Warfare the Sign of Life

Warfare: The Sign of Life

“I have fought the good fight…”
2 Timothy 4:7

The surest sign of the life of God within His own is the unconquerable will to fight the fight of faith. Life is always the antagonist of death. Faith is the adversary of sin. Victory over sin and iniquity is the result of warfare; warfare of the life of Christ Himself. When a heart ceases to fight it ceases to live.

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

We live in a day where “faith” is presented as a legal declaration of victory (regardless of the life lived) rather than the means by which we attain the victory. Paul was ever encouraging the people of God to remain active in the battle, to be diligent in their walk and to grow in the victory of the faith. The writer of the beauty and the power of all the truths in the Book of Romans also wrote this to Timothy… “fight the good fight of faith”! Compromise and concession are the harbingers of spiritual defeat and death. Life by its very nature opposes death and the scriptures declare that the “wages of sin is death”. The life of Christ within withstands evil in all of its deceptive and destructive forms.

The fight of faith is not won in a moment, nor is the crown easily earned, but we have been given the great gift of faith, the blood of Christ and the grace of God to stand in this evil day! It requires a walk of learning, growth and development in the school of His Spirit.

“Blessed be the Lord my strength,
which teacheth my hands to war,
and my fingers to fight…”
Psalm 144:1

Faint not at the battles which assail you; do not lose heart in the intensity of the conflict for we have this promise from God:

“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you,
and keep you from evil”
2 Thessalonians 3:3

Ω

“The Christian life, then, is a battle,
so sharp and full of danger
that effort can nowhere be relaxed without loss”
Huldrych Zwingli

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Redeeming the Time

Thought for Today

Redeeming the Time

“Redeeming the time,
because the days are evil”
Ephesians 5:16

Time is one of the most precious commodities given to humankind. The experience of every moment becomes the very fabric of our human existence. Every day, every moment, and every breath are God’s gift to us. Each minute that passes is one less left in our journey here on earth. We are exhorted by God to see these gifts of time as opportunities in our walk with Him.

“So teach us to number our days
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

In Jesus’ life here on earth, no time was squandered. Each moment was filled with purpose and design. He was here to reveal the Father; to please His Father. He came that we might live our life with the same intensity of heart. His Life was active, yet ever at rest. His hands were busy in destroying the works of the devil. His words were filled with power and wisdom. His thoughts towards God’s fallen creation were pure. His feet took Him from the darkness of the synagogues to the lost woman at the well. In each situation men and women were struck with the very light of God. In short, His Life was not His own. John declared:

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.
Were every one of them to be written,
I suppose that the world itself could not contain
the books that would be written”
John 21:25

The Son of God was always engaged in the “now” of life. His heart was and is ever attentive to the will of His Father. Nothing was arbitrary or lost in His short 33 years. The secret of our life is to discover this same perspective. It is the surrendered life, free from our own pursuits, wherein we discover the divine enablement to be sensitive to the opportunities around us. It is here we “redeem the time” allocated to each of us. Discipleship is a journey of following in the Way of the Master; a life of cultivating and developing a sensitivity to His Spirit in our daily lives. The opportunities to extend His Love into the world are all around us.

“Do you not say,
‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’?
Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes,
and see that the fields are white for harvest
John 4:35

Life is to be lived in the moment. The deception of religion is that it concerns and consoles itself with either past or future concepts and ideas; Christ was always in the “now” of His Father. While people were and are looking toward an event, Jesus told His disciples to lift up their eyes to see that now, in the present, the fields are white unto harvest.

The secret to redeeming the time
is discovered in the “now” life we live.

Ω

“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
– C.T. Stud

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Light in the Darkness

Thought for Today

Light in the Darkness

“Unto the upright
there ariseth light in the darkness”
Psalm 112:4

God does not keep His own from the dark places, but He does keep His own in the dark places. There are treasures to be discovered in the fearful and gloomy paths we must sometimes walk. As we hold on and walk uprightly even in the darkness, we can trust that the God of all grace will cause His Light to arise in those circumstances.

The Christ of our hope and our strength, the Christ who cannot fail will come to us in unexpected ways. There will be an unveiling of Himself which could not have been appropriated in the light. There are graces to be formed within our hearts which require dark and foreboding places. Courage and tenacity find their roots in the testings of life. In these perilous experiences we learn our weakness and discover His strength.

This is how character is built within the hearts of the upright. It is in these places that the disciple sees and hears of the greatness and mercy of our God. As the metal of a heart is forged and the reliance on other things purged, God’s work of preparation is accomplished.

