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Posts Tagged ‘God is Love’

The Contrast

Envy and Love

Love is its own reward
For in its power all is restored

Envy is the rust of soul
Corrupting all within its hold

Love rejoices in another’s success
For it is full in its own blessedness

Envy increases in emptiness
Receiving from its wretchedness

Love’s joy is ever giving
Flowing from Him who is ever living

Envy covets what others own
Reaping the ruin that it has sown

Love is life’s true delight
Freeing the heart from all sin and strife

Envy’s wages are hell and blight
Binding the heart in sin and strife

It is in envying the things of others
       our own garden is filled
with wicked weeds and evil deeds

Brian Troxel

“A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones”
Proverbs 14:30

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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LOVE AND FIRE

Fire, like Love, cannot be kept to one’s self. Those who love God cannot contain His Fire; they cannot see apathy and not speak. Love is sacrificial. It must speak and express itself even in the face of opposition and indifference. It will not choose the easy way, it will always contend for truth, and will not compromise for the sake of acceptance.

Men who hold teachings and doctrines dear are content with those things. Men filled with God’s fire must speak, must move and must give way to the inner burning of the heart, for the message is more than the man himself. The desire to reveal God’s heart exceeds the desire for men’s approval. It is better to burn than to fit in. It is better to be alone than to be tempered into the current theology of comfort and acceptance.

Love, like fire, must consume the very object from which it springs. Men who hold God’s love in their hearts are like the fuel that feeds the flame. Dead and insignificant in themselves they cast the very heat and light of God as they are consumed in His Glory. Life lived outside of such a grip is not worthy of Him. Acceptance of a life lived on any other level is to fall short of Him.

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance:
but he that cometh after me is mightier than I,
whose shoes I am not worthy to bear:
he shall baptize you
with the Holy Ghost, and with fire”
Matthew 3:11

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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HE WILL REST IN HIS LOVE

“…He will rest in his love”
ZEPHANIAH 3:17

John in his epistles makes some very startling statements, one of them being “God is Love”. Whenever love is used in relation to people it is always spoken as a verb, it is something we do or express. John’s profound statement reveals that love is not just something God does it is what He IS in Himself. Since He IS Love, everything He does flows from that one central point of His being which is governed by what He is. All of His justice, judgment, wisdom and righteousness are governed by LOVE. In order for us to understand such high and holy things we must recognize that it is impossible to separate love from all of His other attributes. God being who He is is incapable of internal conflicts; Holiness is never in conflict with Mercy, Judgement and Forgiveness meet without compromise, and Grace and Truth kiss in the Son.

Zephaniah is a Book of Judgment. It is a Book that prophesies of tremendous destruction and suffering upon His people. It is a book for today. It is a book whose very name means “hidden of YHWH”. It is a writing that pronounces great judgements upon Judah, Jerusalem and upon the surrounding nations for their idolatry, disobedience, apathy and unrighteousness. Love is the reins of our God. He knows that sin, idolatry and disobedience left unchecked will bring the human race into the very bowels of hell itself. Every act of selfishness is an offense to Him. Every impure motive, every attempt at deceit and hypocrisy is the very horror that keeps people from the glory and wonder of truth. For LOVE itself is the full expression of truth in substance and reality. In Corinthians Paul writes that “love thinks no evil”, and “seeks not its own way”. These are the fruits of the very Spirit of Truth. It is no wonder that in Zephaniah, after all of the pronouncements of incomprehensible judgments we read… “He will rest in His Love”. For at the end of all His judgements the scriptures declare that men will learn righteousness. When evil is judged and hypocrisy is destroyed then will God rejoice over His own, He will joy over them with singing. When righteousness and truth prevail God rejoices over His creation and peace and joy reign in the hearts of men.

