The Third Day

The Third Day

“On the third day,
they threw the ship’s tackle overboard
with their own hands”
Acts 27:19

There comes in everyone’s life moments where all hope appears lost. The valiant efforts to extricate ourselves from the situation have failed. The storms batter and assail our soul relentlessly. The dark grey clouds and angry wind hide God’s Face from us and we seem to be at the total mercy of the storm. The context to the above verse is:

“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days
and the great storm continued to batter us,
we abandoned all hope of being saved.”
Acts 27:20

It is here where we see the most seasoned of sailors cast all the tools of their own making overboard in resignation to the sea. When no other hope is left they are simply left clinging to the fragile ship itself. The relentless storm brought ALL who were on the ship to despair. The “we abandoned all hope of being saved” included saint and sinner. The storm came to all. We see in the world around us hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorists, fires, and a multitude of other disasters; God’s people are not spared these circumstances.

It is here that God appears. In these dire moments the word of God comes with assurance of hope and a way of escape.

“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer”
Acts 27:22

Why could Paul say this?

“For there stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve…”
Acts 27:23

God’s coming was to the man who had made God his God. God’s coming was to him who had long before committed the very keeping of his life to God. God’s own are never left to the fate of circumstances and it is in these moments that His Own are revealed. It is in our now that the transactions of our life in God are made. It is before the storm that we are to become His. In the desire and diligent pursuit of God in our daily walk the covenant of grace is realized.

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience,
I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation,
which shall come upon all the world,
to try them that dwell upon the earth”
Revelation 3:10

The Storm is coming to all
saint and sinner alike.

1. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
Psalm 91:1-11

The keeping grace of God is unto those “who dwell in the secret place of the Most High”. God does not spare His Own from the storm; He keeps them IN it. Paul was kept through the storm for God had purposed that he testify before Caesar.

“For there stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve,
Saying, Fear not, Paul;
thou must be brought before Cæsar…”
Acts 27:23-24

Later on Paul would be martyred in Rome. The same God who kept Paul in the storm also gave him grace to finish his course with the joy and certainty of all that awaited him.

The secret of Life is to discover grace in our present circumstances to bring us to the place where we can say in truth “I am His” and “whom I serve”. This is the confession of Paul prior to the great storm:

“But none of these things move me,
neither count I my life dear unto myself,
so that I might finish my course with joy,
and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus…”
Acts 20:24

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – John Owen

Quote for Today

John Owen

“Let no man pretend to fear sin that does not fear temptation also! These two are too closely united to be separated. He does not truly hate the fruit who delights in the root.”
– John Owen

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

Thought for Today – Stirred in Spirit

Thought for Today

Stirred in Spirit

“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens,
his spirit was stirred in him,
when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry”
Acts 17:16

The religious know not of this stirring. The ways and temper of religion remains superficial and shallow. Religion is a state of holding His words without being held of His Spirit. Wherever God is, in whomever He dwells, the fire burns with the intensity of all who God is. Salvation is revealed in His hold on us not our hold on Him. The spirit of Paul was stirred because God ruled in Paul’s heart; the stirring was the evidence of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Within the heart of His own the stirrings of God are not the result of a religious fervor to accomplish man-centered purposes; rather they are rooted and grounded in God’s heart and compassion. They who know not God, know not of His stirrings and His intensity;  because appearance and reputation are the governing factors of conduct. It is only by abiding in Him where our hearts are stirred with His stirrings.

To hold to His words without His Life beating and ruling within produces an artificial temperament with an appearance of being godly (like God) but void of the power, the life and the wonder of Christ.

“And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, “The zeal of thine house hath consumed me” John 2:13-17

The religious are not bothered by the tepid condition of the things of God. They are not concerned with the shallowness of the business of religion nor the inherent lack of the heartbeat of God in their “works”. It is as we abide in the life of all that He IS where we see and feel His stirrings within our own heart.

The passion and fire of God is reprehensible to the religious and the sedated followers of the reputable and pragmatic doctrines of men. To those who are held in Him His fire is the very lamp of His leading and expression.

The Fire of God will only be found in hearts where an altar burns with fresh and daily offerings of ourselves unto Him.

“It is an empty altar which receives no fire”
Frank Bartleman

Fresh fire falls upon those who bring fresh offerings unto Him. Love is the fire, the light and the heat of God’s Life in His Own.

Passion and purity,
Love and Fire,
Reveal the heart
Filled with His desire.

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Strengthened with Might

Thought for Today

Strengthened with Might

“That he would grant you,
according to the riches of his glory,
to be strengthened with might
by his Spirit in the inner man”
Ephesians 3:16

The end and purpose of all ministry is to see His people strengthened to walk, stand and be living epistles read and known of all. The prayer expressed here is one born of a true heart that lives to see God’s Kingdom ruling and reigning within the hearts of His own; to be strengthened with the might and ability of the Holy Spirit to live righteously in this dark world by the resources of His Spirit. This strengthening is in proportion to the “riches of His glory”!

