Spiritual Warfare – Obtaining God’s Promises

SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Obtaining God’s Promises

“This charge* I commit unto thee, son Timothy,
according to the prophecies which went before on thee,
that thou by them mightest war a good warfare…”
1 Timothy 1:18

The word translated “charge” in the above scripture is actually a command in the Greek (see note below). The promises of God are given to His own that, by receiving them, they may war rightly to see them come to pass. The promises of God require warfare to be real and vital in the lives of His own.

“And if a man also strive for masteries,
yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully
2 Timothy 2:5

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul uses the Olympic athlete as an example to observe and be instructed thereby. Paul follows this statement declaring:

“Consider what I say;
and the Lord give thee understanding in all things”
2 Timothy 2:7

There is a striving and a contending for the crown of the call of God upon us. Few of God’s people comprehend the strenuous effort required in “laying hold” of the prize of our call in Christ. The apathy and the complacency of many is a source of suffering for those who know God. The sum of all the energies of Paul were expended in his pursuit of laying hold of God.

“Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore run like that, not aimlessly. I fight like that, not beating the air, but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected”. (“Unapproved, unworthy, spurious, worthless. In a passive sense meaning disapproved”)
1 Corinthians 9:25-27

Paul says he fights like that! He is fully involved (spirit, soul and body) in the fight of faith. He has one resolve in the entirety of his being. He is fully persuaded in his press to obtain the Crown OF Life to which he has been called. His life bears evidence of the faith and fire of God burning within! There is no value in glibly quoting the scriptures if we lack the evidence of faith in our daily life. How it must weary God that there be contentment in the quoting of scriptures without the corresponding evidence; but rather families out of order, poorly handled finances, lives lived in pursuit of other things, and an inability to impart the power of faith into the lives of those around them. Paul, in the passion of the Spirit of God, cries out:

“So run, that ye may obtain”!
1 Corinthians 9:24

The Christian life is not about just believing, it is about obtaining!

“Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible”
1 Cor. 9:25

“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”. 1 Thess. 5:9

“Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”
2 Thess. 2:14 (what a staggering call)

“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus…”
2 Timothy 2:10

“For by it the elders obtained a good report”
Hebrews 11:2

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions…”
Hebrews 11:33

The list is too long and too precious to be listed without prayerful consideration of each one as a powerful truth. I am stirred this morning as I consider the grace and mercy of God, and the ethos of a generation who know little of the cost nor the power associated with the call of God. There is a generation who find contentment in words rather than a life of godliness.

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ
Philippians 3:8

How few understand the cry of Paul’s heart, “that I may win Christ”. To those who do not pursue the person of Christ, this statement will be an enigma and a mystery. There will be an inability to see the pure truth contained within its wonder. The secret of the Lord is with them who fear Him, and it is to such that He reveals His Covenant (Psalm 25:14). The power of this Word ignites a hunger within and a thirst which cannot be quenched. Oh, the folly of words without fire, purpose without passion, and a powerless Christian gospel which does not birth a singular pursuit of Him! Life lived outside the grip of the fire of His love is meaningless and vain. He is the One Object of our faith; He is the Pearl of Great Price; He is the Fire which burns within.

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?”
Psalm 42:1-3

Those who bear His Fire
Shine forth His Light;
For the Light without
Is evidence of the Fire within.

Σ

“But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay”
Jeremiah 20:9

*NOTE:
parangelia (G3852), “a proclamation, a command or commandment,” is strictly used of commands received from a superior and transmitted to others. It is rendered “charge” in Act 16:24; 1Th 4:2, RV (where the word is in the plural); 1Ti 1:5 (RV) and 1Ti 1:18. In Act 5:28 the lit. meaning is “Did we not charge you with a charge? Vines New Testament Dictionary

Brian Troxel

Substantive Life

Substantive Life

“That I may cause those that love me
to inherit substance”
Proverbs 8:21

God’s purpose has always been to make those who love Him, evident tokens of Himself. In things pertaining to the spirit there is a transpiring within whereby the thing believed becomes the reality of the life lived. In Hebrews chapter eleven we read that “Faith is the… substance…”; those in whom faith is real become the very evidence of things hoped for. The reality of Christ within must, by His nature, produce within an obvious revelation of Him without. It is inconceivable to have the majestic Christ within without radical and continuous changes to our walk in this world. The power of His Word infused with the wonder of His Holy Spirit is to the end that we would bear His image in this world.

