Alone With God

Alone with God

“And Jacob was left alone”
Genesis 32:24

Alone with God. God’s greatest work within an individual is often done in secret, away from the sight of others. God takes aside those upon whom His call rests, to achieve His end within their hearts. Wrestlings, breakings and spiritual insights are common to those who are “the called according to His purpose”. It is the broken vessel which most easily pours forth the fragrance and living waters of Christ. A vessel broken in the hands of God can never be broken by the circumstances of life. Broken ones are strong in God; they know that their weakness is the place of God’s power. They have learned of the One broken for them, from Whom springs joy and delight. In the secret places of God, they have discovered their call, their purpose and their destiny. Many circumvent this sanctified place of the preparation and dealings of God. They choose instead to fill their time with activities, entertainment, shallow relationships and even religious exercises in order to avoid the mystery of this alone time with God. The narrative of Lot (Hebrew meaning: veiled one) is an accurate portrayal of many today. Though righteous (2 Peter 2:7-9), he clung to the vestiges of the world while simultaneously being vexed by it. It is the conundrum of His own: loving God but also hanging on to the ways and wisdom of this world. Loved of God but lacking the intimacy and deep knowledge of Him reserved for those who come to that secret place with God.

The Faith of Lot

“And when the dawn rose, then the angels urged Lot, saying, Rise up, take your wife and your two daughters who are found, lest you be cut off in the depravity of the city. And he lingered. And the men lay hold of his hand and his wife’s hand, and on the hand of his two daughters, Jehovah having mercy on him. And they caused him to go out, and they put him down outside the city. And it happened as they led them outside, he said, Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay in all the plain. Escape to the mountain, lest you be swept away. And Lot said to them, Please, no, Lord! Behold, now, Your servant has found grace in Your sight, and You have magnified Your mercy which You have done to me in saving my life. And I am not able to escape to the mountain lest some evil overtake me and I die. Please, now, this city is near, to flee there, and it is a little one. Please let me escape there! Is it not a little thing, that my soul may live?”
Genesis 19:17-20

God’s call was to the mountain but, because of his undeveloped faith, Lot was fearful. He refused and asked God to change His call (on the basis of mercy) and deliver him to a small city! How sad is such a request; how dismal a faith that would forebear the call to be alone with God and choose a smaller inheritance in this world and the one to come. Interestingly, this is the first use of the world “mercy” in scripture. Calling upon God, on the basis of mercy, to deviate from God’s original purpose is a compromise that leaves one, though still righteous, stunted in faith and growth.

“And Jacob was left alone”
Genesis 32:24

It was when he was all alone that Jacob, the conniver, schemer and manipulator, met HIS GOD! It is here that the natural man is crippled, and the inward man begins to rise by God’s grace. It is here Jacob receives the New Name. It is here that the God of Abraham and Isaac now becomes the God of Jacob! Such glory awaits those who embrace the secret of being alone with God. In this place we discover who we truly are and are forced to face the flaws and horror of our true condition. In his wrestling with God, Jacob must respond to this penetrating question:

“What is thy name?”
Genesis 32:27

In other words, what is your nature and motivation?

“And he said, Jacob*
Genesis 32:27

God well knew his name. This rhetorical question was for Jacob to admit and confess the truth of himself. This is an essential requirement for those whom God uses. Jesus told the woman at the well to go get her husband. At that moment she had the choice to be authentic, honest and open with God or remain unchanged and miserable. Her choice determined whether she would receive the revelation of the One who spoke with her or remain a lost and wandering soul. So it is with us. Does our encounter with God bring us to the brink of the truth of ourselves, or do we hide behind a confession of faith, a doctrine or a religious cover? Do we avoid the call to come to Him in truth and instead find a “little one” in which to hide from the penetrating eyes of God?

Alone with God

Do we dare draw near to Him? Do we dare venture alone to tread this holy ground of piercing and revelation? Do we have the stamina of heart to cast aside the offerings of a religion more concerned with covering our sin than to find in Christ the power to be free from our sin. The one leaves us bereft of any sense of spiritual identity; the other brings us to the place of “becoming” like Him in truth!

Alone with God has ever been the experience of those used mightily of God regardless of covenant (New or Old Testament).

