Quote for Today – Alexander MacLaren

Quote for Today

“That is a solemn fact worth making very clear to ourselves, that the profoundest spiritual decline may be going on in us, and we be all unconscious of it. Samson wist not that his strength was departed from him,’ and in utter ignorance he tried to perform his old feats, only to find his weakness. So the life of our spirits may have ebbed away, and we know not how much blood we have lost until we try to raise ourselves and sink back fainting. Like some rare essence in a partially closed vessel, put away in some drawer, we go to take it out and find nothing but a faint odour, a rotten cork, and an empty phial. The sure way to lose the precious elixir of a Christian life is to shut it up in our hearts. No life is maintained without food, air, and exercise. We must live on the bread of God which came down from heaven, and breathe the breath of His life-giving Spirit, and use all our power for Him, or else, for all our name to live, and our shrunken, feeble imitations of the motions of life, the eyes which are as a flame of fire will see the sad reality, and the lips into which grace is poured will have to speak over us the one grim word – dead.”
– Alexander MacLaren

Quote for Today – C.P. Thwing

Quote for Today

Spiritual Decay

“One cause of spiritual death is self-satisfaction. A traveler lost on the prairie, with the snow falling fast and thick, with his blood coursing slowly, feels that sense of ease which the opium-eater knows. He lies down in the soft white drifts. They make an easy bed. His friends find him and try to arouse him. He would rather be left undisturbed. His self-satisfaction works his death. King George III. was satisfied with his government of the American colonies; he therefore refused to remedy its abuses, and his satisfaction cost him these colonies. Upon all who are satisfied with their standing before God the chill of spiritual death has begun to rest. They can no more draw spiritual life from themselves, than one can feed his body by sucking blood from its veins. Therefore, satisfied with their relation to God, they do not strive to gain life from Him who is the source of the life spiritual, as He is of the life physical. Their self-satisfaction works the ruin of their souls

But more frequently than by self-satisfaction is the spiritual life killed by the indulgence of some sin. Many a man has felt he could surrender his entire property to God; but when the temptation arose of making a hundred dollars by a trick of the trade, he has chosen to be dishonest. But the sin may not be one of commission. It may consist in the omission of some duty. It may consist in the refusal of some means of grace. It may consist in the preference of doing nothing to advance God’s cause. Such sins of omission deaden the spiritual life. But in general the sin consists in the choice of some other good than the good which the Christian life affords.”
C.P. Thwing

DROWSINESS

Drowsiness

“…drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags”
Proverbs 23:21

Drowsiness is simply the final interval prior to the fullness of slumber. It is a place of great danger for the Christian. It is very easy to become so alive to this world, its needs, desires and demands that it robs from us from our real need: to stay vitally aware of our life before God. We are exhorted in the scriptures to be vigilant to keep our garments white in this day of great apathy.

“Blessed is he that watcheth,
and keepeth his garments”
Revelation 15:16

In this day of drowsiness and slumber it is essential that we find ourselves in a living fellowship with others who seek out and desire to stir up in one another the fires and ministrations of the Holy Spirit. So few in this day want the ministrations of exhortation and admonition; men do not desire such. They want to hear only good things. Those who have received the “love of the Truth” want the truth. They recognize their own need for the searchlight of God to penetrate the blindness of their hearts. His Word is living and is sharper than any two edged sword. The fact is not all men desire or want accountability. When they are struggling with sin they would rather go to someone who is defeated than to one who has overcome. They want sympathy not victory. This type of “fellowship” will always lead to drowsiness and spiritual death. God has spoken to us of His provision…

“And let us consider one another
to provoke unto love and to good works:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:
and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”
Hebrews 10:24-25

This is God’s answer to meet the drowsiness of this hour; exhortation and strong encouragement “unto love and good works”. We see so little in terms of exhortation, true love and the doing of good works which honor and glorify our God!

It is obvious the spirit of slumber has taken hold of the people of God in our day. They have become comfortable and sleepy due to the lack of exhortation and the strong admonition of the Word of God. The Word to us from Hebrews chapter ten is a command (so renders the parsing of the original Greek) not a suggestion. We read these things as if they did not apply to us. We read with a faithless sigh of apathy rather than as a promise from God and His way to keep our hearts on fire and awake, ready for His appearing. The fellowship of the Spirit is always full of these things and those who desire “truth in the inward parts” seek out this grace with others.

To yield to the drowsiness of this hour will end in our spiritual garments becoming rags rather than robes of righteousness. God speaking to His Own in the Book of Revelation says…

“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain,
that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works
perfect before God.
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard,
and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch,
I will come on thee as a thief,
and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis
which have not defiled their garments;
and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment;
and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life,
but I will confess his name before my Father,
and before his angels”
Revelation 3:2-5

Let us turn from the slothful ways of this hour and seek out those who would “walk in white” in the reality of His Spirit. Men reveal their hearts by what they do, not by what they say. It is time for us to seek and search out those who hear the call of God to “strengthen the things that remain”.

