The Crown of Life

The Crown of Life

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
James 1:12

The crown of life is for those who endure temptations. The crown of life is not given as a gift; it is earned in the furnace of affliction and temptation. The victory of Christ through the operation of faith becomes our own personal victory. This is overcoming in deed and in truth. The victory is as real as the faith of the individual.

The temptations come when no one is watching when we are weary with the way, discouraged with situations in life. The enemy presses his enticements and offerings; “no one will know”. Just a little compromise and the trap is set, and the crown is lost.

The victory of the man Christ Jesus is to become ours. The purpose of Faith is to bring to us His victory.

“…and this is the victory that overcometh the world,
even our faith”
1 John 5:4

Let His Word settle into our hearts. Victory is not secured by the power of our will; it is not found in those who are strong. The victory is ours by FAITH; a faith which has become ours in the realities of life. Ethereal faith speaks of what it believes without the corresponding reality. Real faith produces real victory. It endures the testings; it holds under the strain and glorifies God in the fire.

These victories are learned. There is a persistence to faith, an indomitable power that finds its source in Christ Himself.

“For a just man falleth seven times,
and riseth up again
Proverbs 24:16

There can be no compromise, no reconciling with a partial victory. Christ overcame the world, and it is on that basis that He speaks to us.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Our victory is assured because it is His victory by the wonder of faith becoming ours. We can have peace, we can have tribulation, and still, be of “good cheer” because of Him. The Crown of Life is just what it says; our life becoming crowned in His Life. We become strong by the victories wrought within. While many may linger in defeat and sorrow, God calls out to us to “endure” temptations for hidden within them are God’s rewards.

Sampson found honey in the carcass of his enemy. (Judges 14:8)

David spoke of the great table of provision “in the presence of his enemies”. (Psalm 23:5)

Caleb declared to an unbelieving Israel that the Giants of the promised land would be “bread” for them. (Numbers 14:8-9)

Moses forsook the “riches of Egypt” for he considered the “reproach of Christ” of greater value. (Hebrews 11:26)

Do not grow weary in the battle or give up in the failures. The victory is not in our strength. It is in the growth of our faith IN the battles that come our way!

“Blessed be the Lord my strength,
which teacheth my hands to war,
and my fingers to fight”
Psalm 144:1

It is the Lord who is our strength. It is the Lord who teaches us to war in the Spirit and it is the Lord who teaches us to fight “the good fight of faith”. Those who do not know of the fight, have not learned of the Lord. He teaches us to fight that through the struggles we become warriors of faith. Those who do not fight will not know the fire and intensity of faith nor the Crown of Life promised to those who “endure” the temptations.

“I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them:
neither did I turn again till they were consumed.”
Psalm 18:37

This is the declaration of one whose heart was right before God (1 Kings 11:4).

Faith without victories
is a contradiction.

_____________________

“And let us not be weary in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap,
if we faint not.”
Galatians 6:9

SEE: The Good Fight

Brian Troxel

Freedom From Sin

Freedom From Sin

“…and the yoke shall be destroyed
because of the anointing.”
Isaiah 10:27

A few years back while spending time in His presence this impression came to me:

“An individual’s estimation of sin
is the revelation of their estimation of God”.

Those who regard sin lightly also pay little regard to the integrity of God; His Heart, His Being, and His Purpose in sending His Son to die on our behalf.

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:21

The Greek word translated “from” is defined as: ἀπό; (Apó) indicates the separation of a person or an object from another person or an object with which it was formerly united but is now separated. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament by Spiros Zodhiates) Underline my addition.

The depth of my participation in His Life is revealed in the freedom and separation of my personal life from sin and iniquity. He came to make me free. His ministrations of truth are to that one end.

