Serving God – Part Two – Freedom

Serving God

Part Two

Freedom

“Let my people go, that they may serve me”
Exodus 8:1

Freedom is a requirement to truly serve the Lord. Israel was in bondage to Pharaoh; their captivity was cruel and their taskmasters strong. Outwardly Pharaoh represents the world and inwardly he represents the power of sin. It takes a power beyond ourselves to extricate us from our bondage. The greatness of God’s power as revealed in the Book of Exodus is a glimpse of the power required to free us from the nature and power of sin. It takes a freedom from Pharaoh to serve the Lord.

“Let my people go, that they may serve me”

Our ability to serve Him will be proportional to our freedom from ourselves, our agendas and desire for the praises of men. Humility is simply living a life free from the opinions of others. It is a single-hearted devotion to His purposes whereby we know the service which is filled with His praise and His joy.

“Serve the Lord with gladness”
Psalm 100:2

Gladness springs from the wells of the pure in heart. Purity of heart is a heart single in purpose and in love. It is a heart forged in the fires of His love where self is dead and God reigns. The hardness of Pharaoh’s heart is a good illustration of our own; only through His faithfulness and determination is our heart subdued.

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved,
let us have grace, whereby we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and godly fear
Hebrews 12:28

The service which pleases the Lord is based on Grace and this grace is revealed in those who serve Him with reverence and Godly fear. It is by grace we are made free in the singularity of our heart to speak His words and to do His works regardless of the consequences.

“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

There can be no true service unto the Lord except there be a freedom from the fear of man and the ways of man. In order to serve, one must be free to follow.

Serving God – Part One

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Idle Words

Thought for Today

Idle Words

“But I say unto you,
that every idle* word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof
in the day of judgment”
Matthew 12:36

The Greek word translated “idle” used here (see below) portrays the weight of God’s desire for His people. These words from the lips of Jesus speak of authenticity and the need for us to walk circumspectly in our daily lives; it is in these scriptures we are made aware of His constant watch over our words and thoughts. There are several words we need to consider in the light of our accountability:

1. Every idle word” – No word that passes our lips will be unaccounted for in the day of judgment.
2. “Every idle word” The Greek word used here refers to words spoken without a corresponding doing or a performing; religious words that are not backed up by the doing and being in the life of an individual. (See the Greek exposition of this word below; also James 2:12)
3. “Shall give account” Contrary to the modern day Gospel in our land there is a day coming in which every believer will give an account unto Him for how we lived out our lives here on earth. This account will be required of us for every word we have spoken and every deed we have done. How unaware we have become of our accountability. It reveals a lack of our sensitivity to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
4. “In the day of Judgment” May God press upon us a new awareness of our accountability to Him. Let us seek Him for a new sensitivity in our daily lives so we will walk an authentic walk. The day of Judgment for the true believer is not one of determining salvation. It is one in which we reap the eternal consequences of rewards and judgments for how we lived our lives. Even a cursory reading of scriptures show us this and are easily understood: the parable of the talents/pounds, the promises to the overcomers in the letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, and the parables of Jesus in the Gospels.

The day of Judgment for the true believer is not one of determining salvation; It is one in which we reap the eternal consequences of rewards and judgments for how we lived our lives.

The more we learn of Him, grow in Him and walk with Him the more we are impacted by His desire to make us genuine and true. Words are a reflection of the heart. It is as the heart becomes pure that the words become pure and are backed up by the life lived.

So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
James 2:12

The “Law of Liberty” is the Law by which we will be judged. John speaks of the “Law of Life” while James refers to this “Law” as one of liberty. Through the transactions of Christ on our behalf we have been set free and because of this freedom to act and speak we will be held accountable at the end of our time here on earth. Law speaks of government and accountability. God’s word speaks of His Kingdom wherein righteousness, equity and holiness is the atmosphere of His presence. As we become compliant with the workings of Christ in our hearts we will partake in corresponding measure of His eternal rewards. (For those who seek to look into this vital truth please do a simple search on the word “reward” in the New Testament). We must realize that it matters on an eternal level how we live and conduct our lives.

