Words from THE Church in Iran

Words from THE Church in Iran

“Disciples forsake the world and cling to Jesus ’till he comes. Converts don’t,” the leader said. “Disciples aren’t engaged in a culture war. Converts are. Disciples cherish, obey, and share the word of God. Converts don’t. Disciples choose Jesus over anything and everything else. Converts don’t. Converts run when the fire comes. Disciples don’t.”

This is the cry of His people coming out of Iran. God is moving, empowering and raising up a living testimony in Iran and to the whole world! Please go to this link: The Church in Iran

Pray for our brothers and sisters!

Psalm 63:1-2 – A Heart Aflame

Psalm 63:1-2

The Heart Aflame

“O God, you are my God; I will seek you diligently.
My soul thirsts for you…”
Psalm 63:1

The true pursuit of God is a proportional response to our seeing of Him. The diligent seeking of God in the life of David was a consequence of him seeing God in the sanctuary.

“Thus I have seen you in the sanctuary,
beholding your strength and glory”
Psalm 63:2

The land wherein David dwelt became a howling wilderness in comparison to the beauty and the glory he beheld in the Holy Place of God.

“…My soul thirsts for you;
my flesh longs for you
as in a dry and weary land without water”
Psalm 63:1

It is the seeing of the wonder of God that transforms one from being at home in this world into a pilgrim of faith; a sojourner with purpose and a captive of the hope which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In beholding the Pearl of Great Price men and women are freed from the gravity and pull of this world. His beauty mesmerizes the beholder; it causes an abandonment of all other loves and creates its own quest and inertia. There can be no settling for the artificial and trite for the deep of God beckons His own with the simple cords of Love and Desire.

“Deep is calling to deep
at the thunder of your waterfalls…”
Psalm 42:7

The depths of His being calls out to the Christ within. The tendrils of His love grip the soul in the embrace of God Himself. Only the Love of God in Christ Jesus can ignite our hearts into such a pursuit.

“Who, when he had found one pearl of great price,
went and sold all that he had, and bought it”
Matthew 13:46

Brian Troxel

The Struggle and the Crown

The Struggle and the Crown

“Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace;
to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed”
Romans 4:16

The Struggle

“And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”
Genesis 25:22 – 25

Within the life of every true believer is the struggle between two natures; two ways of living, two sets of desires and two eternal consequences.  The conflict is between the first Adam and the Last Adam, the first Adam being that nature which is earthly and sensual and the second Adam being the heavenly man, the Eternal Son of Man. We see the very portrayal of this within the womb of Rebekah as she by faith brought forth the one who would become Israel in the purposes and dealings of our great God.

Esau was the firstborn, a man of passions, wild and undisciplined.  He was of the earth, earthly and devoid of any real love of spiritual things.  He was born first, bearing the likeness of the first Adam, which in the Hebrew means “red earth”.  At his birth the scriptures take great care to describe his appearance (See The Things of Esau).

“And the first came out red*(see note below),
all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau”

Genesis 25:25

Jacob, though a schemer and a conniver, had one thing that set him apart.  He had respect for the things of God.  The birthright, which was rightfully Esau’s by virtue of being the first born, meant little to Esau and he surrendered it for  a mere mess of pottage in a moment of extreme hunger.  Jacob, on the other hand, coveted this blessing.  Jacob was the son of promise, a man called to become the Israel of God, not by strength, nor by might but by the mercy and strength of our God.

These two distinct “manner of people” struggled within the womb of Rebekah, yet the promise was THE ELDER SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER.  Jacob’s journey of faith to become Israel was one of many dealings and breakings in the hands of a determined and merciful God.  The promise of God tarries until the man Jacob is broken.  It is in our submission to His dealings that we become the people upon whom the promise falls.

“The Lord sent a word into Jacob,
and it hath lighted upon Israel”

Isaiah 9:8

The promise to Jacob was a sure thing but the severity of the dealings of God and the determination of God is what made the promise sure.  The man Jacob must become the worm that he might indeed become strong.

“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff”
Isaiah 41:14 – 15

We must see that the inabilities in our life to do God’s will are the result of our strengths not our weaknesses. When we speak of weakness we are speaking of all that has not been brought into submission to the Son; in whatever measure we have known the fellowship of His sufferings there is a corresponding experience of His resurrection life.