We read of John the Baptist:

“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel
Luke 1:80

And Paul:

“…immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus”
Galatians 1:16-17

We read of John on the Isle of Patmos, Daniel, Moses, and many others who by faith drew near to the One who can take “worms” and make them “sharp threshing instruments having teeth” Isaiah 41:14-15

“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff”
Isaiah 41:14-15

Do not be fearful or tempted to compromise your walk with God in order to fit in with the consensus of many; either the cloistered ones who walk in their own counsel, nor with the multitude who frequent the broad paths. Let the lonely times, when friends, brothers and sisters reject you, be a blessing. Only as we are alone with Him can He truly purge us from the uncleanness of our own ways. Never be afraid to be Alone with God.

Therefore, I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words…”
Daniel 10:8-9

*Note: Jacob - “Adjective עקב ('aqeb) means overreacher; adjective עקב ('aqob), insidious or deceitful; adjective עקב ('aqob), tricky or treacherous (of terrain). Noun עקבה ('aqeba) means deceitfulness and noun עקב ('eqeb), consequence..” Abiram Publications

Brian Troxel

Honouring God

Honoring God

“So speak ye and so do”
James 2:12

We live in a very strange time when individuals can study the scriptures, memorize them, and readily discuss them with others; yet live their lives contrary to the very words they speak. The only way to honor His Word is by obeying it. Obedience is the evidence of a life who truly honors and treats His Word for what it is: Holy. If we do not reverence His Word through obedience we will reap the consequences. How foolish it is to speak His Word and yet not honor it not with our lives.

“For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense; how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation
Hebrews 2:2

They who esteem His Word lightly, lightly esteem the One who speaks it.

“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle,
note that man, and have no company with him,
that he may be ashamed”
2 Thessalonians 3:14

Brian Troxel

Ministration of the Word

Ministration of the Word

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy”
Psalm 126:5

We are told in the Parable of the Sower that “the seed is the word of God”. Those who sow such precious seed must do so in the same Spirit in which that Word was given. Many may speak the scriptures, but few sow the “Word of God”. When the word is sown by the Spirit of God it teems with His life and power. There is an impartation into the lives of those who hear with ears of faith; the fire of Life burns, the heart of man is quickened, and Jesus is glorified.

“And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes”
Mark 1:22

In order for the ministers of God to speak with authority, their lives must be subject to the authority of the Word. Authority comes from submission. Otherwise, if men share His Word but their life is not subject to His Word, that authority of Jesus will be lacking. Even the Roman Centurion knew and understood this.

“For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it”
Matthew 8:9

The true authority in the Spirit comes to those who are under His authority. His Word has precedence in their lives. It takes very little discernment to know those who serve God and those who do not. There is a fire and the fragrance of Christ’s lordship in the hearts of those who are subject to His will. This touching of His life in one another is called fellowship. The fellowship of the Spirit is not the result of adherence to a teaching, but of Light; His Light resident within His own.

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another”
1 John 1:7

The fellowship of the Spirit is not a function of teaching but of Light, His Light resident in His own.

Submission to the Word
is revealed in our obedience to it

Brian Troxel

The Gospel of God

The Law of the Spirit

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
Psalm 1:2

In physics, a law describes the behavior and the observable function of a particular phenomenon.

“Laws are descriptions — often mathematical descriptions — of natural phenomenon; for example, Newton’s Law of Gravity or Mendel’s Law of Independent Assortment. These laws simply describe the observation. Not how or why they work” Coppinger

Newton’s Law of Gravity describes the behavior of gravity. Gravity does not exist because of the law; the law simply describes the inherent operation of gravity. So it is in the Law of the Spirit. The Law of Righteousness is a Law which describes how a righteous life lives. It cannot make one righteous it is simply given to describe the behaviour of a righteous life.

“For the law made nothing perfect”
Hebrews 7:19

It is not in our trying to keep the Law that we are spiritual. It is because we are becoming spiritual that the Law of Life (His Life) is fulfilled. Whenever we break the Law it is because we are lacking the LIFE OF THE ONE who alone can keep it. Paul, referring to the Law as given by Moses, declared the following truth:

” For we know that the law is spiritual…”
Romans 7:14

The issue is that we are carnal; it is an absurdity to attempt to keep a spiritual law when by nature we are not. The only hope for any individual is by virtue of the Spirit of Christ invading our lives. By His power we receive a new nature, a spiritual nature which naturally fulfills the Law of God. Only a spiritual nature can fulfill a spiritual law.

