Spiritual Discernment – Self-Deception

Spiritual Discernment

Self-Deception

The foundation of spiritual discernment lies in the condition of our own hearts. If the fog and mists of deception cloud the verity of our own hearts the divine enablement to perceive error will be greatly diminished. True discernment will be as real and as sharp without as the objectivity with which we allow Him to examine our own heart. As we are honest within it allows us to have understanding and to see clearly the deception without. Purity of heart and freedom from our own agendas must be a reality in order for us to see peril in the lives of others. Obedience is God’s provision to free us from the contagion of self. It is there that presumption and delusion are met with the reality of our own condition. Those who never walk in the “faith” they hold live in a surreal world; their beliefs have never been challenged in the real world and the confidence of their standing in God is an illusion. Jesus sent out the disciples to walk in the substance of that which he gave them. It was in their actual handling of His life within the context of their own experiences that they learned their own inadequacy and their dependence on Him.

In our world today many Christians have not stepped out into the discovery of who Christ is in them. The knowledge about Him is not tempered by a life of obedience. It is a knowledge which is ethereal, unproven and conceptual. Lack of real and personal involvement in the things of the Son is in itself a deception that prevents the power of God from being revealed in the world around us. The deception of self is the greatest of all deceptions and requires diligence to prevent it.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence;
for out of it are the issues of life.”
Proverbs 4:23

Brian Troxel

The Case for God

The Case for God

“And God said unto Moses,
I AM THAT I AM”
Exodus 3:14

Lost within the complex maze of religion there is a bright and shining truth: God is God. Men and women seek to define the mystery of God with words, doctrines and dogmas.  In so doing they invariably end up with an image or a concept of something which has little or no relationship to His true being. Through the ages people have established images and methods of worship in order to appease their inner sense of knowing that He exists. Religion is merely the invention of men seeking to unravel the mystery; to find the wonder of God within the riddle of their innate consciousness of His reality. Even the atheist acknowledges the idea of God by his determination to argue His non-existence. This sense of God is universal for within creation lies the thumbprint and the effervescence of His certainty. The idea of matter coming into existence out of nothing is in itself an absurdity. Neither can life and consciousness of being spring forth from inanimate matter. To hold the notion that the birth of a life is the summation of mindless, inanimate specks of the material world evolving themselves from nothingness into the spark of a living soul is to deny all logic or reason.

One of the fundamental laws of Being is that inanimate matter is incapable of the acknowledgement of its own existence.

“I AM THAT I AM”

This is the declaration of God Himself. What is true in Him is true of us. We are who we are. This sounds trite and banal yet at the core of this acknowledgment is the rationale as to who we are. The mystery of self is in itself proof of God’s existence. It is this sense of being and self wherein lies the spark and inspiration for the contemplation and inquiry into the mystery of God.

The verity of our being is the validation of His being.

The distinctiveness of each life, the individuality and uniqueness of every living thing, speaks of a creator who is capable of infinite thought and design. The concept of uniqueness communicates an aspect of His attentive design to every one of us! We need look no further than the mystery of the singularity of every living thing to recognize a creator. Every tree, flower, animal and human, though each may be of the same species, differs in its own being. The fir tree, though bearing a likeness to all other fir trees, is still differentiated by its own being. Its bent, its limbs and overall structure are the result of the master creator. All creation has purpose and design within our own experiential reality.

The interaction of the forces of nature express the integrated logic of design. The wind, rain and heat shape and form the beauty of mountains, canyons and deserts. Rivers cut into the various geographical features of our world producing beauty that fills our souls with awe. All are expressions of the design of God. The fact that we are created by His design and then set into this world to be formed and shaped by our interactions with the rest of His creation speaks of His continued interest in each of us. The ongoing works of God are the means and method of Him finishing what He has begun. The living tree, ever becoming more of itself through the process of life, is a mere reflection of God’s work in the human soul. Trees which have suffered great injury respond by becoming very unique from their counterparts. Life is the ability to respond and react to the experiences around us. It is this reaction which defines our own growth and brings us in reality to the development of our own being. Nothing in life is static; everything is moving, changing and in the process of becoming. It is this process of becoming that brings us to the reality of Good and Evil.

