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Posts Tagged ‘Faith in the Power of God’

The Secret of Receiving from God

“To him that overcometh will I give…”
Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26-28, 3:5, 3:12, 3:21

His table is set for us in the midst of our perplexities and adversaries (Psalm 23:5). His bread is rich in the spiritual nutrients of grace and the fruits of His Spirit. It is not in the absence of trouble that we grow and develop; rather it is in the midst of the very things which seek to undermine us. It is in the very face of our adversities that we are outfitted to walk and apprehend his call.

Little did Joseph’s brothers know that in their treatment of Joseph they were in fact unwitting vessels setting in motion the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Saul did not comprehend that his pursuit and envy of David were the means through which God raised a man after His own heart. Whether it is apathy, envy or distrust of our brothers and sisters, the forgetful butler (Gen. 40:23) or the unfeeling jailers of God’s people, the vision stands sure. God will accomplish His ends if we hold fast to the faith He has placed within our hearts.

It is not simply those who have vision who will receive of God’s gracious hand. It is those who overcome through hope in God’s vision who receive the prize of the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. Doctrinal visions fade with the passing of time. However, a vision received in the heart, held by hope in the ONE who cannot lie, is an unassailable power which will persevere until the day dawns and His purpose is fulfilled.

Overcoming is simply the result of His Life beating within our breast. His Life is the resurrection from death itself. No grave or disappointment can withstand Him. So not only do we hold to His promises but with the passage of time is the realization that we are held by Him! Through the mountains and valleys of our journey the flame of hope lights our way even in the darkest of nights. The flicker of the eternal keeps us bound to the vision He has birthed. As Paul stood before Agrippa bound in chains, held fast within the Roman penal system, he declared with all boldness…

“Whereupon, O king Agrippa,
I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”
Acts 26:19

True vision holds one to a life of obedience regardless of the circumstances. This was not a personal vision which held Paul; it was a “heavenly” one and as such it could not fade because of earthly circumstances. This vision supplies to the beholder faith, obedience and the wonder of Hope as an anchor to our soul. Those who let the vision fade become weary, pragmatic and compromised in a world which seeks to undermine the intense fire of all true pilgrims.

Overcomers are those who keep their feet moving forward, their hearts beating with the fervor of a love which cannot be quenched. In their times of discouragement and failure they rise because of a Hope that cannot be denied. True overcomers are those who follow the “heavenly vision”.

“So often we have a kind of vague,
wistful longing that the promises of Jesus should be true.
The only way really to enter into them
is to believe them with the clutching intensity
of a drowning man”
William Barclay

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Walking in the Spirit

THE WAY INTO THE CALL

Part Two

“Walk in the Spirit,
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”
Galatians 5:16

In the previous article (See Part One) we introduced the standard of what it means to walk and live in the Holy Spirit. At the thought of the enormity of such a call men and women tend to close their hearts to this reality. The power to live up to this standard is far beyond the capacity of our own resources. This seems an unattainable “ideal” rather than the call of God to all who are in Christ Jesus. We have been tainted by the presentation of a “gospel” today that declares the only difference between a saved and an unsaved individual is that one has been forgiven. This is a repulsive and derogatory declaration of all that God has purposed in Christ.

“Therefore, Christ having suffered for us in the flesh, also you arm yourselves with the same thought, that he suffering in the flesh has been made to rest from sin, for him no longer to live in the lusts of men, but to live the remaining time in the flesh in the will of God. For the time of life having passed is sufficient for us to have worked out the will of the nations, having gone on in wantonness, lusts…”
1 Peter 4:1-3 (LITV)

God has called us out of darkness with the intent we may live and walk righteously. He has also made the provision for us to do so. The New Covenant reveals a “new law” by which this walk is now attainable. To be called to a high and holy walk without the resources of the living Christ would be the same dispensation (only more impossible) as the Old Covenant! The New Covenant is one of provision and substance; He who calls is the same One who fulfills the call within those who hear His voice and obey Him. The provision is always bound up within the call. As we obey His power is given to rise up and walk in a manner beyond our own resources. We see clear pictures of this in both the Old and the New Testaments. When the feet of the priests stepped into the flooding river it parted. When Peter stepped out of the boat he walked upon the water. When the disciples distributed the five loaves and two fishes the multitudes were fed. The examples go on and on. In Christ we have the full provision to live godly lives, to grow, develop and become, in reality, His expression in the earth.