“For we know that the law is spiritual:
but I am carnal, sold under sin…”
Romans 7:14

Here is the great contradiction in the life of every individual. The natural man cannot fulfill a spiritual law. There is no amount of striving, no matter how earnest the effort, that will ever enable one nature to fulfill the law of another. In the Law of Gravity, if an object has mass, it is subject to its inherent law of attraction. In spiritual things where there is a residue of the natural man, he will find himself subject to the Law of Sin and Death. It cannot be otherwise. What is this Law of Sin and Death?

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do”
Romans 7:5

There is only ONE WAY to be free from the Law of Sin and Death; it is in our discovery of the power of Christ to liberate us from walking in the flesh! This freedom requires a new nature. This nature must be freed from the pull and the horror of the Law of Sin, a law which holds all things carnal in its deadly grip. The freedom of the Law of Life is the provision of God. It is in our abiding in Him that we are freed from the chains of sin.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit,
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”
Galatians 5:16

The simplicity of the provision of God is clear. The agonizing struggle for all who are seeking freedom from this Law of Sin and Death is described clearly in Romans 7.

“For what good I desire, I do not do. But the evil I do not desire, this I do. But if I do what I do not desire, it is no longer I working it out, but the sin dwelling in me. I find then the law, when I desire to do the right, that evil is present with me. For I delight in the Law of God according to the inward man; but I see another law in my members having warred against the law of my mind, and taking me captive by the law of sin being in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Romans 7:19-24

Paul called this agonizing dilemma a war. It is a war to those desiring to fulfill the Law of God but who constantly find the Law of Sin holding dominion over their actions. The truth is our attempts to fight this war with our carnal nature is like trying to empty the ocean with a bucket; as futile as it is absurd. To try to overcome the flesh by the power of flesh is like a man jumping up from the earth in order to over-come the Law of Gravity. That momentary state of freedom is quickly erased by his inevitable return to the ground. Let this truth stand as God’s verdict upon the carnal mind (the natural man) and especially to those who ascribe to the futility of religion.

“…the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Romans 8:7-8

The Law of God decrees (as evidenced in all creation) that the carnal man is subject to the Law of Carnality. Its nature determines its behavior. Those who live in the Spirit of God live their life according to the nature of His Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-25).

“Ye shall know them by their fruits.
Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”
Matthew 7:16

The logic of God is clear; the fruit of a thing reveals the nature of it. A thistle cannot bear figs. James states that fresh water and saltwater cannot flow from the same fountain. It is here that religion attempts to circumvent the simplicity and truth of God’s Law of Being. What individuals do reveal the nature by which they live. In Matthew 7 Jesus is describing to His disciples the basic law of true spiritual discernment: “you will know them by their fruits”. In the sphere of religion, the clarity of God’s truth becomes murky (by men’s design) when the validity of a person’s standing in God is judged on confession rather than behavior! This deception of Satan infiltrates and spawns its deadly contagion among those who are not discerning.

In Galatians Paul sets forth the “works” of the flesh.

Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and things like these; of which I tell you beforehand, as I also said before, that the ones practicing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God
Galatians 5:19-21

Wherever these traits are expressed it is the result of living and walking out of the nature of the carnal man. Let no one deceive you in this. Confession, good works, prophecy, speaking in tongues, prayer, teachings, fastings, and a thousand other things cannot circumvent the truth. Those who DO these things are under the dominion of a life subject to the carnal mind. What men do reveal the nature in which they walk!

The Law of God frees us from our religious deception. This Law is fixed, and its declaration is eternal. We are to judge ourselves by its ministration that we may know the validity of our walk before Him. If I have lust in my heart, I know my need for His Life. If I become bitter, it is because I am living in the flesh. There is no excuse for bitterness because the Spirit of God frees me from its stain and sorrow. If I hate my brother, I most definitely know such a thing is not of God. If I continue in its dark influence, I disqualify myself from God’s Kingdom. If I hold envy or jealousy, I clearly reveal the nature of my walk. To envy another is to be angry with God for what He has graciously given me. The list is endless! The value of the Law is that it reveals to me my desperate need of His Life to free me from the works and the dominion of Sin and the Flesh.

