HOPE AND FAITHFULNESS

HOPE AND FAITHFULNESS

“I had fainted,
unless I had believed to see the goodness
of the Lord in the land of the living”
PSALM 27:13

The living hope of seeing Him in this life is the source from which faithfulness draws its strength. A living hope is one that produces life within the hearts of those who are held in its grasp. While many hold to a hope after death, a living hope is found in those who are alive in Christ; from its well flows faithfulness and purity of heart (1John 3:3). We see Him in proportion to the purity in which we walk. A living hope facilitates a life of growth and stability. It speaks of holding fast, of feeding others when we are hungry, giving water to others while walking in desert places, of rising up when we are close to fainting and of worshiping Him even when “…the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls.”

Our Faith is revealed in these times. We hold our course and we faint not in a “dry and weary land, where there is no water”. It is in times of loneliness and separation that we are most tempted to yield to despair. These are the times we look to our forefathers who endured great hardships and we see the faithfulness of God meeting them in the “land of the living”.

We read of Moses who endured “as seeing Him who is invisible”; Sarah “receiving strength” to conceive being well past the age of child bearing” because she judged “Him faithful who had promised”. We read of the “endurance of Job and the end of the Lord”. All these things are written for us that we may overcome as they did to the Glory of our God.

“Thou therefore endure hardness,
as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”
2TIMOTHY 2:3

Brian Troxel

THE PRAYER OF THE WATCHMAN

THE PRAYER OF THE WATCHMAN

“Consider and hear me,
O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes,
lest I sleep the sleep of death”
PSALM 13:3

In the day of trial, as the Bridegroom tarries and the lamps of the virgins burn late into the night, the vigilant pray and fight the sleep of death. It is a slumber that creeps over the hearts of His Own in the waning hours of the night. The true test of faith is to remain watchful, diligent and caring for others until He returns. It is in occupying ourselves in the service of Him that we remain faithful to the testings of the night. Having our lamps trimmed, our hearts awake and our eyes looking for Him we continue to “contend for the faith” that was given unto us.

“Blessed is the man that heareth me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting at the posts of my doors”
PROVERBS 8:34

The danger of the sleep of death is one of subtlety and deceit. Those who are held in its grip are unaware that it has taken hold. It is in the occupation of ministering unto Him, as we give bread to our brothers and sisters that we stay in the battle of this hour.

“Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep;
and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.”
PROVERBS 19:15

Ω

“It is perilous to separate thinking rightly, from acting rightly.
He is already half false who speculates on truth and does not do it.
The penalty paid by him who speculates on truth without doing it,
is, that by degrees the very truth he holds becomes a falsehood”
FW Robertson

 

Brian Troxel

LEADERSHIP & RIGHTEOUSNESS

LEADERSHIP & RIGHTEOUSNESS

“If anyone is blameless, husband of one wife,
having faithful children,
(who are) not in accusation of loose behavior, or disobedient”
TITUS 1:6

Religion has a way of circumventing truth. When men in leadership fail to live according to the standards presented in scripture there is a moral decline that permeates the household of faith. If the faith of a man does not work within his own house how can he be equipped to function within the local assembly? Titus and Timothy were commissioned to ordain Elders throughout the Church of God in their day. Paul gave instructions so that the quality of faith and wisdom would be passed along by men who had proved themselves faithful in their own homes and within the community in which they lived.

“…for if a man does not know how to rule his own house,
how will he take care of the church of God?”
1TIMOTHY 1:6

In this day of apathy standards have been lowered to such a level that a few years in a Bible school is all that is required for leadership. When such low expectations are placed on leadership we must expect a compromised truth to be passed on to those they teach. This results in a subtle and downward spiral within the church with all manner of sexual immorality, divorce and remarriage and faithless lives. Congregations with unsaved men and women are impervious to the conviction of the Holy Spirit because the fear of God is no longer known by the people of God. Accountability has been replaced with a gospel of tolerance and men are no longer expected to live Godly and Righteous lives.

The leaders of the church today are often from somewhere else and not known by the local community of faith, contrary to the very instructions set forth in scripture. We end up with men who have no personal testimony locally (as they are brought in from outside the local community), they are not required to live righteously before they are qualified for leadership within the local church. The scriptures clearly teach that the leadership OF the local assembly is to be raised up FROM the community IN which they live. They are to be men who are known by the people locally; those who have proven their faith and wisdom; those who love their wife and raise godly children in a godless world.