Prior to the pouring forth of His wrath upon His Own He speaks of her ways and her insolence…

“Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!
She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction;
she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.
Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves;
they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.
Her prophets are light and treacherous persons:
her priests have polluted the sanctuary,
they have done violence to the law.
The just Lord is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity:
every morning doth He brings His judgment to light,
he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame…”
ZEPHANIAH 3:1-5

In the midst of such wickedness in His house and the things which are committed in His Name God must rise up to restore righteousness and judge evil. Even through all of this “God is in the midst” and “He will not do iniquity” and “every morning He brings His judgement to light” for He fails not yet the unjust continue on in their wicked ways.

Peter declares that “Judgement must begin in God’s House” even before the nations of the world.

“For the time is come
that judgment must begin at the house of God:
and if it first begin at us,
what shall the end be of them
that obey not the gospel of God?”
1 PETER 4:17

We see this same truth in Zephaniah as God’s anger turns from His house to the unbelieving…

“I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate;
I made their streets waste, that none passeth by:
their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man,
that there is none inhabitant.
I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction;
so their dwelling should not be cut off,
howsoever I punished them:
but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings”
ZEPHANIAH 3:6-7

God’s judgements are proportional to the stubbornness and rebellion of men’s hearts. He sends devastation and great punishments. If they do not repent He brings greater consequences for His motive is redemption and His reins are love and mercy.

“Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord,
until the day that I rise up to the prey:
for my determination is to gather the nations,
that I may assemble the kingdoms,
to pour upon them mine indignation,
even all my fierce anger:
for all the earth shall be devoured
with the fire of my jealousy”
ZEPHANIAH 3:8

When men fail to repent God becomes determined to pour out fierce anger and indignation and the earth will be engulfed in the fire of His jealously. The Day of the Lord is at hand and we are standing upon the very brink of the summation of all that He has purposed. What are the results of His judgements?

“For then will I turn to the people a pure language,
that they may all call upon the name of the Lord,
to serve him with one consent…”
ZEPHANIAH 3:9

“I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people,
and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.
The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies;
neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth:
for they shall feed and lie down,
and none shall make them afraid”
ZEPHANIAH 3:12-13

The result of God’s judgments is people who are free from iniquity (self will), lying, deceit and pride. His love as expressed in judgement will bring forth His desired end: a pure and holy people.

God will rest in His love, He will conqueror all and “…the Lord alone will be exalted in that day”! Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Brian Troxel

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GOD IS LOVE

PART FOUR
DISCIPLESHIP THE PATH TO LOVE

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

Love is sacrificial. It is its very nature to give and expend itself on behalf of others. The giving is not determined by the worthiness of the receiver; hence God so loved the world. Such sacrificial extravagance lavished on us staggers all reason. Love does not measure its giving based on merit; it measures its gift by the giver. Love motivates all who are held in its sway to show forth the mercy and truth of God. Love is truly the greatest gift for in the giving of it we participate in the sharing of God Himself.

Love is the birthplace of all of God’s expressions. Mercy, truth, exhortation, reproof, forgiveness and judgement all flow from this one source and all are remedial in intention. He seeks relationship with man. We read of the “voice of God” walking in the cool of the evening looking for that fallen Adam. We see Him clothe that fallen one’s nakedness and we hear Him speak of a coming redeemer who would crush the very work of Satan. HE would GIVE HIS only begotten SON to become our עֲזָאזֵל ʽazāʼzēl, sin bearer. That same love is now sent into our hearts that we would manifest it in the world in which we live. Love is not only extravagant but costly. The more we are held within its power the more we become aware of its worth and sacrificial nature.

The radical call to discipleship is the very means by which we are enabled to give and shine forth this costly pearl of great price. It can only find expression to the degree that one has known the breakings and work of the cross. Our Love FOR Him holds us to the cross. The Love OF Him is expressed through the outworking of the Cross in us.

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another”
JOHN 13:35

Discipleship and Love cannot be separated.

“The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is perfect shall be as his master”
LUKE 6:40

Discipleship is the path to becoming like our master. To learn of Him, to discover His heart and His ways one must be yoked (Matthew 11:29-30) with Him in the bonds of love.