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me,
to give every man according as his work shall be
Revelation 22:12

*Notes:

1 The Greek Word translated “idle”  ἀργός  is a compound word comprised of “ergon” (ἔργον) translated as works and deeds and is used 176 times in the New Testament; “” (the letter alpha which is often used in the Greek as a negative). A simple transliteration would be “words without the corresponding works”. (Words without power, fire or purpose. Words which do not inspire change in the hearers).

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon: ἀργός
ἀργός, -όν, and in later writings from Aristotle, hist. anim. 10, 40 [vol. i., p. 627a, 15] on and consequently also in the N. T. with the feminine ἀργή, which among the early Greeks Epimenides alone is said to have used, Titus 1:12; cf. Lob. ad Phryn., p. 104f; id. Paralip., p. 455ff; Winer’s Grammar, 68 (67) [cf. 24; Buttmann, 25 (23)], (contracted from ἄεργος which Homer uses, from α privative and ἔργον without work, without labor, doing nothing), inactive, idle;
a. free from labor, at leisure (ἀργὸν εἶναι, Herodotus 5, 6): Matthew 20:3, 6 [Rec.]; 1 Timothy 5:13.
b. lazy, shunning the labor which one ought to perform, (Homer, Iliad 9, 320

Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words connects this word with James 2:20 “Faith without works is dead”

Strong’s Concordance:
ἀργός argós, ar-gos’; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G2041; inactive, i.e. unemployed; (by implication) lazy, useless; barren, idle, slow.

This Greek word is used in the following scriptures:

Mat 12:36
“But I say unto you, That every idle (G692) word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”

Mat 20:3
“And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle (G692) in the marketplace…”

Mat 20:6
“And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, (G692) and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? G692

1Ti 5:13
And withal they learn to be idle, (G692) wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, (G692) but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.”

Tit 1:12
“One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow (G692) bellies.”

2Pe 1:8
“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren (G692) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Arthur Pink

Quote for Today

“No verse of Scripture yields its meaning to lazy people.”
Arthur Pink

“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing”
Proverbs 13:4

The Cry of the Prophets

The Cry of the Prophets

“For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness,
and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.”
Isaiah 62:1

The other night while sitting before the Lord I saw and felt a wave of slumber and lethargy sweeping over the Church in our land. It was a darkness that was whispering the deadly ministration of a false sense of comfort and well-being. The subtlety was like a heavy dose of a strong narcotic inducing a stupor of terrifying proportions; a wave of deception sweeping into the very buildings where God’s people meet. It was a spiritual sedative wrapped in the guise of God’s word speaking peace and an illusion of safety. This is in the wake of a people who no longer have the “love (agape) of truth” beating within their hearts but had fallen prey to coldness of heart; satisfied with the teachings of a declared righteousness rather than heeding the call of God to true righteousness. They turned the truth of God into lasciviousness, claiming salvation irrespective of how they lived their lives.

“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
Jude 1:4-5

It is a Gospel which has disconnected grace from righteousness and mercy from the acknowledgement of sin and repentance. It is a Gospel that speaks of peace while men and women live in the bondage of indulgence, sensual gratification and self-seeking. It is a ministration which has “two horns like a lamb, and (yet) speaks as a dragon” (Revelation 13:11). This dragon of old, the great deceiver who deceived Eve in the garden by speaking “hath not God said”, is still speaking the LIE of twisting God’s Word to bring damnation and judgment upon all who would listen to his beguiling words. It offers peace and security in the place of repentance and speaks slumber in the time of war lulling God’s people to sleep on the eve “of the Day of the Lord”. Deceived people are unprepared people; people who say “I am rich (spiritually and materially) and have need of nothing” not knowing the true spiritual condition of being “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). THIS IS GOD’S WORD TO HIS CHURCH.

The true prophets of God feel the weight of this deception and bear upon their hearts God’s care for His Church. They can find no rest within until the “righteousness” of God goes forth from her in the brightness and glory of her God. They know of the burden to see the shining forth of God’s salvation burning as a lamp illuminating the world with the brightness of His Own Being!