It does matter how we live and it does matter that our faith works in our own home. Men who do not stand for truth in the home have no business being involved in the leadership of God’s people. The priesthood of every man starts in his own home. When we water down truth to be merely a teaching rather than a life of example, the power of God will be lacking in the community of faith. Truth is not a teaching. It is a life, and how a man lives reveals the truth he holds. Truth is a power that enables us to live righteous lives. It transforms men and makes them strong in Christ.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith”
ROMANS 1:17-17

The Gospel of Christ is meant to produce lives that reveal the righteousness of God from faith to faith. As our faith grows so will the revelation of the righteousness of God in our lives. That is why faith and righteousness are inextricably linked in the New Testament. Faith is the means by which we are enabled to live Godly in this present world. That is why the LEADERSHIP of the Church of God must be men who have proven their FAITH by how they live.

“Let a man so account of us,
as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful”
1CORINTHIANS 4:2

We must return to the scriptures; we must repent from the ways of men that have produced worldly organizations rather than a living organism which is called THE Body of Christ. Let us examine our place in the home, in the workplace, in the fellowship of believers and in our personal secret lives. Righteousness is the product of a living faith. Sound teaching must come from a life that resembles the very truth it proclaims.

“But as for you,
speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:
that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate,
sound in faith, in love, in patience;
the older women likewise,
that they be reverent in behavior,
not slanderers, not given to much wine,
teachers of good things—
that they admonish the young women to love their husbands,
to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers,
good, obedient to their own husbands,
that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded,
in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works;
in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,
sound speech that cannot be condemned,
that one who is an opponent may be ashamed,
having nothing evil to say of you”
TITUS 2:1-8

Brian Troxel

GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN

“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

HOPE TO MAKE US STRONG

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

TEMPTATION

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

OBEDIENCE The WAY to LIFE

OBEDIENCE

The WAY to LIFE

“The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
Arise, and go down to the potter’s house,
and THERE I will cause thee to hear my words”
JEREMIAH 18:2

Had not Jeremiah obeyed the voice of the LORD to go to the potter’s house, he would never have known of the Word of the Lord found THERE and only there. Obedience precedes the ministry of God’s LIVING Word. In our day we have many, many teachers; “revelations” coming forth from countless expressions. “Knowledge has increased” but with this increase in knowledge there has not been an increase in FAITH. Why is this? It is because much of revelation is taught as teachings that men may hold in the intellect without the corresponding call to OBEDIENCE. We hear a lot about “just believe” and God will bring it to pass; the prophecies given must come to pass for God has said it; the promises given are sure and true; just believe. But we must remember that God’s Word always requires obedience, faith and personal RESPONSE. Consider the prophetic words given to Timothy….

“This charge I commit to you, son Timothy,
according to the prophecies previously made concerning you,
that by THEM you may wage the good warfare”
1 TIMOTHY 1:18

Paul says concerning his own life…

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run,
but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.
Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown,
but we for an imperishable crown.
Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty.
Thus I FIGHT: not as one who beats the air.
But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection,
lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified
1 CORINTHIANS 9:24 – 27

The purpose of all teaching and ministry is to set before the people of God, the MARK, the PRIZE which is the LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST. The ministration of the WORD should be setting forth the true cry of the Holy Spirit to every believer to “Run in such a way” that the people of God MAY OBTAIN IT! May we be saved from the Gospel of believe-ism and be brought into the Gospel that is the POWER of GOD unto salvation because it is declared through vessels who know the weight of obedience, the ferocity of the fight of FAITH and the KEEPING POWER OF OUR GOD. Any ministration that does not include the accountability of the believer unto his God, the necessity of the fear of the Lord, and the call of God unto a life of obedience is lacking in vision. True revelation brings men and women into the place of beholding HIM and in the seeing of HIM we know the fear of the Lord and the awesome Glory of God.

“Moreover, brethren,
I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud,
all passed through the sea,
all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink.
For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them,
and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased,
for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
Now these things BECAME OUR examples,
to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written,
“The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did,
and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ,
as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;
nor complain, as some of them also complained,
and were destroyed by the destroyer.
Now all these things happened to them as examples,
and THEY WERE WRITTEN FOR OUR ADMONITION,
upon whom the ends of the ages have come”
1 CORINTHIANS 10:1 – 11

God is looking for disciples and soldiers; men and women who not only recognize the cost of following Jesus, but have found (or are in the process of discovering) that it is by the power of HIS LIFE operating in us that these become realities. Faith is the only means by which the teaching of discipleship becomes the everyday life of the believer.

Ω

“You are but a poor soldier of Christ
if you think you can overcome without fighting
and suppose you can have the crown without conflict”

John Chrysostom

Brian Troxel