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Posts Tagged ‘Becoming Strong’


Thought for Today

Humility and Obedience

Humility

“And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, and became obedient
Philippians 2:8

Humility is the precursor to obedience. Only a humble heart can obey God’s Word. True humility is expressed in a life of obedience. It is the stiff necked, self-willed, and obstinate who cannot obey God’s Word. Men may preach, teach and perform many overt signs and wonders but it is God who searches the heart (Matthew 7:21-23). Only those who are truly humbled in heart before God can obey, please and honor Him.

As the Son humbled Himself as a man He became obedient to the Father while clothed in mortal flesh. The book of Hebrews declares:

“Though he were a Son,
yet learned he obedience
by the things which he suffered”
Hebrews 5:8

It is not that Jesus was ever disobedient but in His incarnation, as a Man, He had to learn obedience! He came from Glory into a whole new realm and manner of life. In becoming a man, He had to overcome the testings, the temptations and the frailties of all that we are. Why and to what end?

“And being made perfect,
he became the author of eternal salvation
unto all them that obey him
Hebrews 5:9

In His overcoming here, as a true man, He became the author of a salvation which is available to all who obey Him. The authenticity of the salvation of an individual must culminate in obedience unto Him. Salvation is revealed by our obedience. The depth to which we are saved is revealed in the depth of our submission unto His will.

Those who claim to be “saved” will show forth His salvation by living a life of obedience.

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?”
Luke 6:46

While many may say “Lord, Lord” it is in the crucible of obedience that His Lordship is revealed.

The humility of a life
is not known by a timid demeanor,
It is known by the submission
of itself to the Word of God.

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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ZIKLAG

The Great Press of God

“And David said in his heart,
I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul:
there is nothing better for me than that I should
speedily escape into the land of the Philistines”
1Samuel 27:1

These are insights into the heart of David in the midst of a long and protracted circumstance. Saul’s relentless pursuit of David continued year after year in spite of the fact that David spared his life on several occasions. David finally came to the conclusion that Saul was not going to change. The situation seemed hopeless and David, now at the point of weariness, succumbed to a logical solution. For centuries the Philistines had been one of the chief enemies of God’s purposes; we see them even in the days of Isaac contending for his wells and God’s promises. The very meaning of “Philistine” “is to wear down, to roll or wallow in self (pity)”. Have we not all at one time or another been victims and sojourners in “the land of the Philistines”? We face situations with our health, financial issues, sins that plague us, temptations, struggles with relationships and many other circumstances whereby we are under assault often for years without any remedy in sight. Consciously or subconsciously we give in to a life of defeat and despair of ever knowing victory in a particular situation.

When Saul heard that David had moved into the land of the Philistines he no longer pursued him. So it is with the enemy of our souls. A defeated and hopeless Christian is no longer a threat to Satan’s dominion for we are dwelling in the place of his rule.

“And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath:
and he sought no more again for him”
1Samuel 27:4

It is bad enough to move into the land of the Philistines but David went even further and asked the King of the Philistines to appoint a place for him to dwell!

“And David said unto Achish,
If I have now found grace in thine eyes,
let them give me a place in some town in the country,
that I may dwell there”
1Samuel 27:5

To which the King of the Philistines was more than pleased to give unto David Ziklag.

“Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day”
1Samuel 27:6

Ziklag comes from a Hebrew root verb meaning to “press (mentally) someone or something to reveal what is inside” (*see note). Ziklag is a spiritual land we must visit in our walk with God. It is a place wherein we find ourselves when the press is on, the situation is dire and we, in that moment, revert to our own devices and seek out a refuge from the storm apart from God. It is a necessary work of God to reveal to us our hidden reliance on other things rather than Him alone. It is here that David is pressed even further.

While David and his men were gathered to join in battle with the Philistines to fight Israel, the Amalekites attacked Ziklag and took all of the wives and children of David and his men captive and burned the city with fire.

