PSALM 23 – PART 11 – THOU ART WITH ME –

PSALM 23

PART ELEVEN

HIS PRESENCE

“For Thou are with me”
PSALM 23:4

His Presence is the chief end and summation of all things. While some may seek recognition and the approval of men a new generation is arising; one that will know the full purpose of God in Christ is to bring forth a people who live and walk in HIS PRESENCE. The storm that is about to break upon our land in such fury and devastation will necessitate that we have found that deep place of abiding in HIM. This is not a doctrinal statement; it must be the reality and truth of our everyday life. HE IS OUR SALVATION, not a teaching or doctrine. To be a people of HIS PRESENCE requires brokenness, humility and a heart that is compatible with HIS.

“…but to this man will I look,
even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit”
ISAIAH 66:2

If our inner life is right there must always be a revelation of that in our daily life. What we are we do. To be a people of HIS PRESENCE we must grow in the apprehension of truth inwardly and outwardly; the one must precede the other. Religion is only concerned with the outward; truth to be truth must become that in the secret places of our lives… “thou desirest truth in the inward parts…” This is why righteousness is such a critical issue in this hour as it can only be the offspring of a life that is growing in its submission to the leading and the purging of the Holy Spirit. Right thinking must produce right living.

“LORD, who shall ABIDE in thy tabernacle?
who shall DWELL in thy holy hill?
He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness,
and speaketh the truth in his heart.
He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour,
nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.
In whose eyes a vile person is contemned;
but he honoureth them that fear the LORD.
He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.
He that putteth not out his money to usury,
nor taketh reward against the innocent.
He that DOETH these things shall never be moved”
Psalm 15:1 – 5

To Abide in Him is the longing of every true heart. This abiding in HIM, growing in HIM and living in HIM requires a work of grace to bring forth the transformation necessary to live with HIM in truth. How we need to grow in that sensitivity to the promptings and moving of His Spirit in our daily lives!  Without obedience this sensitivity can never be developed. May we become HIS in the daily outflow of life that we allow Him to interrupt our schedule to do His will, listen to His voice and be instructed in the way of His Life within us.

“Thou art with me” is more than a nice religious cliché; it must become the substance, the verity and the truth of whom and what we are. To know of this presence that enables us to WALK through the valleys of difficulty, to become impervious to the fear of the evil we must face, it is essential that we know of a surety that HE is with us! Our depth of abiding is revealed in the life that we live, how we treat others (especially those of the household of faith) and the thoughts and motivations of our hearts. It is a day to seek Him, a day to ask Him to search us and know us and to free us from the hidden things that offend in our lives.

“Blessed are the pure in heart
For they SHALL see God”

Ω

“When we live in God’s presence, when we are in the all for the All relationship,
and surrender our own will and ways to God’s will and ways, only then,
no matter our physical and material circumstances, are we truly and fully alive.
Only in God’s presence are we able to enjoy the unique experience of holy freedom”
Brother Lawrence

“I will fear no evil
For Thou art with me”

Brian Troxel

RIGHTEOUSNESS

RIGHTEOUSNESS

PART ONE

“The Gentiles shall SEE your righteousness”
ISAIAH 62:2

We live in a time of great religious activity within the landscape of a secularized Christian “church”. Within this environment “righteousness” has taken on a profession of a faith that is to be stated and debated rather than a life that is actually to be lived. To the normal Christian “righteousness” is a term and a legal standing that we have because of the incredible sacrificial death of Jesus on the Cross; a powerful truth and the STARTING PLACE for all of God’s people. However we are exhorted to LIVE and GROW in this righteousness because of the LIFE of the Risen Christ who is the power and the source for us to LIVE in righteousness by the New Law made available to us; “The Law of Life that is in Christ Jesus”!

We see here in Isaiah that the real prophetic purpose of the New Covenant is to bring forth a righteousness that is real, true and actual in our daily lives. The “Gentiles shall SEE” this righteousness for it is not based on a teaching; it is revealed in the everyday life of EVERY believer! Righteousness first and foremost is CHARACTER. It must become the essence of what we are to such an extent we reveal HIM unconsciously in how we conduct the affairs of our life. Fruit is the expression that flows from character, from what a thing IS. An apple tree brings forth apples because that is the revelation and the offspring of what it is in itself.  Apples are the RESULT for fruit is simply the expression of the latent life of any organism. Love, Joy, Peace… are the EXPRESSIONS of a righteous life and godly character. The futility of trying to “do” or “express” the fruit of the Spirit without being connected as a branch to the vine is the horror and angst of a powerless religious life.

