Thought for Today – Psalm 34:4

Thought for Today

“I sought the Lord, and he heard me”
Psalm 34:4

Life in God is all about seeking. There is the seeking one and the One who is sought. As with every spiritual relationship there is always one who is the initiator; God being love is the initiator of all things. At the core of all relationships are a seeking and reciprocation. The flow of interaction is what deepens and intensifies the bonds of relationship. In our pursuit of Him we find the One Great Love of the universe responding within the depths and wisdom of His own being. It is the story of the Beloved and the Loved becoming one in Spirit and in Truth. The scriptures declare the wonder of this very well:

“We love him, because he first loved us”
1 John 4:19

Our seeking of Him is based upon the reciprocation of Him seeking that which was lost. The impact of His love upon the human heart is always revealed in our pursuit of Him. The Parables of Jesus reveal the intensity of this relationship from both perspectives. The Parable of the Good Shepherd is the story of Him, though unsought by us, finding and rescuing us in our lost and wayward condition. The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price is the description of us seeking Him and selling all to obtain its wonder. Those who are forgiven much love much. His creation was specifically designed to respond to and be governed by love. As a result of the fall, man was separated from the source and power of Love itself; we became slaves to the disorder of self-love, self-realization and depravity. The ongoing work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts is one of reconciliation and growth ever moving onward to full unity in Him and with one another (John 17:21-22).

Our finding of Him will always be in proportion to our seeking of Him. Entering into deeper places of abiding in Him will be in proportion to our knocking at the door of Love’s domain. Seeing of Him brings us to new and fuller experiences of repentance and change; it is impossible to see Him and remain the same. The unfolding of His person brings us to new vistas of His love for us which in turn will be reciprocated by a further depth of our love for Him. True relationships hold the mystery of eternity for within those bonds with one another there is no point of arrival. Relationships stagnate here on earth because of the impurities of pride, stubbornness, unforgiveness and a myriad of other unresolved sins in our lives.

In truly loving God we are struck with the impossibility of holding aught against our brother for this is the very measure God uses to validate our love for Him.

“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil:
whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God,
neither he that loveth not his brother”
1 John 3:10

The validity of our seeking Him and being born of Him is revealed in the simplicity of how we live. We not only seek Him in the secret places of prayer but also in the doing of righteousness and in the substance of loving one another in truth. Love is not just a teaching it is a life of becoming more like Him.

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another”
John 13:35

Brian Troxel

Like All the Nations

Like All the Nations

“Now make us a king (a leader) to judge us
like all the nations”
1 Samuel 8:4

Samuel, the holy man of God, was very displeased with this request. He knew instinctively how power corrupts the weak and wayward hearts of men. In praying and seeking God over this grave matter God spoke with clarity:

“Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you;
for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me,
that I should not reign over them
1 Samuel 8:7

The desire for human authority within the Body of Christ is a rejection of God’s authority. His purpose and design is for each member to be led by His Spirit; to come to the place of hearing and knowing God within the sanctuary of their own hearts. The whole purpose of ministry is to bring His people to this one place. This vital task has been committed to His five-fold ministry for the purpose of ushering in the “unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:11-13)! When the ministry becomes the end of the thing, instead of the means to God’s end, confusion, strife and competition replace the beauty of the unity of His Spirit. Men invariably hold on to the functions of His ministrations rather than the purpose of the ministrations.

“…for you are still carnal.
For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you,
are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
For when one says, “I am of Paul,”
and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?”
1 Corinthians 3:3-4

The operation and organization of the general “church” today resembles the carnal business model of the corporate structures of this world. Financially and administratively there is very little distinction. Is this not enough to testify of our condition and the reason for the conflicts and agendas which have corrupted and separated the true Body of Christ? We must reconsider our ways! Is not our innate desire to have someone over us to take away the responsibility of hearing God for ourselves? Is this not a rejection of His Lordship over us?

“And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath showed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? Go thou near and hear all that the Lord our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it and do it.”
Deuteronomy 5:24 – 27

The reason for this sad dilemma is that His people generally do not really want to hear His voice for themselves; that would bring accountability and responsibility. We prefer to hear His word from the pulpit, a minister or a book for the impact is decreased. We can reject words from another person but who can run from the voice of the Almighty? In functioning like the world we drown out the voice of God in our lives. The invitation of God is always to the person; the individual. His work of salvation is to bring us to the hearing of His voice and the doing of His will. The purpose of all true and valid ministrations in the Body of Christ is to that one end. A personal knowing of Him, hearing of Him and a walking with Him.

The Body of Christ is unlike anything in or of this world. It is not an organization it is an organism which lives and breathes by the very Life of Christ within. It cannot be contained within the confines of a corporate entity; it seeks no affiliation with this present world, for it is a heavenly truth.