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

In my early years of studying the word, and hearing great teaching, I came to the realization that despite my accumulation of knowledge I was still bound in recurring sins. There was a moment when the power of the TRUTH of the above scripture struck me with great force. Truth is not something we know intellectually; it is the power and life which comes from knowing HIM who is the truth. In that moment of revelation, I realized the amount of truth I actually hold is revealed in actual freedom from MY sin. I need Christ to be MY Savior to be free from MY sin. My depth of knowing Him, abiding in Him, and Him in me, determines the power and the measure of my personal salvation. I cannot be a slave to sin and hope to make known to others the power of His Salvation. Hypocrisy is the fruit of such a life. Many of God’s people today secretly battle with the sorrow and misery of sin-bound lives. Some teach and expound the word of God to others yet in the hidden places of their hearts their experience is contrary to what they speak.

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin,
that grace may abound? God forbid.”
Romans 6:1-2

The true grace of God is the power to separate me from my sin. There is a dynamic released which breaks the power of the bonds of sin. Just as Paul (Romans 6 &7 ) speaks of sin as a power that is the root of our sins/sinful acts, so grace is the power of God to defeat that power of sin inherent within. It takes the power of God’s grace to defeat the power of sin. A gospel of grace that makes light of sin, which comforts us to remain in sin, is a perversion of God’s magnificent purpose in Christ.

“…knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be nullified, so that we no longer serve sin”
Romans 6:6

It is in “knowing this” (this truth) in our hearts that we are becoming free to no longer serve sin.

The truth of Christ frees us to Live in Christ. Faith is the reason we not only have hope, but it is our assurance that the grace of God will and must produce the victory!

“…this is the victory that overcometh the world,
even our faith”
1 John 5:4

A faithless gospel produces powerless living. It allows us to speak of victory yet live in defeat. The great deception of our time is accepting this defeat as part of the normal Christian experience! This happens when grace is presented as a sentiment rather than the power of God; when sin is presented as a mistake rather than an affront to His Lordship in our lives. The Gospel of God by His Spirit produces ministrations of truth that present to us the holiness and purity of God, whereby we know the beauty of godly sorrow and the corresponding freedom it brings.

“I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world produces death.”
2 Corinthians 7:9-10

The true in heart desire ministrations that bring repentance as well as encouragement. Victory is the aspiration of those who live by faith. Victory over sin, over iniquity, and over the deceptive nature of self, is our inheritance in God. Those content with defeat never know the vibrancy of true faith. It is one thing to confess a faith; it is another thing altogether to live within the power of faith.

“The Lord knoweth
how to deliver the godly out of temptations”
2 Peter 2:9

Those who know their God find grace in Him to know His Victory.

“He who overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne.”
Revelation 3:21

See: The Gospel of Freedom

Brian Troxel

The Great Call – Part Four

The Great Call

Part Four

“As the Father hath loved me,
so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
John 15:9

Jesus continues in John 15 by presenting the disciples with the way for them to enter the Great Call and to remain in His empowering love and grace.

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love”
John 15:10

There can be no misinterpretation of the enormity of His call. Discipleship is not a comfortable teaching. It is not a popular invitation, nor an aspiration for those who seek a life of ease and respectability. It is a call of full surrender to the Will and purposes of God, a life of subservience to His Ways. A true disciple obeys His commandments to abide in the power of His Love. Love is the only motive able to transform a selfish, egotistical, and lost soul through the workings of the Cross. In dying to self, we discover the pure wonder of a Love so encompassing, so vast and so freeing that the cost is considered nothing in comparison to the “weight of glory” we will know.

“And he that taketh not his cross,
and followeth after me, is not worthy of me”
Matthew 10:38

There is something radical, even unnerving in His Call. Accepting the offer of Christ is not a trendy and popular decision. It is a Call to selfless living and selfless giving. Obedience is not optional to the disciple. But the Love we hold, or more correctly which holds us to His Way, culminates in pure joy. The context of John 15 leaves little doubt as to His Call or His purpose. Let us see through the eyes of the Spirit the power of all Jesus is implying.