“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

The reason for a confidence in the Day of Judgment is because we have allowed His Life to produce in us a likeness of Him in this world! The substance of His life developed in us what we are to impart to those around us. Peter declared to the crippled man

“…but such as I have give I thee:
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”
Acts 3:6

Spiritual substance is the result of our yielding to the power of His Spirit; the forming in us of the Pearl of Great Price! He is the precious treasure. In Him we are no longer barren, poor or found wanting. As the power of the Living Christ makes us One with Him, His virtues become ours through a vital and substantive relationship with Him.

“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life”
1 Timothy 6:18-19

Those who are rich in Christ internally, will be rich in the good works of Christ externally. The power of the good works is directly related to the substance of Christ internally. We can only distribute the substance of Christ in proportion to the substance we have.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another…”
Colossians 3:16

The depth of our teaching and the power of our admonishing one another will be according to the depth and power of His Word which dwells within us.

Let us be encouraged in His heart and His purposes for us. He has made a covenant with us to cause us to inherit substance, His substance, that we may be light in this world.

“That I may cause those that love me
to inherit substance”
Proverbs 8:21

Σ

“…that as He is
so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17

Brian Troxel

Authenticity – God’s Work

Authenticity – God’s Work

“Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night,
before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice”
Mark 14:30

Peter’s love and commitment was based on emotion and the utter ignorance of his need for brokenness and grace. In his mind his resolve to follow Jesus to whatever end was unquestionable. How utterly confused he must have been by the certainty of Jesus’ statement regarding Peter’s failure to come in the hours ahead.

To be told by his beloved Master of his failure, even down to the time a certain rooster would crow at a particular place, must have been utterly unnerving. How could He know of this sequence of events? How could He be so precise in His Word?

I can only imagine that Peter must have gone to sleep that night mulling over this warning. How he must have resolved in his heart to not fail his Lord! Tears and self-doubt would have dominated his thoughts as he contemplated what the next day might hold. His Master’s words had been uttered with no sense of anger or resentment in His voice, but just a knowing of who Peter really was. In spite of all his soul-searching the night before, the next day, in the heat of the moment, he denied his Lord and wept bitterly.

“And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept”
Mark 14:72

God, in dealing with His own, prepares everything for the Master’s use; the mundane as well as the great. All tools in His hands are to bring His Own to the end of themselves and the beginning of God. As the master builder must build the foundation upon the rock beneath, so God brings us to the Rock of Christ. Only here can the real building start and our true life in God proceed. Authenticity is the only rock upon which He will build. Pretense and hypocrisy, though they may cause others to think well of us for a time, will leave the soul in poverty and lead to spiritual death. Christ knows all, sees all and will judge all. The light we refuse on this side of heaven will surely be faced in the Courts of His Justice in that Day. It is here and now that we must free ourselves from the need to please men and bring ourselves to the piercing light of Christ. Then we may stand in that Day as those who have passed from judgement unto the right-being (righteousness) that can be found in Christ alone. He alone can make us right; He gave His Life to make it so.

“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

As our love is made perfect in Him, we will have the grace and boldness to be “as He is” in this world and  in the Day of Judgment.

Brian Troxel

The Throne of Grace

The Throne of Grace

“Lord, lift thou up
the light of thy countenance upon us”
Psalm 4:6

Prayers of godly ones have been uttered throughout the ages and are eternal. His own of every generation have breathed this prayer, in one form or another, unto the Lord our Shepherd. Often these words are inspired in times of sorrow and testing. There are times when tears become the simple language offered to our great God. He who bears the title “man of sorrows” hears and feels the heart throb of His Own. His heart is near to those who in absolute trust and hope lift their eyes to the only One who can bring Light and Life into every situation.

“Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and we may find grace for timely help”
Hebrews 4:16

We have the privilege of drawing nigh unto The Throne of God; a Throne so high that all must bow in its presence, yet one that is available to the broken, the lost and the weak. Here the broken are mended and the lost are filled with a new determination and purpose. Let us worship the One who made this Throne accessible!

“And when He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having harps, and golden bowls full of incenses, which are the prayers of the saints
Revelation 5:8

Brian Troxel

Mended By Grace

Mended by Grace

“The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is perfect shall be as his master”
Luke 6:40

Many translations miss the beauty and power of this saying of Jesus. The word “perfect” here should be rendered “mended”. The salvation that Christ brings to His own is one that heals, transforms and brings wholeness of being. It is more than nice words. It is literally the life of Christ being infused into the contaminated essence of man, with a view to being healed and restored. His salvation is more than just a covering; it is God investing His life into that which was lost.

Man was lost through the infection of self-will and the corresponding corrupt choices. Simply put, when any living organism is removed from its life-center, corruption and decay are the result. When an apple is picked from the tree it becomes subject to the second law of thermodynamics. When man severed his relationship with God as the source and center of being, decay and death was/is the result. God, by the inner law of His being, sent His only begotten Son into the world to pay the penalty of man’s disobedience. When individuals break a law of any society, there is a penalty which must be paid *.

The penalty, having been paid by Christ, brought with it the offer from God for all to receive forgiveness. Man, who by freewill chose to disobey God can, by that same act of will, receive the justification of God in Christ. While that is often the extent of the Gospel message in our land, there is more. Not only has God offered forgiveness, He has invested the Life of Christ to undo the stain, corruption and decay of the human race. The infusion of this life is given to destroy the works of the enemy within all who receive Him. He has come to annihilate the workings of lust, envy, jealously, anger, murder and countless other defilements of the human condition.

The life of Christ within is all about the mending and the repairing of the breach. He has/is come to mend our brokenness and to obliterate the works of the flesh by the power of His Holy Spirit. Where the works of the flesh once reigned, we can see the beauty and grace of the fruit of the Spirit forming in those who abide within the sphere of His nature.

“The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is mended shall be as his master”

It is the disciple (the ardent follower of Christ) who knows of this mending and healing within. The mending of a life is to become a follower of Jesus from the inside out. As one great man of God stated hundreds of years ago: “we are to become by grace what Christ is by nature”.

This work of mending can only be revealed in the depth of love we have for one another. People who treat others (in the name of God) with the same disregard and cruelty that is in the world, clearly reveal the absence of Christ in their hearts. Whenever there is sectarianism, division and strife within God’s people there is, at its root, pride, unforgiveness and carnality. It is the disciples who are mended; it is the true in heart who are called the children of God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God”
Matthew 5:9

* Even in this is a residue of God within the composition of man. Law and order in society, though corrupted, reveals that man still carries within their own being a sense of justice.

Brian Troxel

Random Thoughts – Simplicity

Random Thoughts

A Call to Simplicity

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”
Philippians 2:8

Humility and obedience cannot be separated; obedience is the offspring of humility. Pride is the root of all disobedience. It is the barrier between knowing a truth and walking in the truth. It is the great impediment between knowing and doing, between a life of mere confession and one of becoming like Him. The proud rest in the tenets of faith as a crippled man leans upon a crutch. The humble cast aside the impotency and obstinacy of self to discover the joy of obedience.

The validity of an individual’s life in God is not in what they know; it is in what they do. Love is the great law which governs all of God’s works (John 3:16) and so it will be with those who love Him. Love by its very nature is the womb of God’s work through us. Those who love cannot be barren of the good works of God in Christ.

“For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works”
Ephesians 2:10

We are not saved by good works; we are saved unto good works.

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another”
John 13:35

Brian Troxel

Where His Blessings Fall

Where His Blessings Fall

“Blessed are they which do hunger…”
Matthew 5:6

God’s blessings fall in peculiar places. What men esteem wise and good, God sees quite differently.