“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to sleep:
So shall thy poverty come…”
Proverbs 6:10

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Spiritual Identity

SPIRITUAL IDENTITY

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

Spiritual identity is the fruit of obedience. Those who hear the word without doing it will spend their entire Christian experience void of any sense of spiritual identity. They will remain undeveloped children of God without a sense of knowing their call or expression. This state of many of the people of God in our land is the result of an empty gospel that does not call men and women to radical faith; faith that is not in word and doctrinal statements but a faith that is characterized by obedience. James goes on to say…

“For if any be a hearer of the word,
and not a doer,
he is like unto a man
beholding his natural face in a glass:
For he beholdeth himself,
and goeth his way,
and straightway forgetteth
what manner of man he was”
JAMES 1:23-24

It is in the doing that we grow into the knowing of who our God is and in the discovery of this we begin to lay hold of who HE is in US. Many go from meetings every Sunday, to reading the latest teaching on the internet, going to conferences, and accessing all manner of books and resources. Yet they remain undefined and lost in terms of a real knowing of who they are in God. This dearth of understanding within the household of faith cannot be remedied by more teaching and more sermons. One act of obedience will bring greater clarity to an individual’s heart than twenty sermons; the things of God become clear when we hear His Word and OBEY it.

“But whoso looketh
into the perfect law of liberty,
and continueth therein,
he being not a forgetful hearer,
but a doer of the work,
this man shall be blessed in his deed”
JAMES 1:25

We do not see this expression in the New Testament. Men and women were of such stature that they knew their call and their identity. It is those who have come to know God via obedience that grow into confident expressions of His glory and power. Those who obey not know not. Forgetful hearing will never produce an expression that is able to articulate God with precision and power. Consider Peter as he interacted with the crippled man at the temple gate… “Then Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”. There was no prayer meeting just the simplicity of a man who knew that he was in God and that God was in him. The same Jesus whom he declared is alive in our hearts today to produce living epistles known and read of all men. The impotent gospel preached in our land is incapable of producing these expressions. The power and authenticity of a thing is revealed by its fruit. We need not look very hard to see what the “churchianity” of today has produced; an environment where many have become insensitive and unaware to the call of God.

God has called us unto GLORY AND VIRTUE not an impotent religious life.

“According as his divine power
hath given unto us all things
that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him
that hath called us to
GLORY and VIRTUE”
2 PETER 1:3

Brian Troxel

SPIRITUAL SLUMBER Part One False Teaching

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

PROVISIONS

PROVISIONS

“Prepare your provisions,
for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan
to go in to take possession of the land
that the Lord your God is giving you to possess”
JOSHUA 1:11

Though the manna was still falling every day Israel was now preparing for war; the trials of the wilderness were giving way to the reality of battle. The manna was God’s provision but it was now time for God’s people to be weaned off the manna and begin to prepare their own provisions. They would soon have to live off the Land they were to enter. The manna was for a season only and it ceased WHEN they had eaten of fruit of the land!

“And the manna ceased on the morrow
after they had eaten of the old corn of the land;
neither had the children of Israel manna anymore;
but they did eat of the fruit
of the land of Canaan that year”
JOSHUA 5:12

Sadly some of God’s people are still waiting to be fed when they should be preparing their own provisions so that they may be ready for warfare and be able to feed others. They sit passively in a pew, while someone else feeds and waters them, rather than reading God’s word and finding their own provisions to make them strong and vital in the army of the Lord.

Transition is normal and necessary for a healthy and active life in God. Too many of us settle into a life that has become stagnant and stunted in growth and development. To enter in into new places in God will require a change in our provisions. New resources will be required to enter into the things that we are called to.

We read in John of Jesus coming to Jacob’s well and the scriptures testify that Jesus was “wearied with the journey” and sent the disciples into the city to buy food. While Jesus sat at the well a woman came for water and Jesus began to minister unto her. When the disciples returned with food Jesus said he was no longer hungry; in the doing of His Father’s Will He Himself was fed.

“In the mean while his disciples prayed him,
saying, Master, eat.
But he said unto them,
I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
Therefore said the disciples one to another,
Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
Jesus saith unto them,
My meat is to do the will of him that sent me,
and to finish his work”
JOHN 4:30-33

The disciples had not yet learned of this provision but they would learn of it in the days ahead. In the Tabernacle there were three distinct offerings or provisions of bread as they traveled in the wilderness. In the Outer Court (which was their present experience) was the gathering of the manna that was wonderfully provided by God. In the Holy Place the priests had access to the table of showbread (Heb. Bread of the Presence or more literally Bread of the Face to be discussed in a later writing). In the Holy of Holies there was the “hidden Manna” that was found within the Ark of the Covenant, overshadowed by the very Shekinah Glory of God. In Revelation the “hidden Manna” is given to those who have overcome. This “hidden manna” is the bread of those who have engaged in the life of battle and victory. It is a provision for those who have “overcome” the enemies of their own hearts and the compromise and issues of the condition of the church of their day.

“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 hidden manna
REVELATION 2:17

Each of these distinct phases of provision from our heavenly Father is to be an experiential reality in our lives. To remain content with being fed and watered by others is to miss out on the vitality and wonder of our own relationship with God. It is vital that we go on into the deeper things of God for there are always new provisions. May God stir us afresh to GROW into the “strong meat” that HE desires to give us (Hebrews 5:14). Let us leave the “milk of the Word” as it can no longer sustain us in the normal progression of a healthy life in God. A child must be weaned from breast milk in order to grow and so must we! Growth is the EVIDENCE of LIFE.

“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 useth milk
is unskilful in the word of righteousness:
for he is a babe”
HEBREWS 5:12-13

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ,
let us go on…”
HEBREWS 6:1

Brian Troxel