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

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“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

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

Effectual Prayers – Part Twelve – Praying for Others

Effectual Prayers

Part Twelve

Praying for Others

“And the Lord turned the captivity of Job,
when he prayed for his friends”
Job 42:10

The true efficacy of prayer is only realized when our hearts become Christ-like. The power of the cross brings the heart to see others through His eyes. To be able to pray for those (as did Job) who marginalize, speak evil of you and persecute you is the gift of Christ to us. It is in overcoming the bitterness within we find freedom and healing without.

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”
Matthew 28:18

He who is all powerful expressed that power in forgiveness. It requires more power to forgive than to avenge. It requires the very life of Christ to bring such power into the hidden recesses of our prayer life. It is the life of His resurrection pulsating through us that enables us to be free from the contagion of bitterness and selfish living. It brings new levels to prayer and fresh glimpses of His heart.

Job’s own predicament was changed
as he prayed for his detractors.

It is in our giving that we receive. In our concern for others we place ourselves in His hands. As we forgive others, we draw near to Him in the beauty of truth, peace and joy.

“Whenever you stand praying,
forgive, if you have anything against anyone,
so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you…”
Mark 11:25

Effectual Prayers Part One – Incense
Effectual Prayers Part Two – Love
Effectual Prayers Part Three – Righteousness
Effectual Prayers Part Four – Humility and Repentance
Effectual Prayers Part Five – Wisdom
Effectual Prayers Part Six – Asking Largely
Effectual Prayers – Part Seven – Elisha and Jericho
Effectual Prayers – Part Eight – Ruth and Boaz
Effectual Prayers – Part Nine – Discipleship
Effectual Prayers – Part Ten – Knowing Jesus
Effectual Prayers – Part Eleven – The Fragrance of Prayer

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

Quote for Today – Victorious Living – HGC Moule

Victorious Living is Possible

“Nothing shall be impossible unto you”
– Matt 17:20

It is possible, for those who really are willing to reckon on the power of the Lord for keeping and victory, to lead a life in which His promises are taken as they stand and are found to be true.

It is possible to cast all our care upon Him daily and to enjoy deep peace in doing it.

It is possible to have the thoughts and imaginations of our hearts purified, in the deepest meaning of the word.

It is possible to see the will of God in everything, and to receive it, not with sighing, but with singing.

It is possible by taking complete refuge in Divine power to become strong through and through; and, where previously our greatest weakness lay, to find that things which formerly upset all our resolves to be patient, or pure, or humble, furnish today an opportunity—through Him who loved us, and works in us an agreement with His will and a blessed sense of His presence and His power—to make sin powerless over us.

These things are DIVINE POSSIBILITIES, and because they are His work, the true experience of them will always cause us to bow lower at His feet and to learn to thirst and long for more.

We cannot possibly be satisfied with anything less—each day, each hour, each moment, in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit—than to WALK WITH GOD.
— H. C. G. Moule

Timnath and the Riddle

Timnath and The Riddle

“And he said unto them,
Out of the eater came forth meat,
and out of the strong came forth sweetness.
And they could not in three days expound the riddle.”
Judges 14:14

The riddle of every believer can only be solved within the equation of their own experience. Samson’s riddle was one of personal experience and victory. There is no other living person who can solve the riddle of “Christ in you the hope of Glory”. Paul spoke at length of this mystery in Ephesians and Colossians.

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”
Colossians 1:27

The matchless wonder of the mystery can only be solved individually through the medium of obedience and victory. Samson’s riddle was his own; he did not share with anyone (initially) the victory over the young lion he met in the way. It was his victory and God’s strength that prevailed in the vineyards of Timnath. “Timnath” in the Hebrew means inheritance or allotted portion. What was true of Samson is true of everyone who truly knows the Lord. In our pursuit of Christ Himself (our Timnath) we will encounter the enemies of our soul that confront us, condemn us, and seek to destroy us. It is here we find provision in God to contend with our enemy until the victory is ours and our place in God is discovered.

Many Christians have no sense of spiritual identity, no comprehension of the call to walk and discover the unfolding mystery of Christ within them; a Christ who is known to them in the fierceness of the battle, a Christ who is known in the personal victories over sin, temptation and failure. To be an overcomer in Christ one must experience the victory of Christ within the riddle of their own life. The mists of confusion lift and doubts fade in the light and victory of Christ through our obedience to Him.