Good and Evil

Evil in itself can only exist if there is the notion of Good. It is in our knowledge of goodness that we have the ability to call something evil. If there were only evil, there would be no contrasting value from which we could assess its nature. The atheist who questions how there could be a God when they consider the evil in the world, is aware of a sense of goodness from which he is referencing “evil”. It is a contradiction in itself. This innate understanding of good is an affirmation of God’s existence. The laws of government, which set the boundaries of the behavior of its citizens, is proof world wide of this latent consciousness of good and evil. Even the most primitive, undeveloped and isolated societies of the world have laws which are designed to govern their conduct. If there were no fingerprint of God within humanity, if we were but the outcome of a mindless process of atomic matter, reason would not exist. Good and evil would be a non-existent concept. It is the sense of goodness alone by which evil is defined.

The more evil an individual or nation becomes the greater their sense of goodness diminishes. The progressive work of evil, apart from repentance, will culminate in greater darkness. The more an individual becomes good, the greater their sensitivity to evil. It is this discrimination that increases their capacity to recognize the good, choose the good and thereby become good. Evil becomes more evil in the light of that which is good.

Good and evil are expressions of the latent condition of the soul. The existence of both is evident in the mixture and impurity of our own selves. God’s work in us is to purify our hearts; purity is simply the absence of mixture. Purity is the desire of a life committed to truth and holiness. Purity is the lens through which we see God (“Blessed are the pure in heart…for they shall see God” Matthew 5:8). Religion has little desire for purity. Its way of “seeing” God lies in instructions and teachings, observances of laws and regulations, and their purpose is to convince others of their “rightness”. External observances will never in themselves effect change in the nature of an individual. Transformation requires a higher nature bringing change to a lower nature. Jesus Himself questioned the religious leaders of His day “And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one foot?”. These “spiritual” leaders were slaves to their own traditions and laws. They measured themselves by an outward conformity to their concept of God and set themselves in opposition to the Light of God. Their pride resulted in a life of hypocrisy. They measured their growth in God by their external adherence to the law rather than by the internal transformation of their hearts to the goodness, grace and wonder of God. Religion can make people capable of greater evil because they have an ability to justify evil under the pretense of “doing God a service” (John 16:2). They think that what they “believe” determines who they are before God – regardless of their actions. Such a contradiction is deception.

Another universal law of being is this: what people DO is the revelation of WHO they are. Religion tends to affirm what people “believe” determines who they are regardless of their actions. Such a contradiction is the LIE of religious deception.

Another Fundamental Law of Being is:
What One DOES is the revelation of what One IS

“Let no man deceive you:
he that does righteousness is righteous…”
1 John 3:7

How simple this statement is and yet within the religious world of teachings and doctrines this is a contradiction! One religion teaches if I pray every day, I am in good standing with God regardless if I kill or injure others around me. Another religion teaches if I simply confess a statement of faith I am no longer accountable for my ongoing actions. In some manner or another it becomes a way to pacify or excuse the wrong being and doing. Whenever evil is justified God’s proximity to that heart is lessened. To kill another in the name of God is inconceivable. To despise another (who is created in the image of God) is to despise God Himself. Right doing can only come in truth from right being. The hope of righteousness (right being) cannot be known through the outward works of religion. The Peace OF God cannot be known apart from the righteousness 0f God. True Peace is the fruit of the rightness of being, not a correctness of doctrine.. The purpose of teaching is to bring men and women into purity of heart and the authenticity of life. The God who tells us to “love our enemies” is capable of making this a reality.

Authenticity is the fruit of truth.
Hypocrisy is the byproduct of religion.

“Love thinketh no evil…”
1 Corinthians 13:4-5

When a life is governed by the incomprehensible Love of God, it becomes incapable of thinking evil. It is incapable of envy and lust. Love is the true fulfillment of the heart of man. An individual filled with Love has no need for other things. His deepest longings are fully met in the admiration and the worship of God Himself.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Philippians 4:11

This fulfillment is only available within the Life of Christ Himself. Rest is experienced only when God Himself is at rest within us.

“As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness:
I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”
Psalm 17:15

Authenticity is the fulfillment
of God’s work in man

Brian Troxel

Psalm 34 – The Way into Life

Psalm 34:12-13

The Way into Life

“What man is he that desireth life,
and loveth many days, that he may see good?
Psalm 34:12

“Keep thy tongue from evil,
and thy lips from speaking guile”
Psalm 34:13

The scriptures declare that life and death are in the tongue. Those who truly desire life guard their words with diligence. The wise hold within their consciousness a “fear of the Lord”. It is this wonder that causes His own to measure their words knowing that every uttered thing will be weighed in God’s balance. This sense of accountability is the means by which we enter into and abide within His Life. The “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Hebrew “principle part”). It is the awareness of His presence that delivers us from the folly of presumption.