“…for that which is highly esteemed among men
is abomination in the sight of God”
Luke 16:15

It is the purpose and mandate of the Holy Spirit to lead and to guide us into all truth. Truth is the sole agency by which we grow, comprehend and (most importantly) become true within. In order for us to become a blessing to God the Father we must grow in the understanding of where His blessings fall. His blessings fall upon that which pleases Him.

“Blessed are they which do hunger…”

In the Wisdom of God man was created with needs. In the brief outline afforded us (Genesis), the necessary provisions for the sustenance of man were created before the man. This reveals that the essential element of hunger is God inspired. Hunger is therefore an exposé of a healthy life. It is an inherent ideal of the human composition.

In the fall of Adam, man essentially fell into himself. Instead of God being the provider, sustainer and center of creation, man became the epicenter and focus of his own life. How quickly the joy and simplicity of the first created life became twisted into the paradigm of self. From this new self-centered nature, we see the horror of envy and jealously arise. These result in murder and the corresponding judgment of man being alienated from the righteousness (right being) of God. From this fallen nature man was enslaved by the tyranny of self by which this world was made subject to vanity. Into this bleak and fallen world steps the True Man; the Light and full thought of God clothed in the fabric of human flesh.

In His first discourse to the multitudes Jesus begins with the elemental dissertation of the Kingdom of God: “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. In other words, blessed are those who recognize their own poverty apart from God. Blessed are those who feel the absence and the need for the Life and Wonder of God residing within. There is a blessedness in our poverty of spirit for it is the matrix of all who would enter the Kingdom of God. The rich, the self-sufficient and the self-righteous are excluded from the wonder of God’s provisions. The Kingdom of God stands in stark contrast to those who seek the kingdom of self and all of its associated sorrows.

“…as poor, yet making many rich”
2 Corinthians 6:10

The validity of the true poverty in spirit will always be revealed in the lives of those who make others rich by the pure ministration of the wealth and wonder of God. God’s grace ever fills the empty with the fullness of Himself. He pours out the living waters upon those who thirst; His living bread is food for those who hunger. The weak are made strong and the pure in heart “see” God. How good is our God and His ways past finding out.

“…blessed are those who hear and obey God’s word”
Luke 11:28

Brian Troxel

Meditation Moment – Truth & Freedom

Meditative Moment

Truth and Freedom

“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts”
Psalm 51:6

An individual is not free until the truth of God abides within the inner sanctum of the heart. It is truth in the heart which makes one free.

“And ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free”
John 8:32

Truth is the vehicle to freedom. This is not the worldly concept which seeks freedom for one’s self. God’s freedom is the freedom from self. It is a life lived out of the boundless wonder of God Himself; separated unto the mystery of being fully invested in serving Him.

“…as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness,
but as bondservants of God”
1 Peter 2:16

Truth, by necessity, is the womb of Love. Only as we become true in the “inward parts” are we capable of the freedom which God has promised to those who love Him. Obedience is the highest expression of love and worship; the apex at which we are free to serve God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The journey into the light of God can only be known through the medium of doing. Truth, like the manna, must be eaten as it is given.

“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light,
that his deeds may be made manifest…”
John 3:21

Deeds are the evidence of those who are coming to the light.

Brian Troxel

Letters to the Church – Words – Part Seven

Letters to the Church – Words

Part Seven

“For he that will love life, and see good days,
let him refrain his tongue from evil…”
1 Peter 3:10

The sacred scriptures speak much to us of the relationship between the words we speak and the quality of life we are afforded by the Grace of God. This exhortation from Peter is often overlooked. In the midst of the strife, contention and competition in religious circles, these words offer us a warning and a promise from God. Wisdom is the result of the fear of the Lord. In its sway we begin to weigh our words before we speak. We are saved from rash words filled with evil intent and the tendency to inflict upon others the poison of our own hearts. How often we need to be reminded of His omnipresence. He is present at every conversation weighing the words of our anger, foolishness and unsanctified thoughts.