“That I may know him,
and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings,
being made conformable unto his death;
If by any means I might attain
unto the resurrection of the dead”

Philippians 3:10 – 11

Let us realize that the struggle within is a struggle that is to be unto life and glory; HIS LIFE and HIS GLORY.  The struggle of Rebekah is prophetic of all that we must know within ourselves.  Jacob will remain Jacob until he is broken.  We too will remain barren unless we discover the wonder and the power of HIS faith in our lives.  A faith like gold submitted to the fire is purified and fit for the master’s use.  Teachings will not produce this life; only a broken and surrendered will in the hands of the God of Jacob!  This is not a day to tarry but it is a day for us to “press toward the mark, for the PRIZE of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.

Let our confidence be not in ourselves, our knowledge or our associations.  Rather let our confidence be in the God of Jacob who was able to bring forth a PRINCE* (see note below) from the worm and who is able to complete that which He began in us.  The beauty of Jacob’s heart was clearly revealed at Peniel as we see Jacob clinging to the ONE who wounded him for in that place we see and hear God’s declaration…

The Crown

“Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel:
for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men,
and hast prevailed”

Genesis 32:28

* אַדְמֹנִי ʼaḏmōniy, אַדְמוֹנִי ʼaḏmôniy: An adjective meaning red, ruddy. from the Hebrew Word ADAM
*Israel – Prince with God

A Partial reprint of a former post.
A relevant reminder for us to stay the course in Christ

Brian Troxel

A Word in Season – The End of the Matter

The End of the Matter

“…but the end of the commandment is love
out of a pure heart and a good conscience,
and faith not pretended,
from which having missed the mark,
some turned aside to empty talking”
1 Timothy 1:5-6

God’s end is revealed in His beginning, just as the harvest is the manifold expression of the seed sown. The same love that motivated Christ’s incarnation is the same love abiding in those who have loved and received Him. When men and women lose sight of the “end of the commandment”, the words, the works and the life are empty and vain.

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love (agape), I am nothing”
1 Corinthians 13:2

The Gifts of God without love: empty and hollow. Deep understanding into mysteries of God: useless. Knowledge without love is meaningless and without value. It is the agape of God which infuses all things with the weight and wonder of Himself; for there can be no growth or development of Love apart from a pure heart. There can be no true impartation of life where the conscience is conflicted by wrong and ulterior motives and unrepented sins. There can be no true and lasting work of God when faith is presented in pretense. The work of God can only be within the lives of those who live in authenticity. These three graces must be the foundation of our growth into the love of God:

Purity of Heart
A Good and Clean Conscience
Faith Unfeigned

A Gospel which does not include the ministration of truth and admonition will inevitably produce lives devoid of the fire, intensity and the power of the Love of God. The reason God is declared a “consuming fire” is because HE IS LOVE. We cannot hold the love of God within our hearts and be void of passion, works and an energized faith. Love is what breathes life into faith and faith by its very nature must produce His works in and through our lives.

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything,
nor uncircumcision, but faith working (energized) through love
Galatians 5:6

The legalism of our day rests in declarations of the tenets of faith. It fails to grasp that the END or PURPOSE of God in Christ is to takes us beyond the fact of being justified by faith, into the power of God manifested through lives who have been sanctified. Sanctification brings us into a life of abandonment and surrender unto God as a “living sacrifice”. When such legalism becomes the foundation there will be no pursuit of a “pure heart” or a “clean conscience”. A true and unfeigned faith flows from those who seek only His approval. The horror of this “gospel” of legal declarations is that His people see no need for an ongoing, deep and powerful work of God within their hearts. There is a rest and a complacency in an unfinished work of God. The two and a half tribes of Israel found rest in a land outside the purposed and promised land of God; many today are settling for something far less than the full purpose and intention of God.

When there is a deviation from God’s end, in the estimation of God Himself, the expressions of ministry become vain and empty chatter.

“…from which having missed the mark,
some turned aside to empty talking”

Paul the Apostle, who declared the truth of justification by faith, summed up his life as one who was pressing, pursuing and desiring the apprehension of the mark of God.

“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. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded…”
Philippians 3:13-15

Paul was not resting upon the knowledge of being justified by faith. He was in full pursuit of “apprehending” (laying hold) the mark and purpose for which God had laid hold of him!