Let us this morning seek to avail ourselves of the riches and power made accessible to us in the person of Christ Jesus our Lord.

May we be strengthened to meet the obstacles and trials of the day.

Strengthened to walk above the temptations of the world around us.

Strengthened to love those who are contrary to us.

Strengthened to abide in the wonder of His embrace.

Such is the privilege of all who call upon His Name.

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Thought For Today – The Wick –

Thought for Today

The Wick

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“…and he (Moses) looked, and, behold,
the bush burned with fire,
and the bush was not consumed”
Exodus 3:2

God’s purpose for man is revealed in this verse. The call of God is to bring men and women to this one end: lives that burn with His fire through fragile earthen vessels. In a fully yielded life of surrender we become His light to the world.

The secret of this life is in the wick drawing upon the oil of His Spirit allowing His pure desire and heart to be the flame. The only way the wick will not burn up is by keeping the flow of oil constant through the power of an abiding relationship. Where there is no flow the wick will burn out and become useless, no longer able to shine with the wonder of the flame of God.

The oil without the flame is of little value. So too are the gifts and ministrations of the Holy Spirit apart from the purifying and glorifying flame of God within the vessel. The magnificence of this life cannot be known without these three components: The Flame of God, the Oil of the Holy Spirit and the Fragile Earthen Wick.

“And the bush was not consumed”

Ω

“It is of the Lord’s mercies
that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not”
Lamentations 3:22

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Grace and Peace

GRACE AND PEACE

“Grace and peace
be multiplied unto you
through the knowledge of God,
and of Jesus our Lord”
(2 Peter 1:2)

Grace and Peace are the unspoken needs of the human heart. The absence of either results in the turmoil and unrest in the world in which we live. The lack of these things within the Body of Christ has contributed to the divisions and disunity of the Spirit in our day. The Grace and Peace spoken of here are not available to the human heart apart from an intimate knowledge of God through Jesus Christ the Lord. The Greek Word used for “knowledge*” here (see note below) speaks of an intimate and experiential knowledge, not an intellectual one. Many years ago I was working for a company that involved a lot of driving so I had a lot of time to spend seeking God. One day He drew my attention to a tree and said that for me to see that tree was a fact; but until I touched that tree and felt it I did not know the “truth” of that tree. So it is with our God. We may memorize the scriptures, read much concerning Him and even speak often to others concerning Him; but unless we have that intimate knowing of Him the power of that Grace and Peace will continue to elude us in our every day experience.

This Peace and Grace is ONLY made available to us “through the intimate knowing of God and Jesus Christ our Lord”. The grace and fruit of the Spirit cannot be known “experientially” apart from knowing God. He is the sum and source of all righteousness; without which we are cut off from the benefits of the New Testament. In Hebrews we are told that the Israelites could not enter the land of promise because of unbelief. This unbelief caused them to remain in the wilderness where they were cut off from enjoying the fruits and the provisions of the Land of Promise. It is through the medium of faith that we have access to knowing Him in an experiential way. It is by this knowing of Him that we grow into this GRACE. (“by faith we have access into this grace”; Romans 5:2).

It is in the knowing of Him that we are made partakers of His merits, His provisions, His grace and His peace. It is no wonder that Paul cried out in Philippians 3:10 “That I might know Him…”. There is no end to the fullness of God; there is no measure at which we can arrive in the knowing of Him. It is to this end that we fill up the remainder of our time here in the pursuit of “knowing” Him.

“Grace and peace
be multiplied unto you
through the knowledge of God,
and of Jesus our Lord”

*NOTE:
Cognate: 1922 epígnōsis (from 1909 /epí, “on, fitting” which intensifies 1108 /gnṓsis, “knowledge gained through first-hand relationship”) – properly, “contact-knowledge” that is appropriate (“apt, fitting”) to first-hand, experiential knowing. This is defined by the individual context.

Brian Troxel

SPIRITUAL HABITAT ~ THE ALTAR ~

SPIRITUAL HABITAT

PART TWO

THE ALTAR

“…he built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD,
and he pitched his tent there;
and there Isaac’s servants dug a well”
GENESIS 26:25

This verse immediately follows Isaac receiving a promise and a visitation from the LORD. The PROMISE was no longer just Abraham’s it was now Isaac’s. The promise was given because of Abraham’s life of faith and obedience but there must come a time where the promise of God becomes our own. HIS promise not only becomes Isaac’s own but it produces a life of response within him. In the reception of the promise Isaac builds an Altar, calls on his God, pitches his tent (dwelling/abiding) and digs a well.

