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Posts Tagged ‘Overcoming the Obstacles’

SERVING JESUS

“If any man serve me, let him follow me;
and where I am, there shall also my servant be:
if any man serve me, him will my Father honour”
John 12:26

The central theme to which Jesus kept directing His disciples was relationship to Him. The great deception of religion is that men and women serve an organization, a doctrine, a teacher or even worse themselves. Here Jesus points to the essential cornerstone of true service unto Him: “let him follow me”. It is in following Him that we become separated unto Him. The “cross” of the individual believer is simply defined by a life of following Him. While many are willing to do strenuous religious observances, fasting, long prayer meetings, conferences and seemingly good works the issue remains one of following Him. The cross of Christ was in doing the will of the Father. In this place of true servitude the Son glorified the Father. It is in our being “yoked” with Him that our lives will in truth glorify the Son. Knowledge of the scriptures must give way to relationship with the Son. Knowledge alone of the Son will never make a person free nor bring about the true experiential knowing of Him within the human heart.

Throughout the scriptures we see that many stopped following Him because of the cost of the Way. The Scribes and Pharisees had no problem with long prayers, religious observances and the rites and rituals of the religious system but they failed to follow Him. In following Him they would have come to the crossroad of serving self or serving God. It is here that the truth of one’s heart is revealed. In this day of the great Apostasy the hearts of many are growing cold and unresponsive to Him and His Word. The forms of truth are retained but the active daily following of Him is replaced by the love of this world, by the busyness of religious programs, and in living a life of self-interest; this culminates in a life that no longer follows Him. Freedom from self with all of its wretched ways and miserable ends can only be found in the following of Him. To truly follow Him requires a forsaking of self. Religion is the “opiate of the masses”; it offers the appearance of a thing without the substance of the thing. It offers the sayings of Jesus without the required obedience to His words. It calls Him Lord but affords its adherents the means to escape actual obedience to Him by the soothing of the conscience with the very words of scripture. Early in Jesus’ life Satan came with great power and temptation by quoting the scriptures so that Jesus might seek to “save” His life supernaturally for all to see (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus refuted such temptation as He was not here to fulfill His will. His purpose was to fulfill the will of the Father.

There can be no true serving of Jesus without a life of actively following Him. It is evident that we are in the time of the great falling away. It is a very subtle and deadly affair of the heart when men and women cling to the words of Jesus without the following of Him. The subtlety of such a life is called deception and it is the way of spiritual decay and death. We remain static while He moves on in the will and the glory of the Father. We hear many say that God does not answer prayer. The wonder of His presence is lacking and in most places not even expected. We have become accustomed to the forms of religion without His presence and power. It is not because He has forsaken us; it is that we have ceased as a people to “follow Him”. He declares to the Church at Ephesus:

“But I have against you
that you left your first love…”
Revelation 2:4

The verse preceding this one states “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience…” The works continued but the love faded. The forsaking of their “first love” (pre-eminent love) was so critical to their place in God that His judgement upon such a people was the removal of His presence from their midst. The reason for the cooling of the heart of His people is the result of iniquity abounding.

“And because iniquity shall abound,
the love of many shall wax cold”
Matthew 24:12

The Greek word translated iniquity here does not fully imply gross sin. It speaks of lawlessness in that instead of obeying the commandments of Jesus we subtly set them aside declaring that we are now under grace. It is through the horror of this deceptive teaching that we are seeing the fervent love of many growing cold and indifferent. It is we who have forsaken the good and right way. The church has embraced teachers who bring in damnable heresies that turn His people from following Him to the serving of self and other things. We call Him Lord yet we set aside His commandments to obey the traditions and teachings of men. WE HAVE MADE THE WORD OF GOD OF NON-EFFECT! It is our own doing and God’s remedy is repentance and the return to our primary love.

“”This people honors Me with the lips,
but their heart is far away from Me; and in vain they worship Me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Isa. 29:13 8)
For forsaking the commandment of God,
you hold the tradition of men”
Mark 7:7-8

God has a simple answer for this generation and this time. It is the simplicity of obeying His commandments and following Him.

“If ye keep my commandments,
ye shall abide in my love”
John 15:10

The teaching of a grace that absolves His people from obedience to the commands of Jesus is a lie and deception of the devil himself! If we do not repent we will stand in the judgement of God as they who once knew the truth and turned away. This is the picture presented to us in the Parable of the Sower where the soil which grew weeds of the cares of self and this life and choked out the precious seed. This truth is presented throughout the New Testament to those who started out well yet grew cold and indifferent to Him in the end.