He is ever calling us to explore, walk and live within the sureties of His wonder in our lives. Like a flower ever unfolding, like the rising sun of each new day, He is beckoning us to explore and discover His riches within the sanctum of our own hearts. No one can solve this mystery but the individual to whom He is given. It requires walking, trusting, and a living faith to step into the Timnath of His Call in each of us.

May we, as Samson, know that out of that which sought to destroy us God prepares strong meat. Out of the strength of our enemies comes the sweetness of victory and the secret of the Lord. It is our glorious riddle to solve within the fabric of our own being.

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

Brian Troxel

The Third Day

The Third Day

“On the third day,
they threw the ship’s tackle overboard
with their own hands”
Acts 27:19

There comes in everyone’s life moments where all hope appears lost. The valiant efforts to extricate ourselves from the situation have failed. The storms batter and assail our soul relentlessly. The dark grey clouds and angry wind hide God’s Face from us and we seem to be at the total mercy of the storm. The context to the above verse is:

“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days
and the great storm continued to batter us,
we abandoned all hope of being saved.”
Acts 27:20

It is here where we see the most seasoned of sailors cast all the tools of their own making overboard in resignation to the sea. When no other hope is left they are simply left clinging to the fragile ship itself. The relentless storm brought ALL who were on the ship to despair. The “we abandoned all hope of being saved” included saint and sinner. The storm came to all. We see in the world around us hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorists, fires, and a multitude of other disasters; God’s people are not spared these circumstances.

It is here that God appears. In these dire moments the word of God comes with assurance of hope and a way of escape.

“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer”
Acts 27:22

Why could Paul say this?

“For there stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve…”
Acts 27:23

God’s coming was to the man who had made God his God. God’s coming was to him who had long before committed the very keeping of his life to God. God’s own are never left to the fate of circumstances and it is in these moments that His Own are revealed. It is in our now that the transactions of our life in God are made. It is before the storm that we are to become His. In the desire and diligent pursuit of God in our daily walk the covenant of grace is realized.

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience,
I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation,
which shall come upon all the world,
to try them that dwell upon the earth”
Revelation 3:10

The Storm is coming to all
saint and sinner alike.

1. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
Psalm 91:1-11

The keeping grace of God is unto those “who dwell in the secret place of the Most High”. God does not spare His Own from the storm; He keeps them IN it. Paul was kept through the storm for God had purposed that he testify before Caesar.

“For there stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve,
Saying, Fear not, Paul;
thou must be brought before Cæsar…”
Acts 27:23-24

Later on Paul would be martyred in Rome. The same God who kept Paul in the storm also gave him grace to finish his course with the joy and certainty of all that awaited him.

The secret of Life is to discover grace in our present circumstances to bring us to the place where we can say in truth “I am His” and “whom I serve”. This is the confession of Paul prior to the great storm:

“But none of these things move me,
neither count I my life dear unto myself,
so that I might finish my course with joy,
and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus…”
Acts 20:24

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Silence and Security

Thought for Today

Silence and Security

“And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders,
he answered nothing”
Matthew 27:12

It is in the face of false accusations that the power of Christ is most manifested. Our security in Him, who is our justification, is revealed in the crucible of false accusations, gossip and strife. It is here where His dominion and power in our life is revealed.

Humility is evidenced in a life free from the opinions of others. Its foundation lies in the power of a life rightly related to the will and purposes of God. A life lived in obedience to the truth will not have the need to justify itself to others.

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth”
Isaiah 53:7

Brian Troxel

Eternal Life and the Resurrection – Part One

Eternal Life & The Resurrection

Eternal Life

Introduction

“And this is the promise that he hath promised us,
even eternal life”
1 John 2:25

Jesus did not come to give us eternal existence. All of humanity has an ongoing existence after this life. Christ came to bring His creation into life!

“I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly”
John 10:10

Life is so much more than the continuum of time; life is to be filled with an abundance of knowing, loving and worshiping Him who is the LIFE. Many believers consider eternal life in reference to something they receive after they die, rather than in terms of their relationship with God in the now. This is where we lose the impact and the wonder of all that Christ is. Jesus Himself defined eternal life and His definition was clear and concise; eternal life is defined by our relationship with Him and His Father.

“And this is life eternal,
that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
John 17:3

The depth of our knowing of Him and the Father is THE determining factor in the power and wonder of our own resurrection.

