Spiritual Growth

Spiritual Growth

Growing in the Spirit of Truth

“No man also having drunk old wine
straightway desireth new: for he saith,
The old is better”
Luke 5:39

Spiritual growth is often the result of a series of spiritual crises and the rending of former things in order to embrace deeper and higher things in God. It is an easy thing to read of in the scriptures; the Spirit of God draws men and women from the former things into the new. However, when it is your own faith, your own beliefs and your own forsaking of things, it is a different matter.

 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth. ’But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common”
Acts 11:5-9

The true living faith of Christ within a heart is able to make that transition from one place into another for it is ever drawn by the Author and Perfecter of it. Peter’s ability to step into New Testament Truth was the result of a faith that knew his God. Many of God’s people are stuck in former things simply because it is comfortable and known. There is an inability to go beyond the elemental because of a faith which is rooted in something other than a living relationship with Christ.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways”
1 Corinthians 13:11

It is an easy thing to recognize and observe the natural growth of a child. Those with children or grandchildren are amazed at the constant changes and development they see in them from week to week and month to month. Spiritual growth however requires faith to move from the things of a child into the truth of the fullness of Christ. There are consequences to those who move on in God; there may be losses of friendship, changes in responsibilities, a battling of new enemies within and without. Yet it is these transformations which bring the adventure of walking with God. The years of holding on to the hands of a teacher (good for a season), must give way to the experiential touching and walking with God for themselves. The teachings and doctrines of others must give way to the ministration of His Life in order that His Name and His Power be made known. Clinging to forms of truth, without walking in them, will leave us stunted and undeveloped in our spiritual growth.

The compulsion to leave the shadows and forms of a thing to walk in the reality is a vital step of faith; the same one multitudes of God’s people have stepped into before us. Paul declares in Romans “from faith unto faith”. Every step taken is one of the joys of the Christian experience; not only for us but even more so for the joy it brings to our heavenly Father. May each of us hear His call to “Come up hither” (Revelation 4:1). To linger in the former things is to deny this call.

The stepping of Peter out of the boat, the young man’s lunch feeding the multitudes, the stretching forth of the withered hand on the Sabbath (in opposition to all in the Synagogue), are all examples of those who obeyed the faith stirring within. As Pilgrims of a living faith may we venture into the world around us with His Light, Love and Life.

⊃⊂

“The greatest spiritual crisis comes when a person has to move a little farther on in his faith than the beliefs he has already accepted”
– Oswald Chambers

See: NOT SO!

BT

Return

Return

Return

To the Place of the Vow

“I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you vowed a vow to me. Now arise, get out from this land, and return to the land of your birth.’”
GENESIS 31:13

In our journey with God there are times where we need His intervention to bring us back to that place of remembrance, back to the place of our vows of abandonment to Him.

For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again”
Psalm 78:39

Life takes its toll upon us. We get caught up in the things of this world, we take our eyes off of Him and we discover ourselves living by a faithless faith. We find ourselves lost in the sea of lethargy and disillusionment. We lose sight of the glorious “prize” of the high call of God in Christ Jesus. It is in these moments that HE calls us back to the place of our vows where we first committed our lives to Him. We need to remember His mighty deliverance’s and the great kindness HE revealed unto us in our darkness. He desires to bring us back to the place where our love for Him was fresh and our eyes were single. He causes us to realize that those words spoken in love and sincerity were important to Him and that He has now come to remind us of our Covenant with Him. He speaks to us of His faithfulness to “keep that which we have committed to Him…” How good our God is. How wonderful and merciful are His ways.

“…now ARISE,
get thee out from this land,
and RETURN…”
GENESIS 31:13

We hear the command of God to ARISE for the place where we are is below the place that He has called us to. It takes an ARISING out of the stupor and the complacency in which we find ourselves; out of the wanderings and circular paths of religion to once again walk in the “narrow” ways of the Kingdom, through the “straight gate” that leads us unto LIFE, LIBERTY and the JOY of the LORD! It takes an ARISING out of the mindset that has caused our eyes to slowly fall from being focused upon Him to the things that be of this world. It takes an ARISING to break the habits and the chains of a faithless walk to once again see and live in the atmosphere of a dynamic FAITH; a FAITH that brings purpose and intensity of quest back into the heart of HIS own that we may run with great strength and determination. A FAITH that presses us on to a new intensity of knowing and pleasing Him more than we do now. A FAITH that sees afresh the real and eternal issues of Life that stands before us.

“In returning and rest shall ye be saved…”
ISAIAH 30:15

It is in our returning that we find a renewed sense of His Presence and His Blessing in our lives. Returning requires obedience and response to His Living Word. The response is the means by which we ARISE out of our present circumstance. Faith always requires obedience and action. It is the Word producing within us the ACTION required for its own fulfillment. It is by us staying current with our God that we remain under the shadow of His Wings. For HIS WAY is never static, it is never stale and it will never leave us “barren nor unfruitful” in the things of our God!

