Vision and Quest – Part Two

Vision and Quest

Part Two

“And Abraham said unto God,
O that Ishmael might live before thee!”
Genesis 17:18

It is the nature of man to settle for less than God’s purpose. God’s call is never static but always moving His own to higher ground. John was on the Isle of Patmos for the testimony of Jesus. He was in the Spirit, walking in the present truth (the Lord’s Day), when he heard a voice behind him calling to come up higher to see the things of God! How we need fresh stirrings of His Spirit to see greater things than what we currently see and walk in. Men and women of vision are never content with the status quo, never at rest until God’s will is accomplished in fullness. Jesus said He came to do the will of the Father and to FINISH His work. Those who live in the Spirit of Christ hold within their hearts a flame and an intense desire to see God’s will and work completed in this earth where we live. There is a passion for the Body of Christ to arise out of the quagmire of man’s ways, man’s wisdom and man’s complacency.

“Jesus saith unto them,
My meat is to do the will of him that sent me,
and to finish his work.
John 4:34

Whenever Christ dwells and reigns within a heart there is a sense of divine purpose which transcends the call of the world and the religious ways of men. There is an impelling force of the Life of the Son to press and draw us to the greater thing. For thirteen years Abraham thought that Ishmael was the promise. God had a higher call for Abraham than Ishmael. God’s promise came to Abraham long after his own inherent ability to bring forth the promised seed was gone; a pure and blessed son “born of the free woman” (Gal. 4:22). So we too are grateful that He is able to bring forth true fruitfulness in our lives in spite of the Ishmaels of our own making.

In this day of lethargy God calls His own to higher and deeper places in Himself; places that stagger the natural mind and are far beyond our own abilities. He calls us to live out of HIS resources and to flee the reservoirs of carnal reckonings and low expectations of our God. It is a day to lift up our eyes unto the hills and behold the crucified One beckoning us to live in the power and the wonder of His Life. We must let go of the idea that “the Ishmael at hand is God’s doing” that we might see new and wondrous things which we have not considered.

Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth…
Psalm 86:8-11

It is a day to reconsider our ways and to draw near to Him who is able to make the desert bloom and the hearts of all to burn with the Holy Fire of God. There is a life waiting for those who hunger and thirst for more of God. It will turn ordinary men and women into blazing beacons of hope and righteousness. Let us allow His vision to lift us up out of the drudgery of this world to where we can see that the fields are ripe unto harvest. It is to this life we have been summoned by the King of kings. May we be renewed and energized by the power of His Life! God reserves His greatest Light for when the world grows dark.

The present Ishmael must give way to the Son of the promise; the two cannot abide together. It is not possible for the son of the bond woman to share in the inheritance of the Son of Promise.

“Nevertheless, what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”
Galatians 4:30

Brian Troxel

The Voice of a Martyr – John Bradford

The Voice of a Martyr John Bradford

John Bradford

“We must never settle for harmony at the expense of holiness, nor for peace at the expense of principle”
– John Bradford – Martyr and Preacher of Righteousness
– He was burned at the stake on 1 July 1555

“Mr. Bradford, martyr, speaking of Queen Mary, at whose cruel mercy he then lay, said, “If the queen be pleased to release me, I will thank her; if she will imprison me, I will thank her; if she will burn me, I will thank her, etc. So saith a believing soul: Let God do with me what he will, I will be thankful

The rich heritage we have as an example left to us. May we seek to be free from the bitterness of soul and to live in the fullness of a heart of gratitude to Him who directs our steps and holds us by the undeserved grace of God in Christ Jesus. John Bradford’s voice still speaks and the life of Christ within him continues to minister unto us in this day.

He is accredited with the phrase “There but for the grace of God go I”.

There is a 19th-century tradition tracing to Bradford the idiomatic “There but for the grace of God go I” as an expression of humility and reliance on God’s grace rather than his own morality. The editor of The Writings of John Bradford, Aubrey Townsend, notes this in his preface

The Mixed Multitude

The Mixed Multitude

“And a mixed multitude went up also with them”
Exodus 12:38

The great multitude that left Egypt (well over one and half million people) was comprised not only of Israelites but also of foreign slaves and Egyptians; a great diversity of races, cultures and motives. There were no doubt sincere followers of God in every one of these nationalities* for the promise of the Passover was to all: “when I see the blood I will pass over”. The blood was the reason for the pardon; not the nationality of the people inside the house. Even here we see glimpses of the New Covenant promise which is based upon faith and not natural birth. This mixed multitude were called the children of Israel. The wilderness was the crucible where many offending elements of the throng would be judged and purified (1 Corinthians 10:1-6).

Historically within the purposes of God mixture is a common malady. Within the hearts of all exists various motives for following after God. There are those who join themselves to the multitude for the blessings rather than out of a pure love for God. After the Sermon on the Mount a great multitude followed Him enthralled by the pure words of grace and wisdom which He spoke.

“When he was come down from the mountain,
great multitudes followed him”
Matthew 8:1

Later we read that multitudes followed Him because He fed them.

“Ye seek me…because ye did eat of the loaves,
and were filled”
John 6:26

Jesus began to speak of deeper things; truths which were no longer pleasant and soft but offensive to the natural mind and the religious culture.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,
and drink his blood, ye have no life in you”
John 6:53

The multitudes began to shrink and many fell away. The way was becoming narrow and the gate unpopular. Many of His “disciples” began to murmur.