John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”

John 15:10 “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

In verse 9 Jesus presents to us the all-encompassing love of God; a Love of heavenly origin. It is a Love that knows our condition, that feels the agony and the lostness of humanity. It was a Love that sent Jesus into this world to walk as a man, to feel the oppression of mankind’s sorrow, to experience the corrupt and self-serving religious and political systems of the day. He spoke the truths of love in the parables of everyday life. The common man, the addicted, the afflicted, and the wounded were His focus. He exposed the religious elite who walked in the pride and arrogancy of hypocrisy. The Parable of the Good Samaritan revealed the beauty of a selfless life, caring for others more than ourselves. He called out to the poor and the needy to come and find the solace of heaven. He took notice of the offerings of the poor widow and saw the value of her mite; He was unimpressed with the rich who flaunted their offering. He was God in the flesh. His compassion, His uncompromising and unflinching walk was a source of anger and hate for the religious but a source of inspiration for the common man. He was the breath of heaven clothed in human form. He was and is the image of God’s purpose for all humanity.

Mat 20:25 “But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.”

Mat 20:26 “It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,”

Mat 20:27 “and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,”

Mat 20:28 “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The nature of man apart from Christ is one of self-seeking, self-pleasing, and self-gratification. This focus on ourselves is the source of our own misery. Ask the addicted, the abused, and consider the countless stories of human sorrow which we have all known. It is to this crisis of human nature that the Cross is presented. In its deep work, we find rest, freedom, and the Divine enablement to love as He loved. We are free to forgive injustices and the tyranny of the human condition; to offer to all who would hear the wonder of freedom found in the Love of God!

Feel the depth of the Great Call of God in Christ:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29

The Call goes forth to all who would hear and respond. The “yoke” of Christ is His invitation to enter a rest for our weary souls. The “yoke” of Christ is His Cross whereby we are freed from the poison of self to know His Joy in our hearts. This life of joy cannot be known by sitting in a pew, believing in a teaching, or adherence to a doctrine. It can only be known through the intimacy of a relationship, walking in the yoke of His grace and love.

Jesus spoke of His true intention for us being captured by His Love to a growing obedience:

“…that my joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be full”
John 15:11

See: The Great Call
See: The Great Call – Part Two
See: The Great Call – Part Three

Brian Troxel

Unbelief or Faith

Unbelief or Faith

 

“And He did not many mighty works there
because of their unbelief”
Matthew 13:58

Faith is the atmosphere in which His Holy Spirit moves. God has made a covenant with humanity. It is a covenant based on faith, no longer dependent upon the arm of flesh, the energies of self, or the wiles and methods of men.

“Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end, the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all…”
Romans 4:16

Today many speak of faith and many teach about the grace of God. But the crux is that true faith and grace reveal the power, the righteousness, and the character of Christ in our lives that we might BE a “sign and a wonder” in this world.

“Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.”
Isaiah 8:18

Much of Christian thinking equates “signs and wonders” with the miraculous. Of course, that is part of our inheritance but Jesus also declared “An evil and perverse generation seeketh after signs”. Jesus testified of John the Baptist:

“For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist”
Luke 7:28

This John performed no miracles nor produced any signs but the Word declares the power of his life was the “voice of one crying out in the wilderness”. God looks for those who allow their lives to be so transformed by His power that we may be witnesses by the Life we live and the Word we declare.

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another”
John 13:35

The true authentic love of God can only be revealed in those who are His disciples. A love that overlooks sin, that does not reach out to the world, and is unmoved by the unction and power of the Holy Spirit, falls short of revealing the true nature of God. Religious love spares the outworkings of the cross. It refuses to step into the arena of faith to contend for the righteousness of God. The result is that the Church has dimmed the revelation of Jesus Christ. A faith that expects little, desires little, and costs nothing is a faith without value. The boisterous faith of those who walk in the light of their own counsels and energy will reveal little but themselves.

True faith, regardless of its “size”, will reveal the One who is its Author. Faith the size of a mustard seed will remove the mountain that stands in its way.

May we hear the call to discipleship afresh. Let us pick up our own cross, acknowledge our responsibility to Him, that this world will once again behold His True Nature! The signs and wonders of His power will follow those who are pure in their devotion to Him.

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues…”
Mark 16:17

There are those who follow signs and wonders to their own sorrow but God is raising up a people where the signs and wonders will follow them. Jesus called one an adultress generation (Matthew 12:9; 16:34) and the other a blessed generation.

