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Archive for the ‘Our Struggle’ Category

SERVING JESUS

“If any man serve me, let him follow me;
and where I am, there shall also my servant be:
if any man serve me, him will my Father honour”
John 12:26

The central theme to which Jesus kept directing His disciples was relationship to Him. The great deception of religion is that men and women serve an organization, a doctrine, a teacher or even worse themselves. Here Jesus points to the essential cornerstone of true service unto Him: “let him follow me”. It is in following Him that we become separated unto Him. The “cross” of the individual believer is simply defined by a life of following Him. While many are willing to do strenuous religious observances, fasting, long prayer meetings, conferences and seemingly good works the issue remains one of following Him. The cross of Christ was in doing the will of the Father. In this place of true servitude the Son glorified the Father. It is in our being “yoked” with Him that our lives will in truth glorify the Son. Knowledge of the scriptures must give way to relationship with the Son. Knowledge alone of the Son will never make a person free nor bring about the true experiential knowing of Him within the human heart.

Throughout the scriptures we see that many stopped following Him because of the cost of the Way. The Scribes and Pharisees had no problem with long prayers, religious observances and the rites and rituals of the religious system but they failed to follow Him. In following Him they would have come to the crossroad of serving self or serving God. It is here that the truth of one’s heart is revealed. In this day of the great Apostasy the hearts of many are growing cold and unresponsive to Him and His Word. The forms of truth are retained but the active daily following of Him is replaced by the love of this world, by the busyness of religious programs, and in living a life of self-interest; this culminates in a life that no longer follows Him. Freedom from self with all of its wretched ways and miserable ends can only be found in the following of Him. To truly follow Him requires a forsaking of self. Religion is the “opiate of the masses”; it offers the appearance of a thing without the substance of the thing. It offers the sayings of Jesus without the required obedience to His words. It calls Him Lord but affords its adherents the means to escape actual obedience to Him by the soothing of the conscience with the very words of scripture. Early in Jesus’ life Satan came with great power and temptation by quoting the scriptures so that Jesus might seek to “save” His life supernaturally for all to see (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus refuted such temptation as He was not here to fulfill His will. His purpose was to fulfill the will of the Father.

There can be no true serving of Jesus without a life of actively following Him. It is evident that we are in the time of the great falling away. It is a very subtle and deadly affair of the heart when men and women cling to the words of Jesus without the following of Him. The subtlety of such a life is called deception and it is the way of spiritual decay and death. We remain static while He moves on in the will and the glory of the Father. We hear many say that God does not answer prayer. The wonder of His presence is lacking and in most places not even expected. We have become accustomed to the forms of religion without His presence and power. It is not because He has forsaken us; it is that we have ceased as a people to “follow Him”. He declares to the Church at Ephesus:

“But I have against you
that you left your first love…”
Revelation 2:4

The verse preceding this one states “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience…” The works continued but the love faded. The forsaking of their “first love” (pre-eminent love) was so critical to their place in God that His judgement upon such a people was the removal of His presence from their midst. The reason for the cooling of the heart of His people is the result of iniquity abounding.

“And because iniquity shall abound,
the love of many shall wax cold”
Matthew 24:12

The Greek word translated iniquity here does not fully imply gross sin. It speaks of lawlessness in that instead of obeying the commandments of Jesus we subtly set them aside declaring that we are now under grace. It is through the horror of this deceptive teaching that we are seeing the fervent love of many growing cold and indifferent. It is we who have forsaken the good and right way. The church has embraced teachers who bring in damnable heresies that turn His people from following Him to the serving of self and other things. We call Him Lord yet we set aside His commandments to obey the traditions and teachings of men. WE HAVE MADE THE WORD OF GOD OF NON-EFFECT! It is our own doing and God’s remedy is repentance and the return to our primary love.

“”This people honors Me with the lips,
but their heart is far away from Me; and in vain they worship Me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Isa. 29:13 8)
For forsaking the commandment of God,
you hold the tradition of men”
Mark 7:7-8

God has a simple answer for this generation and this time. It is the simplicity of obeying His commandments and following Him.

“If ye keep my commandments,
ye shall abide in my love”
John 15:10

The teaching of a grace that absolves His people from obedience to the commands of Jesus is a lie and deception of the devil himself! If we do not repent we will stand in the judgement of God as they who once knew the truth and turned away. This is the picture presented to us in the Parable of the Sower where the soil which grew weeds of the cares of self and this life and choked out the precious seed. This truth is presented throughout the New Testament to those who started out well yet grew cold and indifferent to Him in the end.

“For if by a full knowledge of the Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ, they have escaped the defilements of the world,
and again being entangled they have been overcome by these,
then their last things have become worse than the first.
For it was better for them not to have fully known
the way of righteousness, than fully knowing to turn from
the holy commandment delivered to them”
2 Peter 2:20-21 (LITV)

Let us find Grace in this day to finish the race which is set before us. Let us not grow weary in our following of Him for we shall surely reap if we faint not.

