Thought for Today – Humility –

Thought for Today

Humility and Obedience

Humility

“And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, and became obedient
Philippians 2:8

Humility is the precursor to obedience. Only a humble heart can obey God’s Word. True humility is expressed in a life of obedience. It is the stiff necked, self-willed, and obstinate who cannot obey God’s Word. Men may preach, teach and perform many overt signs and wonders but it is God who searches the heart (Matthew 7:21-23). Only those who are truly humbled in heart before God can obey, please and honor Him.

As the Son humbled Himself as a man He became obedient to the Father while clothed in mortal flesh. The book of Hebrews declares:

“Though he were a Son,
yet learned he obedience
by the things which he suffered”
Hebrews 5:8

It is not that Jesus was ever disobedient but in His incarnation, as a Man, He had to learn obedience! He came from Glory into a whole new realm and manner of life. In becoming a man, He had to overcome the testings, the temptations and the frailties of all that we are. Why and to what end?

“And being made perfect,
he became the author of eternal salvation
unto all them that obey him
Hebrews 5:9

In His overcoming here, as a true man, He became the author of a salvation which is available to all who obey Him. The authenticity of the salvation of an individual must culminate in obedience unto Him. Salvation is revealed by our obedience. The depth to which we are saved is revealed in the depth of our submission unto His will.

Those who claim to be “saved” will show forth His salvation by living a life of obedience.

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?”
Luke 6:46

While many may say “Lord, Lord” it is in the crucible of obedience that His Lordship is revealed.

The humility of a life
is not known by a timid demeanor,
It is known by the submission
of itself to the Word of God.

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

PSALM 23 PART 2-A

PSALM 23

PART TWO-A*

“The Lord is my shepherd…”
PSALM 23:1

 

“The Lord is my shepherd.” We have no indication from the scriptures when, in David’s life, he wrote this beautiful Psalm. Whether it was at a time as a young shepherd boy out alone tending the sheep of his father, whether in a cave running from King Saul or as the King of Israel, we only know that the power of this statement was true in all of the circumstances in which David found himself. One of the most powerful words in this simple statement is the word “is.” This word conveys the truth to us of YHWH, the Eternal One, in the most wondrous terms…PRESENT TENSE. Though truth is eternal, it does not afford us much in terms of value and meaning unless it is present tense, in the here and now. “The Lord IS my shepherd.” This is the glory of faith, for faith ever seeks to impart to us the present truth of God’s being and the comfort and power of all that He is in our present circumstances.

Religion has a way of acknowledging God in the past. Martha met Jesus after Lazarus had died; “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” In other words, the present circumstances would have been different if God had responded sooner; the present situation could have been prevented. Many of God’s people have become bitter and despondent with this outlook. They are not able to reconcile the place in which they find themselves with the tender loving care of  the Lord our Shepherd. Faith is to bring the truth that His tender loving care IS with us in the moments of great distress and sorrow. “The Lord IS my Shepherd!” Martha’s expression of disappointment was the outcome of a faith that had not yet developed into the “now” of life.

Religion also has a way of meeting the present situation with a futuristic outlook. Unable to grasp the reality of the now, Martha then responds to Jesus’s statement of “Thy brother shall rise again” with a quick reference to a future event; “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Both of these responses contain traces of faith but fall short of THE FAITH.

Faith is the element of our relationship with our great Shepherd that is a living thing. Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed reveals a living thing that grows and develops over time. The past and the present responses of Martha take into account the power and the truth of who Christ is, yet His desire for us is to see Him as the great I AM. The now faith is what makes men and women of God strong and unshakeable in the world in which we live.

“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble”
PSALM 46:1-2

It is in our journey with Him that the power of this truth begins to enter into the core of our hearts; our Shepherd is a present help. The situation we NOW face we face with the knowledge that HE IS, right at this moment, our Shepherd, our refuge, our strength and a PRESENT HELP in trouble.

