Quote for Today – Richard Baxter

Quote for Today

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“Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of; in nothing on which you might not pray for the blessing of God; in nothing which you could not review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed; in nothing which you might not safely and properly be found doing if death should surprise you in the act”
– Richard Baxter

Thought for Today – Arise and Shine

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

Quote for Today – William Penn

Quote for Today

William Penn

“Men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants”
William Penn

“And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable”
Isaiah 3:4-5

Like All the Nations

Like All the Nations

“Now make us a king (a leader) to judge us
like all the nations”
1 Samuel 8:4

Samuel, the holy man of God, was very displeased with this request. He knew instinctively how power corrupts the weak and wayward hearts of men. In praying and seeking God over this grave matter God spoke with clarity:

“Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you;
for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me,
that I should not reign over them
1 Samuel 8:7

The desire for human authority within the Body of Christ is a rejection of God’s authority. His purpose and design is for each member to be led by His Spirit; to come to the place of hearing and knowing God within the sanctuary of their own hearts. The whole purpose of ministry is to bring His people to this one place. This vital task has been committed to His five-fold ministry for the purpose of ushering in the “unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:11-13)! When the ministry becomes the end of the thing, instead of the means to God’s end, confusion, strife and competition replace the beauty of the unity of His Spirit. Men invariably hold on to the functions of His ministrations rather than the purpose of the ministrations.

“…for you are still carnal.
For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you,
are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
For when one says, “I am of Paul,”
and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?”
1 Corinthians 3:3-4

The operation and organization of the general “church” today resembles the carnal business model of the corporate structures of this world. Financially and administratively there is very little distinction. Is this not enough to testify of our condition and the reason for the conflicts and agendas which have corrupted and separated the true Body of Christ? We must reconsider our ways! Is not our innate desire to have someone over us to take away the responsibility of hearing God for ourselves? Is this not a rejection of His Lordship over us?

“And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath showed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? Go thou near and hear all that the Lord our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it and do it.”
Deuteronomy 5:24 – 27

The reason for this sad dilemma is that His people generally do not really want to hear His voice for themselves; that would bring accountability and responsibility. We prefer to hear His word from the pulpit, a minister or a book for the impact is decreased. We can reject words from another person but who can run from the voice of the Almighty? In functioning like the world we drown out the voice of God in our lives. The invitation of God is always to the person; the individual. His work of salvation is to bring us to the hearing of His voice and the doing of His will. The purpose of all true and valid ministrations in the Body of Christ is to that one end. A personal knowing of Him, hearing of Him and a walking with Him.

The Body of Christ is unlike anything in or of this world. It is not an organization it is an organism which lives and breathes by the very Life of Christ within. It cannot be contained within the confines of a corporate entity; it seeks no affiliation with this present world, for it is a heavenly truth.

“But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect…”
Hebrews 12:22-23

David speaking prophetically of the true Jerusalem, the heavenly Zion (Psalm 48 and 87); a united people fused in the holiness and the purity of His Love. A Body which is bone of His bone and the very expression of His heart and His will; freed from the agendas of men to serve the living God. It is to this end we have been redeemed, forgiven and washed in His blood. While the unbelieving say this is a dream and an unrealistic goal, let us be reminded that Jesus prayed to this end and it is unconscionable to allow the damnable unbelief of the age to even consider the prayer of Jesus to go unanswered.

“Glorious things are spoken of thee,
O city of God.

Selah”
Psalm 87:2-3

Ω

“Be ye not conformed to this world,
But be ye transformed…”
Romans 12:2

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Oswald Chambers

Quote for Today

Oswald Chambers

“God has one destined end for mankind – holiness! His one aim is the production of saints. God is not an eternal blessing-machine for men. He did not come to save men out of pity. He came to save men because He had created them to be holy”
– Oswald Chambers

Serving God – Part One

Serving God

Part One

“And Jesus answering, said to him,
“It has been written:
‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and you shall serve Him only
Luke 4:8

Serving God will always be proportional to the condition of our hearts. Divided loyalties result in a tainted service unto Him. Jesus said unequivocally “No man can serve two masters…”. It takes the work of the Holy Spirit to bring an individual to the singular desire to serve God. Purity of heart (a heart void of mixture or agendas) is the criteria for wholly serving God. Within the core of human nature lies the unbridled and undisciplined chaos of the fall. This results in the lawlessness of the cravings and relentless pursuit for self-realization, self-gratification, and self-promotion. This inherent evil produces the conflicts, wars and grievous atrocities in the Body of Christ around us.

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?
Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”
James 4:1

It is the war within that produces the conflicts without. The horrific need for control and recognition and satisfaction is the curse of the religious world. The great deception here is the promotion of self under the guise of serving God. Those who crucified Jesus did so in the name of God through the innate evil of self-serving ambition. Lust, self-love, covetousness, envy and jealousy are mitigating factors that rob the heart of its singular desire to serve and honor God. A divided heart is an evil heart. A divided heart is an unstable heart. A heart driven by a passion for anything other than the love of God will, in the end, betray Him. Dying to self is the only means to a pure and single heart. God has no other answer for the human condition.

