A Sound Heart

A Sound Heart

“Let my heart be sound in thy statutes;
that I be not ashamed”
Psalm 119:80

“We may regard this inspired prayer as containing within itself the assurance that those who keep close to the Word of God shall never have cause to be ashamed of doing so.

See, the prayer is for soundness of heart. A sound creed is good, a sound judgment concerning it is better, but a sound heart towards the truth is best of all. We must love the truth, feel the truth, and obey the truth, otherwise, we are not truly sound in God’s statutes. Are there many in these evil days who are sound? Oh, that the writer and the reader may be two of this sort!

Many will be ashamed in the last great day when all disputes will be decided. Then they will see the folly of their inventions, and be filled with remorse because of their proud infidelity and willful defiance of the Lord; but he who believed what the Lord taught, and did what the Lord commanded, will stand forth justified in what he did. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun. Men much slandered and abused shall find their shame turned into glory in that day”   Charles Spurgeon

Soundness of heart is an authentic heart, a heart free from duplicity and hypocrisy. The inward reality is congruent with the words spoken and the life lived.

“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart”
Psalm 15:1-2

Brian Troxel

Strong Families – Integrity

Strong Families – Integrity

“The righteous who walks in his integrity
— blessed are his children after him!”
Proverbs 20:7

Integrity as parents does not mean that everything we do is right; it means that we walk in an authenticity that is communicated to our children. Parenting is a very demanding and often heart-wrenching experience as we discover our own lack of wisdom, our own selfishness, and above all our need to learn from our heavenly Father. Parenthood offers an opportunity to grow and develop in wisdom. The grace of integrity is what communicates our relationship with Christ in a way that is most understood by our children. Despite our mistakes, shortcomings, and our own ignorance, it is most critical to display a walk of integrity. Duplicity, hypocrisy, and deceit are most damaging to our children. The greatest sermon to our children is the one we live. Mistakes and personal faults are inevitable in our dealings within our families and without. It is what we DO with them that determines the blessings we pass on to our children.

“So speak ye and so do”
James 2:12

The above scripture may be the clearest definition of integrity. It is a description of one whose inward life is correlated with the outward one. In our earnest pursuit of an authentic walk, the words of our mouth are validated by the life we live. This lifelong quest is one filled with moments of inconsistencies and failure yet having the integrity to embrace our deficiencies as a means of our growth in God is a vital lesson for our children to see the grace of God still at work in our own lives.

“Train up a child in the way he should go –
but be sure you go that way yourself”
Charles Spurgeon

See: The Ministry in the Home

Brian Troxel

PODCAST – Your Own God!

PODCAST – Your Own God

Hear HIM!

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Heb 1:1-2)

In times past God spoke through men, but now in these last days, He is speaking by His Son, in and through YOU! The five-fold ministry is to bring YOU into your unique ministry, to develop and add YOUR voice to THE VOICE of many waters that YOU should become HIS VOICE to others.

God has already apportioned to each of us a mighty deposit of His Spirit, but we don’t enter into it by prayer, but by obedience. God has already given you the land, but now says, “My land is not to be talked about, My land is to be walked about!”

Brian Troxel

Spiritual Union

Spiritual Union

If we love one another, God dwelleth in us,
and his love is perfected in us.”
1 John 4:12

God measures our life in Him by the Love we have for one another. Love is the bond, the ligaments as it were, of the Body of Christ. Love is never content with shallow religious affiliations. It seeks out, pursues, and ever desires full knowledge of another. Within its own heart is the flame of relationship and union in Christ. Its reach into another heart is for the purpose of apprehending oneness; the same oneness for which Christ prayed unto the Father. This union of hearts is the very essence and heartbeat of His Spirit within His own. It is a cry which can only be fulfilled in the purity and wonder of His Holiness becoming in truth our holiness. Many fear such depths of fellowship for in the intimacy of holy bonds there is no room for the hypocrisy and pretense of an insincere heart. Holiness in Christ is the fearful abode in which only the authentic can live and be at home. The depth of our abiding in Him corresponds with the depth of our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The measure of our own partaking of His resurrection life is revealed in the love we have for His people. Only the deceived can find rest in a life lived outside of the love of God.

“We know that we have passed from death unto life,
because we love the brethren.”
1 John 3:14

Authenticity is the fruit of a life lived in God. The Life of Christ is the sole bonding agent which fuses one member to another. Obedience is the means to this purity by which our relationship with our brothers and sisters becomes filled with the wonder of God Himself. An impure heart is filled with mixed motives, carnal and self-seeking desires which by their very nature prevent the true union of His Spirit and Life with Him and one another.

