Daily Diligence

Daily Diligence

“They came round about me daily like water;
they compassed me about together”
Psalm 88:17

The unseen world is filled with confrontations between Light and Darkness. Temptations and persecutions assail the righteous as flooding waters; a battle that is waged daily. Many of these battles are far from sight but are fought in the thoughts and imaginations of our inner life. It is here where victories are won and we are afforded greater vistas of the Grace of God.

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”
2 Corinthians 10:5

Often our victory in casting down these thoughts will come as we lift Him up. The Holy Spirit has one mandate in this world and that is to bring all things into the obedience of Christ. It is in our thoughts that life is defined, victory known and our confidence in Christ arises. Authority in the inner life will culminate in victory in our daily life.

“And beside this, giving all diligence,
add to your faith virtue…”
2 Peter 1:5

The persistence of the temptations of the world and the weakness of the human heart require a diligent and continual drawing of grace from Him. In our victories we find ourselves “hid with Christ in God”. He is to become our dwelling place with the intent that He will be at home in the sanctuary of our hearts.

Purity is the path to seeing Him,
Faith is the hand which holds Him,
Humility is the grace which draws Him.

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“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,
and by the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their lives unto the death”
Revelation 12:11

Brian Troxel

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And the prophetic call

 

And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious. But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
(Eze 2:7-10)

Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.
(Eze 3:1-3)

Psalm 19:13

Psalm 19:13

“Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me. Then I will be upright. I will be blameless and innocent of great transgression”
Psalm 19:13

Within many of the sacred stanzas of the Psalms, are prayers breathed. These prayers arise from difficult situations, treachery, the threat of enemies within and without, deep repentance, and thankfulness unto God for salvation and deliverance.

It is very apparent that Psalm 19 was composed by David in his later years. It is a Psalm that reflects the heart of a man who, in his pursuit of God, has recognized his need for the God of light to continually search and keep him pure and right.

Presumptuous Sins

Presumptuous sins are ever the blight of the human condition. They can arise from our position in the world, our accomplishments, our associations with others, our knowledge, and a multitude of other things. David knew well his propensity for such things. As the King of Israel, he had taken advantage of his position to cause the death of Uriah and enable adultery with Bathsheba. He had numbered the people of Israel to inflate his pride as to the extent of his kingdom.

Pride is an insidious stain upon the human race and nowhere is it more hidden and deceitful than in the realms of religion. In this Psalm David reveals the sinister nature of presumption and asks his God to prevent him from being overtaken by its dark and deceptive power. There is knowledge borne of very painful experiences, the outcome of unspeakable sins. It is to that end David cries out to God to preserve him from this evil.

Presumption is the result of spiritual blindness;
a knowledge of God without the benefits of seeing God.

We have all witnessed this blinding pride at work in the Church around us; in prayer meetings, in outreach ministries, in building programs, and in associations with great teachers, prophets and leaders. There is pride in the accumulation of knowledge and understanding, and even pride in confessions of spiritual poverty! I know from my own experiences its horror and deception. It can begin with a thought, a good deed, a gracious ministration of His Spirit into the life of another. Instead of being humbled that the God of all glory has chosen to use us as a means of reaching another life, we begin to think of ourselves as special; the concept of “more special” than others is a sure path to Pharisee-ism and spiritual death. How good and faithful is our God to provide us with multiple opportunities to see, turn and repent from this web of deceit.

The hope and cure for this pervading malaise is to spend time in His Holy presence, as David did, in continual prayer that God watch over the affairs of our hearts. In touching Him we are instantly aware of His unspeakable glory. In this wonder pride is eviscerated by the fire of His presence. Grace and mercy are only fully appreciated in the atmosphere of His greatness. The ability to remain free of this presumption is found in our total reliance upon His mercy to keep us and our acknowledgement of our vulnerability. In the measure to which we know ourselves is a corresponding openness to receive admonition from Him and others. Presumption left unchecked becomes pride which leads to a life of callousness and spiritual blindness.