“They that dwell under his shadow shall return;
they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine:
the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon”
HOSEA 14:7

Brian Troxel
(updated writing 2012)

While Men Slept

While Men Slept

While Men Slept

“The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way…”
Matthew 13:25

While men slept – the enemy came! What a summation of the history of God’s Kingdom. This parable begins with Jesus declaring: “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field”. He is giving us a clear narrative regarding the history of His Church in the earth. The enemy knows he cannot thwart the purposes of God by persecution only; he is well aware of the keeping grace of the Almighty God. Persecution is his last resort. By cunning and guile the enemy has been able to paralyze, divide and dim the glorious Gospel by simply sowing false doctrines, false teachers and hypocrites. He uses the rampant egos of men, driven by pride and a lust for recognition, that have built their own kingdoms in the name of God.

While men sleep – the enemy comes and destroys families, insidiously, and slowly from within. While men sleep – the fervent love between brethren is lost. Party spirits rise up, each calling people to themselves, with little or no concern for those outside of their “church” or “fellowship”. While men sleep – false brethren come in living unholy lives, walking in compromise with sin and the world, yet using the profession of faith to ease their conscience. While men sleep – they pride themselves in the knowledge of a saving grace yet lack the fire of a love which compels them into ministering beyond their own little circle of friends. While men sleep – the world grows dark and the church is seen as just another belief system because she has lost the vitality, the power and above all the presence of God. While men sleep – their hearts grow cold and the Word of the Lord takes on a doctrinal persona; no longer living, sharp or active. The slumber renders His people ineffective, empty shells capable of quoting scripture but devoid of the life and the wonder of Jesus Christ.

While men sleep is the narrative of Christ concerning His Church. Yet there are times when men and women can no longer tolerate the deadness and stagnation of their lives and begin to seek in earnest, He who alone is Holy. This is always prefaced by deep soul searching unto broken and repentant hearts. The God who knows well the tendency of men to sleep, warns us throughout His Word. Jesus gave us this Parable that we may read and be instructed to be diligent in this hour. The Apostolic ministry of the New Testament era constantly warned, reproved and exhorted the people of God unto diligence to LIVE the Life of Christ, not just to believe the words of Christ.

Even in his day Paul felt the need to warn the people of God against slumber and the resulting spiritual decay:

“Awake to righteousness, and sin not;
for some have not the knowledge of God:
I speak this to your shame”
1 Corinthians 15:34

And again…

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest,
and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
See then that ye walk circumspectly,
not as fools, but as wise…”
Ephesians 5:14-15

“While men slept” is a prophetic warning of Christ to His people in our day.

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh,
shall he find faith on the earth?”
Luke 18:8

The thick fog of slumber that has fallen upon us has resulted in lethargy, compromise, the worldly systems of men infiltrating the church, lack of morals, and doctrines of men which rob God’s Word of its authority. Grace has been presented as a sentiment rather than the power of God. We have made Him in our image; one who winks at sin and the worldly ways in His House.

In this Day of Harvest the wheat and the tares will be dealt with and men will know that God is Holy. It is time awake, to deal with the issues of our hearts. Repentance is the greatest gift God can bestow upon a life. It is the spring from which His glory arises, the womb from which His Power is born. It is the very hope for our generation “upon whom the ends of the earth have come”.

“Wherefore HE saith, Awake thou that sleepest,
and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light”!

This Word was given to His Church and is more valid today than ever. May we hear the Word of the Lord!

See: Look To Yourselves (2 John 1:8)

Brian Troxel

The Measure

The Measure

“One forgives to the degree that one loves”
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

The quality of love can only be known by the deeds it produces.

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk
but in deed and in truth
1 John 3:18

Love without deeds is the fiction of religion.

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

The Measure of a Life
is easily known.
By the life lived,
and the seeds sown.

Turn Us O’Lord.

See: Love One Another

BT

Freedom and Law

Freedom and Law

freedom and law

“The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom
John Locke

Lawlessness is the atmosphere of Satan himself. Chaos, destruction and mayhem is the short-lived expression of men without reason, hearts without feeling and actions without purpose. It is the justice of God to decree that every form of evil has within its own expression the deeds of its own destruction.

The followers of Mao were imprisoned and murdered by the very mobs they once were a part of. The Brown Shirts of Hitler brought their own destruction upon them by the very evil they perpetuated. There are many other examples of this one truth; one simply needs to read the annals of all civilizations to comprehend the days in which we live. History declares the sure end of all who walk in the ways of darkness. The sad testimony of history is that it ever rises to repeat its own sorrows.

Yet in the midst of all the darkness the power of the incomprehensible love of God is ever within reach to all who would come.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”
Matthew 5:16

BT

 

Spiritual Development

Spiritual Development

“But he that doeth truth
cometh to the light…”
John 3:21

“The significance of this statement bears eternal repercussions. Its decree brings to every man the responsibility for his own growth and development in the call and the purposes of God”
– Brian Troxel

See How to know that we love Him

The Embrace of Discipleship

The Embrace of Discipleship

The Embrace of Discipleship

“Paul called unto him the disciples,
and embraced them…”
Acts 20:1

In the midst of the turmoil and opposition to the preaching of the Gospel at Ephesus one phrase stands out: “Paul called unto him the disciples and embraced them”. The truth of Christ within must culminate in a love so powerful, so overwhelming and pure, that the opposition of the world brings His people to the embrace of fellowship.