Having purified your souls in the obedience of the truth through the Spirit to unpretended brotherly love, love one another fervently out of a pure heart…”
1 Peter 1:22

See: UNITY

Brian Troxel

Becoming Free in Christ

Becoming Free In Christ

“Freely you have received, freely give…”

The true art of life is generosity. To give freely of ourselves is the revelation of our Savior’s presence within. How freely, how undeservedly we have received of His great mercy. Shall not that heart transform us from the stinginess of giving things rather than ourselves? To give of our time, effort, and most importantly our heart to those around us is life. To live in the freedom of each moment is to give with no thought to our own resources or concerns.

That is freedom.

To seek out the true welfare of another soul at our expense is true life. Life does not consist in what one has, but in the ability to give to others what has been so freely given to us. The Body of Christ today is one of ours, mine, us and they. All of these things denote a wrong thinking, which of course produces wrong living. I hear the term “our church”, “our pastor”, and “we believe”… how it crushes the real heart of all that we have been called to. Paul called himself a “steward” of the grace of God. A steward is one who owns nothing, but simply manages the wealth of another. Truth, Life and Power are only such in the giving of them away, freely and without expectation of any return.

The New Law

The only Law which governs true generosity is the Law of His Love and Wisdom. Love is never impoverished, for in and of itself is the very treasure of God! Men who are always talking of their poverty have not touched the reality of His Love. Love is not aware of itself. It has no vested interest in its state or “feelings”. It gives because that is its very nature. It lives because He lives. It defends not itself, holds on to nothing, and takes no account of its own resources. It is a life that lives in the sheer wonder of God’s Glory and resources. It is no wonder that the Eternal Son with great Joy beckons us to live and walk in the halls of His Father’s house.

“I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly”
John 10:10

Only the child-like faith of Christ can bring us to the simplicity of a life so free and unbound.

“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus…”
Philippians 2:5

Brian Troxel

The Way into Life

The Way into Life

“Holding the mystery of the faith
in a pure conscience”
1 Timothy 3:9

The conscience is a great gift of God to us. It is the vital link between the human soul and God’s Spirit. The deeper an individual goes in their relationship with God the greater will be the diligence required to keep one’s conscience pure and clean before God. Foolish is the one who thinks they can ignore the voice of God within and still grow in their understanding of the mystery and wonder of God in their own life. If we have wronged a brother or sister and do not seek to rectify the situation, let us not be deceived into thinking our life in God will prosper! The conscience is the sounding board in our walk with God. Those who truly seek to know Him must ever be sensitive to this inward light of God. An obedient heart keeps the conscience clean. When there is a disturbance in the conscience, true men and women of faith will do all in their power to keep this mirror of God clean.

“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart,
and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned
1 Timothy 1:5

They who defile their conscience and yet seek to portray faith and godliness walk in the hypocrisy of religion. Their faith is not genuine, and the defilement of the conscience contaminates their relationship with God. A pure heart is one which is ever cognizant of the status of the conscience.

“If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift”
Matthew 5:23-24

Supposing we can worship God in truth while allowing offences to remain unattended is the horror of religion. Such worship is carnal, hypocritical and unacceptable before God. The true heart will respond to the inner voice of the conscience. It requires an intensity of heart to walk in the truth of these things. It requires humility to seek out our brother and sister in order to obey God within the sanctum of our own hearts.

“First be reconciled to your brother” *

How little we comprehend the fact that our relationship with our brother is paramount to our relationship with God. We are the Body of Christ and if I set my brother at aught, in God’s eyes I am doing it unto Him. The growth of any individual in God will be measured by the sensitivity of our responses to this Holy gift of God in us. People may sear and desensitize their conscience by misusing the doctrines of grace. Make no mistake; those who do not obey the conscience will end up in an unfruitful and shipwrecked life, and a darkness from which there is no escape.

A few years ago, I came to understand a simple truth:

“Those who refuse to deal with their past,
will have no future growth in God”

Spiritual Stagnancy is the fruit of disobedience. 

We cannot ignore the voice of God in our conscience and expect His mercies to lead us on into a greater knowing of Him. The life of a true disciple in Christ is one of continual transactions with Him who is true. My sensitivity today is the door through which I enter into the New Things He has for me.

“forgive us our debts AS we also forgive our debtors”
Matthew 6:9

May God make known to us the simplicity of this truth. We may hold on to the doctrines of our forgiveness in God; in reality we are forgiven to the same extent that we forgive others! Forgiveness, like all the precious gifts of God, requires our participation. As with forgiveness, so is mercy… “Blessed are the merciful for they shall OBTAIN mercy”. The religion of men requires no real cost; we can defile our conscience with the very truths of God and somehow think we are in right standing with Him! (Please read the full context of Matthew 5:23-24).

