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Thought for Today

Humility and Obedience

Humility

“And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, and became obedient
Philippians 2:8

Humility is the precursor to obedience. Only a humble heart can obey God’s Word. True humility is expressed in a life of obedience. It is the stiff necked, self-willed, and obstinate who cannot obey God’s Word. Men may preach, teach and perform many overt signs and wonders but it is God who searches the heart (Matthew 7:21-23). Only those who are truly humbled in heart before God can obey, please and honor Him.

As the Son humbled Himself as a man He became obedient to the Father while clothed in mortal flesh. The book of Hebrews declares:

“Though he were a Son,
yet learned he obedience
by the things which he suffered”
Hebrews 5:8

It is not that Jesus was ever disobedient but in His incarnation, as a Man, He had to learn obedience! He came from Glory into a whole new realm and manner of life. In becoming a man, He had to overcome the testings, the temptations and the frailties of all that we are. Why and to what end?

“And being made perfect,
he became the author of eternal salvation
unto all them that obey him
Hebrews 5:9

In His overcoming here, as a true man, He became the author of a salvation which is available to all who obey Him. The authenticity of the salvation of an individual must culminate in obedience unto Him. Salvation is revealed by our obedience. The depth to which we are saved is revealed in the depth of our submission unto His will.

Those who claim to be “saved” will show forth His salvation by living a life of obedience.

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?”
Luke 6:46

While many may say “Lord, Lord” it is in the crucible of obedience that His Lordship is revealed.

The humility of a life
is not known by a timid demeanor,
It is known by the submission
of itself to the Word of God.

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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“THE TIME OF SEALING”

sound the alarm

“And it shall come to pass at that time
That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men
who are settled
* in complacency, who say in their heart,
‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil.”

ZEPHANIAH 1:12

In this time of silence preceding the conclusion of all that God began in Christ, there is a searching and a measuring of men’s hearts where eternal destinies are being determined. It is a subtle hour and a most critical time as the lamps of some begin to grow dim as the Bridegroom tarries. The Hebrew word used here for settled* (see below) means to become thick, slow and curdled. It speaks of people who start out well but who, as time passes, become set in their ways and are no longer flexible. They are no longer able to flow in the purposes of their God. Their waiting has turned into stagnation; the brightness of their hope has become dim. The vision has turned from a quest and a pursuit into a doctrinal concept that no longer energizes their hearts and minds. This is a slow and certain death; it is the enemy of us all! Slowly the obscurity falls like a veil over the heart and the whispers of the enemy speak with great cunning and craftiness, “what difference does it make, nothing seems to make a difference, I will just “settle” here and live comfortably…” In other words, “The Lord will not do good, nor evil” I will just pass the time here as other men. If calamity comes I will “then” be ok..

It is in this time throughout the history of God’s dealings with men that there is a marking and a sealing; a determining and a measuring of the hearts of His people. In the silence there are great things at work as God prepares for the unveiling of all that He has purposed. May we consider a couple of examples….

“And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city,
through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads
of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be
done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing,
Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare,
neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids,
and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon
whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary…”

EZEKIEL 9:4 – 6

“And I saw another angel ascending from the east,
having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice
to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees,
till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads”

REVELATION 7:2 – 3

It is a Day for seeking out those who “cry and sigh” over the state of His House; to dig deep and hide ourselves within the secret place of the Most High. It is a Day to speak, encourage and admonish the people of God to fight off the slumber of this hour, to pray and build up our lives on “our most Holy Faith”. It is a Day to seek out that fellowship that will challenge and provoke us unto the ardent pursuit of Christ Jesus our Lord. It is a Day to know in the reality of our hearts the setting aside of all that this world can offer to purchase that Pearl of great price. This is a costly thing, more than just a casual walk, more than just a religious concept; it is the Battle for Life…HIS LIFE.

“TO HIM THAT OVERCOMES…”

Can we not hear the Word to us, “TODAY”? May the Lord press upon our hearts that we are brothers and sisters of one great family, and BECAUSE of that we speak, we cry out and we plead with one another that we may assemble ourselves together in fear of the Lord and in the awareness of the hour in which we live!

*Note: קָפָא qāpāʼ: A verb meaning to curdle, to congeal; to become settled, stagnant. It refers to something standing still or slowing down its movement, becoming thick (Ex. 15:8). It is used figuratively of a person in great suffering being curdled, tossed about like hardening cream (Job 10:10). It depicts a dead or stagnant spirit in a person (Zeph. 1:12). It means, used with reference to the heavenly bodies, to shrink, to lose brightness (Zech. 14:6).  (S. Zodhiates)

Brian Troxel

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PREACHER Of RIGHTEOUSNESS

THE WITNESS OF GOD

“And spared not the old world,
but saved Noah the eighth person,
a preacher of righteousness”
2PETER 2:5

Peter, writing of Noah by the Holy Spirit, bore God’s Testimony of his life as “a preacher of righteousness”. It is a term that is seldom, if ever, used in our day. We hear many messages regarding salvation with the focus being on saving an individual from hell and judgement; but rarely is there an emphasis on righteousness. Salvation is much more than being saved from hell. It is the impartation of the Faith of God unto righteousness and life. This imputed righteousness changes an individual from a fallen son of Adam into a child of God. It is not a doctrinal concept but the transforming power of God unto a salvation which is verified by the revelation of a life bearing the fruit of its own repentance (change).

