AGELESS FAITH

~ AGELESS FAITH ~

“Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart,
Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old?”
GENESIS 17:17

Our God is Able! Our God is willing! Faith does not consider circumstance. Faith is not determined by what it sees; it is founded upon what it hears. I see many who by reason of age (it is also my own battle) begin to settle and weaken in the vitality and relevance of the vision and the hope we have in Jesus. We see indications of this all around us in the lack of our pursuit of HIM; the absence of fervency in our seeking of HIM. The grip of the living expectation of all that HE has promised becomes an ideal and a doctrine rather than the IMPULSE that propels us on to greater things in HIM.

The thought struck me the other day that no where do we read of the Kingdom of God coming to us while we sit in total passivity. Rather what we read about is the Kingdom of God being ENTERED into by faith, obedience and much trial and tribulation. The failure of one generation must not rob the next of God’s purpose and intent. It is a day to challenge, a day to exhort, and a day to summon up every last bit of resources we have to see this great purpose of God come to pass. Men have grown weary. They have settled for a vision that no longer inspires, invigorates or PRODUCES an ardent pursuit of God. We have settled for knowing about the Kingdom instead of ENTERING INTO the Kingdom. We have allowed age, experience and comfort to rob us of the ONE THING…

“Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God…”

It is time to awaken out of our slumber for the Day is upon us, the hour has come, and the Bridegroom stands at the door looking for a Bride who has made herself ready. The Church that has rediscovered that it is in fact the BODY OF CHRIST, it is ONE and it is HIS,  and it will no longer tolerate the secularization and division that has rendered her powerless and ineffective. It is time for the true ministry of God to minister out of a heart that desires that HE WOULD HAVE THE PRE-EMINENCE in our midst that men might see the Body of Christ come to the “unity of the FAITH”. It is time for the true ministers of the Grace of God to be caught up with the burden of the Lord that we would LOVE ONE ANOTHER IN THE SAME MEASURE, THE SAME PURITY AND THE SAME INTENSITY THAT THE FATHER HAS LOVED THE SON. For if that is the prayer and heart of Jesus (John 17) should not that same burden and purpose burn within our hearts?

“Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of MINE HOUSE that is waste, and ye run every man unto his OWN HOUSE

Until we are more concerned with HIS house than we are with “our” little fellowship, “our” church and “our” ministry we will not see the blessing and the power of God! As long as we are content with what is, the new will not come forth. As long as we are content with a gospel that is not breaking forth with power and reality, as long as we are content with relationships that are in ruins, until we are broken with the things that break the heart of God, we will not know HIS GLORY in our midst.

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it. Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD”
EZEKIEL 36:33 – 38

 
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

A Simple Poem about the Simple Life

LIFE

We each have our part to play
in the common flow of every day
and in that part
may we express His heart

That His Will be Done
‘Till His Kingdom Come

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – Part 4 – Quiet Waters

PSALM 23

PART FOUR

QUIET WATERS

“He leadeth me beside the still waters…”
PSALM 23:2

Here again we see the relationship between the Shepherd and His sheep, it is one of leading and being lead. We are also reminded that the heart of the ONE that leads us is motivated in binging us to places of rest and peace. We read in the New Testament of one of the criteria of the Great Day of Judgement is that God Himself will separate between the sheep and the goats. Many will say Lord, Lord in that day but it is in the crucible of daily life in our following HIM wheresoever HE goes that we reveal whether we are in truth sheep. Goats do not follow they insist on their own way and have no inherent ability to follow because that is their nature. Nature determines relationship not teaching.

In this particular Psalm we see Him leading us beside still waters (or in the actual Hebrew “Waters of Stillness”). He is ever at work in our lives to bring stillness to the waters of our heart that in all circumstances we may be found resting in HIS Love for us. It is here in the still waters that we are able to see HIS Face most clearly for quiet waters reflect the heavens with a beauty and preciseness that troubled waters will never be able to convey.

“As in water face answereth to face,
so the heart of man to man”
PROVERBS 27:19

It is when we are quiet and at rest that HE most clearly reveals HIS heart and purpose to us. We read of the men and women throughout the Old and New Testament that knew HIM as their Rock, their high tower, their refuge and resting place revealed a quality of character that can only come from relationship and trust. Troubled and bitter waters can only minister strife, anger and resentment because what a person is will be revealed in the waters that flow from their heart.

