The Third Day

The Third Day

“On the third day,
they threw the ship’s tackle overboard
with their own hands”
Acts 27:19

There comes in everyone’s life moments where all hope appears lost. The valiant efforts to extricate ourselves from the situation have failed. The storms batter and assail our soul relentlessly. The dark grey clouds and angry wind hide God’s Face from us and we seem to be at the total mercy of the storm. The context to the above verse is:

“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days
and the great storm continued to batter us,
we abandoned all hope of being saved.”
Acts 27:20

It is here where we see the most seasoned of sailors cast all the tools of their own making overboard in resignation to the sea. When no other hope is left they are simply left clinging to the fragile ship itself. The relentless storm brought ALL who were on the ship to despair. The “we abandoned all hope of being saved” included saint and sinner. The storm came to all. We see in the world around us hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorists, fires, and a multitude of other disasters; God’s people are not spared these circumstances.

It is here that God appears. In these dire moments the word of God comes with assurance of hope and a way of escape.

“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer”
Acts 27:22

Why could Paul say this?

“For there stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve…”
Acts 27:23

God’s coming was to the man who had made God his God. God’s coming was to him who had long before committed the very keeping of his life to God. God’s own are never left to the fate of circumstances and it is in these moments that His Own are revealed. It is in our now that the transactions of our life in God are made. It is before the storm that we are to become His. In the desire and diligent pursuit of God in our daily walk the covenant of grace is realized.

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience,
I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation,
which shall come upon all the world,
to try them that dwell upon the earth”
Revelation 3:10

The Storm is coming to all
saint and sinner alike.

1. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
Psalm 91:1-11

The keeping grace of God is unto those “who dwell in the secret place of the Most High”. God does not spare His Own from the storm; He keeps them IN it. Paul was kept through the storm for God had purposed that he testify before Caesar.

“For there stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve,
Saying, Fear not, Paul;
thou must be brought before Cæsar…”
Acts 27:23-24

Later on Paul would be martyred in Rome. The same God who kept Paul in the storm also gave him grace to finish his course with the joy and certainty of all that awaited him.

The secret of Life is to discover grace in our present circumstances to bring us to the place where we can say in truth “I am His” and “whom I serve”. This is the confession of Paul prior to the great storm:

“But none of these things move me,
neither count I my life dear unto myself,
so that I might finish my course with joy,
and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus…”
Acts 20:24

Brian Troxel

Discernment – Try the spirits

Spiritual Discernment – Try the spirits

“Beloved, believe not every spirit,
but try the spirits whether they are of God:
because many false prophets are gone out into the world”
1 John 4:1

The Day of God is upon us; it begins in darkness and culminates in the brightness and radiance of His Glory.

“And the evening and the morning were the… day”
Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31

The sifting of His Church has begun in earnest. There are many aspects of this great winnowing of hearts as God determinedly separates the wheat from the chaff; those who “serve the Lord” from those who serve themselves.

“Then shall ye return,
and discern between the righteous and the wicked,
between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not”
Malachi 3:18

The test of the hour is determined by our serving God, not a church, an organization, a ministry or a teaching. Serving God is a walk in vital communion with Him, where He leads us, speaks to us and we respond by the doing of His Will. The criteria for our life is determined by Him. We live to do His bidding. Our doing is not based on seeking agreement with those around us. It is in our submission to His Will alone whereby we are able to serve Him in truth. Those who seek the consensus of others will never know the joy and depth of communion and relationship with Him. The doing of His Will brings us to the “narrow way”, the way of the Cross of Christ.

Within the confines of the testing of the spirits, which so freely minister in the household of faith, the Apostle speaks to us of the necessity to discern the many voices of this hour. It is critical to note here where John speaks of testing the spirit and says “many false prophets are gone out into the world”, that we are introduced to the correlation between ministry and the spirit in which they are ministering. We must understand the point the Holy Spirit is making here. While many may think they can discern between the true and the false by an intellectual process or scriptural analysis they will actually be ill equipped to judge correctly in this Day.