Ω

“Not what the disciple says in public prayer,
not what he preaches from pulpit or platform,
not what he writes on paper or in letters,
but what he is in his heart which God alone knows,
determines God’s revelation of himself to him.
Character determines revelation”
Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

Brian Troxel

 

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GOD IS LOVE

PART THREE
INDIVIDUAL LOVE

“I have been crucified with Christ;
it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself for me
GALATIANS 2:20

Religion tends to deal with generalities, teachings and concepts. The Truth, that living truth, must be personal for it to be powerful. It is one thing to know that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world but it is another thing altogether to know that HE died for me PERSONALLY! The power of knowing deep down within the core of one’s heart that Jesus loves and gave himself for ME is the point at which men and women are transformed; from religious adherence to a doctrine to a life of knowing HIM on an intimate spiritual level. That personal sense of belonging to HIM can only be experienced to the depth that we know this fundamental living truth. Paul saw himself as a purchased possession. In almost every Epistle he describes himself, not as a child of God, but as a δοῦλος, a bond slave, one whose will and life belongs to another.

“For ye are bought with a price:
therefore glorify God in your body,
and in your spirit, which are God’s”
1 CORINTHIANS 6:20

Without that sense of being HIS, men build their own kingdoms, propagate their own ministries and agendas, and every man is left to his own ways and decisions. The Church of Jesus Christ has known much suffering and grief as a result of the chaos and carnality of men’s ambitions.

This security of being HIS produces a quiet peace in knowing that I am no longer left to my own resources or stratagems. I am no longer required to produce any works of my own (although faith without works is dead); I am now only responsible to do the will of HIM who loved me and gave HIMSELF for ME. It is to HIM and HIM alone that I must give an account. The simplicity of such a life makes HIS burden light as we learn to walk in the YOKE OF CHRIST. This frees us from the voices of men and the “laws” of religion. I have one LORD, one SHEPHERD, and one KING and it is HIS bidding that I must obey. The greater the sense of HIS OWNERSHIP the less is the grip I have on my own life. The living truth of HIS LORDSHIP must produce a life that “now lives” by faith. This can only be realized by being in relationship with HIM who so loved me that HE gave Himself over on MY BEHALF. The call to the radical life of a disciple is not based on a religious law; it is rather the response of a heart that has touched the wonder of such unmerited love. This is a love that captivates the heart of the true believer and because of HIS love yields itself to HIM. For love is the only basis for true obedience. It is the one thing that can hold a man to the cross of Christ. We read in Hebrews chapter eleven…

“By faith Moses, when he became of age,
refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God
than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
esteeming the reproach of Christ
greater riches than the treasures in Egypt;
for he looked to the reward”
HEBREWS 11:24-26

The love of God that loved ME while I was yet a sinner, lost in the darkness of this present world, bent on doing evil, unable and unwilling to change my ways, is the same love that holds me, teaches me and keeps me on a daily basis. How could we help but love Him?

Brian Troxel

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GOD IS LOVE

PART TWO
GOD’S HOLY LOVE

“GOD is Love”
1 JOHN 4:8, 16

The scriptural statement “God is Love” conveys to us the verity of one powerful conclusion…LOVE is the very nature and essence of all that HE IS. The enormity of what this means is staggering and glorious. Were we to actually reconsider our understanding of the scriptures, and the import of such a wonder, the ramifications of it would revolutionize the very operandi of the Body of Christ. For if that glorious God who IS LOVE is seen only through the lens of a pure heart (Matthew 5:8), and by the apprehension of HIS HOLINESS (Hebrews 12:10, 14), then we must reconsider the pale notions of what religious men pass off as “love”.

