Thought for Today – The Alabaster Box

Thought for Today

The Alabaster Box
And
Freedom from Strife

“Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people…”
Psalm 18:43

God has an answer for the strife, jealously and contention of religious, partisan discord. Clinging to teachings, ministries of God, and the honoring of men and organizations over Him, clouds His likeness in this world. It destroys the very fabric and wonder of His salvation and the unity of His Spirit. It is as we abide, seek and desire Him alone that He delivers us from the misery and shame of the “strivings of the people”.

The Alabaster Box

There is no better description of this age-old spectacle than that of the story of the woman with the Alabaster box. The room was filled with the carnality, contention, and strife of the various sects of the religious world. The self-righteous Pharisee (himself a leper), the indignant and blind disciples, and the broken-hearted woman (who alone saw the true wonder and glory of the Son) were all confined in one room. Have we not all been in such situations and even sat in the seat of each of these at some time? The Pharisee was oblivious to his own state yet filled with contempt over the woman’s reputation. The disciples were supposedly distressed over the cost and waste of the ointment being poured out. The worshiping woman saw nothing other than the priceless beauty of Christ.

The Pharisee was disturbed with the person, the disciples concerned with the gift, while the woman only had eyes for Him. Singleness of eye is God’s deliverance from the “strivings of the people”. A pure heart rises above partisan politics to see the motivation from which an action proceeds. The reality is that both parties of this drama were offended by her lavish and unmitigated worship of Him! Religious people will always find fault with the true worshiper of Christ; it is an indictment of their own lack of passion for Him.

The Scribes and the Pharisees consulted in the killing of Lazarus for his very presence was a testimony to the resurrection life of Jesus. Cain killed his brother Abel because his gift was accepted and Cain’s rejected. The Pharisees had to cover their ears during the stoning of Stephen because it was a damning of their own true condition. Those who walk with singleness of eye will know loneliness in this world and the contempt of the religious but the joy of seeing Him delivers them from the “strivings of the people”.

“Truly I tell you,
wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world,
what she has done will also be told,
in memory of her”
Mark 14:9

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Enemy of Our Soul – Envy –

“Enemy of Our Soul”

ENVY

“Ephraim shall not envy Judah,
and Judah shall not trouble Ephraim”
Isaiah 11:11

The power and beauty of the Body of Christ is found in the unity of His heart beating within (Psalm 133). It suffers greatly when there is rivalry between its own members; in this instance the enemies are not so much from without but from the carnality within.

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest,
which are these…Envying’s”
Galatians 5: 19-21

The works and deeds of the flesh mar the image and likeness of Christ in the earth. When men and women are filled with love of self they harbor envy and cling to this destructive work which prevents them from entering God’s Kingdom (Galatians 5:21). They withdraw from the union and fellowship of the Spirit with others. Where there is no vision of the Body of Christ there can be no comprehension of the devastation that is wrought by this enemy. In the seeds of this evil there is a deception which hides God’s face from the heart of the one who holds on to envy. It is an insidious work of the Devil himself. Gossip, evil speaking, lies, murder and darkness lurk and grow within its domain. Exclusion of the other members of the Body of Christ, causing schisms and divisions are the outcome of its curse. Envy was the primary motive for Cain to kill his brother because the sacrifice of Abel was accepted and Cain’s was rejected. Saul envied David and Joseph was envied of his brothers.

“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts,
glory not, and lie not against the truth.
This wisdom descendeth not from above,
but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
For where envying and strife is,
there is confusion and every evil work
James 3:14-16

Wherever there is envy and jealously within a heart darkness and deception are sure to overtake the light bringing damnation and judgement. Envy at its root grows from an ungrateful heart for the giftings and callings given of God. By envying another we are telling God that He is unrighteous in His giving. Traces of the sin of envy and the judgement thereof are found throughout the scriptures. Korah was a prime example of someone not content with the call of God upon His own life. It was and will continue to be the downfall of many.

Those who hold on to envy reveal the darkness in which they walk; to continue in its way one must hide themselves from the light and the fear of the Lord. What is the end of this work of the flesh and of the devil?

“envying’s…of the which I tell you before,
as I have also told you in time past,
that they which do such things
shall not inherit the kingdom of God
Galatians 5:22

ω

“Wherever God is — there is peace.
And the opposite is self-evident:
where there is envy, enmity, impatience, self-love — there is the devil.
Wherever the devil is — there, everything is ruinous, proud and hostile.”
St. Anatoly

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

IS OUR LOVE DIFFERENT?

IS OUR LOVE DIFFERENT?

“And if ye salute your brethren only,
what do ye more than others?
do not even the publicans so?”
MATTHEW 5:47

The Greek word for “salute” would best be translated here to embrace or literally as Thayer’s Greek Thesaurus translates this word, “to draw to one’s self”. It is translated “embraced” in Hebrews 11:13. In the verse preceding this one Jesus states that if we love {agapao Grk.} only those that love us, how do we differ from the publicans? May the weight of these things impact us as we look around and see this love displayed to varying degrees throughout the church today. Does this not vividly describe the condition of the sectarian ways to which we have fallen? We see churches and various groups holding on to the close confines of those that “fellowship” with them and the common definition of the church or body today has mistakenly come to mean the ones that we meet with.

