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Posts Tagged ‘Purity of Heart’

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The Wayfaring Ones

“And an highway shall be there, and a way*,
and it shall be called The way* of holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it;
but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men…”
Isaiah 35:8

In every generation there have always been “the wayfaring ones” who walk in the way of Holiness. The Hebrew word translated “highway” comes from the root word meaning to “lift up or exalt”; it might better be translated “high way”. It is also the narrow way of which Jesus spoke. Its proximity to the broad way of the masses may seem close at first but the ends of these two paths are radically different.

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate,
and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”
Matthew 7:14

The broad gate (easy gate) leads to destruction while the narrow way leads to life; His Life within the hearts of those who choose to travel such a road. The narrow way is the “Way of Holiness”. It is for the wayfaring ones who can no longer abide in the tents of Hagar. They can no longer be bound within the confines of a system and a contentment of the “partial faith” as was Ishmael. Part Faith (Abraham) part flesh (Hagar: the Egyptian), a mingling of the two where the ways of men exalt the flesh while attempting to declare the ways of God. The nature of Ishmael will always mock the child of promise. Nevertheless, the day will come that God brings separation and speaks His decree.

“Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless, what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free-womanGalatians 4:28-30

The Way of Holiness is the way of the wayfaring ones. It is a lonely way with the painful discovery of all that we are by nature: broken, sinful, selfish, vile and unloving. The Way of Holiness is the pathway to the seeing of Him and in the seeing of Him we see ourselves. The Way of Holiness is also the way to discovering His unmerited grace and wonder! In knowing our condition Grace is seen in its reality. Mercy is no longer just a religious word. It is the very power of God at work within to enable us to rise up and follow Him who “first loved us”.

Inherent within His own, the wayfaring ones, there is a cry and a desire to see Him, to know Him and to please Him. The cry rises from deep within, for it is nothing less than the cry of the spirit of adoption whereby we cry “Abba Father”. It is the result of the Life of another beating within our hearts, a cry which cannot be ignored nor pacified by the programs and ways of a dead and impotent religion. These wayfaring ones are filled with a hunger and a thirst for His righteousness to be worked out in their own lives. They do not leave the religious things because they think they are better; they leave because they can no longer ignore the need to know Him in a deeper and fuller way.

Pursue peace with all, and holiness,
without which no one will see the Lord
Hebrews 12:14

What is the promise of a faithful God to the wayfaring ones?

“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion (Heb. 12:22) with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” Isaiah 35:10

The hardness, loneliness and sorrow of the way is the journey into the Joy and Gladness of the Lord. Blessed are those who remain true to the leading of His Spirit.

“Blessed are they which do hunger
and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled”!
Matthew 5:6

*Note: Strong’s Definitions: דֶּרֶךְ derek, deh’-rek; from H1869; a road (as trodden); figuratively, a course of life or mode of action, often adverb:—along, away, because of, by, conversation, custom, (east-) ward, journey, manner, passenger, through, toward, (high-) (path-) way(-side), whither(-soever).

“Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am Holy”
1 Peter 1:16

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

 

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The Invitation

PART TWO

“Who will go for us?”

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying,
Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?
Then said I, here am I; send me”
Isaiah 6:8

In other words, who will represent Me (God) in godliness, righteousness and show forth my character in all their ways. It is one thing to have a dream, a word or a gift. It is another thing entirely to reveal the very character of God Himself.

True Leadership in God’s house exists when His call is fused with character and quality of being. Had David rejoiced in Saul’s death he would not have been a “man after God’s heart”. Had Moses, when God tested him to stand aside while God destroyed Israel to make Moses a great nation, agreed to such a proposal he would have utterly failed to represent God’s heart. Had David slain Saul when God presented the divine opportunity to seize the Kingdom by carnal means he would have failed to represent the heart of God. Those who are called to places of authority will know of such testings and it is in knowing His heart that the approval of God is gained. The Gifts of God without the character of God will always lack His authority and His approval. The gifts may bring a vessel honor and fame in this world but they will never gain the approval of God. There will always be an emptiness which will haunt the disobedient and gifted one.

Within God’s House there are vessels of honor and dishonor.

“But in a great house
there are not only vessels of gold and of silver,
but also of wood and of earth;
and some to honor, and some to dishonor”
2 Timothy 2:20

In the verse preceding this one Paul states… “Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity”. This is the true test of the authentic vessels of the Lord. Saul prophesied and Balaam prophesied an infallible word of God yet they were perverse in heart and spirit.

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots”
Jude 1:11-12

These are blemishes within the assembly of God’s people. They may function in gifts, ministries, and places of leadership and yet be utterly false in the eyes of the Lord (Matthew 7:21-23). They may see and hear right things but it is by their fruits they are known; how they conduct themselves and whether or not they seek the welfare of God’s people even in the face of adversity and rejection.

“Giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” 2 Corinthians 6:3-10

The true ministrations of God approve themselves by their conduct in all phases of life.

“Who will go for us?”

This is a far more penetrating question than many realize. It is a question which has more to do with who we are than what we do or say.

