The Shelter

The Shelter

“For thou hast been a shelter for me…”
Psalm 61:3

A shelter must be larger than the one who finds refuge within its walls. His grace is always greater than the reach of our needs. The shelter of Him extends beyond our comprehension. In every circumstance of life, the anchor holds, and His mercies are renewed each morning for the true pilgrim of faith.

He holds us in our failures, our disappointments, and in our night seasons. He holds us in broken relationships, wounding experiences, and failed adventures. When all else fails He remains faithful.

In lonely and desperate times there are resources for us to face the emerging new day. The darkness of night must give way to the dawn’s growing light. Despair will flee in the Light of His countenance. His word beckons the weary one to arise and shine for He will not fail His own (Isaiah 60:1).

“…for a just one falls seven times
and rises up again…”
Proverbs 24:16 (LITV)

The night seasons are given to bring us to greater illumination. In our dependency, upon Him, we are far more intent to learn and be taught of Him. His shelter covers us and unfolds to us a deeper understanding of Him.

“I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me…”
Psalm 16:7 (ESV)

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“And we know that all things work together
for good to them, that love God…”
Romans 8:28

Brian Troxel

Expectation

Expectation

” My soul, wait thou only upon God;
for my expectation is from him.”
Psalm 62:5

Expectation

The expectant soul is one who recognizes their dependence upon God. He has no other expectations than Christ Himself. The greater our vision of Him, the greater will be our need for Him.

To live a life that expresses Him we must know the necessity of His living resources. Our own meager resources will never be sufficient for the demands of the day. Each day He is calling, drawing, and ever desirous that we live in the unconscious wonder of His canopy of love. There is a gracious support of our hearts and minds; He holds sway over our fickleness. The tensions and the demands of our days may distract us from this place of rest, but in returning, we will find our way back to the quiet harbour of His presence. It is in those moments we are instinctively aware of the steadfastness of our Rock.

“…when my heart is overwhelmed:
lead me to the rock that is higher than I”
Psalm 61:2

Paul and his faithful companions knew much of the pressings and trials in their day. We should “find it not strange” that our days are such. There are many who have endured incredible adversities to the very limit of their strength, but God held them steady.

“…we were pressed out of measure, above strength,
insomuch that we despaired even of life”
2 Corinthians 1:8

There are deep waters before us, testings greater than what we know now. It is today that He grooms us, prepares us, and works to free us from our self-reliance, that we may stand in the coming evil day. Paul’s resiliency was found in the power of the following verse:

“But we had the sentence of death in ourselves,
that we should not trust in ourselves,
but in God which raiseth the dead…”
2 Corinthians 1:9

Take heart as He works all things for our good. Let us keep our expectation only from Him and be ever faithful, “abounding in the Work of the Lord”.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord”
1 Corinthians 15:58

Brian Troxel

Samson and the Downtrodden

The Sign of Samson

“And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison.”
Judges 16:21

The Life of Samson
is a SIGN to the Downtrodden

Round and round the unseen track trod this prisoner bound in brass. Round and round, his broken soul weighed down with the pain of having failed his God. The once proud and arrogant Samson, with God-given strength, who feared little and did as he pleased, was now reduced to an object of worldly sport and the jeering of his enemies. Round and round the defeated one walked, his hopeless and pitiful existence spent in this daily, endless grind. Ridiculed by his foes, and apparently abandoned by his God, his end seemed near.

Many children of God have lost hope and thus assume that these are their last days with no seeming purpose. Others cling to promises which seem farther away today than they did the day before. The evening shadows fall heavily upon their souls. The light which burned bright in former days gives way to obscurity and growing doubt. Round and round the monotony of the daily path slowly drains their joy and passion for God. Just like Samson lives are beaten down with defeat, broken dreams, and shattered hopes in the midst of failures and circumstances too great to overcome. The way seems barred, the doors shut. Such would be the case – except for GOD!

The once powerful Samson was reduced to slavery and ridicule because of his foolish love of Delilah (representing the world and its ways). He fell under her seduction and gave up the secret of his strength. Bound and fettered by her beguiling ways, his eyes were put out (his spiritual vision) and he became the slave and merchandise of the Harlot. Time passed in worldliness and selfish pursuits until at last the realization begin to dawn upon him as to the dire place to which he had fallen. The careless life he lived, the reckless abandon to his selfish ways and pursuits, brought him to a place of utter bondage and hopelessness.

“But the hair of his head
began to grow again after it had been shaved”
Judges 16:22

May God remind us that His promises hold true and His mercies never cease. The enemy, your enemy, does not know the hidden ways of the Lord. The Devil sees not the secret council of the wisdom and the purposes of God. God will surely “renew their strength” and in due time “they will mount up with wings as eagles”. It is time to lift up your eyes which have been blinded by your enemy; a day to lift up the hands which hang down and to once again sing the song of the Lord with joy. It is of the Lord’s mercies to work in our Day; to cause His servants to arise and, as Samson, strike a greater blow in our weakness than we ever did in the days of our strength.