The journey into the wisdom of God is one of simply growing in our sensitivity to His presence and being accountable for the life we live and the words we speak. Those who shun the “fear of the Lord” deprive themselves of the Life and Wonder of Christ within their hearts. It is as we walk with Him who is “THE WAY” that we are afforded the riches of His grace and wisdom. The discipline of measuring our words enables us to speak His Words with the authority of Christ Himself.

“Where the word of a king is,
there is power”
Ecclesiastes 8:4

The keeping of our tongue can only be known to the degree that we are in submission to Him. True spiritual authority comes to those who are under His authority. Spiritual authority does not come from holding a position within a religious organization or fellowship, nor from an educational degree; it comes from being under the authority of Christ. Authority derived by any other means than a submission to the Risen Christ, though it may have an appearance of authority, will be of no avail in accomplishing the will of God in the earth.

Freedom from Guile

Speaking evil is a hellish and deceitful thread woven into the cloak of the hypocrite. The workings of guile can be found hidden within the smooth words of friendship, manipulation of situations and the Christian jargon of our day. Discernment comes as we are free from seeking the approval of others and do not succumb to the pressure to “fit in” to the hidden agendas of those who seek their own gain. Discernment is God’s provision for freedom from guile.

May His fires burn and His truth reveal these things in our own hearts that we may apprehend the power, purity and marvel of His Life ruling and reigning within.

“What man is he that desireth life,
and loveth many days, that he may see good?
Keep thy tongue from evil,
and thy lips from speaking guile”
Psalm 34:12-13

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Union in Christ

Thought for Today

Union in Christ

“If we love one another, God dwelleth in us,
and his love is perfected in us.”
1 John 4:12

Love is the bond, the ligaments as it were, of the Body of Christ. Love is never content with shallow religious affiliations. It seeks out, pursues and ever desires full knowledge of another. Within its own heart is the flame of relationship and union in Christ. Its reach into another heart is for the purpose of apprehending oneness; the same oneness for which Christ prayed unto the Father. This union of hearts is the very essence and heartbeat of His Spirit within His own. It is a cry which can only be fulfilled in the purity and wonder of His Holiness becoming in truth our holiness. Many fear such depths of fellowship for in the intimacy of holy bonds there is no room for the hypocrisy and pretense of an insincere heart. Holiness in Christ is the fearful abode in which only the authentic can live and be at home. The depth of our abiding in Him corresponds with the depth of our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The measure of our own partaking of His resurrection life is revealed in the love we have for our brothers and sisters. Only the deceived can find rest in a life lived outside of the love of God.

“We know that we have passed from death unto life,
because we love the brethren.”
1 John 3:14

There are many in this day who find refuge in obscurity where the true inner condition remains hidden from the view of others. It is a refuge of darkness and in this hiding place men and women live a life of duplicity and bondage. The light of God does not penetrate the self-made cloak of iniquity to bring healing, freedom and life. This dark place becomes a habitation of judgment and unreality. Those who choose such a place will never know the freedom and glory that the ministration of truth brings to the soul of man.

The natural outflow of a healthy heart seeks depths of relationship with others. It is free from the need to hide and conceal the true, secret life within. Indifference to the true condition of the lives of those around us is the fruit of a life lived within the obscurity of its own making. The Love of God differs greatly from the love of self. The Love of God seeks purity within for only the “pure in heart” can see God. The blazing light of God shining within the human heart exposes the falseness and perversity of our very being; it pierces the deception of our own selfishness.

The relationship which God has called us to is one of union and oneness, not worldly and distant.

“So we, being many, are one body in Christ,
and every one members one of another.”
Romans 12:5

The relationship that Jesus has called us to is not a casual one. The depth of relationship we are called to is of the same nature and power as “He is with the Father”. There will be no real change in the paradigm of the Body of Christ until the desire for true relationship is the cry of our hearts. The unity of the faith will never be realized outside of our being ONE in Him. A shallow relationship with HIM will be evident in our relationship with our brothers and sisters. To be ONE with Him is to desire and pursue the same depth of relationship with the other members of His Body.

