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SERVING JESUS

“If any man serve me, let him follow me;
and where I am, there shall also my servant be:
if any man serve me, him will my Father honour”
John 12:26

The central theme to which Jesus kept directing His disciples was relationship to Him. The great deception of religion is that men and women serve an organization, a doctrine, a teacher or even worse themselves. Here Jesus points to the essential cornerstone of true service unto Him: “let him follow me”. It is in following Him that we become separated unto Him. The “cross” of the individual believer is simply defined by a life of following Him. While many are willing to do strenuous religious observances, fasting, long prayer meetings, conferences and seemingly good works the issue remains one of following Him. The cross of Christ was in doing the will of the Father. In this place of true servitude the Son glorified the Father. It is in our being “yoked” with Him that our lives will in truth glorify the Son. Knowledge of the scriptures must give way to relationship with the Son. Knowledge alone of the Son will never make a person free nor bring about the true experiential knowing of Him within the human heart.

Throughout the scriptures we see that many stopped following Him because of the cost of the Way. The Scribes and Pharisees had no problem with long prayers, religious observances and the rites and rituals of the religious system but they failed to follow Him. In following Him they would have come to the crossroad of serving self or serving God. It is here that the truth of one’s heart is revealed. In this day of the great Apostasy the hearts of many are growing cold and unresponsive to Him and His Word. The forms of truth are retained but the active daily following of Him is replaced by the love of this world, by the busyness of religious programs, and in living a life of self-interest; this culminates in a life that no longer follows Him. Freedom from self with all of its wretched ways and miserable ends can only be found in the following of Him. To truly follow Him requires a forsaking of self. Religion is the “opiate of the masses”; it offers the appearance of a thing without the substance of the thing. It offers the sayings of Jesus without the required obedience to His words. It calls Him Lord but affords its adherents the means to escape actual obedience to Him by the soothing of the conscience with the very words of scripture. Early in Jesus’ life Satan came with great power and temptation by quoting the scriptures so that Jesus might seek to “save” His life supernaturally for all to see (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus refuted such temptation as He was not here to fulfill His will. His purpose was to fulfill the will of the Father.

There can be no true serving of Jesus without a life of actively following Him. It is evident that we are in the time of the great falling away. It is a very subtle and deadly affair of the heart when men and women cling to the words of Jesus without the following of Him. The subtlety of such a life is called deception and it is the way of spiritual decay and death. We remain static while He moves on in the will and the glory of the Father. We hear many say that God does not answer prayer. The wonder of His presence is lacking and in most places not even expected. We have become accustomed to the forms of religion without His presence and power. It is not because He has forsaken us; it is that we have ceased as a people to “follow Him”. He declares to the Church at Ephesus:

“But I have against you
that you left your first love…”
Revelation 2:4

The verse preceding this one states “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience…” The works continued but the love faded. The forsaking of their “first love” (pre-eminent love) was so critical to their place in God that His judgement upon such a people was the removal of His presence from their midst. The reason for the cooling of the heart of His people is the result of iniquity abounding.

“And because iniquity shall abound,
the love of many shall wax cold”
Matthew 24:12

The Greek word translated iniquity here does not fully imply gross sin. It speaks of lawlessness in that instead of obeying the commandments of Jesus we subtly set them aside declaring that we are now under grace. It is through the horror of this deceptive teaching that we are seeing the fervent love of many growing cold and indifferent. It is we who have forsaken the good and right way. The church has embraced teachers who bring in damnable heresies that turn His people from following Him to the serving of self and other things. We call Him Lord yet we set aside His commandments to obey the traditions and teachings of men. WE HAVE MADE THE WORD OF GOD OF NON-EFFECT! It is our own doing and God’s remedy is repentance and the return to our primary love.

“”This people honors Me with the lips,
but their heart is far away from Me; and in vain they worship Me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Isa. 29:13 8)
For forsaking the commandment of God,
you hold the tradition of men”
Mark 7:7-8

God has a simple answer for this generation and this time. It is the simplicity of obeying His commandments and following Him.

“If ye keep my commandments,
ye shall abide in my love”
John 15:10

The teaching of a grace that absolves His people from obedience to the commands of Jesus is a lie and deception of the devil himself! If we do not repent we will stand in the judgement of God as they who once knew the truth and turned away. This is the picture presented to us in the Parable of the Sower where the soil which grew weeds of the cares of self and this life and choked out the precious seed. This truth is presented throughout the New Testament to those who started out well yet grew cold and indifferent to Him in the end.

