Thought for Today – Comfort in Distress

Thought for Today

Comfort in Distress

“If I walk in the midst of distress
Thou revives me…”
Psalm 138:7

Trouble and distress is often the precursor to glory. Our heavenly Father’s purpose is to bring “many sons to glory”. He who “spared not His Son” on our behalf will not spare His rod and His staff from the lives of those who have purposed to know Him. In our distresses we become focused and aware of the eternal issue; to know and honor God. It is in the press where the grapes are squeezed, the spices are crushed and the pride of man is broken. These are the times that the vision of a true soul sees with the most clarity and the vanity of life is exposed. The fine wine is brought to maturity, the bouquet is sweetened and the flavor is deepened and refined as the dregs of self are removed. That which was once bitter is made sweet by the gracious work of God. In His economy the best wine is always brought out at the last to glorify the wonder of the work of the Son. The waters in the earthen pot have been transformed into the wine of the Spirit for others to drink and be refreshed.

The quickening and reviving work of God is ever in the midst of the trial. In our holding fast to Him the storm inevitably gives way to the calm. That which has been torn will be restored; that which has been driven by the wind will find the harbor of His peace and security. Grey and angry skies will clear and the deep blue face of heaven will be more serene than ever before.

Do not fear the storms for He who knows our frame and our fragility also knows how to keep His own within the everlasting arms.

“O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:

Who holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.

For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.

Thou hast brought us into the net; thou hast laid affliction upon our loins.

You allowed men to ride over our heads;

we went through fire and through water:

but you brought us to the place of abundance.”
Psalm 66:8-12

God’s end is to bring His own to a place of abundance!

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Treasures of Darkness –

Thought for Today

Light my candle

The Treasures of Darkness

“For thou wilt light my candle:
the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.”
Psalm 18:28

Darkness comes to all who walk in the light. “And the evening and the morning were the first day”. The days of God are all “evening and morning” until we reach the last Day in which there will be no darkness for eternity. Note that the Days of God begin with the evening; the darkness is only to bring us to a greater light. The ways of God are always progressive.

“But the path of the just is as the shining light,
that shineth more and more unto the perfect day”
Proverbs 4:18

The dark seasons of life are given to us for our good and our development. Adversity and resistance are designed to make us strong, unmovable and steadfast in spirit. There are hidden treasures and supplies within the dark places of our lives; resources to be found in the living Christ as we overcome. In adversity we are instructed to grow in the grace and beauty of our Lord. Let us not despise His ways but wait patiently and expectantly for those treasures that He will give!

“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness,
and hidden riches of secret places,
that thou mayest know that I, the Lord…”
Isaiah 45:3

Just as Samson found honey within the carcass of the lion that had attacked him His people find the table of His provision in the presence of their enemies. Caleb declared that the giants of the promised land would be bread for them; so are the trials and situations in which we find ourselves. It is here that the fruit of His Spirit grows and ripens to maturity.

The fruits of the Spirit are all interconnected. The patience (endurance) of the Spirit is the fruit of a living Hope; the Joy of the Spirit comes from the power of a Faith to believe in the midst of trials; the Peace of God comes from the power of a love which sends away all fear. These are the treasures of darkness which are found by those who walk and live in Him. Let us be assured that the darkness cannot overcome those who cling to the light of His Life within.

“But he knoweth the way that I take:
when he hath tried me,
I shall come forth as gold”
Job 23:10

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Thought for Today – God’s Heart

Thought for Today

God’s Heart

“A bruised reed shall He not break…”
Isaiah 42:3

God’s heart is ever seeking and desiring to fill the low places within all of humanity. His grace, like water, naturally flows to the lowest place filling the void of the human heart. It is to the bruised ones the Good News of the Gospel is proclaimed in power clothed in the garments of His mercies.

The self-righteous wanted to stone to death the woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus saw the more grievous evil; self-righteousness clothed in the conceit of the religious.

“A bruised reed shall He not break…”

It was the religious priest and the Levite who passed by the wounded in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It was the disciples who could not see the heart of the woman who broke the alabaster box and poured the precious ointment upon Jesus. They could not see the brokenness of heart from which the act was inspired. God sees the heart while men behold the vessel. To know the flow of this grace through our own lives we must know His heart.

“A bruised reed shall He not break…”

He comes to speak encouragement to all who struggle within the isolated and seemingly hopeless grip of sin, depression, loneliness, cruelty and oppression of the world. He is never far from those who call upon His name in sincerity and in truth.