A dead faith rests in the acknowledgement of a teaching, while
a living faith pursues the apprehension and reality of God Himself.

Brian Troxel

The Two Goats – The Foundation of Our Victory

Podcast – The Two Goats

Take time to hear of Our Saviour’s Love!

The Foundation of Our victory

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Stewardship and the Prophetic

Stewardship and the Prophetic

“But as for me, I am full of power by Yahweh’s Spirit,
and of judgment, and of might,
to declare to Jacob his disobedience,
and to Israel his sin”
Micah 3:8

True prophetic expressions have their origin in God Himself. The fountain from which they spring is God’s heart, not their own. It is a call, not a career. It is a heart that has touched the sacred atmosphere of His dwelling place and sees and feels the waywardness of the human condition. The Holiness of God is the matrix by which all things are uncovered and made bare. Those who have, in some measure, the “knowledge of the Holy…” (Proverbs 9:10) have nothing to boast of. There is no high-mindedness, for in touching God they have seen themselves in that same piercing, Holy Light (Isaiah 6:5). It is a Light which obliterates any sense of worthiness or merit. It cries out against apathy, disobedience and sin, because God does. Those who bear such things know the dichotomy of the treasure in the earthen vessel. The press from within is of greater value than the animosity from without. The over-riding need to express the Holiness of God becomes the purpose of life itself. Whatever may be the reaction of all the powers of the world, or the indignation of our brothers and sisters, faithfulness to Him is paramount.

“For if I proclaim the gospel, no glory is to me;
for necessity is laid on me,
and it is woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel.
For if I do this willingly, I have a reward;
but if unwillingly, I am entrusted with a stewardship
1 Corinthians 9:16-17

How few in our Day know of the necessity to declare The Gospel of God; this unutterable, inherent need to speak of His Holiness and His hatred of sin. The horror of the religious ways and methods of men obscure His very person. The presentation of a Gospel entangled with the ambitions of men for personal gain and recognition, dims the radiance of the risen Christ. Where are those who recognize the entrustment of a stewardship? This call is like a ship at sea driven by the winds of heaven, no longer free to navigate its own way. The ebb and flow of God determines the when and the where of such lives. These are the expressions of those who know the fulness (see note below) of His Spirit and from this fulness that the Words of God flow. It is a fulness which makes the vessel aware of its own emptiness. The great mystery of God at work through fragile earthen vessels is the true revelation of the Grace of God.

“the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?”
Amos 3:8

It is in the hearing, the touching and the seeing of Him that the press of His Spirit rises within. He is the origin of all things pertaining to His Glory. He alone is worthy of lives yielded to Him. May God make known to the next generation the Call to Himself that they may be no longer their own.

Stewardship

“For if I do this willingly, I have a reward;
but if unwillingly, I am entrusted with a stewardship

To know the life of stewardship is as costly as it is precious. A steward is entrusted with the goods of the master. He owns nothing. He is conscious that God’s things are Holy, and he dare not handle them carelessly. Stewards do not have their own doctrine, nor do they subscribe to the popular teachings of the day. They carry within themselves the true doctrine of the Lord:

“My meat is to do the will of him that sent me,
and to finish his work
John 4:34

The stewards do not have their own agenda. They do not live to build up a following, or what men call a “ministry” or “church”. They are His alone and by the grace of God they remain such. Their ministry is simple:

“That which we have seen and heard
declare we unto you”
1 John 1:3

Ω

A Steward of the Lord

“And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem,
not knowing the things that shall befall me there”
Acts 20:22

* The fullness of God's Spirit is relative to the capacity of the vessel. In the parable of the Talents the measure given to each individual was determined by their capability.The individual to whom two talents were given filled them to the measure of their capacity. In their obedience and faithfulness the two talents became four and so it is with each of us. God pours out His Spirit without measure and as He has His way with us our capacity grows to walk in Him.

Brian Troxel

Warfare the Sign of Life

Warfare: The Sign of Life

“I have fought the good fight…”
2 Timothy 4:7

The surest sign of the life of God within His own is the unconquerable will to fight the fight of faith. Life is always the antagonist of death. Faith is the adversary of sin. Victory over sin and iniquity is the result of warfare; warfare of the life of Christ Himself. When a heart ceases to fight it ceases to live.