“But we know that the law is good,
if a man use it lawfully”
1 Timothy 1:8

Again, Paul states in Romans 7 that the Law is good and it is to be used to this end.

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet”
Romans 7:7

Can we not see the Law is a ministration for good? By its ministration the nature of Sin is revealed, and I can see the necessity of my need to live and abide in Christ! How deceptive is a gospel that teaches us to abolish the law by the declaration of a doctrine that we are forgiven and absolved of our wrong doings; as if we are no longer to measure our life by the Law of God! Many have embraced a gospel which frees them to live out their carnal nature with no concerns about their standing in God! This is the LIE which was first spoken by the Serpent in the Garden. God told Adam and Eve, “if you eat of this tree you will die”. The Serpent told Eve go ahead and eat of the tree for “you shall not die”. What was the end of the evil deed of Adam and Eve? What is the end of a life which walks in the “works of the flesh”?

“…of which I tell you beforehand, as I also said before, that the ones practicing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God
Galatians 5:21

Why such a harsh decree? Did not God pay the penalty for Sin; not only ours but the sins of the whole world? The decree of God is not against the acts listed in Galatians 5:19-22; God’s judgment is upon the Nature from which those evil expressions spring. The Kingdom of God is spiritual and those who would enter its dominion must do so on the grounds of the Law of Life in Christ Jesus. To what end?

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
who walk not after (according to) the flesh
but after (according to) the Spirit”
Romans 8:4
(Read the whole context of this scripture)

The Law is good, and it is for our instruction. Let us not be deceived into believing that a religious confession trumps a carnal life. The conviction of God is the path to discovering the Law of Life which alone can free us from our sins. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

“For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for ye are not under the law, but under grace”
Romans 6:14

Grace is not an excuse to ignore our sinful ways. The validity of Grace is revealed in my personal freedom from sin’s power. The gospel of today states we are freed from the law therefore we need not concern ourselves with the Law’s decree. Let us read the above scripture again through the eyes of faith – “Sin shall NOT have dominion over you”. Why? Because if you walk “under (the influence of) grace”, its power will set us free. Paul goes on to contend with those who would use the “teaching” of grace to excuse sin…

“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law,
but under grace? God forbid
Romans 6:15

And again.

“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ,
we ourselves also are found sinners,
is therefore Christ the minister of sin?
God forbid
Galatians 2:17

Those who teach a grace which makes provision for sin have no understanding of the purposes of God in Christ. To hold to a doctrine of justification and still hold to sin is the false gospel of today. Christ is not the minister of sin nor are those who have been justified in Him doomed to a life of sin and powerlessness. Let the Word of God deal with the false teachings of our day. Let His truth penetrate our hearts with His promises and power!

The purpose of living truth is to bring each of us into the holy freedom of God; it is not to find loopholes in the Law. It is to bring us to such a place that we are no longer subject to its decrees because we are living in such a way that we do not violate its righteousness. If I drive at or under the speed limit, I am not subject to the speed limit sign and therefore the penalty of the law holds no terror for me. The falsity of a gospel which states that I can sin, and since I have confessed Christ the wages of sin no longer apply to me, is appalling and deceptive. One who subjects himself to pornography knows within the defiling wages of sin. The one who holds hatred in his heart knows by experience the truth of the wages of sin. Peace is not found in the way of the sinner. Communion with God is not possible in the life of one who lives out of the carnal nature.

“So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God
Romans 8:8

The above scripture is not a teaching; it is the statement of God. It is God’s verdict upon humanity. Praise be to God there is an answer to such a decree!