There is a cost but also a great blessing associated with the keeping of a clear conscience. True disciples know the benefits of walking in the Way of Truth. Such things are not optional for those who desire to know Him in Spirit and in Truth.

“And herein do I exercise myself,
to have always a conscience void of offence
toward God,
 and toward men”
Acts 24:16
* Note: There will be instances where there will be unresolved issues, but the true disciple will do all they can to facilitate reconciliation. The conscience will be clear when God is at rest in the heart. Christ died for the reconciliation of the world, but men and women must respond to His gracious offer. Others must respond to that same offer from us. A clear conscience gives us the ability of “having done all to stand” (Eph. 6:13) in matters relating to spiritual warfare. A clean Conscience is vital for victory. Christ did all and gave all; it is incumbent upon His disciples to do the same.

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Idle Words

Thought for Today

Idle Words

“But I say unto you,
that every idle* word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof
in the day of judgment”
Matthew 12:36

The Greek word translated “idle” used here (see below) portrays the weight of God’s desire for His people. These words from the lips of Jesus speak of authenticity and the need for us to walk circumspectly in our daily lives; it is in these scriptures we are made aware of His constant watch over our words and thoughts. There are several words we need to consider in the light of our accountability:

1. Every idle word” – No word that passes our lips will be unaccounted for in the day of judgment.
2. “Every idle word” The Greek word used here refers to words spoken without a corresponding doing or a performing; religious words that are not backed up by the doing and being in the life of an individual. (See the Greek exposition of this word below; also James 2:12)
3. “Shall give account” Contrary to the modern day Gospel in our land there is a day coming in which every believer will give an account unto Him for how we lived out our lives here on earth. This account will be required of us for every word we have spoken and every deed we have done. How unaware we have become of our accountability. It reveals a lack of our sensitivity to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
4. “In the day of Judgment” May God press upon us a new awareness of our accountability to Him. Let us seek Him for a new sensitivity in our daily lives so we will walk an authentic walk. The day of Judgment for the true believer is not one of determining salvation. It is one in which we reap the eternal consequences of rewards and judgments for how we lived our lives. Even a cursory reading of scriptures show us this and are easily understood: the parable of the talents/pounds, the promises to the overcomers in the letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, and the parables of Jesus in the Gospels.

The day of Judgment for the true believer is not one of determining salvation; It is one in which we reap the eternal consequences of rewards and judgments for how we lived our lives.

The more we learn of Him, grow in Him and walk with Him the more we are impacted by His desire to make us genuine and true. Words are a reflection of the heart. It is as the heart becomes pure that the words become pure and are backed up by the life lived.

So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
James 2:12

The “Law of Liberty” is the Law by which we will be judged. John speaks of the “Law of Life” while James refers to this “Law” as one of liberty. Through the transactions of Christ on our behalf we have been set free and because of this freedom to act and speak we will be held accountable at the end of our time here on earth. Law speaks of government and accountability. God’s word speaks of His Kingdom wherein righteousness, equity and holiness is the atmosphere of His presence. As we become compliant with the workings of Christ in our hearts we will partake in corresponding measure of His eternal rewards. (For those who seek to look into this vital truth please do a simple search on the word “reward” in the New Testament). We must realize that it matters on an eternal level how we live and conduct our lives.

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me,
to give every man according as his work shall be
Revelation 22:12

*Notes:

1 The Greek Word translated “idle”  ἀργός  is a compound word comprised of “ergon” (ἔργον) translated as works and deeds and is used 176 times in the New Testament; “” (the letter alpha which is often used in the Greek as a negative). A simple transliteration would be “words without the corresponding works”. (Words without power, fire or purpose. Words which do not inspire change in the hearers).

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon: ἀργός
ἀργός, -όν, and in later writings from Aristotle, hist. anim. 10, 40 [vol. i., p. 627a, 15] on and consequently also in the N. T. with the feminine ἀργή, which among the early Greeks Epimenides alone is said to have used, Titus 1:12; cf. Lob. ad Phryn., p. 104f; id. Paralip., p. 455ff; Winer’s Grammar, 68 (67) [cf. 24; Buttmann, 25 (23)], (contracted from ἄεργος which Homer uses, from α privative and ἔργον without work, without labor, doing nothing), inactive, idle;
a. free from labor, at leisure (ἀργὸν εἶναι, Herodotus 5, 6): Matthew 20:3, 6 [Rec.]; 1 Timothy 5:13.
b. lazy, shunning the labor which one ought to perform, (Homer, Iliad 9, 320

Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words connects this word with James 2:20 “Faith without works is dead”

Strong’s Concordance:
ἀργός argós, ar-gos’; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G2041; inactive, i.e. unemployed; (by implication) lazy, useless; barren, idle, slow.