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection
Hebrews 11:33-35

Eternal life is not something we earn; it is simply the gift of God. Through grace we are given this gift in the person of Jesus Christ without merit or works of our own. He IS eternal life; it is not a commodity given apart from Him. It is my relationship with Him which determines the power and the marvelous working of His life in mine. Relationship is never earned; it is fostered and nurtured by the entwining of one life with another. Love always denotes action, sacrifice and pursuit.

“And this is the record,
that God hath given to us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son.”
1 John 5:11

Eternal Life is IN the Son and my partaking of Him determines the depth, the power and the influence of Him within my being. The branch must abide in the vine to partake of the power and life of the vine. As I yield to His Life and His government eternal life is at work. Jesus did not come to bring a new teaching; He came to bring unto us His Life in the “age” of our time* (see note below). Eternal life is not a futuristic notion. It is in the here and now that we are afforded the opportunity to deepen and grow in our life IN Him. In this present tense of life, we are made partakers of His promises and His goodness. The word of the Lord is ever “Today if ye will hear His voice harden not your hearts”. It is the present tense of our relationship with Him that gives value and depth to eternal life. Paul says in Galatians:

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:
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

Eternal life is the “now” life. It is Life held within the frailty of the earthen vessel. It is what we DO with His life which determines the power of His resurrection within us. The parables of the Talents, the Pounds and the Sower all clearly reveal our part in this mystery. The story of the talents was not about how many talents were received; the truth conveyed in the parable is all about what they did with what they received. Same with the story of the Pounds. The fruitfulness of the various lives represented in the parable of the sower were NOT predicated on the life of the seed; fruitfulness was determined by the soil into which the precious seed fell. So too with us. It is the soil of our lives which determines the fruitfulness of Christ. No one can hinder or cause us to be unfruitful or to be fruitful. It is our own relationship with Him which allows and determines the growth of the seed.

The story of the talents was not about how many talents were received; the truth conveyed in the parable is all about what they did with what they received

Relationship is the great Mystery of God; a mystery which cannot be taught or learned intellectually. It can only be surrendered to, explored and developed. Faith is the portal and love the motive for our relationship with Him who is the Life.

“The Life which I now live…”
Galatians 2:20

This is true for all of us. The life we are now living is the expression of who He is in us. We must embrace the witness of the scriptures concerning our present and true spiritual condition. Religion seeks to insulate us from the truth of the words of Christ but there is a stark reality we must step into if we would walk with Him. In the shining forth of Him there is a beholding of ourselves. It is in this crucible of “present truth” that we are faced with our present need. How good is the living word of God! Let it cut and reveal the verity of what we are that we may run to Him for Grace. It is in Him “where we (can) live, and move” and fully become a new creation. How can we settle for a sip here and there when the living waters of His life are available? How can we continue to hide from ourselves and those around us our true condition when the power of His Life is available to us freely and without measure? It is in our ability to face ourselves that we discover the abundant resources of the living Christ. Truth, to be truth, must expose all that is untrue within us. Truly it is the goodness of God that ever leads us to repentance. Of all the gifts that have been given the gift of repentance excels them all!

Continued in Part Two

* Note: The Greek word translated “eternal”
[166 (aiṓnios) does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age (165 /aiṓn) it relates to. Thus believers live in “eternal (166 /aiṓnios) life” right now, experiencing this quality of God’s life now as a present possession. (Note the Gk present tense of having eternal life in Jn 3:36, 5:24, 6:47; cf. Ro 6:23.)]

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Call to Remembrance

Thought for Today

Call to Remembrance

“I call to remembrance my song in the night”
Psalm 77:6

The real purpose and value of our history in God is to give us hope in our present circumstances. Many times in the Psalms those who knew God would call to remembrance His former graces to lighten their current situation. The God who answered them in the night seasons of life would surely answer again. He who gave songs of hope in the past will surely arise now. The songs of former times are to be unto us present encouragement. How good God is!

“I call to remembrance my song in the night”

Note here it was not just a song that the Lord gave unto David in a specific night season; it was HIS song given to him for future strength and provision. Faith always takes the truths of God and makes them personal truths. The Song of the Lord becomes MY song by the living faith of Christ within.

Whatever our present circumstances are in this day there are resources to call to remembrance whereby we may arise renewed and strengthened in Him.

“Who delivered us from so great a death,
and doth deliver: in whom we trust
that he will yet deliver us”
2 Corinthians 1:10

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Delivered – past tense
Does deliver – present tense
Will yet deliver – future things to come

Brian Troxel