Thought for Today – The Knowledge of God

Thought for Today

sinnomore

Sin and the Knowledge of God

“Awake to righteousness, and sin not;
for some have not the knowledge of God:
I speak this to your shame”
1 Corinthians 15:34

Those who do not address sin in themselves know little of the righteousness of God. The knowledge of the righteousness of Christ is revealed in corresponding measure to our hatred of sin.

Our attitude toward sin is the revelation of our perception of Him and His Righteousness.

To love righteousness is to hate iniquity.

“Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity;
therefore God, even thy God,
hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness…”
Hebrews 1:9

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

HIS LIGHT AND TRUTH

HIS LIGHT AND TRUTH

“O send out thy light and thy truth:
let them lead me;
let them bring me unto thy holy hill,
and to thy tabernacles”
PSALM 43:3

God’s precious provisions of light and truth come to us with purpose and power. They are not meant to simply make me feel good about the present state of my relationship with Him. They are intended to LEAD me and BRING me into an abiding and living relationship IN HIM. They are filled with the Call of God to higher, deeper things than what I now know. My present walk with Him, my seeing and knowing of Him today, must give way to the greater things of which Jesus spoke of. An Infinite God has called us to explore the depths and wonders of His being, to know the unknowable, to be sustained by the “seeing of Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27), and to grow from “glory to glory” (2Corinthians 3:18). How can we linger when HE is beckoning us to depths unimaginable? How can we settle when HE has sent out and IS sending out HIS LIGHT AND HIS TRUTH in order to bring us to where HE IS? To Love Him is to pursue Him.

The prayer of David here should be echoed by the cry welling up within the heart of God’s own. Truth is eternal and those who have “like precious faith” must feel the same call that we read of here. Faith is the ability to respond to the call of God. Faith desires to be LED by His Light and His Truth. When this is absent FAITH has ceased to be the prevalent force within the human heart.

John the Apostle found himself on the Isle of Patmos in exile because of his life of faith and obedience. The word says that he was “in the Spirit” and we can only imagine the depth of his abiding in Jesus. Yet the heavens open and John hears a word that invites him to deeper and higher things…

“After this I looked,
and, behold, a door was opened in heaven:
and the first voice which I heard
was as it were of a trumpet talking with me;
which said,
COME UP HITHER…”
REVELATIONS 4:1

Do we hear the call in the light and the truth that HE gives to us? Do we hear the call to relationship and knowing? Do we hear the call out of the obscurity of the religious and unto the clarity of HIS Spirit which cannot be sullied by the words of men? Is there not within our hearts the echo of all creation…

“For we know
that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth
in pain together until now.
And not only they,
but ourselves also,
which have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting for the adoption,
to wit, the redemption of our body”
ROMANS 8:22-23

This groaning is the RESULT of the Spirit of God within the hearts of His own; the natural man is incapable of producing such a cry. This is not a teaching but a condition produced by the ministration of God’s living truth.

David in this Psalm was not attempting to be religious or pious; he was merely expressing the heart of one who has “tasted of the goodness of the Lord” and was in pursuit of the “Pearl of Great Price”. So it is in our day.

“O send out thy light and thy truth:
let them lead me;
let them bring me unto thy holy hill,
and to thy tabernacles”

Brian Troxel

PROVISIONS

PROVISIONS

“Prepare your provisions,
for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan
to go in to take possession of the land
that the Lord your God is giving you to possess”
JOSHUA 1:11

Though the manna was still falling every day Israel was now preparing for war; the trials of the wilderness were giving way to the reality of battle. The manna was God’s provision but it was now time for God’s people to be weaned off the manna and begin to prepare their own provisions. They would soon have to live off the Land they were to enter. The manna was for a season only and it ceased WHEN they had eaten of fruit of the land!

“And the manna ceased on the morrow
after they had eaten of the old corn of the land;
neither had the children of Israel manna anymore;
but they did eat of the fruit
of the land of Canaan that year”
JOSHUA 5:12

Sadly some of God’s people are still waiting to be fed when they should be preparing their own provisions so that they may be ready for warfare and be able to feed others. They sit passively in a pew, while someone else feeds and waters them, rather than reading God’s word and finding their own provisions to make them strong and vital in the army of the Lord.

