Freedom’s Yoke

Freedom’s Yoke

Freedom’s Yoke

“I will bring you into the bond of the covenant”
Ezekiel 20:37

The true freedom of the Lord is bound in our relationship with Him. There is a freedom found in our ability to express Him in the situations of life. Spiritual freedom is in our inability to harbor unforgiveness, to be liberated from envy and jealously, and to love others regardless of their treatment of us.

“Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering…”
Colossians 3:12

The elect of God show forth their election by the life lived and the character revealed. There is a dynamic of Christ to show forth HIS qualities through the yoke of relationship. Submission to Christ is freedom. In our obedience we show forth His Lordship, in our giving up our rights we discover His. To rule and reign in the life to come He is to rule and reign in this life. Faith and hope see beyond the reaches of today, love is the reins of the free.

“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye…”
Colossians 3:13

Forgiveness is the path to freedom. The injuries of others if not forgiven bind us in the grievous chains of our own making. To live free in Christ is to forgive as He forgives, to bear long with one another is the mark of the true disciple. Paul continues in this flow of life with the crescendo…

“And above all these things put on charity,
which is the bond of perfectness.”
Colossians 3:14

Love is the binding agent living, working, and bringing the heart to the freedom of the Cross. There was no power on earth which could hold the Son of God to the cross other than the Love of the Father. The freest soul on earth is the one most bound to the supremacy of love.

“I in them, and thou in me,
that they may be made perfect in one…”
John 17:23

Brian Troxel

The Ever Present One

The Ever-Present One

“Do not grumble against one another,
brothers, so that you may not be judged;
behold, the Judge is standing at the door”
James 5:9

To live with an awareness of His watchfulness is the secret to walking in the way of the Lord. Carelessness is simply the revelation of a heart that is out of touch with His Living Presence. Unforgiveness, grumbling, harbouring of resentments, and isolation from His people, are symptoms of a life who has lost touch with Him who is the Life.

Ignorance of His Presence will not excuse us of the truth “the judge is standing at the door”. The assumption that we are secure in Christ because we “believe” right while holding unresolved issues with our brothers and sisters, is the horror of hypocrisy.

“…bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive”
Colossians 3:13

The conduct of one’s life reveals the heart and the spirit in which one walks. The pride of man seeks division and dissension for self-promotion, but one who knows that “the Judge is standing at the door” will conduct himself accordingly.

“And Asa did that which was right
in the eyes of the Lord”
1 Kings 15:11

Life is short; the opportunities afforded us of growing in His nature and grace are presented to us every day. May the consciousness of His Presence enable us to walk humbly in the knowledge that “the Judge is standing at the door”.

“And… Paul said,
Brothers, I have lived my life before God
in all good conscience up to this day
Acts 23:1

See: The Elect of God

Brian Troxel

 

Proverbs 13:10

Proverbs 13:10

Proverbs 13:10
Pride and Contention

” Only by pride cometh contention…”
Proverbs 13:10

Pride is the spring from which every form of contention flows. It may be masked by earnest religious phrases but its poison results in much human sorrow within the Body of Christ.

Pride is the curse of humanity. It is the cause of unforgiveness, bitterness, envy, jealously, and malicious talk. It may be hidden in the smile of hypocrisy or the vehemence of outright aggression. It erects walls between close friends and breeds separation and schisms within the people of God. It is often cloaked in the “spiritual garments” of truth and sincerity, declaring with the subtly of Cain, “am I my brother’s keeper”? In the end, Pride brings spiritual blindness. It is its own judgment. Pride denies an individual their own progress in Christ and brings with it stagnation, deception, and sorrow. The love and forgiveness they deny to others become the harvest they reap. Forgiveness destroys the insidious workings of pride, darkness, and deceit. To forgive another one must give up their rights and hurts to the One who bore all sin in Himself.

The unforgiving remain unforgiven*

“Then laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil words, as newborn babes desire the pure soul-nourishing milk, that you may grow…”
1 Peter 2:1-2

May we set a watch upon our words, for out of the abundance of the heart does the mouth speak. Paul entreats us all:

“And, finally, be all of one mind, sympathetic, loving the brothers, tender-hearted, friendly, not giving back evil for evil, or reviling against reviling; but, on the contrary, give blessing; knowing that you were called to this in order that you might inherit blessing. For the one desiring to love life, and to see good days, let him restrain his tongue from evil, even his lips not to speak guile. Let him turn aside from evil, and let him do good. Let him seek peace, and pursue it; because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous…”
1 Peter 3:8-14

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* Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.”
Mark 11:25-26

Brian Troxel

The Measure

The Measure

“One forgives to the degree that one loves”
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

The quality of love can only be known by the deeds it produces.