Please Read: The Call to Discipleship

“Looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith…”
Hebrews 12:2

Brian Troxel

Be Enlarged!

Be Enlarged!

“…be YE also enlarged”
2 Corinthians 6:13 (NET)

The heartbeat of every true ministration of Christ should reverberate with this One desire. We are not here to enlarge “our” church or “our” congregation; nor are we to seek selfish gain or the approval of men. Our only desire must be to see the influence, the impact, and the fire of God filling His people with the overwhelming Love of God.

Be Enlarged

Paul was not satisfied with the status quo of his relationship with Christ. His life was one of pressing, seeking, and pursuing a greater depth of “knowing” His Lord. Those who truly “taste and see” the vastness of God’s Being cannot be complacent in their walk with Him.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
Matthew 13:45-46

Too many have contented themselves with a belief, comfortable in knowing their sins are forgiven, all the while moving through life isolated and insulated from the battlefield of faith. Their hearts remain untouched and unmoved by the immensity of God’s beauty and the Love He holds for all creation. It is the one who in truth had “found” the ONE Pearl of Great Price who sold all to acquire its beauty. His “works” were to forsake all for Christ. His heart had no room for other things.

Love without passion, love without fervor, and love without sacrifice are impossible. Those who have seen the Christ cannot help but speak of Him and live in the joy and the desire to make Him known!

Peter and John, when threatened by the religious leaders of their day, declared with unflinching words:

“But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
Acts 4:19-20

The unction and power of Christ within His own selflessly desires to see the people of God enlarged. Paul’s plea to the Church at Corinth was for their enlargement; that their faith would go beyond lukewarm living and apathetic confessions of faith. The Spirit of God is looking for firebrands, motivated by the pure love of God, who feel the same indebtedness to the ONE who first loved them.

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also”
Romans 1:14-15

The question becomes – what is in us? What is the fuel that ignites and burns within our hearts? True ministers of Christ have no interest in propagating themselves, their church, their ministry; they live to make Christ known. They plead with, they admonish, and they exhort the people of God toward the same heart as the merchant who in finding the Great Pearl sold everything to acquire its beauty. His desire is to so move in us that we become the full possession of Christ and He becomes our own.

“I am my beloved’s,
and my beloved is mine”
Song of songs 6:3

May we feel the fire of His heart for HIS people:

“…be YE also enlarged”

See: Spiritual Development

Brian Troxel

Faith in God

Faith in God

Faith hears God
Faith sees God
Faith trusts God
Faith Obeys God

Therefore Faith Glorifies God

“But without faith,
it is impossible to please him…”
Hebrews 11:6

“God is looking for those with whom He can do the impossible — what a pity that we plan only the things that we can do by ourselves.”
— AW Tozer

See: Trusting God in the Now

Brian Troxel

The Tested Faith

The Tested Faith

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”
1 Peter 1:7
________
The faith which is purified will make sure Christ is Glorified.
________
“No stars gleam as brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky. No water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand. And no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs through adversity. Tested faith brings experience. You would never have believed your own weakness had you not needed to pass through trials. And you would never have known God’s strength had His strength not been needed to carry you through.”
– Charles Spurgeon
________
________
“He will not suffer thy foot to be moved:
He that keepeth thee will not slumber.”
Psalm 121:3
Brian Troxel

Value and Need

Value and Need

“Let not your heart be troubled…”
John 14:1

“The hearts of the disciples were troubled because they feared the consequences of His leaving them. It is evident that they knew what it was to have the Saviour, and that is, I suppose, more than can be said of most now present. It was more than could be said of the disciples at one period of their lives; and more than can be said of those who are still in their natural state, for Scripture tells us that such are “without Christ”. Now, do you know what it is to be without Him? If not, you cannot know what it is to have Him. He will not be found with any that do not value Him. He is infinitely precious in Himself and infinitely precious in the eyes of the Father. Herein is love in its richest expression – that the Father gave His Son, who was the love of His love and the heart of His kindness. The Son is the heart of the Father’s love – if you get that, you have everything. He remains among a people as long as they think Him to be precious”
– Jonathan Ranken Anderson

“Unto you, therefore,
which believe He is precious…”
1 Peter 2:7

The true testimony that our “belief” is born of a living faith is revealed in how precious HE is to us in our day-to-day life. Our estimation of His worth will be measured by our need and dependency upon Him in the outflow of everyday living. While many profess a “belief” in Him, His worth is known in the proportion of our need to live in a manner that pleases our Heavenly Father.