To add weight and importance to the above verse Jesus follows with…

“Be ye therefore perfect,
even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”
MATTHEW 5:48

In other words our Father in Heaven is nothing like this. His Love knows no bounds; He does not show impartiality nor is He a respecter of persons. He sends the rain on the just and the unjust and His Son died for the sins of the world. We speak of “our” church, “our” pastor and “our” ministry as if we owned something or that because of our goodness these things have become ours. In Corinthians Paul states…

“For who makes you differ from another?
And what do you have that you did not receive?
Now if you did indeed receive it,
why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
1CORINTHIANS 4:7

If we seek only to meet with those of like mind we remove from us the wonder of His mosaic and the richness of the variations of His Wisdom. When we exclude or diminish another for differing from us we reveal the love of this world. We wonder why the world has not seen the Glory of our God in our midst while we live divided and walk in a love that loves only those that love us.

Peter, one of the Chief Apostles, started to segregate himself from the “gentiles” in his midst and was strongly rebuked by Paul and rightly so. The carnal man seeks to distinguish himself from others thus elevating one’s self. The need for recognition and distinction is at the core of that fallen nature. Jesus HAS broken down the middle partition between Jew and Gentile, between “Baptists” and “Pentecostals” and whatever other walls may be added through the “names” of teachings and doctrines. The gathering of the people is to be unto Him and Him alone.

Sadly the Proverb speaks to our day with such clarity…

“Only by pride cometh contention”
PROVERBS 13:10

Ω

“Division has done more to hide Christ from the view of men
than all the infidelity that has ever been spoken”
G. MacDonald

Brian Troxel

HE IS ABLE PART FOUR – SPIRITUAL PRIDE

HE IS ABLE!

PART FOUR

SPIRITUAL PRIDE

“And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee:
nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.?”
I Corinthians 12:21

Here we see Paul confronting the other enemy of the Body of Christ, spiritual pride. There are those who feel superior to other people of God so much so that they lose their ability to see the value of others in the Body of Christ. They have come to such a place that they actually do not see their need of the other members. Pride will always bring blindness and isolation. “…I have no need of you…” What an abominable thought, to come to such a “high place” that there is no recognition of the rich supply that is ministered through the wonder of relationship with one another.

“From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted
by that which every joint supplieth,
according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,
maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love”
Ephesians 4:16

There is a powerful supply that is ministered by the joints, that is relationships. The Greek word used here for joint means: “a joint by which other members of the body are connected together”. This supply can only flow THROUGH the members by means of the joints. This expression of the singular is only made possible by the supply of every joint. For individuals or groups to become proud and isolated is to cut themselves off from this supply. Stagnation, decay and death are always the result of spiritual pride. It is by these joints and the functioning of every member that the Body edifies itself in the Love of God.

“But the miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not be healed”
Ezekiel 47:11

Here we read in Ezekiel of a River that flowed from the threshold of the House of God, and everywhere this River flowed it brought healing and restoration to all that it touched. In the marshes and the miry places that were cut off from the flow of the river there was no healing or restoration. The life is in the River, and to partake of that life we must be part of its flow. The Hebrew word used for marshes here can be translated cistern or pool. This speaks of a separation that excludes the river; a teaching or “vision” that is not capable of embracing others. It is only running water that purifies itself. Ponds or lakes where there is no flow in or out quickly become stagnant and dead. So it is with us. The Dead Sea has inflow but no outflow. It is in the desire to save our “corporate life” that we shall surely lose it. Flow is essential to life and in the Wisdom of God we receive by giving.

“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said,
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”
John 7:38

The validity of our faith is not expressed in doctrine, teachings and programs. It is revealed by the flow of living water. How that living water is expressed in each individual is as unique as God is infinite! How glorious and rich HIS House should be. The Psalmist cries out “How beautiful is your dwelling place, oh Lord of HOSTS…” We ARE HIS Dwelling Place, we ARE HIS Temple and may there be a new priesthood that has one cry upon their hearts; to make HIS Dwelling HERE resemble HIS Dwelling place in Heaven. “Thy will be done, ON EARTH AS it is in Heaven”. John hears the Voice of God and he says it is as the sound of many waters! Hallelujah! How glorious are HIS ways, how deep is HIS mercy towards us, that in the flowing forth of HIS river through each redeemed life we are able to “comprehend with ALL saints” what is the infinite splendour of our GOD!

How tragic it is for men to declare because “I am the eye… I have no need of thee”. Even the eye can become blind with its own importance.

In the New Covenant the word “heresy” meant something quite different than it means today. In the Greek it was anything that created a faction or sect. Whether the ministry was good or false, if it, or the adherents of a particular ministry, sought to create a special group or faction it was HERESY! May the Lord humble us from our own self importance and keep us ever in the place of living and abiding in HIM. We have Churches on every street corner that cannot help but propagate division and fragmentation. We have small groups scattered throughout the land as well, each with a great potential to become an extension of another isolated cell. For without a true vision of the Body of Christ we can easily become another form of heresy.

In the Book of Acts we see the ministry moving amongst the people of God from house to house, with no thought of raising up a particular “group” but ministering to the whole Body. This eliminates any self seeking agenda of HAVING disciples and brings forth the true heart of ministry in MAKING disciples unto our Lord Jesus Christ. To make disciples is to see HIS people come to the place of obedience, unto HIM who is the HEAD, that “in all things, HE might have the preeminence”!

May the Spirit of Grace fall upon us afresh in this hour that we might rise up in a new humility and pure motive to see that it is unto HIM that our gathering together is realized. May all the foolish pride and exclusions be destroyed in the recognition of HIS great MERCY that has been afforded each of us. May the “I have no need…” be eclipsed by the full recognition of our absolute need of each other that we find ourselves not cut off from HIS FLOW, HIS LIFE and HIS LORDSHIP.

“Only by pride cometh contention”
Proverbs 13:10

Ω

“Pride is the ground in which all the other sins grow,
and the parent from which all the other sins come”
William Barclay (1907–1978)

Brian Troxel