Thought for Today – The Tongue – Part One

Thought for Today

The Tongue

Part One

“If any man among you seem to be religious,
and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart,
this man’s religion is vain”
James 1:26

The mystery of religion is that there exists, embedded within its own truths, an ease with which one can slip into a deep and dark deception. In this verse we are warned of a deception which is fatal in terms of our life in God; one of which I need a constant reminder. The tongue reveals our walk. It is by this member that the seemingly religious are ferreted out and fully exposed. Lately I have been struck with my own carelessness in this matter. It is easy to get caught up in the religious rhetoric of discussion rather than the expression of Christ. How blessed we are to have His word to cut through the vanity of words and bring us back to the real purpose of life.

Let us consider the power of this piercing word. If we do not bridle our tongue our religion, our profession and our hope of conveying His life to others is pointless. It matters little how much we know His Word, how often we pray or how well we can teach others; if we do not master the tongue we are walking in vain religion.

“I said, I will take heed to my ways,
that I sin not with my tongue:
I will keep my mouth with a bridle…”
Psalm 39:1

The tongue is merely the spout through which the inner waters of our heart flow. It takes very little to discern what kind of waters flow from an individual for they proceed from the abundance of the heart.

“…for out of the abundance of the heart
the mouth speaketh”

Matthew 12:34

The tongue is like a mirror of the heart; it simply expresses what is there. The bridling of the tongue, though a good place to start, is not the cure. The real issue is the state of the heart. Salvation is all about the change and transformation of the heart. It is not about modifying our behavior; it is about the crucifixion of this unruly, unholy and untamed self. It cannot be fixed, managed or made right (Romans 8:7) other than through the inner working of the power of Christ.

The tongue then is simply the revelation of the depth and verity of our salvation. It is in the crucible of everyday life, in our most unguarded moments, that our true relationship with Christ is revealed.

Jesus is God’s spoken Word, He is the summation of God’s being and the matrix of all creation. His purpose is to bring us to the place of such abiding in Him that His words become ours by virtue of relationship. It is here where we become like Him in word and in deed.

Years ago the Lord told me that if I do not watch over my words
He will not entrust me with His.

The things of God are measured out to us according to the development of our life in Him. He may give spiritual gifts without measure and without condition; however, His authority will never be given apart from Himself. He is our salvation. It is not my belief in a teaching about Him whereby I am saved. It is His presence and His person keeping me from sin and iniquity wherein lies the power and substance of my salvation.

In order for us to speak the words of life we must in fact be governed by that ONE who is the Word of life. The Words He speaks are spirit and they are life (John 6:63). To the measure we walk with Him will be a corresponding expression of the very life and power of Christ Himself.

“Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in thy sight,
O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer”
Psalm 19:14

Brian Troxel

Quote for the Day – Joseph Parker

Quote for Today

Joseph Parker

Commenting on the Scripture: Colossians 2:1

“For I would that ye knew what great conflict
I have for you, and for them at Laodicea,
and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh”
Colossians 2:1

“Why should Paul the Apostle enter into any “conflict” about people or concerning people whom he had never seen? It is to be remembered that the Apostle Paul is writing to persons who had never seen him in the flesh, whom he had never seen, and with whom he had only opened indirect communication by a fellow-labourer. Yet he says he has a “great conflict” for the Colossians and the Laodiceans and the dwellers in Hierapolis. Why this conflict? Why not let the people alone? Why not be concerned simply for those who are round about you? What is this passion in the sanctified heart that will go out to the ends of the earth, clothed in charity, burning with Christly ardour? If there be any persons who are strangers to this passion they cannot enter into the music of the Apostle’s Epistle to the Colossians. They may call themselves practical people, they may find refuge in narrow maxims, such as, “Charity begins at home.” Christianity knows nothing about such maxims. Christianity takes in all time, all space, all human nature; Christianity is not willing to sit down to the feast so long as there is one vacant chair at the banqueting table: Christianity never ceased to say, “Yet there is room”; specially is there room for those who least think of it, or who least suspect their fitness to occupy it. There is no room for the self-contented, the pharisaical; there is always more room for the broken-hearted, the self-renouncing, the Christ-seeking soul. Paul lived in conflict: on the other hand, we are amongst those who avoid everything like controversy, friction, and sharp, mutual confrontage. We love quietness. Yet we do not know what quietness is; we think that quietness is indifference, carelessness, indisposition to concern oneself about anybody’s interests. That is not quietness, that is more nearly an approach to death: peace is not indifference, it is the last result of the operation of ten thousand conflicting forces. We are only at peace after we have been at war, and after we have accepted the music of the will of God.”
Joseph Parker

Brendan Jaster replied to this:

“The last sentence in that quote made me think, we can “accept the music of the will of God,” or we can face the music, as the saying goes. It is going to be one or the other.”