“For if by a full knowledge of the Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ, they have escaped the defilements of the world,
and again being entangled they have been overcome by these,
then their last things have become worse than the first.
For it was better for them not to have fully known
the way of righteousness, than fully knowing to turn from
the holy commandment delivered to them”
2 Peter 2:20-21 (LITV)

Let us find Grace in this day to finish the race which is set before us. Let us not grow weary in our following of Him for we shall surely reap if we faint not.

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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The Open Door

“For a great door
and effectual is opened unto me,

and there are many adversaries
1 Corinthians 16:9

Difficult and adversarial situations have no bearing upon the child of God. The Open Door into the things of our Father must be filled with opposition for this door can only be entered on the grounds of Faith; a Faith that is living, pressing and teeming with the life of God. Men who wait for all the conditions to be right will never know the hidden glories of God’s provisions.

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

The rich provision of God’s table is served in the midst of our enemies. It is there we find the nourishment and faithfulness of our God to provide all that we need to accomplish His works in and through our lives. John on the Isle of Patmos was banished to a forlorn and desolate place for his testimony of God. It is there that he sees a great door opened and the heavens drawn back to unveil the deep and dramatic unfolding of the Revelation of Christ! We must not draw back from the doors presented to us. We must not consider the opposition and the obstacles that stand in our way; for faith never walks by sight. Many men and women of God sit in faithless inactivity waiting for the opposition to be removed before venturing into the things they have been called to.

“He that observeth the wind shall not sow;
and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap”
Ecclesiastes 11:4

The reaping in a man’s life is always in proportion to his sowing. Great testing is about to unfold in our day and it is incumbent upon us to be in the now of His Will; to step out of the confines of our world and into the open doors of His world. The way of truth is not an intellectual commodity; it is the Life of Jesus being lived out in my life today. When Jesus said “I am the Truth” He proclaimed truth to be His Life in me; not some doctrinal understanding of a teaching, but the very breath and power of His life in my own heart. Men who accomplish the works of faith are blind to the obstacles that stand in their way. They see through the barriers, they see through the weaknesses in their own lives and the limitations of their own resources for faith sees His Will and nothing else. It is a day to “lift up our eyes”, in order to see past the circumstances and be found “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”.

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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VICTORY IN JESUS

“My little children,
these things write I unto you,
that ye sin not”
1JOHN 2:1

John’s writing here could be viewed as a stark contrast to what we call the gospel today. He presents here the reason why he wrote this magnificent epistle; the same reason we are to minister grace and truth to one another. All of our interactions with God’s people are to impart life and faith that we may grow up INTO HIM in all righteousness and truth. It is not by our own power that these victories are obtained. These things are only known by living in His Spirit.

“Not by might, nor by power,
but by my spirit,
saith the LORD of hosts”
Zechariah 4:6

Do you have mountains standing in your way which mock you and prevent you from this life of freedom? Seek the Lord, follow Him, commune and spend time in His presence. He died for us to walk in Him and be free. He paid the penalty for the shame and the defeat of our weaknesses. He ever lives to intercede on YOUR behalf that this life might be so. Faith is the undefeatable ministration of HIM to YOU. It will not fail, it will not allow for compromise and defeat. With every failure it rises up again for it is an eternal substance (Hebrews 11:1) with its author’s heartbeat. Men can be defeated, strong men will fail, but the man of Faith cannot succumb to any circumstance; they who are held in its power are kept by the very power of God unto a full and complete salvation (1Peter 1:5). It is time to throw off the sad and powerless teaching of today that tells you anything different. It is time to “Hearken unto the Lord” who speaks of much better things. It is time to let the faith of God arise in your heart as HE did in Zerubbabel’s day…

“Who art thou, O great mountain?
before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain:
and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof
with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it”
Zechariah 4:7

It is time to speak to the mountains that would hinder you from becoming strong in your God. It is time to realize that the obedience of the SON is of GREATER POWER than the disobedience of Adam! It is time to stop listening to the voices of defeat and compromise and begin to walk in the power of the SON! This ministration is not based upon man’s strength or power but it is within reach of us all because GOD has founded it upon faith that it may be sure!

“Therefore it is of faith,
that it might be by grace;
to the end the promise
MIGHT BE SURE to all the seed…”
Romans 4:16

We have an Advocate. We are not left to our own resources. HIS Word declares that “greater is HE that is in you than he that is in the world”. These words are true and it is unto those who believe, who rise up after defeats, who refuse to settle for anything other than victory, who will know of the POWER of HIS SALVATION. Let the weak say I am strong, the weary be filled with the JOY of His salvation, and let us rise up together in the goodness and mercy of our God. Jesus came to heal the lame, the halt and the crippled of this world and HE is still doing that today!

It is because of this that John writes these words of power…

“My little children,
these things write I unto you,
that ye sin not”
1JOHN 2:1

Ω

Now unto him
that is able to keep you from falling,
and to present you faultless
before the presence of his glory
with exceeding joy”
Jude 1:24

Brian Troxel

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“LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU”

“For this ye know* (see note below),
that no whoremonger (sexually impure),
nor unclean person, nor covetous man,
who is an idolater,
hath ANY inheritance
in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no man deceive you with vain words…”
Ephesians 5:5-6

How clear is the call of the New Testament to LIVE righteously! Men and woman who declare anything contrary to this are deceptively speaking empty and “vain words”. The Church in our day has been “deceived” with another Gospel; one in which people are comforted and excused for sin rather than delivered FROM sin by the power of God through faith. Faith is the means by which we are empowered to live a life of victory over sin, self and the world.

“For whatsoever is born of God
overcometh the world:
and this is the victory
that overcometh the world,

even our faith”
1John 5:4

We live in a day where sin is sympathized with, excused and tolerated. We speak as if the LOVE of God overlooks our sin and rebellion. God’s estimation of SIN is revealed by the necessity of the sacrifice of HIS SON at Calvary. By faith we have access to the “law of life in Christ Jesus” whereby we are enabled to live righteously in God! The true LIFE which Jesus came to give to every believer is one of victory and power. This life is known in reality by the power of the Holy Spirit putting to death the DEEDS of our body…

“For if ye live after the flesh,
ye shall die:
but if ye through the Spirit
do mortify the deeds of the body,
ye shall live”
Romans 8:13

The true life that God gives is one of righteousness. The Kingdom of God is not in having the necessities of this life rather it is “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”! Somehow the “gospel” of today absolves men and women from living righteously by a teaching that relieves them of any accountability. Woe to those who preach such a word and woe to those who listen to such things that are clearly contrary to the WORD of GOD. All will be without excuse.

“Who will render to every
man according to his deeds”
Romans 2:6

Jesus presents the Kingdom as a narrow way in which few will find its glory and wonder. We read in the Book of Revelation concerning those who will ENTER the gates of the CITY of God…

“And there shall in no wise
enter into it (The City of God)
ANY THING that defileth,
neither whatsoever worketh abomination,
or maketh a lie:
but they which are written
in the Lamb’s book of life”
Revelation 21:27

Righteousness lived here on earth by faith is the hope we have that is set before us. Faith is the divine enablement to LIVE righteously, HOPE is the power to energize our will to do so and LOVE is the fruit of this life! (Faith, Hope and Charity)

“And, behold, I come quickly;
and my reward is with me,
to give every man
according as his work shall be.
I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end,
the first and the last.
Blessed are they THAT DO his commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life,
and may enter in through the gates into the city
Revelation 22:12-14

*NOTE: Obviously this was common knowledge in the days of the early Church from which we have strayed greatly.

Brian Troxel

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SPIRITUAL SLUMBER

PART ONE

FALSE TEACHING

“Laziness makes one fall into a deep sleep…”
PROVERBS 19:15 (LITV)

Spiritual slumber is the result of spiritual laziness. False teaching, empty faithless works and spiritual pride are all factors that lend themselves to the horror of such a condition. The life of the true believer is characterized by the fear of the Lord. This healthy fear of the Lord produces a diligence that is the safeguard from this slumber that leads to death and deception. Paul in writing to the Corinthians said,

“I therefore so run,
not as uncertainly; so fight I,
not as one that beateth the air:

But I keep under my body,
and bring it into subjection:

lest that by any means,
when I have preached to others,

I myself should be a castaway”
1 CORINTHIANS 9:26-27

Paul clearly sets forth here the effect that the fear of the Lord produces in a man whose faith is active, living and real. This is a live truth that stands in stark contrast to the antinomian gospel that is prevalent in much of the church today. The antinomian gospel declares that because of grace I can live my life without consequence. This teaching presents the salvation of God as an event rather than a life which is contrary to the entire context of the scriptures set forth in the New Testament. The fruit of a thing is the revelation of the ACTUAL inherent life in it. Jesus did not say you will know them by their confession and their words. Judas, in the very act of betrayal, greeted Jesus with a kiss yet it was his works that revealed him as the son of perdition.

“A good tree CANNOT bring forth evil fruit,
neither can a corrupt tree
bring forth good fruit.

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit
is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them”
MATTHEW 7:18-20

The life of the true disciple of Christ is revealed by the intense desire to please and honour HIM in the everyday concourse of life. Contrary to the “evangelical gospel” of our day the PRIMARY purpose of the Gospel and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is to make us “witnesses unto HIM” not unto men.

“And he (Jesus) said unto them,
It is not for you to know
the times or the seasons,

which the Father hath put in his own power.
BUT YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER,
after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:
and YE SHALL BE WITNESSES UNTO ME
in Jerusalem,

and in all Judaea, and in Samaria,
and unto the uttermost part of the earth”
ACTS 1:7-8

The true teaching of the New Testament is to produce people whose lives are lived as a WITNESS unto HIM! The power of the HOLY SPIRIT is given to empower us to live pure and godly lives in all sincerity and authenticity unto HIM. Much of the church of today aims to please the world rather than God. We see compromise and “seeker friendly” strategies to “market” Jesus rather than to live in the power of the HOLY SPIRIT that brought conviction to the world. The false teaching of this hour portrays a gospel that seeks to befriend the world rather than convict it. It has produced a gospel that has reduced it to a “message” rather than a LIFE of power. The result of such a gospel is a church that is slumbering and lost. A “church” where the people have no other vision or purpose than to try and increase their numbers rather than “making disciples of Christ”; a gospel message that is more intent on filling the pews than glorifying the risen Christ. Rather than being humbled and broken over the divisions of denominations and the following of men they are proud and contented with a gospel that presents a divided church. This is not in keeping with the prayer of Jesus “that they may be ONE AS Thou art with Me and I am with Thee… THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW”.

Men and women who know that their lives are to be lived unto HIM are free from the opinions of men. They know intrinsically within their own hearts that they must give an account unto HIM for the life they live.

“Wherefore we labour,
that, whether present or absent,
WE MAY BE ACCEPTED OF HIM.
For we must all appear
before the judgment seat of Christ;

that every one may receive
the things done in his body,

according to that he hath done,
whether it be good or bad.

KNOWING THEREFORE
THE TERROR OF THE LORD,

we persuade men”
2 Corinthians 5:9-11

We clearly read here that Paul and the Church of his day “labored…to be accepted of HIM”! How does this fit into the complacent gospel of today? Paul WAS not speaking of working for his salvation. He was speaking of living a life unto God that was acceptable and well pleasing. Without this foundational truth the gospel becomes a man-centered worldly teaching rather than a Gospel pulsating with the Life of the Son who only lived to please His Father.

The fruit of such a gospel has produced a laziness that has engulfed much of the church today in a slumber that will bring great judgement.

God’s Word to those who have preached such a Gospel…

“His watchmen are blind:
they are all ignorant,
they are all dumb dogs,
they cannot bark (to warn others);
sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
Yea, they are greedy dogs
which can never have enough,
and they are shepherds
that cannot understand:
they all look to their own way,
every one for his gain,
from his quarter.
Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine,
and we will fill ourselves
with strong drink;
and to morrow shall be as this day,
and much more abundant”
ISAIAH 56:10-12

The “strong wine” of such a gospel produces slumber, worldliness, apathy, compromise and lack of conviction; the sins of the world are the sins of the church. It is upon such that the ends of the earth are about to fall and they know it not.

“None so deaf as those who will not hear”
Matthew Henry (1662–1714)

Brian Troxel

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WEARINESS

“Let us not grow weary in well doing…”
GALATIANS 6:9

Spiritual weariness comes to all who love Him. The journey is always longer than expected. We start our journey with great excitement and fervor of heart. Somewhere along the way we begin to discover that the thing we are looking for is not only eternal but its unfolding is directly related to our own development of character and purity of heart. Jesus was tested to the extreme; the word declares that HE was tempted in ALL points common to man, yet without sin. HE never knew failure or compromise. HE was weary, tired and tested beyond any measure of comparison with us.

