Unbelief and The Holy Spirit

Unbelief and The Holy Spirit

“He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, from within him will flow rivers of living water.” But he said this about the Spirit, which those believing in him were to receive. For the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus wasn’t yet glorified.”
John 7:37-38

The giving forth of the Holy Spirit is clearly connected with Jesus being glorified. It is not limited to “dispensations”, times or seasons. Jesus has been glorified, is being glorified and will forever be glorified. As a result, the Holy Spirit will continue to be given. The unbelief of not asking, not seeking and not receiving the empowerment of the Holy Spirit is the bane of the gospel of our day.

The Word is clear. The promises are certain, and the price paid for the sending forth of the comforter, the One who is to lead us into all the truth of Christ. He is ever offered to those who by faith receive.

A gospel which proclaims something less cannot fully glorify Jesus. Unbelief caused the children of Israel to perish in the wilderness. Unbelief is the great cause of unanswered prayer. Unbelief is the reason for powerless living. Unbelief produces a dearth of the works of God in our midst.

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

God has not abandoned us; He remains the same forever. Unbelief is the crisis of our day. Men would rather deny God’s gift than admit their own unbelief. It is easier to explain away the wonder and the power of the Holy Spirit than it is to ask, seek and pursue Him who died to make this gift ours.

“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Luke 11:11-13

Brian Troxel

The Power of The Gospel

The Power of the Gospel

“For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life”
John 3:16

The power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ lies not in the words and the doctrine of it; its true power lies in the Love of it. The Love of God IS the Gospel; more than a message, a doctrine or a teaching, the Gospel is in itself the expression of God’s love to His fallen creation. It is the WHY which caused God to send “His only begotten Son”. Until those who declare it comprehend its true power, it will remain an impoverished message. It must be expressed from the lives of those who bear in their hearts the passion of God’s WHY!

“For the kingdom of God is not in word,
but in power…”
1 Corinthians 4:20

What is this power? What is the flame which enabled men and women of old to turn the world upside down? What is the glory of God which fills the heavens with awe, worship and exaltation? It is the God of Holiness and His undimmed fiery Love. A Love so incomprehensible that Paul had to pray for the Church at Ephesus to be “strengthened with might” in order for them to be able to comprehend the “breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of the Love of God.

A loveless gospel is a powerless Gospel. The Church is not perishing for lack of knowledge; she is languishing from the loss of the dynamic of His love (Revelation 2:4-5). Love is the furnace, the fire and the very essence of God Himself. In the midst of all of our correct doctrine God’s decree stands as the Divine witness against our true state:

“He that loveth not
knoweth not…
for God is Love”
1 John 4:8

Those who hold within their hearts even the faintest quintessence of this Love cannot remain untouched in heart. They cannot sit in faithless inactivity or take comfort in a knowledge bereft of the Divine heartbeat. Many would rather discuss the correctness of the words rather than feel the burning power of the God of the message. The world will remain untouched by those who share from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge rather than the power of the Law of Life in Christ Jesus. The Gospel is not a WHAT, it is a WHO.

The cry of God is summed up simply:

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

It is impossible to hold the love of God within your heart and not feel the anguish, the urge and the pulse of the Almighty to express His Light and Life into this world.

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

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“There is too much theology in the Church now,
and too little of the Gospel”
Lewis Tappan

Brian Troxel

 

 

A True Heart

The True Heart

“Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;
try my reins and my heart”
Psalm 26:2

A true heart does not seek to cover sin; it seeks the Lord to expose every wrong and crooked way. Exposure is the path to purity and the hope of salvation and freedom. The Light of Christ penetrates the heart and His eyes burn through the very soul of man. The burning consumes pride, self-seeking and the desire for pre-eminence. It removes the religious fig leaves of those who cloak themselves in garments of piety and false humility.

May our God, as a consuming fire, burn within our hearts until there be no shadows or pretense. Let there be no hidden chambers for sin to hide. He alone can heal the broken and restore righteousness and holiness. He beckons us to the fellowship of the fire; the fellowship of His Light.

The prison of pretense is deep, dark and rooted in sin and hypocrisy. The foundation of this prison is built one lie at a time. Mercy was never meant by God to excuse sin; its purpose is to cause men to come to the Light, to free them from the misery of sin. Mercy’s true triumph is in men and women finding the courage to face the light and allowing it to shine into the hidden areas of their hearts, set free by the “spirit of burning”.

