Our Example

Our Example

” And in the day time He was teaching in the temple;
and at night He went out, and abode in the mount
that is called the mount of Olives”
Luke 21:37

Jesus set such a simple pattern before us: teaching by day and communion with His Father at night. In other words, an active life balanced by time spent with Him in refreshment and inspiration. We are called to this balance just as the workers on the wall in Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah. They built with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other (Nehemiah 4:18).

The Trowel

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves
on your most holy faith,
praying in the Holy Ghost…”
Jude 1:20

First, we are to be built up in our faith that
we may encourage and exhort
one another.

“And let us consider one another
to provoke unto love and to good works”
Hebrews 10:25

The Sword

“Fight the good fight of faith…”
1 Timothy 6:12

The need to be active and diligent in our sharing of His life with others necessitates His touch of renewal in the evening. I like the work used here: “at night He went out and abode in the mount”. The daily press of the crowds, the vehemence of religious rulers, and the constant treachery of those trying to trick Him into a response whereby they could accuse Him, is beyond comprehension. Time alone with His Father was crucial and is set forth as an example for us. He, the Only Begotten Son, has come to show us the way to live in this troubled and unraveling world. May we draw near to Him that we may be equipped to stand in the darkness of this day in which we find ourselves.

Ω

“For consider him that endured such contradiction
of sinners against himself,
lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
Hebrews 12:3

Brian Troxel

Alone With God

Alone with God

“And Jacob was left alone”
Genesis 32:24

Alone with God. God’s greatest work within an individual is often done in secret, away from the sight of others. God takes aside those upon whom His call rests, to achieve His end within their hearts. Wrestlings, breakings and spiritual insights are common to those who are “the called according to His purpose”. It is the broken vessel which most easily pours forth the fragrance and living waters of Christ. A vessel broken in the hands of God can never be broken by the circumstances of life. Broken ones are strong in God; they know that their weakness is the place of God’s power. They have learned of the One broken for them, from Whom springs joy and delight. In the secret places of God, they have discovered their call, their purpose and their destiny. Many circumvent this sanctified place of the preparation and dealings of God. They choose instead to fill their time with activities, entertainment, shallow relationships and even religious exercises in order to avoid the mystery of this alone time with God. The narrative of Lot (Hebrew meaning: veiled one) is an accurate portrayal of many today. Though righteous (2 Peter 2:7-9), he clung to the vestiges of the world while simultaneously being vexed by it. It is the conundrum of His own: loving God but also hanging on to the ways and wisdom of this world. Loved of God but lacking the intimacy and deep knowledge of Him reserved for those who come to that secret place with God.

The Faith of Lot

“And when the dawn rose, then the angels urged Lot, saying, Rise up, take your wife and your two daughters who are found, lest you be cut off in the depravity of the city. And he lingered. And the men lay hold of his hand and his wife’s hand, and on the hand of his two daughters, Jehovah having mercy on him. And they caused him to go out, and they put him down outside the city. And it happened as they led them outside, he said, Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay in all the plain. Escape to the mountain, lest you be swept away. And Lot said to them, Please, no, Lord! Behold, now, Your servant has found grace in Your sight, and You have magnified Your mercy which You have done to me in saving my life. And I am not able to escape to the mountain lest some evil overtake me and I die. Please, now, this city is near, to flee there, and it is a little one. Please let me escape there! Is it not a little thing, that my soul may live?”
Genesis 19:17-20

God’s call was to the mountain but, because of his undeveloped faith, Lot was fearful. He refused and asked God to change His call (on the basis of mercy) and deliver him to a small city! How sad is such a request; how dismal a faith that would forebear the call to be alone with God and choose a smaller inheritance in this world and the one to come. Interestingly, this is the first use of the world “mercy” in scripture. Calling upon God, on the basis of mercy, to deviate from God’s original purpose is a compromise that leaves one, though still righteous, stunted in faith and growth.

“And Jacob was left alone”
Genesis 32:24

It was when he was all alone that Jacob, the conniver, schemer and manipulator, met HIS GOD! It is here that the natural man is crippled, and the inward man begins to rise by God’s grace. It is here Jacob receives the New Name. It is here that the God of Abraham and Isaac now becomes the God of Jacob! Such glory awaits those who embrace the secret of being alone with God. In this place we discover who we truly are and are forced to face the flaws and horror of our true condition. In his wrestling with God, Jacob must respond to this penetrating question:

“What is thy name?”
Genesis 32:27

In other words, what is your nature and motivation?

