Do You Believe Now?

Do You Believe Now?

“Do you believe now?”
John 16:31

Do you believe now?

Oh, the penetrating questions of Jesus. “Do you believe now?” Our Lord is ever bringing us to the truth. There is something about the heart of man that evades the “present” tense of God; it is far easier to put truth off to a future age or dispensation. There can be a soothing and narcotic effect in occupying ourselves with future concepts and ideas. It is an escape, a diversion from present reality. Jesus is the “I AM” and it is the purpose of truth to make us true in the present. The reality is we only have enough breath for the moment and our present condition is our condition. It is here and now that Jesus brings us to the fundamental truth of our state.

“Do you believe now?”. Do you love Him now, His Body (His people)? Are His purposes your purposes for now? Years ago, I sat with a dying friend who had spoken often of his “destiny”; that one of these days God was going to speak a living word and he would be quickened to step into it. But it never happened. If truth is always kept in the future, we run out of the precious commodity of time.

Past, Future, and Present Truth

Martha and Mary were loved deeply by our Lord. Lazarus was dying and they sent for Jesus in desperation and trust. Upon hearing their urgent request Jesus tarried two more days. He knew all that was transpiring and plainly told the disciples that Lazarus was “now” dead. When Jesus arrived, He was met with the faith of the past.

“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord,
if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died”
John 11:21

A very powerful statement. Jesus in His pre-resurrection state, as a man incarnate, was restricted to the “present truth” of His physical existence. Yet even in this situation, He tarried in the wisdom of God. He is ever-pressing us to “believe now” and to conduct ourselves accordingly.

As the narrative unfolds Jesus meets these statements with the living truth: “Your brother will rise again”. Immediately comes the heartfelt response, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection in the last day”. In this interaction with two souls that Jesus loved greatly, we see that He is pressing them into the “now”, into the situation at hand. He has a deep desire to bring us in all things to the present truth, the reality of the now. May we who have ears to hear recognize the pressing of His Spirit to free us from our past and our unsubstantiated future concepts. It is an intense and difficult thing to allow Him to penetrate our religious notions with the present reality. But it is necessary and vital to bring us to the acknowledgment of our true condition. Those who hold to future things, while denying the present reality of themselves, circumvent the development needed to become all that He has purposed.

Paul declared in Philippians that he had not yet fully apprehended the call of God. He did not rest in some future thing but cried out with great urgency of spirit, “I press toward the mark”. There was no room for concepts and beliefs to deter him from the apprehension of Christ. His life was abandoned to Christ. He did not isolate himself from the ministry of God to the Body of Christ; he did not segregate himself from interaction with others. He was in fact a vessel poured out because of the love of Christ in his heart. It is the synthetic who hide from others, who deceive themselves to be ones set apart (as the Scribes and the Pharisees* of old). His Love propels His Own to identify with the lost, the hurting, and the bound. It is in the touching of others that we discover the truth of ourselves. The truth of our nakedness is revealed in our touching the nakedness of others. It is in our discovery of our needs on their behalf that we find His provision! How good and how right are His ways with us!

Religion as a mere belief relieves people from having to face the current fitness and verity of themselves. The true in heart desire to know and to face the truth of the moment. Multiple times the disciples asked Jesus why their prayers did not meet the situation at hand. Deep within they desired truth, the truth, of their powerlessness. They did not mask their condition with a future hope. Jesus responded to them with the thing they needed to hear: “because of your unbelief”. These moments are necessary for our growth and development in Him. If we brush past these moments, we are none the better and we continue our way without facing the facts. The true in heart receive the truth as it is and the door opens for greater faith, a living faith that releases His wonder in the situation. The discovery of our poverty is the door into His riches!

“Blessed are the poor in spirit:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
Matthew 5:3

The disciple of Christ must discover in present situations their present condition. Therein lies the challenge and the adventure into the discovery of Him within our own experience. The seeker of truth does not seek to comfort themselves in past or future things for the Christ they pursue IS COME to lead them, and more importantly, bring them to the Truth in all character and wisdom. Jesus in His wisdom presented to Martha and Mary the crowning revelation of the mystery of Himself.

I AM the resurrection…”
John 11:25

He is not the “I Was” or the “I Will Be”; He is always the I AM.

“And when He was come into the house, His disciples asked him privately, ‘Why could not we cast him out?”
Mark 9:28

A few years ago, in my private time with Him, the words came to me, “To grow in truth one must be true with oneself”. Our journey into truth must begin and remain open to receive its piercings and exposure of our condition.

“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle?
who shall dwell in thy holy hill?”
Psalm 15:1

To which the answer of God is:

“He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness,
and speaketh the truth in his heart
Psalm 15:2

When the truth is reduced to a confession, its wonder fades, its sword no longer pierces the heart. The result is faith without works, teachings instead of substance, and a limited vision of His power and glory.

“ Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth UNTO unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently
1 Peter 1:22

The true in heart measure their obedience and walk with God by the fervency of love for His people (not only the ones in their immediate circle). This love reveals itself in deeds produced by a faith made alive through love (Galatians 5:6).

“My little children, let us not love in word,
neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”
1 John 3:18

Can we hear Him calling us to the depths of Himself? Can we hear Him drawing us out of the ethereal, the forms of truth, and the comfort of mere confessions, into the vast wonder of His substance? Truth is the womb of repentance. Repentance brings us out of the shadows of obscurity into the penetrating gaze of Him alone before whom we must all give an account. Let not another day pass without a true turning unto Him who can cause us to become true witnesses of His Testimony within!

In the seeing of Him, we are afforded a seeing of ourselves (Isaiah 6:1-5). This great work of His Spirit will unveil all that Grace means. It causes us to glory afresh in His redemption of “our mortal bodies” by that SAME Spirit that raised Christ from the Dead. His resurrection will become more than a scriptural fact; it will be the living truth of Him at work within us. Love can only flourish between those who have seen themselves in the light of Him through the lamp of obedience. It is only through obedience that our “souls are purified UNTO the pure and fervent love of our brothers”. Love is the signature of God in a life. Love is being the face of Jesus to one another, where all our actions are governed by a pure desire to see His people WALK in the present truth of Christ.

“I have no greater joy than this, to hear about my children walking in truth. Beloved, you do a faithful work in whatever you accomplish for those who are brothers and strangers…”
3 John 1:4-5

God is not interested in truth coming from our lips only. The words which proceed from our lips are to be verified by our walk and our deeds.

“So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
James 2:12

___________________

* Note: Pharisees (Original meaning) “separated ones”; “called out ones”.

Brian Troxel

The Present Truth – Part Six

The Present Truth – Part Six

“lift up your eyes”

“Say NOT ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”
John 4:35

The context of this scripture illustrates God’s call to the “present” truth of His life within us. Jesus, being weary and hungry, had sent the disciples into the city of Sychar for food and sat at the well waiting them to return. As He was waiting a woman came to the well to draw water. Within a few short sentences He had exposed the secrets of her heart, revealed Himself and shared the desire of His heavenly Father for true worshipers. The disciples returned with food and He responds, “I have meat you know not of”! The profound truth is, in the present doing of His will, we are fed, strengthened and empowered in the “today” of His Life. The hidden manna is reserved for those who see and participate with Him in the opportunities afforded us Today.

Let us take his admonishment, “say not” to heart. “Say not” sometime later God is going to bring in a harvest; “say not” sometime in the future God is going to use me; “say not” God will someday move through my life. It is the deception of our own procrastination which is unable to respond to present day opportunities! God’s answer to the impotency of such faith? “Lift up your eyes” for the fields are already white unto the harvest! Those who see in the Spirit know of the works, the opportunities and movings of God as present truth. Too many of God’s people walk in the impotency of an apathetic faith, not seeing the opportunities of NOW. Delegating everything to sometime in the future results in fruitless and barren living. It is in the NOW that we develop a greater faith for tomorrow’s works of faith.

Jesus confronted the faith of Martha regarding Lazarus her brother; a faith stuck in the past:

“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord,
if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died”
John 11:21

Her response to Jesus’ declaration “Thy brother shall rise again” also revealed a procrastination of faith to some future day: “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day”. A true statement but one that missed the message that Christ wanted her to hear.

“I AM the resurrection, and the life…”
John 11:25

Too many of us live as if our faith is in a God whose name is “I will be” rather than His glorious name of “I AM”; the present God, the present truth and the present answer to the needs of fallen humanity around us. Of course, there are always more glorious things to come in God; such is the truth of His eternal plans. Yet, if I walk in His Spirit, I will see the glorious truth that there are fields, present tense, “white unto harvest”. The blindness of a “someday faith” deprives us of present truth thus robbing God of His present glory. It results in stagnation and spiritual death; ever waiting for some future thing while ignoring the bread and wonder of the present. The “hidden manna” falls every day to those whose eyes are open to see His fields of opportunity.

It is as we walk in faith today that we are prepared for the opportunities of tomorrow’s faith.

“Sanctify yourselves (today):
for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you”
Joshua 3:5

The sanctifying work of today is the precursor to the beholding of His works tomorrow. Sanctifying ourselves today means we are set apart for His works, His will and the doing of the “present truth”. David, before he met Goliath, had a spiritual history with his God. The faith which emboldened him to confront Goliath had been developed in the past victories of faith; overcoming the lion and the bear.

“Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear:
and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them…”
1 Samuel 17:36

Those who walk in the “I AM” of today will be prepared of Him for the greater conflicts which await us. Present Truth is God’s provision for tomorrow.