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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The following is a message delivered on December 6, 2015 at Boulder Street Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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COMFORT

“O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours,
and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
And I will make thy windows of agates,
and thy gates of carbuncles,
and all thy borders of pleasant stones”
ISAIAH 54:11-12

In affliction, tempest and sorrow the God of all comfort comes softly like the dew settling upon the grass after the long dark season of night. His silent ways bring whispers of hope within the human heart and His strong arms hold and carry us in the distress of our circumstances. He walks with us through the valleys. He gently embraces the wounded heart and in the secret of His ways we see the fair colours of His handiwork. We see the precious stones of His making become the foundation of our lives; not only strong and stable but filled with the beauty of His own being. There is no such thing as wasted tears for those that know their God. All sorrows and trials become part of the building of His story in our lives. His comfort becomes the very currency that we can share with others for it has become ours through the experiences of a life with Him.

His promises of comfort in our trials are the foundation of our hope in Him. The history of His faithfulness builds within us a strong hope to face the path that lies before us. The ONE who faced Calvary, and prayed with such intensity that great drops of blood fell as He communed with His Father, is the same ONE who is now able keep you in your dark hour. Let His faithfulness assuage your broken heart and His Grace lift you up as on eagles’ wings. Let the world know that we are not without the rich resources of our Risen Christ.

His mercies are new every morning and though weeping may endure for the night joy will come in the morning.

Ω

“Troubled soul, the “much tribulation” will soon be over,
and as you enter the “kingdom of God” you shall then see,
no longer “through a glass darkly”
but in the unshadowed sunlight of the Divine presence,
that “all things” did “work together”
for your personal and eternal good.”
Arthur Pink

BT

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“Give me this mountain”

“…yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me:
as my strength was then, even so is my strength now,
for war, both to go out, and to come in.
Now therefore give me this mountain…”
JOSHUA 14: 11 – 12

Faith is not only a substance and the real evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1) it is also a spiritual reality and a precious fruit (Galatians 5:22 – 23). Faith is not determined by age or the weaknesses that are common to man. We see here the testimony of Joshua who, at the age of eighty-five, is undaunted by the promises of God. The mountain he asked for was inhabited by the giant Arba and the Anakims which were the giants of the land of whom Goliath was a descendent. His eyes were fixed upon the promises of God, not himself.

Because that living faith burned within his heart it had NOT diminished with the passing of time; he was able to declare…

“Now therefore give me this mountain…”

The eternal purposes of God do not rest upon our physical strength or abilities; they are carried along by the operation of His faith within the recesses of our hearts. Joshua still had to invade that land and fight the giants but his strength was the product of a living faith and not the other way around. So must we in our day continue to “contend for the faith”. Faith that is living and true, that is present tense and at this moment “strengthened for war…to go out and to come in”. Wherever there is true faith there is a continual war in the spirit both to hold onto what is ours in Christ and to see total victory over the strongholds within.

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,
but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing
that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,
and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled”
II CORINTHIANS 10:4

And again…

“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy,
according to the prophecies which went before on thee,
that thou by them mightest war a good warfare”
I TIMOTHY 1:18

Many of Joshua’s fellow Israelites did not live to enter the Promised Land because of the issue of faith; so it is in our day (I Corinthians 10:6 – 12 and Hebrews 4:6). May the Lord stir our hearts to hold faith, walk in faith and live a life that pleases HIM. May we be found strong to finish the race for HIS Glory.

“Finally, my brethren,
be strong in the Lord,
and in the power of his might”
EPHESIANS 6:10

Brian Troxel

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The Abundant Promises of God

“I had not thought to see your face;
but in fact, God has also shown me your offspring!”
GENESIS 48:11

These are the words of a dying Jacob uttered to Joseph as he beheld Joseph’s sons Manassah and Ephraim. This conniver and schemer from birth was transformed into Israel (Prince with God) through the abundant mercies and infinite wisdom of God. We see him here near the end of his journey settled in the peace of a God that surpassed all of his expectations. Through all the bitter trials and testings, the infighting of his sons and the seeming loss of Joseph, the final giving up of Benjamin to a rough and unknown Egyptian ruler, and the passing away of his beloved Rachael, we now see the realization of God’s purpose. The confrontation with God at Peniel, the holding on to the ONE with whom he struggled even while he was being broken and afflicted to the point of becoming crippled, had at long last brought forth a man who knew his God. A man who could now see clearly that what God had promised He would more than supply. His hope no longer rested in circumstances or in men for he trusted in the ONE alone who could see him through. This God was no longer to be known as the God of Abraham and Isaac; HE would now be known as the God of Abraham, Isaac and JACOB! Such things are written “for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” and ‘‘Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow”. In other words they are written for our learning and our encouragement!

The very same God who fulfilled His Word and Promises given to our forefathers is the very same God who has now promised us greater things through the death and resurrection of His Only Son that we might take strong encouragement for the day in which we live.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us…”
EHPESIANS 3:20

Brian Troxel

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SPIRITUAL HABITAT

PART TWO

THE ALTAR

“…he built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD,
and he pitched his tent there;
and there Isaac’s servants dug a well”
GENESIS 26:25

This verse immediately follows Isaac receiving a promise and a visitation from the LORD. The PROMISE was no longer just Abraham’s it was now Isaac’s. The promise was given because of Abraham’s life of faith and obedience but there must come a time where the promise of God becomes our own. HIS promise not only becomes Isaac’s own but it produces a life of response within him. In the reception of the promise Isaac builds an Altar, calls on his God, pitches his tent (dwelling/abiding) and digs a well.