“And it came to pass,
when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day,
that the Amalekites had invaded the south,
and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;
And had taken the women captives, that were therein:
they slew not any, either great or small,
but carried them away, and went on their way”
1Samuel 30:1-2

David’s men had faithfully followed him into this place but this last compounding of the trial had brought them (and David) to a place of inconsolable grief.

“Then David and the people that were with him
lifted up their voice and wept,
until they had no more power to weep”
1Samuel 30:4

It is hard to even comprehend the depth of grief they were all feeling. In the midst of this great sorrow we read even David’s men began to speak of stoning him!

“And David was greatly distressed;
for the people spake of stoning him,
because the soul of all the people was grieved,
every man for his sons and for his daughters…”
1Samuel 30:6

The great pressing of God had come to David. The energies and strategies of all his natural ability had been thrown into the press of the Almighty God. The despair, discouragement and enormity of circumstance had been brought to bear upon this one who was called of God to rule and reign in Israel. What would become of him?

“…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God”
1Samuel 30:6

“And David recovered all that the Amalekites
had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.
And there was nothing lacking to them,
neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters,
neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them:
David recovered all”
1Samuel 30:18-19

The end of man brings us to the beginning of God and His resources. Though the press seems more than one can bear, God knows our frame and His ways are higher than ours. Men who are called of God to walk in the high places must know of these pressings and ways of the Most High God. In the Old Testament men were born priests; in the New Covenant we are “…made kings and priests unto God and his Father” (Revelation 1:6). God’s end in our lives is to be made like unto Him to such an extent that “…as he is, so are we in this world”.

Well could David declare…

“O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:
Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.
For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.
Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water:
but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place
Psalm 66:8-12

It is also interesting to note that Ziklag was originally a city of Philistine rule. As a result of David being brought low, and then rising up in the strength of his God, Ziklag became a possession of Israel! That which was meant by the enemy to destroy David became part of the inheritance of Israel. God’s intention is to bring us to the place of victory in Christ Jesus.

“…wherefore Ziklag pertaineth
unto the kings of Judah unto this day”
1Samuel 27:6

It is God’s plan and desire that all the things which are meant to crush us become a place of victory and praise unto our God. It is in these places that the overcomers in God arise and stand in the strength and faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“He giveth power to the faint;
and to them that have no might
he increaseth strength”
Isaiah 40:29

*NOTE: Ziklag: Scholars have identified two separate roots of the form צוקiti
1: The verb צוק (suq I) denotes pressing someone (mentally) in order to bring out what’s kept inside. Thus enemies press the cities they besiege to surrender (Deuteronomy 28:53-57, Isaiah 51:13, Jeremiah 19:9). The Timnite pressed Samson for the answer to his riddle (Judges 14:17), and Delilah for the secret of his strength (16:16).
2: The verb צוק (suq II) also denotes the bringing forth of something contained internally, which is done either by applying pressure or by smelting. From rock copper is smelted (Job 28:2), but rocks poured/squeeze out streams of oil (Job 29:6). Likewise, Isaiah observes that in their distress (from צרר, sarar) the people of Israel visited YHWH and poured/squeezed out a whisper (Isaiah 26:16).

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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THE FEAR OF THE LORD

STRONG FAMILIES
for a
STRONG and VITAL CHURCH

“Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
and to depart from evil is understanding”
Job 28:28

We read in proverbs that “Wisdom cries out” (Proverbs 1:20-33) in the common course of everyday life. It ever seeks to instruct even the simple and the wayward but it is the responsibility of man to give heed to her voice. In all things pertaining to truth there is a response required for an individual to walk in the “WAY” of God. True wisdom, to the heart of one who seeks to be exercised and disciplined by its reigns, brings a growing wonder of His Life. We read that this wisdom seeks and cries out for men to hear and embrace her. Wisdom builds and brings safety and confidence; it builds strong families that produce children who are strong in the ways of our God. Strong families produce a strong Church. Paul writes to Timothy…

