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Thought for Today

It Takes a Seeking

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Matthew 7:14

The strait gate and the narrow way that lead unto life in Jesus are, in His own words, found by few. To find a thing precludes that there was effort spent in seeking it. Jesus exhorted us to seek in order to find, to ask in order to receive and to knock in order to enter into the things He has prepared for us.

Much of the preaching of today appeals to the broad and easy way; these lead to destruction. There is very little ministered concerning the “pursuit of God” and finding His purpose for our lives. A gospel which is not costly is a gospel which cannot transform us. The only Life offered us is the resurrected life of Jesus; a life which rises out of our own death to self.

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate,
and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat”
Matthew 7:13

The strait gate speaks of a narrowness of entry; a way that confines the unruly and rebellious heart of the natural man. No wonder it is not a popular message! It is hard to fill our pews by preaching the narrow way. It is hard to promote our programs and agendas when we speak of dying to self, picking up our cross and becoming a disciple of Christ. It is worth noting the context of these two scriptures (Matthew 7:13-14) for Jesus goes on to say:

“Beware of false prophets,
which come to you in sheep’s clothing,

but inwardly they are ravening wolves”
Matthew 7:15

It is the false prophets, false teachers and ministers who would present anything other than the strait gate and the narrow way. The disciple of Christ chooses a despised and rigorous way. The way of the cross is the only way into the authentic Life of Christ. The broad way will speak of the life, it will preach about the life but if it does not introduce us to the narrow way of the cross it will remain a theory and a teaching rather than the finding of His Life.

They who seek the narrow way will find it and they who enter through the strait gate have begun the journey into His fullness.

The Narrow Way

The narrow way is the way of contradiction
We trade our life for His
We forsake our liberty to walk in His
We die to self so that we may live
We yield our sense of Justice to know His…
The Perfect One slain for sinners
We receive forgiveness as we forgive others
We give up our love to be ruled by His.

May we heed the invitation of Jesus “Enter in…”. It is the heart and call of God to those who have ears to hear.

Brian Troxel

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Thought for Today

Arise and Shine

“Arise, shine! For your light has come,
and the glory of Yahweh has risen on you.
For look! darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples,
but Yahweh will rise on you,
and his glory will appear over you”
Isaiah 60:1

God calls to us to shine though darkness is covering the earth. He sends His light to us in the face of Jesus Christ that we may “arise” in the growing night. It is in Christ that the arising glory of God empowers and strengthens His own to be beacons of Hope to the lost. Our light has come; His life in us is the light of men. His Life is our Light.

“In Him was life
And the Life is the Light of men”
John 1:4

The Life of Christ within is our salvation. Teaching is good and necessary for a season but the teaching must give way to the Life. Teaching must produce a hunger for Him to live and reign within our hearts. In hearing of His life, the true in heart launch their lives into the great ocean of all that He is. The teaching of His extraordinary grace must produce lives that are not content with the “hearing” of His goodness; but like Paul we cry out to know experimentally the “width and length and depth and height” of all that He is (Ephesians 3:18). There is an inward pursuit to “know Him” (Philippians 3:10) for it is in the true knowing of Him we are enabled to walk in the power and wonder of His salvation.

Our living Hope is not based on outward words; our hope is sure because of the Christ within. He is our hope, He is our salvation and He is the substance and surety of all that God has promised.

“To them God willed to make known
what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles:
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”
Colossians 1:27

May we arise in this hour being fully persuaded of His promises. Come to Him with full intent to drink of the waters of His salvation from the living well of His own being.

“Ho, everyone who thirsts
Come to the waters…”
Isaiah 55:1

Ω

“Blessed are those who hunger
and thirst for righteousness…”
Matthew 5:6

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Thought for Today

“Depart from evil, and do good”
Psalm 34:15

There is a simplicity to the heavenly life. Its ways are easy to find and the benefits are many. However, as with any journey, there is a departing from one place in order to reach another.

“Depart from evil…”

One must leave where one is in order to reach another destination. To “do good” one must “depart from evil”. It is not possible to habitually abide in darkness and yet expect to have the ability to do good. The Epistle of James asks the penetrating question:

“Doth a fountain send forth
at the same place sweet water and bitter?”
James 3:11

The answer of course is no. Those who speak good religious’ words and yet speak evil of a brother or sister reveal the inner spring of their hearts. Words are the outflow of who a person actually is; the seemingly “good” words are drowned out by the bitter and spiteful words. A fountain can only bring forth one kind of water, not two. It is as we depart from evil that we will find grace to cause the bitter to become sweet.

In the leaving of the evil and the cleaving to the good the heart and soul of every believer is transformed. Our journey of faith is one of travelling the “paths of righteousness”. It is a road filled with countless opportunities to grow in His righteousness and His goodness. The life of Jesus is set forth in the scriptures as one who went about doing good; those in whom He is living cannot keep His goodness from shining forth. Doing good is the result of becoming good in Christ. So let His light shine in our speech and in our works

“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost
and with power: who went about doing good…”
Acts 10:38

Brian Troxel

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Thought for Today

“O taste and see that the Lord is good”
Psalm 34:8

Such is the invitation of the Spirit. There is a calling and a beckoning to come and feast upon Him. The eternal living bread of God is available to all through His blood that we may be strengthened and transformed into His very likeness. The Word of God is to be tasted and savored. Its rich and powerful ministrations of life are to become our sustenance. His Life is not meant to be observed from a distance as a spectator, nor handled as a religious commodity; it is to be eaten as our daily bread.

“For my flesh is meat indeed…”
John 6:55

Those who do not eat cannot see. It is as we partake of Him and taste of His glory that we are enabled to see!