THE ALTAR

In the New Testament the altar speaks of many things but for the sake of brevity we will sum up the altar in the life of the individual believer as the place of true worship. This worship is to become a way of life for the true child of God. The Altar speaks of much more than a short time of singing one day a week; it is the place where we live and grow in our relationship in HIM, where we begin to realize that we are to offer ourselves unto HIM (Rom. 12:1) as a living sacrifice, where we offer the praises of our hearts, where we bow down under the weight of a Glory that softens our hearts and allows us to touch the very Holiness of HIS PRESENCE and the wonder of HIS BEING. It is here that we commune with HIM in the private sphere of our lives hidden away from the seeing of men. Here we offer prayers and the secrets of our heart in the most intimate of transactions with a Holy God. It is here that we learn of Him, we touch HIM, and HE speaks to us of things that words fail to convey. In this seeing of HIM we discover the truth of whom we are and the staggering contrast between who HE is and what we are. We begin to understand that even angelic perfection, though sinless and pure, cannot look upon HIM in HIS undimmed Glory in the heavens.

The Altar is the only place where we can touch such places of Glory. Here we are CHANGED into the Glory that we see from Glory to Glory; “EVEN AS BY the SPIRIT OF THE LORD”. As the Son walked this earth HE would spend hours alone with HIS FATHER in that perfect HOLY UNION that HE had from all eternity. The New Covenant provides ACCESS for us into the Holiest of ALL because of our lives being “HID with Christ in God”. It is by virtue of such a living reality that we can grow into the place of living and abiding at the very ALTAR of God. It becomes our spiritual habitat as we learn to abide in HIM.

The Altar is not only a place of sacrifice, communion and worship it is also the place of PROVISION; a PLACE where we eat and partake of HIM. It is the place of the “hidden manna” that comes to us by the seeing of HIM and the eating of HIM in the secret place. We read in Hebrews…

“We have an altar,
whereof they have no right to eat
which serve the tabernacle”
HEBREWS 13:10

And again…

“Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things
live of the things of the temple?
and they which wait at the altar
are partakers with the altar?”
I CORINTHIANS 9:13

Suffice it to say that the way of the ALTAR is the way of life. In the life of Isaac the first act of his response to GOD was the building of the altar. In the New Testament all spiritual realities are “made without hands” and as such we build our altar by simply spending time with HIM in the secret places of our hearts until it becomes our spiritual habitat. The Altar preceded the pitching of Isaac’s tent for it is in the “building” of the one that the life of “abiding” is cultivated.

Brian Troxel

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SPIRITUAL HABITAT

“…in his temple doth every one
speak of his glory”
PSALM 29:9

The common law of life is that whatever a man loves he speaks of and pursues. Where a man dwells determines what he sees. Every life form in God’s creation has a habitat and an environment with which it is compatible. Whether it is a palm tree or a fir tree it lives and grows in the climate that is conducive to its growth and development. The Polar Bear and the Panther live in the land for which they are most suited. As it is in the natural so also is it in the things of the spirit. The demon possessed man of the Gadarenes lived amongst the tombs for there was the dwelling place consistent with the nature of the spirits that inhabited him. We also read …

“…there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel,
of the tribe of Aser…
which departed not from the temple,
but served God with fastings and prayers night and day”
LUKE 2:35 – 37

Anna’s life was one of focus and a continual desire to serve and worship the ONE that she loved. She “departed not” from the life of prayer and worship which are the means by which we abide and grow in Him. She did not miss HIS appearing. While the multitudes were taken up with their “religious” duties she and Simeon beheld the Promised One and ministered unto HIM! Such are the privileges of those who find their lives “hid with Christ in God”! While many people are looking for a temple to be built in Jerusalem God HAS set HIS TEMPLE, the TRUE ETERNAL TEMPLE made without hands in the very PERSON OF HIS SON…

“I saw no temple therein:
for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple”
REVELATION 21:22

And again…

“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building,
and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
But he spoke of the temple of his body
JOHN 2:19

They who desire to live and dwell in HIM are only able to speak of HIS GLORY! They no longer give nor seek the praises of men. They are not impressed by the extravagant buildings and organizations of men for they have seen glimpses of a GLORY that will not fade away; a GLORY that blinds the eyes, that humbles the heart and becomes the perspective by which all things are weighed. They are not mislead by the teachings and doctrines of men for they have seen the ONE in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells and are freed from the paltry offerings of this world. They are pilgrims in this world of temporal things as they seek that which “fadeth not away” with the passing of time. They have been gripped by the unseen HAND of God and HEARD the ETERNAL CALL; ruined for anything religious or manmade.

“For where your treasure is,
there will your heart be also”
MATTHEW 6:19 – 21

Our lives reveal the place where we dwell, by the things we speak and treasure.

Brian Troxel

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