This Greek word is used in the following scriptures:

Mat 12:36
“But I say unto you, That every idle (G692) word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”

Mat 20:3
“And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle (G692) in the marketplace…”

Mat 20:6
“And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, (G692) and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? G692

1Ti 5:13
And withal they learn to be idle, (G692) wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, (G692) but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.”

Tit 1:12
“One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow (G692) bellies.”

2Pe 1:8
“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren (G692) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Little Children

Thought for Today

Little Children

“And said, Verily I say unto you,
Except ye be converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:3

The other day I was holding my newest grandchild and was simply basking in the wonder and the handiwork of God. Her freshness of life and the incredible spontaneity of being was not only a joyful experience but one of instruction. As she was looking at the largeness of the world around her and trying to absorb what she was seeing the thought came to me “Every thought has a face”. The spontaneous expressions on her face were the mirror of what she was thinking. Sometimes it was puzzlement and the next minute sheer joy when she caught a glimpse of a someone she knew. In the environment of surrounding love, she had no need to filter or mask her spur-of-the-moment responses. This freedom from concern or worry of what others think is a liberating lesson.

“And the servant abideth not in the house for ever:
but the Son abideth ever.
If the Son therefore shall make you free,
ye shall be free indeed”
John 8:35-36

Authenticity of being is the only means by which we are truly free. The purpose of truth is to make me true. In my becoming true within I will know the wonder and joy of being right and free in God. The child-like being of whom Jesus spoke is the fruit of a true and full conversion by the ministration of His Spirit. Here we discover the quality of heart required to enter into the Kingdom of God. It is as we become as a little child that we have the rightness of being to enter into all that He has so graciously made available to us.

Spontaneity is the fruit of Authenticity

Brian Troxel

The Case for God

The Case for God

“And God said unto Moses,
I AM THAT I AM”
Exodus 3:14

Lost within the complex maze of religion there is a bright and shining truth: God is God. Men and women seek to define the mystery of God with words, doctrines and dogmas.  In so doing they invariably end up with an image or a concept of something which has little or no relationship to His true being. Through the ages people have established images and methods of worship in order to appease their inner sense of knowing that He exists. Religion is merely the invention of men seeking to unravel the mystery; to find the wonder of God within the riddle of their innate consciousness of His reality. Even the atheist acknowledges the idea of God by his determination to argue His non-existence. This sense of God is universal for within creation lies the thumbprint and the effervescence of His certainty. The idea of matter coming into existence out of nothing is in itself an absurdity. Neither can life and consciousness of being spring forth from inanimate matter. To hold the notion that the birth of a life is the summation of mindless, inanimate specks of the material world evolving themselves from nothingness into the spark of a living soul is to deny all logic or reason.

One of the fundamental laws of Being is that inanimate matter is incapable of the acknowledgement of its own existence.

“I AM THAT I AM”

This is the declaration of God Himself. What is true in Him is true of us. We are who we are. This sounds trite and banal yet at the core of this acknowledgment is the rationale as to who we are. The mystery of self is in itself proof of God’s existence. It is this sense of being and self wherein lies the spark and inspiration for the contemplation and inquiry into the mystery of God.

The verity of our being is the validation of His being.

The distinctiveness of each life, the individuality and uniqueness of every living thing, speaks of a creator who is capable of infinite thought and design. The concept of uniqueness communicates an aspect of His attentive design to every one of us! We need look no further than the mystery of the singularity of every living thing to recognize a creator. Every tree, flower, animal and human, though each may be of the same species, differs in its own being. The fir tree, though bearing a likeness to all other fir trees, is still differentiated by its own being. Its bent, its limbs and overall structure are the result of the master creator. All creation has purpose and design within our own experiential reality.

The interaction of the forces of nature express the integrated logic of design. The wind, rain and heat shape and form the beauty of mountains, canyons and deserts. Rivers cut into the various geographical features of our world producing beauty that fills our souls with awe. All are expressions of the design of God. The fact that we are created by His design and then set into this world to be formed and shaped by our interactions with the rest of His creation speaks of His continued interest in each of us. The ongoing works of God are the means and method of Him finishing what He has begun. The living tree, ever becoming more of itself through the process of life, is a mere reflection of God’s work in the human soul. Trees which have suffered great injury respond by becoming very unique from their counterparts. Life is the ability to respond and react to the experiences around us. It is this reaction which defines our own growth and brings us in reality to the development of our own being. Nothing in life is static; everything is moving, changing and in the process of becoming. It is this process of becoming that brings us to the reality of Good and Evil.

