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Thought for Today

The Cross of Change

Change: The Validity of Life

“Because they have no changes,
therefore they fear not God”
Psalm 55:19

Transformation and change are the natural order of those who are active and current in their relationship with Jesus. Those who merely subscribe to the tenets of the “Christian” faith remain unaffected by the wonder of His life and Being. Change comes from seeing Him who is invisible, tasting of His Goodness, Mercy and Holiness. One cannot touch His presence and not grow in the reverence of who He is. Without change there is no understanding of the fear of the Lord.

Knowledge may increase, familiarity with the things of God may have the appearance of being good and deep, but it is in the crucible of growth that our relationship is revealed. He came moreover He is come to work within our hearts fundamental and revolutionary transformations from what we are into the image of Christ. This transition from fallen Adam to the Risen Christ is the vehicle and means by which we are moved from an isolated and selfish entity into the substance of being “members one of another”. The validity of our walk with God is revealed in those who are being united by faith into One Body, One Life and One Heart! Jesus prayed for this, He gave Himself up to cruel and wicked men to pay the price of redemption to this end. Not only did He give Himself as an offering but He is even now giving of Himself to us to make it so. Those who do not feel the pull and the cry for this union of hearts within the wonder of His life have become distant and unable to hear the Spirit of Truth.

“Again I write a new commandment to you which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true Light already shines. The one saying to be in the light, and hating his brother, is in the darkness until now. The one loving his brother rests in the light, and no offense is in him. But the one hating his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness blinded his eyes” 1 John 2:8-11

Indifference is hatred held in apathy. They who are indifferent to the members of the Body of Christ around them are walking in the darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. Light is simply the life of Jesus beating within our hearts.

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

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Thought for Today

Come Away

Come Away!

“My beloved spake, and said unto me,
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
Song of songs 2:16

The call of God to His own is always one to new places of intimacy in relationship. Not only does He call but He speaks words of endearment to those who follow after Him. His own know Him as “Beloved” and He calls us “my fair one” There is no plurality here; He is not speaking to a congregation or a crowd. He is calling out to one who is the object of His great love.

In religious circles the call is broad; it is a generic call and the references are impersonal. Those who are His know this intense and personal relationship. There is a singular flow of His life and love unto those who are following Him. The focus of the individual’s heart is all about Him. In the seeing of Him the world becomes dim and distant and its temptations start to lose their power and attraction. It is out of this wonder of Him drawing near that we feel the power of His love rising in our hearts to respond to the call of a deeper knowing of Him. This call is characterized by words of incomprehensible beauty: “my fair one”. Who can resist such undeserved love? Who is able to fathom such redemptive love? How can we ever measure or understand its cause or the depths from which its flows?

Lost within the broad landscape of religion, and a world gone mad with the voices and the rantings of men who think they have the answers, there is the “still small voice”. It draws the heart with whispers of grace and affection; “come away my fair one… come to Me”.

Within this growing relationship the need to fortify our place in Him with the teachings and doctrines of men disappears for His love itself becomes our surety and solace. His love constrains us to willingly arise from where we are to follow on to deeper places of affection and wonder. We touch the holy atmosphere of His cords of love that embrace us setting our own hearts ablaze with their fervency. The words flowing between the “beloved” and the “my fair one” are the language of this holy union:

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

He is hers because she is His!

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Thought for Today

Get Thee Up

“O Zion, that bringest good tidings,
get thee up into the high mountain”
Isaiah 40:9

In God’s Word there is ever the call to His people to arise to the heights and wonders of His being. Here the prophet tells God’s people to get up into the high places that they might behold their God. The verses preceding this declare…

“The voice said, Cry. And he said,
What shall I cry?
All flesh is grass,
and all the goodliness thereof
is as the flower of the field:
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth:
because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it:
surely the people is grass.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth:
but the word of our God shall stand for ever”
Isaiah 40:6-8

These are the good tidings; the pride and strength of man shall not prevail but His Word will stand forever! It is in light of this knowledge that we are called to arise, no longer in the strength of men, but in the power of God. It is time to climb the mountain and behold Him from a new perspective. We, who are withering grass and fading flowers, will find that our hope and our strength is in God alone and will be able to declare to others “Behold your God!”

“O Zion, that bringest good tidings,
get thee up into the high mountain;
O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings,
lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up,
be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah,
Behold your God!”