“Blessed are the pure in heart
for they shall SEE God”

Ω

“God’s plan is to make much of the man,
far more of him than of anything else.
Men are God’s method.
The Church is looking for better methods;
God is looking for better men
― E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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BUTTER AND HONEY

PART TWO

“…for butter and honey shall every one eat
that is left in the land”
Isaiah 7:24

Earlier, (See Part One) in the fifteenth verse of this chapter, we read the prophetic word given to Isaiah concerning Jesus the long awaited Messiah and Saviour. Here we read that what was true of Him is to be true of those who remain in the land after His judgements and dealings; they will also eat of “butter and honey”. The grace and beauty of the Son are to become ours also through the power of His Life ruling and reigning in us. Throughout the ages men and women of God have seen the power, majesty and purpose of God for His people. Faith has brought them to the place of embracing His Power in spite of their weaknesses. The Son becomes their “life” in substance and reality by a Grace not limited by their own doubts and blindness.

“By Grace we become what God is by nature.”
Athanasius

Even in this hour there are people who know the wonder of Life working within. This deep and powerful work of God brings clarity and separation in the midst of religious flippancy. It necessitates an obedience, submission and yielding of themselves to His Word and the moving of His Spirit. The intensity of His fire has one purpose: to purify and cleanse in order that He may empower with a fresh and Holy Expression of God in the earth.

The Word of God is not to be held in the intellect; it must be eaten and digested as butter and honey. Those who eat of His word cannot remain unchanged. There is no salvation in hearing, no safety in quoting the scriptures or listening to Sunday sermons and following great teachers.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,
and drink his blood, ye have no life in you…”
John 6:53

The power and life contained within the Word, when assimilated, will never leave the recipient unchanged. Those who only hear the word but do not obey will not experience lasting impressions. The effects of the Word are momentary and temporal (James 1:24). Some are ever learning but never come to the truth. Others, who eat of the “butter and honey” of God’s Word, will know the fire within that consumes and purifies from all that is not of Him. By this “refiner’s fire” His people come to “discern between the righteous and the wicked” and “between him that serves God and him that serves him not” (Malachi 3:18). They are not fooled by the appearance of those who claim to serve God but in reality are serving themselves and their worldly ambitions.

“Butter and honey shall he eat,
that he may know to refuse the evil,
and choose the good”
Isaiah 7:15

Ω

“Ordinary human motives will appeal in vain
to the ears which have heard the tones of the heavenly music;
and all the pomp of life will show poor and tawdry
to the sight that has gazed on the vision
of the great white throne and the crystal sea”
Alexander MacLaren

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Thought for Today

Come Away

Come Away!

“My beloved spake, and said unto me,
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
Song of songs 2:16

The call of God to His own is always one to new places of intimacy in relationship. Not only does He call but He speaks words of endearment to those who follow after Him. His own know Him as “Beloved” and He calls us “my fair one” There is no plurality here; He is not speaking to a congregation or a crowd. He is calling out to one who is the object of His great love.

In religious circles the call is broad; it is a generic call and the references are impersonal. Those who are His know this intense and personal relationship. There is a singular flow of His life and love unto those who are following Him. The focus of the individual’s heart is all about Him. In the seeing of Him the world becomes dim and distant and its temptations start to lose their power and attraction. It is out of this wonder of Him drawing near that we feel the power of His love rising in our hearts to respond to the call of a deeper knowing of Him. This call is characterized by words of incomprehensible beauty: “my fair one”. Who can resist such undeserved love? Who is able to fathom such redemptive love? How can we ever measure or understand its cause or the depths from which its flows?

Lost within the broad landscape of religion, and a world gone mad with the voices and the rantings of men who think they have the answers, there is the “still small voice”. It draws the heart with whispers of grace and affection; “come away my fair one… come to Me”.

Within this growing relationship the need to fortify our place in Him with the teachings and doctrines of men disappears for His love itself becomes our surety and solace. His love constrains us to willingly arise from where we are to follow on to deeper places of affection and wonder. We touch the holy atmosphere of His cords of love that embrace us setting our own hearts ablaze with their fervency. The words flowing between the “beloved” and the “my fair one” are the language of this holy union:

“I am my beloved’s,
and my beloved is mine”
Song of songs 6:3

He is hers because she is His!