“Therefore also now, saith the Lord,
turn ye even to me with all your heart,
and with fasting, and with weeping,
and with mourning…”
Joel 2:12

“Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaiah 35:3-10

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“…let the weak say, I am strong”
Joel 3:10

Brian Troxel

Spiritual Perspective

Spiritual Perspective

“So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory”
Psalm 63:2

Vision is the foundation of an individual’s walk. What a person sees determines what he pursues. True spiritual perspective can only be gained by the seeing of Him, to see His Glory with the eye of faith is the continuous need of the true disciple. It is the touching, tasting and beholding that brings tenacity and hope to all who walk the path of discipleship. In the “seeing” of Him we are afforded a clear estimation of this present world. Without this vital perspective we become entangled and compromised in our walk in this world. David knew well the susceptibility to temptation and the resulting sorrow of beholding other things. It is this perspective which brings peace and clarity to our walk. In Psalm 73, David found himself envying the ungodly their prosperity and ease in life. His perspective was causing his “steps” to falter and his heart to become bitter.

“But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked”
Psalm 73:2-3

Had he remained in this deadly place of perspective his spiritual life in God would have been in grave danger. In subsequent verses (Psalm 73:4-16) we read of David’s conjectures, his fretting and his complaints to God. His perspective determined his thought life. His immediate cure was found in seeing God in His sanctuary!

Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places”
Psalm 73:17-18

We are no different. How vital it is for us to live and abide within the Sanctuary of His Glory. It is here that the faltering steps of the weary pilgrim are refreshed. It is here we see things as they truly are and the contagion of jealously and envy are purged from our wayward hearts. How good and merciful is our God.

The Sanctuary of God is the very anchor of our soul, the strong tower in which we may find refuge in every storm. His presence is our salvation; in the seeing of Him we are changed and empowered to perceive things clearly. May we ever find mercy and grace in our time of need.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help in time of need”
Hebrews 4:16

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – In The Morning

Thought for Today

In the morning…

“But when the morning was now come,
Jesus stood on the shore.”
John 21:4

The long night seasons of life with its discouragement and shattered dreams lay heavy upon the souls of His disciples. Each in their own way had failed to stand in the great testing and trial of the crucifixion of Jesus. Each one fled in the face of the fury and hatred of the moment. No one had felt the bitter sting more than Peter whose grandiose confession seemed to be so genuine and bold just a few short days before.

In their discouragement they had returned to their former occupation with an inner desolation and a sense of hopelessness. It is here that Jesus appears and meets them in the morning hours. It is here, though at first hidden from their eyes, He first comes to bring the power and hope of His resurrection. It is in His resurrection we have hope to arise from the fresh failures of life. It is in His resurrection we can feel Him invigorating our hearts and our hopes, moving us forward unto a greater sense of His purpose in our lives.

Though the nights be long, our efforts seem futile, and the world about seems not to even notice the starless sky, Jesus will come in the morning; and in His coming the fires of our hearts are rekindled. Rest assured He keeps His own. He watches over the objects of His Love even though the night is dark and the way seems uncertain, He will come with the wonder of His presence and, though we may not recognize Him at first, the truth will dawn and joy will break over our hearts as the morning sun upon the mountains.

“…weeping may endure for a night,
but joy cometh in the morning”
Psalm 30:5

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Unbelief and the Good News

Thought for Today

Unbelief and the Good News

“Why could not we cast him out?
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief”
Matthew 17:19

God’s movings and the shining forth of His salvation are proportional to our faith. It is in the crucible of the realities of life that the true condition of the church is revealed. Truth is the vehicle and the means whereby His thoughts concerning us are expressed. We often speak of truth in terms of His love for us, in terms of His promises and His plans and purposes; but Jesus is always “laying the axe to the root” of our lives. His words can be sharp and to the point. We must see that these words in truth are also the proof of His love.

“Because of our unbelief”

This child would have gone on in the condition in which he came. The agony of his father would have remained unchanged, the situation unaffected by the prayers of the unbelieving disciples. It is here that Jesus presented the truth of the matter. It was not a word given to condemn; it was given to them to arise from where they were into where He had called them to be.

Unbelief is not something about which we should feel condemned. It is His desire that we face our unbelief with the certainty that He has something better, fuller and more blessed concerning our walk in Him. His sharp word spoken to our unbelief is filled with the heart of One who is calling us to better things. It is our response to His word wherein lies the crisis. Do we turn a deaf ear to this reproof or do we acknowledge it. The truth is that the our powerlessness is in the condition of our heart and not in His power? Are we offended by this word or do we feel the promise pulsating within it?