“Marvel not that I said unto thee,
Ye must be born again”
John 3:7

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh;
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”
John 3:6

The necessity of being “born anew” is the beginning of our deliverance. Our growth in the life of salvation is revealed in the ever- diminishing dominion of sin in our lives. In our growth in grace we find the power of His Salvation manifest in our lives by the demonstration of the fruit of His Spirit! This is the evidence of our deliverance from the works of the flesh and our “translation” from the kingdom of darkness into the glorious Kingdom of Light. The Apostle John, in his later epistles, wrote as a warning to all:

“Little children, let no man deceive you:
he that doeth righteousness is righteous…”
1 John 3:7

A faith that does not carry the life, the power and the works of God is a dead faith. A faith which is in word only has no value in the working out of God’s salvation.

“They profess that they know God;
but in works they deny him…”
Titus 1:16

The nature of Christ within must be accompanied by a revelation of Him without.

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed
from faith to faith: as it is written, ‘The just shall LIVE by faith”
Romans 1:17

To be a living Faith, it must grow from one degree unto another degree of faith (faith unto the faith). It is to produce greater expressions of God’s righteousness! “The just shall (truly) live by faith”. Jesus declared I AM come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. Notice the tense here; not “I will come” but that “I AM come”. It is the folly of religion to point to a day in the future when in reality HE IS COME! There are greater things to come and will be for all eternity. But faith is for me to know and grow within the wonder of His “present truth”.

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God:
Every spirit that confesseth that
Jesus Christ IS come in the flesh is of God”
1 John 4:2

The confession of a dead faith will talk about future things while denying the power of Christ which IS COME, present tense. That is the spirit of the anti-Christ (1 John 4:3). Those who do not take responsibility for walking righteously now, soothe their conscience with a future idea, absolving themselves from a present-day walk. It is a subtle lie of the devil himself and those who live in this “faith” sow to themselves great sorrow on an eternal scale. It is a sign of the Day in which we are living that there are many who subscribe to the lie of this faith.

Paul continues his discourse in the Book of Romans by following up Romans 1:17 with:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
who hold the truth in unrighteousness…”
Romans 1:18

What is the wrath of God to be revealed against? “All unrighteousness” even upon those who “hold the truth” for they hold it in “unrighteousness”. Any faith which is not causing men and women to grow in their ability to live righteously is the result of holding the truth of God in unrighteousness. Let all who have ears to hear; faith without the works of God is dead! The Greek word used for “works” in this scripture is best defined by the English word “energy”. Faith which does not produce the “energy” of God within the life of an individual, unto the demonstration of its author, is dead and carries no eternal value.

“For as the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without works is dead also
James 2:26

Let us hear the truth of what James is declaring by the Holy Spirit. A body without the spirit is but a carcass; so are those whose faith is without works. May we all reconsider the degree and the power of His Life within us today! God is calling, ever beckoning us to “come unto Him” that we may have (present tense) the wonder of His life within our hearts.

“If any man thirst,
let him come unto me, and drink”
John 7:37

To what end?

“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said,
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”
John 7:38

Christ HAS COME but more importantly, HE IS COME! Even greater, HE IS COMING!

“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

Delivered (past tense)
Doth deliver (present tense)
Will yet deliver (future tense)

“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

Lastly, Paul in the Book of Galatians states that the life he “NOW” lived, he lived by the faith of the Son of God. May we take note of the life he lived and its power it had on the world about him! It is time for us to begin to consider what we allow as acceptable. May the power of God’s word move us afresh to pursue in Him greater vistas of grace and glory in our salvation. May His Word move within our hearts to produce a new apprehension of what HE has called us to and for us to begin to see the full provisions which are ours in Christ Jesus!

“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, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end”
Ephesians 3:20-21

Brian Troxel

The Lesson of the Fig Tree – Part Two

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

Part Two

“Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away”
Matthew 21:18-19

The lesson of the fig tree is one of great value to those who seek truth. Its message is for our growth and development.

Jesus came to the fig tree looking for figs. He came looking for fruit consistent with its capability. So it is with us. The righteousness of God prevents Him from an expectation that is beyond the ability of the tree to produce. The God who measures the talents to every child of His according to their ability, is the same God who holds each of us accountable to Him for that gift. This truth brings our accountability into perspective. It is also meant to be instructive to us as parents and ministers of God that we walk in His wisdom regarding the lives of our own children and of every believer. We are not to expect Paul to minister as Peter, nor Jude to speak as Apollos. Such expectations are the result of religious doctrines and confines. The Life of Christ within regards the individual gifts and capacities of others and looks for the corresponding fruit. When the fruit of an individual is consistent with the call and the gifts of God given, there should be a collective rejoicing unto the Giver of all good things. When the fruit of a life is missing or lacking the vitality of its call and capability, there is great need for the ministration of exhortation and admonition. Ministers who fail in this vital aspect of ministry will find themselves accountable to the Chief Shepherd of our souls.