“Therefore, bring forth fruits
worthy*(see note #2) of repentance”
Matthew 3:8

They who preach Christ unto Righteousness bring forth glory to God and honour the sacrifice, death and resurrection of the Son. The New Testament begins with Jesus teaching “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness”. True disciples inherently know that this pursuit of God is a life of seeking, desiring and laying hold of His righteousness through the medium of faith and obedience.

“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness,
which are by Jesus Christ,
unto the glory and praise of God”
Philippians 1:11

Preaching righteousness is the common privilege of every child of God and great is the reward of those who turn many to righteousness.

“And they that be wise
shall shine as the brightness of the firmament;
and they that turn many to righteousness
as the stars for ever and ever”
Daniel 12:3

This is the eternal promise to those who through love seek to turn others to the righteousness of God.

Ω

“The nature of Christ’s salvation
is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist.
He announces a Saviour from Hell
rather than a Saviour from sin.
And that is why so many are fatally deceived,
for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire
who have no desire to be delivered
from their carnality and worldliness”
Arthur Pink

*NOTE: Definition
1. weighing, having weight, having the weight of another thing of like value,
worth as much
2. befitting, congruous, corresponding to a thing

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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PSALM 46

REFUGE AND STRENGTH

ALAMOTH

PART ONE

“To the chief musician. For the sons of Korah;
A song. For the Virgins*.
God is our refuge and our strength…”
Psalm 46:1
(Literal Translation)

Alamoth is a Hebrew Word that literally means virgins. Translated “virgin”* in Isaiah 7:14, it is also alluded to in the first chapter (verse 23) of Matthew’s gospel and 1Corithinians 11:2-3. This is a psalm referring to those who have set their hearts and affections aside for their future Husband.  They resist the draw and enticement of this world.  They have found grace to submit themselves to the discipline and breaking necessary to know that singleness of heart and purpose. People who give all, are given all; all of the resources and care of the great God of Jacob. This giving and yielding is the result of the mercy of God working in the hearts of  HIS own.

“…by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…”
Roman 12:1

This is a psalm of protection and refuge. It is a psalm of defense, help and strong confidence. It is a psalm upon which King Hezekiah drew strength and encouragement during a time of overwhelming circumstances when destruction and death seemed certain.

“He is a buckler to all those that put their trust in Him”
Psalm 18:30

Faith and trust are the means by which all the resources of heaven are made available to the people of God. It is by these that we know that God is not only our “refuge and strength” on a doctrinal level but we know the reality of Him as our “present help in trouble”. The ability for us to see Him as our only source of refuge, strength and present help comes because we have learned through His gracious dealings that we do not trust in our own resources, the “strategies” nor the help of this world. We are enlarged in our God by the reducing of our trust in other things. Child-like trust in our God will cause the reality of this psalm to wrap us up in a hope and faith that will hold us secure in the DAY that is upon us.

Ω

REFUGE

“A dear friend of mine, who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story: ‘Rising early one morning,’ he said, ‘I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, moreover, that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength.’ So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God.  A.C. Dixon

ψ

*NOTE: The most famous passage where this term is used is Isaiah 7:14, where it asserts an ʽalmāh will give birth to a son. The author of Matthew 1:23 understood this woman to be a virgin. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament – Warren Baker, D.R.E. Eugene Carpenter, Ph.D) (עֲלָמוֹת ʽalamoth is the plural form of עַלְמָה ʽalmâh)

Brian Troxel

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LEARNING RIGHTEOUSNESS

“Let grace be shown to the wicked,
Yet he will not learn righteousness;
In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly,
And will not behold the majesty of the Lord”
ISAIAH 26:10 (NKJV)

Righteousness is not the product of our environment nor is it the result of favor being shown to us. If everything was to go our way, and the blessings of all that this world has to offer were given to us, it would not help us to learn righteousness. For Righteousness is an issue of the heart not of our surroundings. The righteousness of God is known on the basis of Judgment, not favor. In the verse that precedes this one (which gives us the flow of God’s thought here) it states…

“…For when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness”
ISAIAH 26:9

The righteousness that is available to us in the New Covenant is because of the terrible Judgment that was poured out on our Blessed Savior. Men who fail to appreciate the reason for the cross are never really impacted by the corresponding grace that flows from Him. Righteousness is not only a gift it is a life that we LEARN by walking with Him. Men who take sin lightly will never learn righteousness; the change of whom and what they are is temporary and ethereal. Our environment and how we are treated will not change what we are in heart. Righteousness must be learned by walking and interacting with our God.

The true child of God knows of His discipline and His chastening. It is of necessity that we know of this in our lives. For it is in these things that we LEARN and GROW in righteousness.