There is always a cure for unbelief, but there is no cure for a heart that refuses the verdict of Jesus. His exhortations are always given to us in order that we may lay these things to heart and not make excuses; to let His words cut asunder our hardness of heart and turn to Him for the fuller measure of all that He is.

“Ye have sown much, and bring in little…
Thus saith the Lord of hosts;
Consider your ways”
Haggai 1:6-7

We must consider our ways for unbelief is the fruit of how we walk, how we think and how we live. Let us hear these words of exhortation and count them as promises of greater things. His heart is full and His call goes out to any who would hear.

“Unto you first God,
having raised up his Son Jesus,
sent him to bless you,
in turning away every one of you from his iniquities”
Acts 3:26

It is called the Good News for in turning from our ways we will find His!

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness
and forbearance and long-suffering;

not knowing that the goodness of God
leadeth thee to repentance?”

Romans 2:4

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Psalm 34:5

Thought for Today

“They looked unto him, and were lightened:
and their faces were not ashamed”
Psalm 34:5

There is light in none other. It is the Light of God shining forth in the face of Jesus Christ whereby men and women are enlightened. The light of His life is what causes His people to arise out of the clutches of this world; its darkness, its ways, its offerings and temptations. In seeing Him, in beholding His countenance, we are lifted into heavenly places; the veil is parted and we behold His Glory.

“…unto them that look for him shall he appear”
Hebrews 9:28

Looking implies dependence; the eyes are guided by that which one desires. We look for Him for He is our salvation. He is our comforter. He is the hope which makes us not ashamed to declare Him to the world and more importantly to one another. In the seeing of Him the offenses and rejection of friends and foes are dissipated. “Their faces were not ashamed”; their hopes of life and godliness renewed. The ability to rise up from every circumstance and every failure is invigorated by His light of pure wonder. Let us not shrink back because of disappointments in life. Let us ever be renewed in the beauty and power of the light that beckons us to higher and deeper things.

“Looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith”
Hebrews 12:2

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Come as You Are

Thought for Today

Come As You Are

Come to Him as you are,
Tired, discouraged and alone.
Come to Him who is never far.
Come to Him with heart of stone.
Come to Him who can atone,

Hear His beckon with love and care
“Come to me all who are weary,
weighed down and in despair…
Take my yoke and learn of me
to find my rest abiding in thee.”
– Brian Troxel

“That man is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and desires, without a glow or an aspiration, with the weight of low thoughts, failures, neglects, and wandering forgetfulness, and say to Him, ‘Thou art my refuge.'”
– George MacDonald

The Present Truth – Part Five

The Present Truth

Part Five

“…be established in the present truth”
2 Peter 1:12

Today!

The great exhortation to the people of God in the Book of Hebrews is as true and valid today as ever “and so much more as we see the DAY approaching”.

“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith,
TODAY if ye will hear his voice,
Harden not your hearts…)”
Hebrews 3:7

The Word of God is ever TODAY! Many declare there is a word coming, there is a day coming. This is true but if the WORD today is not mingled with the obedience of faith the word tomorrow will be of no profit.

“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them:
but the word preached did not profit them,
not being mixed with faith in them that heard it”
Hebrews 4:2

It is not in our hearing/knowing the truth preached but in our doing of it that we benefit by the power of His Life within us (see James 1:23-25). The Scribes and the Pharisees had knowledge of the day of the Messiah yet they could not “see” Him standing, speaking and doing the works of God in their midst.

“But exhort one another DAILY,
while it is called TODAY;
lest any of you be hardened…”
Hebrews 3:13

“And let us consider one another
to provoke unto love and to good works:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:
and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”
Hebrews 10:24-25

The “present truth” of the living Christ carries the strong exhortation “while it is called today”! The deception and folly of religion today is the absence of strong exhortation. People only want to hear good and pleasant things; things that make them feel comfortable in their relationship with God. We want to hear His promises without the corresponding obedience by which the confidence in God becomes ours. This is a generation who wants constant affirmation of their standing in God, but it is only through the medium of obedience that the true confidence of knowing Him is experienced.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing”
James 1:23-25

Whenever and wherever the people of God distance themselves from the daily exhortation to walk and be established in the present truth of God know that deception, hardness of heart and the folly of religion has replaced the fire of God burning within the human heart.

Let us give all diligence to walk in the present truth of growing and exhorting one another unto “love and good works”.

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things,
be diligent that ye may be found of him
in peace, without spot, and blameless.”

Colossians 3:4

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“Now is the dwelling place of God himself”
— Thomas Raymond Kelly

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Note: The Present Truth Parts 3 – 5 were written as one writing and are best read as such. The last three parts were divided for the sake of brevity only.

Brian Troxel