“For the saving grace of God has appeared to all men,
instructing us that having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live discreetly and righteously
and godly in the present age”
Titus 2:11-12

The “saving grace of God” instructs us to deny ungodly living and worldly lusts to the end that we should live righteously in this world! Righteousness is the product of God’s grace within our lives. It is His grace at work in our hearts to live above and beyond our own pitiful resources. It is not by the works of the law but by the power of His grace in us through the medium of faith.

In Romans, chapter 7, we are presented with the agony of anyone who tries to walk a life of righteousness by their own resources. It is the struggle of one who desires to walk uprightly but lacks the power and might to do so. Paul ends this sordid description with the cry “who shall deliver me…”. The encouraging part of this question is “who” not “what”. Those on the verge of true deliverance come to the realization that their hope of deliverance is no longer in something; inherently there is the recognition of a need for someone. So many today look for answers from the medical field, counsellors, self-help strategies and other things to deliver them from their plight. Jesus is our salvation, our deliverer and our only hope of living uprightly.

Paul in his discourse continues from Romans 7 into the beauty and power of Romans 8! He moves on from the anguish of human inability into the very power and life of the Son. He takes us from the “Law of sin and death” into the “Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”! The Law of sin and death is one of desiring to live right but utterly failing due to the weakness of the flesh to live spiritually. Earlier Paul had stated that the “Law” was spiritual (Romans 7:14). The flesh being of a fallen nature had no capacity or ability to fulfill a spiritual law. Hence the New Covenant was introduced.

“For the law being powerless,
in that it was weak through the flesh,
God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,
and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh”
Romans 8:3

The powerlessness of the Law was revealed in our inability to walk in it. God has never abandoned the righteousness of the Law! His end remains unchanged; however his means to that end has changed. His answer to us is a “New Law” which now becomes our provision so that the “righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in US”! What is that New Law? (It is better to ask, Who is that New Law?) His Name is Jesus! Paul continues from Romans 8:3 to the next verse…

“So that the righteous demand of the law
might be fulfilled in us,
those not walking according to flesh,
but according to Spirit”
Romans 8:4 (LITV)

This fulfillment of the righteousness of the Law as a reality in our life requires us to live and walk in the Spirit of God! Paul could not have presented to us a clearer message of the power of salvation to which we have access by Christ Jesus our Lord. The provision has been made. The issue of sin has been eradicated and the way forward is offered to all who would plunge themselves into the reality of being hid with Christ in God.

“Whereunto he called you by our gospel,
to the obtaining of the glory
of our Lord Jesus Christ”
2 Thessalonians 2:14

“Obtaining” means the acquiring and laying hold of something. Paul in his epistle to the Philippians describes his life of intense pursuit as the “one thing”.

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3:12-14

Paul follows this with this admonition to God’s people…

“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect,
be thus minded: and if in any thing
you be otherwise minded,
God shall reveal even this unto you
Philippians 3:15

Those who are open to the voice and the teaching of God’s Spirit will be of this mind. It is the very premise and purpose of the New Covenant.

“For the law made nothing perfect,
but the bringing in of a better hope did;
by the which we draw nigh unto God”
Hebrews 7:19

This “better hope” allows us to “draw nigh” unto our God. The Word is clear and the means is sure because God who cannot lie has promised us with an oath that these things are true.

“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things,
be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace,
without spot, and blameless”
2 Peter 3:14

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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LET HOPE REMAIN

“And he said, About this season,
according to the time of life,
thou shalt embrace a son”
II KINGS 4:16

Opportunities for enlargement are often shrouded in the dark clouds of obscurity and silence. What seems to be a dead end and a place of helplessness is often the very gateway into the Glory of God. While men linger in resignation, God waits in expectation.

In the story presented here in II Kings there is an unfolding of a relationship between a prophet of God and a kind woman who provided a place for him and his servant to stay as they passed through from time to time. Her motive was right and she did not expect anything in return. She was simply accommodating a servant of God. After some time it came to Elisha to bless her for the kindness shown and in which the revelation of her barrenness came to light. Her husband was old and the desire for a child must have been a strong cry within her heart. Upon discovering Elisha spoke that living word of promise that she would embrace a child much to her own disbelief. The hope of such a thing had long passed as her circumstances dictated otherwise. The years of fading hope had succumbed to the defacto of her experience. The cry for fruitfulness had been quenched and subdued to the point of a pragmatic outlook on life. It is in such places and such times that God will send the opportunity for His Grace to find us if we will simply remain open to the appointment afforded us; one that is wrapped up in the “everydayness” of life and clothed in the simple outworking of our lives.

