The Case for God

The Case for God

“And God said unto Moses,
I AM THAT I AM”
Exodus 3:14

Lost within the complex maze of religion there is a bright and shining truth: God is God. Men and women seek to define the mystery of God with words, doctrines and dogmas.  In so doing they invariably end up with an image or a concept of something which has little or no relationship to His true being. Through the ages people have established images and methods of worship in order to appease their inner sense of knowing that He exists. Religion is merely the invention of men seeking to unravel the mystery; to find the wonder of God within the riddle of their innate consciousness of His reality. Even the atheist acknowledges the idea of God by his determination to argue His non-existence. This sense of God is universal for within creation lies the thumbprint and the effervescence of His certainty. The idea of matter coming into existence out of nothing is in itself an absurdity. Neither can life and consciousness of being spring forth from inanimate matter. To hold the notion that the birth of a life is the summation of mindless, inanimate specks of the material world evolving themselves from nothingness into the spark of a living soul is to deny all logic or reason.

One of the fundamental laws of Being is that inanimate matter is incapable of the acknowledgement of its own existence.

“I AM THAT I AM”

This is the declaration of God Himself. What is true in Him is true of us. We are who we are. This sounds trite and banal yet at the core of this acknowledgment is the rationale as to who we are. The mystery of self is in itself proof of God’s existence. It is this sense of being and self wherein lies the spark and inspiration for the contemplation and inquiry into the mystery of God.

The verity of our being is the validation of His being.

The distinctiveness of each life, the individuality and uniqueness of every living thing, speaks of a creator who is capable of infinite thought and design. The concept of uniqueness communicates an aspect of His attentive design to every one of us! We need look no further than the mystery of the singularity of every living thing to recognize a creator. Every tree, flower, animal and human, though each may be of the same species, differs in its own being. The fir tree, though bearing a likeness to all other fir trees, is still differentiated by its own being. Its bent, its limbs and overall structure are the result of the master creator. All creation has purpose and design within our own experiential reality.

The interaction of the forces of nature express the integrated logic of design. The wind, rain and heat shape and form the beauty of mountains, canyons and deserts. Rivers cut into the various geographical features of our world producing beauty that fills our souls with awe. All are expressions of the design of God. The fact that we are created by His design and then set into this world to be formed and shaped by our interactions with the rest of His creation speaks of His continued interest in each of us. The ongoing works of God are the means and method of Him finishing what He has begun. The living tree, ever becoming more of itself through the process of life, is a mere reflection of God’s work in the human soul. Trees which have suffered great injury respond by becoming very unique from their counterparts. Life is the ability to respond and react to the experiences around us. It is this reaction which defines our own growth and brings us in reality to the development of our own being. Nothing in life is static; everything is moving, changing and in the process of becoming. It is this process of becoming that brings us to the reality of Good and Evil.

Good and Evil

Evil in itself can only exist if there is the notion of Good. It is in our knowledge of goodness that we have the ability to call something evil. If there were only evil, there would be no contrasting value from which we could assess its nature. The atheist who questions how there could be a God when they consider the evil in the world, is aware of a sense of goodness from which he is referencing “evil”. It is a contradiction in itself. This innate understanding of good is an affirmation of God’s existence. The laws of government, which set the boundaries of the behavior of its citizens, is proof world wide of this latent consciousness of good and evil. Even the most primitive, undeveloped and isolated societies of the world have laws which are designed to govern their conduct. If there were no fingerprint of God within humanity, if we were but the outcome of a mindless process of atomic matter, reason would not exist. Good and evil would be a non-existent concept. It is the sense of goodness alone by which evil is defined.

The more evil an individual or nation becomes the greater their sense of goodness diminishes. The progressive work of evil, apart from repentance, will culminate in greater darkness. The more an individual becomes good, the greater their sensitivity to evil. It is this discrimination that increases their capacity to recognize the good, choose the good and thereby become good. Evil becomes more evil in the light of that which is good.

Good and evil are expressions of the latent condition of the soul. The existence of both is evident in the mixture and impurity of our own selves. God’s work in us is to purify our hearts; purity is simply the absence of mixture. Purity is the desire of a life committed to truth and holiness. Purity is the lens through which we see God (“Blessed are the pure in heart…for they shall see God” Matthew 5:8). Religion has little desire for purity. Its way of “seeing” God lies in instructions and teachings, observances of laws and regulations, and their purpose is to convince others of their “rightness”. External observances will never in themselves effect change in the nature of an individual. Transformation requires a higher nature bringing change to a lower nature. Jesus Himself questioned the religious leaders of His day “And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one foot?”. These “spiritual” leaders were slaves to their own traditions and laws. They measured themselves by an outward conformity to their concept of God and set themselves in opposition to the Light of God. Their pride resulted in a life of hypocrisy. They measured their growth in God by their external adherence to the law rather than by the internal transformation of their hearts to the goodness, grace and wonder of God. Religion can make people capable of greater evil because they have an ability to justify evil under the pretense of “doing God a service” (John 16:2). They think that what they “believe” determines who they are before God – regardless of their actions. Such a contradiction is deception.