“When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee,
which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois,
and thy mother Eunice;
and I am persuaded that in thee also”
2 TIMOTHY 1:5

Without the fear of the Lord as the atmosphere of the home and the Church of God there is little vitality or strength. Without the fear of the Lord the sin and corruption of the world infiltrates and weakens the foundation of the home. There is no hope for true understanding within the lives of individuals without the ministration of the fear of the Lord. Weakened homes produce children who are set adrift in the world without a compass or foundation upon which they can build strong and confident lives. We see all around us the tragic consequences of a gospel that has rendered the “fear of the Lord” as a concept that is old and outdated; acceptance and tolerance is the new “enlightened” message.

The “fear of the Lord” brings us to the “true understanding” of the Glory and Majesty of our God. It brings parameters into the lives of those who know and grow in its way. That True Understanding enables us to depart from iniquity and produce strong ministrations of Light that will shine into the darkness of this present world. This ministration is not simply by the religious words of men but the Word of Truth that is ministered from lives that demonstrate authenticity by a life well lived in God.

We hear much in terms of teaching and doctrine in our day; without the “fear of the Lord” they remain words without power. Doctrines without the substance of life to demonstrate the verity of their declarations produce a Church that is declining in its influence and vitality within and without.

Where there is no Fear of the Lord
Holiness, Righteousness and Truth
will have little impact
In our homes
And in
the Church of God
And correspondingly
In the world in which we live

Ω

“I can know if I truly fear God
by determining if I have a genuine hatred of evil
and an earnest desire to obey His commands”
Jerry Bridges

Brian Troxel

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PSALM 23

PART EIGHTEEN

BREAD FOR US

“Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies”
PSALM 23:5

“They are bread for us…” This was the declaration of FAITH that characterized the lives of Joshua and Caleb in the face of Israel’s unbelief and the number and the size of the enemies that inhabited the Land of Promise. Their strength was not in themselves. Their confidence was grounded in the unshakable trust that God was with them; a live vision that enabled them to remain unmoved by the size and the scope of their enemies. This is the crucial element to a faithful and consistent walk in God. The KEY phrase to this declaration is found in the verse preceding; “If the LORD delight in us”. True Vision always lifts our eyes from ourselves and causes us to focus on the things that please HIM. The life of the Son was always centered upon the one and great eternal desire to please the Father. His will was fixed upon this one thing and because of that His life was governed by that ONE GREAT WILL. The ability to see our enemies as bread for us is in direct correlation to our submission to HIS purposes; that we are here to DO His will and to walk in HIS ways regardless of the cost.

“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him;
and he will show them his covenant”
PSALM 25:14

The life of feasting at this table must always be preceded by the WAY of the ALTAR. The Altar of Burnt Offering precedes the Table of Showbread! Vision is the result of a man’s walk; our ability to see and understand the purposes of God are directly related to our heart’s condition not our intellect. Spiritual ignorance is the fruit of disobedience. It was the obedience of Abraham to take his only son Isaac and offer him unto the Lord (as per the Word of the Lord) that Abraham saw the revelation of “Jehovah Jireh” (Genesis 22:13). It was WHEN the “feet of the Priests” carrying the Ark stepped into the flooding river Jordan that it parted allowing them to enter the Promised Land. It was WHEN Judah offered himself in the stead of Benjamin that Joseph could no longer restrain himself from revealing who he was in their midst. Joseph was there the whole time yet they could not see him until there was a change of heart. So too this table is set before us with the bountiful provisions of our God to nourish and supply us with all that we need to finish this race “that is set before us” (HEBREWS 12:1).

“Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress”
PSALM 4:1

Ω

“It is only by obedience that we understand the teaching of God”
Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

“Every man must tread the Word for himself.
One may read it in one shape,

another in another: all will be right if it be indeed the Word they read,
and they read it by the lamp of obedience.
He who is willing to do the will of the Father shall know the truth
…the Spirit is “given to them that obey him”
GEORGE MACDONALD

Brian Troxel

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