Thought for Today

Thought for Today

“He is in the way of life
that keepeth instruction
Proverbs 10:17

A tender heart is open to the instruction of the Lord. It is attentive to His whispers. It is as we come to know His voice and His way that we are able to grow and develop in our life in God. Our teach-ability is evidence that we are in “the way of life”.

Paul was ever attentive to the instruction of the Lord. His life was one of continual learning. His was a life-long quest to know His God.

“I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need”
Philippians 4:12

This learning was experiential to the point where he could glorify God in every situation in which he found himself. While it is easy to gain knowledge, only the experiential knowing of Him will bring changes, eternal changes, into our lives.

It is in keeping His instruction whereby we can be confident that we are in the Way of Life. It is the verity of our life in Him.

Brian Troxel

The Marks of True Servants – Part Three

The Marks of a True Servant

Paul’s Departure
(from Ephesus)

Part Three

“Therefore watch,
remembering that for a period of three years
I didn’t cease to admonish everyone
night and day with tears
Acts 20:31

The true servant of God knows the great battle between flesh and spirit. He is well aware of the weakness of the flesh to grow weary and to compromise. Paul is reminding the Elders of the Church at Ephesus of his own diligence to warn and admonish the believers when he lived among them. His life was an example to them that they must ever be alert and awake to the state of God’s people. We see no letup with Paul; his admonitions were accompanied night and day with tears; for he was filled with the love of God.

This gracious and all-pervading ministration which flowed from Paul was the true expression of one filled with the unction of the Holy Spirit! There was no room for the false comfort of the gospel of today. The fire burned, the admonition flowed.

In the Epistle to the Church at Rome Paul beseeches them to offer themselves unto God as a “living sacrifice”; he left no room for a nominal Christian experience. Beating within him was the insatiable desire to fully apprehend that for which God had so graciously apprehended him. His life burned with purpose and intent. The Christian life was a journey, not a one-time experience. It was a journey filled with temptation and great battles and storms. Yet in a corresponding measure it was also one of growth and glory. Admonition flows from a life which has seen and touched heavenly things.

The individual who has tasted of heavenly things will be in a relentless pursuit of the glory and honour of the One in whom they “live, move and have their being”.

Let us take note of this heart which beat within Paul. May there be a divine SELAH to allow the heart of Jesus to fill our own. Let the apathy of all that is around us be consumed by the passion and the ministration of the Holy Spirit.

“I didn’t cease to admonish everyone
night and day with tears”

SELAH

May we consider the “marks” of the true servant of God and feel anew that fire burning within our own being. Let “this mind be in you” as Paul admonished the Church of God at Philippi. May we know the same intensity and the same care and concern for God’s people that filled the early Church. Let us repent of the status quo and turn again unto the One who can ignite the human heart.

The heart of a true servant of God seeks to bring every life into the Kingdom and dominion of God. It will risk the disapproval of others in order to be pleasing unto God.

Admonition will be a mark of one who serves God in truth.

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

Honouring God

Honoring God

“So speak ye and so do”
James 2:12

We live in a very strange time when individuals can study the scriptures, memorize them, and readily discuss them with others; yet live their lives contrary to the very words they speak. The only way to honor His Word is by obeying it. Obedience is the evidence of a life who truly honors and treats His Word for what it is: Holy. If we do not reverence His Word through obedience we will reap the consequences. How foolish it is to speak His Word and yet not honor it not with our lives.

“For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense; how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation
Hebrews 2:2

They who esteem His Word lightly, lightly esteem the One who speaks it.

“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle,
note that man, and have no company with him,
that he may be ashamed”
2 Thessalonians 3:14

Brian Troxel

Spiritual Warfare – Thankfulness

Spiritual Warfare – Thankfulness

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name”
Psalm 100:4

SELAH

“Do all things without complaining and arguing”
Philippians 2:14

To what end?

“that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without defect in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you are seen as lights in the world”
Philippians 2:15

I am slowly discovering (and I do mean slowly) the power of thankfulness. Thankfulness is a major weapon in warfare for the child of God. It is a disposition which protects us from bitterness and self-pity. There is a resiliency in the thankful heart; in its hold the child of God can overcome many obstacles. Bitterness and acrimony undermine God’s graces; they rob us of the power to see clearly. There is a buoyancy and a freedom that comes if we can remain untouched by the contagion of self. The nature of self is prone to complaining and resentment. These can easily gravitate to animosity, anger and the deadly sins which lurk in those dark places. Prayer is a vital link to overcoming bitterness.