Stewards and Shepherds

We are stewards of the grace of God and as such we are to shepherd His flock with a desire to see Him glorified in each and every child of His. It requires a pure heart to walk in such things knowing full well our own accountability unto Him. The fear of the Lord is the ground upon which His true ministers walk and function. John the Apostle declared that he had no greater joy than to “see his children walking in truth”; the truth of what has been given to them. The one who has been given prophetic insight, that is the thing to which God will hold them accountable (1-see below). The one who teaches must teach the truth of God to the end that every life will grow in the holiness and wisdom of God. (2-see below). Those who exhort must do so with purity and simplicity (3-see below) As to the Apostolic, there is to be a faithfulness to call God’s people to the obedience of faith (4-see below). The list is as endless as the diversity of God’s creation.

(1) “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith” (Romans 12:6)
(2) “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28)
(3) “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3)
(4) “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name” (Romans 1:5)

In the book of Romans, Paul exhorts God’s people to receive all of these diversities as the gifts and the wisdom of God. Those who refuse these expressions deny God’s wisdom and subject themselves to His judgment. Division is the result of man’s wisdom and pride.

“Only by pride cometh contention…”
Proverbs 13:10

The Lesson of the fig tree is that He comes to each of us looking for corresponding fruit. His expectation is consistent with His grace given. In the Parable of the Talents, the man with one talent was judged severely for his faithlessness to the gift given (Matthew 15:30). In the Parable of the Vine, the branch which bore no fruit was “cut off” (John 15:2,6). The lesson of the Fig Tree was meant for our admonition and learning to that same end.

The response of Jesus to the two individuals who were faithful to their respective talents was the same! Different talents yet the same reward for their faithfulness to God’s measure.

“His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”
Matthew 25:21,23

The purpose of these diverse ministrations is:

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,
being fruitful in every good work…”
Colossians 1:10

Brian Troxel

A True Heart

The True Heart

“Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;
try my reins and my heart”
Psalm 26:2

A true heart does not seek to cover sin; it seeks the Lord to expose every wrong and crooked way. Exposure is the path to purity and the hope of salvation and freedom. The Light of Christ penetrates the heart and His eyes burn through the very soul of man. The burning consumes pride, self-seeking and the desire for pre-eminence. It removes the religious fig leaves of those who cloak themselves in garments of piety and false humility.

May our God, as a consuming fire, burn within our hearts until there be no shadows or pretense. Let there be no hidden chambers for sin to hide. He alone can heal the broken and restore righteousness and holiness. He beckons us to the fellowship of the fire; the fellowship of His Light.

The prison of pretense is deep, dark and rooted in sin and hypocrisy. The foundation of this prison is built one lie at a time. Mercy was never meant by God to excuse sin; its purpose is to cause men to come to the Light, to free them from the misery of sin. Mercy’s true triumph is in men and women finding the courage to face the light and allowing it to shine into the hidden areas of their hearts, set free by the “spirit of burning”.

“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged:
and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil”
Proverbs 16:6

Purity of hearts brings us freedom and the liberty to express Him through the vessel of our redeemed self. As the gem, polished and cut, shines with the luster of its own being, so Christ has called each of us to be a distinct expression of His handiwork. Come to Him, present yourself to the light and fire of all that He is that you may know true liberty.

“…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”
2 Corinthians 3:17

An individual’s liberty will be in proportion to their surrender to the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

Brian Troxel

Substantive Life

Substantive Life

“That I may cause those that love me
to inherit substance”
Proverbs 8:21

God’s purpose has always been to make those who love Him, evident tokens of Himself. In things pertaining to the spirit there is a transpiring within whereby the thing believed becomes the reality of the life lived. In Hebrews chapter eleven we read that “Faith is the… substance…”; those in whom faith is real become the very evidence of things hoped for. The reality of Christ within must, by His nature, produce within an obvious revelation of Him without. It is inconceivable to have the majestic Christ within without radical and continuous changes to our walk in this world. The power of His Word infused with the wonder of His Holy Spirit is to the end that we would bear His image in this world.