“But I say to you, that every idle* word,
whatever men may speak,
they shall give an account of it in Judgment Day”
Matthew 12:36

There are no words spoken which will not be accounted for in the Judgment Day. All our words will be required of us in that Day. Jesus continues on in His discourse;

“For by your words you will be justified,
and by your words you will be condemned”
Matthew 12:37

The fruit of one’s lips are the revelation of their heart. We see here God’s perspective on the words we speak and the deeds we do. How we need to touch the Holiness of God to see and understand the implications of foolish words and an unbridled tongue! The gossip, slander and the seemingly innocent words spoken to dishonour another brother, or to further inflame situations in the Body of Christ, carry heavy repercussions in this life and judgment in the next.

“Do any of you think you are religious?
If you do not control your tongue,
your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself”
James 1:26

The value of a person’s walk and their relationship with God is readily seen in the words spoken. Regardless of our profession of faith, the religion of one who speaks with an undisciplined tongue is vain and worthless.

“One who brings gossip betrays a confidence,
but one who is of a trustworthy spirit is one who keeps a secret”
Proverbs 11:13

In our daily lives we either justify our walk with God or we reveal the vanity of our religious ways.

“So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”
Psalm 90:12

Σ

*Note: 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; “ἀ” (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).

Humility is the precious fruit of the Spirit which becomes ours by the seeing of Him. It is in touching the Presence of God where we are delivered from our boastful words and the discrepancy of saying one thing while walking in another.

Our works are to give the words we speak the
weight and verity of Christ living within us.

“So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
James 2:12
(Please read the context of this scripture James 2:12-26)

“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, DO: and the God of peace shall be with you”
Philippians 4:9

Brian Troxel

The Life of Jesus – Part One

The Life of Jesus – Part One

“…for I DO always those things that please him”
John 8:29

Jesus came with one purpose and that was to fully live His Life in the Will of His Father. He fulfilled the scriptures, but the scriptures He fulfilled were the result of His doing the Will of the Father. His heart was pure and His Life simple. The complexity, compromise, evil and self-promoting ways of the religious of His day had no effect upon His walk. He stood like a beacon in the darkness of the utter depravity of the world around Him. His eyes were clear. His step remained strong and in the midst of the rage of the religious and political voices of the day, He stood true to the Father.

It is a natural tendency of men to take hold of God’s Word and twist its rich and full meaning into something carnal and self-serving. It has always been the history of men with God. That which is to be pure and holy quickly turns to something sensual (of the senses), perverted and earthly. It moves from pleasing God to pleasing men. It descends from denying self to serving self. In the bitter end the decree of Christ Himself falls with the weight of eternal judgment:

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:
and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it”
Matthew 16:25

Jesus did not come to save Himself; He came to save others. He did not come to have men speak well of Him, He came to speak and DO truth. He overcame the temptations of Satan (Matthew 4:11) to use His authority for self-serving purposes (changing the stones to bread). He overcame the temptation of using His power to impress the world around Him (throwing Himself off the Temple). He overcame the offering of Satan for domination. All three of these are temptations into which many of His people fall. Whenever His heart begins to take hold of a life there will be a growing attachment to the Will of God alone. The Cross of Christ can only be known through the agency of doing His Will. Without the workings of the Cross there can be no true life of pleasing the Father. The Life of Jesus was fully revealed in His doings. It is the religious who content themselves with believing. It is disciples who grow into “doing those things which please” the Father.

“…for I DO always those things that please him”

A life of pleasing the Father is found in the substance of DOING. It is not a mental exercise of believing; the true life of a disciple can only be expressed in the actual demonstration of faith.

“Jesus seeing their faith…”
Matthew 9:2
(Read the the whole context)

True faith is “seen” by Jesus in the works it produces.

In the Book of Revelation Jesus declared to each Church the pentetrating truth of His beholding our walk and our works …

“I know thy works…”
Rev. 2:2, 2:9, 2:13, 2:19, 3:1, 3:8, 3:15

The shining forth of the Life of Jesus in His earthly walk was one of “Doing” and that same wonder of His Life within us is to be revealed in like manner.

The Life of Jesus Series
(To be Continued)

Brian Troxel