“He that loveth his brother abideth in the light,
and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.”
1 John 2:10

Σ

“Holy Father, keep through thine own name
those whom thou hast given me,
that they may be one, as we are”
John 17:11

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Prepare ye the way of the Lord

Thought for Today

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord…”
Mark 1:3

Truth is the precursor of Love. Love is not an emotion. It is not a sentiment nor is it a license to practice evil. God is Love. His love is expressed in His actions, His Words and His ways. Love is a quality of being and from that eternal substance flows the righteousness, holiness, forgiveness and redemption of God in all purity of thought and intent. There can exist no evil, duplicity of soul, variableness, and malice toward others where love reigns. Love can only grow where truth and verity of heart is fixed in the person and heart of Jesus Christ.

The only way in which love may be known in any measure will be to the degree to which the human heart is freed from its deception and self-love. This is essential for the ministration of God to our innermost being with all of His fire and penetrating light.

The love of God is His perfection in man.

“Love… thinketh no evil”
1 Corinthians 13:5

It takes the power and the light of all that God is to bring us to a heart that is incapable of thinking evil. Truth is not just something we know, it is something we do by virtue of Him who is ruling and reigning in our hearts. The day is upon us and the hour is late; His call goes forth to prepare the way of the Lord within the sanctum of our own hearts.

The cry of the Spirit to “prepare ye the way of the Lord” is calling us to repentance in order to receive Him in fullness into our hearts. The measure of truth residing within is revealed in the love we give.

“He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love”
1 John 4:8

“We know, in order to follow; we follow, in order to know. Light prepares the way for love. Love opens the mind for new love. The gifts of God are interwoven. They multiply and reproduce each other, until we come to the perfect state of eternity…”
Albert Barnes

Brian Troxel

The Bride – Part One

His Bride

Part One

“Behold, thou art fair…behold, thou art fair”
Song of Songs 4:1

The Bride of Christ is beautiful. Her beauty is not one of a positional truth; she is beautiful because, like Esther, she has submitted herself to the dealings and processing of His Spirit*. She is not of the spirit of Vashti** who refused the invitation to come at her Lord’s command (Esther 1:12; Matthew 22:2-14). She is humble and beautiful inside and out. In her submission to the Holy Spirit she has been adorned with the graces and the wonders of her Christ. She has found in Him the ability to become heavenly with no stain of earth upon her (Ephesians 5:27). She wears the garments of righteousness in Christ and through the operation of His Spirit, she has made herself ready for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! (Revelation 19:17) The trials and testings have brought her to a purity in Him. The Word has had its way within her heart and her nature has been exchanged; the first Adam for the second Adam. Nature is the determining factor of this relationship as Holy is joined to holy. Not only is union with Christ the basis of true fellowship with one another, but of necessity His Bride must be of the same nature as He. How little we understand the significance of nature being the holy ground upon which the Bridegroom and the Bride must meet. It is in the here and now of our life that these things take place. It is in the curious work of God in the “lowest parts of the earth”, substance yet unseen, that the members of this body are being wrought by God.

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!”
Psalm 139:14-17

David is speaking prophetically of the Body of Christ, each member being wonderfully and skillfully wrought by the Master Craftsman. Though incomplete they are written into the Book of Life and even now continue to be formed in secret. God calls the things which are not and brings them into the substance and reality of Life. How great is His love and the sum of His thoughts towards us!

“Behold”! The Bridegroom beckons us to look upon His Bride and marvel at His work in her. “Behold” (Song of songs 4:1)! He speaks to the principalities and powers even to the ages to come of His manifold wisdom in the Church!

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 2:7

“…so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”
Ephesians 3:10

The religious of this world understand little of the Call of God unto His Own. They do not comprehend “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” to which we have been called. The ability to see these things is through the operation of Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith, our lives rooted and grounded in the very love of God!

“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge”
Ephesians 3:16-18

The divine enablement to comprehend these things necessitates a “strengthening by His Spirit in our inner man”, a true “dwelling of Christ in our hearts by faith”, and being “rooted and grounded in the Love of Christ”. The verity of these things will result in His saints apprehending the clarion call of God unto His Own! These things are hidden from the wise, the prudent and the religious and revealed unto those with child-like faith.

For what purpose is the seeing and comprehending of these things?

“that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God”
Ephesians 3:19

Paul in his ecstatic declaration of these things ends with the final Amen.

“Now unto him that is able to DO exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”
Ephesians 3:20

The true Bride of Christ will not stagger at these promises. Like Mary of old she does not dispute or stumble at the seeming impossibility of these things but simply responds “be it unto me, according to thy word”. The religious and unbelieving will twist and dilute these truths but those who know Him know that He is able!

