Thought for Today – The War Against the Soul

War Against the Soul

The War Against the Soul

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims,
abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul”
1 Peter 2:9

The aged and seasoned Peter beseeches the people of God to abstain from the fleshly lusts of this world which have long embattled the souls of the pilgrims of faith. Throughout the varied history of God’s people, the tendency has been to compromise with their enemies rather than eradicate them. The enemies and vices with whom one generation makes covenants/compromises, rule over them in succeeding generations. The things that one generation allows become the excesses of the next; the purity and the life of Christ ebbs away with each passing generation.

We are called to abstain from these things for they war against our very soul. These lusts and desires wither and shrink the vision of our Beloved. They taint the thought life, the inner sanctum of our being, and blind the soul from the light and glory of God Himself. It is an all-out assault on the minds and souls of God’s people. There is but one answer: the Lordship of Christ within the life of every believer. Victory! His Lordship coupled with our obedience insulates us in His Holy Presence. Joseph fled temptation and in the end became the Zaphnath–paaneah of the known world. If Christ’s Spirit does not rule within, our outward life will not stand in this day. His Kingdom starts within the thoughts, desires and intentions of every heart.

The Kingdom of God is not a message; it is a life. It is not a teaching, a word or a concept; it is the rule of God within the heart of man. It is a state of being; a heart fully submissive to the intonations of His Holy Spirit. His will is our will. His thoughts are our thoughts and He is seen and heard within the lives of His own.

“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power”
1 Corinthians 4:20

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;
but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost”
Romans 14:17

It takes power and an authority beyond the scope of human nature to bring this kingdom into the heart and soul of man. Just as in the days of Israel, our enemies are stronger and more powerful than we are. The secret of victory is in our humility of learning the ways of His warfare. His Spirit teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight.

“He teacheth my hands to war;
so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms”
1 Samuel 22:35

“Blessed be the Lord my strength,
which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight”
Psalm 144:1

The war of the soul takes place in the unseen realm of our thoughts, far away from the sight of all but God. It is here that the battle rages. It is here that the unseen foes are defeated by the power of His Spirit working within our lives.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

The authority of His Kingdom is known first and foremost in the secret places of the heart.

“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

True authority in God’s Kingdom will be revealed through those who are under His authority. Many may claim authority because of knowledge, associations, and strength of personality; but God sees into the secret places and sets His love upon those who love Him.

“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men
by Jesus Christ according to my gospel”
Romans 2:16

It is a day to avail ourselves of His grace to find the strength to fight the fight of faith and having done all to stand victorious in this evil day! To Him be the Glory and the Power and the Praise!

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,
that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand”
Ephesians 6:13

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – John Wesley

Quote for Today

John Wesley

“To him that hath” that is, useth what he hath, it shall be given still and that more abundantly. Therefore, use your every grace, stir up the gift of God that is in you, be zealous, be active, according to your strength, speak for God wherever you are”
– John Wesley

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself”
– Luke 10:27

Thought for Today – Seeing God

Thought for Today

Seeing God

“Pursue… holiness,
without which no one will see the Lord””
Hebrews 12:14

Holiness is never an end in itself; rather it is the seeing of God. Knowing God is the chief purpose of all life. Holiness is simply the condition of heart whereby the individual is able to see Him. Nature determines relationship, not teaching.

The things of God are never a resting place in themselves, for those who desire the Pearl of Great Price. Justification is a precious truth yet not the goal of a true heart. It is but the doorway into the knowing of Him as He is. Functioning in the gifts of the Spirit is not an end but simply an embellishment of the graces and mercies of our God. Salvation by grace is the gateway not the end of the pure in heart. Heaven is never the goal of the true child of God; HE is. Christ Himself, the Pearl, is the end and purpose of all creation. There is no relationship with the Father apart from being hid in Christ. It is in Christ alone the heart is at peace and filled with the wonder and Glory of God. There is no other call or purpose.