John is stressing to us the necessity
to try the spirit of the expression
not just the content of it.

“Believe not every spirit…because many false prophets
are gone out into the world”

Excerpt from the Spiritual Discernment and False Prophets Part One Writing

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Richard Sibbes

Quote for Today

Richard Sibbes

“God is goodness itself, in whom all goodness is involved. If therefore we love other things for the goodness which we see in them, why do we not love God, in whom is all goodness? All other things are but sparks of that fire, and drops of that sea. If you see any good in the creature, remember there is much more in the Creator. Leave therefore the streams, and go to the fountainhead of comfort.”
– Richard Sibbes

Serving God – Part One

Serving God

Part One

“And Jesus answering, said to him,
“It has been written:
‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and you shall serve Him only”
Luke 4:8

Serving God will always be proportional to the condition of our hearts. Divided loyalties result in a tainted service unto Him. Jesus said unequivocally “No man can serve two masters…”. It takes the work of the Holy Spirit to bring an individual to the singular desire to serve God. Purity of heart (a heart void of mixture or agendas) is the criteria for wholly serving God. Within the core of human nature lies the unbridled and undisciplined chaos of the fall. This results in the lawlessness of the cravings and relentless pursuit for self-realization, self-gratification, and self-promotion. This inherent evil produces the conflicts, wars and grievous atrocities in the Body of Christ around us.

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?
Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”
James 4:1

It is the war within that produces the conflicts without. The horrific need for control and recognition and satisfaction is the curse of the religious world. The great deception here is the promotion of self under the guise of serving God. Those who crucified Jesus did so in the name of God through the innate evil of self-serving ambition. Lust, self-love, covetousness, envy and jealousy are mitigating factors that rob the heart of its singular desire to serve and honor God. A divided heart is an evil heart. A divided heart is an unstable heart. A heart driven by a passion for anything other than the love of God will, in the end, betray Him. Dying to self is the only means to a pure and single heart. God has no other answer for the human condition.

“…knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him,
that the body of sin might be done away with,
that we should no longer be slaves of sin”
Romans 6:6

Freedom in Christ comes by our co-crucifixion with Him. It is in our daily walk of following Him that we are freed from the desires and lusts of self. Our ability to serve God with a whole heart will be proportional to the depth of our co-crucifixion with Him.

“By this all will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.”
John 13:35

In the discipleship of picking up our cross and following Him His Love will be seen. Only disciples have the ability to show forth the wonder of the Love of Christ. True disciples of Christ are easily seen by the purity of love that flows to others.

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Humble Service to God

Thought for Today

Humble Service to God

“Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar,
that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon”
Exodus 26:20

Religion has a way of elevating those who minister. In the fabrication of lofty concepts of ministry we unwittingly provide the means of pride and thereby the downfall of many. True service unto the Lord is in humility; those who are His will not allow the altar upon which they serve to be elevated. The true servants of God do not serve organizations, ministries and people; they live unto Him alone.

“Serving the Lord with all humility of mind”
Acts 20:19

Whenever pride enters the hearts of those who serve at His altar the ministration is doomed to fail and the nakedness and shame of one’s life will be sure to follow. It is the horror of religion that men and women seek the elevated place and in turn people give undue honor unto those who do so.

Those who truly serve the Lord touch His glory. It is in this touching of His glory that they know the authentic humility of the Spirit of God. Pride cannot exist where His Glory dwells.

“Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him”
Deuteronomy 6:13

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Circumstances

 Thought for Today

Circumstances

“And being not weak in faith,
he considered not his own body now dead*,
when he was about an hundred years old,
neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:
He staggered not at the promise of God…
but was strong in faith, giving glory to God”
Romans 4:19-20

In the circumstances of life there are always obstacles and hindrances to the promises of God. Sickness, old age, finances, relationships, persecutions and a multitude of other things offer us reasons to excuse ourselves from our occupation of declaring Him to this generation.