Transition is normal and necessary for a healthy and active life in God. Too many of us settle into a life that has become stagnant and stunted in growth and development. To enter in into new places in God will require a change in our provisions. New resources will be required to enter into the things that we are called to.

We read in John of Jesus coming to Jacob’s well and the scriptures testify that Jesus was “wearied with the journey” and sent the disciples into the city to buy food. While Jesus sat at the well a woman came for water and Jesus began to minister unto her. When the disciples returned with food Jesus said he was no longer hungry; in the doing of His Father’s Will He Himself was fed.

“In the mean while his disciples prayed him,
saying, Master, eat.
But he said unto them,
I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
Therefore said the disciples one to another,
Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
Jesus saith unto them,
My meat is to do the will of him that sent me,
and to finish his work”
JOHN 4:30-33

The disciples had not yet learned of this provision but they would learn of it in the days ahead. In the Tabernacle there were three distinct offerings or provisions of bread as they traveled in the wilderness. In the Outer Court (which was their present experience) was the gathering of the manna that was wonderfully provided by God. In the Holy Place the priests had access to the table of showbread (Heb. Bread of the Presence or more literally Bread of the Face to be discussed in a later writing). In the Holy of Holies there was the “hidden Manna” that was found within the Ark of the Covenant, overshadowed by the very Shekinah Glory of God. In Revelation the “hidden Manna” is given to those who have overcome. This “hidden manna” is the bread of those who have engaged in the life of battle and victory. It is a provision for those who have “overcome” the enemies of their own hearts and the compromise and issues of the condition of the church of their day.

“He that hath an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
To him that overcometh
will I give to eat of the hidden manna
REVELATION 2:17

Each of these distinct phases of provision from our heavenly Father is to be an experiential reality in our lives. To remain content with being fed and watered by others is to miss out on the vitality and wonder of our own relationship with God. It is vital that we go on into the deeper things of God for there are always new provisions. May God stir us afresh to GROW into the “strong meat” that HE desires to give us (Hebrews 5:14). Let us leave the “milk of the Word” as it can no longer sustain us in the normal progression of a healthy life in God. A child must be weaned from breast milk in order to grow and so must we! Growth is the EVIDENCE of LIFE.

“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers,
ye have need that one teach you again
which be the first principles of the oracles of God;
and are become such as have need of milk,
and not of strong meat.
For every one that useth milk
is unskilful in the word of righteousness:
for he is a babe”
HEBREWS 5:12-13

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ,
let us go on…”
HEBREWS 6:1

Brian Troxel

HOLY WORDS – HOLY LIVES

HOLY WORDS
HOLY LIVES

“Now when they heard this,
they were cut to the heart…”
ACTS 2:37

True and anointed Words of the Holy Spirit convict and bring men to places of decision and repentance. They are Words that are living, powerful, penetrating and convicting. They are words of truth that reveal all that is untruthful; words that bring men and women to places of CHANGE. Faith without works is dead and so is repentance without change. John the Baptist declared in his day…

“Therefore bear fruit in keeping*
(Grk congruous or of equal weight)
with repentance”
MATTHEW 3:8

The depth of our repentance is revealed by the depth of change wrought within our lives. Where there is little change there is little power in the words spoken. How accustomed we have become to powerless sermons and teachings that bring information without change. Every Sunday, all across our land, sermons are given and songs are sung in our many gatherings yet we see so little in terms of CHANGE in the lives of those that hear. If there is no conviction there is no repentance and if there is no repentance there is no change.

The disciples of Christ were of the common sort. They were fishermen, tax collectors, political zealots and such. They faltered, misinterpreted him, misunderstood him, and had very little inkling of the call that was upon them. However, after three and one half years of being with HIM, walking with HIM and waiting and seeking the promise of the comforter, on the day of Pentecost they became flaming ministrations of the HOLY SPIRIT! Let us consider the contrast of what we see in our land today.

Where are those words of life that bring conviction and change? Where are the hearts of those who would dare seek to represent HIS TRUTH in this hour? Where are the sermons that cut men to the very core of who they are? Where are those who cannot continue with a religion that has no power or reality?

We are more concerned with sympathy than conviction. We surround ourselves with those who make us feel good about ourselves. We associate with those who will not and cannot challenge us beyond the depth of our present walk. The unsaved and unbelieving are comfortable in our midst and can sit in our meetings without the slightest concern over their condition. Why and how can this be?

