Thought for Today – Little Children

Thought for Today

Little Children

“And said, Verily I say unto you,
Except ye be converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:3

The other day I was holding my newest grandchild and was simply basking in the wonder and the handiwork of God. Her freshness of life and the incredible spontaneity of being was not only a joyful experience but one of instruction. As she was looking at the largeness of the world around her and trying to absorb what she was seeing the thought came to me “Every thought has a face”. The spontaneous expressions on her face were the mirror of what she was thinking. Sometimes it was puzzlement and the next minute sheer joy when she caught a glimpse of a someone she knew. In the environment of surrounding love, she had no need to filter or mask her spur-of-the-moment responses. This freedom from concern or worry of what others think is a liberating lesson.

“And the servant abideth not in the house for ever:
but the Son abideth ever.
If the Son therefore shall make you free,
ye shall be free indeed”
John 8:35-36

Authenticity of being is the only means by which we are truly free. The purpose of truth is to make me true. In my becoming true within I will know the wonder and joy of being right and free in God. The child-like being of whom Jesus spoke is the fruit of a true and full conversion by the ministration of His Spirit. Here we discover the quality of heart required to enter into the Kingdom of God. It is as we become as a little child that we have the rightness of being to enter into all that He has so graciously made available to us.

Spontaneity is the fruit of Authenticity

Brian Troxel

Love Contrasted – Faith

Love and Faith Contrasted

“And though I have the gift of prophecy,
and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge;
and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,
and have not charity, I am nothing”
1 Corinthians 13:2

All the wonders and expressions of faith in God’s House, needful and precious as they are, if held and operated apart from the Love of God are empty. We have all seen great expressions of the gifts of God, be they healings, prophecies or ministrations of knowledge, fall through pride, greed, vanity and other sins. We ourselves may have been used of God to touch another life yet felt the transient value of the moment. God never intended that we find fulfillment in the “works of faith” as vital and necessary as they are. True fulfillment is found in our abiding in the power of His Love. The expressions of faith are given to bring God’s people to His End; they are not the end in themselves. Love is the enduring quality of God Himself. It is the eternal aspect of His Life; whether there be “prophecies, tongues, or knowledge” they shall cease (1 Corinthians 13:8) but it is the love of God which will abide forever. May we never confuse an expression of God as the approval of God within an individual’s life. The end of such thinking is filled with deception and ruin.

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail*; whether there be tongues, they shall cease*; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away*.”
1 Corinthians 13:8 (*Please see note below)

Jesus sent 70 of His disciples out with power to heal and cast out demons and they returned with great joy at the deeds accomplished. To which Jesus replied:

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven”
Luke 10:19-20

The content of one’s life is far more important than the expression of it. Moses, Jannes and Jambres all brought forth the same spiritual manifestation yet Jannes and Jambres were of a perverse and evil heart (Exodus 7:10-11). The expression itself is not the validation of a life before God. Rather it is the character, the motivation and the truth (authenticity) of God. Love is the only thing that bears weight in the scales of heaven.

John the Baptist performed no miracles. He was not finely dressed nor eloquent in speech yet Jesus declared of him “For I say unto you, among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” Our entrance into the Kingdom of God is not based on the spiritual manifestations in our lives; it is based on what we become within the character and dominion of His love.

“Except ye be converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:3

Peter instructs us to add to our faith “virtue… to virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance, to temperance endurance, to endurance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness LOVE.” He goes on to say… “for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” What solidifies our entrance into His Kingdom? The ongoing development of our faith into the fruit of the Spirit culminating in His Love.

Love is the fulfillment of God. It is the divine signature of God upon a life. It is the full purpose of God’s Glory in man.

“He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love.”

We would be negligent and foolish to diminish the expressions of faith and the precious gifts of the Spirit of God. They are given to bring the Body of Christ to the maturity, the unity and the divine enablement to arise in purity and holiness. It is a sad testimony that many of God’s people do not see the need for every individual to receive the giftings of the Holy Spirit. Paul in his letter to the Church of God at Corinth implored them to:

“But covet earnestly the best gifts:
and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way…”
1 Corinthians 12:31

We are to covet and desire the gifts of the Spirit but also to walk in the more excellent way… the Way of Love. Love is more than an attribute. It is the Way of God and the Path of God in which we are to walk that we may please and honor Him in our lives.