“Herein is our love made perfect,
that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:
because as He is, so are we in this world
1 John 4:17

The reason for a confidence in the Day of Judgment is because we have allowed His Life to produce in us a likeness of Him in this world! The substance of His life developed in us what we are to impart to those around us. Peter declared to the crippled man

“…but such as I have give I thee:
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”
Acts 3:6

Spiritual substance is the result of our yielding to the power of His Spirit; the forming in us of the Pearl of Great Price! He is the precious treasure. In Him we are no longer barren, poor or found wanting. As the power of the Living Christ makes us One with Him, His virtues become ours through a vital and substantive relationship with Him.

“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life”
1 Timothy 6:18-19

Those who are rich in Christ internally, will be rich in the good works of Christ externally. The power of the good works is directly related to the substance of Christ internally. We can only distribute the substance of Christ in proportion to the substance we have.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another…”
Colossians 3:16

The depth of our teaching and the power of our admonishing one another will be according to the depth and power of His Word which dwells within us.

Let us be encouraged in His heart and His purposes for us. He has made a covenant with us to cause us to inherit substance, His substance, that we may be light in this world.

“That I may cause those that love me
to inherit substance”
Proverbs 8:21

Σ

“…that as He is
so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17

Brian Troxel

Authenticity – God’s Work

Authenticity – God’s Work

“Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night,
before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice”
Mark 14:30

Peter’s love and commitment was based on emotion and the utter ignorance of his need for brokenness and grace. In his mind his resolve to follow Jesus to whatever end was unquestionable. How utterly confused he must have been by the certainty of Jesus’ statement regarding Peter’s failure to come in the hours ahead.

To be told by his beloved Master of his failure, even down to the time a certain rooster would crow at a particular place, must have been utterly unnerving. How could He know of this sequence of events? How could He be so precise in His Word?

I can only imagine that Peter must have gone to sleep that night mulling over this warning. How he must have resolved in his heart to not fail his Lord! Tears and self-doubt would have dominated his thoughts as he contemplated what the next day might hold. His Master’s words had been uttered with no sense of anger or resentment in His voice, but just a knowing of who Peter really was. In spite of all his soul-searching the night before, the next day, in the heat of the moment, he denied his Lord and wept bitterly.

“And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept”
Mark 14:72

God, in dealing with His own, prepares everything for the Master’s use; the mundane as well as the great. All tools in His hands are to bring His Own to the end of themselves and the beginning of God. As the master builder must build the foundation upon the rock beneath, so God brings us to the Rock of Christ. Only here can the real building start and our true life in God proceed. Authenticity is the only rock upon which He will build. Pretense and hypocrisy, though they may cause others to think well of us for a time, will leave the soul in poverty and lead to spiritual death. Christ knows all, sees all and will judge all. The light we refuse on this side of heaven will surely be faced in the Courts of His Justice in that Day. It is here and now that we must free ourselves from the need to please men and bring ourselves to the piercing light of Christ. Then we may stand in that Day as those who have passed from judgement unto the right-being (righteousness) that can be found in Christ alone. He alone can make us right; He gave His Life to make it so.

“Herein is our love made perfect,
that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:
because as he is, so are we in this world
1 John 4:17

As our love is made perfect in Him, we will have the grace and boldness to be “as He is” in this world and  in the Day of Judgment.

Brian Troxel

Love and the Man of sorrows

Love and The Man of Sorrows

“He is despised and rejected of men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…”
Isaiah 53:3

Those who would know the Love of God, must know grief and sorrow. Love makes a life vulnerable and keeps it vulnerable. Love, even in its wounding, grows stronger. Adversity, betrayal, rejection and even hatred cannot dissuade the pure Love of God from giving of itself. It is undefeatable. The more men hate, the purer Love’s motives become. It shines in the darkness because God is the source of its power and its glory. It speaks the language of tears and washes itself from the mire of bitterness in the incomprehensible streams of His grace. It can never be sullied for long.