The promise of this son, given by a living word, would in itself be a testimony to us who should believe hereafter of THE SON being brought forth in the power and REALITY of our lives. It is incumbent upon us to remain open to the opportunities around us and not allow the experiences of life to harden our hearts nor shrink the world in which we live. It is a day to lift up our eyes “unto the hills” and to ever live with an expectancy of His moving afresh in our lives. The power of a living HOPE chases away the seeming treadmill of our existence. It lifts our eyes from the dusty footsteps of our path unto the horizon where the “Sun of Righteousness” is arising with healing in His wings. The dark night of sorrow and the dim grey shadows of a lifeless dawn must and will give way to HIS ARISING. May we live in the knowledge of HIS Character and not give way to a religious existence of doctrine, rote and tradition. Let us remember that He who has promised cannot lie and the desire to bear fruit out of our own lives is the result of HIS planting and HIS promises.

“Trust in the LORD, and do good;
so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the LORD;
and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the LORD;
trust also in him;
and he shall bring it to pass”
PSALM 3 7:3- 5

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“Give me this mountain”

“…yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me:
as my strength was then, even so is my strength now,
for war, both to go out, and to come in.
Now therefore give me this mountain…”
JOSHUA 14: 11 – 12

Faith is not only a substance and the real evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1) it is also a spiritual reality and a precious fruit (Galatians 5:22 – 23). Faith is not determined by age or the weaknesses that are common to man. We see here the testimony of Joshua who, at the age of eighty-five, is undaunted by the promises of God. The mountain he asked for was inhabited by the giant Arba and the Anakims which were the giants of the land of whom Goliath was a descendent. His eyes were fixed upon the promises of God, not himself.

Because that living faith burned within his heart it had NOT diminished with the passing of time; he was able to declare…

“Now therefore give me this mountain…”

The eternal purposes of God do not rest upon our physical strength or abilities; they are carried along by the operation of His faith within the recesses of our hearts. Joshua still had to invade that land and fight the giants but his strength was the product of a living faith and not the other way around. So must we in our day continue to “contend for the faith”. Faith that is living and true, that is present tense and at this moment “strengthened for war…to go out and to come in”. Wherever there is true faith there is a continual war in the spirit both to hold onto what is ours in Christ and to see total victory over the strongholds within.

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,
but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing
that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,
and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled”
II CORINTHIANS 10:4

And again…

“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”
I TIMOTHY 1:18

Many of Joshua’s fellow Israelites did not live to enter the Promised Land because of the issue of faith; so it is in our day (I Corinthians 10:6 – 12 and Hebrews 4:6). May the Lord stir our hearts to hold faith, walk in faith and live a life that pleases HIM. May we be found strong to finish the race for HIS Glory.

“Finally, my brethren,
be strong in the Lord,
and in the power of his might”
EPHESIANS 6:10

Brian Troxel

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The Abundant Promises of God

“I had not thought to see your face;
but in fact, God has also shown me your offspring!”
GENESIS 48:11

These are the words of a dying Jacob uttered to Joseph as he beheld Joseph’s sons Manassah and Ephraim. This conniver and schemer from birth was transformed into Israel (Prince with God) through the abundant mercies and infinite wisdom of God. We see him here near the end of his journey settled in the peace of a God that surpassed all of his expectations. Through all the bitter trials and testings, the infighting of his sons and the seeming loss of Joseph, the final giving up of Benjamin to a rough and unknown Egyptian ruler, and the passing away of his beloved Rachael, we now see the realization of God’s purpose. The confrontation with God at Peniel, the holding on to the ONE with whom he struggled even while he was being broken and afflicted to the point of becoming crippled, had at long last brought forth a man who knew his God. A man who could now see clearly that what God had promised He would more than supply. His hope no longer rested in circumstances or in men for he trusted in the ONE alone who could see him through. This God was no longer to be known as the God of Abraham and Isaac; HE would now be known as the God of Abraham, Isaac and JACOB! Such things are written “for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” and ‘‘Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow”. In other words they are written for our learning and our encouragement!