“In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river,
was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits,
each tree yielding its fruit every month.
The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations”
REVELATION 22:2

This “TREE OF LIFE” is the revelation of all that HE had purposed in the Creation of the World. We see it in the Garden of Eden in Genesis and we see it standing teeming with LIFE and FRUITFULNESS in the City of God! HIS purposes have not altered and HIS provision for this to BE the reality in our own lives is rich and full because of the Resurrection Life of the SON. This TREE is nourished by the RIVER of LIFE and so must our lives ever move more and more to that end. Trees grow from tiny seeds to a majestic stature, and so must we. The provisions we have and the wisdom of our great Shepherd in HIS dealings with us as we travel through this dark world on the path that ever leads onward and upward is for us to BECOME SONS of God by a new and living WAY!

“…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified”
ISAIAH 61:2

It is in receiving HIS BEAUTY for our ashes, partaking of the Oil of HIS Joy that comes from mourning and lamenting our selfish carnal ways, that we are garmented in the PRAISES of HIM who is ABLE and WILLING to cause this to BE the substance of our lives. This life of BECOMING is one of trial, temptation, failure, victory and joy. It is a journey that must eclipse that which we now walk in… for a man’s vision must always surpass that which he currently knows.

Ω

“Brethren,
I do not count myself to have apprehended;
but one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind
and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
I press toward the goal for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind…”
Philippians 3:13 – 15

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – PART 6 – HE RESTORES –

PSALM 23

PART SIX

“He restoreth my soul…”
PSALM 23:3

What a revelation of our Shepherd’s heart! “HE restoreth my soul…” is the simple statement that there is no other hope for us; no other means by which our soul can be set free, restored and turned away from its own misery and desolation. “HE restoreth my soul…” is the hope and anchor of all those who follow after the Great Shepherd of our souls. It is in HIM that we have reason to hope. It is in this ONE who is motivated by a LOVE that is beyond knowledge (Ephesians 3:19), a LOVE that loves because it is love, and a love that ever seeks to restore the fallen sons of Adam into the “glorious liberty of the children of God”. Let us realize that this LOVE is not just for us. It is what motivated God to send HIS ONLY begotten Son into this dark world that “whosoever” believes in HIM should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)! Jesus said in the introduction of the parable of the Good Shepherd that HE came “… to save that which was lost” (Matthew 18:11). With this in mind let us realize that what HE is to us, we are to be to one another.

“A new commandment I give unto you,
That ye love one another; as I have loved you…”
JOHN 13:34

We are to love one another AS HE has loved us. That Shepherd’s Heart that is in HIM is to be revealed and worked out in our lives in loving and caring for one another. Truth is not truth until it is EXPRESSED in the common course of everyday life. If HE has so wonderfully expressed HIS love to me by the unmerited grace of God should not that same expression flow from our hearts to one another?

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual,
RESTORE such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself,
lest thou also be tempted”
GALATIANS 6:1

The ability to restore another life is the revelation of HIS TRUTH living within us. It is the heart beat of all those who are coming to know and walk within the power and love of HIS LIFE. HE is the restorer of my soul and as HE lives so do all those who drink of the fountain of the living waters of HIS goodness and mercy. The measure of our walk, the validity of following after HIM, is expressed in the communication of HIS LIFE to restore, enable and to exhort one another to live Godly in Christ Jesus.

Ω

“Christians are like the several flowers in a garden
that have each of them the dew of heaven,
which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall at each other’s roots,
whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of each other”
JOHN BUNYAN

Ω

“THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
I SHALL NOT WANT”

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – PART 5 – HE RESTORES –

PSALM 23

PART FIVE

“He restoreth my soul…”
PSALM 23:3

In this journey of life we slowly begin to realize that the very center and core of who and what we are needs change and transformation. The more we walk with Him, the more we learn of Him. We see the eternal power of God expressed in a love that in itself is so far beyond our grasp, our understanding and comprehension. The very quality of that love causes us to shy away from Him (who IS that love) because of its immensity and power. Yet within our hearts there is a cry and an intense desire to KNOW this ONE, to walk and live within the grip of His Life and to GROW in the wonder of a deep relationship with HIM. It is in this desire to know HIM that we discover the WAY in which we are to walk so that this relationship may become deeper, fuller and more meaningful in our life.