“For if by a full knowledge of the Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ, they have escaped the defilements of the world,
and again being entangled they have been overcome by these,
then their last things have become worse than the first.
For it was better for them not to have fully known
the way of righteousness, than fully knowing to turn from
the holy commandment delivered to them”
2 Peter 2:20-21 (LITV)

Let us find Grace in this day to finish the race which is set before us. Let us not grow weary in our following of Him for we shall surely reap if we faint not.

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Unity  

The Natural State of All Things In God

Unity is the natural order of anything which pertains to God in the Spiritual world. Where God rules, Unity is. It is not something to be attained by works rather it is the natural state of anything that is submissive to God’s Spirit. Jesus prayed that we may be ONE as He and His Father are. Jesus did not strive to be ONE with His Father for that ONENESS is who they are. If we are in Him the natural expression is UNITY. It is the Lie and the desire of self that prevents that which is in heaven to be so in the earth. Men do not want to give up their positions, their churches, fellowships, ministries or their very selves in order to see God’s end in the earth: the ONE Body. Unity is the fruit of the heart of Jesus and the whole purpose of salvation is expressed in us “being transformed, by the renewing of our minds” until we are freed from the fallen nature into the mind of Christ. (Read each verse in the same Spirit which inspired it).

2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:2-8

How can we read this and not feel the piercing of His Holy conviction? How do we reconcile the thing we see in the land today with such deep and powerful words? We see every day, everywhere the contradiction of this within the household of faith. Men and women ostracizing others, declaring this is our church, our beliefs, our teacher (pastor, evangelist, prophet or apostle). This is not the language of the New Testament nor of the Spirit of God! It grieves God’s heart for such things to even be spoken. Yet many of God’s people feel no pangs of sorrow, no grief of soul and are even comfortable with the arrangement.

“The prophets prophesy falsely,
and the priests bear rule by their means;
and my people love to have it so…”
Jeremiah 5:31

This is nothing new for where there is no change within the human heart there will always be this comfortable arrangement. Jeremiah precedes this verse with a telling description of the environment which is conducive to this horror.

“Now hear this, O foolish people, even you without heart, who have eyes and do not see. who have ears and do not hear. Do you not fear Me, declares Jehovah? Will you not tremble before My face, that I have placed the sand as the boundary for the sea by a never ending decree, so that it cannot cross over it? And though they toss themselves, yet they cannot prevail; though its waves roar, yet they cannot cross over it. But to this people there is a revolting and a rebellious heart; they have turned, and are gone. And they do not say in their heart, let us now fear Jehovah our God who gives both the former and the latter rain in its season; He keeps for us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withheld good from you. For among My people are found wicked ones. They lie in wait, as one who sets snares. They set a trap, they catch men. Like a cage full of birds, so their houses are full of treachery. On account of this they have become great and grown rich. They have become fat; they shine. Yes, they pass over the deeds of the evil; they do not plead the cause, the cause of the orphan, that they may prosper. And they do not vindicate the right of the needy. Shall I not visit for these things, declares Jehovah? Shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this? An astounding and horrible thing has happened in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their hands; and My people love it so…”
Jeremiah 5:23-31(LITV)

The reason things do not change is because His people are comfortable with the status quo. The preachers preach a comfortable gospel, the people pay them to do so, there is no conviction, reproof or exhortation in the land. We are not pressed to forsake our carnal ways and the way of the world..

There can be no unity to those who walk in the strategies of the carnal mind, “for the carnal mind is not subject to the law (and reign) of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7-8). Unity will only be known by those who walk, live and dwell in His Spirit. They who insist on their own way, who love the pre-eminence and the control where God’s people meet will never know of the blessing, power and glory of God in our midst.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
Psalm 133:1-3

The unity brings the anointing, the power and the blessing.

Ω

“The Church, during the apostolic age, did not consist of isolated, independent congregations, but was one body, of which the separate churches were constituent members, each subject to all the rest…”
– Charles Hodge

 Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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PREPARE YE MY PEOPLE*

THE STORM IS ABOUT TO BREAK!

“But let us, who are of the day,
be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love;
and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”
1 Thessalonians 5:8

Who are the people of the Day? They who are sober (free from the intoxications of this world), who are putting on (an active and daily exercise) the breastplate of faith and love and are having their minds transformed by the living hope of God’s promises. They who are of the DAY know of the subtlety of this hour, they know behind the comforts, excesses and entertainment of this life there lurks an enemy who would seek to undermine our watchfulness and cause us to lose our diligence in this time of obscurity. The scripture preceding this one…

“For they that sleep sleep in the night;
and they that be drunken are drunken in the night”
1 Thessalonians 5:7

To be a people of the Day has little to do with teaching and understanding, it is revealed in the LIFE of being sober, aware, watching as a watchman in the night. It is incumbent upon those who are walking in the light as He is in the light to be vigilant and mindful of the Lord. People of the Day know inherently the deceptive nature of their own hearts, they place no confidence in their understanding, they are keenly aware that “HE is their salvation” and as it was with Elisha following and keeping His eyes on Elijah that the promise is secured. We dare not take our eyes off of Him, we dare not give our eyes to slumber, our hearts to folly and our minds to discouragement or despair.