“And though I have the gift of prophecy,
and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge;
and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,
and have not charity, I am nothing”

*Notes on 1 Corinthians 13:8

“but whether there be prophecies they shall fail” The Greek word translated “fail” here means to fade away or become of little use. For in the shining forth of the fullness of Christ there will be no need to “prophecy in part” (partially) 1 Corinthians 13:9-10. Prophecy is necessary and Paul sets forth the gift of Prophecy as a gift to greatly desire, yet we are to judge it and hold it in its proper place within the purposes of God.
“whether there be tongues, they shall cease” The Greek word translated “cease” here means to “stop or make an end”. When? When the fullness of Christ comes. These various gifts of the Spirit will remain in the earth until the perfect comes. Paul himself declared that he “spoke in tongues more than they all”. Surely if he knew and valued the necessity of this gift who are we to arrogantly decide that we are beyond such things. It is important to also note that not all who “received” the Holy Spirit spoke in tongues but that God has given these gifts “severally” to all. The Gifts of the Spirit are not optional; they are given because Christ has risen! (Ephesians 4:8)
“whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away” The Greek word translated “shall vanish away” is the same Greek word translated “fail” concerning prophecy. Why will knowledge cease? Because we shall SEE HIM as He is. There will be no need to teach others about Him for in the seeing of Him knowledge will be eclipsed by the reality of all that He is. Paul in his prayer for the Church at Ephesus prayed that they would “know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19) Love surpasses knowledge! Love will bring the heart to a knowing of God which is beyond teaching, knowledge and words; Love will bring us into the “Fullness of God” Himself. Why be content with anything else? The purpose of the New Covenant is to bring this to pass! The great prophecy concerning the New Covenant that God would bring is:

“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord…”
Jeremiah 31:33-34

Woe to any minister who shares with any motivation other than to see the people of God grow to surpass their own ministry. The True ministrations of God bring His people to the equality of brotherhood. It is religion that holds people to an inferior walk or place in God. Children must grow up and “leave their father and mother” to become mature men and women in God. Only when we truly love and respect our brothers and sisters, and see them as God does, will there be true unity in the Body of Christ.

Brian Troxel

THE MYSTERY OF GOD

The Mystery of God

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,
even the hidden wisdom, which God
ordained before the world unto our glory”
1 Corinthians 2:7

True ministrations of the Holy Spirit present the Mystery of God in a hidden wisdom that is indiscernible to the natural man. This is not a mystery that is to remain unknown but a mystery that cannot be understood with the intellect; a mystery only entered into by a pure heart and a child-like faith. This mystery can only be explored by the lamp of obedience, the result of Love beating within the heart of every pilgrim. It draws men with such beauty and promise that, upon seeing it, they go and sell all they have in order to hold that “pearl of great price”. The religious and curious love to sit and discuss aspects of it, they enjoy expounding upon its merits and possibilities, and are content with it remaining an ethereal concept. To those who have tasted and caught glimpses of its Glory nothing can alleviate the cry to enter into its depth and fullness. Men through all ages have touched the hem of this life, this wonder, and have been so captivated by its beauty they gladly lay everything down for its reality. It is with this motivation that men speak to one another, encourage one another and stir up one another to a greater passion for the living Christ. It is to such a heart that this mystery unfolds His Majesty and Worthiness.

Hidden to be Revealed

The scriptures declare that God conceals Himself in wisdom. Love compels Him to make Himself known but that knowing is wrapped up and hidden from the wise and prudent of this world and revealed to babes in heart.

“I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because thou hast hid these things
from the wise and prudent,
and hast revealed them unto babes”
Matthew 11:25

The hidden things of God are only hidden with the desire to make them known. God created the material world and all that is in it to make Himself known. This is the only means by which men move from darkness and religion into fellowship and friendship with God. Relationship is impossible where one of the parties involved remains hidden and obscure. The good news of the Gospel is that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” The Gospel, the reaching out of God’s heart to man, was God’s initiative, prerogative and design. Our sin, rebellion and sheer ignorance made Him foreign and unknowable in our lost condition. The ability to see, hear and know Him requires change on our part. It requires a “new birth” in order for us to “see” His Kingdom.