“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord,
nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth…”
HEBREWS 10:5-6

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,
but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth
the peaceable fruit of righteousness
unto them which are exercised thereby”
HEBREWS 10:11

How good and right are His ways with us. As a loving Father with a child HE deals with us according to His plan and purposes. Joseph did not know that the path laid out for him was the means by which he was made ready to rule and reign. God waited and watched carefully over Joseph until the “Iron entered into his soul” and his word came!

“He sent a man before them, even Joseph,
who was sold for a servant:
Whose feet they hurt with fetters:
he was laid in iron:
(Hebrew “Iron hath entered his soul”)
Until the time that his word came:
the word of the LORD tried him.
The king sent and loosed him;
even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.
He made him lord of his house,
and ruler of all his substance:
To bind his princes at his pleasure;
and teach his senators wisdom”
PSALM 105:17-22

His judgments are always meant to be remedial and redemptive in purpose. Men who spurn His discipline and harden their hearts toward Him pay the bitterest of prices. For it is those who are “exercised” by His chastening that receive the peaceable fruits of righteousness. May we be a people who are quick to submit ourselves to His dealings that we may grow in His righteousness and love. He knows the things that lie before us and His preparation work is that we may become “vessels of honor” unto His Glory in the days ahead.

“…Or despisest thou the riches
of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering;
not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart
treasurest up unto thyself wrath
against the day of wrath and revelation
of the righteous judgment of God”
ROMANS 2:4-5

Ω

“The steady discipline of intimate friendship with Jesus
results in men becoming like Him”
Harry Emerson Fosdick

Brian Troxel

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TEMPTATION

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation;
for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life
which the Lord has promised to those who love Him”
James 1:12

Temptation is neither a sin nor a sign of carnality. It is the everyday reality for all men. The issue is not temptation but the response to it within our heart that matters. It is through enduring and resisting temptation that the victory of the Crown of Life is received. Where there is no battle there can be no crown. The crown of life spoken of here is given to those who by the mercy of our Lord and Saviour have fought the fierce battles that wage in the secret places of our hearts and minds, often while no one is watching. They have known the utter weakness of the flesh, the deceitfulness of their own heart and the pressure that comes to bear upon them in their walk of faith. Left to ourselves the outcome would be certain and the end of the matter sure.

“But thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”
I CORINTHIANS 15:57

The Glory of this life of Faith in Christ Jesus is that we are not left to ourselves in the matter of overcoming sin. We are not orphans that are left to our own resources in this matter, nor are we to labour under the rigorous requirements of the Law by our own strength! We have available to us the wonder and the glory of “…the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death!” It is through HIM that we are made “more than conquerors”. In Him we are not only freed from the power of Sin but are indeed made alive that we can walk in the very Spirit of His Life and provision. Such things are not known by simply taking thought. These virtues of His Life are won in the arena of this life. It is the Crown of His life that we receive as we overcome and endure the hardships of temptation and trial. It is in these places that we learn the secrets of dependence and victory; the sufficiency of His Grace in contrast to our weakness; the discovery that “love endures ALL things”; that He is “…able to keep us from stumbling”.

These victories are to be known in the life of every believer. We not only have His rich provision for the victory but even in the midst of defeats and discouragements we have the assurance of forgiveness and mercy to rise up from every one of them and press the battle until the victory has been received.

“For a righteous man may fall seven times
and rises again”
PROVERBS 24:16

The life of the Christian is more than forgiveness, more than mere religious sayings and nice sermons; it is a life of pursuit, of victory and of overcoming as He overcame. It is in growing in Him, learning of Him and discovering the absolute necessity of abiding in Him that we find the wonder of His provision and mercy.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world even your faith.”
I JOHN 5:4

Brian Troxel

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BY FAITH

PART FOUR

“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,
through which he obtained witness that he was righteous
and through it he being dead still speaks”
HEBREWS 11:4

Since FAITH is the evidence of things not seen we must embrace that the expressions and works it produces in us have an eternal aspect to them. We read here “through it” {FAITH} Abel, being dead, still speaks. His life that was lived by faith still speaks! His life is still a living sermon to all who should believe afterwards. Faith must produce eternal expressions. It must bring forth works that have eternal implications. It must bring us to new depths of living, seeing and walking in HIM who is the author of such within our lives.

In today’s religious world faith is considered to be a certain doctrinal persuasion that one holds to, a set of teachings that expresses our belief system, something we can print out and hang on our wall to show others who we are. In God however faith is the LIFE THAT WE LIVE, the expression of His heart through us in this world. True faith cannot be debated in terms of mere discussion; it is a life that demonstrates the reality of unseen things. It is the SUBSTANCE of things not seen; the very knowing of His Will. It is in itself the growing of a confidence in HIM who is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. It is a power that grows in us through obedience and suffering ever bringing us to a deeper dying to self in order that we may fully live unto Him!

We need to take note that this SAME faith that enabled Abel to offer a more excellent sacrifice “still speaks” today to all of us who now believe. May there be a greater abandonment to a faith that will produce within our lives expressions of HIM that leave eternal consequences in this world.

“through it he being dead still speaks”
HEBREWS 11:4

Ω

“Faith, as Paul saw it,
was a living, flaming thing leading to surrender and obedience
to the commandments of Christ”
A.W. Tozer

Brian Troxel

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