“…knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him,
that the body of sin might be done away with,
that we should no longer be slaves of sin”
Romans 6:6

Freedom in Christ comes by our co-crucifixion with Him. It is in our daily walk of following Him that we are freed from the desires and lusts of self. Our ability to serve God with a whole heart will be proportional to the depth of our co-crucifixion with Him.

“By this all will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.”
John 13:35

In the discipleship of picking up our cross and following Him His Love will be seen. Only disciples have the ability to show forth the wonder of the Love of Christ. True disciples of Christ are easily seen by the purity of love that flows to others.

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Benard of Clairvaux

Quote for Today

Bernard of Clairvaux

“There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is curiosity. There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is vanity. There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love”
Benard of Clairvaux

The Brook Kidron – The Place of Betrayal

The Brook Kidron

“And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness”
2 Samuel 15:23

There are places referred to in the scriptures that represent to us experiences with which we can identify in our own walk. Ziklag, Peniel, Mount Moriah and many other locations speak to us of deep and heart felt experiences through which we must pass. Those places our fore fathers walked through by faith will be ours if we too walk in same path of faith. What was true then must also be true now.

David and the Brook Kidron

It was a very dark night and one filled with great distress for King David and his loyal friends. Absalom, through treachery and political intrigue, had risen to power and was now seeking David’s life. David had been warned of the betrayal and had to run for his life into the wilderness. Friends, associates and family had betrayed him and were now conspiring to take his life. At this juncture David weeping crosses over the brook Kidron. Kidron* in the Hebrew means darkness, turbulence, great agitation and great evil. It was a brook that flowed into the Dead Sea. It is a brook which must be crossed over, where the deep lessons of God’s faithfulness, His steadfastness and His mercy become the very core of our hope. It is here we are weaned from dependence upon others and God Himself becomes our friend and salvation.

Kidron represents the shattering of our self-reliance and strength, our allegiance to other things. It is the doorway into a new wilderness experience which is quite different from the others in which we have walked. New testings and new sorrows must bring us into new places of faith and reliance upon God. The processing of our God is thorough and effectual. What others mean for evil God makes for our good. The trial known here is more painful and heart-rending as it is not one which comes to us from foes without but from friends within the family of God. Later on in the Psalms David speaks of these deep and agonizing experiences:

“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company”
Psalm 55:12-14

Jesus and the Brook Kidron

Over a thousand years later we see Jesus crossing this same dark brook as He also was being betrayed: by Judas.

“When Jesus had spoken these words,
he went forth with his disciples
over the brook Cedron (Kidron)…”
John 18:1

The final drama of Jesus life was unfolding. Judas had gone to the religious leaders of that day and obtained a “band of men” to come and take Jesus by force unto the Chief priests.

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons”
John 18:1-3

It is important to note that not only did Jesus cross over this dark and turbulent brook but so did His disciples. Think it not strange that the servant is to follow in the same path as the Master. It is in following Him that we become molded and shaped by the experiences of life to overcome as He overcame; to find the healing and sweetness of His life rising in our own. It is the bitter experiences that free us from our own bitterness.

The Brook Kidron is one of the most important crucibles we will face in our lives. The enemy of our soul has orchestrated it for our destruction; God allows it for our good.

The great danger with any bitter experience is that we allow it to linger and to fester. This incapacitates us from living and blossoming in the goodness of God. The three Hebrew men thrown into the fire emerged from it with no trace of smoke upon their garments. God’s design is for us to walk through this excruciating experience with no hint of the bitterness remaining.

God’s determination for the painful lessons of the Brook Kidron is for us to become sweet. Do not fear when these waters arise and would drive you into the wilderness, for God, even thy God shall prove thee and work in thee the wonder and the sweetness of Jesus Himself…

“Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
with all powders of the merchant?”
Song of Songs 3:6

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The good news is we will never cross this brook alone.

“…he (Jesus) went forth with his disciples
over the brook Cedron”

* Note: Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names translates Kidron: Very Black, Full of Darkness.

The brook Kidron is mentioned as the extent of Shimei’s confinement, the one who cursed David in this dark place of betrayal. How fitting was his judgement that when he crosses the Kidron, Solomon has him executed (1 Kings 2:36-46).

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – George Warnock

Quote for Today

George Warnock

Change Comes…

“…When the Church of Jesus Christ begins to come to the realization of the greatness of her bondage…

When she realizes she has been so blinded in her understanding, that she did not even know she was a willing tool of the world-system…

When she realizes that she has been grinding out corn for the Philistines, all the while thinking she was working for God…

When her Nazarite vow of separation unto the Lord is renewed, and her hair of Glory is restored…

When she realizes suddenly that she is the laughing-stock of the world and not her friend…

When she realizes she has been led about by the whims of the world, and not by the hand of God…

And when finally she is prepared to lay down her life, if so be she might know the power of the risen Christ working within her…

God is preparing an army, beloved, who will go forth in the Day of the Lord to put an end to the reign of Evil, and to deliver the people of God from the Oppressor”
George Warnock – From the Book “Who Are You”