“Many therefore of his disciples,
when they had heard this, said,
This is an hard saying; who can hear it?”
John 6:60

So too in our day the multitudes enjoy the broad way focusing only on the elementary things of God. Discipleship, dying to self, the pursuit of true righteousness and holiness are forsaken for the golden calf of the masses. In our day the masses are the proof of a successful church or ministry and often the truth is crucified at the hands of those who want the approval and esteem of men. Nevertheless, there are those whose hearts are set upon following Him. It is to the disciple that His sayings become costly and His way becomes narrow. The self-life must be left behind to move forward in the mystery of His Way. It is the hard sayings of Jesus that cause many to stumble.

“From that time many of his disciples went back,
and walked no more with him”
John 6:66

In our day we have many places where people can congregate to ease their conscience and pacify their convicted soul. They can hear His words without having to follow Him and call Him Lord without obeying. It is a new “gospel” that claims one simply has to believe and heaven is assured and God is pleased. A relieved conscience and a no-cost gospel are nothing more than a religious sedative for a lukewarm environment.

“Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people;
Ephraim is a cake not turned.
Strangers have devoured his strength,
and he knoweth it not…”
Hosea 7:8-9

Even so God calls out to us to draw near in truth and in purity of heart; to leave the crowds and the broad paths. There is a refuge and consolation to be found there. Even the weak, the downtrodden and the lonely are made strong in the way of our God. The Great Shepherd Himself will lead us through the labyrinth of compromise and mixture into truth, righteousness and holiness.

“A faith which works not for purification will work for putrefaction.
Unless our faith makes us pine after holiness,
it is no better than the faith of devils,
and perhaps it is not even so good as that.
A holy man is the workmanship of the Holy Spirit”
Charles Spurgeon

* Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite; one example of several non-Israelites. For his faithfulness to God, Caleb was given an inheritance of the Tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:13).

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Wrestling

Wrestling

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood*,
but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Ephesians 6:12

Wrestling is the reality of a life in Christ. The life of a healthy Christian is one of standing and contending for the faith. We must continually and intentionally withstand the world, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life and the subtlety of compromise and collusion. Warfare is the natural response of those who are alive in Christ. Many who call themselves by His name have no sense of the nature and intensity of this warfare. Paul is speaking from his own experience. To be alive unto Christ is to be an antagonism to the world, principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. To claim to be alive and yet not engaged in this battle makes us dead to the reality of a life in the spirit.

“I know your works.
You have the reputation of being alive,
but you are dead”
Revelation 3:1

This is the Word of the Lord to His Church located in Sardis. How few realize the enormity of this Word. This is a church where His name is used freely and there is much activity with people who are eager to build up “their” church organization or fellowship. Wherever the motive is to be popular and relevant in the eyes of the world the preaching of righteousness is forsaken. This is the environment of a dead and impotent church; it has a reputation of being alive and “current” but it has ceased to contend for the faith. The “knowledge of the holy” is so lacking that people see no reason to wrestle with the unholy alliances of flesh, spiritual powers, spiritual wickedness and the resulting compromise. They have become insensitive to the contagion of the world and are unaware of what the “normal Christian Life” is. It is a situation that brings the very judgements of God! Consider the judgement pronounced on the Church at Sardis (unless they repented) and the greatness of His promise to those who overcome the apostasy and lethargy of their condition (Revelation 3:3-5).

A modern day “gospel” which declares that God loves His church and would never bring judgement upon His people is the LIE of the Devil himself. “You shall not die” were his words to Eve to deceive her into disobedience and judgment. Those who are ignorant of the warfare are unaware of the reality of walking in the Spirit. Deception is anything that keeps us from walking in the truth.

“The reason why men do not look to the Church today
is that she has destroyed her own influence
by compromise”
G. Campbell Morgan

Ω

“No one serving as a soldier
entangles himself in the affairs of this life,
that he might please the One having enlisted him”
2 Timothy 2:4

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

 

CARELESSNESS

CARELESSNESS

“…But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink;
and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not”

AMOS 2:12

The road to apostasy is paved with carelessness, the watering down of true discipleship, and a refusal to hear the Word of the Lord. The calamities and judgments that followed such a prescription of “religion” are devastating and inevitable. Where the fear of the Lord no longer enters the mind of the people of God, His Holiness and Majesty is watered down to a God who no longer is concerned about righteousness and truth within the hearts of His people. Where the majority of the preaching today basically says ‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil”.

“And it shall come to pass at that time
That I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
And punish the men who are settled in complacency,
who say in their heart,
‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil”

Zephaniah 1:12

The result of the religion of men is to reduce God to one that neither rewards righteousness nor judges evil. While this is not said in so many words it is the premise of much of the presentation of the gospel in this hour. We tell the world that they need to repent but after having “accepted Him” there is a lack of concern about how one lives. The complacency and carelessness of the people of God in this hour is evident when we no longer expect from ourselves a life of righteousness; those who are pursuing this life are told to “drink wine (compromise)” and in effect “don’t take this stuff too seriously”. We hear the expression that a man is so heavenly minded that he is no earthly good; in fact it should be stated that unless we become heavenly minded our lives are no earthly good!

May the Lord stir up the prophetic word in this hour to show the error, apostasy and the carelessness of His people. Let there be a WORD going forth in the FIRE of His love and jealously that this is the DAY OF THE LORD. THIS IS THE DAY TO TURN FROM OUR WAYS. It is not a day to live carelessly and walk in the love of the things of this world for the WORD OF THE LORD IS…

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him”

I John 2:15

The focus of our life is the revelation of the love of our life. Our prayer life reveals the things that are dear to us. If all we pray for is our needs, wants and troubles, if the only things we hold up in prayer are those things that concern US and OUR little circle then we NEED to find Him afresh. We are here for the “building up of the Body of Christ”; to see the “Unity of the Faith” revealed IN THE EARTH! If the Risen Christ is ever “making intercession for US” that expression of love for others should also be a reality in our hearts.

Brian Troxel