“I will not leave you comfortless:
I will come to you”
John 14:18

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Prophetic Purpose

Prophetic Purpose

Prophets

“See, I have this day set thee
over the nations and over the kingdoms,
to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy,
and to throw down, to build, and to plant
Jeremiah 1:10

The people of God become weary with the words of His prophets. They perceive the negativity and the sharp words as antagonistic. The desire for only encouraging and comfortable words is human nature. The thinking is that the world, the trials, the heartache and troubles of this life are more than enough for us to bear. This would be fine if God had no other purpose in His house than to bless us and comfort us in our situations. But God has a purpose and He sent His Son to bring about the thing He has purposed. God is intent upon His end and He sends His word to bring it to pass. God is a wise builder He is not going to patch up an old thing (see the parable of the wine skin). He must make everything new. It is the New Wine-skin which receives the new wine. He is not going to pour out Himself (the New Wine) into the Old. While men cling to their sins, former ways and institutions God withholds Himself; and He, as a loving Father suffers while He withholds. Joseph had to keep himself hidden from his brothers until there was a change of heart. At one point he had to leave the room as the desire to embrace them had to be restrained because of the hardness of their hearts.

The words of true prophets are not harsh for the sake of being harsh; they speak words necessary for God to finish His work. God cannot build until He tears down. He cannot plant until He roots up the evil and self-seeking ways of men. He cannot and will not sully His ways with the methods of men; the overlooking of sin to populate their churches and accomplish their agendas. He must tear down the lofty pursuits of those who seek the preeminence in His house.

God’s end is to prosper, bless and reveal Himself to His own. He never wavers in His faithfulness to us. It is we who need to change. It is we who need to give heed to His word and His purposes in this day. God is Holy and as such He requires us to be holy, pure and set apart as purchased possessions. It is the joy of the Lord we pursue not our own. His joy becomes our strength to do the things which please Him.

“Therefore, have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me” Hosea 6:5

The hard words and God’s judgements were as “light” going forth. righteousness is the result of light. It is a light which proceeds from God to give light unto His people concerning their ways and their condition. He desires mercy, not religious sacrifices. He desires that His people know Him rather than all the programs, religious prayer meetings and traditions of men. His people become content with tepid offerings of lukewarm hearts. They become satisfied with elaborate events and magnificent buildings even though Jesus said there would not be left one stone upon another when He is finished! The true building of God is made up of living stones built together as a holy habitation wherein He alone has the preeminence; One Lord, One faith and One body. It is to this end His prophets speak, weep and anguish over the blindness and stubbornness of the day.

“We are not diplomats but prophets,
and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum”
A.W. Tozer

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Thought for Today – Comfort –

Thought for Today

Comfort

“The Lord knoweth the days of the upright”
Psalm 37:18

There is a comfort in God’s nearness and His awareness of our days. Often the trials of His own are feelings of being alone and isolated. This journey of faith will take us down narrow and lonely paths with few companions in the night seasons.

In such times we are reminded of the very foundation of our life; “The Lord knows the days of the upright”! It is a comfort that quietly calms the stormy seas of angst and loneliness. The truth of this one underlying promise, “He knows”, is a consolation that forms as dew upon our disappointments and sorrows.

In the whispering of this one unassailable truth we are reminded of the sure mercies of our God.

“…weeping may endure for a night,
but joy cometh in the morning”
Psalm 30:5

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Thought for Today – Trust –

Thought for Today

Trust

“Trust in him at all times; ye people,
pour out your heart before him:
God is a refuge for us. Selah.”
Psalm 62:8

Trust is the foundation of obedience, the essential basis of our relationship with Him. Relationship with God grows in proportion to our trust. Like all of the attributes of His grace it is a quality developed over time.

We can only respond to the “go” of God according to the depth of trust we have in Him. It is our obedience to Him that reveals the true quality of our trust. As we obey in the little things our trust in Him grows for the greater things. A lack of trust produces narrow thinking, stunted perspectives and lives with little effect upon the world around them. The growth of trust produces a life that will “trust Him at ALL times” and in all circumstances.

“David said moreover,
The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion,
and out of the paw of the bear,
he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine”
1 Samuel 17:37

What do we see in the obstacles that stand before us? Giants or opportunities?

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

Thought for Today

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

“Now in the morning as he returned into the city,
he hungered.
And when he saw a fig tree in the way,
he came to it, and found nothing thereon,
but leaves only, and said unto it,
Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.
And presently the fig tree withered away”
Exodus 3:2

Fruit. God’s purpose for every life is to bear fruit. His purpose in coming was to make the barren fruitful, the desert to blossom and the lame to walk.

Fig leaves represent the response of Adam and Eve to their fallen state. The religious response to man’s need for a covering. It is an inherent desire to be covered on the outside; to appear good, honest and spiritual. This leaves the life barren and unfruitful in the things of God. We may walk in an outward show of righteousness but the inward reality may be void of His Life and power.

