Thought for Today – Unto Obedience

Thought for Today

“Unto Obedience”

“Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his donkey; and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. He split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him.”
Genesis 22:3

“The first degree of humility is prompt obedience.”
Benedict of Nursia

Only a humble heart can obey God. The proud and the stiff necked cannot obey Him. Obedience is the revelation of our growth into a purity of heart.

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied”
1 Peter 1:2

The validity of our election through the power of His sanctifying grace will correspondingly be revealed in our growth “unto obedience”.

Brian Troxel

PODCAST – Exhortation & Harmony

Exhortation & Harmony

A Study on the ministry of exhortation and the unity of God’s people.

The Mystery of Life

The Mystery of Life

“As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.”
Ecclesiastes 11:5

The secret of the true disciple is one of simplicity and rest. Even as the flow of His Spirit is ever active within, the heart of the true disciple is to be at rest; a relationship of communion (co-union). The child in the womb is a portrayal of our life in Him. The formation and development of His likeness within our own being is fully dependent upon the cord of life from whence come the essential nutrients of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). This dependency is the hope and substance of our life in Him. The true ministers of Christ are ever focused on the formation of Him within the life of every believer, not the fulfillment of their own ambitions and agendas. They are to nurture the development of Christ within each life. The only bonds that should exist between members of His Body are the bonds of pure love and our interactions are to be to this one end: “until Christ be formed” in each of us.

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again
until Christ be formed in you…”
Galatians 4:19

Any ministry with a different end in view does not walk in the mind and Spirit of Christ.

“Charity… seeketh not her own”
1 Corinthians 13:5

Brian Troxel

Honouring God

Honoring God

“So speak ye and so do”
James 2:12

We live in a very strange time when individuals can study the scriptures, memorize them, and readily discuss them with others; yet live their lives contrary to the very words they speak. The only way to honor His Word is by obeying it. Obedience is the evidence of a life who truly honors and treats His Word for what it is: Holy. If we do not reverence His Word through obedience we will reap the consequences. How foolish it is to speak His Word and yet not honor it not with our lives.

“For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense; how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation
Hebrews 2:2

They who esteem His Word lightly, lightly esteem the One who speaks it.

“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle,
note that man, and have no company with him,
that he may be ashamed”
2 Thessalonians 3:14

Brian Troxel

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Quote for Today

“Who is pure in heart? Only those who have completely given their hearts to Jesus, so that he alone rules in them. Only those who do not stain their hearts with their own evil, but also not with their own good. A pure heart is the simple heart of a child, who does not know about good and evil, the heart of Adam before the fall, the heart in which the will of Jesus rules instead of one’s own conscience.… A pure heart is pure of good and evil; it belongs entirely and undivided to Christ; it looks only to him, who goes on ahead. Those alone will see God who in this life have looked only to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Their hearts are free of defiling images; they are not pulled back and forth by the various wishes and intentions of their own. Their hearts are fully absorbed in seeing God. They will see God whose hearts mirror the image of Jesus Christ”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A True Heart

The True Heart

“Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;
try my reins and my heart”
Psalm 26:2

A true heart does not seek to cover sin; it seeks the Lord to expose every wrong and crooked way. Exposure is the path to purity and the hope of salvation and freedom. The Light of Christ penetrates the heart and His eyes burn through the very soul of man. The burning consumes pride, self-seeking and the desire for pre-eminence. It removes the religious fig leaves of those who cloak themselves in garments of piety and false humility.

May our God, as a consuming fire, burn within our hearts until there be no shadows or pretense. Let there be no hidden chambers for sin to hide. He alone can heal the broken and restore righteousness and holiness. He beckons us to the fellowship of the fire; the fellowship of His Light.

