THERE IS HOPE!

THERE IS HOPE!

“And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel,
one of the sons of Elam,
answered and said unto Ezra,
We have trespassed against our God,
and have taken strange wives
of the people of the land:
yet now there is hope in Israel
concerning this thing.”
EZRA 10:2

Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that the things that happened to Israel throughout their history are written for our admonition and learning. Human nature does not change but the good news is neither does our God! We read here that Israel was subjected to the judgments of God and taken captive in a strange land. The temple and the Holy things of the temple had been taken and as time went on they began to CONFORM and become integrated WITH the people among whom they lived. God in His mercy began to stir the hearts of some with strong prophetic words and powerful unction to a rebuilding and restoration of the people to His Glory. Whenever God begins to move in the face of His peoples’ failure the call to repentance is ALWAYS coupled with the power of HOPE. Hope is more than just a faint intellectual concept; hope is a power that enables men and women to respond to the call of God. In spite of tremendous failure hope gives the assurance of God’s forgiveness as a response to those whose hearts have responded to the call of God. It is inconsequential how deep and how complete the apostasy, how indoctrinated the people of God have become by a dead religion, how infiltrated by the world the church has become; the message of the hour is THERE IS HOPE. The “strange wives”* spoken of here speak spiritually of God’s people embracing worldly ways, of deep affections with the world and the things of the world around them, and covenants of compromise personally and corporately. In response to the prophetic word of God we see the sons of Elam responding BECAUSE there was a hope ministered into their hearts! These men RESPONDED…

Now therefore
let us make a covenant with our God
to put away all the wives,
and such as are born of them,
according to the counsel of my lord,
and of those that tremble
at the commandment of our God;
and let it be done…”
EZRA 10:3

True repentance is fueled by a living hope in the God of mercy and truth. Shechaniah responds “yet NOW THERE IS HOPE”! There is hope in spite of what we see. There is hope that pulsates within the darkness and confines of a religious system that functions like any other worldly corporation. There is hope even as in Jesus’ day of the money changers being expelled from the very temple of God. There is hope against the religious pride of men who have taken the ministrations of God and made them positions of a hierarchy. There is hope for the people of God for whom words like “victory” and “overcoming” have been replaced by a gospel that tells them this is as good as it gets. There is hope for the church that has been divided by the strivings of men to propagate their own “church” and “ministry” over that of another. There is hope that the LOVE of God can invade our carnal hearts to such an overwhelming extent that even the world will have to declare this love is beyond all human origin.

Let us embrace the power of this HOPE calling us to respond to HIM regardless of the failures and hopelessness of our situations. Let those who have been defeated, backslidden, and faithless hear the call of HOPE arising in their hearts and join themselves to others who by faith are arising in this hour; for such is the response of Shechaniah…

Arise;
for this matter belongeth unto thee:
we also will be with thee:
be of good courage, and do it.
Then arose Ezra,
and made the chief priests,
the Levites, and all Israel,
to swear that they should do
according to this word”
EZRA 10:4-5

Ω

Hope is the anchor
That holds us in our plight
Hope is the womb
That births fresh life
Hope is the beacon
That shines in the darkest night!

*NOTE: Articles on this to follow

Brian Troxel

SEED TO TREE

FROM SEED TO TREE

“There is none that understandeth,
there is none that seeketh after God”
ROMANS 3:11

These words describe the human condition. There are none with understanding or desire to seek after God. NONE. Whether it is Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, religious or non-religious, this is man’s standing before God. God’s issue with men is not because they do not understand, nor seek HIM, HIS issue is…

“…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion,
that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth,
but had pleasure in unrighteousness”
II THESSALONIANS 2:10

To individually have a LOVE (agape’) for truth one must first receive it. Living truth is a two-edged sword that cuts even to the place of “the thoughts and intents of our hearts.” Since this love of truth is freely offered and given on the basis of Faith, we must conclude that we in and of ourselves have nothing to offer God. He has concluded ALL in unbelief! Where is boasting; it is negated. In terms of understanding or seeking God anything within us that lends itself to the pursuit of these things is completely apart from our innate abilities or personal value. God is NO respecter of persons (Jew or Gentile, slave or free, rich or poor….); HE gives freely to all who ask.

Now we are brought into the sphere of our awesome RESPONSIBILITY. Since this wondrous gift has been (past tense) given to us on the basis of Grace we now must face the responsibility of WHAT WE HAVE DONE AND HOW WE HAVE HANDLED THIS priceless gift!

“A certain nobleman
went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom,
and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds,
and said unto them, Occupy till I come…And it came to pass,
that when he was returned, having received the kingdom,
then he commanded these servants to be called unto him,
to whom he had given the money,
that he might know how much every man had gained by trading…”
Luke 19:12 – 27

We are free from any responsibility to work up a “love for truth” or a desire to seek HIM from our own carnal resources! We are, however, completely responsible for the care and diligence that we exert toward those things which HE HAS GIVEN. Anything within my life that desires HIS WAY, HIS TRUTH and HIS LIFE is a result of HIS GRACIOUS GIFT and if I do not yield myself to that call in my life I am without excuse! Every little impression that I feel from my heart toward HIM is HIS CALL to me to see more of HIM, to be transformed BY the seeing of HIM, and to sense a deeper hold on my life than I knew before. This is the RESPONSE by the faith of the Son of God within each heart. Failure to respond to HIS LOVING CALL will result in a life that is cold, indifferent and lukewarm in its pursuit of God. We seek HIM to the degree that we LOVE HIM. Love is ever deepened by relationship. If I were to not talk with my wife or not share things with her our relationship would never deepen and the relevance of her in my life would be minimized. So is it with God. The full value of the gift is realized by my diligence to the development and enlargement of it. In this parable everyone was entrusted with the exact same gift. The fruitfulness of each man was based upon their response to what was given.