People of the Day know of the necessity of remaining in His Spirit, being clothed in the armor of His light and in the strength of His might.

In this past while I have been privileged to visit the underground church in several persecuted countries and as a result I have come to the conclusion that we who live in the countries of ease and plenty are actually living in the most dangerous environment to the Christian walk. We are seeing the fall of many because of the lack of the fear of the Lord and of a compromised gospel which speaks of a God who is no longer concerned with righteousness. It is a Gospel which does not present God’s Holiness and call to walk in sobriety and truth. It is here in our land where His judgement is about to fall because of the torpor, the secularism and apathy which has taken hold of His people that His Word is going forth to turn us from our ways to walk in His.

The Trumpet is sounding in the Day of prosperity to all who would have ears to hear for the storm is about to hit with suddenness and great fury and only they who are of the Day will meet it with the Breastplate of Faith and Love and the Helmet of Salvation.

“I spake unto thee in thy prosperity;
but thou saidst, I will not hear.
This hath been thy manner from thy youth,
that thou obeyedst not my voice”
Jeremiah 22:21

*NOTE: As I was writing this article this word came to me…

“The storm is about to break,
prepare ye my people and give ear to His Word!”

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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PROPHETIC PURPOSE

PART ONE

“And he repaired the altar of the LORD
that was broken down”
(1KINGS 18:30)

God’s purpose in raising up prophets is to restore the power and wonder of true worship. Worship is central to the purpose of God in every generation. How little we realize the power that is transmitted through true worship to the people of God. It is the fundamental desire of God to find such worshippers of Him…

“But the hour cometh, and now is,
when the true worshippers
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:
for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
  God is a Spirit:
and they that worship him must worship
him in spirit and in truth”
JOHN 4:23-24

Through apathy and apostasy the altar of God becomes broken down as men neglect their spiritual responsibilities. The imposition of worldly ways, entertainment, programs, professional and orchestrated performances crowd out the true worship of God. The fire goes out and the glory of God fades from the hearts and minds of men. The true worship that comes from broken and contrite hearts is replaced with human confidence in talents and professionalism leaving a powerless and worldly church in its wake. It is at such a time as this that we see God raising up expressions of ministry that are gripped by the tepid and impotent condition of HIS Church. They confront the exaltation of men and their ways, the religion of convenience and the sheer horror of men claiming ownership over the things of God; they declare “my people, my church, and my ministry” while the true altar of God is broken down and neglected. It is a day of confrontation as the fire of God burns within the hearts of those who are concerned for HIS Glory and His Ways. The prophets of Baal are always more numerous and conspicuous. They love the attention and the adulation of the people of God. In due time God answers by fire and the trite and worldly ways of men are left to the JUDGEMENTS of God and once again the fickle hearts of men are drawn back to the TRUE ALTAR.

There is but ONE ALTAR and it is only there that men conduct business with God. It is there that men offer themselves unto God and His purposes. It is there that men begin to see and understand the depth of the Sacrifice of the Son on their behalf and touch the awesome HOLINESS of God in spirit and in truth. In the light of such things men and women are transformed, hearts are ignited and God’s Glory is seen. From this arises a new generation of living sacrifices that have cast away the pursuits of self realization and self love to become flaming torches filled with a passion to see HIS NAME Glorified! This day is about to dawn and the PURE and HOLY Bride will arise out of the ashes of men’s ways, men’s religious systems and teachings. The day is upon us!

The Prophetic Purpose is to restore to HIS CHURCH the true Worship of God, to see the people of God once again declare “THE LORD HE IS GOD” and to restore THE CHURCH to the place where God has preeminence in our midst.

The call of God goes forth in this hour to empower those who will hear and arise with the very fire of God burning in their hearts.