“Today if ye will hear His Voice,
harden not your hearts”
Hebrews 4:7

To those who whose walk in the present truth of our God the fields are “already” white unto harvest; there are (now) lives to be rescued, hearts to be encouraged, and lives to be transformed by the present wonder of our God.

“SAY NOT YE, there are yet four months, and THEN cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, LIFT UP YOUR EYES, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”
John 4:35

Brian Troxel

“I AM the Resurrection” – Part One

“I AM the Resurrection”
John 11:25

Part One

Hidden within the Eternal Words of Jesus lie the treasures and fullness of the Godhead. As we come to know Jesus there is a quiet unfolding of Him within the depths of our own hearts. He is an eternal spring pouring forth renewing and invigorating waters of life. His ongoing-revelation is like a flower blooming and bringing forth fresh and life-changing fragrances of wonder and glory. As one man* observed hundreds of years ago, “the I AM is the eternal verb.” A verb denotes action and movement. Here it speaks of The Life which is simply the revelation of the Divine Will and Purpose at work in the human heart.

Here on earth life is much more than just breathing and existing. We are to be caught up in a Will which captures and inspires the heart to grander things. It is a Will founded and governed in something higher and deeper than our own selves; a Will which lifts us out of its menial pedantic self. It anchors the soul in the wonder and power of Love; God’s Love. Christ is the Face*, the Word and the Substance of all that God is. It is in our abiding, growing and following Him where we are raised out of the religion and base concepts of men and are brought into the very Will of a Life far beyond the statements and dogmas of religion.

Christ Himself the Living Vine

The I AM is much more than an event; He is the continuum of unfolding life and power. He is not just a resurrection, He is the ever-resurrecting ONE and it is in Him alone we live and move with the endless flow of His heart beating within. The precepts and concepts of doctrine must give way to something much more than a single “born again” experience. Birth is but the mere beginning of life; not an end in itself but the matrix of a journey of growth, learning and enlargement of the life of Christ within. The branch which is united to the vine* is ever-developing in its ability to participate IN the Will of the Vine to the bearing of fruit. It is in the bringing forth of fruit that the Father is glorified*. The Will of the vine is summed up in one great passion: to honour and glorify the Father. A branch which does not have this eternal Will as its singular purpose is not in vital union with the vine. It is the relationship of the branch to the vine through which the Eternal Will causes the branch to blossom and move into a life of bearing fruit.

Christ Himself the Tree of Life

“In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations”
Revelation 22:2

“Life is much more than words, teachings and religious prayers;
it is the essence of God Himself.”

The I AM is the boundless cause and source of The Life. The Life cannot be had by mere intellectual learning. It must, by its very nature, be held within the wonder and power of relationship. A relationship where the inspiration of His love becomes the very bond that binds and hold us to His being. Life is much more than words, teachings and religious prayers; it is the essence of God Himself.

God in Christ has/is giving to us Eternal Life and this life is IN HIS SON. It is a commodity that cannot be known apart from Him. It must be known as it is given; eternally and continuously, the living branch abiding in, and forever sustained by, the very life of the vine.

“And this is the record,
that God hath given to us eternal life,
and this life is IN his Son”
1 John 5:11

The eternal record states that the Life is in His Son and we will only know its power by our continual interaction with Him.

“He that hath the Son hath life;
and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life”
1 John 5:12

The I AM beckons and calls to all who have ears to hear, eyes to see and hearts that hunger and thirst for Him. It is the true in heart who know intuitively that it is only in Him where we can “live, and move and have (true) being.” *

“O taste and see that the Lord is good…”
Psalm 34:8


* Joseph Parker – (1830 – 1902)

* 2 Corinthians 4:6
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”

* John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit”

* John 15:8
“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples”

* Acts 17:28
“For in him we live, and move, and have our being…”

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Resurrection

Thought for Today

“I am the resurrection”
John 11:25

Wherever and whenever the heart of a wandering soul, a lost soul or a dying soul meets the wonder of Him, resurrection and life are the immediate result. He is not only the Resurrected One, He is the ever resurrecting one. Regardless of age, status in life or circumstances, He is our resurrection. Newness of life, joy, worship and praise are the on-going expressions of any life beholding Him. Death, sorrow, fear, discouragement and despair flee from His presence as shadows disappear from radiant light.

Linger not in the shadows of human reasoning or the stains of sin or unbelief. Come to the fountain which will never fail; whose waters are filled with the abundance of His Life, cleansing, refreshing and replenishing us with the vigor of His eternal life.

“Come ye saints, look here and wonder,
See the place where Jesus lay;
He has burst His bands asunder;
He has borne our sins away;
Joyful tidings,
Yes, the Lord has risen to-day”
Thomas Kelly