Thought for Today – Change –

Thought for Today

The Cross of Change

Change: The Validity of Life

“Because they have no changes,
therefore they fear not God”
Psalm 55:19

Transformation and change are the natural order of those who are active and current in their relationship with Jesus. Those who merely subscribe to the tenets of the “Christian” faith remain unaffected by the wonder of His life and Being. Change comes from seeing Him who is invisible, tasting of His Goodness, Mercy and Holiness. One cannot touch His presence and not grow in the reverence of who He is. Without change there is no understanding of the fear of the Lord.

Knowledge may increase, familiarity with the things of God may have the appearance of being good and deep, but it is in the crucible of growth that our relationship is revealed. He came moreover He is come to work within our hearts fundamental and revolutionary transformations from what we are into the image of Christ. This transition from fallen Adam to the Risen Christ is the vehicle and means by which we are moved from an isolated and selfish entity into the substance of being “members one of another”. The validity of our walk with God is revealed in those who are being united by faith into One Body, One Life and One Heart! Jesus prayed for this, He gave Himself up to cruel and wicked men to pay the price of redemption to this end. Not only did He give Himself as an offering but He is even now giving of Himself to us to make it so. Those who do not feel the pull and the cry for this union of hearts within the wonder of His life have become distant and unable to hear the Spirit of Truth.

“Again I write a new commandment to you which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true Light already shines. The one saying to be in the light, and hating his brother, is in the darkness until now. The one loving his brother rests in the light, and no offense is in him. But the one hating his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness blinded his eyes” 1 John 2:8-11

Indifference is hatred held in apathy. They who are indifferent to the members of the Body of Christ around them are walking in the darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. Light is simply the life of Jesus beating within our hearts.

“In him was life;
and the life was the light of men”
John 1:4

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

GOD IS LOVE Preface

GOD IS LOVE

OVERVIEW

DIMENSIONS OF HIS LOVE

“THE BREADTH AND LENGTH AND DEPTH AND HEIGHTH”

“GOD is Love” 1 JOHN 4:8, 16

Having felt impressed to write a single article on God’s love it is now apparent that this will be a series of short writings in an attempt to present a brief outline of this majestic subject. The enormity of such an undertaking, and the sense of total ineptness on my part, is coupled with a prayer that HE who chooses the weak things to confound the mighty, the base things to confound the wise, may be pleased to do so here.

I remember probably 30 years ago pondering the responsibilities that God has given to men and the great need we have to draw from HIM the resources to be found faithful in all of the different aspects of our lives. The man of God must be a good husband learning by Christ’s example to love his wife AS Christ loves the church. The man of God must be a good father who discovers through his experience with the Heavenly Father to raise his children in the fear and the admonition of the Lord. Failure in these prevents us from having the experience and understanding to be expressions of wisdom in the Church. The man of God must be a good employee/employer as we recognize our accountability unto Him. The man of God must also be a witness and an example to the world without where we walk in wisdom and righteousness. As I contemplated these things the scripture in Ephesians 3:18 came alive and I was struck with the fact that there are four dimensions of knowing Him and His Love that we are to discover and experience.

“May be able to comprehend with all saints
what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge”
Ephesians 3:18

HEIGHT

The first dimension is the height of this LOVE. It is here that we must see that every aspect of God’s dealings with us is to enable us to discover that HE IS HOLY. Failure to understand this will dim and corrupt our ability to know His other dimensions; knowing HIS breadth, length and depth. Scripture is clear that “without holiness, no man shall see the Lord”. It is the responsibility of all those who minister to the people of God to set forth a clear presentation of the Living Christ. In so doing the hope would be that each life would see THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE and forsake everything in pursuit of the acquisition of it. Without the aspect of Holiness men will not see HIM as HE is.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:
And the knowledge of the holy is understanding”
Proverbs 9:10

There is a much today in terms of instruction, and scriptural facts concerning the Christ, but it is not the “knowledge of the holy” which is the true understanding of God. Men who know not of “the HOLY” know not God as they ought for God IS HOLY.

