The Family of God

The Family of God

Family of God

“The beginning of love for the brethren
is learning to listen to them”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Listening to our brothers and sisters in Christ comes from the mutual respect and recognition borne of His Spirit. Whenever and wherever we see the evidential testimony of Christ within another life we are bound by the wonder of His Life to them.

“For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Matthew 12:50

It is not by confessions that we are bound to one another; it is His life moving, enabling, and willing to will in us to “DO of His good pleasure”. Brotherhood/sisterhood is the result of His Life not of some verbal religious confession.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”
Matthews 7:21

It is also much deeper than signs and wonders and words of confession:

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”
Matthew 7:22-23

There are many who believe differently, who see things differently but within their lives, there is an unmistakable sense they are His; not on the basis of confession but by the evidence of His Life being in them.

Jesus prefaced this powerful discerning truth by declaring:

“Wherefore by their fruits,
ye shall know them…”
Matthew 7:20

How wide and how narrow is the Body of Christ! The attributes of His Spirit are the evidence of His Life. Doing His Will is the summation of the Life of Christ. He came to DO the Will of the Father and to whatever measure His heart is ruling in our own, will be the evidence of His Life within. There is a wideness and a mercy which wells up within all who have been baptized by that One Spirit into the One Body for one another.

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many”
1 Corinthians 12:13-14

It is my prayer that we all would drink in of this ONE truth… we are One because of His Spirit inhabiting, moving, and breaking down the walls of the division made by the teachings of men. There are many with whom we may converse concerning Christ but that is not fellowship, that is not what comprises the family of God. The Body of Christ is where each member is joined BY and IN His Spirit fusing us into a “spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5) where we flow together in the unifying Spirit of His growing Lordship. It is only living stones that are capable of being a part of this spiritual house.

“They profess to know God,
but they deny him by their works”
Titus 1:16

Brian Troxel

 

 

The Legacy of Life

The Legacy of Life

The Legacy of Life is a chief concern of those in whom the fire of Christ burns. There is an intense desire to pass on the truth of His power and His might to the next generation. They no longer seek their own legacy; they choose to live life in such a way that the next generation would know in a much greater way the wonder of His Glory. Their singular intent is that His Light would grow “more and more unto the perfect day” in succeeding generations.

“So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come”
Psalm 71:18

The love of Christ reaches out to others.  It frees us from self-centered objectives through the workings of the Cross of Christ within. There is a new desire to touch the lives of the coming generation with the pure truth of Christ.

“…since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things”
2 Peter 1:14-15

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“A Righteous Person
is one who lives
for the next generation”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Brian Troxel

The Song of the Lord

The Song of The Lord

“God has prepared for Himself one great song of praise throughout eternity, and those who enter the community of God join in this song. It is the song that the “morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy” at the creation of the world. (Job 38:7). It is the victory song of the children of Israel after passing through the Red Sea, the Magnificat of Mary after the annunciation, the song of Paul and Silas in the night of prison, the song of the singers on the sea of glass after their rescue, the “song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb” (Rev. 15:3) It is the song of the heavenly fellowship
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

There are melodies discovered in dark places, graces developed in the oppression and angst of the soul. There are lyrics written upon the soul of His own; songs from the deep where Christ abides. They are but mere whispers of  glory which wind their way from heaven’s throne to bring the fragrance of a far away land where righteousness reigns and love is the atmosphere that His creatures there breathe.

Let not the clouds of the dim lands here hide for long the lightness and the buoyancy of the Song of Lord.

“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away”
Isaiah 35:10

Brian Troxel

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Quote for Today

“Costly grace is the hidden treasure in the field, for the sake of which people go and sell with joy everything they have. It is the costly pearl for whose price the merchant sells all that he has; it is Christ’s sovereignty, for the sake of which you tear out an eye if it causes you to stumble. It is the call of Jesus Christ which causes a disciple to leave his nets and follow him”
– Dietrich bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Quote for Today

“Cheap grace is the mortal enemy of our church. Our struggle today is for costly grace.