“But the person who does wrong in the pride of his heart, if he is one of you or of another nation by birth, is acting without respect for the Lord, and will be cut off from his people. Because he had no respect for the word of the Lord…”
Numbers 15:30-31 (BBE)

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts…”
Psalm 139:23

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today

Thought for Today

“It is said that Gainsborough, the artist, longed also to be a musician. He bought musical instruments of many kinds and tried to play them. He once heard a great violinist bringing ravishing music from his instrument. Gainsborough was charmed and thrown into transports of admiration. He bought the violin on which the master played so marvelously. He thought that if he had the wonderful instrument that he could play too. But he soon learned that the music was not in the violin, but was in the master who played it“.  Quote from Mrs. Charles Cowman

So it is with us; we are but poor instruments.  Only as we surrender ourselves to the master do we become effective in touching the life of others. In His hands we can bring His light to a lost world and a living hope to those who sit in darkness. In His hands the five loaves and two fishes fed the multitude, a little oil delivered a poor widow’s two sons from slavery and the song of the Lord at midnight shook a prison and set the captives free. May we discover this powerful truth; it is not who we are, it is who we are in the Master’s hands.

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus
Acts 4:13

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Jürgen Moltmann

Quote for Today

“God heals the sicknesses and the griefs by making the sicknesses and the griefs his suffering and his grief. In the image of the crucified God the sick and dying can see themselves, because in them the crucified God recognizes himself”
– Jürgen Moltmann

Authenticity – God’s Work

Authenticity – God’s Work

“Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night,
before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice”
Mark 14:30

Peter’s love and commitment was based on emotion and the utter ignorance of his need for brokenness and grace. In his mind his resolve to follow Jesus to whatever end was unquestionable. How utterly confused he must have been by the certainty of Jesus’ statement regarding Peter’s failure to come in the hours ahead.

To be told by his beloved Master of his failure, even down to the time a certain rooster would crow at a particular place, must have been utterly unnerving. How could He know of this sequence of events? How could He be so precise in His Word?

I can only imagine that Peter must have gone to sleep that night mulling over this warning. How he must have resolved in his heart to not fail his Lord! Tears and self-doubt would have dominated his thoughts as he contemplated what the next day might hold. His Master’s words had been uttered with no sense of anger or resentment in His voice, but just a knowing of who Peter really was. In spite of all his soul-searching the night before, the next day, in the heat of the moment, he denied his Lord and wept bitterly.

“And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept”
Mark 14:72

God, in dealing with His own, prepares everything for the Master’s use; the mundane as well as the great. All tools in His hands are to bring His Own to the end of themselves and the beginning of God. As the master builder must build the foundation upon the rock beneath, so God brings us to the Rock of Christ. Only here can the real building start and our true life in God proceed. Authenticity is the only rock upon which He will build. Pretense and hypocrisy, though they may cause others to think well of us for a time, will leave the soul in poverty and lead to spiritual death. Christ knows all, sees all and will judge all. The light we refuse on this side of heaven will surely be faced in the Courts of His Justice in that Day. It is here and now that we must free ourselves from the need to please men and bring ourselves to the piercing light of Christ. Then we may stand in that Day as those who have passed from judgement unto the right-being (righteousness) that can be found in Christ alone. He alone can make us right; He gave His Life to make it so.

“Herein is our love made perfect,
that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:
because as he is, so are we in this world
1 John 4:17

As our love is made perfect in Him, we will have the grace and boldness to be “as He is” in this world and  in the Day of Judgment.

Brian Troxel

Mended By Grace

Mended by Grace

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

Many translations miss the beauty and power of this saying of Jesus. The word “perfect” here should be rendered “mended”. The salvation that Christ brings to His own is one that heals, transforms and brings wholeness of being. It is more than nice words. It is literally the life of Christ being infused into the contaminated essence of man, with a view to being healed and restored. His salvation is more than just a covering; it is God investing His life into that which was lost.

Man was lost through the infection of self-will and the corresponding corrupt choices. Simply put, when any living organism is removed from its life-center, corruption and decay are the result. When an apple is picked from the tree it becomes subject to the second law of thermodynamics. When man severed his relationship with God as the source and center of being, decay and death was/is the result. God, by the inner law of His being, sent His only begotten Son into the world to pay the penalty of man’s disobedience. When individuals break a law of any society, there is a penalty which must be paid *.