IT IS AN IMMUTABLE TRUTH
THAT WE SHALL ALL GIVE AN ACCOUNT
FOR THE PRICELESS GIFT
THAT HAS BEEN PLACED
IN OUR TRUST

Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is like…

“The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed,
which a man took, and sowed in his field:
Which indeed is the least of all seeds:
but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree,
so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof”
MATTHEW 13:31 – 32

This love for truth that was sown into our hearts is to grow from SEED TO TREE. It is to grow from something that is small and insignificant to something that is large and strong in which others may come and find rest upon the branches of its life within us. From SEED to TREE is a description of the KINGDOM OF GOD! Men are always looking for some great event, some “moment” in time when the heavens will suddenly open and everything is changed. But without the quiet, consistent and determined effort on our part to GROW in the daily affairs of life we will not be ready in that day to give an account of how we lived our life.

SEED TO TREE

SEED TO TREE
CHILD TO MAN
IS THE PURPOSE OF GOD
IN HIS GRACIOUS PLAN

SEED TO TREE
STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
GLORY TO GLORY
AND FAITH TO FAITH

A LIFE EVER PROGRESSING
NEW GLORIES TO SEE
MAY YOUR LIFE EVER DRAW ME
TO NEW PLACES IN THEE

Ω

“Things great have small beginnings. Every downpour is just a raindrop;
every fire is just a spark; every harvest is just a seed;
every journey
is just a step because without that step there will be no journey;
without that raindrop there can be no shower;
without that seed there can be no harvest.”

William Wilberforce

Brian Troxel

OBEDIENCE The WAY to LIFE

OBEDIENCE

The WAY to LIFE

“The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
Arise, and go down to the potter’s house,
and THERE I will cause thee to hear my words”
JEREMIAH 18:2

Had not Jeremiah obeyed the voice of the LORD to go to the potter’s house, he would never have known of the Word of the Lord found THERE and only there. Obedience precedes the ministry of God’s LIVING Word. In our day we have many, many teachers; “revelations” coming forth from countless expressions. “Knowledge has increased” but with this increase in knowledge there has not been an increase in FAITH. Why is this? It is because much of revelation is taught as teachings that men may hold in the intellect without the corresponding call to OBEDIENCE. We hear a lot about “just believe” and God will bring it to pass; the prophecies given must come to pass for God has said it; the promises given are sure and true; just believe. But we must remember that God’s Word always requires obedience, faith and personal RESPONSE. Consider the prophetic words given to Timothy….

“This charge I commit to you, son Timothy,
according to the prophecies previously made concerning you,
that by THEM you may wage the good warfare”
1 TIMOTHY 1:18

Paul says concerning his own life…

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run,
but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.
Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown,
but we for an imperishable crown.
Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty.
Thus I FIGHT: not as one who beats the air.
But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection,
lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified
1 CORINTHIANS 9:24 – 27

The purpose of all teaching and ministry is to set before the people of God, the MARK, the PRIZE which is the LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST. The ministration of the WORD should be setting forth the true cry of the Holy Spirit to every believer to “Run in such a way” that the people of God MAY OBTAIN IT! May we be saved from the Gospel of believe-ism and be brought into the Gospel that is the POWER of GOD unto salvation because it is declared through vessels who know the weight of obedience, the ferocity of the fight of FAITH and the KEEPING POWER OF OUR GOD. Any ministration that does not include the accountability of the believer unto his God, the necessity of the fear of the Lord, and the call of God unto a life of obedience is lacking in vision. True revelation brings men and women into the place of beholding HIM and in the seeing of HIM we know the fear of the Lord and the awesome Glory of God.

“Moreover, brethren,
I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud,
all passed through the sea,
all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink.
For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them,
and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased,
for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
Now these things BECAME OUR examples,
to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written,
“The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did,
and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ,
as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;
nor complain, as some of them also complained,
and were destroyed by the destroyer.
Now all these things happened to them as examples,
and THEY WERE WRITTEN FOR OUR ADMONITION,
upon whom the ends of the ages have come”
1 CORINTHIANS 10:1 – 11

God is looking for disciples and soldiers; men and women who not only recognize the cost of following Jesus, but have found (or are in the process of discovering) that it is by the power of HIS LIFE operating in us that these become realities. Faith is the only means by which the teaching of discipleship becomes the everyday life of the believer.

Ω

“You are but a poor soldier of Christ
if you think you can overcome without fighting
and suppose you can have the crown without conflict”

John Chrysostom

Brian Troxel