Cheap grace means grace as bargain-basement goods, cut-rate forgive­ness, cut-rate comfort, cut-rate sacraments; grace as the church’s inexhaustible pantry, from which it is doled out by careless hands without hesitation or limit. It is grace without a price, without cost…

Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, as principle, as system. It means forgiveness of sins as a general truth; it means God’s love as merely a Christian idea of God. Those who affirm it have already had their sins forgiven. The church that teaches this doctrine of grace thereby conveys such grace upon itself. The world finds in this church a cheap cover-up for its sins, for which it shows no remorse and from which it has even less desire to be free. Cheap grace is, thus, denial of God’s living Word, denial of the incarnation of the word of God.

Cheap grace means justification of sin but not of the sinner. Because grace alone does everything, everything can stay in its old ways. “Our action is in vain.” The world remains world and we remain sinners “even in the best of lives.” Thus, the Christian should live the same way the world does. In all things the Christian should go along with the world and not venture…to live a different life under grace from that under sin…

Cheap grace is that which we bestow on ourselves.

Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without repentance; it is baptism without the discipline of community; it is the Lord’s Supper without confession of sin; it is absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without the living, incarnate Jesus Christ”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Quote for Today

“Ye are the salt of the earth”
Matthew 5:13

“You are the salt” not “You should be the salt”! The disciples are given no choice whether they want to be salt or not. No appeal is made to them to become the salt of the earth. Rather they just are salt whether they want to be or not, by the power of the call which has reached them. You are the salt․not “you have the salt.” It would diminish the meaning to equate the disciples’ message with salt, as the reformers did. What is meant is their whole existence, to the extent that it is newly grounded in Christ’s call to discipleship, that existence of which the Beatitudes speak. All those who follow Jesus’ call to discipleship are made by that call to be the salt of the earth in their whole existence”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Quote for Today

“Who is pure in heart? Only those who have completely given their hearts to Jesus, so that he alone rules in them. Only those who do not stain their hearts with their own evil, but also not with their own good. A pure heart is the simple heart of a child, who does not know about good and evil, the heart of Adam before the fall, the heart in which the will of Jesus rules instead of one’s own conscience.… A pure heart is pure of good and evil; it belongs entirely and undivided to Christ; it looks only to him, who goes on ahead. Those alone will see God who in this life have looked only to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Their hearts are free of defiling images; they are not pulled back and forth by the various wishes and intentions of their own. Their hearts are fully absorbed in seeing God. They will see God whose hearts mirror the image of Jesus Christ”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Quote for Today

“Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted”
Matthew 5:4

“Every additional Beatitude deepens the breach between the disciples and the people. The disciples’ call becomes more and more visible. Those who mourn are those who are prepared to renounce and live without everything the world calls happiness and peace. They are those who cannot be brought into accord with the world, who cannot conform to the world. They mourn over the world, its guilt, its fate, and its happiness…. No one understands people better than Jesus’ community. No one loves people more than Jesus’ disciples․that is why they stand apart, why they mourn; it is meaningful and lovely that Luther translates the Greek word for what is blessed with “to bear suffering.” The important part is the bearing. The community of disciples does not shake off suffering, as if they had nothing to do with it. Instead they bear it. In doing so, they give witness to their connection with the people around them. At the same time this indicates that they do not arbitrarily seek suffering, that they do not withdraw into willful contempt for the world. Instead, they bear what is laid upon them and what happens to them in discipleship for the sake of Jesus Christ. Finally, disciples will not be weakened by suffering, worn down, and embittered until they are broken. Instead, they bear suffering, by the power of him who supports them. The disciples bear the suffering laid on them only by the power of him who bears all suffering on the cross. As bearers of suffering, they stand in communion with the Crucified. They stand as strangers in the power of him who was so alien to the world that it crucified him”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Quote for Today – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Quote for Today

Cheap Grace Versus Costly Grace

“Cheap Grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly Grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows Him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his book “The Cost of Discipleship”

 

Meditative Moment

Meditative Moment

The reward of discipleship

“And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables” (Mark 4:11)

“Salvation is free
But Discipleship will cost you
your life”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer