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Posts Tagged ‘Overcoming’

Taking the Land

“And you shall take possession of the land* (see note)
and settle in it, for I have given the land
to you to possess it”
Numbers 33:53

Our apprehension of God’s Word is by degrees; its sphere of influence grows as we yield to its dominion. Our ability to impact the lives of others will be to the degree to which our own heart has been impacted. The work of truth starts within our own hearts. Its power must be felt within our own lives before we can effectively move in ministration into the lives around us. God’s purpose is that by His Spirit, His Truth and the Life of the Son we begin to take possession of our own hearts.

“In your patience possess ye your souls”
Luke 21:19

There is a warfare, a battle of extreme proportions within our own being. The enemies are real and they are more powerful than we. It is in the crucible of our own victories whereby we minister grace and power into the lives of others. The land within must be taken; the enemies of self-will, self-determination and self-seeking must be conquered by the operation of His Spirit within. The lessons learned from these battles equip us to understand the struggles of those around us. We discover patience, mercy and wisdom from our own frailties.

King David fought his own battles hidden far and away from the sight of others. These were his preparation for Israel’s Goliath. Had David not had victory over the lion and the bear he would not have had the faith and fortitude to face Goliath. His personal battles prepared him for Israel’s foes. It is no different today. The land of our hearts must be conquered if we would be vessels of honor unto Him. The battle must be fought with spiritual weapons not carnal ones. It is something we learn.

“Blessed be the Lord my strength,
which teaches my hands to war,
and my fingers to fight”
Psalm 144:1

The first step is knowing that the “Lord is our strength”. Just like Peter, it will not take long to discover the unreliability of our own resolve. Let us take courage even in our defeats for, as Peter, we have a “High Priest” who is ever interceding on our behalf.

“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 Life of Christ is found and experienced on the battlegrounds of our own heart! His Life must be individually apprehended by the personal pursuit of every believer. The Apostle beckons us to

“work out your OWN salvation with fear and trembling”
Philippians 2:12

No one else can work this out for you. Just as Jesus must be our personal Saviour so also is our ongoing relationship with Him. The Prize is attained individually as is the reward.

“To the one who is victorious, I will give the hidden manna.
I will also give him (individually)
a white stone inscribed with a new name,

known only to the one who receives it”
Revelation 2:17

It is in these things that we become partakers of His Victory. We are to overcome even as He overcame.

“To him that overcomes
will I grant to sit with me in my throne,
even as I also overcame,
and am set down with my Father in his throne”
Revelation 3:21

The validity of His Life working in us is expressed in victory over the enemies of our hearts.

“Who is he that overcomes the world,
but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
1 John 5:5

There can be no victory without the struggle; there can be no Crown without the Victory.

It takes fortitude, grace, hope, holy determination and the Lord as our strength. Let us not grow weary or faint-hearted for greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world!

*Note: Within the New Testament understanding the Promised Land represented a life that can be entered into here in this life. It is not a representation of Heaven but a life which is to be “entered into” in the here and now.

“Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. Do not be stubborn like those who rebelled. Who were they who heard God and rebelled? All who came out of Egypt with Moses rebelled. With whom was he disgusted for forty years? He was disgusted and angry with those who sinned and died in the desert. Who did God swear would never enter his rest? He was talking about those who did not obey him. We see that they could not enter in on account of a lack of faith (unbelief) (disobedience). While the promise of entering his rest remains, let us fear that one of you might come up short and not enter. Indeed, we have had good news presented to us. They also had it. But the word that was heard did not benefit them because they were not united in faith by what was heard (Hebrews 3:15 – 4:2)

The above declaration by the Holy Spirit defines a people who by faith came out of Egypt (salvation from the world) but failed to enter into the land of promise because of unbelief (disobedience); the good news of their day was not apprehended. So too, in the New Testament understanding, we are to enter in on the basis of a living faith (obedience). The exhortation to those who know of His salvation is to GO ON into the fullness of His life within. It is by faith we drive out the enemies of deceit, lying, lust, envy, jealously and all the other works of the flesh; for they who do these things shall not enter the kingdom of God.

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21)

The exhortation to God’s people (who have already tasted of God’s gracious deliverance from the world) is one of going on into His fullness. Anything else is falling short of His purposes in Christ.

“Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest,
lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief”
Hebrews 4:11

God has given us this land, past tense, even as the land had been given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. However, there came a time when His people had to possess it by entering in and driving out the enemies who inhabited it.

“for I have given the land to you to possess it”
Numbers 33:53

The promises of God in Christ have been given to those who by faith have overcome the enemies within and the world without. To them alone are his promises fulfilled.

“He that hath an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life,
which is in the midst of the paradise of God”
Revelation 2:7

“He that hath an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death”
Revelation 2:11

The “gospel” of today preaches the promises without the overcoming. It tells His people they have already entered into the Kingdom of God while living and abiding in the “works of the flesh”. It is a solemn day and we must avail ourselves of His power to live above and beyond our own resources. The faith of God has caused us to find in HIM all the enablement to overcome and possess our possessions in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Wrestling

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood*,
but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Ephesians 6:12

Wrestling is the reality of a life in Christ. The life of a healthy Christian is one of standing and contending for the faith. We must continually and intentionally withstand the world, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life and the subtlety of compromise and collusion. Warfare is the natural response of those who are alive in Christ. Many who call themselves by His name have no sense of the nature and intensity of this warfare. Paul is speaking from his own experience. To be alive unto Christ is to be an antagonism to the world, principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. To claim to be alive and yet not engaged in this battle makes us dead to the reality of a life in the spirit.

“I know your works.
You have the reputation of being alive,
but you are dead”
Revelation 3:1

This is the Word of the Lord to His Church located in Sardis. How few realize the enormity of this Word. This is a church where His name is used freely and there is much activity with people who are eager to build up “their” church organization or fellowship. Wherever the motive is to be popular and relevant in the eyes of the world the preaching of righteousness is forsaken. This is the environment of a dead and impotent church; it has a reputation of being alive and “current” but it has ceased to contend for the faith. The “knowledge of the holy” is so lacking that people see no reason to wrestle with the unholy alliances of flesh, spiritual powers, spiritual wickedness and the resulting compromise. They have become insensitive to the contagion of the world and are unaware of what the “normal Christian Life” is. It is a situation that brings the very judgements of God! Consider the judgement pronounced on the Church at Sardis (unless they repented) and the greatness of His promise to those who overcome the apostasy and lethargy of their condition (Revelation 3:3-5).

A modern day “gospel” which declares that God loves His church and would never bring judgement upon His people is the LIE of the Devil himself. “You shall not die” were his words to Eve to deceive her into disobedience and judgment. Those who are ignorant of the warfare are unaware of the reality of walking in the Spirit. Deception is anything that keeps us from walking in the truth.

“The reason why men do not look to the Church today
is that she has destroyed her own influence
by compromise”
G. Campbell Morgan

Ω

“No one serving as a soldier
entangles himself in the affairs of this life,
that he might please the One having enlisted him”
2 Timothy 2:4

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

 

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Thought for Today

The Expectancy of the Faithful

“Let your loins be girded about,
and your lights burning;
And ye yourselves like unto men
that wait for their lord”
Luke 12:35-36

This is the posture of those in whom the fire of God is burning. They are not inactive and their faith is not passive; the anticipation of His coming has caused them to walk circumspectly. Their light is burning with the intensity of those who live with the expectancy of His return for this is the faith of the Bride who is making herself ready for Him. The slumber of a faithless church has not invaded their hearts. They are watchful and wide awake even in the twilight hours of a world that is passing its time in willing ignorance.

“For this they willingly are ignorant of…”
2 Peter 3:5

It is not an ignorance in which they are born. This is an ignorance that is the product of a stubborn refusal to acknowledge God. Men choose to darken their understanding by a determination to ignore the conscience within their own hearts.

The attitude of those who have their loins girded with truth speaks of a self-discipline to remove themselves from the passions and lusts of this world. There is an active living faith which is pursuing the victory over self and the world. There is a constant discovery of the sufficiency of His grace to rise above the fallen Adamic nature in the reality of life. It is through faith we can enter into this grace (Romans 5:2) which will give an ability to escape the desires of this world in order to be prepared for the One to come.

“Whereby are given unto us
exceeding great and precious promises:
that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption
that is in the world through lust”
2 Peter 1:4

“Be ye therefore ready also:
for the Son of man cometh
at an hour when ye think not”
Luke 12:40

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Thought for Today

Light my candle

The Treasures of Darkness

“For thou wilt light my candle:
the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.”
Psalm 18:28

Darkness comes to all who walk in the light. “And the evening and the morning were the first day”. The days of God are all “evening and morning” until we reach the last Day in which there will be no darkness for eternity. Note that the Days of God begin with the evening; the darkness is only to bring us to a greater light. The ways of God are always progressive.

“But the path of the just is as the shining light,
that shineth more and more unto the perfect day”
Proverbs 4:18

The dark seasons of life are given to us for our good and our development. Adversity and resistance are designed to make us strong, unmovable and steadfast in spirit. There are hidden treasures and supplies within the dark places of our lives; resources to be found in the living Christ as we overcome. In adversity we are instructed to grow in the grace and beauty of our Lord. Let us not despise His ways but wait patiently and expectantly for those treasures that He will give!

“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness,
and hidden riches of secret places,
that thou mayest know that I, the Lord…”
Isaiah 45:3

Just as Samson found honey within the carcass of the lion that had attacked him His people find the table of His provision in the presence of their enemies. Caleb declared that the giants of the promised land would be bread for them; so are the trials and situations in which we find ourselves. It is here that the fruit of His Spirit grows and ripens to maturity.

The fruits of the Spirit are all interconnected. The patience (endurance) of the Spirit is the fruit of a living Hope; the Joy of the Spirit comes from the power of a Faith to believe in the midst of trials; the Peace of God comes from the power of a love which sends away all fear. These are the treasures of darkness which are found by those who walk and live in Him. Let us be assured that the darkness cannot overcome those who cling to the light of His Life within.

“But he knoweth the way that I take:
when he hath tried me,
I shall come forth as gold”
Job 23:10

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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“THE TIME OF SEALING”

sound the alarm

“And it shall come to pass at that time
That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men
who are settled
* in complacency, who say in their heart,
‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil.”

ZEPHANIAH 1:12

In this time of silence preceding the conclusion of all that God began in Christ, there is a searching and a measuring of men’s hearts where eternal destinies are being determined. It is a subtle hour and a most critical time as the lamps of some begin to grow dim as the Bridegroom tarries. The Hebrew word used here for settled* (see below) means to become thick, slow and curdled. It speaks of people who start out well but who, as time passes, become set in their ways and are no longer flexible. They are no longer able to flow in the purposes of their God. Their waiting has turned into stagnation; the brightness of their hope has become dim. The vision has turned from a quest and a pursuit into a doctrinal concept that no longer energizes their hearts and minds. This is a slow and certain death; it is the enemy of us all! Slowly the obscurity falls like a veil over the heart and the whispers of the enemy speak with great cunning and craftiness, “what difference does it make, nothing seems to make a difference, I will just “settle” here and live comfortably…” In other words, “The Lord will not do good, nor evil” I will just pass the time here as other men. If calamity comes I will “then” be ok..

It is in this time throughout the history of God’s dealings with men that there is a marking and a sealing; a determining and a measuring of the hearts of His people. In the silence there are great things at work as God prepares for the unveiling of all that He has purposed. May we consider a couple of examples….

“And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city,
through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads
of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be
done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing,
Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare,
neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids,
and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon
whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary…”

EZEKIEL 9:4 – 6

“And I saw another angel ascending from the east,
having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice
to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees,
till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads”

REVELATION 7:2 – 3

It is a Day for seeking out those who “cry and sigh” over the state of His House; to dig deep and hide ourselves within the secret place of the Most High. It is a Day to speak, encourage and admonish the people of God to fight off the slumber of this hour, to pray and build up our lives on “our most Holy Faith”. It is a Day to seek out that fellowship that will challenge and provoke us unto the ardent pursuit of Christ Jesus our Lord. It is a Day to know in the reality of our hearts the setting aside of all that this world can offer to purchase that Pearl of great price. This is a costly thing, more than just a casual walk, more than just a religious concept; it is the Battle for Life…HIS LIFE.

“TO HIM THAT OVERCOMES…”

Can we not hear the Word to us, “TODAY”? May the Lord press upon our hearts that we are brothers and sisters of one great family, and BECAUSE of that we speak, we cry out and we plead with one another that we may assemble ourselves together in fear of the Lord and in the awareness of the hour in which we live!

*Note: קָפָא qāpāʼ: A verb meaning to curdle, to congeal; to become settled, stagnant. It refers to something standing still or slowing down its movement, becoming thick (Ex. 15:8). It is used figuratively of a person in great suffering being curdled, tossed about like hardening cream (Job 10:10). It depicts a dead or stagnant spirit in a person (Zeph. 1:12). It means, used with reference to the heavenly bodies, to shrink, to lose brightness (Zech. 14:6).  (S. Zodhiates)

Brian Troxel

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OVERCOMING and REVELATION

“To him that overcomes
will I give to eat of the hidden manna…”
Revelation 2:7

It is not the process of overcoming that entitles us to eat of this “hidden mana” for there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. However, it is in overcoming that we grow in our capacity to eat and walk within the provisions of this manna. Doctrine and teaching require simply a certain intellect; but living truth is ministered to us according to our development not our intellect. Jesus said to His disciples…

“I have yet many things to say unto you,
but ye cannot bear (support) them now”
John 16:12

The disciples’ lack of character and spiritual maturity hindered Jesus from sharing the deeper things. With the promise of the coming Holy Spirit the very nature and outlook of these same men would be radically transformed into new vessels. It is grievous to see and hear men and women speak of deep and wondrous truths with the flippancy of just another teaching. They neither understand nor are able to carry truth in a spirit of humility and the fear of God. They speak of Judgements, Sonship and other precious truths without the depth of character which should humble rather than exalt them. Martin Luther, whom God used to restore the truth of justification by faith, declared that the most dangerous doctrine in the church was “any truth carnally received”. Knowledge attained by carnal means “puffs up” without the ability to love and edify others. The real and living truth of God is the revelation of Christ Himself to the individual with the express purpose ministering to others by the development of the love of God. Any time there is a true seeing of Him men and women are immediately humbled and broken; for no flesh shall glory in His presence. Those who speak of high and lofty things without the corresponding humility and fear of the Lord have seen nothing but carnal concepts.

The true knowledge of God is revealed to those who have been weaned from the milk of the word to eat the meat of the word. The difference between these two stages of the Christian life is easily discerned. The milk of the word is for those who taste of its wonder and provision as an infant in Christ. This is a stage of great growth and delight to the Father’s heart.

“As newborn babes,
desire the sincere milk of the word,
that ye may grow thereby”
1 Peter 2:2

The issue is there is a failure to go on into the maturity of Him. The stage of the “strong meat” is where His people began to obey, walk and live God’s word. Jesus said to His disciples at the well of Samaria:

“…he said unto them,
I have meat to eat that ye know not of…
My meat is to DO the will of him that sent me,
and to finish his work”
John 4:32-34

While many in God’s house linger in the infancy stage the strong meat of God’s Word is withheld from them. It is not a question of “earning” it but of having a life that is able to bear the revelation of His character and heart. Men and women may be Christians for 50 years with all kinds of “deep” teachings and doctrines yet never able to become like Him in heart and character. There is no growth through the intellectual apprehension of a truth in God. Change only comes by virtue of SEEING HIM; where the life and soul of the beholder is humbled and captivated by a Holiness beyond description. The “strong meat” of the word is withheld from the carnal, the unstable, the proud and self-seeking ones for it must be borne in broken and contrite hearts. Purity of heart is necessary to see God in a way that affects the entire being. Truth is not a teaching; it is a portion of the life of Jesus and its apprehension is proportional to the purity of our hearts.

“Blessed are the pure in heart
For they shall see God”
Matthew 5:6

The milk of the Word, as good and precious as it is, must give way to the “strong meat”. The Epistle to the Hebrews was a strong admonishment to people who were failing to leave the milk:

“Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe” Hebrews 5:11-13

The Apostle goes on to say…

“But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” Hebrews 5:14

The condition of our hearts determines the depth of our understanding in the things of God.

“Whom shall he teach knowledge?
and whom shall he make to understand doctrine?
them that are weaned from the milk,
and drawn from the breasts”
Isaiah 28:9

The Way into the Holy things of God will be discovered by those whose hearts desire purity (freedom from agendas and recognition) and obedience. This is the very “meat” and sustenance of the true seeker of God.

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man,
I put away childish things”
1 Corinthians 13:11

Many hold to deep teachings and concepts which can only result in a life…

“having a form of godliness,
but denying the power thereof:
from such (we are to) turn away…”
2 Timothy 3:5

Paul continues by declaring these same people are those who are…

“Ever learning, and never able to come
to the knowledge of the truth…”
2 Timothy 3:7

It is a day to be sober and honest within the very core of our being for an intellectual relationship with God will not sustain us in this hour. It is time to turn to Him with honest, open and contrite hearts and seek Him for Himself alone. May we cast off the things we count as “gain” in our standing with Him and come with purity of purpose and faith unfeigned. It is here we will see Him in truth which will bring a full transformation from all that we are (2 Corinthians 3:18).

“Knowledge without repentance
will be but a torch to light men to hell.”
Thomas Watson

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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The Secret of Receiving from God

“To him that overcometh will I give…”
Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26-28, 3:5, 3:12, 3:21

His table is set for us in the midst of our perplexities and adversaries (Psalm 23:5). His bread is rich in the spiritual nutrients of grace and the fruits of His Spirit. It is not in the absence of trouble that we grow and develop; rather it is in the midst of the very things which seek to undermine us. It is in the very face of our adversities that we are outfitted to walk and apprehend his call.

Little did Joseph’s brothers know that in their treatment of Joseph they were in fact unwitting vessels setting in motion the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Saul did not comprehend that his pursuit and envy of David were the means through which God raised a man after His own heart. Whether it is apathy, envy or distrust of our brothers and sisters, the forgetful butler (Gen. 40:23) or the unfeeling jailers of God’s people, the vision stands sure. God will accomplish His ends if we hold fast to the faith He has placed within our hearts.

It is not simply those who have vision who will receive of God’s gracious hand. It is those who overcome through hope in God’s vision who receive the prize of the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. Doctrinal visions fade with the passing of time. However, a vision received in the heart, held by hope in the ONE who cannot lie, is an unassailable power which will persevere until the day dawns and His purpose is fulfilled.

Overcoming is simply the result of His Life beating within our breast. His Life is the resurrection from death itself. No grave or disappointment can withstand Him. So not only do we hold to His promises but with the passage of time is the realization that we are held by Him! Through the mountains and valleys of our journey the flame of hope lights our way even in the darkest of nights. The flicker of the eternal keeps us bound to the vision He has birthed. As Paul stood before Agrippa bound in chains, held fast within the Roman penal system, he declared with all boldness…

“Whereupon, O king Agrippa,
I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”
Acts 26:19

True vision holds one to a life of obedience regardless of the circumstances. This was not a personal vision which held Paul; it was a “heavenly” one and as such it could not fade because of earthly circumstances. This vision supplies to the beholder faith, obedience and the wonder of Hope as an anchor to our soul. Those who let the vision fade become weary, pragmatic and compromised in a world which seeks to undermine the intense fire of all true pilgrims.

Overcomers are those who keep their feet moving forward, their hearts beating with the fervor of a love which cannot be quenched. In their times of discouragement and failure they rise because of a Hope that cannot be denied. True overcomers are those who follow the “heavenly vision”.

“So often we have a kind of vague,
wistful longing that the promises of Jesus should be true.
The only way really to enter into them
is to believe them with the clutching intensity
of a drowning man”
William Barclay

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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