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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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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God’s Family

“Behold my mother and my brethren!”
Matthew 12:49

Within the context of everyday life the Son was ever speaking of His Father’s heart, will and purpose. In the early days of Jesus’ ministry to the multitudes the light and life of God flowed from His lips in such depth and power that men marveled. It was the fresh breath of God after the dankness of the prevalent religious atmosphere. Religion had relegated the wonder of God to rituals, concepts and doctrines that sought to impress its own mark of ownership upon man; man who was created in the very image of God! It usurped God’s purposes by seeking to control the hearts and minds of men and women with its own agenda all in the name of the very God it denied. Within this darkness the Light spoke of love, life and the redemptive heart of God. He spoke truth in the face of men’s lies. He spoke the substance of God into those steeped in the decay and stupor of pious and pompous traditions. The ones who, though being the sperma (Greek word used in John 8:37 natural “seed”) of Abraham, (John 8:37) Jesus said they were actually of their father the devil (John 8:44) because of their works and deeds. The horror of all religion is to blind its adherents to the fruit of a person’s life and replace it with the concept of adherence to a teaching or a doctrine as being the mark of a true child of God. Jesus here is responding to those who informed Him that His mother and brothers wanted to speak to Him:

“And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples,
and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven,
the same is my brother, and sister, and mother
Matthew 12:49-50

The true offspring of God are those (whosoever) are doing the will of the Father. Doctrinal adherence, quoting scriptures, religious prayer meetings, and all of the other related duties of religion avail nothing. Those who are truly borne of the Spirit will be occupied with the “doing of truth” not speculating about it. To the religious leaders of His day who boasted of being the “seed” of Abraham Jesus replied “If ye were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham”. Fruit is always the revelation of the underlying nature of any organism. While some may speak great swelling words, teach from scriptures and boast of revelations and gifts (even of the Spirit) the actual substance of their hearts are revealed by their conduct in everyday life.

“Beware of false prophets,
which come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening* wolves.
You shall know them by their fruits”
Matthew 7:15-16

The Greek word used here for “ravening” speaks of one who uses their official position for the purpose of obtaining another’s property, funds or patronage! How subtle and deplorable are those who come in sheep’s clothing with the hidden agenda of obtaining the patronage of God’s people!

Paul speaks to this error in the Church at Galatia:

“For neither they themselves
who are circumcised keep the law;
but desire to have you circumcised,
that they may glory in your flesh”
Galatians 6:13

These are the religious defilers who point God’s people to a doctrine or a tradition which has an appearance of being of God yet in its very practice draws men and women away from the life of Christ to the works of the flesh. The works of the flesh will always glorify the flesh while the works of the Spirit will always glorify the Son!

Truth is being revealed by the sifting of men’s hearts and this very work is happening even now! The hearts of individuals are being drawn together on the basis of nature. In this Day of harvest everything will be gathered according to its kind. The tares are being gathered with like-minded as they have refused to obey God’s call. To such the voice of God is growing faint and they will reap the wages of apathy and indifference. The lamps of the foolish virgins are growing dim and the oil they so desperately need will not be available; this oil can only be acquired through obedience to His word. Hearing without the subsequent act of obedience will leave a life impoverished and completely unable to withstand the impending storm.

Only those who have followed the Lamb, obeyed His Word and sought refuge under His wings prior to the storm will stand in that day. It is time to humble ourselves; to bring to Him our poverty of spirit and brokenness of heart that we may obtain the provisions of His Life. Let us meet this day with our lamps trimmed, our hearts sanctified and the experiential ability of not loving our lives unto death. Those who do His Will are His Family.

“And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples,
and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven,
the same is my brother, and sister, and mother
Matthew 12:49-50

May God give us ears to hear and eyes to see what the Father’s will is. Many religious works, even supernatural ones, if not carried out in His will with the desire to honor and glorify the Son, are the works of iniquity. Men and women who function in gifts with the intent to garner the parsonage and attention of God’s people are also workers of iniquity. The desire to draw men and women to anything other than Jesus is sin.

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
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 7:20-23

*Note: Greek Word translated “ravenous” indicates extortion(er) or one who swindles – The online free dictionary defines extortion as: 1. Illegal use of one’s official position or powers to obtain property, funds, or patronage. In the five occurrences of this word being used it would be best translated swindler or extortioner in four of them.

Word Origin
from harpazó
Definition
rapacious
NASB Translation
ravenous (1), swindler (1), swindlers (3).

Matthew 7:15 Adj-NMP
GRK: εἰσιν λύκοι ἅρπαγες
NAS: but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
KJV: inwardly they are ravening wolves.
INT: they are wolves ravenous

Luke 18:11 Adj-NMP
GRK: τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἅρπαγες ἄδικοι μοιχοί
NAS: other people: swindlers, unjust,
KJV: men [are], extortioners, unjust,
INT: of the men swindlers unrighteous adulterers

1 Corinthians 5:10 Adj-DMP
GRK: πλεονέκταις καὶ ἅρπαξιν ἢ εἰδωλολάτραις
NAS: with the covetous and swindlers, or
KJV: or extortioners, or
INT: covetous and swindlers or idolaters

1 Corinthians 5:11 Adj-NMS
GRK: μέθυσος ἢ ἅρπαξ τῷ τοιούτῳ
NAS: or a swindler– not even
KJV: or an extortioner; with such an one
INT: a drunkard or swindler with such a one

1 Corinthians 6:10 Adj-NMP
GRK: λοίδοροι οὐχ ἅρπαγες βασιλείαν θεοῦ
NAS: nor swindlers, will inherit
KJV: nor extortioners, shall inherit
INT: slanderers nor swindlers [the] kingdom of God
5 Occurrences

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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