Thought for Today – Light in the Darkness

Thought for Today

Light in the Darkness

“Unto the upright
there ariseth light in the darkness”
Psalm 112:4

God does not keep His own from the dark places, but He does keep His own in the dark places. There are treasures to be discovered in the fearful and gloomy paths we must sometimes walk. As we hold on and walk uprightly even in the darkness, we can trust that the God of all grace will cause His Light to arise in those circumstances.

The Christ of our hope and our strength, the Christ who cannot fail will come to us in unexpected ways. There will be an unveiling of Himself which could not have been appropriated in the light. There are graces to be formed within our hearts which require dark and foreboding places. Courage and tenacity find their roots in the testings of life. In these perilous experiences we learn our weakness and discover His strength.

This is how character is built within the hearts of the upright. It is in these places that the disciple sees and hears of the greatness and mercy of our God. As the metal of a heart is forged and the reliance on other things purged, God’s work of preparation is accomplished.

“He sent a man before them,
even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
Whose feet they hurt with fetters:
he was laid in iron:
Until the time that his word came:
the word of the Lord tried him…”
Psalm 105:17-19

Has God spoken a word to you? Has that word been a trial and a source of consternation? Have you felt the fetters of confinement, the rejection of friends and family? Have you sat in darkness alone and seemingly barren? Rejoice in the ways of God! Let His light arise in the darkness. Trust in Christ alone and walk uprightly before Him. Do not let despair rule; stay strong and purposed in God. The Word whereby He has caused you to hope will surely come. As the night must give way to the dawn, so will He surely arise in thee.

“O love the Lord, all ye his saints:
for the Lord preserveth the faithful”
Psalm 31:23

Brian Troxel

A Discipline of Trial

A Discipline of Trial

“All my best friends despise me,
and those I love have turned against me”
Job 19:19

There are treasures hidden within our trials. There are pressings through which the lives of His Own must pass in order for the grapes to produce the wine of the Spirit. Job found himself in circumstances in which every associate, whether friend or family, had turned against him. He walked alone. Loneliness and desolation are difficult places to tread and yet ordained of God. Human comfort cannot be found. It is here as with Job we need the discipline of focus within our hearts. In his isolation he was brought down into the valley of despair and his faith in God is tested to its very foundation. Left without support he had to cast himself on the very power of faith itself. Like gold tried in the fire, like silver purified seven times, the master smith knows the depth and strength of each one of His children. He watches carefully as with Job to ensure our standing in Him.

These places are in reality the foundation of our wealth and standing in God. Those who have reached past the limit of their own resources have discovered His infinite supply. It is a supply which can only be discovered when we are at the end of our own. When we hold on in sheer trust in His character, without any visible sense of hope or power, we discover the wonder of true faith. God’s end in us is fruit; abundant fruit of such a nature that it fully reveals the truth and character of Christ Himself.

In our testings let us hold fast to Him who cannot lie, cannot disappoint and cannot fail! Even the grave itself must give way to the resurrection Life of Jesus.

“For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.”
Psalm 66:10-12

The true wealth of a Christian is not in what they know but in the gold purchased in the fires through which they have walked (Revelation 3:18)

Brian Troxel

The Conversations of Jesus

The Conversations of Jesus

Luke 10:25-29

“Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Luke 10:26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
Luke 10:28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
Luke 10:29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?”
Luke 10:25-29

Even the most casual conversations of Christ demonstrate depth, wisdom and power as revealed in the magnificence of His Word.

“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

The seemingly innocent question of a respected teacher of the law, as seen through the eyes of the Spirit of God, is in fact a man tempting God. Jesus saw his heart and knew that the mask of sincerity was meant to hide the intent of exposing the Living Christ as a fraud. The question was an effort to catch Jesus in His Own words that the Pharisees might find fault with Him. The religious ones of His day were ever seeking to discredit Him for His very presence; His life and wisdom were a constant reproach to the wickedness of their own hearts.

Jesus the Son of God was never lax in His abiding in the Father; he had no moments to Himself. His diligence and life of separation was on display for the world to see. May God grant to us the unction, the grace and the power to be ever alive in Him; no “me time”, no moments of casual conversation where our words are unguarded and carnal. There is a life, (oh a deep life of wonder) where we are held within the dictates of a Grace so abounding, so deep and so consistent that our words are birthed and directed by His Spirit ruling and reigning within.

“He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?”

Jesus responds not with what the Word says. Rather the wisdom of God turns the questioner into the one being questioned with “how do you read”? Often what a person reads and how a person reads are two very different things. The contradiction lies in the heart, not in what is written. Now the man is forced to answer in front of all.

“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”

The man answers correctly. His belief is right but his standing with God is not. How we need the penetrating light of God to bring what we believe into the light of doing and becoming what we believe. Jesus responds to him:

“Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live…”

His belief was right, but this gave the man no assurances of the “eternal life” he desired. When we separate the life that we now live from the “eternal life” offered to us in the Son we reveal a disconnect with the purposes of God.

Jesus was bringing this man to the fundamental truth that the “eternal life” he sought was found in the life he now lived.

“…this do, and thou shalt live…”

Can we not feel the prompting of His Spirit to live and walk this day in the power and wonder of the “now life”? “This do and live…” Let these words penetrate and lay hold of our hearts. Let them grip us with such force that every day is seen as a great adventure into further depths of Him!

“But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, and who is my neighbour?”

Here is where the fault lay within the heart of this man. Whenever our response to truth is one of justifying ourselves, we can be assured we are not walking in “eternal life” in our own personal experience. It is the horror of religion to believe one thing and walk in another. Eternal life must be found within our own hearts and the verity of the life we now live. The discrepancy between these two (what we believe versus how we live) is the thermometer of how far we have progressed in our journey into Him who is the Life. Paul stated to the Church at Corinth:

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith;
prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves”
2 Corinthians 13:5

Paul was not talking about doctrinal faith in the things they knew. He was speaking of the faith which determined the life they now lived. This is the crucible of every believer. It is here where doctrinal adherents are separated from true disciples. The continual quest to know Him or, as Paul declares, “to apprehend” this Christ comes from a heart that knows its inherent need of Him in order to walk correctly every day. Paul goes on in his discourse to the Philippians to say, “not that I have obtained… but I press on…”. The discrepancy was not a cause of condemnation; it was the very matrix from which Paul’s pursuit of Christ was birthed. We must see that it is not what we believe but what we do because of the truth whereby we discover His Life.

“…but if ye through the Spirit
do mortify the deeds of the body,
ye shall live
Romans 8:13

“…and the life which I NOW live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me, and gave himself for me”
Galatians 2:20

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Get Thee Up –

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
www.aword.info

SERVING JESUS

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
www.aword.info

COMFORT

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

GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN

“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

THE ABUNDANT PROMISES OF GOD

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

SPIRITUAL HABITAT ~ THE ALTAR ~

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