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

Thought for Today – True Life

Thought for Today

“The seed dies into a new life,
and so does man”

George MacDonald

All true life is that which arises from death. The receiving of the eternal is known by the forsaking of the temporal. All creation is but the textbook for the true follower of Christ (Romans 1:20). In our yielding to the will of Him who is eternal life we find the withering of the passions and desires for the shadows and illusions of this world. Clarity comes to the pure in heart.

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

Brian Troxel

The Mystery of God and His Appearing

PODCAST – from Boulder Street Church

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The Wayfaring Ones

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
www.aword.info