The prison of pretense is deep, dark and rooted in sin and hypocrisy. The foundation of this prison is built one lie at a time. Mercy was never meant by God to excuse sin; its purpose is to cause men to come to the Light, to free them from the misery of sin. Mercy’s true triumph is in men and women finding the courage to face the light and allowing it to shine into the hidden areas of their hearts, set free by the “spirit of burning”.

“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged:
and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil”
Proverbs 16:6

Purity of hearts brings us freedom and the liberty to express Him through the vessel of our redeemed self. As the gem, polished and cut, shines with the luster of its own being, so Christ has called each of us to be a distinct expression of His handiwork. Come to Him, present yourself to the light and fire of all that He is that you may know true liberty.

“…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”
2 Corinthians 3:17

An individual’s liberty will be in proportion to their surrender to the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

Brian Troxel

Persecution Post – Nigeria

Persecution Post

“In another filmed massacre, 11 Nigerian Christians were executed by the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) over the Christmas holiday.

Wearing the orange jumpsuits made familiar by similar executions of Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians in Libya, the first Nigerian victim was shot in the head by the black-clad terrorists who then slit the throats of the remaining ten. It is understood to be the largest group killed by ISWAP, a Boko Haram splinter group, so far

“This message is to the Christians in the world,” stated the 56-second propaganda video, released December 26, in both Arabic and Hausa, according to The New York Times.

“Those who you see in front of us are Christians…”
A Report in “Christianity Today”.

The Measure of a Man

These are people with whom many of us might not fellowship over here given our current state of division and lukewarmness; their doctrine may not line up with ours. Yet they stood true to their confession of Christ unto the end. May God work into us the common love of Christ which unites all who are true in heart and spirit. I pray that His grace would bring the power of a Love which unites all who are His into ONE HEART.

It is easy to love and feel empathy for someone we have not met, but unless His Love produces the deeds (1 John 3:18) of love where we live, we know little of the Love of God in Christ.

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. He who doesn’t love his brother remains in death”
1 John 3:14

It is clear that God’s estimation of our walk with Him is measured by the Love we hold for our brothers (not our little segregated group or “church”) and not according to our “knowledge” or our confession. John goes on to say:

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

There is a growing cry within my heart to know this deep and pure love of God; to Love Him and His people and to hate the sin and the selfishness within myself.

It is high time that we begin to measure our walk with God by our obedience, victory over sin and the authentic love of God in our hearts for His people. This love will be the matrix for the true ministry of one member unto another whereby we will see the ONE BODY of Christ arise in purity and truth. It will not be by compromise but by the vey fire of God welding us together!

God has sent His Spirit into the earth for this very purpose. The cause of divisions are the teachings of men; people growing in a knowledge which “puffs up” the carnal heart unto separation and division. True Love brings an “edifying” of the Body of Christ unto Him.

“Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth”
1 Corinthians 8:1

When people cannot edify and build up the Body of Christ it is a revelation of the lack of the Love of God within them. The reason for our lack of power and glory is the same as it was for the Church AT Ephesus: they had “left” their first love. This is the Day and the Hour when God’s Spirit is moving upon the hearts of those who are truly His to hear what He is saying. Many will refuse to hear the call of God and cling to their isolated little groups and churches and miss what God is doing.

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth”
1 Corinthians 2:13

Those who are taught of God must come to the liberating power of the Love of God in all truth and holiness. It cannot be otherwise! The absence of Love reveals a poverty in our knowing of Him.

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God”
1 John 4:7

To measure our life in God by any other standard is deception.

Brian Troxel

The Way into Life

The Way into Life

“Holding the mystery of the faith
in a pure conscience”
1 Timothy 3:9

The conscience is a great gift of God to us. It is the vital link between the human soul and God’s Spirit. The deeper an individual goes in their relationship with God the greater will be the diligence required to keep one’s conscience pure and clean before God. Foolish is the one who thinks they can ignore the voice of God within and still grow in their understanding of the mystery and wonder of God in their own life. If we have wronged a brother or sister and do not seek to rectify the situation, let us not be deceived into thinking our life in God will prosper! The conscience is the sounding board in our walk with God. Those who truly seek to know Him must ever be sensitive to this inward light of God. An obedient heart keeps the conscience clean. When there is a disturbance in the conscience, true men and women of faith will do all in their power to keep this mirror of God clean.

“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart,
and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned
1 Timothy 1:5

They who defile their conscience and yet seek to portray faith and godliness walk in the hypocrisy of religion. Their faith is not genuine, and the defilement of the conscience contaminates their relationship with God. A pure heart is one which is ever cognizant of the status of the conscience.

“If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift”
Matthew 5:23-24

Supposing we can worship God in truth while allowing offences to remain unattended is the horror of religion. Such worship is carnal, hypocritical and unacceptable before God. The true heart will respond to the inner voice of the conscience. It requires an intensity of heart to walk in the truth of these things. It requires humility to seek out our brother and sister in order to obey God within the sanctum of our own hearts.

“First be reconciled to your brother” *

How little we comprehend the fact that our relationship with our brother is paramount to our relationship with God. We are the Body of Christ and if I set my brother at aught, in God’s eyes I am doing it unto Him. The growth of any individual in God will be measured by the sensitivity of our responses to this Holy gift of God in us. People may sear and desensitize their conscience by misusing the doctrines of grace. Make no mistake; those who do not obey the conscience will end up in an unfruitful and shipwrecked life, and a darkness from which there is no escape.

A few years ago, I came to understand a simple truth:

“Those who refuse to deal with their past,
will have no future growth in God”

Spiritual Stagnancy is the fruit of disobedience. 

We cannot ignore the voice of God in our conscience and expect His mercies to lead us on into a greater knowing of Him. The life of a true disciple in Christ is one of continual transactions with Him who is true. My sensitivity today is the door through which I enter into the New Things He has for me.

“forgive us our debts AS we also forgive our debtors”
Matthew 6:9

May God make known to us the simplicity of this truth. We may hold on to the doctrines of our forgiveness in God; in reality we are forgiven to the same extent that we forgive others! Forgiveness, like all the precious gifts of God, requires our participation. As with forgiveness, so is mercy… “Blessed are the merciful for they shall OBTAIN mercy”. The religion of men requires no real cost; we can defile our conscience with the very truths of God and somehow think we are in right standing with Him! (Please read the full context of Matthew 5:23-24).

There is a cost but also a great blessing associated with the keeping of a clear conscience. True disciples know the benefits of walking in the Way of Truth. Such things are not optional for those who desire to know Him in Spirit and in Truth.

“And herein do I exercise myself,
to have always a conscience void of offence
toward God,
 and toward men”
Acts 24:16
* Note: There will be instances where there will be unresolved issues, but the true disciple will do all they can to facilitate reconciliation. The conscience will be clear when God is at rest in the heart. Christ died for the reconciliation of the world, but men and women must respond to His gracious offer. Others must respond to that same offer from us. A clear conscience gives us the ability of “having done all to stand” (Eph. 6:13) in matters relating to spiritual warfare. A clean Conscience is vital for victory. Christ did all and gave all; it is incumbent upon His disciples to do the same.

Brian Troxel

The End of the Matter

The End of the Matter

“…but the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience, and faith not pretended, from which having missed the mark, some turned aside to empty talking”
1 Timothy 1:5-6

God’s end is revealed in His beginning, just as the harvest is the manifold expression of the seed sown. The same love that motivated Christ’s incarnation is the same love abiding in those who have loved and received Him. When men and women lose sight of the “end of the commandment”, the words, the works, and the life are empty and vain.