Isaiah 40:9

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Thought for Today

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

“Now in the morning as he returned into the city,
he hungered.
And when he saw a fig tree in the way,
he came to it, and found nothing thereon,
but leaves only, and said unto it,
Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.
And presently the fig tree withered away”
Exodus 3:2

Fruit. God’s purpose for every life is to bear fruit. His purpose in coming was to make the barren fruitful, the desert to blossom and the lame to walk.

Fig leaves represent the response of Adam and Eve to their fallen state. The religious response to man’s need for a covering. It is an inherent desire to be covered on the outside; to appear good, honest and spiritual. This leaves the life barren and unfruitful in the things of God. We may walk in an outward show of righteousness but the inward reality may be void of His Life and power.

Deception comes to those who seek to deceive. The lie of living to appear right will always result in a greater lie.

“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,
deceiving, and being deceived
2 Timothy 3:13

Honesty and integrity are the means to Life in Him. We come as we are, transparent with Him and with those about us. This see-through living will bring us to the blood, the mercy and the covering of His garments of Salvation. In being who we are, fully reliant on all that He is, we can rest confidently in His faithfulness to bring glory to the Father.

Authenticity of Life is the fruit of integrity within and without

Fruit is not religious works. It is the means of glorifying God.

“Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit”
John 15:8

His sheep are those who follow Him. They hear His voice and they will not follow the voice of another. He leads them through green pastures, still waters, paths of righteousness, valleys of great shadows and even death; but the assurance to these will always be:

“Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever”
Psalm 23:6

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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God’s Family

“Behold my mother and my brethren!”
Matthew 12:49

Within the context of everyday life the Son was ever speaking of His Father’s heart, will and purpose. In the early days of Jesus’ ministry to the multitudes the light and life of God flowed from His lips in such depth and power that men marveled. It was the fresh breath of God after the dankness of the prevalent religious atmosphere. Religion had relegated the wonder of God to rituals, concepts and doctrines that sought to impress its own mark of ownership upon man; man who was created in the very image of God! It usurped God’s purposes by seeking to control the hearts and minds of men and women with its own agenda all in the name of the very God it denied. Within this darkness the Light spoke of love, life and the redemptive heart of God. He spoke truth in the face of men’s lies. He spoke the substance of God into those steeped in the decay and stupor of pious and pompous traditions. The ones who, though being the sperma (Greek word used in John 8:37 natural “seed”) of Abraham, (John 8:37) Jesus said they were actually of their father the devil (John 8:44) because of their works and deeds. The horror of all religion is to blind its adherents to the fruit of a person’s life and replace it with the concept of adherence to a teaching or a doctrine as being the mark of a true child of God. Jesus here is responding to those who informed Him that His mother and brothers wanted to speak to Him:

“And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples,
and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven,
the same is my brother, and sister, and mother
Matthew 12:49-50

The true offspring of God are those (whosoever) are doing the will of the Father. Doctrinal adherence, quoting scriptures, religious prayer meetings, and all of the other related duties of religion avail nothing. Those who are truly borne of the Spirit will be occupied with the “doing of truth” not speculating about it. To the religious leaders of His day who boasted of being the “seed” of Abraham Jesus replied “If ye were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham”. Fruit is always the revelation of the underlying nature of any organism. While some may speak great swelling words, teach from scriptures and boast of revelations and gifts (even of the Spirit) the actual substance of their hearts are revealed by their conduct in everyday life.

“Beware of false prophets,
which come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening* wolves.
You shall know them by their fruits”
Matthew 7:15-16

The Greek word used here for “ravening” speaks of one who uses their official position for the purpose of obtaining another’s property, funds or patronage! How subtle and deplorable are those who come in sheep’s clothing with the hidden agenda of obtaining the patronage of God’s people!

Paul speaks to this error in the Church at Galatia:

“For neither they themselves
who are circumcised keep the law;
but desire to have you circumcised,
that they may glory in your flesh”
Galatians 6:13

These are the religious defilers who point God’s people to a doctrine or a tradition which has an appearance of being of God yet in its very practice draws men and women away from the life of Christ to the works of the flesh. The works of the flesh will always glorify the flesh while the works of the Spirit will always glorify the Son!