Change is the evidence of a life MOVING in God. No one who is active in their pursuit and desire for God can remain unchanged. A religious man may speak right things, may do good works, may appear spiritual but if there is not an ongoing work of transformation within his life there is an issue at heart.

The Hebrew Word here for “restore” (and its related forms) is translated 1339 times in the Old Testament and with few exceptions speaks of turning, repentance and change. There are countless times in our walk with Him that we have strayed, wandered or insisted on our own way yet HE mercifully comes and turns us and RESTORES us back to the paths of righteousness and truth. He is ever seeking, ever desiring for us to GROW and DEVELOP in our life with Him. The power of the New Covenant is that we are to “BECOME sons of God” (John 1:12). The only way to truly know this life of “BECOMING” is to recognize and embrace the life of change that is necessary for this reality.

Over the years I have come to realize that of all of God’s great gifts and dealings in my life, the gift of repentance is a most prized one. For it is in the things that we cling to, obstinately, and sometimes unknowingly, that we experience the bitter pangs of misery and weariness. The relief comes in letting go. The joy comes in turning from ourselves. The peace comes in submitting to HIS will and HIS way. “HE restores our soul”; HE brings us back to the good and right way. HE pulls us from things and issues, from unresolved relationships and returns us to the green meadows of HIS provisions and the still waters where we find “rest unto our souls” and communion with the ONE who Loves us.

“Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness
and forbearance and longsuffering:
not knowing that the goodness of God
leadeth thee to repentance…”
ROMANS 2:4

How blessed we are to have such a ONE who suffers long with great patience with each of us; ever seeking to restore us and work within us a heart and a life that is at home with HIM.

Ω

“THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
I SHALL NOT WANT”

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 Part 1 – The Lord is My Shepherd –

PSALM 23

PART ONE

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD

“The Lord is my shepherd…”
PSALM 23:1

“The Lord is my shepherd” is more than just poetry, more than a nice theological concept and much more than simply a feel good religious verse. To those who know HIM it is the sum total of the fundamental and essential aspect of our relationship with HIM. The Hebrew Name for LORD here is YHWH. It is the Name of God as revealed to the man Moses as he was being sent back into Egypt as a deliverer of HIS people. It is a name that depicted Glory and Majesty to such an extent that traditionally it was not even spoken, out of great reverence and respect. Yet here we see that great name being divinely connected to that of a Shepherd! The same great name that carried with it the meaning of ONE of endless, eternal self existence, clothed in omnipotence and infinite majesty, by whose power all of Egypt was destroyed on such a scale and in such a manner that to this day it remains unsurpassed in the revelation of the Judgments of God. Let us ponder upon the significance of the connection of such a God to that of not only a Shepherd, but a personal Shepherd that cares for the life of His own.

To know in some religious way that the Lord is A shepherd will convey little in terms of the power or comfort of relationship in knowing that HE is the director of our steps. We see here in this statement that this Great and Holy God is not only A shepherd but that it is essential for us to know experientially that HE is MY SHEPHERD! This foundational truth can only be true if there is within the core of my being a new birth experience that has translated me from the rebellious nature of a goat to that of a lamb that is desirous to be submissive and taught in the WAY of our God. Only by us becoming sheep in nature will we fully appreciate the wisdom and care of our great shepherd.

The Lord is my Shepherd! Let the truth of this sink deep into our consciousness. Let the power of all that it is to mean convey a warmth and comfort to our troubled hearts in times of distress. Let it speak to us that we are not mere wandering souls left to our own resources, wisdom and strength. Let it communicate to us a sense of purpose, a special relationship with the Almighty God who has taken upon HIMSELF the responsibility to lead us through the dangers of this life.

THE LORD ALONE IS MY SHEPHERD

The Lord is my Shepherd! We hear many today say that some religious leader is their Pastor or Shepherd; how it must grieve the heart of God for such things to even be considered! HE is my Shepherd. There is no man who can chart the dark waters of my needs, no man who can be made unto me wisdom and strength, and no other who can keep me in the way of righteousness and truth. HE ALONE IS MY SHEPHERD. He alone is your shepherd. You will never read anywhere in the New Testament of a man being MY apostle, MY teacher or MY prophet. He has given the church ministries of the Apostolic, Prophetic, Evangelistic, Shepherding and Teaching expressions for the building up of the Body of Christ but they are never to be yours. They are simply precious expressions given to help us develop our own personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. There is only ONE SHEPHERD. His name is Jesus and it is the solemn obligation for every true and valid ministry to bring you and me to the place of seeking, knowing, and living our lives in HIM.