“…therefore gird up thy loins, and arise,
and speak unto them all that I command thee:
be not dismayed at their faces,
lest I confound thee before them.
  For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city,
and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land,
against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof,
against the priests thereof,
and against the people of the land”
JEREMIAH 1:17

Brian Troxel

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SPIRITUAL SLUMBER

PART ONE

FALSE TEACHING

“Laziness makes one fall into a deep sleep…”
PROVERBS 19:15 (LITV)

Spiritual slumber is the result of spiritual laziness. False teaching, empty faithless works and spiritual pride are all factors that lend themselves to the horror of such a condition. The life of the true believer is characterized by the fear of the Lord. This healthy fear of the Lord produces a diligence that is the safeguard from this slumber that leads to death and deception. Paul in writing to the Corinthians said,

“I therefore so run,
not as uncertainly; so fight I,
not as one that beateth the air:

But I keep under my body,
and bring it into subjection:

lest that by any means,
when I have preached to others,

I myself should be a castaway”
1 CORINTHIANS 9:26-27

Paul clearly sets forth here the effect that the fear of the Lord produces in a man whose faith is active, living and real. This is a live truth that stands in stark contrast to the antinomian gospel that is prevalent in much of the church today. The antinomian gospel declares that because of grace I can live my life without consequence. This teaching presents the salvation of God as an event rather than a life which is contrary to the entire context of the scriptures set forth in the New Testament. The fruit of a thing is the revelation of the ACTUAL inherent life in it. Jesus did not say you will know them by their confession and their words. Judas, in the very act of betrayal, greeted Jesus with a kiss yet it was his works that revealed him as the son of perdition.

“A good tree CANNOT bring forth evil fruit,
neither can a corrupt tree
bring forth good fruit.

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit
is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them”
MATTHEW 7:18-20

The life of the true disciple of Christ is revealed by the intense desire to please and honour HIM in the everyday concourse of life. Contrary to the “evangelical gospel” of our day the PRIMARY purpose of the Gospel and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is to make us “witnesses unto HIM” not unto men.

“And he (Jesus) said unto them,
It is not for you to know
the times or the seasons,

which the Father hath put in his own power.
BUT YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER,
after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:
and YE SHALL BE WITNESSES UNTO ME
in Jerusalem,

and in all Judaea, and in Samaria,
and unto the uttermost part of the earth”
ACTS 1:7-8

The true teaching of the New Testament is to produce people whose lives are lived as a WITNESS unto HIM! The power of the HOLY SPIRIT is given to empower us to live pure and godly lives in all sincerity and authenticity unto HIM. Much of the church of today aims to please the world rather than God. We see compromise and “seeker friendly” strategies to “market” Jesus rather than to live in the power of the HOLY SPIRIT that brought conviction to the world. The false teaching of this hour portrays a gospel that seeks to befriend the world rather than convict it. It has produced a gospel that has reduced it to a “message” rather than a LIFE of power. The result of such a gospel is a church that is slumbering and lost. A “church” where the people have no other vision or purpose than to try and increase their numbers rather than “making disciples of Christ”; a gospel message that is more intent on filling the pews than glorifying the risen Christ. Rather than being humbled and broken over the divisions of denominations and the following of men they are proud and contented with a gospel that presents a divided church. This is not in keeping with the prayer of Jesus “that they may be ONE AS Thou art with Me and I am with Thee… THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW”.

Men and women who know that their lives are to be lived unto HIM are free from the opinions of men. They know intrinsically within their own hearts that they must give an account unto HIM for the life they live.

“Wherefore we labour,
that, whether present or absent,
WE MAY BE ACCEPTED OF HIM.
For we must all appear
before the judgment seat of Christ;

that every one may receive
the things done in his body,

according to that he hath done,
whether it be good or bad.

KNOWING THEREFORE
THE TERROR OF THE LORD,

we persuade men”
2 Corinthians 5:9-11

We clearly read here that Paul and the Church of his day “labored…to be accepted of HIM”! How does this fit into the complacent gospel of today? Paul WAS not speaking of working for his salvation. He was speaking of living a life unto God that was acceptable and well pleasing. Without this foundational truth the gospel becomes a man-centered worldly teaching rather than a Gospel pulsating with the Life of the Son who only lived to please His Father.

The fruit of such a gospel has produced a laziness that has engulfed much of the church today in a slumber that will bring great judgement.

God’s Word to those who have preached such a Gospel…

“His watchmen are blind:
they are all ignorant,
they are all dumb dogs,
they cannot bark (to warn others);
sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
Yea, they are greedy dogs
which can never have enough,
and they are shepherds
that cannot understand:
they all look to their own way,
every one for his gain,
from his quarter.
Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine,
and we will fill ourselves
with strong drink;
and to morrow shall be as this day,
and much more abundant”
ISAIAH 56:10-12

The “strong wine” of such a gospel produces slumber, worldliness, apathy, compromise and lack of conviction; the sins of the world are the sins of the church. It is upon such that the ends of the earth are about to fall and they know it not.