Deception comes to those who seek to deceive. The lie of living to appear right will always result in a greater lie.

“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,
deceiving, and being deceived
2 Timothy 3:13

Honesty and integrity are the means to Life in Him. We come as we are, transparent with Him and with those about us. This see-through living will bring us to the blood, the mercy and the covering of His garments of Salvation. In being who we are, fully reliant on all that He is, we can rest confidently in His faithfulness to bring glory to the Father.

Authenticity of Life is the fruit of integrity within and without

Fruit is not religious works. It is the means of glorifying God.

“Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit”
John 15:8

His sheep are those who follow Him. They hear His voice and they will not follow the voice of another. He leads them through green pastures, still waters, paths of righteousness, valleys of great shadows and even death; but the assurance to these will always be:

“Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever”
Psalm 23:6

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

A Thankful Heart at Year’s End 2016

A THANKFUL HEART AT YEAR’S END
2016

“You crown the year with Your goodness,
And Your paths drip with abundance”
PSALM 65:11 NKJV

Standing on the brink of another year end we stand amazed at the goodness, glory and faithfulness of God. Surely HIS WAYS are good and HIS MERCY does endure forever. HE has crowned the year with His goodness and His paths do drip with the abundance of HIS beauty. His paths signify His way and as we walk in HIS way we find the flow of HIS abundance. In HIS way are HIS Blessings found and HIS person known. The way of the Lord makes men strong in their God; it brings forth life and blessing and in HIS way the secret of the Lord is made known.

“The way of the LORD is strength to the upright”
PROVERBS 10:29

As we look back over the events of the past year we are instructed to give thanks and honor unto Him who has brought us through times of good and times of testing. We can only declare that HE does all things well. In HIS wisdom HE has guided our feet in the “paths of righteousness” and he has disciplined us for HIS good pleasure. His forgiveness holds us in our weakness and His mercy sustains us. His grace is given to make us strong for the journey ahead. There is no one like HIM.

“Come and see the works of God;
He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men”
PSALM 66:5

Brian Troxel

Psalm 25 Introduction PART ONE

PSALM 25

INTRODUCTION

Part One

(See Part Two)

A PSALM OF AN ELDER

“To You, O Jehovah, I lift up my soul”
Psalm 25:1

This Psalm was written well into the latter years of David’s life. It is a Psalm of a man who had an extensive history with his God; a man who had known great triumphs, great experiences on the field of battle with outward foes and the harsh experiences of treachery from within. We also see the traces of sorrow for his own dismal failures and tragic losses wherein he is freed from the boasting of his love for God or his reliance upon his own strength. This is the expression of a seasoned and learned man in regards to the depravity of man and the faithfulness of God. Theologians often term this Psalm as the second of the seven Penitential Psalms. In the reading of this Psalm there is the fragrance of a soft and broken heart from one who has come to a total reliance upon his God. The experiences of life have etched deep within the very fabric of his soul the graces and beauty of the tapestry of God’s own handiwork.

“To You, O Jehovah, I lift up my soul”
Psalm 25:1

In our own journey with God we grow through the experiences of life. The growth comes as we discover God’s Face in every situation. In the seeing of Him we must inevitably see ourselves. For He is the great mirror of truth shining forth into our lives the reflection and wonder of all that which He is whereby we are changed from one glory into another.

“But we all, with open face
beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord”
2Corinthians 3:18

The eternal imprint of a heart who has been the recipient of grace, truth and mercy is evident in the first verses of this Psalm. “Unto You O Jehovah, do I lift up my soul”! We see David lifting up to His great and personal Shepherd the keeping and preserving of His soul. These words are filled with the dependence and utter trust to which David has now come. He no longer seeks help or places his hope in anything other than God. How well we know through our own varied experiences touches of this grand truth: “God is Faithful”.

This one verse, when learned within the heart of a child of God, becomes the anchor and rock to which we can cling in every situation. The power of this verse takes on even greater significance when we read it within the context of David’s life. It is good to pause here and consider the truth of this certainty as we contemplate David’s full story. Few of men’s lives are depicted more fully in the scriptures as is David’s. God took great pains in describing, in a very transparent manner, the highs and lows of all the pages of David’s life. All of this is the canvas upon which God paints the beauty of this one central truth, the faithfulness of God. How good and precious are His ways with us.

May this opening verse be held with boundless wonder as we walk the path of following and loving our faithful God.

“Beginning well is a momentary thing;
finishing well is a lifelong thing.”
Ravi Zacharias

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

HE WILL REST IN HIS LOVE

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