“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged:
and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil”
Proverbs 16:6

Purity of hearts brings us freedom and the liberty to express Him through the vessel of our redeemed self. As the gem, polished and cut, shines with the luster of its own being, so Christ has called each of us to be a distinct expression of His handiwork. Come to Him, present yourself to the light and fire of all that He is that you may know true liberty.

“…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”
2 Corinthians 3:17

An individual’s liberty will be in proportion to their surrender to the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

Brian Troxel

Grace and Humility

Grace and Humility

“…be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud,
and giveth grace to the humble”
1 Peter 5:5

Humility is the allurement for Grace. As bees are drawn to fragrant flowers, humility invites the grace of God. How wise and good is our God; His ways and His mercies are past finding out. As we develop in Him, we begin to comprehend the interaction of His graces in our lives.

His mercies enable a life of surrender unto Him.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and acceptable to God,

which is your spiritual worship”
Romans 12:1

Just as the mercies of God bring us into the submission of our hearts, so humility leads us into a life of obedience.

“And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death…”
Philippians 3:8

It is through the workings of Grace that obedience becomes our joy and purpose in life. The Apostolic ministry has one purpose: to bring all men to the obedience of Faith unto God.

“through whom we have received grace and apostleship
to bring about the obedience of (the) faith…”
Romans 1:5

The evidence of mercy received is a surrendered life. A life of humility is expressed in obedience and the ministrations of His Spirit to others.

The inner workings of God’s grace must always find expression in our external walk. A life unlived and unfulfilled is the result of not allowing His graces to work in our lives.

“You shall serve the LORD your God,
and He will bless your bread and your water…
I will fulfill the number of your days
Exodus 23:26

Is not this the cry of every redeemed human heart; that the number of our days be filled full of Him?

“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee,
if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God”
Deuteronomy 28:2

God’s heart is for us to be overtaken by His Blessings.

Brian Troxel

The Reward of the Righteous

The Reward of the Righteous

“He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly…
his waters shall be sure”
Isaiah 33:15-16

Righteousness in our walk and in our speech is the precursor to the sure waters of the Lord. His waters flow freely from a life that is compatible with His. Righteousness brings the freedom of His Spirit to water others with the goodness and grace of God. His flow is the portion of all who walk with integrity of heart.

As we walk in His righteousness, we discover that the waters of the Lord flow in times of plenty and in times of drought. In trials, tribulations and sorrows His waters will be sure unto those who have made Him their spring and source. Sure waters are the blessing of the Lord upon His own.

Those who are His know of His provision.

Deep waters pour from deep places and rich are the blessings unto others. He gives grace to the humble and the bread of life to the wise.

“And the Lord shall guide thee continually,
and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones:
and thou shalt be like a watered garden,
and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not
Isaiah 58:11

The reward of the righteous is God Himself.

“For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous;
with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield”
Psalm 5:12

Brian Troxel

Authenticity – God’s Work

Authenticity – God’s Work

“Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night,
before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice”
Mark 14:30

Peter’s love and commitment was based on emotion and the utter ignorance of his need for brokenness and grace. In his mind his resolve to follow Jesus to whatever end was unquestionable. How utterly confused he must have been by the certainty of Jesus’ statement regarding Peter’s failure to come in the hours ahead.

To be told by his beloved Master of his failure, even down to the time a certain rooster would crow at a particular place, must have been utterly unnerving. How could He know of this sequence of events? How could He be so precise in His Word?

I can only imagine that Peter must have gone to sleep that night mulling over this warning. How he must have resolved in his heart to not fail his Lord! Tears and self-doubt would have dominated his thoughts as he contemplated what the next day might hold. His Master’s words had been uttered with no sense of anger or resentment in His voice, but just a knowing of who Peter really was. In spite of all his soul-searching the night before, the next day, in the heat of the moment, he denied his Lord and wept bitterly.