Good and Evil

Evil in itself can only exist if there is the notion of Good. It is in our knowledge of goodness that we have the ability to call something evil. If there were only evil, there would be no contrasting value from which we could assess its nature. The atheist who questions how there could be a God when they consider the evil in the world, is aware of a sense of goodness from which he is referencing “evil”. It is a contradiction in itself. This innate understanding of good is an affirmation of God’s existence. The laws of government, which set the boundaries of the behavior of its citizens, is proof world wide of this latent consciousness of good and evil. Even the most primitive, undeveloped and isolated societies of the world have laws which are designed to govern their conduct. If there were no fingerprint of God within humanity, if we were but the outcome of a mindless process of atomic matter, reason would not exist. Good and evil would be a non-existent concept. It is the sense of goodness alone by which evil is defined.

The more evil an individual or nation becomes the greater their sense of goodness diminishes. The progressive work of evil, apart from repentance, will culminate in greater darkness. The more an individual becomes good, the greater their sensitivity to evil. It is this discrimination that increases their capacity to recognize the good, choose the good and thereby become good. Evil becomes more evil in the light of that which is good.

Good and evil are expressions of the latent condition of the soul. The existence of both is evident in the mixture and impurity of our own selves. God’s work in us is to purify our hearts; purity is simply the absence of mixture. Purity is the desire of a life committed to truth and holiness. Purity is the lens through which we see God (“Blessed are the pure in heart…for they shall see God” Matthew 5:8). Religion has little desire for purity. Its way of “seeing” God lies in instructions and teachings, observances of laws and regulations, and their purpose is to convince others of their “rightness”. External observances will never in themselves effect change in the nature of an individual. Transformation requires a higher nature bringing change to a lower nature. Jesus Himself questioned the religious leaders of His day “And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one foot?”. These “spiritual” leaders were slaves to their own traditions and laws. They measured themselves by an outward conformity to their concept of God and set themselves in opposition to the Light of God. Their pride resulted in a life of hypocrisy. They measured their growth in God by their external adherence to the law rather than by the internal transformation of their hearts to the goodness, grace and wonder of God. Religion can make people capable of greater evil because they have an ability to justify evil under the pretense of “doing God a service” (John 16:2). They think that what they “believe” determines who they are before God – regardless of their actions. Such a contradiction is deception.

Another universal law of being is this: what people DO is the revelation of WHO they are. Religion tends to affirm what people “believe” determines who they are regardless of their actions. Such a contradiction is the LIE of religious deception.

Another Fundamental Law of Being is:
What One DOES is the revelation of what One IS

“Let no man deceive you:
he that does righteousness is righteous…”
1 John 3:7

How simple this statement is and yet within the religious world of teachings and doctrines this is a contradiction! One religion teaches if I pray every day, I am in good standing with God regardless if I kill or injure others around me. Another religion teaches if I simply confess a statement of faith I am no longer accountable for my ongoing actions. In some manner or another it becomes a way to pacify or excuse the wrong being and doing. Whenever evil is justified God’s proximity to that heart is lessened. To kill another in the name of God is inconceivable. To despise another (who is created in the image of God) is to despise God Himself. Right doing can only come in truth from right being. The hope of righteousness (right being) cannot be known through the outward works of religion. The Peace OF God cannot be known apart from the righteousness 0f God. True Peace is the fruit of the rightness of being, not a correctness of doctrine.. The purpose of teaching is to bring men and women into purity of heart and the authenticity of life. The God who tells us to “love our enemies” is capable of making this a reality.

Authenticity is the fruit of truth.
Hypocrisy is the byproduct of religion.

“Love thinketh no evil…”
1 Corinthians 13:4-5

When a life is governed by the incomprehensible Love of God, it becomes incapable of thinking evil. It is incapable of envy and lust. Love is the true fulfillment of the heart of man. An individual filled with Love has no need for other things. His deepest longings are fully met in the admiration and the worship of God Himself.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Philippians 4:11

This fulfillment is only available within the Life of Christ Himself. Rest is experienced only when God Himself is at rest within us.

“As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness:
I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”
Psalm 17:15

Authenticity is the fulfillment
of God’s work in man

Brian Troxel