“I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep”
JOHN 10:11

Brian Troxel

APPROVING OURSELVES

APPROVING OURSELVES

“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God,
in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings,
in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness,
by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned…”
II CORINTHIANS 4:5 – 6

The approval of one’s ministry is revealed not only by the MINISTRATION of the LIFE OF CHRIST to others but by the REVELATION of the CHARACTER of Christ as we conduct ourselves in the course of everyday life. It is in the crucible of this life that we reveal the true state of our heart. We can speak great swelling words, do mighty works, associate with men of God, and have great knowledge in the things of God, but it is in our reaction to the circumstances around us that we either approve or disapprove ourselves unto God. Character is the revelation of a man’s walk with God. What we do reveals what we are.

“I will show thee my faith by my works”
JAMES 2:18

Faith is given in order for us to BECOME expressions of its author. We are all works in progress. Nevertheless if we do not equate FAITH with BEING we will deprive ourselves of all that God has purposed. Every trial that comes our way is to one end; that we are changed to more of a likeness of HIM.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”
II CORINTHIANS 4:17

What is this “eternal weight of Glory”? Is it not HIS character and HIS likeness wrought into our very being? The true value of FAITH is to make us witnesses of HIM, not only in word, but more importantly in DEED. The nature and purpose of FAITH is to make us live BEYOND our own resources, to make available to us the riches, the substance and the goodness of our God. Where faith is real so is character. Men who claim great faith without revealing great character have deceived themselves.

We are living in a day of revelation. This day will reveal the one who built his house upon hearing the Word of God without doing and the one who built his house by the hearing and doing of God’s Word. For the flood is coming and with that flood will come the revelation that the strength of a man’s house is not in the house but that upon which it is built.

May the Lord work in us a fresh realization that it is in the daily grind of life we are to ever be about our Father’s business, which is to reveal HIS SON in each one of us.

“But when it pleased God,
who separated me from my mother’s womb,
and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me…”
GALATIANS 1:15 – 16

Ω

“Character in a saint
means the disposition of Jesus Christ persistently manifested”
Oswald Chambers

Brian Troxel

JOSEPH and BENJAMIN Part One

JOSEPH & BENJAMIN

PART ONE

“And it came to pass,
when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt,
their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food”
Genesis 43:2

There was a famine in the land. The famine was for a purpose. It was to end the separation of Jacob and his sons from Joseph (whom Jacob thought was dead). Joseph was in one place and they were in another. Jacob was content to stay where they were as long as they had provision. God’s purpose was to bring them to the source. This place of independence is not God’s ultimate design. We get our sermons and teachings so that we can sustain our way of living. We want provision so that we can maintain our independence and our “place” of abiding. God is only interested in a living expression called the Body of Christ. We hold on to our “teachers” and our “ministers” while living in independence from the Body of Christ around us. Not only is this a meagre existence, it also prevents the real edification that is ours by the local gathering and functioning of the Body of Christ. It keeps us from participating in the things of our Father with each other; from developing the very ministry that HE has called us unto; from realizing that my relationship with my brother is paramount in the seeing of His Face.

“And Judah spake unto him, saying,
The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying,
Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you”
Genesis 43:3

For Jacob’s part he must sacrifice the object of his greatest love. For his independence to die he had to give up that which was most dear to him. The thing that he clung to had to be released in order to realize God’s full revelation. Little did he realize that the Faith of Abraham must be lived out through each succeeding generation. Doctrines and teachings can pass without much cost, but real and vital faith must know true sacrifice. Abraham’s experience would not suffice for Jacob. Jacob must also offer the same sacrifice to know the same God. The famine had to be greater than Jacob’s resistance to hold back yet in the final relinquishing of his last love he found that God gave more than he could ever imagine. So too is it with each of us.