To those who live out of the resources of self have little need of Him. They may speak of Him, use His name for their endeavors, and yet be unaware of their desperate need of Him. It is the need that determines His value.

“And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach”
Isaiah 4:1

See: Fruitfulness

Ω

“..for without Me, ye can do nothing”
John 15:5

Brian Troxel

Poverty of spirit

Poverty of spirit

Poverty of spirit
Rich in God

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their’s is the kingdom of heaven” This is one of the richest places into which Jesus brings us. The poor have a right to everything in heaven. “Their’s is.” Dare you believe it? Yes, I dare. I believe, I know, that I was very poor. When God’s Spirit comes in as the ruling, controlling power of the life, He gives us God’s revelation of our inward poverty, and shows us that God has come with one purpose, to bring heaven’s best to earth, and that with Jesus He will indeed “freely give us all things.”

An old man and an old woman had lived together for seventy years. Someone said to them, “You must have seen many clouds during those days.” They replied, “Where do the showers come from? You never get showers without clouds.” It is only the Holy Ghost who can bring us to the place of realization of our poverty; but, every time He does it, He opens the windows of heaven, and the showers of blessing fall.

But I must recognize the difference between my own spirit and the Holy Spirit. My own spirit can do certain things on natural lines, can even weep and pray and worship, but it is all on a human plane, and we must not depend on our own personality. If the Baptism means anything to you, it should bring you to the death of the ordinary, where you are no longer putting faith in your own understanding; but, conscious of your own poverty, you are ever yielded to the Spirit. Then it is that your body becomes filled with heaven on earth.”
– Smith Wigglesworth

True spiritual Poverty
is filled with the True Riches of Christ

BT

Being Filled

Being Filled

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst
after righteousness: for they shall be filled”
Matthew 5:6

Being filled is a spiritual state. It is the result of Grace and Love being the nature of God Himself. Grace is given on the basis of faith. Faith is the conduit through which God transacts His Being to us.

“By whom also we have access by faith
into this grace wherein we stand…”
Romans 5:5

Faith is the open door by which the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is poured without measure into the hearts of those who know deeply of their need for it. Hungering and thirsting after God is the result of the eyes of faith gazing into the riches of Christ and laying hold of its reality. Such lives cannot be contented with promissory notes, faith’s need is to acquire, to have, and to hold the real “substance” of God in our lives. Its very heartbeat is to “apprehend” to “lay hold” of the power of Him to live godly, purely, and freely unto Him in this darkened world.

Many in our day are content with words while the very language of faith as written in the New Covenant can be summed up in its exhortations to be held in the power and wonder of Christ. Where His grace is beckoning us to fullness, the richness of heart, and reality of His life gripping us and bringing us to full obedience to His Lordship.

A few examples… (please read the context of each that we might receive the full import of God’s heart)

“That I may apprehend…” Phil. 3:12

“So run, that ye may obtain…” 1 Cor. 9:24

“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.”
1 Cor. 9:25

“…that they may lay hold on eternal life” 1 Tim. 6:19

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. “
Phil. 3:12

“If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead…”
Phil. 3:11

“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain”
2 Corinthians 6:1

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
1 Cor. 15:10

Grace received by faith produces a life filled with the dynamics of the Life of Christ to reach out, to press in, to labor abundantly for the glory of His Name.

May the Lord ever fill us with the fire to hunger and thirst after HIS righteousness. May we know the seeking of the true Kingdom where He is King over the unruly heart of man.

The promises of God are to the hungry.

The promises of God are to those who thirst.

The promises of God are to those who overcome.

“To Him that overcometh
will I give…”

See: Appropriating Life

<§>

“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance;
to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him,
the greatest human achievement.”
– Augustine

BT