“Fight the good fight of the faith…”
1 Timothy 6:12

We live in a day where “faith” is presented as a legal declaration of victory (regardless of the life lived) rather than the means by which we attain the victory. Paul was ever encouraging the people of God to remain active in the battle, to be diligent in their walk and to grow in the victory of the faith. The writer of the beauty and the power of all the truths in the Book of Romans also wrote this to Timothy… “fight the good fight of faith”! Compromise and concession are the harbingers of spiritual defeat and death. Life by its very nature opposes death and the scriptures declare that the “wages of sin is death”. The life of Christ within withstands evil in all of its deceptive and destructive forms.

The fight of faith is not won in a moment, nor is the crown easily earned, but we have been given the great gift of faith, the blood of Christ and the grace of God to stand in this evil day! It requires a walk of learning, growth and development in the school of His Spirit.

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

Faint not at the battles which assail you; do not lose heart in the intensity of the conflict for we have this promise from God:

“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you,
and keep you from evil”
2 Thessalonians 3:3

Ω

“The Christian life, then, is a battle,
so sharp and full of danger
that effort can nowhere be relaxed without loss”
Huldrych Zwingli

Brian Troxel

The Strait Gate and The Narrow Way

THE STRAIT GATE & THE NARROW WAY

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
MATTHEW 7:14

Without context, the focus of most Christians becomes the gate. The message presented in many places today is one of being “born again” with little thought of entering the Kingdom of God. Religion likes things simple and easy and the English language plays into this concept very well. However, in the Greek language, there is a whole different thought to what Jesus is saying to us.

“Because strait is the gate, and narrowing (compressing) is the way,
which is leading unto the life, and few there be that are finding it.”
Literal Greek Translation

The Greek tense used here is the Participle mood, best translated here with an “ing” suffixed to the basic verb form. This communicates to us a progressive walk and an on-going sense of growth and development. The narrowing or compressing of the way is the daily experience of all who would find the resurrection Life of Jesus. The leading speaks of following Him with the discovery that death to the outward man is the path to experiencing His life within. Discipleship is the life of the narrowing way, and few there are who choose this path.

Seeing vs. Entering

We hear much of the scripture:

“Except a man be born again,
he cannot SEE the kingdom of God”
JOHN 3:4

However, Jesus goes on in his discourse to Nicodemus:

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot ENTER INTO the kingdom of God”
JOHN 3:5

While many of God’s children are content with seeing the Kingdom, there is a cry within the heart of God that some enter into the Kingdom. There is a pursuit  and a cost involved with this entrance. The narrowing and confinement of the path must be walked in the reality of our hearts. We discover that this way is neither popular nor easy. It is the way of the Cross. It is found in the following of Him, not in the structured ways of men. It leads us into the wilderness where we discover that He came not only to forgive us but to save us from our sins and self-will. Of necessity we must be born not only of water (the cleansing aspect of His life) but also of the Spirit (the empowering aspect of His life) where we find enablement to overcome the issues that bind us. This birthing of the Spirit is also accompanied by the fire of His life to purge the dross and the impurities from our hearts. It is a purifying that no amount of washing will ever accomplish.

The strait gate is the introduction to the Narrow Way. The Gate is not an end in itself as many suppose. It is merely the beginning ever leading us farther on the Narrowing Way wherein we discover the “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of our God.

“We want to reach the kingdom of God,
but we don’t want to travel by way of death.
And yet there stands Necessity saying: ‘This way, please.’
Do not hesitate, man, to go this way,
when this is the way that God came to you.”
AUGUSTINE

It is the broad and easy road which leads to destruction. A crossless walk is the way of the broad and easy way, its end is judgment and misery.

“…for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction,
and many are the ones entering in through it”
Matthew 7:13

Ω

“If you here stop and ask yourselves why you are not as pious as the early Christians were, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor through inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.”
William Law

Brian Troxel

The Real Faith

The Real Faith

“Also this, knowing the time,
that it is now the hour for you to be aroused from sleep”
Romans 13:11

The deceptive nature of slumber is that it is not aware of itself. It is found in the lives of those who rely on the tenants of faith rather than the life of faith. It is to those who do His will through the agency of faith who are kept awake and alive unto Christ. Doing necessitates that we are constantly pressed into Him for Divine enablement to meet the needs of those around us. Life without doing produces a virtual reality in the life of a believer, without experience or substance. It is a deadly place to dwell. Its foundation is based on an intellectual belief in the inspired Word of God, yet it is not united by faith unto the life of doing (Hebrews 4:2). It is the highest form of deception. When Jesus walked the earth the religious leaders of His day were the most deceived. Those who had spent their life in learning became deceived by the very knowledge in which they had immersed themselves!