For Jacob’s sons part they would not see the face of Joseph until they were willing to sacrifice their lives for their brother Benjamin (Genesis 44:18 – 45:2). Joseph means, “He shall add”. As the early Church revealed the life and power of the risen Christ in their day, we too are standing on the brink of the coming forth of Benjamin, the Son of HIS RIGHT HAND! This Benjamin will require people who are willing to lay down their lives for each other that the Lord Jesus Christ himself may openly declare HIS presence in our midst. The sacrifice and faith required for the early church must once again be known by this generation. It is a day to repent of living APART from the people of God around us; a time to cease from a life of subsisting on a provision from somewhere else. The manna that sustained us in the wilderness is not designed for the Land of Promise! Let us lay down our lives that we might see the face of our beloved. It is for Benjamin that the Son is looking; it is to Benjamin that the fivefold portion is given. It is in loving one another, interacting with one another and praying for one another that we shall know of this Glory.

“Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love,
being of one accord, of one mind”
Philippians 2:2

Ω

“Ye know that my wife bare me two sons” *
GENESIS 44:27

“The sons of Rachel;
Joseph and Benjamin”

* Later writing

Brian Troxel

THE ANCHOR HOLDS

THE ANCHOR HOLDS

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul,
both sure and stedfast…”
HEBREWS 6:19

In the life of every believer there are storms within and without. In this world we have temptations, fears, insecurities and upheavals on every side. Within we have disappointments in circumstances, friends and acquaintances; battles with unseen forces that seek to circumvent our purpose and desire to serve, seek and know our God. Winds that blow, waves that roar and the subtle voice of the enemy whispering of our sins, weaknesses and fears all seek our destruction and ruin. Such would be our lot without hope as an ANCHOR to HOLD US FAST TO HIM!

Hope is not a flimsy, religious thought with which we vainly seek to prop up our tattered lives. HOPE IS THE ANCHOR OF OUR SOUL; not only that it is an anchor that is BOTH sure and steadfast. Hope is a power that enables the soul to remain steadfast through the calamities and storms of life. Its power communicates to us the ASSURANCE of a God who loves us not because we are strong but because HE IS STRONG. Hope is the thing that determines a man’s strength. Men without hope cease to live. Men who lose hope have lost the means by which life remains an adventure. Hope is what gives us the tenacity to draw near to our God in times of trouble and tribulation.

“For the law made nothing perfect,
BUT THE BRINGING IN OF A BETTER HOPE DID;
BY THE WHICH we draw nigh unto God
HEBREWS 7:19

It is by a BETTER HOPE that we are enabled to draw near unto God and that HIS life in us is perfected and brought to fruition! Let us not cast away our confidence for it is the means by which we stand strong in this day of uncertainty. The ANCHOR OF HOPE HOLDS all who look to HIM and trust in HIM even when our soul is overwhelmed in the storms of life.

“The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed,
a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee:
for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee”
PSALM 9:9 – 10

Ω

“Trust Him when dark doubts assail thee,
Trust Him when thy strength is small,
Trust Him when to simply trust Him
Seems the hardest thing of all.
Trust Him, He is ever faithful,
Trust Him, for his will is best,
Trust Him, for the heart of Jesus
Is the only place of rest”
Anonymous

Brian Troxel

ABIDE PART TWO

ABIDE

PART TWO

“If  you keep My commandments,
you will abide in My love”
JOHN 15:10

LOVE is not an attribute of God; it is what HE is within the essence of HIMSELF. HE IS Love. Therefore, in order for me to know what Love is, I must know HIM who is Love. A man’s concept of love can only be true to the extent that he KNOWS God and LOVES God. There are many within the Christian world who that think because God is Love, HE simply overlooks how we live, how we misrepresent Him in this world and how we treat one another. This is one of the lies that keep us from developing into HIS LIKENESS.

“For God so loved the world
that HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON”
Luke 22:32

Love does not overlook sin, it atones for it. True Love is righteous; it is holy and it ever seeks to bring others into its reality. It is in keeping the commandments of God, that I am enabled to live within its powerful sphere of influence. I cannot do evil, think evil and walk in my SELF and think to abide in God. It is an absurdity. The next couple of verses bring out the reason why we are to KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS…

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you,
and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment,
that you love one another as I have loved you“
JOHN 15:11 – 12

It is in LOVING others that we abide in that which is LOVE. Seeking God’s love for our SELF is the very antithesis of actually finding it. When we cut others off from our life, we cut off the very means by which we are to abide in HIS LOVE. When we fail to speak truth, when we remain unconcerned about the spiritual condition of our brothers and sisters, we will find ourselves outside the scope of HIS LOVE. Apathy and neglect are the sins that clothe themselves in religious garments of “it is none of my business”, “it is between them and God” or “I don’t know if such a thing is true”. Love finds out, love searches out, love cares that a man has not progressed in his walk with God. Love risks relationship to be an extension of God’s heart and desire. Love ever seeks to be God’s heart to God’s people. It does not ignore sin; it does not overlook the issues that hold a life from the streams of HIS Grace.