Brian Troxel

 

Thought for Today – Unbelief and the Good News

Thought for Today

Unbelief and the Good News

“Why could not we cast him out?
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief”
Matthew 17:19

God’s movings and the shining forth of His salvation are proportional to our faith. It is in the crucible of the realities of life that the true condition of the church is revealed. Truth is the vehicle and the means whereby His thoughts concerning us are expressed. We often speak of truth in terms of His love for us, in terms of His promises and His plans and purposes; but Jesus is always “laying the axe to the root” of our lives. His words can be sharp and to the point. We must see that these words in truth are also the proof of His love.

“Because of our unbelief”

This child would have gone on in the condition in which he came. The agony of his father would have remained unchanged, the situation unaffected by the prayers of the unbelieving disciples. It is here that Jesus presented the truth of the matter. It was not a word given to condemn; it was given to them to arise from where they were into where He had called them to be.

Unbelief is not something about which we should feel condemned. It is His desire that we face our unbelief with the certainty that He has something better, fuller and more blessed concerning our walk in Him. His sharp word spoken to our unbelief is filled with the heart of One who is calling us to better things. It is our response to His word wherein lies the crisis. Do we turn a deaf ear to this reproof or do we acknowledge it. The truth is that the our powerlessness is in the condition of our heart and not in His power? Are we offended by this word or do we feel the promise pulsating within it?

There is always a cure for unbelief, but there is no cure for a heart that refuses the verdict of Jesus. His exhortations are always given to us in order that we may lay these things to heart and not make excuses; to let His words cut asunder our hardness of heart and turn to Him for the fuller measure of all that He is.

“Ye have sown much, and bring in little…
Thus saith the Lord of hosts;
Consider your ways”
Haggai 1:6-7

We must consider our ways for unbelief is the fruit of how we walk, how we think and how we live. Let us hear these words of exhortation and count them as promises of greater things. His heart is full and His call goes out to any who would hear.

“Unto you first God,
having raised up his Son Jesus,
sent him to bless you,
in turning away every one of you from his iniquities”
Acts 3:26

It is called the Good News for in turning from our ways we will find His!

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness
and forbearance and long-suffering;

not knowing that the goodness of God
leadeth thee to repentance?”

Romans 2:4

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Florence Nightingale

Quote for Today

Florence Nightingale

“Live your life while you have it. Life is a splendid gift. There is nothing small in it. For the greatest things grow by God’s law out of the smallest. But to live your life, you must discipline it”
– Florence Nightingale

Quote for Today – A.W. Tozer

Quote for Today

AW Tozer

“Salvation apart from obedience is unknown in the sacred Scriptures… Apart from obedience there can be no salvation, for salvation without obedience is a self-contradictory impossibility.”
A.W. Tozer

Thought for Today – Psalm 34:4

Thought for Today

“I sought the Lord, and he heard me”
Psalm 34:4

Life in God is all about seeking. There is the seeking one and the One who is sought. As with every spiritual relationship there is always one who is the initiator; God being love is the initiator of all things. At the core of all relationships are a seeking and reciprocation. The flow of interaction is what deepens and intensifies the bonds of relationship. In our pursuit of Him we find the One Great Love of the universe responding within the depths and wisdom of His own being. It is the story of the Beloved and the Loved becoming one in Spirit and in Truth. The scriptures declare the wonder of this very well:

“We love him, because he first loved us”
1 John 4:19

Our seeking of Him is based upon the reciprocation of Him seeking that which was lost. The impact of His love upon the human heart is always revealed in our pursuit of Him. The Parables of Jesus reveal the intensity of this relationship from both perspectives. The Parable of the Good Shepherd is the story of Him, though unsought by us, finding and rescuing us in our lost and wayward condition. The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price is the description of us seeking Him and selling all to obtain its wonder. Those who are forgiven much love much. His creation was specifically designed to respond to and be governed by love. As a result of the fall, man was separated from the source and power of Love itself; we became slaves to the disorder of self-love, self-realization and depravity. The ongoing work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts is one of reconciliation and growth ever moving onward to full unity in Him and with one another (John 17:21-22).