The very same God who fulfilled His Word and Promises given to our forefathers is the very same God who has now promised us greater things through the death and resurrection of His Only Son that we might take strong encouragement for the day in which we live.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us…”
EHPESIANS 3:20

Brian Troxel

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HOPE
TO MAKE US STRONG

“Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me,
Write: for these words are true and faithful
MATTHEW 5:9

Whatever our lot, our circumstances and our present day experiences, let the promise of God ring within our hearts. “Behold, I make all things NEW…” is the hope that we have and the surety of things to come. The weariness of the way, the shallowness of much of what we hear and see today, must and will give way to the WILL and PURPOSE of God. Things will not remain the same. We have this promise from a God who cannot lie; the God who paid for the NEW by the very sacrifice and death of His own Son. This is not an idle religious promise by which we try to encourage ourselves. Rather it is a living hope that beats within our hearts; a hope founded and sustained by a living faith. A faith that is the very substance of the hope we have and the things that we do not see…

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen”
HEBREWS 11:1

We sense the eternal heartbeat of a longing and a cry that resides within our own hearts; a yearning for something greater, deeper and fuller. This same call of the eternal resonated in the lives of all those who longed for a City whose builder and maker is GOD. Abraham did not look for an earthly city, his eyes were not upon some sliver of land; his hope was higher. He “looked for a City… whose builder and maker is GOD”!

Shall not we, who are the true offspring of Abraham (Gal. 3:7), have that same living hope pressing us on to stay the course, to run the race with the same Holy zeal and the same faithfulness of spirit and trust in a God whose name is “faithful and true”?

Let us even today allow the hope and vitality of the promise of God that speaks of a “New heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness” be the anchor in our daily life.

Ω

“Live in the presence of God and you too will have the eyes of Abraham.
Eyes that are always alert to the unexpected.
Eyes that see God’s actions in petty annoyances and even in tragedies.
Eyes that trust.
And eyes that continue seeking
whenever they are tempted to turn inwards”
Glen Argan

Brian Troxel

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TEMPTATION

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation;
for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life
which the Lord has promised to those who love Him”
James 1:12

Temptation is neither a sin nor a sign of carnality. It is the everyday reality for all men. The issue is not temptation but the response to it within our heart that matters. It is through enduring and resisting temptation that the victory of the Crown of Life is received. Where there is no battle there can be no crown. The crown of life spoken of here is given to those who by the mercy of our Lord and Saviour have fought the fierce battles that wage in the secret places of our hearts and minds, often while no one is watching. They have known the utter weakness of the flesh, the deceitfulness of their own heart and the pressure that comes to bear upon them in their walk of faith. Left to ourselves the outcome would be certain and the end of the matter sure.

“But thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”
I CORINTHIANS 15:57

The Glory of this life of Faith in Christ Jesus is that we are not left to ourselves in the matter of overcoming sin. We are not orphans that are left to our own resources in this matter, nor are we to labour under the rigorous requirements of the Law by our own strength! We have available to us the wonder and the glory of “…the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death!” It is through HIM that we are made “more than conquerors”. In Him we are not only freed from the power of Sin but are indeed made alive that we can walk in the very Spirit of His Life and provision. Such things are not known by simply taking thought. These virtues of His Life are won in the arena of this life. It is the Crown of His life that we receive as we overcome and endure the hardships of temptation and trial. It is in these places that we learn the secrets of dependence and victory; the sufficiency of His Grace in contrast to our weakness; the discovery that “love endures ALL things”; that He is “…able to keep us from stumbling”.

These victories are to be known in the life of every believer. We not only have His rich provision for the victory but even in the midst of defeats and discouragements we have the assurance of forgiveness and mercy to rise up from every one of them and press the battle until the victory has been received.

“For a righteous man may fall seven times
and rises again”
PROVERBS 24:16

The life of the Christian is more than forgiveness, more than mere religious sayings and nice sermons; it is a life of pursuit, of victory and of overcoming as He overcame. It is in growing in Him, learning of Him and discovering the absolute necessity of abiding in Him that we find the wonder of His provision and mercy.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world even your faith.”
I JOHN 5:4

Brian Troxel

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