The intent of God is that we be filled with all the fullness of God! His Bride holds within her the heartbeat of a living faith which presses her unto the fulfillment. She responds through the medium of obedience. Faith and obedience are synonymous. The revelation of the one (faith) is revealed in the other (obedience).

It is the humble in heart in whom the promises are found for humility is the nature from which obedience springs. The proud, the lofty and the self-righteousness cannot and will not submit to walk in obedience to Christ. One must have His nature to obey His call. God’s great judgement at the end of days will be to separate the sheep from the goats, the true from the false.

“…as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”
Matthew 25:22-34

Moving in the gifts of the Spirit, knowing much about Christ, sitting in meetings where His Word is spoken will not be sufficient in the Day of His judgment. The nature of the individual will be the deciding factor.

“Then shall ye begin to say, we have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity
Luke 13:26-27

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity
Matthew 7:22-23

Being born again implies a new nature; the divine nature through which we are empowered to escape the filth and lust of this world (2 Peter 1:4). Though that nature is available to all who are born again, the partaking of it requires faith and obedience. It is through obedience that our souls are purified. It is the pure in heart who shall “see God”.

“Seeing ye have purified your souls
in obeying the truth through the Spirit…”
1 Peter 1:22

Obedience is the desire of the Bride’s heart. She knows that in obeying Him she not only pleases Him but her obedience is the means to becoming pure. The love of God becomes our motivation and our joy and in the seeing of Him everything else becomes dim.

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him:
for the marriage of the Lamb is come,
and his wife hath made herself ready”
Revelation 19:17

It is easy to talk about these things but we must come to the place of obedience to Him to make the call and the election of God a sure thing (2 Peter 1:10). The day of exalting in what we know must give way to trembling at the seeing of Him. All men are humbled upon seeing Him. Such was the testimony of John:

“And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead”
Revelation 1:17

There is no room for exaltation of anyone but Him!

The Bride, His Fair One are those whom His eye is ever upon. She is carefully and meticulously being groomed for greatness and royalty. She has His eye because He has her heart! It is the humility of her heart that draws His attention and His gaze.

“…but to this one will I look,
even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit,
and trembleth at my word”
Isaiah 66:2

The Bride of Christ is His; she will not take on the name of another. She will not join that which is a mixture of flesh and spirit. She follows the Lamb wherever He goes. She seeks no following for she is captivated with Him and intent on following Him. She does not seek the praises of men but lives for His approval. She does not fit into the systems of this world for she is not of this world. The temples, buildings and organizations of men cannot lure her away from the pursuit of Him. Rather than agendas she seeks the Life. Rather than methods and strategies she discovers the Way of God within. Her eyes are set upon a City whose builder and maker is God. She is a pilgrim in this world because she is only at home in His. Even so Lord “be it unto us according to Thy Word”.

“For of him, and through him, and to him,
are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen”

Notes:
* The beautiful narrative of Esther is prophetic of the rise of the Bride of Christ where her story is an exposé on the journey of the Bride in our day. We see her being selected as one of many fair ones of which only one was to be chosen as the new Queen due to Vashti’s disobedience. The Eunuch Hegai’s purpose was to submit each of these to the process of purifying, teaching and preparing them to be fit to be queen. The bitter experiences are represented by the myrrh; the pleasant odors of the other spices plus “other things” were for their purifying. It was the grace and beauty with which Esther carried herself that caught the attention of Hegai. She was shown special favor by him so that she would be most prepared in her presentation unto the King. “Many are called but few are chosen” is a sobering truth in this day when the lives of those who seek to be faithful are scorned and mocked as legalistic and old fashioned. Nevertheless, the Bride will stand at the last day arrayed in the fine linen of Christ’s righteousness and the heavens will rejoice!
**The Story of Vashti is a portrayal of deep truths which have been fulfilled multiple times throughout the history of God and man. We see it in the refusal of one generation to enter the land of promise and God raises up the next one to go in with greater grace; we see it in the continual refusal of Israel to walk with God and He turned to the Gentiles; we see it in the parable of the Wedding Feast where the called of God did not respond to His call and they were left to themselves while the servants of the Lord were sent to the highways and the byways to bring people in. The pride and arrogance of one generation is the doorway for another. God will always fulfill His purposes but “they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief”. (Hebrews 4:6) God will raise up another. It is with this in mind that we are instructed to seek humility and walk obediently before Him.