The Greek translation of the above scripture literally states that Abraham fully considered his own body as being dead; yet in the face of this “he staggered not at the promise of God”. It is here that faith stands and takes us beyond our circumstances and abilities and keeps us active regardless of the situations in which we find ourselves. Many of our brothers and sisters at this moment are facing death, imprisonment, loneliness, health issues and untold hardships yet they are holding on to the promises of our faithful God. Shall we not do the same?

Whatever may be His promise to us, consider not the circumstance; consider God.

*Note: The KJV is saying the same thing but in a more difficult way to understand… “he considered not” means he did not let his “body being good as dead”, enter into his “accounting God” well able to fulfill the promise. Nor should we.

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Religious Sin

Thought for Today

Religious Sin

“And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned:
for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord,
and thy words: because I feared the people,
and obeyed their voice
1 Samuel 15:24

The above scripture taken from the narrative of Saul’s life is one of a long and sad commentary on his reign in Israel. This event serves as a stern warning to us as to what the Lord considers obedience. Saul’s “partial obedience” is confronted by the Prophet Samuel concerning the Amalekites.

“And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?”
1 Samuel 15:18-19

“But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal”
1 Samuel 15:21

Saul had partially fulfilled the Word of the Lord to him. He had destroyed the Amalekites, but he kept the king alive and allowed the people to keep the spoils of battle to “sacrifice” them to the Lord.

“And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king”
1 Samuel 15:22-23

In God’s eyes partial obedience is sin and disobedience. Religious sin is when His ministers obey the voice of the people rather than God. It is one of the greatest of all sins for when those who are directly responsible for expressing God’s will and way in the earth corrupt their allegiance to Him, God’s name is blasphemed. Religious sin is always cloaked in the pretense of worshiping God, honoring God or serving God. Yet He who weighs the thoughts and intents of the heart sees it as disobedience and rebellion. The religious sin of appearing to serve the Lord (see the sin of Ananias and Sapphira Acts 5:1-11) is ever shrouded in deceit to appear spiritual to those around us. Things which should be destroyed or forsaken are instead offered up to God as a sacrifice.

Religious sin is found wherever and whenever men and women listen to the voice of the people rather than to God. When the appearance of a thing is more important than obedience, when that which the Lord has spoken is compromised with the desire to be pleasing in the sight of the people rather than in the sight of God, the result is rejection and sorrow.

“Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord,
he hath also rejected thee from being king”

Obedience is the highest and purest expression of true worship and sacrifice.

“For do I now persuade men, or God?
or do I seek to please men?
for if I yet pleased men,
I should not be the servant of Christ”
Galatians 1:10

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Mercy –

Thought for Today

Mercy

“You have magnified Your mercy
which You have shown to me in saving my life.
And I am not able to escape to the mountain
lest some evil overtake me and I die.
Behold, now, this city is near, to flee there,
and it is a little one. Please let me escape there!”
Genesis 19:19

This is the first instance in which mercy is mentioned in the scriptures. God’s impending judgement upon Sodom could not be executed until Lot left the city (because of Abraham’s prayer). God told Lot to go to the mountain to be safe but Lot was fearful and called upon God’s mercy to circumvent God’s will! Rather than obeying God he used God’s mercy to walk in a partial obedience. Such is the half-hearted response to God throughout the history of man. God granted Lot’s request but it is a sad testimony.

This scripture came to mind the other day as I was praying. I found myself asking God for His mercy to do His will. Not only did the above scripture come to mind but also the following:

“For this reason I make request to you,
brothers, by the mercies of God,
that you will give your bodies as a living offering,
holy, pleasing to God, which is the worship
it is right for you to give him”
Romans 12:1 (BBE)

These two passages show the contrasting ways in which we avail ourselves of God’s mercy; one for partial obedience and the other as a complete offering of ourselves to God. Though God may allow the partial we must recognize our tremendous need of His mercy to walk in full submission to Him. True obedience is only possible by the outworking of His mercy in our lives.

The natural man cannot walk with God; the unregenerate heart will always insist on its own way. To whatever extent our lives are yielded to Him will be the measure of His ministrations of grace and mercy being received.

“Thou in thy mercy
hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed”
Exodus 15:13

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info