The penalty, having been paid by Christ, brought with it the offer from God for all to receive forgiveness. Man, who by freewill chose to disobey God can, by that same act of will, receive the justification of God in Christ. While that is often the extent of the Gospel message in our land, there is more. Not only has God offered forgiveness, He has invested the Life of Christ to undo the stain, corruption and decay of the human race. The infusion of this life is given to destroy the works of the enemy within all who receive Him. He has come to annihilate the workings of lust, envy, jealously, anger, murder and countless other defilements of the human condition.

The life of Christ within is all about the mending and the repairing of the breach. He has/is come to mend our brokenness and to obliterate the works of the flesh by the power of His Holy Spirit. Where the works of the flesh once reigned, we can see the beauty and grace of the fruit of the Spirit forming in those who abide within the sphere of His nature.

“The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is mended shall be as his master”

It is the disciple (the ardent follower of Christ) who knows of this mending and healing within. The mending of a life is to become a follower of Jesus from the inside out. As one great man of God stated hundreds of years ago: “we are to become by grace what Christ is by nature”.

This work of mending can only be revealed in the depth of love we have for one another. People who treat others (in the name of God) with the same disregard and cruelty that is in the world, clearly reveal the absence of Christ in their hearts. Whenever there is sectarianism, division and strife within God’s people there is, at its root, pride, unforgiveness and carnality. It is the disciples who are mended; it is the true in heart who are called the children of God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God”
Matthew 5:9

* Even in this is a residue of God within the composition of man. Law and order in society, though corrupted, reveals that man still carries within their own being a sense of justice.

Brian Troxel

The Good Fight

The Good Fight

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,
whereunto thou art also called…”
1 Timothy 6:12

We are called in Christ Jesus unto Eternal Life. The depth of its wonder and reality in our lives is determined by the fight of the faith residing within our hearts. Eternal life is far more than a gift; it is the very life of Christ ruling and reigning in the sanctum of our lives. The strength of its hold is determined by our freedom from sin, the freedom of His Spirit to have dominion over the affairs of this world, and the consecration of our lives unto His Will. It is short-sighted for us to think that a born-again experience settles the matter of eternal life.

Eternal Life is the very power of Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith. Eternal Life is the living dynamic of Christ putting to death the resident sin nature. Eternal Life is revealed in those who are captivated by the love of Christ living a life of continuous change and transformation.

How little we appreciate the necessary intensity for us to fight with great diligence the war of faith within and without. Read Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to “lay hold” on eternal life by fighting the “good fight”. Few Christians today know of this battle to find themselves “apprehending” the promises and purposes of God; few comprehend the dimensions of His Victory to be wrought in each of our lives. We have been deceived into thinking of salvation as simply being saved from some distant judgement with no real and eternal consequences for the thoughts we think and the life we live now.

“Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect; but I press on, that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3:12

Can we not grasp the language of the Holy Spirit throughout the sacred scriptures? We have been called to “lay hold” on eternal life and to “take hold” of that which to which we have been called. This is no passive Gospel as the one that is often presented. We have been called by the God of all Glory to “fight the good fight”, to discover the weapons of our warfare with the intent that we may “lay hold” of the eternal riches of Christ’s life.

Even a casual reading of the message of Christ to the seven churches in the book of Revelation shows the promises of God are given only to those who “overcome”. May we read afresh the call of God to be found in the “fight of Faith” whereby we are enabled by His Spirit “to war a good warfare”.

If there is no fight within a child of God,
there can be no crown.

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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”
Revelation 3:21-22

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – John Owen

Quote for Today

“It is to be feared that very many have little knowledge of the main enemy that they carry about them in their bosoms. This makes them ready to justify themselves, and to be impatient of reproof or admonition, not knowing that they are in any danger” (2 Chronicles 16:10)
― John Owen

Quote for Today – F.B. Meyer

Quote for Today

“If there be, therefore, perpetual failure in your life, it cannot arise from any weakness or impotence in the Mighty God; but from some failure on your part. That failure may probably be discovered in one of three hiding places–imperfect surrender, deficient faith; or neglected communion. But when the intention of the soul is right with God, without doubt He will save”
– F.B. Meyer