God is speaking…

“Sound the Alarm in my Holy Mountain”

The storm is about to break and we stand on the brink of the greatest destruction and genocide the world has ever witnessed, slumbering, not understanding the ferocity of the tempest about to engulf our land.

“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away*; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be”
Matthew 24:37-39

“I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not”
Isaiah 66:4

* It is the unknowing, the unbelieving and the unprepared who were taken away. Noah had entered into the Ark before the storm broke. Blessed are the meek and the obedient for “they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Malachi 3:17) It is a day to prepare our hearts for the storm which is about to break in our land.

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – John G. Lake

Quote for Today

John G. Lake

“The life of the Christian without the indwelling power of the Spirit in the heart is a weariness to the flesh. It is an obedience to commandments and an endeavor to walk according to a pattern which you have not power to follow.”
John G. Lake

The Destroyer of Nations –

The Destroyer of Nations

“How art thou fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
how art thou cut down to the ground,
which didst weaken* the nations!”
Isaiah 14:12

Nations always fall from within before falling from without. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is never about politics; its message is one of righteousness, integrity, honesty and above all love. These qualities are to be the foundation of a nation and are the unshakable virtues of a strong unified country. When the Church of Jesus Christ ceases to be the light of a nation its fall is inevitable. God’s people are not called to be political and the Church is not to involve herself in the carnal warfare of worldly politics. She is to be the inspiration to lead the nations to the Light of Christ. It is in Him alone that people find saving grace and the virtues which make a nation strong and true. Righteousness cannot be legislated; that is the error of religion and politics. The only way for people to be free and live with respect and love for one another is for His law to be written on their hearts; not by a law given from without.

We are exhorted to pray for those who are governing, not to criticize or condemn. Those who are Christ’s are not of this world. Paul and the other Apostles of that day, in exhorting the people of God to pray for those in authority, was speaking of Nero the Roman Emperor. The reason we see the decline in morality and an increasing anger, hatred and vehement attitudes is because the Light of God has grown dim within the lives of His people. The same selfishness, the same carnal agendas, the same politics which are in the world are found within His Church .(**see below)

Jesus said if I be lifted up,
I will draw all men to me.

In the void created by the absence of Light God allows Satan the destroyer of nations to arise. With all the vices and malice of his own being he is allowed to infiltrate a nation bringing lawlessness and darkness in the stead of light and love. Wherever the Gospel is dimmed, darkness will rule in the hearts of the people. God never ceases to be God but He hides Himself and allows men to destroy themselves. The condemnation upon the world is not because men are evil in their natural state; it is because they choose darkness over light, they love wickedness rather than goodness. They become more evil by the choices they make. The people of God in Jesus’ Day chose Barabbas over Jesus! So it is even today.

“And this is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness rather than light,
because their deeds were evil.”
John 3:19

The judgement of God is upon our land. It has already begun and the ramification will be one of great suffering for His people. The insidious weaving of Satan himself into the very fabric of the religious world is a precursor to the weakening and fall of a nation. His stratagem has not changed over the course of history. One simply needs to read in the Book of Romans as Paul sets forth with great clarity the process of God’s judgment; it was already at work in the Roman empire of his day and is now at work in ours (Romans 1:18 – 2:29). Read this with fresh and anointed eyes to see the parallel in our day. Paul begins by speaking of the people who willingly reject God. God in great wisdom gives them over to the inevitable growth of wickedness in their hearts culminating in sexual perversion and reprobate minds. He then turns his attention to the Church at Rome who stand in judgment of others while they themselves are guilty of the same thing .