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,
whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place,

with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit…”
ISAIAH 57:15

In our religious world today there are many forms of contriteness and humility but unless these qualities are the RESULT of seeing Him they will always fall short of being the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Watchman Nee remarked in the book “Release of the Spirit” that there are many types of brokenness but the only brokenness of any value is that which brings the release of the Spirit of God into the lives of others. So it is with every facet of the Fruit of the Spirit.

The absolute truth that God is Holy and that God is Love is the revelation of WHO and WHAT HE is in HIMSELF. These are not attributes. They are HIS intrinsic self (HIS NATURE) and as such all that HE does flows from the great substance of HIS BEING. We can no more remove the wonder of HIS Holiness from HIS Love than we can take the element of hydrogen from water and still expect to have water. The church of today has in fact removed that element from HIS expression and because of this it is left with a love that is soulish, tepid, shallow and devoid of the power and the pulse of the Holy Spirit. This will taint the expressions of love that are poured forth from the life of the individual believer. The most blatant result seen today is the lack of LOVE between the members of the Body of Christ. Those who have the fear of the Lord know that they are not free to pick and choose which brother they will interact with for the LOVE of GOD is without partiality. They have a holy sense of the connectedness of the Body of Christ and are able to extend that LOVE of GOD to other believers because they ARE His body. They know the flow of that LOVE for it is based upon HIS Nature not upon a brother’s worthiness or capacity. This is where the breadth and length of the expressions of God’s love is determined by the height of a man’s understanding. If there is no comprehension of the height the love becomes earthly and human in its expression. Without the height men become very comfortable with the status quo of the day, exhortation and reproof are seen as expressions that contradict this “love”, and we become apathetic and comfortable with our current condition.

In the letter to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation we see a God who pronounced judgment upon the Church at Ephesus for leaving their “pre-eminent love”. In the Church at Pergamos we see false teachings were being embraced because God’s Holiness was not presented in their lives. We could expound on the other issues found in each of these locations but the cure for all of them is a people who live in the fear of God. Men who fear God have no interest in the approval of men.

BREADTH

Concerning the breadth of God’s love we must come to see that HIS love in us will love not only every brother who is truly a part of the Body of Christ but also those who are contrary and opposed to all that God is. A love that truly loves its enemies prays for them even to the point of blessing them. The absolute breadth of such a love is truly beyond understanding. This love is beyond the manufacture of men, beyond human ability or desire, and it almost seems to contradict our very understanding of Justice and Truth. The breadth of such a love is revealed in the first martyr as we see Stephen being stoned and asking God to forgive them! It is one thing for us to forgive men for their deeds but it is another thing altogether to ask God to forgive them eternally! It is no wonder Paul prays for us to be “strengthened to lay hold” of such a love.

LENGTH

In our consideration of the length of this love we must grasp the enduring love of God who has gone to great lengths of patience and long-suffering with us in our walk with Him. This same love will produce in us a love that will continue to love in the face of indifference and rejection. This is the love that will enable us to suffer long with a brother who refuses to grow, develop, or overcome the obstacles of life. It is a love that, because of God’s Holiness, will not compromise with a brother’s walk but will ever seek to raise them up to the CALL of God to holiness and righteousness. In this dimension there is a suffering born of the knowledge of God’s provisions and HIS own priestly concern over the life of every one of HIS. This is a love that will go to every length within its sphere to see HIS people rise and walk with their Holy God!

DEPTH

When I began to contemplate the mystery of this fourfold knowing of HIM and HIS LOVE I was impacted by the realization that in earthly things my concepts were only three dimensional. Having enjoyed drafting and drawing buildings and such when I was younger it occurred to me that one of those words used in Ephesians 3:18 was beyond my capacity to know. In studying the Greek words used for all of these dimensions I came across the word that is translated depth. This Greek word is a mariner’s term used to describe the ocean and its depths. As sailors they understood they were merely moving upon its surface but that below that surface there was a whole other realm of life about which they knew nothing. Praise the LORD! It is the same Greek word that Jesus used when He invited the disciples …

“Launch out into the deep,
and let down your nets…”
Luke 5:4

Can we not hear HIM inviting us to leave the shallow waters of men’s concepts, traditions and teachings and launch ourselves into the depths of HIS BEING where light, glory and LIFE abound? Do we not instinctively sense depths within HIM that surpass knowledge and words, books and sermons, where the Apostle Paul himself declares that he saw and heard things which cannot be uttered? These are things which men cannot articulate for they are beyond the speech of men, beyond the reach of the human mind and are only shown to those who have made holiness of life and purity of heart their pursuit.