“Out of the same mouth proceedeth
blessing and cursing. My brethren,
these things ought not so to be.
Doth a fountain send forth at the same place
sweet water and bitter?
JAMES 3:11

This is such a penetrating question and one that we need to guard in reference to the words of our own heart. If we are being lead of HIM over time the waters that flow from our hearts will be filled with the depth of HIS wisdom that flow from a heart that is at rest in God Himself. A man at rest with God reveals HIS way, HIS truth and HIS life at all times. It is to such an end that we pray that HE would continually lead us, that we would faithfully follow and that HE would receive all the glory and praise for HIS goodness and mercy endures forever. AMEN.

Ω

“See in the meantime
that your faith brings forth obedience,

and God in due time
will cause it to bring forth peace”

John Owen

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – Part 3 – REST –

PSALM 23

PART THREE

REST

“He maketh me to lie down
in green pastures…”
PSALM 23:1

Rest is a state of heart that is not dependent upon location or circumstance. Here we see the great “mover” of men causing us to lie down in the rich provisions of His care. How little we realize that some of the great curses of sin are restlessness, anxiety and worry. It is in following the Great Shepherd of our souls that we find a grace ever moving us to places of rest and repose in the assurance that He cares and watches over us. “He maketh” (causes us) to lie down and so we find that peace that passes understanding. A peace that is not as the world gives, dependent upon circumstances, but a peace that is found in HIM as we follow wherever HE leads. Rest and peace are the result of a relationship with the Great Shepherd.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls”
MATTHEW 11:29

It is in being yoked with HIM that we learn of HIM. Bible schools, teachings, meetings and other activities alone will never cause us to KNOW HIM. It is in learning of HIM that we discover that meekness and humility is the “condition” of a heart that finds rest and repose in HIS infinite life. Let us not be discouraged in the WAY for we read here that “HE MAKETH” us to lie down. HE is ever with us to search out and lead us to discover that peace and rest in HIM rather than other things.

“the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days’ journey,
TO SEARCH OUT A RESTING PLACE FOR THEM”
NUMBERS 10:33

When we insist on our own way, our own righteousness and our own provisions we forfeit the very rest that we so desperately crave. This rest is reserved for those who are able to submit to the wisdom and way of our Shepherd. We read in the New Covenant of ONE that IS COME to shine forth as the Child of the MOST HIGH GOD for the purpose of…

“To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace”
LUKE 1:79

How we need to see that REST is the fruit of being in the WAY, of allowing HIM to guide our feet INTO THE WAY of Peace. May the Lord stir us anew to be found ever in HIS WAY, to be where HE LEADS and GUIDES us to the green pastures of His provision.

“THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
I SHALL NOT WANT”

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 PART 2 – I Shall Not Want –

PSALM 23

PART TWO

“I SHALL NOT WANT…”
PSALM 23:1

“Want” is not, for most of us, a concept with which we are familiar. We live in a land blessed with abundance. While in other parts of the world there is great want and need for the necessities of life, we here see a great want for the EXCESSES of life. When we truly believe that the Lord is our Shepherd and that HE provides our needs we should be free from the lust of things externally and internally. We should be finding rest in HIS PROVISIONS and HIS GREAT PROVIDENCES. So many of us work day and night to pay for the excesses; things that are far from being necessities. “We have to make a living” is our excuse when in reality we have sold ourselves into a life of servitude for the “things” that this world has to offer. We are not talking here of some religious vow of poverty; we are speaking of a contentment in the LORD our Shepherd. We are talking of a freedom from the passion for “things” that would entice and burden us with a life of debt to this world. Our lifestyle should not enslave us but rather free us to serve our God.

I SHALL NOT WANT is a life that is free to follow and serve our Great Shepherd. I SHALL NOT WANT is a life that is free from the lusts, passions and entanglements of this world. I SHALL NOT WANT is a life that has found peace in knowing that HE is our provider; that HE really is all that we need. It is a freedom from the pressure of this world to have and hold more. For in truth those things can have a hold on us. WE ARE ALWAYS THE SERVANT OF THAT WHICH OUR HEART DESIRES. That is why Jesus says….

“Take heed and beware of covetousness,
for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses”
LUKE 12:15

Covetousness is a condition of the heart. It steals the affections of our heart with great subtlety, slowly causing our focus to change; the reason that we do something is altered from that which is good and necessary to that which satisfies a lust or a desire. A contented life in this world is the result of seeking, desiring and living within the provision and way of the Lord our Shepherd. As we, in the spirit of thankfulness and praise, make our requests known unto HIM we begin to discover the WAY of HIS PEACE in our lives. It is a battle to keep our eyes focused on the ONE who is OUR PROVISION and our God. We are reminded in John’s Gospel…

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passéth away, and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever”
I JOHN 2:15

I SHALL NOT WANT is the fruit of a life that is finding its contentment in the LIFE and PROVISION of THE LORD OUR SHEPHERD. May we daily seek this life of simplicity and rest. To abide in the Love OF the Father is to be free from the love of the World. This freedom is found as we displace one love with a GREATER LOVE. Religion is always seeking to do things that appear spiritual and we often hear the scripture misquoted “…I must decrease, He must increase…” The truth is “HE MUST INCREASE, I must decrease…”

“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

The Preaching of the Gospel

THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL

“Woe is unto me,
if I preach not the gospel!.”
I CORINTHIANS 9:16

The ministration of the Gospel is not for a select few; it is the awesome responsibility of every one of His people. Each one of us is CALLED to a unique and specific ministration of HIS LIFE. The Good News of HIS LIFE IS the Gospel. It is most perplexing that we have relegated the preaching of the Gospel to a select few when in reality each of us may be the only Bible that some people are going to see and hear. It is a DAY to live and preach the Gospel to all of those that are around us; to those who are walking in darkness and to those who are walking in the light! We see our brothers and sisters struggling in sin and defeat; they also need the GOOD NEWS that there IS an answer to their struggles! We need to see that the reality of the LIFE of Christ IS the answer for the world. We need to be bearing within our hearts the eternal flame of HIS CRY for all men.

“For thou shalt be his witness
unto ALL men of what thou hast seen and heard”
ACTS 22:15

The criterion of our witness to others is based on what WE have seen and heard! I am not responsible to preach or declare what someone else has seen or heard. My responsibility is to DECLARE WHAT I HAVE SEEN AND HEARD! The question to each of us now is, WHAT HAVE WE SEE AND HEARD? Men who see little have little to show in their lives of our great God. Men who hear little have little to declare of the goodness and majesty of our God.

We live in a day of information overload; a day in which knowledge has increased. Unfortunately, this knowledge has produced little in the Christian Church in North America of a clear and powerful expression of the risen Christ. Too few have burning within their hearts the passion to EXPRESS HIS LIFE in this world. Too many are content to sit in faithless inactivity as it relates to the ministration of HIS LIFE in this world. The apathy of “if God wants it done He will do it” is the statement of a heart that has not touched the core of God’s heart. If “God so loved the world that HE sent HIS SON” will HE not also send you and me? If Paul cried out “Woe is unto me… if I preach not the Gospel” how can we be excused from our own responsibility? In the midst of all the religious activity around us, where is the burden in the lives of individuals to become an expression of HIS GLORY? Where is the sense of HIS CALL upon our lives? Where is the inescapable desire within our hearts for a life in HIM that completely transcends our present reality? Men who have no vision of God will have no sense of the purpose of the life that God has called them unto. We are to be HIS WITNESSES unto ALL men. We are to BE HIS EXPRESSION of all that HE is to ALL MEN! What that expression in each of us is dependent upon what we “have seen and heard” individually. The lack of a burden to reveal HIM, the absence of a cry within each of us to reveal our portion of HIM in the earth, is an all too common sign of the condition of the Day in which we live.

HIS return is predicated on the preaching of the Gospel…

“And this gospel of the kingdom
shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations;
and THEN shall the end come”
MATTHEW 24:12

Brian Troxel