Another universal law of being is this: what people DO is the revelation of WHO they are. Religion tends to affirm what people “believe” determines who they are regardless of their actions. Such a contradiction is the LIE of religious deception.

Another Fundamental Law of Being is:
What One DOES is the revelation of what One IS

“Let no man deceive you:
he that does righteousness is righteous…”
1 John 3:7

How simple this statement is and yet within the religious world of teachings and doctrines this is a contradiction! One religion teaches if I pray every day, I am in good standing with God regardless if I kill or injure others around me. Another religion teaches if I simply confess a statement of faith I am no longer accountable for my ongoing actions. In some manner or another it becomes a way to pacify or excuse the wrong being and doing. Whenever evil is justified God’s proximity to that heart is lessened. To kill another in the name of God is inconceivable. To despise another (who is created in the image of God) is to despise God Himself. Right doing can only come in truth from right being. The hope of righteousness (right being) cannot be known through the outward works of religion. The Peace OF God cannot be known apart from the righteousness 0f God. True Peace is the fruit of the rightness of being, not a correctness of doctrine.. The purpose of teaching is to bring men and women into purity of heart and the authenticity of life. The God who tells us to “love our enemies” is capable of making this a reality.

Authenticity is the fruit of truth.
Hypocrisy is the byproduct of religion.

“Love thinketh no evil…”
1 Corinthians 13:4-5

When a life is governed by the incomprehensible Love of God, it becomes incapable of thinking evil. It is incapable of envy and lust. Love is the true fulfillment of the heart of man. An individual filled with Love has no need for other things. His deepest longings are fully met in the admiration and the worship of God Himself.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Philippians 4:11

This fulfillment is only available within the Life of Christ Himself. Rest is experienced only when God Himself is at rest within us.

“As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness:
I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”
Psalm 17:15

Authenticity is the fulfillment
of God’s work in man

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Charles Spurgeon

Quote for Today

“…the worse the people are among whom you live, the more need have they of your exertions; if they be crooked, the more necessity that you should set them straight; and if they be perverse, the more need have you to turn their proud hearts to the truth. Where should the physician be but where there are many sick? Where is honour to be won by the soldier but in the hottest fire of the battle? And when weary of the strife and sin that meets you on every hand, consider that all the saints have endured the same trial. They were not carried on beds of down to heaven, and you must not expect to travel more easily than they. They had to hazard their lives unto the death in the high places of the field, and you will not be crowned till you also have endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
– Charles Spurgeon

Quote for Today – Jacob Boehme

Quote for Today

“If men would as fervently seek after love and righteousness as they do after opinions, there would be no strife on earth, and we should be as children of one father, and should need no law or ordinance. For God is not served by any law, but only by obedience.”
– Jakob Boehme

Quote for Today – Polycarp

Quote for Today

“…by grace ye are saved, not of works,” but by the will of God through Jesus Christ . . . If we please Him in this present world, we shall receive also the future world, according as He has promised to us that He will raise us again from the dead, and that if we live worthily of Him, ‘we shall also reign together with Him,’ provided only we believe . . .”
– Polycarp (martyr)

Quote for Today – John Wesley

Quote for Today

“Lord, I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will. Let me be employed by You or laid aside for You, exalted for You or brought low by You. Let me have all things, let me have nothing, I freely and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You are mine and I am Yours. So be it. Amen.”
– John Wesley

Eternal Life and the Resurrection – Part Two

The Resurrection

Part Two

The resurrection of the dead is simply the revelation of the seed which was sown. If the life was evil, filled with self-seeking, self-loving and self-dependence so will it be in the resurrection. If we plant the seed of a noxious plant that will be its resurrection.

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain”
1 Corinthians 15:34-37

In the Resurrection, God gives a corresponding body to the seed sown. What we become through the outworking of the cross of Christ and the power of His Grace determines the wonder of our resurrection. Paul prefaces this word on the resurrection with “Awake to righteousness and sin not”.

It is critical that we begin to correlate our walk here with our resurrection there!

“But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him,
and to every seed his own body…”
1 Corinthians 15:38

“To every seed its own body…” May God open our eyes to the power and truth of this, that we may not live in the slumber of religion but that we would in fact “Awake to Righteousness”. Let us re-examine the truths we hold and the clear teaching of Christ. Paul wrote concerning his own life:

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
2 Timothy 4:8

Why could Paul state this?

“I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith”
2 Timothy 4:9

The confidence of his resurrection was based upon his life here on earth. He had fought the good fight, he had finished his course and purpose in God, and he had kept the faith of Christ alive and relevant in his heart.

We cannot slumber in our walk here and expect the rewards of righteousness there. His reward is with Him and He will reward every man according to their works. May the light shine and may we seek fellowship with others that will exhort and encourage us to live “godly in Christ Jesus”.

Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God”
Romans 2:6-11

And again:

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

Our resurrection will be according to the life we live not because of some religious confession we make. May God awaken us to live righteously, truthfully and confidently in the power of His Grace.

The gift of eternal life is not by works but by grace through faith. However, the manner of our resurrection will be proportional to our faithfulness to the talents received, His commandments kept and obstacles overcome.
“To him that overcometh will I give…”

If there be no overcoming there will be no receiving
of the promises of God in that day
(Read the message of Christ to the seven churches
for insight. Revelation 2:1-3:22)

God’s Word to us, “Awake to righteousness and sin not”, is clear. Any teaching which contradicts the clear truth of this is deception and error.

Brian Troxel

Eternal Life and the Resurrection – Part One

Eternal Life & The Resurrection

Eternal Life

Introduction

“And this is the promise that he hath promised us,
even eternal life”
1 John 2:25

Jesus did not come to give us eternal existence. All of humanity has an ongoing existence after this life. Christ came to bring His creation into life!

“I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly”
John 10:10

Life is so much more than the continuum of time; life is to be filled with an abundance of knowing, loving and worshiping Him who is the LIFE. Many believers consider eternal life in reference to something they receive after they die, rather than in terms of their relationship with God in the now. This is where we lose the impact and the wonder of all that Christ is. Jesus Himself defined eternal life and His definition was clear and concise; eternal life is defined by our relationship with Him and His Father.

“And this is life eternal,
that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
John 17:3

The depth of our knowing of Him and the Father is THE determining factor in the power and wonder of our own resurrection.

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection
Hebrews 11:33-35

Eternal life is not something we earn; it is simply the gift of God. Through grace we are given this gift in the person of Jesus Christ without merit or works of our own. He IS eternal life; it is not a commodity given apart from Him. It is my relationship with Him which determines the power and the marvelous working of His life in mine. Relationship is never earned; it is fostered and nurtured by the entwining of one life with another. Love always denotes action, sacrifice and pursuit.

“And this is the record,
that God hath given to us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son.”
1 John 5:11

Eternal Life is IN the Son and my partaking of Him determines the depth, the power and the influence of Him within my being. The branch must abide in the vine to partake of the power and life of the vine. As I yield to His Life and His government eternal life is at work. Jesus did not come to bring a new teaching; He came to bring unto us His Life in the “age” of our time* (see note below). Eternal life is not a futuristic notion. It is in the here and now that we are afforded the opportunity to deepen and grow in our life IN Him. In this present tense of life, we are made partakers of His promises and His goodness. The word of the Lord is ever “Today if ye will hear His voice harden not your hearts”. It is the present tense of our relationship with Him that gives value and depth to eternal life. Paul says in Galatians:

“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

Eternal life is the “now” life. It is Life held within the frailty of the earthen vessel. It is what we DO with His life which determines the power of His resurrection within us. The parables of the Talents, the Pounds and the Sower all clearly reveal our part in this mystery. The story of the talents was not about how many talents were received; the truth conveyed in the parable is all about what they did with what they received. Same with the story of the Pounds. The fruitfulness of the various lives represented in the parable of the sower were NOT predicated on the life of the seed; fruitfulness was determined by the soil into which the precious seed fell. So too with us. It is the soil of our lives which determines the fruitfulness of Christ. No one can hinder or cause us to be unfruitful or to be fruitful. It is our own relationship with Him which allows and determines the growth of the seed.

The story of the talents was not about how many talents were received; the truth conveyed in the parable is all about what they did with what they received

Relationship is the great Mystery of God; a mystery which cannot be taught or learned intellectually. It can only be surrendered to, explored and developed. Faith is the portal and love the motive for our relationship with Him who is the Life.

“The Life which I now live…”
Galatians 2:20

This is true for all of us. The life we are now living is the expression of who He is in us. We must embrace the witness of the scriptures concerning our present and true spiritual condition. Religion seeks to insulate us from the truth of the words of Christ but there is a stark reality we must step into if we would walk with Him. In the shining forth of Him there is a beholding of ourselves. It is in this crucible of “present truth” that we are faced with our present need. How good is the living word of God! Let it cut and reveal the verity of what we are that we may run to Him for Grace. It is in Him “where we (can) live, and move” and fully become a new creation. How can we settle for a sip here and there when the living waters of His life are available? How can we continue to hide from ourselves and those around us our true condition when the power of His Life is available to us freely and without measure? It is in our ability to face ourselves that we discover the abundant resources of the living Christ. Truth, to be truth, must expose all that is untrue within us. Truly it is the goodness of God that ever leads us to repentance. Of all the gifts that have been given the gift of repentance excels them all!

Continued in Part Two

* Note: The Greek word translated “eternal”
[166 (aiṓnios) does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age (165 /aiṓn) it relates to. Thus believers live in “eternal (166 /aiṓnios) life” right now, experiencing this quality of God’s life now as a present possession. (Note the Gk present tense of having eternal life in Jn 3:36, 5:24, 6:47; cf. Ro 6:23.)]

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – John G. Lake

Quote for Today

“Men tell us in these days that sin is what you think it is. Well, it is not. Sin is what God thinks it is. You may think according to your own conscience. God thinks according to His.”
– John G. Lake