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:

for the Spirit searcheth all things,
yea, the deep things of God”
1CORINTHIANS 2:9

My prayer is that together we will explore the unfathomable dimensions of His Love, for to love Him is to know Him and to know Him is to love Him.

Brian Troxel

HIS VOICE

HIS VOICE

“And ye said, Behold,
the LORD our God hath showed us his glory and his greatness,
and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire:
we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.
Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us:
if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die.
For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living
God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?
Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say:
and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee;
and we will hear it, and do it.”
Deuteronomy 5:24 – 27

Though Israel saw the works of God in Egypt and at the Red Sea it is here that they first caught a glimpse of the fact that He speaks to men. This reveals the possibility of relationship. It is one thing to see the moving of His hand; it is quite another to hear Him speak and enter into the place of comprehending His WILL and PURPOSE. Relationship denotes responsibility and accountability. Religion does not mind acknowledging God, nor does it have a problem with even His miracles and His words if they are related to us from a book or someone else. But the thought of hearing His voice for ourselves brings us to the edge of reality. It brings us to the awful place of His fire, His presence, and into the place of knowing. Religion is like an anesthetic; it gives us enough understanding to make us feel comfortable, but leaves us in enough darkness that we do not have to face that penetrating light and feel the heat from the fire of His presence. For it is in knowing that we see to some degree our state and His glory. It is in hearing His voice that He communicates His Will and His purpose for our lives. This is a fearful place. It is a place that strips us from the comfort of the shadows of obscurity into the knowledge of the Holy One by the revelation of Himself in and by His living Word.

“Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
and ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent,
him ye believe not. Search the scriptures;
for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me.”

John 5:37

The Jews had a confidence in their knowledge of the scriptures, yet that knowledge instead of revealing the Christ, blinded them to the seeing of Him, “…for in them ye think ye have life…” Their confidence was in the knowledge of words rather than in the hearing of His voice. If they had heard His voice they would have seen Him and known Him. The voice of the Lord is ever speaking into the earth looking and longing for His creation to hear and come that it might know Him and be changed.

It is the voice of God that calls us to the true knowledge of Him and to the awful revelation of ourselves. It is the voice of God that calls us to separation and obedience. No wonder the desire to remain in the comfort of obscurity. But, it is also the voice that reveals the Lamb of God in all of His Grace and Glory. It is the voice that draws us away from our sin and our sickness unto Holiness, without which no man can see God. It calls us to the place of worship, to the place of fellowship with Him, to the place of the mount of God baptized with fire and glory and ultimately it brings us to the place of His divine purpose, Christ in you the full hope of Glory. His voice is for one purpose; to make us so one with Him that our life becomes His voice to others, our life becomes his provision to those He brings our way. When the people asked John the Baptist who he was he simply replied…“I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness… ” They could not recognize him because they knew not the voice that spoke through him, and that voice was to prepare the way for the true Shepherd who was to follow. It’s in hearing His voice that we become an echo of the One who is, who was and who is to come; “for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”. Let us not draw back in the hearing of His voice but as Elijah who upon hearing the “still small voice” wrapped himself in his mantle and presented himself to the Will and the Purposes of God.

How men and women in this day quickly trade away their true standing in God and seek out men who will speak to them in the stead of God! How sad it is that there is a professional “ministry” who would stand in the place of God so that the people can shirk their responsibility and sit in pews when they should be up and about doing the will of their Father. Where is that ministry which will confront this lethargy and speak with power and unction to cause people to recognize their birthright as “sons” and draw near to God with hearts that long to hear and obey the voice of the Almighty? Where is that true ministry such as John the Baptist that rejoices when his disciples forsake him to follow in the footsteps of the Son? May God arise and pour out His fire in this day to ignite the hearts of His people to give our lives unto Him as living sacrifices’!

“An empty altar will receive no fire…”
Frank Bartleman

Brian Troxel