“Except a man be born again,
he cannot see the kingdom of God”
John 3:3

While many in Christendom are satisfied with the mere seeing of the Kingdom there are those whose hearts have been touched by the baptism into His Spirit; those who instinctively feel the call to not only the see the Kingdom but to enter into it.

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”
John 3:5

Exception to Entrance
Into The Kingdom of God

This seeking of the Kingdom and the desire to touch the invisible, to know the things of God which are beyond knowing (Ephesians 3:19), and the participating in the Mystery of God can only be known by a childlike heart. The word “except” in the scriptures above  eliminates the ability to see and enter the Kingdom of God by any other way. “Except” is an exclusionary term especially when God is the one speaking. Jesus added to the list of exclusionary scriptures by saying…

“Except ye be converted,
and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”
Matthew 18:3

This “exception” declares that this must be the experiential reality of those who would enter this Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is the Mystery. It is the mystery of righteousness and the mystery of faith that can only be revealed to those who meet the criteria which God has set forth. It does not require much effort to look over the landscape of the religious world and realize that the wonder and mystery of God is a foreign concept. We have allowed teachings, doctrines and dogmas of men to replace the wonder and glory of His Spirit. We have been caught up in “words” about God instead of the Word of God. We somehow have equated “knowledge” with the means of entering; that somehow the gathering of more knowledge about God will qualify us to enter His Kingdom. This was the mindset of the Pharisees in Jesus day; they knew much and saw little. Jesus spoke to them concerning their “knowledge” of the scriptures…

“Search the scriptures;
for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me”
John 5:39

They handled, spoke and condemned the very manifestation of the Kingdom to their own shame and damnation. Pharisee in the original language means “called out ones”. They were the religious “elect” of their day. They excelled in their knowledge of the scriptures and they excelled all others in their blindness. If the Kingdom came by words and knowledge there would surely have been a people who entered in long ago. However, the Lord tells us the Kingdom is not in word but in the power of His Spirit.

“For the kingdom of God is not in word,
but in power”
1 Corinthians 4:20

Entrance into Kingdom by
Obedience and Character

The entrance into the Kingdom is not by what we know but by what we become through the operation of His Spirit within our hearts. The simplicity required by God is produced by our being “converted”; the depth and power of that conversion brings about a childlike faith and heart. Men with much instruction can become hardened, rigid and lose the ability to flow in the things of the Spirit. The Word becomes too familiar and too well read through the glasses of their own doctrinal concepts and natural reasoning. The Word loses its wonder, its glory and its mystery. The Bible, the pages of which are filled with over four thousand years of God speaking, becomes a one-dimensional plane of religious phrases instead of the pulsating, living and vibrant voice of God. Men cease to hear the voice of God and of the prophetic men who penned such a marvellous work.

“For they that dwell at Jerusalem,
and their rulers, because they knew him not,
nor yet the voices of the prophets
which are read every sabbath day,
they have fulfilled them in condemning him”
Acts 13:27

There are many who read and hear the scriptures every Sunday/Sabbath/Meeting that never hear the voices of the prophets who languish in the throes of a religious wilderness. They hear only good things without the power of God to become expressions of Him in authenticity and truth. There is a form and appearance of being righteous but the inward reality is absent. These are those of whom Jesus spoke “because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not; neither do they understand” (Matthew 13:13). It is a hearing that will never produce acts and works of faith. “Faith cometh by hearing” and that hearing is the result of a pure and right heart. It is the “pure in heart” who shall see God; those who know that the real issues of life are the heart’s condition, obedience to His Word and the overall desire to see God glorified (not themselves).

Understanding the mystery of God is on the grounds of faith and obedience. This entrance into the Kingdom of God has the following conditions:

1. A true willingness to do the will of God. “If any man will do his will, he shall know…”

2. Growth and development of His Life within us. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”. 2 Peter 1:5-11

Spiritual blindness occurs when men stop adding the virtue and wonder of God to their faith. There is a slumber and a religious stupor of knowing a thing without becoming. Knowing without doing is the pathway to deception and sorrow.

“But be ye doers of the word,
and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves”
James 1:22

Rest of article continued on next post.

Brian Troxel

www.aword.info