“And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept”
Mark 14:72

God, in dealing with His own, prepares everything for the Master’s use; the mundane as well as the great. All tools in His hands are to bring His Own to the end of themselves and the beginning of God. As the master builder must build the foundation upon the rock beneath, so God brings us to the Rock of Christ. Only here can the real building start and our true life in God proceed. Authenticity is the only rock upon which He will build. Pretense and hypocrisy, though they may cause others to think well of us for a time, will leave the soul in poverty and lead to spiritual death. Christ knows all, sees all and will judge all. The light we refuse on this side of heaven will surely be faced in the Courts of His Justice in that Day. It is here and now that we must free ourselves from the need to please men and bring ourselves to the piercing light of Christ. Then we may stand in that Day as those who have passed from judgement unto the right-being (righteousness) that can be found in Christ alone. He alone can make us right; He gave His Life to make it so.

“Herein is our love made perfect,
that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:
because as he is, so are we in this world
1 John 4:17

As our love is made perfect in Him, we will have the grace and boldness to be “as He is” in this world and  in the Day of Judgment.

Brian Troxel

Mended By Grace

Mended by Grace

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

Many translations miss the beauty and power of this saying of Jesus. The word “perfect” here should be rendered “mended”. The salvation that Christ brings to His own is one that heals, transforms and brings wholeness of being. It is more than nice words. It is literally the life of Christ being infused into the contaminated essence of man, with a view to being healed and restored. His salvation is more than just a covering; it is God investing His life into that which was lost.

Man was lost through the infection of self-will and the corresponding corrupt choices. Simply put, when any living organism is removed from its life-center, corruption and decay are the result. When an apple is picked from the tree it becomes subject to the second law of thermodynamics. When man severed his relationship with God as the source and center of being, decay and death was/is the result. God, by the inner law of His being, sent His only begotten Son into the world to pay the penalty of man’s disobedience. When individuals break a law of any society, there is a penalty which must be paid *.

The penalty, having been paid by Christ, brought with it the offer from God for all to receive forgiveness. Man, who by freewill chose to disobey God can, by that same act of will, receive the justification of God in Christ. While that is often the extent of the Gospel message in our land, there is more. Not only has God offered forgiveness, He has invested the Life of Christ to undo the stain, corruption and decay of the human race. The infusion of this life is given to destroy the works of the enemy within all who receive Him. He has come to annihilate the workings of lust, envy, jealously, anger, murder and countless other defilements of the human condition.

The life of Christ within is all about the mending and the repairing of the breach. He has/is come to mend our brokenness and to obliterate the works of the flesh by the power of His Holy Spirit. Where the works of the flesh once reigned, we can see the beauty and grace of the fruit of the Spirit forming in those who abide within the sphere of His nature.

“The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is mended shall be as his master”

It is the disciple (the ardent follower of Christ) who knows of this mending and healing within. The mending of a life is to become a follower of Jesus from the inside out. As one great man of God stated hundreds of years ago: “we are to become by grace what Christ is by nature”.

This work of mending can only be revealed in the depth of love we have for one another. People who treat others (in the name of God) with the same disregard and cruelty that is in the world, clearly reveal the absence of Christ in their hearts. Whenever there is sectarianism, division and strife within God’s people there is, at its root, pride, unforgiveness and carnality. It is the disciples who are mended; it is the true in heart who are called the children of God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God”
Matthew 5:9

* Even in this is a residue of God within the composition of man. Law and order in society, though corrupted, reveals that man still carries within their own being a sense of justice.

Brian Troxel

Random Thoughts – Simplicity

Random Thoughts

A Call to Simplicity

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”
Philippians 2:8

Humility and obedience cannot be separated; obedience is the offspring of humility. Pride is the root of all disobedience. It is the barrier between knowing a truth and walking in the truth. It is the great impediment between knowing and doing, between a life of mere confession and one of becoming like Him. The proud rest in the tenets of faith as a crippled man leans upon a crutch. The humble cast aside the impotency and obstinacy of self to discover the joy of obedience.

The validity of an individual’s life in God is not in what they know; it is in what they do. Love is the great law which governs all of God’s works (John 3:16) and so it will be with those who love Him. Love by its very nature is the womb of God’s work through us. Those who love cannot be barren of the good works of God in Christ.

“For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works”
Ephesians 2:10

We are not saved by good works; we are saved unto good works.