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk
but in deed and in truth
1 John 3:18

Love without deeds is the fiction of religion.

“He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love”
1 John 4:8

The Measure of a Life
is easily known.
By the life lived,
and the seeds sown.

Turn Us O’Lord.

See: Love One Another

BT

Prayer and Communion

Prayer and Communion

Prayer is simply the communion of our hearts with God. The touch of His presence brings fresh stirrings of His Own desire within our hearts; we become the altar upon which His incense burns. The closer we come to Him the more we find the Divine enablement to flow in His grace rather than relying on our own feeble efforts to pray effectually.

Travail is the precursor to new things being born in Him. Like a woman with child, the life within her is the source of travail. So also, Christ in His own, produces the cry for His New Creation to come forth in this Day.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”
Romans 8:26

True communion does not happen quickly. It involves an unfolding of hearts, a trust and a compliance on our part in order to be fully given to the will of God. His Presence is the great mystery of the universe. To enter into such a thing is a privilege beyond all others.

Our Walk and Our Prayer Life

As we grow in our sensitivity in touching these sacred places in God, we learn that our relationship with others greatly affects our relationship with Him. Unforgiveness, bitterness, pride, animosity and anger will greatly limit the true prayer of the Spirit of God within us. I cannot expect an audience with Him while I walk contrary to His ways.

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered*
(*literally in the Greek “that your prayers be not cut off“)
1 Peter 3:7

Unforgiveness and Prayer

The deeper we go in Christ the more we find the necessity of being exercised in the grace of forgiveness. Failure to extend to others the great need of forgiveness for ourselves will result in our own prayer life lacking His presence and His unction to move in concert with His Spirit.

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses”
Mark 11:25-26

The insensitive of heart will remain unaffected by the graces of His Holy Spirit. True, effectual prayer is proportional to our participation in the graces of His Spirit.

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy”

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God”

The secret to communion with Christ is summed up in our walk; in honoring and obeying Him in our common, everyday life.

Those who obey His Word honour His Word.

“Blessed are they that do His commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life”
Revelation 22:14

See: Effectual Prayers and Forgiveness

Brian Troxel

Simplicity of Life – Part One

The Simplicity of Life

Part One

“Let your garments be always white.
Let not oil be lacking on your head”
Ecclesiastes 9:8 (ESV)

The great gift afforded us of the garments of salvation require our attention to keep them white and clean. We walk in a world filled with contamination, temptation and sin at every turn. Uncleanness in conversation, things which would corrupt our thought life and offenses from which bitterness and unforgiveness may arise all threaten to stain our garments. Our exposure to all of these things in their varied forms require His grace and power to cleanse us from “all unrighteousness”; otherwise the residue can poison our minds and spirits. There is an aggregate effect upon us. John encourages us to deal faithfully with the sins and offenses in our life.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’
1 John 1:9

His dealings with sin in our life are not only to forgive but His power is released to also cleanse us from any residue. Many who deal lightly with sin never go deep enough in their transactions with God to the point of knowing and experiencing the cleansing which should accompany the regenerating work of grace. Bitterness, anger, sins of the flesh, anything which impairs our newness of Life in Him, needs to be fully worked out until we are clean and pure again in His sight.

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”
Hebrews 12:15

Bitterness that is not dealt with will always spring up defiling not only ourselves but others. Its rancor and poison cannot be kept from the tongue unto the spreading of malicious gossip often accompanied with unwholesome deeds that bring damnation and judgment upon many. May we be instructed in the way of the Lord by the simplicity of His words:

“Let your garments be always white”

(to be continued)

Brian Troxel

The Ministry of Reconciliation

Healing and Reconciliation

“And all things are of God…
and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation”
2 Corinthians 5:18

What is torn can be mended.
What is separated can be blended.
That which is broken can find repair,
And joy can fill the life in despair.
Brian Troxel

To seek reconciliation with others is the revelation of a heart which has and is being reconciled to Christ.

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift”
Matthew 5:23-24

_____________

“Behold, I make all things new”
Revelation 21:5

Brian Troxel

Persecution Post – Congo

Persecution Post

Helen Roseveare was an elderly missionary to Congo, Africa when I was still very young. I remember her holding the audience of ten thousand university students spell-bound and then in tears at Urbana ’76. Her life story is a testimony to the grace of God portrayed in the 1989 movie, Mama Luka Comes Home.

She is often asked by young people what she suffered for Jesus. Her simple answer is, “During the Simba uprising in the Congo, I was raped twice. Government soldiers came to my bungalow, ransacked it, and then grabbed me. I was beaten and savagely kicked, losing my back teeth through the boot of a rebel soldier. They broke my glasses, so I could not see to protect myself from the next blow.