The pursuit of personal holiness is the means and the lens by which the individual believer may behold, touch and know Him. If the lens is dirty, clouded over with the filth, the stain and the impurities of this world our seeing of Him is partial, obscured and even tainted by our own condition. Purity of heart is the result of holy living.

“Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God”
Matthew 5:8

It is the horror of religion that makes holiness the end rather than the means. Self-righteousness is the bane and folly of the short sighted; the selfish desire of a wicked heart. The Pharisee in Jesus’ day was the corruption of the selfish pursuit of ungodly men. Pharisee in the original language means “called out ones”. They may at one time have been people whose sole purpose was right and true but with the passage of time (as is often the case) their eyes grew dim and the pursuit for the knowing of God became a selfish pretext to flaunt themselves.

The pure in heart pursue holiness in order to behold Him. It is in seeing the Pearl of Great Price that the pure in heart sell all that they have to acquire this one thing. True holiness is simply forsaking all other things in order to know this One Thing.

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss
for the excellency of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…”
Philippians 3:8

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – FW Robertson

Quote for Today

FW Robertson

“Truth lies in character. Christ did not simply speak the truth; he was truth; truth, through and through; for truth is a thing not of words, but of life and being”
– Frederick W. Robertson

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

Thought for Today – Knowledge

Thought for Today

Knowledge

“And the eyes of them both were opened,
and they knew that they were naked;
and they sewed fig leaves together,
and made themselves aprons”
Genesis 3:7

Knowledge for the sake of knowledge alone will leave the soul in misery. The tree of knowledge produced nothing but a sense of self, nakedness and separation from God. The knowledge of good as well as evil left the soul of man empty and wanting a place to hide from God. In his lost state man stepped into the horror of religion in an attempt to cover himself with the withering leaves of his own choosing.

“For I determined not to know any thing among you,
save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
1 Corinthians 2:2

It is in Christ alone that we are freed from the bondage of self and all of its misery. It is as our lives are hid in Him that the fig leaves and folly of religion are abandoned in exchange for His wonder and glory.  The frailty of mortal man must be clothed with the majesty of His Eternal Life.  It is in Him that the All of heaven speak of His glory with no thought of self.

Envy, strife, lust, jealously and sin evaporate in the Holy Seeing of Him. The Knowledge of the good as well as the evil in the hearts of men is what drove the nails into Him who is the Tree of Life.

How sad it is to see His own forsake their walk with Him for the fig leaves of teachings and knowledge; knowing things about Him without the being in Him.

“”…and much people followed him, and thronged him… When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
– Mark 5:25-30

Many throng Him, but few touch Him. It is not from our knowledge about Him that virtue flows and grace abounds.  It is in the touching of Him by living faith that Christ is known and His Glory seen.

“But the woman fearing and trembling,
knowing what was done in her,
came and fell down before him…”
Mark 5:31

Give me Jesus

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – A Clean Heart

Thought for Today

A Clean Heart

“Create in me a clean heart, O God”
Psalm 51:10

The cry for such a heart arises from those with a passion for God. It ascends from the discovery of our true condition. Those who live by doctrines and positional truths can pacify their need for change; for those who truly desire Him the necessity of a clean heart cannot be ignored.

David’s actions brought him to a place of devastation and helplessness. Deep within his heart he knew that offering the blood of the sin offering was not sufficient for his condition. He recognized that his need was far beyond forgiveness. He needed a new heart, a clean heart; one that would not wander into the abyss of lust and murder. There is something more than forgiveness. There is something beyond the cycle of sin and its wages. It is a clean and right heart incapable of repeating the former things! It is called change and transformation which is only possible by the power of God working within.

The Hebrew word “create” is a word used only in reference to God. It literally means to make something out of nothing. It is used of God when He “created” the world (though in a different tense with divine purpose). It is used here in the imperfect tense signifying an ongoing and uncompleted work. The depths and the mystery of the human heart, the very spring from which all our actions flow, needs the continual and ever-present influence of God Himself. It requires an abiding in Him, a leaning upon Him and a moment-by-moment reliance upon Him. There is no point of arrival for even perfection is dimmed in the presence of God. Abiding in Him brings us to new vistas of His glory, His purposes and the continual unveiling of deeper truths. These new truths require a deeper dependency upon Him to walk in the wonder and reality of them.

