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Posts Tagged ‘God’s Faithfulness’

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
http://www.aword.info

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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
http://www.aword.info

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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
http://www.aword.info

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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

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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
http://www.aword.info

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ZIKLAG

The Great Press of God

“And David said in his heart,
I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul:
there is nothing better for me than that I should
speedily escape into the land of the Philistines”
1Samuel 27:1

These are insights into the heart of David in the midst of a long and protracted circumstance. Saul’s relentless pursuit of David continued year after year in spite of the fact that David spared his life on several occasions. David finally came to the conclusion that Saul was not going to change. The situation seemed hopeless and David, now at the point of weariness, succumbed to a logical solution. For centuries the Philistines had been one of the chief enemies of God’s purposes; we see them even in the days of Isaac contending for his wells and God’s promises. The very meaning of “Philistine” “is to wear down, to roll or wallow in self (pity)”. Have we not all at one time or another been victims and sojourners in “the land of the Philistines”? We face situations with our health, financial issues, sins that plague us, temptations, struggles with relationships and many other circumstances whereby we are under assault often for years without any remedy in sight. Consciously or subconsciously we give in to a life of defeat and despair of ever knowing victory in a particular situation.

When Saul heard that David had moved into the land of the Philistines he no longer pursued him. So it is with the enemy of our souls. A defeated and hopeless Christian is no longer a threat to Satan’s dominion for we are dwelling in the place of his rule.

“And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath:
and he sought no more again for him”
1Samuel 27:4

It is bad enough to move into the land of the Philistines but David went even further and asked the King of the Philistines to appoint a place for him to dwell!

“And David said unto Achish,
If I have now found grace in thine eyes,
let them give me a place in some town in the country,
that I may dwell there”
1Samuel 27:5

To which the King of the Philistines was more than pleased to give unto David Ziklag.

“Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day”
1Samuel 27:6

Ziklag comes from a Hebrew root verb meaning to “press (mentally) someone or something to reveal what is inside” (*see note). Ziklag is a spiritual land we must visit in our walk with God. It is a place wherein we find ourselves when the press is on, the situation is dire and we, in that moment, revert to our own devices and seek out a refuge from the storm apart from God. It is a necessary work of God to reveal to us our hidden reliance on other things rather than Him alone. It is here that David is pressed even further.

While David and his men were gathered to join in battle with the Philistines to fight Israel, the Amalekites attacked Ziklag and took all of the wives and children of David and his men captive and burned the city with fire.

“And it came to pass,
when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day,
that the Amalekites had invaded the south,
and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;
And had taken the women captives, that were therein:
they slew not any, either great or small,
but carried them away, and went on their way”
1Samuel 30:1-2

David’s men had faithfully followed him into this place but this last compounding of the trial had brought them (and David) to a place of inconsolable grief.

“Then David and the people that were with him
lifted up their voice and wept,
until they had no more power to weep”
1Samuel 30:4

It is hard to even comprehend the depth of grief they were all feeling. In the midst of this great sorrow we read even David’s men began to speak of stoning him!

“And David was greatly distressed;
for the people spake of stoning him,
because the soul of all the people was grieved,
every man for his sons and for his daughters…”
1Samuel 30:6

The great pressing of God had come to David. The energies and strategies of all his natural ability had been thrown into the press of the Almighty God. The despair, discouragement and enormity of circumstance had been brought to bear upon this one who was called of God to rule and reign in Israel. What would become of him?

“…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God”
1Samuel 30:6

“And David recovered all that the Amalekites
had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.
And there was nothing lacking to them,
neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters,
neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them:
David recovered all”
1Samuel 30:18-19

The end of man brings us to the beginning of God and His resources. Though the press seems more than one can bear, God knows our frame and His ways are higher than ours. Men who are called of God to walk in the high places must know of these pressings and ways of the Most High God. In the Old Testament men were born priests; in the New Covenant we are “…made kings and priests unto God and his Father” (Revelation 1:6). God’s end in our lives is to be made like unto Him to such an extent that “…as he is, so are we in this world”.

Well could David declare…

“O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:
Which 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 broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.
Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water:
but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place
Psalm 66:8-12

It is also interesting to note that Ziklag was originally a city of Philistine rule. As a result of David being brought low, and then rising up in the strength of his God, Ziklag became a possession of Israel! That which was meant by the enemy to destroy David became part of the inheritance of Israel. God’s intention is to bring us to the place of victory in Christ Jesus.

“…wherefore Ziklag pertaineth
unto the kings of Judah unto this day”
1Samuel 27:6

It is God’s plan and desire that all the things which are meant to crush us become a place of victory and praise unto our God. It is in these places that the overcomers in God arise and stand in the strength and faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“He giveth power to the faint;
and to them that have no might
he increaseth strength”
Isaiah 40:29

*NOTE: Ziklag: Scholars have identified two separate roots of the form צוקiti
1: The verb צוק (suq I) denotes pressing someone (mentally) in order to bring out what’s kept inside. Thus enemies press the cities they besiege to surrender (Deuteronomy 28:53-57, Isaiah 51:13, Jeremiah 19:9). The Timnite pressed Samson for the answer to his riddle (Judges 14:17), and Delilah for the secret of his strength (16:16).
2: The verb צוק (suq II) also denotes the bringing forth of something contained internally, which is done either by applying pressure or by smelting. From rock copper is smelted (Job 28:2), but rocks poured/squeeze out streams of oil (Job 29:6). Likewise, Isaiah observes that in their distress (from צרר, sarar) the people of Israel visited YHWH and poured/squeezed out a whisper (Isaiah 26:16).

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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