“Continue in prayer,
and watch in the same with thanksgiving
Colossians 4:2

One of the greatest miracles of God in His work within His children is to create a life which walks uprightly in this world full of compromise and sin. It takes the power of Grace to so enable us to hold to the way of God. Temptation and darkness without, weakness and frailty within is the everyday conflict of the Christian life. Let us consider and give thanks unto Him who alone can make us stand as lights in the growing darkness.

In this Day of growing hostility, it is essential that we be arrayed with thankfulness unto Him who, by His grace, can make us stand. It is a Grace by which we can be untouched by all of the stratagems of Satan himself.

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”
Hebrews 12:15

____________________________________

“In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Brian Troxel

Faith and Prayer

Shelter from the Coming Storm

FOUNDATIONS
of
PRAYER

BY FAITH

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him:
for he that comes to God must believe that he is”
HEBREWS 11:6

People who believe little pray little. The basic reality of the Christian’s prayer life is predicated by our faith. The proof of our faith is revealed in our drawing nigh unto HIM. We must believe that HE IS in order to enter into that Holy Place of prayer and communion with Him. The true prayer life is one of relationship and intimacy with our God and Father. It is “by faith” that we draw near unto HIM; it is “by faith” that the substance of the unseen relationship is realized. The recurring thought throughout the faith chapter in the Book of Hebrews is: “by faith”. So it is in the life of PRAYER by which we are to be “building up ourselves on our most holy faith, PRAYING IN THE HOLY GHOST” (Jude 1:20).

BY FAITH is the means by which all deeds are birthed and brought unto perfection. Without FAITH we have no means to draw from the “wells of salvation”. Without FAITH we have no “handle” upon which to lay claim to the precious promises of God. Without FAITH we have no ability to truly understand the depths HIS WORD. Without FAITH we are left to the miserable resources of self that will always wither in the hour of greatest need. “By faith” men DO, GROW and BECOME like their great High Priest. The deeper and more intimate our life of prayer becomes, the more there is a growing realization that we are no longer praying just for our selves. Rather we are becoming participants of HIS HEART for His purposes in the lives of others. For that is the Heart of our Great HIGH PRIEST…

“I pray for them”
JOHN 17:9

Let us get a glimpse of THIS HEART that ever beats and is ever working and praying on our behalf that we might become pure and holy expressions of the Son. “Faith without works is dead” and nowhere is this truth more evident than in the life of holy, powerful and fervent prayer.

“The effectual fervent prayer
of a righteous man availeth much”
James 5:16

Religious men may pray, they may mouth and speak great words that sound right and good but, as Jesus commented, the Pharisee “prayed thus with himself”. His prayer had no HOLY WITNESS but was borne of self and concerned with self. This prayer never left the man. Prayers without works are the bane of religion. The Pharisee’s words were never joined with the works of true Christian charity. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan the Levite and the Priest would pass by the beaten man in the streets on their way to the Temple with no concern. The power of true prayer and interaction with the Heart of Jesus will always bring us into the Love for that thing we pray for. Prayer without faith will be revealed in a life without works. No one can truly touch the heart of God in prayer and be bereft of works. It is an impossibility. Love and faith are the womb from which the works of God flow; in touching Him we touch others.

But we, By FAITH, have access to the Holy Altar of incense that burns with the Holy Fire (singular) of His love and desire. On this Altar the Incense of God is added to the prayers of His saints that they may ascend as sweet fragrant offerings unto HIM who alone is worthy!

“I will therefore that men pray every where,
lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting”
I TIMOTHY 2:8

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today

The Light of God

“For God will bring every work into judgment,
with every hidden thing, whether it is good,
or whether it is evil.”
Ecclesiastes 12:14

The Light of God penetrates all things. His life is His Light. The Words He speaks, the Works He works and the Nature of all that He is, is Light and Life.

“In him was life,
and the life was the light of men”
John 1:4

The Life of God within the heart of an individual is one of His Light shining to uncover, pierce and transform. It is the nature of Light to illuminate and expose; it cannot be otherwise. Religion attempts to cover, conceal and overlook our sins and blemishes; God illuminates our wrongness with the intent of changing and transforming our lives into pure and simple expressions of the One who is Truth.