“And he said, Jacob*
Genesis 32:27

God well knew his name. This rhetorical question was for Jacob to admit and confess the truth of himself. This is an essential requirement for those whom God uses. Jesus told the woman at the well to go get her husband. At that moment she had the choice to be authentic, honest and open with God or remain unchanged and miserable. Her choice determined whether she would receive the revelation of the One who spoke with her or remain a lost and wandering soul. So it is with us. Does our encounter with God bring us to the brink of the truth of ourselves, or do we hide behind a confession of faith, a doctrine or a religious cover? Do we avoid the call to come to Him in truth and instead find a “little one” in which to hide from the penetrating eyes of God?

Alone with God

Do we dare draw near to Him? Do we dare venture alone to tread this holy ground of piercing and revelation? Do we have the stamina of heart to cast aside the offerings of a religion more concerned with covering our sin than to find in Christ the power to be free from our sin. The one leaves us bereft of any sense of spiritual identity; the other brings us to the place of “becoming” like Him in truth!

Alone with God has ever been the experience of those used mightily of God regardless of covenant (New or Old Testament).

We read of John the Baptist:

“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel
Luke 1:80

And Paul:

“…immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus”
Galatians 1:16-17

We read of John on the Isle of Patmos, Daniel, Moses, and many others who by faith drew near to the One who can take “worms” and make them “sharp threshing instruments having teeth” Isaiah 41:14-15

“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff”
Isaiah 41:14-15

Do not be fearful or tempted to compromise your walk with God in order to fit in with the consensus of many; either the cloistered ones who walk in their own counsel, nor with the multitude who frequent the broad paths. Let the lonely times, when friends, brothers and sisters reject you, be a blessing. Only as we are alone with Him can He truly purge us from the uncleanness of our own ways. Never be afraid to be Alone with God.

Therefore, I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words…”
Daniel 10:8-9

*Note: Jacob - “Adjective עקב ('aqeb) means overreacher; adjective עקב ('aqob), insidious or deceitful; adjective עקב ('aqob), tricky or treacherous (of terrain). Noun עקבה ('aqeba) means deceitfulness and noun עקב ('eqeb), consequence..” Abiram Publications

Brian Troxel

The Morning Watch

The Morning Watch

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning”
Psalm 5:3

There is great comfort in knowing our God will meet us in the time of morning prayer. It is an unfathomable privilege to know that, as His children, His ear is attentive to our cry. Regardless of our situation, the bitterness and failure of yesterday must give way to the wonder of His presence today.

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning
Lamentations 3:22-23

Mercy and compassion envelope the diligent seeker in the early morning hours just as the dew that settles upon the lilies of the valley. His quiet and healing presence sweeps over our soul nourishing, restoring and drawing us near unto that Heart of pure love. How quickly fades the angst and concern over the fears of the day which lies before us. Light and peace fill the void and empty places within as a quiet confidence springs up from deep within our soul. God is here! Not only is He here but He is listening to our trembling voices and tentative hearts. He gives audience to His own; how good and gracious is our God!

“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning”
Psalm 143:8

Brian Troxel

Cherith – The Place of Separation

Cherith – The Place of Separation

“Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward,
and hide thyself by the brook Cherith”
1 Kings 17:3

The true path of the Lord will always culminate in the setting apart of a vessel unto Himself. “Cherith” literally means separation, derived from a Hebrew root meaning to “cut off”. This life of separation is not the result of works of the flesh or caused by carnal means; it is always entered into by the simple obedience of an individual unto the Word of the Lord. As such, this place of separation will always be filled with special provisions of God to sustain one in the center of His Will.

“And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook;
and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there”
1 Kings 17:4

In these times of loneliness and separation God Himself comes in new and profound ways. There is a drawing near, a learning and a dependency upon Him and His provisions; a time of being hid in the wonder of God Himself. This place of separation brings one to new places of freedom from other comforts and even our reliance on friendships for in the presence of God there is room for none other than God Himself.

“And it came to pass after a while,
that the brook dried up…”
1 Kings 17:7

These separations are intended by God to be temporary in the life of His own, not permanent dwelling places, for God’s desire is that the vessel be poured into the lives of others. The special provision of God dries up and the Word of the Lord comes to move on in new power and a closer relationship with Him. The vessel is prepared for greater works by the cutting off of former things. On this occasion there was a widow in need of the touch of the Lord who would also be a source of new sustenance.

“And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,
Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon,
and dwell there: behold, I have commanded
a widow woman there to sustain thee”
1 Kings 17:8-9

This same work of God was evident in Paul the Apostle who was set aside for three years in the wilderness of Damascus in order to become a chosen vessel in the purposes of God (Galatians 1:15-18). To what end was the separation of Paul?

“To reveal His Son in me…”
Galatians 1:16

Brian Troxel