“He sent a man before them,
even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
Whose feet they hurt with fetters:
he was laid in iron:
Until the time that his word came:
the word of the Lord tried him…”
Psalm 105:17-19

Has God spoken a word to you? Has that word been a trial and a source of consternation? Have you felt the fetters of confinement, the rejection of friends and family? Have you sat in darkness alone and seemingly barren? Rejoice in the ways of God! Let His light arise in the darkness. Trust in Christ alone and walk uprightly before Him. Do not let despair rule; stay strong and purposed in God. The Word whereby He has caused you to hope will surely come. As the night must give way to the dawn, so will He surely arise in thee.

“O love the Lord, all ye his saints:
for the Lord preserveth the faithful”
Psalm 31:23

Brian Troxel

The Real Faith

The Real Faith

“Also this, knowing the time,
that it is now the hour for you to be aroused from sleep”
Romans 13:11

The deceptive nature of slumber is that it is not aware of itself. It is found in the lives of those who rely on the tenants of faith rather than the life of faith. It is to those who do His will through the agency of faith who are kept awake and alive unto Christ. Doing necessitates that we are constantly pressed into Him for Divine enablement to meet the needs of those around us. Life without doing produces a virtual reality in the life of a believer, without experience or substance. It is a deadly place to dwell. Its foundation is based on an intellectual belief in the inspired Word of God, yet it is not united by faith unto the life of doing (Hebrews 4:2). It is the highest form of deception. When Jesus walked the earth the religious leaders of His day were the most deceived. Those who had spent their life in learning became deceived by the very knowledge in which they had immersed themselves!

Faith by its very definition is the evidence of spiritual realities (Hebrews 11:1). It must produce works and expressions of actual worth to validate its existence in the life of a believer.

Hebrews 11:2 “By faith the Elders obtained Witness…”
Hebrews 11:4 “By faith Abel offered a greater sacrifice to God than Cain”
Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…”
Hebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham… obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went”
Hebrews 11:11 “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed…”
Hebrews 11:17 “By faith, being tested, Abraham offered up Isaac…”

The authenticity of one’s faith is revealed in the doing, not the knowing. A faith that does not have within the life of a believer the “evidencing” of its power is a faith which is dead and deceptive.

“My brothers, what is the gain if anyone says he has faith,
but he does not have works?”
James 2:14

“But someone will say, you have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith out of my works. You believe that God is One. You do well; even the demons believe and shudder. But are you willing to know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is dead?
James 2:18-2:20

“And everyone who hears these Words of Mine,
and who does not do them,
he shall be compared to a foolish man
who built his house on the sand…”
Matthew 7:26

Living faith is evidenced by the works produced within the life of a true believer. Jesus gave us the Parable of two men building their houses. One man, “a believer”, built his house by the process of “hearing only”. The other man built his house by hearing and doing. The house built by “hearing” only, failed in the time of the storm. He “thought” his faith was genuine, but it was proved otherwise. The one who built his house by hearing and doing had a foundation built upon the Rock of Christ.

It is clear that it is the doing
that is the true foundation of faith.

“Now faith is the realization of what is hoped for,
the proof of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:1

True living Faith obtains the promises of God… (2 Thessalonians 2:14)
True living Faith is evidenced through the life we live…
True living Faith reveals the life and wonder of Him who gave it…
True living Faith must produce the works of faith in the lives of those who are governed by it.
True living Faith builds its house upon the Rock of Christ through the obedience which it inspires…

“For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as they also did, but the word they heard didn’t profit them, because it wasn’t mixed (Greek united, joined) with faith by those who heard.”
Hebrews 4:2

A faith which does not produce within the believer change, passion, and obedience is a faith which will bring men and women into the judgment of God (read 1 Corinthians 10:1-12).

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Christ the Fulfillment

Thought for Today

Christ the Fulfillment

The Law of the Sin Offering

“Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, this is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed, the sin offering shall be killed before Jehovah. It is most holy…”
Leviticus 6:25

The expressions of Christ revealed in the Old Testament are breath-taking, heart-breaking and life-making.

In the place where the burnt offering is killed,
the sin offering shall be killed
before Jehovah”

Here we catch a glimpse of the fact that the True Sin Offering arises out of the Burnt Offering. Christ, our Burnt Offering, is seen as the perfectly obedient Son offering Himself to the Father. The obedience of Christ also made Him the Sin Offering. His walk as a living sacrifice to the Will of the Father is what validated Him as our Sin Offering. We can only stand in holy awe of His perfection as both our Burnt Offering and our Sin Offering. The one gives power to the other. The truth of the Burnt Offering results in the full acceptance of Him as our Sin offering. They were killed as our sacrifice in the same “place”. Calvary is the Holy Ground upon which these offerings took place. All praise and honour unto Him!