We speak of witnessing rather than being witnesses. We speak of truth as something that can be held in our intellect rather than being a power that produces change within ourselves and in the lives of those around us. We cannot compromise with sin in our own lives and expect to have a word that will convict others. If that Word of Life does not produce change within us, how can we give to others what we have not experienced ourselves? It is a day to consider our ways; a day to objectively consider what we have wrought in this life. Have we impacted the lives of others in terms of righteousness and truth and pointed them unto HIM who can transform into vessels of righteousness and glory?

Holy words proceed from Holy Lives

Ω

“Let us search and try our ways,
and turn again to the LORD”
LAMENTATIONS 3:40

Brian Troxel

Children or Sons? Part Two

Children or Sons?

PART TWO

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man,
I gave up childish ways”
1CORINTHIANS 13:11

What a man speaks, thinks and reasons reveals what he is. The true revelation of what one has become is by what one does. By virtue of being born anew we all start our journey in Him as children. What a privilege it is to taste of the free unmerited Grace of God! Peter encourages the young ones in Christ…

“As newborn babes,
desire the sincere milk of the word,
that ye may grow thereby”
1 PETER 2:2

It is in drinking the sincere milk of the Word that we grow. That desire for His Word is the hallmark of one who has the Spirit of God living and dwelling within; a desire to know and understand this God who by Grace has called us unto Himself. That very milk of the Word is to produce growth and change where we go from being fed and nurtured into the place of BECOMING bread and substance for others. We begin to put away the childish things and begin to care more for our Father’s will than our own. We aspire to see HIS HOUSE become a place where HE is honored and glorified. We learn to care less about what others think of us and more about living life to honor Him.

This process of growing and becoming is only known through the life of Discipleship; the reality of knowing His Life is found through the medium of identification. The true giving up of childish things can only be realized by the process of BECOMING a man (…when I became a man, I put away childish things…). The idea of becoming is a concept that few understand for we have equated salvation as an ACT rather than a journey. Salvation is a LIFE not an event. The cry of Paul’s heart was…

“Not that I have already attained,
or am already perfected; but I press on,
that I may lay hold of that
for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended;
but one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind
and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
I press toward the goal for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore let us, as many as are mature,
have this mind”
PHILLIPIANS 3:12 – 15

The only way for one to know such a cry is through the process of becoming a man in His image. We may fill our lives with teachings and intellectual understanding but to know of this heart one must be a partaker of HIS LIFE. This pursuit is not a desire of the natural man; it is the CRY of the Spirit of God to go from a child into the maturity of Christ.

We live in a time of complacency and compromise; childishness and immaturity are commonly accepted. Little is expected of one another and as a result little is changed. May God press us into greater heights and depths in the knowing of HIM. May His Grace so abound in us that we know in reality the joy of counting our lives expendable for the sake of knowing and pleasing Him!

“…THAT WE SHOULD NO LONGER BE CHILDREN,
tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
but, SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE,
MAY GROW UP in all things INTO Him who is the head even Christ
from whom the whole body,
joined and knit together by what every joint supplies,
according to the effective working by which every part does its share,
causes growth of the body
for the edifying of itself in love”
EPHESIANS 4:14 – 16

Ω

“The spheres God brings us into are not meant to teach us something
but to make us something”
Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

Brian Troxel

SEASONS

SEASONS

The young tree sprouts in emerald green
From the womb of fertile earth
Expectations of grandeur’s dream
Arise in its emerging birth

Spring and Summer
Grace its young life
As it stretches and grows
In days of delight

Fall’s impending chill
Brings new doubts and fears
What’s to become of this new life I feel?
Are these days of goodness to disappear?

