to need, for I have learned to be content in whatever state I am. And I know to be humbled, and I know to abound; in everything, and in all things, I am taught both to be filled and to hunger, both to abound, and to lack. I have strength for all things in Christ the One strengthening me”
Philippians 4:11-14 (LITV)

Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father let the confines and the circumstances of the moment become the Secret Place of your indwelling. Let the fragrance of your Spirit bring its healing balm to our hearts. May our limited surroundings give way to vistas of your Glory. Bring to us the clarity of your wisdom by which you are weaving your graces into the very fabric of our lives. Let us learn that in all things you are working out the mystery of your Sovereign Will for our good.

“For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, for ever”
Matthew 6:13
Amen

Freedom from self
brings us into the
liberty of His Spirit.

* Note: “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake”
Philippians 1:29

Brian Troxel

PODCAST – Your Book Part One

Your Book Part One

And the prophetic call

 

And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious. But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
(Eze 2:7-10)

Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.
(Eze 3:1-3)

Discipleship

Discipleship

“My son, if your heart is wise,
then my heart will be glad”
Proverbs 23:15

The wise in heart ponder their ways before the Lord. With the passage of time, for the true disciple, there is a discretion that develops within those who hold to His leadings. This discretion is the fruit of experience and God’s correction. That which is lawful and permitted may not always be the wise choice. Wisdom guides and girds the heart for those who are determined to please God.

“All things are permissible but not all things are profitable or expedient. All things are permissible, but not all things promote growth in Christian character”
1 Corinthians 10:23 (Wuest)

The world, both religious and secular, offers many things; broad paths, amusements and temporal diversions. Yet the wise walk with hearts fixed upon pleasing Him who has called them unto Himself. To true disciples of Christ this is not a religious law or teaching; it is the joy of His Life beating within. There is little desire to appear spiritual to others, for those who seek the approval of men already have their reward. Wisdom is the pure fruit of the fear of the Lord. It is the fragrance of a life which seeks to honor Him. In its way men and women find great treasures; hidden treasures which more than compensate for His correction and discipline. Paul, in setting forth the true way of the Lord to his “son” Timothy, declared:

“No one serving as a soldier entangles himself with the affairs of this life, so that he might please the one having enlisted him”
2 Timothy 2:4

Purity of heart in a young recruit could best be described as having a single purpose. The great Shepherd of our souls directs us into a purity where we become free from our own agendas; we intuitively choose the things which please Him because we have learned and are being instructed in the Way of Righteousness.

“And He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him
John 8:29

True Discipleship is the fruit of Love. Christ’s hold upon any life are determined by the tenacity of the bonds of His Love upon the human heart. Many may be devoted to a teacher, a prophet, an organization, a great cause or doctrine, but genuine disciples hold within their hearts a devotion borne and sustained by the sheer power of the Love of Christ.

“The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is perfect shall be as his master”
Luke 6:40

The “marks*” of His disciples are a growing likeness to the Master. There is a distinct mark upon those who diligently “follow the Lamb wheresoever HE goes”. There is a detachment from the popular, the ethos of factions, or the press to conform to the dictates of a church or small fellowship. It is a life fully captivated by the wonder of Him.

“And as He passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphæus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed Him”
Mark 2:14

Those who truly hear the call and feel the power of a love beyond comprehension know this abandonment to Him. They know not where He will lead, they care not where He will lead. In reality they are no longer their own.

Abandonment
is the response
to seeing HIM.

The price of Discipleship? Loneliness, misunderstanding and persecution.

The prize of Discipleship? His joy resident in our hearts.

Ω

“Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can the floods drown it:
if a man would give all the substance of his house for love,
it would utterly be contemned”
Song of songs 8:6

*Note: Paul considered the scars borne in his body as the “marks” of the Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:17) The Greek word translated “marks” actually means “brands” which denote the ownership of Christ.

“From henceforth let no man trouble me:
for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus”
Galatians 6:17

Brian Troxel