We need to meditate upon these wonders of Christ as revealed in the Old Testament. We must see Him as the fulfillment of all that was spoken of Him. May the power of this perfect sacrifice cause us to desire His reign within our own hearts; to find the divine enablement to obey our heavenly Father because of the Life of the Son in us. He has come to make us pure in thought, word and deed. Only in Him are such things made possible. May we not grow weary in our pursuit of His fulness.

“Herein is our love made perfect,
that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:
because as he is, so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17

To have boldness in the Day of Judgment is the fruit of being like Him in this world! Only the perfection of the Love of God in us is can give us the boldness and the assurance of our standing in that Day. It is not in what we know but what we have become because of Christ being our Lord and Saviour.

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Love and Service

Thought for Today

Love and Service

“And Jacob loved Rachel; and said,
I will serve thee seven years for Rachel
thy younger daughter”
Genesis 29:18

Love is the fountain from which true service unto the Lord flows. It is to be the inspiration for all of our actions. A river flows regardless of external things. When love is the source, service unto God is the natural flow of life. The work of God can only be accomplished by the love of God. Love robs the flesh of boasting of its accomplishments. It brings all things unto the worship of God rather than the promotion of self. Our service becomes an offering unto Him; our reward is His Joy welling up within. It is the feast of life to love and serve our God.

“And Jacob served seven years for Rachel;
and they seemed unto him but a few days,
for the love he had to her.”
Genesis 29:20

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – The Gospel Purpose

Thought for Today

The Gospel Purpose

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

Lost within the gospel message of today lies the true purpose of God in Christ. The great work of the Spirit is always to exalt the Son. He is given without measure to so fill us with the heavenly power that in this earth (our bodies) Christ may be revealed in complete fulness. We are not here to sell Jesus we are to present Him within the everyday life we live.

The above scripture is prefaced with the phrase… “…called me by his grace”. A grace which does not bring us to the place of being a revelation of the Son is a grace wrongly received. Grace must always lead us to Christ like living.

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Living for Him

Thought for Today

Living for Him

“And he died for all,
in order that those who live
should no longer live for themselves”
2 Corinthians 5:15

The proof that we are living for Him and not ourselves is revealed in our daily life. The risen Christ becomes the purpose and the intent of our everyday existence. Only those who are truly alive in Him know the fire and the intensity of this pressing to spend themselves for Him.

Many may claim such a purpose but within the confines of daily living there is a discernable lack of that unrelenting determination to please Him in all that they do. Life is to no longer be lived within the tedious rote of religious endeavors; it is to be filled with the adventure of His joy welling up from within as we discover the riches of His will in the now of our today. There is much taught about the “now” life but there must be the works to support our confessions of faith. The real need of His people is not an understanding and acknowledgment of a teaching but the pressing into good works to show our faith.

“But someone will say,
“You have faith and I have works.”
Show me your faith apart from your works,
and I will show you my faith by my works.”
James 2:18

True life is one whereby the faith and works of Christ are realized. It is the divine life flowing through the fragile earthen vessel which honors and glorifies the Father. A life devoid of works is a life devoid of love and faith. Neither of these can remain static or inactive within the heart of “those who live”.

“Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven”
Matthew 5:16

The Son ever lives to glorify and please His Father. If He is alive and ruling within, we will know this power and grace at work in us.

“Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit…”
John 15:8

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Abiding in His Love

Thought for Today

Abiding in His Love

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

The secret to life is simple. The stratagems and methods of men to bring about the salvation of Christ are as impotent as man himself. The power of the Love of Christ is only realized through the medium of walking in the way of His commandments. It is a life where (in Him) we are lifted out of the strife and sin of this world and made alive by the indwelling wonder of Him. There is no apt description of how such a thing can be, for it is something which cannot be taught, it can only be entered into within the context of our daily lives. The mystery of life unfolds as we step into the wonder of His ways.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation”
Psalm 27:1

All of our needs, our hopes and our daily power to live are hid in Christ Himself. There is salvation in none other. It is in the “today” of our life wherein we are given the opportunity and the privilege to draw from Him grace and glory to run the race set before us.

“Looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith”
Hebrews 12:1

Brian Troxel