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – William Secker

Quote for Today

William Secker

“There is no ascertaining the quality of a tree but by its fruits. When the wheels of a clock move within, the hand on the dial will move without. When the heart of a man is sound in conversion, then the life will be fair in profession. When the conduit is walled in, how shall we judge of the spring but by the waters which run through the pipes?”
William Secker

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them”
Matthew 7:20

Thought for Today – Seeing God

Thought for Today

Seeing God

“Pursue… holiness,
without which no one will see the Lord””
Hebrews 12:14

Holiness is never an end in itself; rather it is the seeing of God. Knowing God is the chief purpose of all life. Holiness is simply the condition of heart whereby the individual is able to see Him. Nature determines relationship, not teaching.

The things of God are never a resting place in themselves, for those who desire the Pearl of Great Price. Justification is a precious truth yet not the goal of a true heart. It is but the doorway into the knowing of Him as He is. Functioning in the gifts of the Spirit is not an end but simply an embellishment of the graces and mercies of our God. Salvation by grace is the gateway not the end of the pure in heart. Heaven is never the goal of the true child of God; HE is. Christ Himself, the Pearl, is the end and purpose of all creation. There is no relationship with the Father apart from being hid in Christ. It is in Christ alone the heart is at peace and filled with the wonder and Glory of God. There is no other call or purpose.

The pursuit of personal holiness is the means and the lens by which the individual believer may behold, touch and know Him. If the lens is dirty, clouded over with the filth, the stain and the impurities of this world our seeing of Him is partial, obscured and even tainted by our own condition. Purity of heart is the result of holy living.

“Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God”
Matthew 5:8

It is the horror of religion that makes holiness the end rather than the means. Self-righteousness is the bane and folly of the short sighted; the selfish desire of a wicked heart. The Pharisee in Jesus’ day was the corruption of the selfish pursuit of ungodly men. Pharisee in the original language means “called out ones”. They may at one time have been people whose sole purpose was right and true but with the passage of time (as is often the case) their eyes grew dim and the pursuit for the knowing of God became a selfish pretext to flaunt themselves.

The pure in heart pursue holiness in order to behold Him. It is in seeing the Pearl of Great Price that the pure in heart sell all that they have to acquire this one thing. True holiness is simply forsaking all other things in order to know this One Thing.

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss
for the excellency of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…”
Philippians 3:8

Brian Troxel

Untempered Mortar

Untempered Mortar

“So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered mortar, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”
Ezekiel 13:14

We live in a day of information overload; books, blogs, writings, conferences and multimedia resources. Much of this data remains ethereal and untempered in the lives of those who are offering these things. The lives of many who travel in ministry would not measure up to the established criteria for deacons and elders within the local assembly! It is a day filled with many voices all clamoring for the affection of the hearts and souls of men and women.

Paul in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit wrote this advice to his son in the faith…

“The husbandman that labors
must be first partaker of the fruits”
2 Timothy 2:6

In other words, the fruit we seek to impart to others must of necessity be reaped within the confines of our own personal life. Character and righteousness are as important as the message itself. In reality the person is the message; Paul called himself a living epistle known and read of all people. The words he spoke were evident in the life he lived. The call is great and those who bear in their lives His living word must know the necessity of abiding within the vast resources of Christ Himself. Paul described the ministers of the Body of Christ in his day as those who manifested the truth in how they conducted their lives.

“But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty,
not walking in craftiness,
nor handling the word of God deceitfully;
but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves
to every man’s conscience in the sight of God”
2 Corinthians 4:2

The untempered mortar and the whitewashed walls of man’s own makings will not withstand the rigors of moral decay in our day. Truth ministered apart from character and integrity robs God’s Word of its force and power. This is why the people were astonished at the Word which proceeded from the living Christ.

“And they were astonished at his doctrine:
for he taught them as one that had authority,
and not as the scribes”
Mark 1:22

It takes little discernment to know whether the things someone shares are the untempered mortar of the intellect or the pure gold of Christ Himself. The depth of truth which proceeds from the individual life will always be in proportion to the extent of their identification with the words they share. It is in fact a part of their very lives. Information and truth are very diverse from one another; so is the impact they have upon the human heart.

It is in the touching of His presence that the Glory of God impacts, transforms and breaks the pride and shallowness of all we are by nature. No one can get a glimpse of God and remain the same. It is from this encounter that the truth of Christ flows unhindered into the world around us. We cannot invite others to taste and see of that which we have not eaten ourselves.

“O taste and see that the Lord is good”
Psalm 134:8

Ω

“My one aim in life is to secure personal holiness,
for without being holy myself I cannot
promote real holiness in others”

John Wesley

Brian Troxel