“O taste and see that the Lord is good”
Psalm 34:8

Life has but one purpose and that is to grow into His likeness by the participation of our lives with Him. Without the tasting and eating and digesting of Him our life is lived from an ethereal realm of statements, teaching and doctrines. The heartbeat of the living Christ is absent. Our life becomes one of an outward appearance rather than an inward reality.

“How sweet are thy words unto my taste!
yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
Psalm 119:103

“O taste and see. Make a trial, an inward, experimental trial of the goodness of God. You cannot see except by tasting for yourself; but if you taste you shall see, for this, like Jonathan’s honey, enlightens the eyes. That the Lord is good. You can only know this really and personally by experience. There is the banquet with its oxen and fatlings; its fat things full of marrow, and wine on the lees well refined; but their sweetness will be all unknown to you except you make the blessings of grace your own, by a living, inward, vital participation in them. Blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Faith is the soul’s taste; they who test the Lord by their confidence always find him good, and they become themselves blessed”
– Charles Spurgeon

Brian Troxel

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Thought for Today

“They looked unto him, and were lightened:
and their faces were not ashamed”
Psalm 34:5

There is light in none other. It is the Light of God shining forth in the face of Jesus Christ whereby men and women are enlightened. The light of His life is what causes His people to arise out of the clutches of this world; its darkness, its ways, its offerings and temptations. In seeing Him, in beholding His countenance, we are lifted into heavenly places; the veil is parted and we behold His Glory.

“…unto them that look for him shall he appear”
Hebrews 9:28

Looking implies dependence; the eyes are guided by that which one desires. We look for Him for He is our salvation. He is our comforter. He is the hope which makes us not ashamed to declare Him to the world and more importantly to one another. In the seeing of Him the offenses and rejection of friends and foes are dissipated. “Their faces were not ashamed”; their hopes of life and godliness renewed. The ability to rise up from every circumstance and every failure is invigorated by His light of pure wonder. Let us not shrink back because of disappointments in life. Let us ever be renewed in the beauty and power of the light that beckons us to higher and deeper things.

“Looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith”
Hebrews 12:2

Brian Troxel

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Thought for Today

Time Piece

God’s Time Piece

“And the evening and the morning were the third day.”
Genesis 1:13

Time in God is marked by things accomplished. The third day was completed upon God finishing the work He had purposed for that given day. His life and works are recorded as things accomplished not as things promised. This living truth is the heartbeat and focus of those who are in Him.

“Not that I have already obtained all this,
or have already been perfected,
but I press on to take hold of that
for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”
Philippians 3:12

In reading the third chapter of Philippians it takes very little effort to see the centrality of Paul’s life and heart. It was one of pursuit and purpose. His life was about the apprehension of the purpose of God. His passion was wrapped up in accomplishing the thing that God had purposed for him and not just the contentment of a promise.

“But I have a baptism to be baptized with;
and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!”
Luke 12:50

This is the most poignant description of the passion and heart of Jesus. His whole being was bent to the accomplishment of the Will of His Father. He did not rest in the promises concerning Him but was motivated to the fulfillment of them; so it should be with us.

“Let us therefore fear, lest,
a promise being left us of entering into his rest,

any of you should seem to come short of it”
Hebrews 4:1

We are not to rest in doctrines, teachings and promises but we are to press toward the accomplishing of His will in the earth.

“I press toward the mark for the prize
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3:14

Ω

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course…”
2 Timothy 4:7

 

Brian Troxel

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The Fear of the Lord
The Instruction of Wisdom

“The fear of the Lord is THE instruction of wisdom;
and before honour is humility.”
Exodus 26:20

Let the power and substance of this verse sink deeply into the very core of our being. “The fear of the Lord is THE instruction…” His fear in our lives is what teaches us the true wisdom of His ways. It is in knowing “the fear of the Lord” where access is given to the “hidden wisdom” of His ways. Without the fear of the Lord there is a limitation in understanding the wonders of His Covenant or the mysteries of His righteousness.

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him;
and he will shew them his covenant”
Psalm 25:14

The fear of the Lord is His way of instructing us and keeping us free from the snares of man’s methods, ways and teachings. It is His way of preserving us from the “wisdom of this world” and the folly of the religious ways of men.

It is the fear of the Lord that causes us to walk circumspectly and to consider our words, our thoughts and the motives of our hearts. Without this hidden operation of touching His Holiness there is a dimming of the wisdom, understanding and spiritual discernment of our God. The religious ethos of any generation in which the fear of the Lord is lacking will be revealed in the lawlessness of “every man doing that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6).

“But what things they do not know; they speak evil of these. And what things they understand naturally, like the animals without reason, they are corrupted by these. Woe to them, because they went the way of Cain, and gave themselves up to the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the speaking against of Korah! These are sunken rocks in your love feasts, feasting together with you, feeding themselves without fear, waterless clouds being carried about by winds, fruitless autumn trees, having died twice, having been plucked up by the roots; wild waves of the sea foaming up their shames, wandering stars for whom blackness of darkness has been kept forever”
Jude 1:10-13

This is not the description of those without, it is a warning to those within!

“They feed themselves without fear”

Wherever grace is promoted at the expense of righteousness hypocrisy and worldliness will flourish.

Can we not hear the crying out of wisdom unto all who would be instructed in the way of the Lord? His way is the way of life and it is in our knowing the “fear of the Lord” wherein we are instructed to abide within the walls of His salvation.

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me:
I will teach you the fear of the Lord”
Psalm 34:11

Brian Troxel

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