“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons”
Genesis 3:7

Man’s initial response to the “voice of the Lord walking” (Genesis 3:8) in their midst was to hide and cover their nakedness. It was a spontaneous reaction to the Light of God. The fig leaves are a picture of man’s futility; a temporary solution to an eternal issue. In the fall Adam and Eve stepped out of eternity into the realm of time; in that moment the need to be covered was paramount and pressing. It was their consciousness of “now” that caused them to turn to a temporary solution. In the urgency of the moment their nakedness had to be covered; man’s response to the Light of God. The journey into truth begins with truth. In our acknowledgment of who we are, we are afforded the provisions of all that He is. “Come unto Me” is an invitation for change and rest. The stress and labor of “keeping up appearances” is burdensome and the accompanying fear of exposure is a torment to the soul.

Peace and rest are the result of being right with God.

“Come unto me,
all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest”
Matthew 11:28

Brian Troxel

A Word From the Lord

A Word from the Lord

I woke up this morning burdened in my heart. I spent some time in prayer concerning the things I was feeling. I felt to write upon the phrase "the righteous will live by faith". While writing this article the Spirit of God moved upon me as to the Day we are in. I make no apologies for this writing except for the clumsiness of my own words to express the fire that burned within. The words in blue are when His Spirit fell on me.

“the righteous will live by his faith”
Habakkuk 2:4

This word spoken by Habakkuk, somewhere around 650BC, was directly quoted in the New Testament on three separate occasions: Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38. It was a word by which the Apostles presented the power and the truth of God’s Kingdom.

Habakkuk’s day was much like today. Israel was filled with unrighteousness and the law of God was “slacked” (KJV); the Hebrew word used here means faint or grown feeble in power and in effect. (The power of the things of God expressed in the earth will ever be relative to the attitude of the hearts of God’s people to His Word.) When the word of God is lightly esteemed in the midst of His own, when it becomes a concept and an ideal (rather than the very life and breath of His people), lawlessness, chaos and sin will be rampant in His house.

In Habakkuk’s day iniquity (self-will) infested the land and few took to heart the condition of God’s house. The greatest sin in religion is men and women taking the things of God and using them for their own ends. Self-will is man’s rebellion to God’s will. Men walk in their own paths, according to their own wisdom whereby they devise and scheme their own ways, all in the name of God. Self-will in God’s name is the ultimate defiance of His Lordship. It makes a mockery of the first commandment: “thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord in vain”. It brings the greatest judgment upon a land and a people. The fruit of self-will is powerlessness, apathy and disobedience to Christ Himself. Self-will renders obedience passé with the explanation that we are no longer “under the law but under grace”. Grace becomes the basis for disobedience! Grace becomes the means by which we excuse our obligation to serve our God and instead live unto ourselves. Right living is set aside; we embrace a gospel which declares us righteous while dishonoring God by how we live.

In the midst of this God speaks to the burden and cry of His prophet who in agony of soul cried out to God “Why do you show me iniquity, and look at perversity?” God’s answer was judgment (Hab. 1:6-10). In the midst of God’s decree, He speaks this word to the man who bears in His heart the cry of God: “but the righteous shall live by his faith”.

In the midst of the iniquity in God’s house, a word is spoken to the true in heart: “the righteous shall live BY faith”. This faith imparts the life and power of God to walk uprightly in a day when His law is set aside by a “new gospel”; where men and women are “freed” from their accountability unto God and they exalt in a new “freedom” to live out their lives unchecked and forgiven for past, present and future sins. It is a gospel which desensitizes the conscience and brings His people to the place where everyone does what is right in their own eyes. The moral depravity of this gospel is swiftly bringing the Judgment of God upon our land; it is at the door and even now upon us. As God raised up the Chaldeans in Habakkuk’s day, so in our day nations are rising that will bring judgement on a haughty and rebellious people.  Peter has declared of our day:

“For the time is come that judgment MUST begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
1 Peter 4:17

God has brought upon the world a SELAH; a divine pause for men and women to consider their ways. This pause is the precursor to the unfolding of a day of Judgment; lawlessness, rioting and the failing of any judicial restraint. It is, after all, the DAY of THE LORD. There will be a revelation of the filth, greed and arrogance in His house that will culminate in the destruction of our land as God’s judgments move from His house to those who know not God. God’s people need to comprehend that God is righteous; He cannot judge unbelievers while His own people are guilty of the same sins as the world. Judgment MUST come upon His house first so that He remains righteous when He brings His wrath upon all.

THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL LIVE BY FAITH

In the midst of all that is upon us, God’s decree stands. His eye is upon those in whom HIS faith is bringing a growing righteousness; a faith which enables His own to honour and obey God by the life they live. Judgment must fall upon a people who have divorced righteous living from faith, the works of God from faith, and have fallen into the horror of a faith which covers and excuses sin in the Name of God!

THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL LIVE BY FAITH

Even in all this disorder the validation and the seal of God rests upon those who are found within the faith OF the Son of God. There is an ability to shine His light into the world (secular and religious) by the indomitable truth of the righteousness of God. This faith is not in word but in the power and demonstration of God Himself.

God’s judgment in this Day, is revealed in the declaration of Christ Himself.

“And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats
Matthew 25:32

The sheep are those who followed and obeyed the Lamb and submitted to His Way; the goats are those who walked in iniquity (self-will) and insisted upon their own way, even in the Name of God.

God’s Word to His People

“Even from the days of your fathers
ye are gone away from mine ordinances,
and have not kept them.
Return unto me, and I will return unto you,
saith the Lord of hosts”
Malachi 3:7

Ω

“And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down,
and the haughtiness of men shall be made low:
and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day”
Isaiah 2:17

Brian Troxel

Ministration of the Word

Ministration of the Word

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy”
Psalm 126:5

We are told in the Parable of the Sower that “the seed is the word of God”. Those who sow such precious seed must do so in the same Spirit in which that Word was given. Many may speak the scriptures, but few sow the “Word of God”. When the word is sown by the Spirit of God it teems with His life and power. There is an impartation into the lives of those who hear with ears of faith; the fire of Life burns, the heart of man is quickened, and Jesus is glorified.

“And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes”
Mark 1:22

In order for the ministers of God to speak with authority, their lives must be subject to the authority of the Word. Authority comes from submission. Otherwise, if men share His Word but their life is not subject to His Word, that authority of Jesus will be lacking. Even the Roman Centurion knew and understood this.

“For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it”
Matthew 8:9

The true authority in the Spirit comes to those who are under His authority. His Word has precedence in their lives. It takes very little discernment to know those who serve God and those who do not. There is a fire and the fragrance of Christ’s lordship in the hearts of those who are subject to His will. This touching of His life in one another is called fellowship. The fellowship of the Spirit is not the result of adherence to a teaching, but of Light; His Light resident within His own.

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another”
1 John 1:7

The fellowship of the Spirit is not a function of teaching but of Light, His Light resident in His own.

Submission to the Word
is revealed in our obedience to it

Brian Troxel

The Economy of God

The Economy of God

“Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one:
and every man shall receive his own reward
according to his own labour
1 Corinthians 3:8

The reward is according to the labour.

“He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly;
and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully”
2 Corinthians 9:6

The reaping is in proportion to the sowing.

“Then touched he their eyes, saying,
According to your faith be it unto you
Matthew 9:29

The receiving of God is in proportion to our faith.

Give, and it shall be given unto you;
good measure, pressed down,
and shaken together, and running over”
Luke 6:38

The receiving of God is in proportion to our giving.

Love is the economy of God and is revealed in our involvement in the lives of others. An isolated life, secluded from others, is a life without purpose. Christ walked the streets. He was touched, reproached and loved by people, the common people. His fields, white unto harvest, is who He walked among, where He ate, and where He spoke words of Life. His life was accessible, His grace undeniable; His influence on the sea of humanity was wide. So will ours be, “according” to our faith.

All of God’s transactions with us are “proportional” to the life lived; graces of Christ given, truth sowed, purity pursued, prayers prayed, and tears wept on behalf of others. There is a reward which awaits the faithful; treasures stored up for those who have labored over the lost, the wayward and the deceived.

Deception is any life which does not spend itself for His Glory.

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him
Psalm 126:5-6

Open our eyes and our hearts…

Brian Troxel