Deep green leaves begin to fade
Into shades of crimson and gold
Life begins to wither and age
As youth grows dim and cold

Summer’s leaves lifelessly flitter
In grey days of barren skies
The life of Summer’s past lay littered
In angst the young sapling cries

Winter’s blast and freezing breath
Complete the Fall’s initial task
And in the grip of seeming death
The young sapling’s hopes are finally dashed

Yet Spring’s tender call whispers,
Awakens the tree in hope’s embrace
And from Death’s chill and hopelessness
Comes the warmth of God’s amazing Grace

The familiar face of warming sun
And the retreating Winter’s snow
Proclaim the witness that Spring has sprung
A season of life, a season to grow

And in the passing of the seasons
Through the passage of the years
The Tree will understand the reasons
Of all the joys and bitter tears

In Spring’s joyous rush
……….The Tree recalls Fall’s fading hush
in Summer’s joyous rays
……….The Winter’s grey and dreary days
in Fall’s fading sigh
……….Hears Spring’s tender call nigh
And in the grip of Winter’s death
……….Clings to Summer’s healing breath

May we be instructed
From the seasons of the tree
Whatever the experience
Of the moment may be
We are at rest and peaceful still
Knowing this season too will Pass
But HIS FAITHFULNESS never will.

Brian Troxel

They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. Isa. 65:22

PSALM 23 – THE BREAD OF THE TABLE – PART 18 –

PSALM 23

PART EIGHTEEN

BREAD FOR US

“Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies”
PSALM 23:5

“They are bread for us…” This was the declaration of FAITH that characterized the lives of Joshua and Caleb in the face of Israel’s unbelief and the number and the size of the enemies that inhabited the Land of Promise. Their strength was not in themselves. Their confidence was grounded in the unshakable trust that God was with them; a live vision that enabled them to remain unmoved by the size and the scope of their enemies. This is the crucial element to a faithful and consistent walk in God. The KEY phrase to this declaration is found in the verse preceding; “If the LORD delight in us”. True Vision always lifts our eyes from ourselves and causes us to focus on the things that please HIM. The life of the Son was always centered upon the one and great eternal desire to please the Father. His will was fixed upon this one thing and because of that His life was governed by that ONE GREAT WILL. The ability to see our enemies as bread for us is in direct correlation to our submission to HIS purposes; that we are here to DO His will and to walk in HIS ways regardless of the cost.

“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him;
and he will show them his covenant”
PSALM 25:14

The life of feasting at this table must always be preceded by the WAY of the ALTAR. The Altar of Burnt Offering precedes the Table of Showbread! Vision is the result of a man’s walk; our ability to see and understand the purposes of God are directly related to our heart’s condition not our intellect. Spiritual ignorance is the fruit of disobedience. It was the obedience of Abraham to take his only son Isaac and offer him unto the Lord (as per the Word of the Lord) that Abraham saw the revelation of “Jehovah Jireh” (Genesis 22:13). It was WHEN the “feet of the Priests” carrying the Ark stepped into the flooding river Jordan that it parted allowing them to enter the Promised Land. It was WHEN Judah offered himself in the stead of Benjamin that Joseph could no longer restrain himself from revealing who he was in their midst. Joseph was there the whole time yet they could not see him until there was a change of heart. So too this table is set before us with the bountiful provisions of our God to nourish and supply us with all that we need to finish this race “that is set before us” (HEBREWS 12:1).

“Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress”
PSALM 4:1

Ω

“It is only by obedience that we understand the teaching of God”
Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

“Every man must tread the Word for himself.
One may read it in one shape,

another in another: all will be right if it be indeed the Word they read,
and they read it by the lamp of obedience.
He who is willing to do the will of the Father shall know the truth
…the Spirit is “given to them that obey him”
GEORGE MACDONALD

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – THE PLACE OF FEASTING – PART 17 –

PSALM 23

PART SEVENTEEN

THE PLACE OF FEASTING

“Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies”
PSALM 23:5

This table has been set with rich provisions and is there for us to eat and drink and become strong thereby. It is not a table for mere talking and listening but it is the table of the Bread of HIS LIFE which must be consumed in order that it becomes a reality in our lives. We have had much in terms of teaching; in fact much of our Christian experience in this land is really one of LISTENING to didactical teaching and the dissemination of information. It becomes an intellectual exercise and much of it remains purely theoretical in its actual application. We have become good at hearing, debating, and discussing the doctrines and concepts of men without the substance of LIVING in the reality of the LIFE OF CHRIST. The outward FORM of TEACHING is necessary for a season but somewhere it must give way to the EXPERIENCE and WALK in every true disciple. Notice that this TABLE OF PROVISION is not set in the confines of a nice and comfortable Christian Setting but in the PRESENCE OF OUR ENEMIES! The PROVISION comes as we OVERCOME our enemies.