Some are willing to help with the symptoms of sin but love goes to the core of the matter. Love ever seeks right “being” through which right “doing” becomes the effortless expression. People can only do right by becoming right. It is easier to cater to the symptoms than to actually deal with the root of the matter which results in the same circuitous pattern of behaviour. To love a person requires caring enough to bring them to the point of pain and discovery; to be willing to walk along side someone till we see a heart made free by His love within.

We are to LOVE ONE ANOTHER, AS HE HAS LOVED US! He is not interested in leaving me in my darkness, my carnal tendencies and my own lack of development. HIS Love for me reveals the hidden things, the things that I am blind to in order that I may grow up into HIM. His Love in others confronts me, helps me and causes me to consider my ways. The Love of God is what motivates us to interact with one another, HIS Truth is what makes us FREE and HIS Joy is the fruit of relationship.

“…but, speaking the truth in love,
may GROW UP in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”
EPHESIANS 4:15

Ω

“If we want the advantages of love,
then we must be willing to take the risks of love.
And that requires vulnerability.
Of course, we can refuse this path
and trod another one devoid of openness.
But the toll on such a road is extremely high.
Charles (Chuck) Swindoll

Brian Troxel

THE CONTRAST

THE CONTRAST

“And the word of God increased;
and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly;
and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith”
ACTS 6:7

This is a verse filled with things that relate only to the Kingdom of God. Three things are worthy of note here.

1. The Word of God increased (spread out, in influence and effect)
2. The Number of Disciples Multiplied Greatly
3. A Great company were Obedient to THE FAITH

This is in stark CONTRAST to what we see in our land today. The Word of God was spreading among the people like wild fire. The number of Disciples (not children of God, not attendees, not pew sitters but true DISCIPLES) multiplied GREATLY! Disciples in those days were ones who heard the call to “pick up their cross and follow” HIM. The command of Jesus was and is to go and MAKE DISCIPLES, not converts. The message is called the Gospel of the KINGDOM and it can only be ministered in the FAITH of those who have been disciplined, broken and energized by the Life of the SON. We also read here of an OBEDIENCE to the FAITH which is not an adherence to someone’s teaching, ‘statement of faith”, or doctrine of belief. This is THE FAITH that first and foremost must be obeyed within the lives of those who hold it. Any faith that does not require obedience, cross bearing and a laying down of our rights, is powerless, futile and impotent. It is because of this that we see so little of the Word of God spreading throughout our communities, our homes, and our country. FAITH without works IS DEAD.

A FAITH that costs nothing is worth nothing!

Where is that Word that is effecting change, bringing deliverance and radically transforming the lives of those who are gripped with the wonder of HIS LIFE? Let us not settle for the status quo with little change, no repentance, carnal strife and division, speaking and doing of evil to one another, and a lack of care and concern over the spiritual condition of our brothers and sisters. We should be grieved over the CONTRAST between what is today and what was in that day when the HOLY SPIRIT was present moving, birthing, and holding all things together in the bonds of HIS peace and brotherly love. It is time to turn from the ways and methods of men that have a semblance of order but are utterly devoid of the manifestations of HIS LIFE and GLORY. The church often acts much like Gideon threshing a little bit of wheat hoping that no one comes along and takes his little harvest. We see churches in the land doing everything in THEIR POWER to keep the membership steady, to hold on to the few that remain. Rather we should be breaking forth in the power and glory of HIS MIGHT, that the rulers of this world will take note that we not only HAVE BEEN WITH JESUS, but that WE ARE HIS BODY. This is not some idealistic concept; it is what JESUS PRAYED FOR. Who cannot believe that what HE prayed for MUST come to pass? Faith is the power that puts motion and fire within our hearts to see this become the reality in the earth.

THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH AS (to the same degree) IT IS IN HEAVEN!

“The true follower of Christ will not ask,
“If I embrace this truth, what will it cost me?”
Rather he will say,
“This is truth. God help me to walk in it, let come what may!”
A. W. Tozer

Brian Troxel