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

Brian Troxel

Letters to the Church – Words – Part Seven

Letters to the Church – Words

Part Seven

“For he that will love life, and see good days,
let him refrain his tongue from evil…”
1 Peter 3:10

The sacred scriptures speak much to us of the relationship between the words we speak and the quality of life we are afforded by the Grace of God. This exhortation from Peter is often overlooked. In the midst of the strife, contention and competition in religious circles, these words offer us a warning and a promise from God. Wisdom is the result of the fear of the Lord. In its sway we begin to weigh our words before we speak. We are saved from rash words filled with evil intent and the tendency to inflict upon others the poison of our own hearts. How often we need to be reminded of His omnipresence. He is present at every conversation weighing the words of our anger, foolishness and unsanctified thoughts.

“But I say to you, that every idle* word,
whatever men may speak,
they shall give an account of it in Judgment Day”
Matthew 12:36

There are no words spoken which will not be accounted for in the Judgment Day. All our words will be required of us in that Day. Jesus continues on in His discourse;

“For by your words you will be justified,
and by your words you will be condemned”
Matthew 12:37

The fruit of one’s lips are the revelation of their heart. We see here God’s perspective on the words we speak and the deeds we do. How we need to touch the Holiness of God to see and understand the implications of foolish words and an unbridled tongue! The gossip, slander and the seemingly innocent words spoken to dishonour another brother, or to further inflame situations in the Body of Christ, carry heavy repercussions in this life and judgment in the next.

“Do any of you think you are religious?
If you do not control your tongue,
your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself”
James 1:26

The value of a person’s walk and their relationship with God is readily seen in the words spoken. Regardless of our profession of faith, the religion of one who speaks with an undisciplined tongue is vain and worthless.

“One who brings gossip betrays a confidence,
but one who is of a trustworthy spirit is one who keeps a secret”
Proverbs 11:13

In our daily lives we either justify our walk with God or we reveal the vanity of our religious ways.

“So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”
Psalm 90:12

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*Note: The Greek Word translated “idle” ἀργός is a compound word comprised of “ergon” (ἔργον) translated as works and deeds and is used 176 times in the New Testament; “ἀ” (the letter alpha which is often used in the Greek as a negative). A simple transliteration would be “words without the corresponding works”. (Words without power, fire or purpose. Words which do not inspire change in the hearers).

Humility is the precious fruit of the Spirit which becomes ours by the seeing of Him. It is in touching the Presence of God where we are delivered from our boastful words and the discrepancy of saying one thing while walking in another.

Our works are to give the words we speak the
weight and verity of Christ living within us.

“So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
James 2:12
(Please read the context of this scripture James 2:12-26)

“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, DO: and the God of peace shall be with you”
Philippians 4:9

Brian Troxel

The One Thing

The ONE Thing

“And Abram journeyed, going on still…”
Genesis 12:9

It is the nature of Faith to produce within true hearts a diligence to ever be “going on still” in their walk with God. Faith is relentless in its quest to seek and know its author. Faith generates in the life of every true disciple a “journey” and a quest for God Himself. This journey is the result of a heavenly vision which causes all earthly things to become dim and obsolete in comparison with the growing radiancy of God. There can be no division of heart when God is becoming the “one thing”. As Paul declared:

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3:13-14

We read of this same “One Thing” in Psalm 27 as David cries out with fullness of heart:

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple”
Psalm 27:4

It is this “One Thing” which characterizes the pilgrims of faith; that separates the Christian Adherent from the True Disciple. Disciples grow in their love and pursuit of the “One Thing” for an individual cannot follow Him for long without being captured by His incomparable beauty. We cannot follow the ONE in whom resides Wisdom, Grace and LIFE and remain attached to the things of this world.

Who can save us from the misery of self? None but Jesus.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”
Acts 4:12

While to the believer Christ brings salvation, to the disciple Christ IS their salvation. To one it is an act, a decree and a doctrine (precious as that is). To the Disciple, salvation is the LIFE of Christ resident and abiding within. To one it is a very important thing, to the other it is the ONLY thing.

“For I determined not to know any thing among you,
save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”
1 Corinthians 2:2

May this burning desire become a growing reality in our lives by the wonder of the grace of God empowering, unifying and purifying our hearts; unto the perfect day where we can truly say the desire for the “one thing” has indeed become the ONE THING.

“And when they had lifted up their eyes,
they saw no man, save Jesus only”
Matthew 17:8

Brian Troxel