Truth is being revealed by the sifting of men’s hearts and this very work is happening even now! The hearts of individuals are being drawn together on the basis of nature. In this Day of harvest everything will be gathered according to its kind. The tares are being gathered with like-minded as they have refused to obey God’s call. To such the voice of God is growing faint and they will reap the wages of apathy and indifference. The lamps of the foolish virgins are growing dim and the oil they so desperately need will not be available; this oil can only be acquired through obedience to His word. Hearing without the subsequent act of obedience will leave a life impoverished and completely unable to withstand the impending storm.

Only those who have followed the Lamb, obeyed His Word and sought refuge under His wings prior to the storm will stand in that day. It is time to humble ourselves; to bring to Him our poverty of spirit and brokenness of heart that we may obtain the provisions of His Life. Let us meet this day with our lamps trimmed, our hearts sanctified and the experiential ability of not loving our lives unto death. Those who do His Will are His Family.

“And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples,
and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven,
the same is my brother, and sister, and mother
Matthew 12:49-50

May God give us ears to hear and eyes to see what the Father’s will is. Many religious works, even supernatural ones, if not carried out in His will with the desire to honor and glorify the Son, are the works of iniquity. Men and women who function in gifts with the intent to garner the parsonage and attention of God’s people are also workers of iniquity. The desire to draw men and women to anything other than Jesus is sin.

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,
have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you: depart from me,
ye that work iniquity
Matthew 7:20-23

*Note: Greek Word translated “ravenous” indicates extortion(er) or one who swindles – The online free dictionary defines extortion as: 1. Illegal use of one’s official position or powers to obtain property, funds, or patronage. In the five occurrences of this word being used it would be best translated swindler or extortioner in four of them.

Word Origin
from harpazó
Definition
rapacious
NASB Translation
ravenous (1), swindler (1), swindlers (3).

Matthew 7:15 Adj-NMP
GRK: εἰσιν λύκοι ἅρπαγες
NAS: but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
KJV: inwardly they are ravening wolves.
INT: they are wolves ravenous

Luke 18:11 Adj-NMP
GRK: τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἅρπαγες ἄδικοι μοιχοί
NAS: other people: swindlers, unjust,
KJV: men [are], extortioners, unjust,
INT: of the men swindlers unrighteous adulterers

1 Corinthians 5:10 Adj-DMP
GRK: πλεονέκταις καὶ ἅρπαξιν ἢ εἰδωλολάτραις
NAS: with the covetous and swindlers, or
KJV: or extortioners, or
INT: covetous and swindlers or idolaters

1 Corinthians 5:11 Adj-NMS
GRK: μέθυσος ἢ ἅρπαξ τῷ τοιούτῳ
NAS: or a swindler– not even
KJV: or an extortioner; with such an one
INT: a drunkard or swindler with such a one

1 Corinthians 6:10 Adj-NMP
GRK: λοίδοροι οὐχ ἅρπαγες βασιλείαν θεοῦ
NAS: nor swindlers, will inherit
KJV: nor extortioners, shall inherit
INT: slanderers nor swindlers [the] kingdom of God
5 Occurrences

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Transition: The WAY of Truth

“And I turned to see the voice which spoke with me.
And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands,
and in the midst of the seven lampstands
One like the Son of man…”
Revelation 1:12-13

Those who are true desire the truth; living truth which comes to those who walk and live in the Spirit. It comes at a cost and with the requirement for the individual to respond in order to receive its power. Any “truth” that does not require response and change is not living truth. It is in hearing and turning we are enabled to see. In turning from our ways and the current measure of truth we hold we are enabled by His wondrous grace to see Him anew. Those who walk in the static world of religion, words, teachings and doctrines of men never change. The growth and development of that on-going revelation of Christ becomes stagnant and motionless. The horizons of vision do not change with the passage of time and the wonder of His life becomes drab and uninviting to themselves and to those about them. The fervency of passion has long since subsided and the fire of burning hope is replaced with the cold and emptiness of a religious life.

It is in the hearing of His Word and the response from our hearts to the voice which calls us where we see Him in a new and higher way. This turning causes the former things to pass away as we step into that which is new and living. Transition and repentance is the hallmark of those who desire The Way. Those who walk in this living path become an antagonism to those who are static and set in something less than the “new” of God. God’s truth is one of unveiling the mysteries and glories of Christ and as such there is never a point of arrival; His Glory has no end! Eternity is not long enough to exhaust the wonders of our risen Lord. The scriptures are full of men and women who knew the Way of change and transition.