“Then the one teaching another, do you not teach yourself?
The one preaching not to steal, do you steal?
The one saying not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery?
…For the name of God is blasphemed
among the Gentiles through you…”
Romans 2:21-22, 24

We may speak against the evil without while we ourselves are guilty of the same things within. **We need look no further than the rampant evil of pornography and the infiltration of it into the very soul of many believers. We need look no further than the horror of the political culture of the organized church which sets one church in competition with another. We need to look no further than the gossip, evil speaking and the lack of willingness to invest ourselves in the development of Christ in the lives of those around us. We need to look no further than the rampant rise in divorce and unfaithfulness within the Body of Christ to know how far we have fallen. We need look no further than the indifference within His own concerning the condition of God’s house. It is in the face of all this we hear little from His watchmen, pastors and prophets. We clearly see the condition of the backslidden lives of God’s people addressed by the prophet Isaiah in former days (there is nothing new under the sun):

“His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant,
they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark;
sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough,
and they are shepherds that cannot understand:
they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.”
Isaiah 56:10-11

The shepherds in these days, to a large extent, are hired to fill the pews, to grow the “church” in numbers while neglecting the spiritual condition of the people. They who should be watchman in God’s house have become “blind”. They are as dogs who do not bark (to warn His people) at the coming judgment which is about to fall! We have become more interested in numbers rather than God’s Glory. Compromise with the world is the very darkness of the church. Words without fire and faith without works are the hallmarks of a compromised people. We cannot be of this world and be the light of God to it at the same time. It is the greatest contradiction of all.

GOD HAS AN ANSWER

If my people, which are called by my name,
shall humble themselves,
and pray, and seek my face,
and turn from their wicked ways;
then will I hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin,
and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14

We hear this verse quoted much in our day with the emphasis on prayer. It is rarely mentioned in the context of seeking His face and even more rarely in “turning from our wicked ways”. It is as we seek God’s face in truth that we will see the wickedness of our own ways. Our collusion with the world, our infatuation with things other than God, our treatment of our brothers and sisters, are all part of the “wicked ways” from which we need to turn. God’s word to us is always IF. When the IF is fulfilled, God is sure to be our THEN.

First and foremost, it is HIS people who need to turn, who need to repent and who need to humble ourselves. The Light of God must, by His design, shine into the lives of His own before it will shine into the world around us.

“Ye are the light of the world.
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid”
Matthew 5:14

Σ

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another.”
John 13:35

Discipleship is not a teaching
it is a life.

* NOTE: “weaken” Hebrew Word meaning to prostrate, by implication to overthrow, decay…
Strongs Hebrew Dictionary

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – The Midwives

Thought for Today

The Midwives

“But the midwives feared God,
and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them,
but saved the men children alive.”
Exodus 1: 17

God moving upon the hearts of the Egyptian Midwives many years prior to the deliverance of His people reveals His prevenient grace. God is always aware, always at work preparing for fresh moves and wonders of His Spirit. God’s hand was at work in Israel’s bondage to Egypt many years before raising up men to lead His people out. God always uses men to bring about His Salvation. The Moseses of God are the fruit of faith working in the lives of others. A later generation made up of the Joshuas and Calebs are a testimony of the continued defiance of those Midwives in their obedience to YHWH. God’s work is always mysterious and hidden from the eyes of men but then discovered by succeeding generations for their encouragement and admonition (1 Corinthians 10:1-11).

So too in our Day there is a generation being raised up in the shadows. In the peculiar places of His own choosing they are even now working through the dearth of life within the religious systems of men and discovering the life and wonder of the Risen Christ.

God has been and will continue to be a shelter to every generation. Not only is He a refuge in which they may hide, but this chosen generation will rise to the Call to be a bright and piercing light in this day of darkness. Many years before God has already begun such a work and is even now preparing them! In the failure of one generation to fulfill the promise it becomes sure to the next as God moves on with His purposes. The generation which came out of Egypt failed to enter into the promised land and became the ashes from which the new generation arose (Hebrews 3:7-19). Even in this there was Joshua and Caleb whose faith remained alive, vibrant and ready to enter into the Call of God. May we be one of those!

May there be a recognition and a confidence that God’s answer is being prepared through a “chosen generation” *. He has a prepared people for a prepared Day.

“Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord:
His going forth is prepared as the morning”
Hosea 6:3

Ω

* “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”
– 1 Peter 2:9

Brian Troxel