“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned”
Song of songs 8:11

Love is helpless, yet needs no defence.
Love suffers rejection, yet ever reaches out.
Love walks in sorrow, yet lives in joy.
Love speaks truth, though seldom recognized.
Love is a fire ever burning, yet is always at rest.
Love is unconquerable, yet conquers all.

Σ

“He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love”
1 John 4:8

Brian Troxel

The Way into Life

The Way into Life

“Holding the mystery of the faith
in a pure conscience”
1 Timothy 3:9

The conscience is a great gift of God to us. It is the vital link between the human soul and God’s Spirit. The deeper an individual goes in their relationship with God the greater will be the diligence required to keep one’s conscience pure and clean before God. Foolish is the one who thinks they can ignore the voice of God within and still grow in their understanding of the mystery and wonder of God in their own life. If we have wronged a brother or sister and do not seek to rectify the situation, let us not be deceived into thinking our life in God will prosper! The conscience is the sounding board in our walk with God. Those who truly seek to know Him must ever be sensitive to this inward light of God. An obedient heart keeps the conscience clean. When there is a disturbance in the conscience, true men and women of faith will do all in their power to keep this mirror of God clean.

“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart,
and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned
1 Timothy 1:5

They who defile their conscience and yet seek to portray faith and godliness walk in the hypocrisy of religion. Their faith is not genuine, and the defilement of the conscience contaminates their relationship with God. A pure heart is one which is ever cognizant of the status of the conscience.

“If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift”
Matthew 5:23-24

Supposing we can worship God in truth while allowing offences to remain unattended is the horror of religion. Such worship is carnal, hypocritical and unacceptable before God. The true heart will respond to the inner voice of the conscience. It requires an intensity of heart to walk in the truth of these things. It requires humility to seek out our brother and sister in order to obey God within the sanctum of our own hearts.

“First be reconciled to your brother” *

How little we comprehend the fact that our relationship with our brother is paramount to our relationship with God. We are the Body of Christ and if I set my brother at aught, in God’s eyes I am doing it unto Him. The growth of any individual in God will be measured by the sensitivity of our responses to this Holy gift of God in us. People may sear and desensitize their conscience by misusing the doctrines of grace. Make no mistake; those who do not obey the conscience will end up in an unfruitful and shipwrecked life, and a darkness from which there is no escape.

A few years ago, I came to understand a simple truth:

“Those who refuse to deal with their past,
will have no future growth in God”

Spiritual Stagnancy is the fruit of disobedience. 

We cannot ignore the voice of God in our conscience and expect His mercies to lead us on into a greater knowing of Him. The life of a true disciple in Christ is one of continual transactions with Him who is true. My sensitivity today is the door through which I enter into the New Things He has for me.

“forgive us our debts AS we also forgive our debtors”
Matthew 6:9

May God make known to us the simplicity of this truth. We may hold on to the doctrines of our forgiveness in God; in reality we are forgiven to the same extent that we forgive others! Forgiveness, like all the precious gifts of God, requires our participation. As with forgiveness, so is mercy… “Blessed are the merciful for they shall OBTAIN mercy”. The religion of men requires no real cost; we can defile our conscience with the very truths of God and somehow think we are in right standing with Him! (Please read the full context of Matthew 5:23-24).

There is a cost but also a great blessing associated with the keeping of a clear conscience. True disciples know the benefits of walking in the Way of Truth. Such things are not optional for those who desire to know Him in Spirit and in Truth.

“And herein do I exercise myself,
to have always a conscience void of offence
toward God,
 and toward men”
Acts 24:16
* Note: There will be instances where there will be unresolved issues, but the true disciple will do all they can to facilitate reconciliation. The conscience will be clear when God is at rest in the heart. Christ died for the reconciliation of the world, but men and women must respond to His gracious offer. Others must respond to that same offer from us. A clear conscience gives us the ability of “having done all to stand” (Eph. 6:13) in matters relating to spiritual warfare. A clean Conscience is vital for victory. Christ did all and gave all; it is incumbent upon His disciples to do the same.

Brian Troxel