It is in the conflicts of life that we discover His strength. Here, as the WORD of GOD is eaten and made real, we no longer live in ethereal teachings, concepts and good sounding religious ideas. Instead HIS LIFE is discovered WITHIN the conflicts of our daily lives! We discover the wonder of a living FAITH that must bring what I have heard into my WALK! This is where Christ becomes the EXPERIENCE of the individual believer. By its very nature the life of overcoming can only be appropriated on an individual basis. The corporate expression is only as valid as the authenticity of the individual. Just because I LISTEN to good teaching does not mean my Christian experience is valid. The validity of my LIFE in Christ can only be known by the expression of HIS LIFE in me. In order for that to be the truth of my life it requires not only a hearing of HIS WORD but it must give way to a doing of that WORD; obedience is the ONLY way to the life of OVERCOMING. If there is no obedience there can be no OVERCOMING!

In the Gospels we see and hear Jesus teaching the WORD concerning the Kingdom of God and we are struck with the wonder and the wisdom found within the beauty of HIS words. However, HE does not allow the Disciples to linger in the place of hearing only. Because HE is not just a teacher (but has come to fulfill His Father’s will) we see Him sending the Disciples to live and walk out that which He has spoken of. He sends them out to heal the sick, cast out demons and to declare the WORD of the Kingdom! Likewise the WORD must become flesh in our own experience. We must eat of the provisions of this table in the presence of our enemies! Not only the obvious, external ones but more importantly the enemies of our heart, the weaknesses of our flesh and the “I” that is always clamouring for pre-eminence, comfort and its own way. We must find HIM as our victory here or it will matter very little what we know. Judas heard and saw the Glory of Christ yet in the end he betrayed HIM for his own ends. It is not enough to know and have an association with Jesus; we MUST EAT OF HIM at this table “prepared” for us in the “presence of our enemies”!

Men love knowledge and understanding. We love to discuss things, debate things and share things but Jesus came that men may have “LIFE and LIFE abundantly…” He did not come to bring a new teaching or to tickle men’s ears with revelatory speech. HE came to be the very EXPRESSION of the all that God is. Not an expression only but the MEANS by which the fallen race of man would become “THE BODY OF CHRIST” in the earth. For this reason HE sets this table of provision that we may BECOME “bone of HIS bone and flesh of His flesh” in demonstration in our daily life. It is crucial to see that the conflicts and tribulations of this life are given to us to become strong. May God save us from teachings that leave us impoverished, impotent and unable to walk and may we find HIS table “prepared” for us in the “presence of our enemies”.

Ω

Obstacles in the pathway of the weak
become stepping-stones in the pathway of the strong.
Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881)

Brian Troxel

THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH

THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH

“The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?”

PSALM 27:1

This statement is made by one who has a HISTORY with his God. This is not a doctrinal statement. It is the declaration of a man who has known adversity, failure and victory in his walk with the Most High. We cannot know HIM this way without having experienced our own weaknesses. It is in encountering the situations that are greater than our own resources that we “discover” that in truth HE IS OUR STRENGTH. Even our failures become the very stepping stones into this life of knowing HIM as our strength. The faltering steps of the Disciples slowly turn into the Apostolic Tread that became the foundation of the early church. The lives of believers whose stories grace the pages of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs were just like us yet as they walked with HIM they became strong. They discovered through the medium of faith and obedience that HE WAS in fact their strength. HIS STRENGTH displaced the fear of men and situations, HIS FAITHFULNESS destroyed the fear of their own weakness and HIS LOVE cast out all fear.

People who never “do” never know the reality of stepping into the raging waters of the storms that come but run from the very MEANS by which this truth is discovered. The testings and storms are HIS messengers, HIS servants to a deeper knowing of the blessed truth that HE IS OUR PRESENT HELP in every situation. May the God of all Grace lead us into the full assurance of faith that HE will never fail us in our time of need! May HIS FAITH welling up within our hearts cause us to step out of the boat to walk upon the storms of life, with our eyes fixed upon HIM knowing that HIS very name is FAITHFUL and TRUE.

“The LORD God is my strength,
and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet,
and he will make me to walk upon mine high places”

HABAKKUK 3:15

Brian Troxel