We read in Psalm 3 of a time when David was on the run from his own son and the people of Israel did not come to David’s aid…

“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me,
Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me,

There is no help for him in God.” Selah”
PSALM 3:1-2

He was on the run with a small band of faithful ones and the voices of the multitudes around him in his day were saying, “There is no help for him in God.” Have we not heard such voices within our own hearts as we look at the circumstances before us? Have our hearts not sunk at the enormity and the hopelessness of the thing that we were facing? Let us be encouraged in our God, for David responded to that dark hour with…

“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of
people Who have set themselves
against me all around”
PSALM 3:3-6

These declarations of faith in the midst of dark and trying times can only come from those who, in following their great Shepherd, have grown into the place of knowing that…

“The Lord IS my Shepherd”

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

*Note: This is an addition to the original Psalm 23 writings
which are being made into a small booklet.

Brian Troxel

 

HIS RIVER

HIS RIVER
HIS PROMISES

“…and it was a river that I could not pass over”
EZEKIEL 47:1 – 5
(please read first)

This river that proceeds from Him is full and deep and filled with the vibrancy of His Life. It cannot be entered into by hearing teaching or by just taking thought; it can only be entered into through the medium of obedience to the TRUTH that has been measured out to us as individuals. It is a journey and a process of growth, equipping and perseverance.

We read here of a thousand cubits being measured out to Ezekiel and it is IN the walking out of that measure of TRUTH that another thousand cubits are measured. The water becomes deeper and the blessings more keenly felt in water to the ankles. The next measurement brings us to the place of water to our knees; a new understanding of prayer, humility and life. The next is a depth of water to our loins; that place of fruitfulness and intimacy with Him. God’s plan however is to bring us to a place of full abandonment to Him. The final thousand cubits brings “waters to swim in” where we are borne along in this River of Life. To stop anywhere along this journey is to fall short of His desire for us. Some of us just like to get our feet wet. Some stop at the wonders of prayer and worship and some even go on to a place of fruitfulness. Yet to stop at any of these places is short of His intention.

The full measure of TRUTH is to bring us to the place where we are given over to the will and mind of His Spirit where we no longer walk in our own power or follow our own desires but we are borne along by the wonder of HIS LIFE and PURPOSES.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:
and THE LIFE which I now live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God”
GALATIANS 2:20

We read here of “the life” not just “a life” but the LIFE OF THE SON. There must be within His own a cry for something deeper, something beyond the scope of our vision that beckons us to leave the shallows of our religion, our plans and agendas. There must be more than the “same old” netting the same results in a circuitous path that leaves us no further ahead after years of treading the same path.

Waters to swim in. A River that could not be passed over. These are the descriptions of a LIFE that calls out to His Own.

“If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said,
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”
JOHN 7:38

His heart is for us to launch out from the shallows of where we are and set our hearts for the depths of His Being. There the waters flow and the Life of Him is discovered in a fullness that transforms us by the wonder of His Grace.

“Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
LUKE 5:4

Brian Troxel

TEMPTATION

TEMPTATION

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation;
for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life
which the Lord has promised to those who love Him”
James 1:12

Temptation is neither a sin nor a sign of carnality. It is the everyday reality for all men. The issue is not temptation but the response to it within our heart that matters. It is through enduring and resisting temptation that the victory of the Crown of Life is received. Where there is no battle there can be no crown. The crown of life spoken of here is given to those who by the mercy of our Lord and Saviour have fought the fierce battles that wage in the secret places of our hearts and minds, often while no one is watching. They have known the utter weakness of the flesh, the deceitfulness of their own heart and the pressure that comes to bear upon them in their walk of faith. Left to ourselves the outcome would be certain and the end of the matter sure.