“Then one at a time, two army officers took me to my own bedroom and raped me. They dragged me out into a clearing, tied me to a tree, and stood around laughing. And while I was there, beaten and humiliated and violated, someone brought out the only existing hand-written manuscript of a book I had been writing about God’s work in the Congo over an eleven-year period. They put it on the ground in front of me and burned it.

“I asked myself, Was it worth it? Eleven years of my life poured out in selfless service for the African people and now this? The minute I expressed that, God’s Holy Spirit settled over that terrible scene and He began to speak to me.”

‘“My daughter, the question is not “Is it worth it?” The question is, “Am I worthy?” Am I, the Lord Jesus who gave His life for you, worthy for you to make this kind of sacrifice for Me.’ And God broke my heart,” Helen continues. “I looked up and I said, ‘Oh Lord Jesus, yes, it is worth it, for You are worthy!’” She concludes, “When you ask the right question, you’ll always know that He is absolutely worthy of anything you can give Him or do for Him!”

Phil Callaway of SERVANT magazine once asked her, “Did you ever struggle to forgive those men?” “No,” she replied. “There was no sense of bitterness or even anger. I was overwhelmed by the sense that God was graciously using me in His purpose. All He asked of me was the loan of my body. The consequences were His. A year later when I returned to Congo and met the man who had humiliated me, I realized that I did carry some resentment and I wasn’t sure I had forgiven him. But God led me to accept from Him the forgiveness that only God can give, and He gave me His peace again.”[1]
Helen returned to Congo after all the above and continued her life of service for Jesus among the African people.

Deference and the Majestic Christ

Deference
And
The Majestic Christ

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth:
he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
so he openeth not his mouth”
Isaiah 53:7

The extraordinary life of the Son, in the hidden wisdom of God, is revealed within the context of human frailty. At no time in the Gospels do we see any attempt by Jesus to rely on His divinity to extricate Himself from the realities of life. He came into this world the same way we all do, He grew into adulthood as any of us do, He felt the same infirmities yet was without sin. He deferred His omnipotence in order to reveal the True Life within the physical boundaries of this world. In His human experience He became the Captain of our Salvation. The call of Christ to us is the same; through the experiences of life and the workings of grace to become like Him. It is in our experiences that we discover our need of Him and learn the secret of faith to draw from Him the resources to live in this world.

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us”
Romans 5:3-5

“He was oppressed…”

How many of us consider His human experience? How many comprehend the depths of His testings, His endurance of temptation and subjugation to the cruelty of this world? These are His very credentials to becoming our High Priest.

“For we do not have a high priest who is
unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are,
yet was without sin”
Hebrews 4:15 (BSB)

He became our High Priest through the overcoming of all of our temptations and as such He became our strength to “overcome as He overcame” (Revelation 3:21).

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne,
even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne”
Revelation 3:21

The experience of sitting with Him in His Throne will be via our own overcoming by the same power as Christ Himself. It is by His Life ruling in us that we become overcomers in this life. Think about His personal victory in this world. He came and walked through every temptation known to man in order that we may become victorious.

“He was afflicted…”

The Christ of God afflicted? That the very incarnation of God descended into the corruption and malice of this world without the bitterness and poison contaminating His inward life is in itself a marvel! His response to this toxic environment?

“…yet he opened not his mouth”
Isaiah 53:7

This was His reaction to the contradiction and utter injustice of all that was set against Him; from the betrayal of Judas to the constant antagonism of the religious hierarchy. The sheer ignorance of His own to the Word of God and the heart of God is staggering. The masses ruled and manipulated by the wickedness and arrogance of the pedantic priestly order of the day was in itself an unremitting affliction of His righteous soul. The dimness and slowness of His own disciples and the vast darkness of the known world of that time is incomprehensible to us. Yet He conquered all! His step did not falter. At the great crucible in the garden, where His “soul was greatly troubled” and His righteous heart vexed with the enormity of the path which lay before Him, He found strength as A MAN to finish His course and tasted death for every man. He felt the shame of the sin of each one of us and paid the penalty for the entire Sin of the World! Who cannot but bow at the pierced feet of Him and cry out for Grace to walk as He walked? Who cannot but touch the pierced hands of Him and not desire to do His works, to extend to the fallen human race this Eternal heart and life? Who cannot but touch this pierced heart and not be affected by a love so profound that even the very portals of Hell have been shaken?

How can we His people not be awakened by such Love? How can we remain unaffected by the demonstration of such selflessness? How can we continue to hold animosity, envy and unforgiveness and still claim to be a disciple of Christ?

It is a day for us to turn from the pretense of religion and draw near; within the secret chambers of our hearts to be transformed by experiencing the depth and wonder of the Love of God in Jesus.

“For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son…”
John 3:16

Brian Troxel