Paul in writing to the Church at Ephesus prays in Chapter 3…

“…that He may give you, according to the riches of His glory,
by His power to become mighty in the inward man through His Spirit,
that through faith Christ may dwell in your hearts,
having been rooted and founded in love,
that you may be given strength to grasp*, with all the saints,
what is the breadth and length and depth and height,
and to know the surpassing knowledge and love of Christ,
that you may be filled to all the fullness of God”
EPHESIANS 3:16-19
(Green’s Literal Translation)

Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, prays that they may be given strength to grasp (lay hold of, appropriate and make one’s own) the surpassing knowledge and the love of Christ. The love presented today requires nothing; it is casually discussed and preached. The LOVE that Paul speaks of requires a ministration of the strength of God to enable us to see and pursue its depth and power. Such is the contrast of our day. The presentation of a love based upon human strength and concepts (in HIS name) results in a lukewarm and ineffectual presentation of the Gospel. A love that removes accountability, that leaves men in apathy or hopelessness, is NOT the fruit of God’s love. A Gospel that says you are loved of God, without imparting the corresponding power and the resources to walk in victory, is a total misrepresentation of the very purpose of God in Christ. This LOVE that initiated God to send His only begotten Son to fully deal with SIN in the earth has come to abide in our hearts by faith to make this so. To put this all into perspective Paul ends the prayer mentioned above with …

“Now to Him being able to do
exceedingly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power working in us”
EPHESIANS 3:20
(Green’s Literal Translation)

Do we believe this? HIS ABILITY to do in our lives is in proportion to the power that is at work in us. We read in 1 Corinthians 13 that “LOVE BELIEVES ALL THINGS”! True love does not stagger at the promises of God. True love pursues those promises. True love pursues holiness. It pursues with the intent to lay hold of (Philippians, Chapter 3). We talk about love as if it were comfortable with unbelief, stagnancy, compromise with sin and a “tolerance” with the status quo of the day! The LOVE of God in the Son PRODUCED the zeal that caused the Son to go into the temple that day and cleanse it from the horror of the deeds of men in God’s name. The same LOVE that came to the aid of the woman caught in the very act of adultery (and silenced the same men who were content with the money changers) also spoke to the woman “go and sin no more”. Somehow in our well-meaning “love” this aspect is always left out of the story. A love that is able to forgive sin must by its very nature impart the power to free us from that sin. To leave a soul in the misery of the wages of sin is not love. To be free from a thing is freedom; that is why His name is Jesus.

“…and thou shall call HIS NAME JESUS
for HE shall save HIS people
FROM their sins”
MATTHEW 1:21

Love is the very fuel and fire of faith (Galatians 5:6). Faith expresses the fire of the love that fuels it. A tepid religious love is the antithesis of God’s love. The strange fire that was offered by the “priesthood” in Exodus was judged by the same God as Ananias and Sapphira in the Book of Acts.

His power motivated by HIS LOVE is the reason we can be more than conquerors through Christ.

“Now to Him being able to keep you without stumbling,
and to set you before His glory without blemish, with unspeakable joy;
to the only wise God, our Savior,
be glory and majesty and might and authority,
even now and forever. Amen.”
JUDE 1:24-25
(Green’s Literal Translation)

*NOTE: G2638. καταλαμβάνω katalambanō; fut. katalēpsomai, from kata (G2596), an intens., and lambanō (G2983), to take. To apprehend, attain, obtain, find. (I) To lay hold of, seize, with eagerness, suddenness (John 8:3, 4). Of an evil spirit which seizes, takes possession of a person (Mark 9:18). Figuratively of darkness or evil, to come suddenly upon someone (John 12:35; 1 Thess. 5:4; Sept.: Gen. 19:19; 31:23; 1 Kings 18:44). (II) In allusion to the public games, to obtain the prize with the idea of eager and strenuous exertion, to grasp, seize upon (Rom. 9:30; 1 Cor. 9:24; Phil. 3:12, 13, “for which very end I also have been taken hold of by Christ” [a.t.], v. 12).
“The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament”

Brian Troxel

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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.

HEIGHTH

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 longsuffering 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

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