“But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect…”
Hebrews 12:22-23

David speaking prophetically of the true Jerusalem, the heavenly Zion (Psalm 48 and 87); a united people fused in the holiness and the purity of His Love. A Body which is bone of His bone and the very expression of His heart and His will; freed from the agendas of men to serve the living God. It is to this end we have been redeemed, forgiven and washed in His blood. While the unbelieving say this is a dream and an unrealistic goal, let us be reminded that Jesus prayed to this end and it is unconscionable to allow the damnable unbelief of the age to even consider the prayer of Jesus to go unanswered.

“Glorious things are spoken of thee,
O city of God.

Selah”
Psalm 87:2-3

Ω

“Be ye not conformed to this world,
But be ye transformed…”
Romans 12:2

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – George Whitfield

Quote for Today

George Whitefield - 1

“Congregations are lifeless because dead men preach to them”
– George Whitefield

“To …the Church in Sardis…I know your deeds,
that you have the reputation that you are alive,

and yet you are dead”
Revelation 3:1

Prayer the Privilege of Relationship

Prayer the Privilege of Relationship

Part One

“After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven”
Matthew 6:9

The true foundation of prayer is relationship. While many religious people may use rote prayers and vain repetitions, relationship is the determining element of the power and efficacy of prayer (Ezekiel 14:14, 20). True prayer has as much to do with listening as speaking. Prayer is the fragrance of relationship, the very atmosphere in which our hearts touch the Holy presence of God Himself. We see in the opening line of Jesus’ prayer that he presents the Fatherhood of God as the first key to prayer. For prayer is to be the conversing of His child with their heavenly Father in the bonds of love.

“Hallowed be thy name”
Matthew 6:9 KJV
“Your name be honored as holy”
other translations

The entrance into this Holy place of communion will be most felt within the hearts of those who know of His Holiness. The heart that spends time in prayer with Him will have a desire to keep His Name Holy in their thoughts, desires, intentions and deeds. One does not come brazenly or carelessly into this place for “the fear of the Lord is the beginning (principle part) of knowledge”. There is a beauty and a fire associated with the true prayer of relationship where the intimacy of connection grows as the years pass and becomes as natural as breathing. The intensity of the soul to cultivate an audience with Him becomes the chief purpose and desire of life itself.

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple”
Psalm 27:4

It becomes the one thing. It is not something to be scheduled into specific meetings and times of prayer for in reality it becomes the very posture of our hearts in everyday living. How privileged we are to have such access to God Almighty. The true wonder of prayer is to be held within the miracle of relationship! Relationship with the Father has no end or limit other than the condition of our own hearts! The Eternal Mystery of God in Christ is infinite in nature and scope; so is our knowing of Him.

“For prayer is nothing else
than being on terms of friendship with God”
Saint Teresa of Avila

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Thought for Today – Hearing –

Thought for Today

Hearing

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,
and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet”
Revelation 1:10

In spiritual things hearing is the fruit of relationship. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them…” The issue of today is one of relationship and obedience. John prefaced his introduction of the great unveiling of Jesus Christ with a glimpse into his own walk and relationship with the Lord. In our daily walk, as we live and abide within the awe of His Holy Spirit, there is an ability to hear the “great voice” of God calling us to higher and deeper places in Him. It is the precursor to the seeing of greater things. A true walk in the Spirit of God cannot produce pride or self-sufficiency; the fear of the Lord is the atmosphere and the very nature of any heart that is alive in Him. There can be no real touching of His Spirit while walking contrary to the wonder of His Life.

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

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Thought for Today – Nevertheless –

Thought for Today

“Nevertheless”

“And Simon answering said unto him, Master,
we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing:
nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net”
Luke 5:5

True living faith will never be conditioned by experience. Faith, to be faith, must always find its dependence in God not ourselves. Though experience says one thing the cry and purpose of faith must remain undaunted. “Nevertheless” is the word of a man who sets aside his own resources, strengths and abilities and believes God in the moment. This faith must birth a doing in the now. “Nevertheless” is a word that gives way to the doing of a thing regardless of our past experience. It is a word that comes to those who believe, and by that believing there is a response in the now of our life. It is not the “faith” of Mary who said Lord I know “… in that day…” something will happen, for the Christ stands in our midst speaking “I AM the resurrection and the life…”

Let this word “nevertheless” speak to us of better things than what our experience would teach us; for those who listen and regard their experience cease to walk and live by faith. “Today if ye will hear HIS voice…” is the creed by which we must live. Men who don’t do won’t hear. The Word is to those who “have ears to hear” for with every hearing there must be a corresponding act of doing and obeying HIS WORD.