Faith by its very definition is the evidence of spiritual realities (Hebrews 11:1). It must produce works and expressions of actual worth to validate its existence in the life of a believer.

Hebrews 11:2 “By faith the Elders obtained Witness…”
Hebrews 11:4 “By faith Abel offered a greater sacrifice to God than Cain”
Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…”
Hebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham… obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went”
Hebrews 11:11 “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed…”
Hebrews 11:17 “By faith, being tested, Abraham offered up Isaac…”

The authenticity of one’s faith is revealed in the doing, not the knowing. A faith that does not have within the life of a believer the “evidencing” of its power is a faith which is dead and deceptive.

“My brothers, what is the gain if anyone says he has faith,
but he does not have works?”
James 2:14

“But someone will say, you have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith out of my works. You believe that God is One. You do well; even the demons believe and shudder. But are you willing to know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is dead?
James 2:18-2:20

“And everyone who hears these Words of Mine,
and who does not do them,
he shall be compared to a foolish man
who built his house on the sand…”
Matthew 7:26

Living faith is evidenced by the works produced within the life of a true believer. Jesus gave us the Parable of two men building their houses. One man, “a believer”, built his house by the process of “hearing only”. The other man built his house by hearing and doing. The house built by “hearing” only, failed in the time of the storm. He “thought” his faith was genuine, but it was proved otherwise. The one who built his house by hearing and doing had a foundation built upon the Rock of Christ.

It is clear that it is the doing
that is the true foundation of faith.

“Now faith is the realization of what is hoped for,
the proof of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:1

True living Faith obtains the promises of God… (2 Thessalonians 2:14)
True living Faith is evidenced through the life we live…
True living Faith reveals the life and wonder of Him who gave it…
True living Faith must produce the works of faith in the lives of those who are governed by it.
True living Faith builds its house upon the Rock of Christ through the obedience which it inspires…

“For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as they also did, but the word they heard didn’t profit them, because it wasn’t mixed (Greek united, joined) with faith by those who heard.”
Hebrews 4:2

A faith which does not produce within the believer change, passion, and obedience is a faith which will bring men and women into the judgment of God (read 1 Corinthians 10:1-12).

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – The Persistent Heart

Thought for Today

The Persistent Heart

“For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.”
2 Chronicles 34:3

Whenever and wherever a soul begins to seek God in truth, the result will be a purging of unclean things both within and without. Those who declare they are earnestly seeking God but have not this heart, have not yet found God. It is one thing to seek Him; it is another thing to find Him.

“For in the eighth year… he began to seek God
and in the twelfth year he began to purge…”

God is not found overnight. He is not found in a few days of seeking. The true in heart set their lives apart to seek Him. It is not a quick and easy process; it takes learning, discovering and an earnest cry within the human heart for Him alone. He is unfathomable, eternal and infinite. The is no end to His Glory nor His purposes for us. One cannot touch Him and remain the same. The life that constantly seeks Him shall surely be filled with the constant finding of Him.

The promise stands sure to all who would find Him.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.”
Matthew 7:7-8

The secret to finding Him lies in the persistency of seeking.

It is a lifelong pursuit which intensifies in passion because of the beauty that beckons the hungry heart onward. Faith will not be deterred. The human element which seeks for other purposes grows weary in its search; the faithful heart expends itself all the more. The Syrophenician woman would not be dismayed by the seeming rebuffs of Jesus, crying out “even the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs” (Mark 7:28). Jesus responded with great delight at the display of her great faith.

It is incumbent upon us to set our hearts afresh to seek Him and to remain faithful in our pursuit of Him. His promises are sure and those who find Him will speak to the world around them of righteousness and purity of heart. The anointing falls on the life of those who love righteousness and hate iniquity.

“Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity;
therefore, God, even thy God,
hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness…”
Hebrews 1:9

Brian Troxel