Weariness comes to us all. It is part of the training and testing that we must pass through. We are here to be conformed into HIS very image and that in itself must impress upon us the NEED to walk in the same path that HE walked. For if the Father did not spare His only Begotten who are we to seek another way. The Good News is HE is here (present tense) to guard us and keep us as a loving Shepherd who watches with great diligence over His own. We are exhorted in the above scripture to not grow weary in “well doing”. Many of God’s people in this day are in danger of succumbing to the weariness of the way. We hear of people who have simply stopped “doing well” and have relinquished their walk to a daily subsistence of trying to get through the demands of each passing day. God has an answer for us! It is HOPE; a hope that is living and powerful. This hope communicates to the very soul of man a vitality and a faith that rises up to quell the darkness of our thinking, the trial of the mundane things that greet us each day, and the quiet whispers within our soul that say “there is no help for you in God”. We are told in the scriptures that HOPE makes us not ashamed. It will not leave us barren. It will not fail us if we hold fast to the confession of our faith and make that living HOPE our anchor in time of need.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful”
HEBREWS 10:23

Hope is the ability to see through the darkness and to know that beyond the thin veil of this present world (which is passing away) there is an eternal city shining with the Glory of our God. Its citizens have already passed through great trial and temptation and are watching our progress with great anticipation for us to complete that which God began with them* (Hebrews 11:39-12:1). We read of Abraham who lived in a strange country sustained by hope; “for he LOOKED for a City whose builder and maker is God”. We see Moses who endured great trials for 40 years because he saw Him who is invisible! We read of the lives of those who made a difference in their day not because they were strong but because their God was strong on their behalf. This present day of small things will and must give way to the dawning of His Life within His own who feel the pulse of His Hope and His purposes. It is in such a time as this that those who long for more of God, who thirst for more than just another Sunday sermon, will know within their hearts that God has something greater than what we see today.

Weariness and apathy are the great tests of our day to sift out the hearts of men and to reveal those who truly love and desire His presence above all other things. Let us not grow weary in well doing for WE SHALL REAP IF WE FAINT NOT. The promise of reaping, the promise of bearing fruit unto HIM, the promise of seeing the Body of Christ arise out of the ashes of religion into the glorious beauty that HE has purposed is enough to stir us afresh to not grow weary. May we see beyond the veil of the present state of things and be gripped with the promise of Him who says that WE SHALL REAP AND BEAR FRUIT UNTO HIM IF WE FAINT NOT.

“And let us not be weary in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap,
if we faint not”
GALATIANS 6:9

Ω

“The highest pinnacle of the spiritual life
is not happy joy in unbroken sunshine,
but absolute and undoubting trust in the love of God”
A. W. Thorold

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THE WAY TO PURITY

“How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word”
PSALM 119:9 (NASB)

Purity of heart is not only relative and progressive it is attainable! The simplicity of the above verse is powerful and within reach to every believer no matter the circumstances in which we may find ourselves. The provision for purity of heart, required by the scriptures, that enables us to see God is set before us to grow and delight in. The one requirement is simple and yet profound… obedience. By keeping His Word, reading it, cherishing it and DOING IT we receive the benefits of a heart that grows in purity and in that growing purity we see God more clearly and profoundly (Matthew 5:8). Obedience is the lamp by which we see His Face.

True obedience is by its very nature sacrificial. It is the way of the cross that leads us into the footsteps of the Son and the doorway into the growing dynamic of His life in us. In order to obey I must lay aside my will for His. I choose His Word and His Way over my own. In the doing of this I not only discover the hidden resources of His Life but I find His Word preserving my life in Him from the trappings and temptations of this world. For example:

“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes”
PSALM 101:3

By taking heed to this I am preserving my thought life and the purity of my heart. In embracing such a powerful truth I must disobey the lust and desire of the old man and keep the integrity of the new man that is being created in His Image! How simple and just are His ways. By the keeping of His Word we grow in righteousness and peace. In the keeping of His Word we are freed from the wages of sin and death! Obedience is the only way to know of this purity.

“Seeing ye have purified your souls
in obeying the truth through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love of the brethren…”
1 PETER 1:22

Though the keeping of His Word is simple in its application it does require the empowering and enabling work of the Holy Spirit to see us through. Within the confines of a growing relationship with our God there is the constant need for us to walk, live and move within His Holy Spirit. The more we obey His Word the easier it is to know of this divine enablement. With each new step into the transforming Life of the Son we find our great Shepherd leading us onward in the “paths of righteousness”. How precious and glorious are His Ways!

Ω

“The proximate result of obedience to God
is inward conformity to the Divine image”
Charles Hodge

Brian Troxel

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