“None so deaf as those who will not hear”
Matthew Henry (1662–1714)

Brian Troxel

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LUKEWARMNESS
The Present Day Deception

“So then because thou art lukewarm,
and neither cold nor hot,
I will spue thee out of my mouth”
REVELATION 3:16

This is the word of the Lord unto His Church, written to His own. By nature we prefer to be lukewarm rather than too hot or too cold; it is far more comfortable. The present day deception of the Antinomian gospel removes my obligation to live righteously BY Grace and replaces it with the false belief that I can now live as I please because OF Grace. This teaching of “I believe therefore I am declared righteous”, regardless of how I live, has produced a lukewarm and apathetic generation of “believers”. We think that we now can sit back and live a life of compromise with the world without any consequences to our relationship with God!

“Little children, let no man deceive you:
he that doeth righteousness is righteous…”
1 JOHN 3:7

John is teaching the people of his day not to be deceived; they that are truly born of God live righteously. They DO righteousness, it is the fruit of their faith, the evidence of the Son living in their lives. John goes on to say…

“In this the children of God are manifest,
and the children of the devil:
whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God…”
1 JOHN 3:10

It is time for us to awaken to the truth and to reject this deception. IT DOES MATTER HOW WE LIVE! If we are lukewarm HE will spue us out of His mouth. We need a healthy fear of the Lord that brings accountability into our own lives and gives us the courage to speak to our brothers and sisters who are complacent with sin. Where are those who seek out others who will challenge them to live Godly in this present world and to have their lives shine with the Light of the Life of the Son?

Many will say in this hour “Lord, Lord” but it is to them that “doeth the will of God who shall abide forever…” (1 John 2:17)

“And whatsoever ye do,
do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Knowing that of the Lord
ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance:
for ye serve the Lord Christ.
But he that doeth wrong
shall receive for the wrong which he hath done:
and there is no respect of persons”
COLOSSIANS 3:23-25

Brian Troxel

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PSALM 23

PART FOURTEEN

CORRECTION AND GROWTH

“Thy Rod…comforts* me”
PSALM 23:4

Without correction and accountability personal growth and fruitfulness becomes stagnated and stunted. Men who refuse correction cease to grow and cease to live. Jesus said “every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit”. We see this truth so aptly revealed in the world around us. Everything concerning life needs to be channelled in order to have direction and purpose. A river without banks is a flood, electricity without a path and a purpose we call “static” and a believer in God who has no personal vision or “mark” (Philippians 3:14) is one who will be without discipline or purpose. A good landscaper prunes his garden that it may grow and become all that he has purposed and envisioned it to be when he planted it. Jesus said that His father was the Vinedresser and they that are of this Vine (Jesus) are to bear fruit that the Father may be glorified. Therefore Fruit is anything that pleases and glorifies the Father.

It is in us receiving of His correction that we grow in fruitfulness and the inherent ability to bring forth expressions of the Son to glorify the Father. Let us hear the admonition from God’s Word; “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11 – 12) The proof of God’s Love and His ongoing investment into our lives is REVEALED IN HIS ROD. We read In the Old and New Testament of the evident Hand of God actively expressing His Love and correction in the lives of people; some were EXERCISED by it and others refused it with eternal consequences. Men who refuse correction choose a life that eventually comes to ruin. God’s Word has summed up this truth in one powerful verse…

“He who keeps instruction (Hebrew: correction) is in the way of life,
But he who refuses correction goes astray”
PROVERBS 10:17

Does this not convey to us the reason behind the apostasy in our land today? Is there not a reason that the LOVE OF MANY has grown cold and indifferent? People are content to go through the motions of religion while failing to realize that we are here to BEAR FRUIT unto HIM who has called us out of darkness into HIS LIGHT that we might ever live to GLORIFY HIM.

God’s Word to HIS PEOPLE today is one of grave importance; one that reveals and lays bare the reason that we are in such disarray, impotence and apathy….

“I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets,
daily rising up early and sending them.
Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck…
This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God
NOR RECEIVE CORRECTION.
Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth”
JEREMIAH 7:25 – 28

It is a Day for us to turn, to receive correction and to be EXERCISED in it that we may come forth as Gold tried in the Fire; purified and freed from our own agendas to DO THE WILL OF HIM that there may be Glory and Honour in His House.

King David knew well the power of change and repentance found in the ministration of truth from others in His day and the fruit that comes from the receiving of it.

“Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me: It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it”
PSALM 141:5

Ω

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance,
baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession,
absolution without personal confession.
Cheap grace is grace without discipleship,
grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

* See Psalm 23 Part 12 for the definition of the Hebrew Word used here

Brian Troxel

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