Our finding of Him will always be in proportion to our seeking of Him. Entering into deeper places of abiding in Him will be in proportion to our knocking at the door of Love’s domain. Seeing of Him brings us to new and fuller experiences of repentance and change; it is impossible to see Him and remain the same. The unfolding of His person brings us to new vistas of His love for us which in turn will be reciprocated by a further depth of our love for Him. True relationships hold the mystery of eternity for within those bonds with one another there is no point of arrival. Relationships stagnate here on earth because of the impurities of pride, stubbornness, unforgiveness and a myriad of other unresolved sins in our lives.

In truly loving God we are struck with the impossibility of holding aught against our brother for this is the very measure God uses to validate our love for Him.

“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil:
whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God,
neither he that loveth not his brother”
1 John 3:10

The validity of our seeking Him and being born of Him is revealed in the simplicity of how we live. We not only seek Him in the secret places of prayer but also in the doing of righteousness and in the substance of loving one another in truth. Love is not just a teaching it is a life of becoming more like Him.

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

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – William Booth

Quote for Today

William Booth

“Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again–until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other.”
– William Booth

Thought for Today – Faith into Grace

Thought for Today

Faith into Grace

“Therefore, it is of faith
that it might be according to grace,
so that the promise might be sure”
Romans 4:16

It is the element of faith that brings us into the realm of Grace. The prevenient grace* of God brings an individual to faith and through the operation of faith one enters into the the dominion and efficacy of God’s grace. While many speak of grace in our day it is mentioned as a sentiment of God rather than the work of God within the human heart.

“…through whom also we have access by faith
into this grace in which we stand”
Romans 5:2

Grace brings to us the ability to stand. Regardless of our situation in life, grace makes the promises of God sure (certain); faith releases the grace of God into our lives.

Noah “found grace in the sight of God”. By that grace he labored through 120 years of ridicule and difficulties in building the Ark. It was grace that kept him faithful. It was grace that gave him the wisdom and the perseverance to see its completion; and it was grace that delivered him and his family from the day of judgment as God had promised.

The grace of God enables those who receive it the power to overcome, to persevere and to stand strong in the face of all opposition to the promises of God. The end and purpose of Grace is to make the promises of God certain to us. It brings us to the place of receiving those promises.

Faith is the doorway into His Grace.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith”
Ephesians 2:8

* Note
Prevenient grace
is not to be understood through the eyes of some who use this term to wrongly present God’s salvation, it is to be known through the sovereignty of God’s call and our response (it is our response which unites our hearts to His Call).

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit”
John 15:16

“And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father”
John 6:65 and also John 6:44

“Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock…”
Luke 6:47-48

* The Call is God’s prevenient grace, our hearing is the manner by which the faith arises (Romans 10:17) and the doing of His Word is the corroboration of His grace working by faith in our lives (1 Corinthians 15:10). It is the wondrous chain of relationship, the call, the response and the works of faith being the evidence of His grace!

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Joseph Parker

Quote for Today

Joseph Parker

“I am the resurrection and the life”: does the declaration end there? Does it not go on to say, “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”? Is the old thunder “come forth” nothing now but a hollow and impotent whisper? Is not Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever? If ye then be risen with Christ, prove your resurrection by your consecration
– Joseph Parker

Thought for Today – Prepare ye the way of the Lord

Thought for Today

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord…”
Mark 1:3

Truth is the precursor of Love. Love is not an emotion. It is not a sentiment nor is it a license to practice evil. God is Love. His love is expressed in His actions, His Words and His ways. Love is a quality of being and from that eternal substance flows the righteousness, holiness, forgiveness and redemption of God in all purity of thought and intent. There can exist no evil, duplicity of soul, variableness, and malice toward others where love reigns. Love can only grow where truth and verity of heart is fixed in the person and heart of Jesus Christ.

The only way in which love may be known in any measure will be to the degree to which the human heart is freed from its deception and self-love. This is essential for the ministration of God to our innermost being with all of His fire and penetrating light.

The love of God is His perfection in man.

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

It takes the power and the light of all that God is to bring us to a heart that is incapable of thinking evil. Truth is not just something we know, it is something we do by virtue of Him who is ruling and reigning in our hearts. The day is upon us and the hour is late; His call goes forth to prepare the way of the Lord within the sanctum of our own hearts.

The cry of the Spirit to “prepare ye the way of the Lord” is calling us to repentance in order to receive Him in fullness into our hearts. The measure of truth residing within is revealed in the love we give.

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

“We know, in order to follow; we follow, in order to know. Light prepares the way for love. Love opens the mind for new love. The gifts of God are interwoven. They multiply and reproduce each other, until we come to the perfect state of eternity…”
Albert Barnes

Brian Troxel