Love – Not Fear

Love in the Time of Covid

“…it was needful for me to write unto you,
and exhort you that ye should earnestly
contend for the faith”
Jude 1:3

During these days of uncertainty and chaos it would be tempting to retreat into our own isolated worlds. The confines of “social distancing” and the fear of reaching out to those around us make it easy to excuse ourselves from life.   Now more than ever it is imperative that we remain alive in Christ; to walk in the eternal truth of the Word of God. That Word is fulfilled by His Spirit moving through us by the Love of God. Love casts out all fear and in Him we find the resources to walk as He walked.

There has never been a time when sharing the love and mercies of God was convenient in this world. Every generation has had its battles. Every generation has had to contend for the faith of God in their time. May we be faithful in our day to minister unto Him in the faces of those around us.

The Question

“Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred,
or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick,
or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee?”
Matthew 25:44.

 

“Forget yourself and live for others,
for It is more blessed to give than to receive”
– A.B. Simpson

Brian Troxel

The Lesson of the Fig Tree – Part Two

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

Part Two

“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”
Matthew 21:18-19

The lesson of the fig tree is one of great value to those who seek truth. Its message is for our growth and development.

Jesus came to the fig tree looking for figs. He came looking for fruit consistent with its capability. So it is with us. The righteousness of God prevents Him from an expectation that is beyond the ability of the tree to produce. The God who measures the talents to every child of His according to their ability, is the same God who holds each of us accountable to Him for that gift. This truth brings our accountability into perspective. It is also meant to be instructive to us as parents and ministers of God that we walk in His wisdom regarding the lives of our own children and of every believer. We are not to expect Paul to minister as Peter, nor Jude to speak as Apollos. Such expectations are the result of religious doctrines and confines. The Life of Christ within regards the individual gifts and capacities of others and looks for the corresponding fruit. When the fruit of an individual is consistent with the call and the gifts of God given, there should be a collective rejoicing unto the Giver of all good things. When the fruit of a life is missing or lacking the vitality of its call and capability, there is great need for the ministration of exhortation and admonition. Ministers who fail in this vital aspect of ministry will find themselves accountable to the Chief Shepherd of our souls.

Stewards and Shepherds

We are stewards of the grace of God and as such we are to shepherd His flock with a desire to see Him glorified in each and every child of His. It requires a pure heart to walk in such things knowing full well our own accountability unto Him. The fear of the Lord is the ground upon which His true ministers walk and function. John the Apostle declared that he had no greater joy than to “see his children walking in truth”; the truth of what has been given to them. The one who has been given prophetic insight, that is the thing to which God will hold them accountable (1-see below). The one who teaches must teach the truth of God to the end that every life will grow in the holiness and wisdom of God. (2-see below). Those who exhort must do so with purity and simplicity (3-see below) As to the Apostolic, there is to be a faithfulness to call God’s people to the obedience of faith (4-see below). The list is as endless as the diversity of God’s creation.

(1) “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith” (Romans 12:6)
(2) “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28)
(3) “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3)
(4) “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name” (Romans 1:5)

In the book of Romans, Paul exhorts God’s people to receive all of these diversities as the gifts and the wisdom of God. Those who refuse these expressions deny God’s wisdom and subject themselves to His judgment. Division is the result of man’s wisdom and pride.

“Only by pride cometh contention…”
Proverbs 13:10

The Lesson of the fig tree is that He comes to each of us looking for corresponding fruit. His expectation is consistent with His grace given. In the Parable of the Talents, the man with one talent was judged severely for his faithlessness to the gift given (Matthew 15:30). In the Parable of the Vine, the branch which bore no fruit was “cut off” (John 15:2,6). The lesson of the Fig Tree was meant for our admonition and learning to that same end.

The response of Jesus to the two individuals who were faithful to their respective talents was the same! Different talents yet the same reward for their faithfulness to God’s measure.

“His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”
Matthew 25:21,23

The purpose of these diverse ministrations is:

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,
being fruitful in every good work…”
Colossians 1:10

Brian Troxel

The Present Truth – Part Three

The Present Truth

Part Three

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints”
Jude 1:3

The I AM

“I AM the door of the sheep…”
John 10:7
“I AM the door…”
John 10:9
“I AM come that they might have life…
abundantly”
John 10:10
“I AM the good shepherd…”
John 10:11
“I AM the good shepherd…”
John 10:14

The Life of Christ as expressed and communicated to the disciples was present tense. I AM is not future tense. It is the present truth of His being, the ever existing One, ever dwelling and working and subsisting in the now of our life. Just as breathing is essential to our natural life so is His Presence to our spiritual life. The error and misconception of religion is that it offers a historical Jesus (we are saved by what He did) and a future Jesus (we will see Him in heaven). Of course these things are true but without the infusion of “present truth” we are bereft of the power and the dynamic of the “now” life. In I AM, Jesus presented Himself as the current One and the ever present One. Eternal Life is now; free from the earthly concepts of time, distance and human limitations. It is a life which can only be known by the union of relationship in Christ Jesus. Those who are in Him have this life and those who are outside of Him have not eternal life (1 John 5:11-12).

Jesus is always seeking to bring His disciples to the power of living in the moment:

“Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”
Matthew 6:25

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”
Matthew 6:26

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”
Matthew 6:34

This trusting, child-like, faith rescues us from the worries and anxieties of the cares of this life. It is not irresponsible nor neglectful; it is a life of peace that takes no thought for tomorrow. It sows seeds today knowing that tomorrow’s provisions are assured in the doing of today. It is a life held in the peace of God by knowing He is the I AM of our tomorrows. It is because of this true understanding that obedience becomes paramount in our daily life. The religious do not concern themselves with “present truth” for their lives are lived in teachings and doctrines; heaven is assured because of what Jesus did historically and their present tense life has no bearing on future events. These ones are careless, ignorant of the “doing of truth” present tense; their time on earth passes in a fog of illusion and deception. It is in the now that eternal destinies are determined.

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,
who loved me, and gave himself for me”
Galatians 2:20

Paul’s life of identification with Christ was revealed in the now life he lived. The I AM of Jesus became the I AM of Paul. “I am” crucified was the declaration of Paul’s life in Christ. Not ”I will be” but present tense “I am”. The eternal “I AM” truth must become ours. It is in our obedience to the “present truth” in the “now” of life where the peace and power of this life is experienced.

Abraham’s Present Truth

“And he said, Take NOW thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah…And Abraham rose up early in the morning…and went unto the place of which God had told him
Genesis 22:2-3

“If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham…”
John 8:39

– Continued in Part Four –

Part One
Part Two

Part Four
Part five

Brian Troxel