Job

“I have heard of You by hearing of the ear,
but NOW my eye has seen You;
Therefore, I despise myself,
and I have repented on dust and ashes”
Job 42:5-6 (LITV)

We must ever be going on. That which I know today must be eclipsed by a further seeing and knowing of Him. Those who are of the truth cannot abide in what they see now for within is the continual cry to see Him in a deeper and fuller way. Consider Moses who saw such signs and wonders in his walk with God yet cried out at the end of his journey show me more of your glory.

“Lord Jehovah,
You have begun to show Your servant
Your greatness and Your mighty hand…”
Deuteronomy 3:24

Moses at the end of his life knew that all he had seen, heard and understood was the mere beginning of God’s glory. Do we not feel within our own heart of hearts the desire for “more of God”? Is there not an aching to go deeper and higher wherein dwell things which cannot be put into words? Paul saw things, heard things, which could not be shared because of their holiness and the inability to put them into the vernacular of man. How can men and women rest in the shallow waters of teachings and concepts (though good in themselves)? These things must become the bud of which the flower is produced, and the flower must give way to the fruit. and the fruit must give way to the seed so that it may replicate the wonder and glory of God in another heart. Such is the law of Life.

Ezekiel could not stop at the waters to the ankles, he could not linger in the waters to the knees, and the waters to the loins could not hold him from the depths of the “waters to swim in” (Ezekiel 47). Let us find grace to hear, to turn and to respond to the call of God to see Him anew. May we be so smitten with His Glory that the present place of abiding is merely a momentary one of provision to finish the race set before us. Let His hunger to fill our hearts with more of Him. Relationship is the mystery of God into which we have been called; not things about God or even of God. The true heart cannot rest until it is found in Him and in Him we become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) of wonder at which even the angels will marvel for ages to come.

“…that He might show in the coming ages
the exceeding great riches of His grace
in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus”
Ephesians 2:7

The hunger of the average Christian life in our day is revealed in the contentment with the status quo. Paul in writing to the Church of God in Corinth about the Love of God spoke to them of transition and going on. He had earlier called them carnal for clinging to the ministries of God by choosing one over another thus segregating and secularizing the Body of Christ. (i.e. “I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ”) Paul’s call to this carnal church (which fully resembles the one in our day) was to move beyond the childhood phase to grow up and become full grown people in God. The transition from childhood in God into maturity requires us to put away (turn from) childish things. Childish things are not wrong in themselves but they become wrong when people linger in them and fail to develop in God.

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man,
I put away childish things”
1 Corinthians 13:11

In the processes of God, we must grow from the infant into the man, we must go from needing bread to becoming bread, and we must go from water to the ankles to waters to swim in (Ezekiel 47:1-5) by responding to His living word.

The deeper truths are withheld from His children and reserved for those who have been exercised in their growth in God.

“Concerning whom we have much to say,
and hard to interpret since you have become dull in hearing”
Hebrews 5:11

The Apostle was eager to share the deeper truths of Melchizedek but was restrained because of their lack of development:

“For indeed because of the time you are due to be teachers,
yet you need to have someone to teach you again
the rudiments of the beginning of the oracles of God,
and you have become in need of milk, and not of solid food;
for everyone partaking of milk
is without experience in the word of righteousness,
for he is an infant
But strong meat is for those full grown…”
Hebrews 5:12-14

Our ability to see Him in His word is dependent upon growth and development within our own lives! It is we who determine what we see (i.e. Matthew 5:8), hear and know (in an experiential way) of the depths and wonders of Him. It is a day for us to turn, to give heed to that which He has spoken. If we linger it will be to our sorrow not only here but in the eternal to which we have been called.

The promise of God is sure and it is one upon which we can stand:

“Seek and I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone asking receives,
and the one seeking finds,
and to the one knocking, it will be opened”
Luke 11:9-10

James tells us the reason we do not receive is because we do not ask. The lack of seeking is the reason for not finding and the failure to knock is the reason why men and women do not have new doors opened in their lives. Let us hear this solemn word…

“For everyone asking receives…”

If we believe His Word our lives will be filled with asking, seeking and knocking.

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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In the Beginning God…

Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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