“But thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”
I CORINTHIANS 15:57

The Glory of this life of Faith in Christ Jesus is that we are not left to ourselves in the matter of overcoming sin. We are not orphans that are left to our own resources in this matter, nor are we to labour under the rigorous requirements of the Law by our own strength! We have available to us the wonder and the glory of “…the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death!” It is through HIM that we are made “more than conquerors”. In Him we are not only freed from the power of Sin but are indeed made alive that we can walk in the very Spirit of His Life and provision. Such things are not known by simply taking thought. These virtues of His Life are won in the arena of this life. It is the Crown of His life that we receive as we overcome and endure the hardships of temptation and trial. It is in these places that we learn the secrets of dependence and victory; the sufficiency of His Grace in contrast to our weakness; the discovery that “love endures ALL things”; that He is “…able to keep us from stumbling”.

These victories are to be known in the life of every believer. We not only have His rich provision for the victory but even in the midst of defeats and discouragements we have the assurance of forgiveness and mercy to rise up from every one of them and press the battle until the victory has been received.

“For a righteous man may fall seven times
and rises again”
PROVERBS 24:16

The life of the Christian is more than forgiveness, more than mere religious sayings and nice sermons; it is a life of pursuit, of victory and of overcoming as He overcame. It is in growing in Him, learning of Him and discovering the absolute necessity of abiding in Him that we find the wonder of His provision and mercy.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world even your faith.”
I JOHN 5:4

Brian Troxel

BY FAITH ~ PART TWO ~

BY FAITH

PART TWO

“For by it (Faith) the elders obtained a good testimony*
HEBREWS 11:2

Faith is the only means by which men can please God. Faith is the “essentia” of man’s witness unto God and the only expression which garners God’s approval. Through faith these men and women of old OBTAINED a worthy commendation from the living God! By their lives being governed by the promises of God they “reckoned”, “accounted” and “judged” God faithful to see them through. Just as “faith without works is dead” so are works without faith dead and worthless. We must see that the life OF FAITH, a life lived IN FAITH and a life lived BY FAITH is the only thing acceptable to our God!

“…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin”
ROMANS 14:23

Faith is to be the indispensable element of our daily walk whether at home, work or any other situation of life. Faith is the criteria by which all our actions are weighed. Whatever point we are at in the development of our faith is what we reveal in the common flow of our life. We cannot live in the estimation of others for true faith is only concerned with the pleasing of our Heavenly Father. As our faith develops so will the revelation of that faith be in our life. Many try to live their lives according to the acceptability of what others may think, to attempt to please or impress others with their carefully planned actions, but this is neither faith nor a life pleasing to God. Faith seeks ONLY to glorify its Author. There is a freedom in simple childlike faith that gives us liberty from the opinions of men, living solely for His pleasure.

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith:
as it is written, The just shall live by faith”
ROMANS 1:17

The righteousness of God can only be revealed through our lives to the degree that Faith has been developed within us. Our life of faith is progressive “from faith to faith”, a living dynamic gift that God has given to us by His Mercy. Faith must grow through the experiences of life, through trial, tribulation and seeing God’s hand move in the daily aspects of our life! How good He is to those who trust Him! How faithful He is to those who rely on Him in all that we go through! How can we not desire that our trust in Him grows as well as our love FOR Him? Is He not to be the sole purpose of our life? Can we not seek to live our lives to the fullest extent of the faith that is at work in us, so that we may please Him more and more in the passing of our days?

“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren,
as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly”
II THESSALONIANS 1:3

Ω

John Paton was making a translation of the Scriptures into a language spoken in the country where he was a missionary, and searched long for the world for “Faith”. The natives had no word for “believe” One day, while working on his translation, a native entered his room, exhausted and flung himself down on the nearest chair, and placed his feet on the chair across from him. The native remarked how good it was to lean his whole weight into that chair. Dr. Paton noted the word he had used for “lean his whole weight.” He had his word for “believe”.
John G. Paton

*“Literally, “were witnessed of;” that is, an honorable testimony was borne to them in consequence of their faith”
Barnes New Testament Notes

Brian Troxel