THE ALTAR

In the New Testament the altar speaks of many things but for the sake of brevity we will sum up the altar in the life of the individual believer as the place of true worship. This worship is to become a way of life for the true child of God. The Altar speaks of much more than a short time of singing one day a week; it is the place where we live and grow in our relationship in HIM, where we begin to realize that we are to offer ourselves unto HIM (Rom. 12:1) as a living sacrifice, where we offer the praises of our hearts, where we bow down under the weight of a Glory that softens our hearts and allows us to touch the very Holiness of HIS PRESENCE and the wonder of HIS BEING. It is here that we commune with HIM in the private sphere of our lives hidden away from the seeing of men. Here we offer prayers and the secrets of our heart in the most intimate of transactions with a Holy God. It is here that we learn of Him, we touch HIM, and HE speaks to us of things that words fail to convey. In this seeing of HIM we discover the truth of whom we are and the staggering contrast between who HE is and what we are. We begin to understand that even angelic perfection, though sinless and pure, cannot look upon HIM in HIS undimmed Glory in the heavens.

The Altar is the only place where we can touch such places of Glory. Here we are CHANGED into the Glory that we see from Glory to Glory; “EVEN AS BY the SPIRIT OF THE LORD”. As the Son walked this earth HE would spend hours alone with HIS FATHER in that perfect HOLY UNION that HE had from all eternity. The New Covenant provides ACCESS for us into the Holiest of ALL because of our lives being “HID with Christ in God”. It is by virtue of such a living reality that we can grow into the place of living and abiding at the very ALTAR of God. It becomes our spiritual habitat as we learn to abide in HIM.

The Altar is not only a place of sacrifice, communion and worship it is also the place of PROVISION; a PLACE where we eat and partake of HIM. It is the place of the “hidden manna” that comes to us by the seeing of HIM and the eating of HIM in the secret place. We read in Hebrews…

“We have an altar,
whereof they have no right to eat
which serve the tabernacle”
HEBREWS 13:10

And again…

“Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things
live of the things of the temple?
and they which wait at the altar
are partakers with the altar?”
I CORINTHIANS 9:13

Suffice it to say that the way of the ALTAR is the way of life. In the life of Isaac the first act of his response to GOD was the building of the altar. In the New Testament all spiritual realities are “made without hands” and as such we build our altar by simply spending time with HIM in the secret places of our hearts until it becomes our spiritual habitat. The Altar preceded the pitching of Isaac’s tent for it is in the “building” of the one that the life of “abiding” is cultivated.

Brian Troxel

SPIRITUAL HABITAT

SPIRITUAL HABITAT

“…in his temple doth every one
speak of his glory”
PSALM 29:9

The common law of life is that whatever a man loves he speaks of and pursues. Where a man dwells determines what he sees. Every life form in God’s creation has a habitat and an environment with which it is compatible. Whether it is a palm tree or a fir tree it lives and grows in the climate that is conducive to its growth and development. The Polar Bear and the Panther live in the land for which they are most suited. As it is in the natural so also is it in the things of the spirit. The demon possessed man of the Gadarenes lived amongst the tombs for there was the dwelling place consistent with the nature of the spirits that inhabited him. We also read …

“…there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel,
of the tribe of Aser…
which departed not from the temple,
but served God with fastings and prayers night and day”
LUKE 2:35 – 37

Anna’s life was one of focus and a continual desire to serve and worship the ONE that she loved. She “departed not” from the life of prayer and worship which are the means by which we abide and grow in Him. She did not miss HIS appearing. While the multitudes were taken up with their “religious” duties she and Simeon beheld the Promised One and ministered unto HIM! Such are the privileges of those who find their lives “hid with Christ in God”! While many people are looking for a temple to be built in Jerusalem God HAS set HIS TEMPLE, the TRUE ETERNAL TEMPLE made without hands in the very PERSON OF HIS SON…

“I saw no temple therein:
for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple”
REVELATION 21:22

And again…

“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building,
and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
But he spoke of the temple of his body
JOHN 2:19

They who desire to live and dwell in HIM are only able to speak of HIS GLORY! They no longer give nor seek the praises of men. They are not impressed by the extravagant buildings and organizations of men for they have seen glimpses of a GLORY that will not fade away; a GLORY that blinds the eyes, that humbles the heart and becomes the perspective by which all things are weighed. They are not mislead by the teachings and doctrines of men for they have seen the ONE in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells and are freed from the paltry offerings of this world. They are pilgrims in this world of temporal things as they seek that which “fadeth not away” with the passing of time. They have been gripped by the unseen HAND of God and HEARD the ETERNAL CALL; ruined for anything religious or manmade.

“For where your treasure is,
there will your heart be also”
MATTHEW 6:19 – 21

Our lives reveal the place where we dwell, by the things we speak and treasure.

Brian Troxel