Affluence and our self-centered culture have made such an experience rare and even considered to be obsolete and uncouth. Instead of just being “disciples” we have become “disciples of” something other than Christ. We have substituted the central thing which unites His disciples and differentiates them from the tares. The Spirit of Unity can only join the pure with the pure or as the Prophet Ezekiel declares “bone to His Bone”. Discipleship is the path to pure motives and holy living. It is the pure in heart who “see God”. In the seeing of Him we are struck with a Love so powerful, so omnipotent and so pure that men quake in its atmosphere. Truth is no longer a statement, it is a life, it is a way and it is the signature of God being evidenced within the lives of those who are becoming His.

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

Love is the imprint on His Disciples. Love is the pure fruit of truth. Teachings, doctrines, statements of faith, emotional prayers are all for naught without Love. Love embraces, rebukes, exhorts, encourages; above all Love NEVER fails. A fruitless life is a loveless life. Love cannot beat in the heart of any child of God without the works of Christ pouring forth from its endless spring. Love is the inspiration of the Cross of Calvary (John 3:16); it alone is the great impetus of God Himself. They who live in any measure of this ocean must give and empty themselves into the lives of others.

“And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick…”
Mathew 14:14

“And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean”
Mark 1:41

“And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things”
Mark 6:34

The Life of the Son moved in the power of compassion. He walked among the people, ate with sinners and mingled with the publicans. He rebuked the pious, the satisfied and those who had a “form of godliness” but in their pride stifled the power and wonder of His Love. Lives unmoved by love have not yet touched the dominion of His Lordship.

“And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”
1 Corinthians 13:2

One can give without love but one cannot have love and not give. Love is the womb of sacrificial living, the evidence of the fire of God burning within.

“…as my Father hath sent me,
even so send I you”
John 20:21

Love is the impetus of God

Brian Troxel

Remember Those

REMEMBER Those

Remember those who are suffering

“Remember them that are in bonds,
as bound with them;
and them which suffer adversity,
as being yourselves also in the body”
HEBREWS 13:3

PRAY FOR THEM AS
AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM
PRAY FOR YOU

See: Prepare Ye My People

Brian Troxel

Prayer and Communion

Prayer and Communion

Prayer is simply the communion of our hearts with God. The touch of His presence brings fresh stirrings of His Own desire within our hearts; we become the altar upon which His incense burns. The closer we come to Him the more we find the Divine enablement to flow in His grace rather than relying on our own feeble efforts to pray effectually.

Travail is the precursor to new things being born in Him. Like a woman with child, the life within her is the source of travail. So also, Christ in His own, produces the cry for His New Creation to come forth in this Day.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”
Romans 8:26

True communion does not happen quickly. It involves an unfolding of hearts, a trust and a compliance on our part in order to be fully given to the will of God. His Presence is the great mystery of the universe. To enter into such a thing is a privilege beyond all others.

Our Walk and Our Prayer Life

As we grow in our sensitivity in touching these sacred places in God, we learn that our relationship with others greatly affects our relationship with Him. Unforgiveness, bitterness, pride, animosity and anger will greatly limit the true prayer of the Spirit of God within us. I cannot expect an audience with Him while I walk contrary to His ways.

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered*
(*literally in the Greek “that your prayers be not cut off“)
1 Peter 3:7

Unforgiveness and Prayer

The deeper we go in Christ the more we find the necessity of being exercised in the grace of forgiveness. Failure to extend to others the great need of forgiveness for ourselves will result in our own prayer life lacking His presence and His unction to move in concert with His Spirit.

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses”
Mark 11:25-26

The insensitive of heart will remain unaffected by the graces of His Holy Spirit. True, effectual prayer is proportional to our participation in the graces of His Spirit.

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy”

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God”

The secret to communion with Christ is summed up in our walk; in honoring and obeying Him in our common, everyday life.

Those who obey His Word honour His Word.

“Blessed are they that do His commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life”
Revelation 22:14

See: Effectual Prayers and Forgiveness

Brian Troxel

Faith Perfected – P2

Faith Perfected –

Part Two

“Faith does not grasp a doctrine, but a heart. The trust which Christ requires is the bond that unites souls with Him; and the very life of it is entire committal of myself to Him in all my relations and for all my needs, and absolute utter confidence in Him as all sufficient for everything that I can require”
– Alexander MacLaren

“…looking to Jesus,
the author and perfecter of faith…”
Hebrews 12:2

Faith lays hold of its author and looks to Him for its perfection in pure obedience.

“You see that faith worked with his works,
and by works faith was perfected
James 2:22

Grace makes the heart willing to walk in the way of Faith.

“…but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith
Romans 16:26

See: Faith Perfected – Part One

Brian Troxel