The Spirit of God is HERE to press us beyond our circumstances, our former experiences, and our own resources into the glorious provisions of a God who is constantly calling us to deeper waters, a higher vision and a greater dependency upon HIM. How good is our God! How gracious are HIS ways; the thing we are confronted with is HIS doorway into greater things in HIM!

Faith, to be faith, must always be fresh, living and beating within our hearts. Faith IN a teaching or an idea will eventually become stagnant and dead; the faith of the living Son is active and real! It is never static for it is always moving from one faith unto a greater faith (Romans 1:17). Every living thing grows and everything static and stagnant remains the same. Obedience is the evidence of faith.

“So David went on his way,
and Saul returned to his place”
1 SAMUEL 26:25

Two men; one ever moving on in the WAY of God the other returning to “his place” of stagnation and disobedience.

Ω

“Belief is truth held in the mind;
faith is fire in the heart”
J. Newton (1880–1950)

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Thought for Today – Come Away –

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
www.aword.info

Heart of a Priest – Part 7 – Grace & Truth

Heart of a Priest

Part 7

Grace and Truth

“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,
that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble,
by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
2 Corinthians 1:4

The New Testament truth concerning the priesthood is in stark contrast to that of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament one was part of the priesthood by virtue of birth (with certain qualifications being met); in the New Covenant, we are made kings and priests as our hearts cooperate with the dealings of God in our lives. It is no longer a position but a call whereby the individual becomes a priest by growing in the virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ. As His Nature is imparted into our lives there is growth and a transformative work. No longer are we left powerless; His Life residing in our hearts brings change regardless of our age. It is here that we are afforded much grace. Much more than mere statements or religious doctrines, Truth is a life; nothing less than the Life of Jesus being held by faith within the core of our hearts. Living truth is in itself the expression of grace. We must submit to the working of His Way into our lives. No priest can be true if there is a diminishing of God’s Holy Word, His Call or His hatred of sin. True priests are unwavering in the ministration of truth.

Truth will never violate grace and grace will never violate truth. Jesus in dealing with the woman taken in adultery was moved with great compassion toward her. He spoke to the “religious elite” of His day concerning their own issues and then turned to the woman who was before Him and spoke the gracious words “neither do I condemn you”. Such unmerited grace! The Gospel today is full of this powerful truth, however, the complete words of Jesus are often left out of the sermons for He goes on to say “Go and sin no more”! This is Living Truth where grace and holiness meet.

“Mercy and truth are met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other”
Psalm 85:10

“For the law was given by Moses,
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”
John 1:17

These expressions are only known in those who have tasted of His judgements and His grace to such an extent that the two are one in word and in deed.

“And hath made* us kings and priests
unto God and his Father”
Revelation 1:6

The unity of these ministrations is evidence that one has walked with God. The imprint of His holiness breaks our hearts. The Word of reconciliation to our brothers and sisters and those who do not yet know Him can only be borne by those in whom beats the heart of a priest.

Many years ago, while teaching a class on electricity and attempting to explain the basics of electrons and molecular concepts, I got thinking about salt. Salt is composed of two elements: sodium and chloride. We are called to be salt in this world, to minister him in every phase of our lives. Salt, like truth, is composed of two elements each of which are poisonous; but combined in God’s wisdom salt becomes indispensable to us. It heals, it preserves and it generally makes things more palatable. Religious ideas of grace or holiness are also deadly. Grace without holiness or holiness without grace will destroy the very fabric of a man’s soul. However, combined in the life of the Son they are the means of my salvation and of those around me.

Men and women who bear this living truth know full well the horrors of who they are apart from Him but in the piercing revelation of His light they cannot help but preach righteousness. Isaiah beheld God (Isaiah 6) and was instantly aware of his own condition (as well as all other men) yet he was a flaming expression of God’s truth and holiness. Those who have seen God cannot preach any other Gospel. They cannot make room for compromise within their own hearts or in the lives of those around them. He who is Holy has called us to be holy.

The garments of the High Priest in the Old Testament were white linen with the colors of Blue, Purple and Red woven in. Each of these colors speak of the wondrous virtues of our Great High Priest which become ours as we walk with Him. The Blue speaks of His Holiness and the Red speaks of Grace and Mercy (Redemption). The royal colour Purple is the result of the blue and the red mingled together (mercy and truth combined into one expression)  to reveal the attributes of Our King.

These things cannot be learned by books or teachings. They become ours through the medium of obedience to our Great High Priest. It must be by the Spirit and through the Spirit until we so live in Him that they are expressed through us IN the Holy Spirit. This is the making of the heart of a true priest of God.

*Note: See Heart of a Priest Part 5 Greek Meaning

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info