What a privilege we have to know the only One who can and will create in us a clean and right heart! Every disappointment, every fresh recognition of our inability to walk with Him, can bring us to the ardent pursuit and hope of His creating within us a clean heart. They who are content with forgiveness only miss out on the creative wonder of His work! He came not only to bring forgiveness but to change us from “glory to glory” even to the extent that we bear His image in our lives (2 Corinthians 3:18). The New Covenant is about much more than just forgiveness for repeatedly sinning and falling. It is about His power creating within us a clean heart that overcomes sin and wickedness by the power of His life within.

David’s cry for this creative work of God and his use of this powerful word comes from a thorough knowledge of his own depravity of being. He knows the need for the “creating” work of God to bring forth a clean heart out of his own nothingness. He is not interested in a mending or a fixing of his heart; he is crying out for the New Creation work of God.

God is willing and able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask.

“A new heart also will I give you,
and a new spirit will I put within you…”
Ezekiel 36:26

It takes a new heart to receive and abide within the newness of His Spirit.

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – J.C. Ryle

Quote for Today

JC Ryle

“Do nothing that you would not like God to see. Say nothing you would not like God to hear. Write nothing you would not like God to read. Go no place where you would not like God to find you. Read no book of which you would not like God to say, “Show it to Me.” Never spend your time in such a way that you would not like to have God say, “What are you doing?”
― J.C. Ryle

“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers;
but as the servants of Christ,
doing the will of God from the heart”
Ephesians 6:6

Quote for Today – John Wesley

Quote for Today

John Wesley

“Without love, nothing can make death comfortable”
– John Wesley

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing”
– 1 Corinthians 13:2

Thought for Today – Discovering the Call

Thought for Today

Discovering the Call

“Neglect not the gift that is in thee”
1 Timothy 4:14

Literally the meaning of righteousness would best be translated “right-wise-ness”. It is in each of us becoming in word, thought and deed all that He has purposed us to be in Christ. The gift of God to each of us lies hidden in the mystery of our own ambiguity. It will remain hidden if it is treated with neglect and indifference. The man with the one talent buried his gift within the earth of his own being. It is a sad testimony of a life that passes through time in the fog of unreality and uncertainty. His neglect had eternal implications (Matthew 25:30).

The wise of heart understand that the talent given is to be tended to with a holy diligence and singleness of heart knowing we shall one day give an account unto Him. The will of God is that His deposit increases within our hearts.

“Wherefore be ye not unwise,
but understanding what the will of the Lord is”
Ephesians 5:17

It is the unwise who know not the will and the call of God. It is in our obedience that the way becomes clear and the “mystery” of His will is solved within the riddle of our own life. He is desirous to bring clarity to our lives as we walk in the wonder of His way.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out
into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance,
obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went”
Hebrews 11:8

The mystery of His will is never solved personally apart from obedience. Abraham’s call was revealed through his obedience. He did not know where he was going, but he knew the ONE who was leading. It was in his obedience that he discovered his inheritance! It is the same for us; in obeying His call we see the unfolding of our place in Him.

“And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry
which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it.”
Colossians 4:17

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – J.C. Ryle

Quote for Today

JC Ryle

“A zealous man in religion is per-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. He sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed-up in one thing — and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives — or whether he dies; whether he has health — or whether he has sickness; whether he is rich — or whether he is poor; whether he pleases man — or whether he gives offense; whether he is thought wise — or whether he is thought foolish; whether he gets blame — or whether he gets praise; whether he gets honor, or whether he gets shame — for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing — and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God’s glory. If he is consumed in the very burning — he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn, and if consumed in burning — he has but done the work for which God appointed him”
J.C. Ryle

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment”
Mark 12:30

See The Wick

Brian Troxel