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love (agape), I am nothing”
1 Corinthians 13:2

The Gifts of God without love: empty and hollow. Deep understanding into mysteries of God: useless. Knowledge without love is meaningless and without value. It is the agape of God which infuses all things with the weight and wonder of Himself; for there can be no growth or development of Love apart from a pure heart. There can be no true impartation of life where the conscience is conflicted by wrong and ulterior motives and unrepented sins. There can be no true and lasting work of God when faith is presented in pretense. The work of God can only be within the lives of those who live in authenticity. These three graces must be the foundation of our growth into the love of God:

Purity of Heart
A Good and Clean Conscience
Faith Unfeigned

A Gospel which does not include the ministration of truth and admonition will inevitably produce lives devoid of the fire, intensity, and the power of the Love of God. The reason God is declared a “consuming fire” is that HE IS LOVE. We cannot hold the love of God within our hearts and be void of passion, works, and an energized faith. Love is what breathes life into faith and faith by its very nature must produce His works in and through our lives.

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working (energized) through love
Galatians 5:6

The legalism of our day rests in declarations of the tenets of faith. It fails to grasp that the END or PURPOSE of God in Christ is to takes us beyond the fact of being justified by faith, into the power of God manifested through lives who have been sanctified. Sanctification brings us into a life of abandonment and surrender unto God as a “living sacrifice”. When such legalism becomes the foundation there will be no pursuit of a “pure heart” or a “clean conscience”. A true and unfeigned faith flows from those who seek only His approval. The horror of this “gospel” of legal declarations is that His people see no need for an ongoing, deep and powerful work of God within their hearts. There is a rest and a complacency in an unfinished work of God. The two and a half tribes of Israel found rest in a land outside the purposed and promised land of God; many today are settling for something far less than the full purpose and intention of God.

When there is a deviation from God’s end, in the estimation of God Himself, the expressions of ministry become vain and empty chatter.

“…from which having missed the mark,
some turned aside to empty talking”

Paul the Apostle, who declared the truth of justification by faith, summed up his life as one who was pressing, pursuing, and desiring the apprehension of the mark of God.

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded…”
Philippians 3:13-15

Paul was not resting upon the knowledge of being justified by faith. He was in full pursuit of “apprehending” (laying hold) the mark and purpose for which God had laid hold of him!

A dead faith rests in the acknowledgment of teaching, while a living faith pursues the apprehension and reality of God Himself.

Brian Troxel

Serving God – Part Two – Freedom

Serving God

Part Two

Freedom

“Let my people go, that they may serve me”
Exodus 8:1

Freedom is a requirement to truly serve the Lord. Israel was in bondage to Pharaoh; their captivity was cruel and their taskmasters strong. Outwardly Pharaoh represents the world and inwardly he represents the power of sin. It takes a power beyond ourselves to extricate us from our bondage. The greatness of God’s power as revealed in the Book of Exodus is a glimpse of the power required to free us from the nature and power of sin. It takes a freedom from Pharaoh to serve the Lord.

“Let my people go, that they may serve me”

Our ability to serve Him will be proportional to our freedom from ourselves, our agendas and desire for the praises of men. Humility is simply living a life free from the opinions of others. It is a single-hearted devotion to His purposes whereby we know the service which is filled with His praise and His joy.

“Serve the Lord with gladness”
Psalm 100:2

Gladness springs from the wells of the pure in heart. Purity of heart is a heart single in purpose and in love. It is a heart forged in the fires of His love where self is dead and God reigns. The hardness of Pharaoh’s heart is a good illustration of our own; only through His faithfulness and determination is our heart subdued.

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved,
let us have grace, whereby we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and godly fear
Hebrews 12:28

The service which pleases the Lord is based on Grace and this grace is revealed in those who serve Him with reverence and Godly fear. It is by grace we are made free in the singularity of our heart to speak His words and to do His works regardless of the consequences.

“If any man serve me, let him follow me;
and where I am, there shall also my servant be:
if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
John 12:26

There can be no true service unto the Lord except there be a freedom from the fear of man and the ways of man. In order to serve, one must be free to follow.

Serving God – Part One

Brian Troxel