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Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual Growth’


Quote for Today

Joseph Parker

Notes on the Scripture – John 16:7

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth;
It is expedient for you that I go away…”
John 16:7

“For example, here is a mother who is teaching her little child to walk. You know what a pleasure it is to see a little creature taking its first walk from one chair to another! I do not think I shall ever forget the first time I taught a little child to walk, and the joy I had in seeing the little toddling creature manage to go three steps without my help. There came to me a sense of triumph, a sense of something done. Well, here is a mother teaching her child to walk from one chair to another, and she begins by holding the child’s waist gently with both hands, and as the little thing steadies itself, and seems to have found its feet, she just takes away her hands little by little. Why does she take away her hands? Does she say, “I am tired; I do not like this posture of embracing thee, or of holding thee”? No, but she says in effect, “It is expedient for thee, my little child, that I take away this motherly support; thou must learn to walk by thyself;” and so the hands go away, not because the mother is weary, but because the child must be taught, sooner or later, self-reliance.”
Joseph Parker – The People’s Bible

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BUTTER AND HONEY

PART ONE
(See Part Two)

“Butter and honey shall he eat,
that he may know to refuse the evil,
and choose the good*
Isaiah 7:15

Spiritually we are what we eat. The richness of the Word of God is revealed here as producing within the lives of His own discernment and right choices. How people walk reveals the depth and the import of their partaking of the things of God. In our day of lukewarm attitudes towards sin and conformity to the world it becomes clear that a religious gospel is not capable of producing a separated people. By and large the church is more concerned with the numbers in the pews rather than the righteousness of the people of God. The Word has been robbed of its power and purpose. Smooth things are spoken. Oratory has replaced the anointing. Programs and written resources have taken the place of the individual’s responsibility to seek God and His Will for themselves. Knowledge about God replaces the knowledge OF God. We have become as comfortable as Samson in Delilah’s lap. We have fallen asleep and know not the hour and the day that is about to break upon us. In our slumber we characterize those who cry out to the current condition of things as “legalistic” and overly religious. We have “discovered” new methods of evangelizing where we seek to appeal to the masses with a Jesus that can tweak human nature but still allow them to enjoy the world. This gospel is presented as a band aid rather than a cure; a new paint job rather than a new creation.

Unto those who feast upon the butter and honey of the word of God there is a growing ability to refuse evil and choose good. What a precious gift this is! Discernment is critical to our growth and maturity in God. Without discernment there is no ability to partake of the “strong meat of the Word”.

“But strong meat belongs
to them that are of full age,
even those
who by reason of use
have their senses exercised
to discern both good and evil”
Hebrews 5:14

Those who refuse the “butter and honey” of the Word cannot eat of the strong meat that produces men and women separated unto God. We read of Moses though raised in the very house of Pharaoh and given the opportunity of living a life of luxury…

“Choosing rather
to suffer affliction
with the people of God,
than to enjoy the
pleasures of sin for a season
Esteeming the reproach of Christ
greater riches
than the treasures in Egypt:
for he had respect
unto the recompense of the reward”
Hebrews 11:25-26

This empowerment to esteem the reproach of Christ as “greater riches” only comes by the eating of the Word through obedience and having our senses exercised to see things as they really are.

Ω

“The issue is now clear.
It is between light and darkness
and everyone must choose his side”
(The last words of GK Chesterton)

*NOTE: The prophetic word spoken here of the Son communicates to us His manner of life and His Beauty. All that is true in Him is to be true of those who are in Him.

“…because as he IS, so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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THE LOVE OF THE BRIDE

“Behold, I am coming as a thief.
Blessed is the one watching and keeping his garments,
that he does not walk naked,
and they may see his shame”
REVELATION 16:15

The true watchman is always aware of the diligence required to keep his garments white and his heart set upon the THE ONE who is able to keep him from stumbling. It is incumbent upon those who have that living faith and hope of His return to walk circumspectly in this hour. Hope is the great motivator for purity and holiness. The Bride makes herself ready because she is excited about the coming wedding day. She wants to be radiant for the Bridegroom. This is not a doctrine; it is the result of the love that resides within her heart for HIM.

‘Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him:
for the marriage of the Lamb is come,
and his wife hath made herself ready’
REVELATION 19:7

The revelation of this love for her Bridegroom is manifested in her life by the act of making herself ready. Teaching will not produce this expression; only LOVE that burns with a pure motive to please and honour HIM. The care of keeping our garments clean and unspotted from the contamination of this world is the result of such a love. It is not a hard religious duty or a legalistic endeavor. This is a labour of joy and LOVE. To set aside our life for HIM is the sanctifying ministration of the Holy Spirit in the willing heart. The living hope and anticipation of seeing HIM is worth the cost of discipleship and sanctification.

‘…but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him;
for we shall see him as he is
And every man that hath this hope in him
purifieth himself, even as he is pure”
1JOHN 3:2-3

Brian Troxel

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GRACE

“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 (NKJV)

The ability to serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear, is by the power of His Grace given to us. Grace is given in order that we may serve our God and glorify Him in our daily lives. Grace received is revealed in the fruit of our lives. It produces a desire to serve Him, to lay aside my own will and submit to His. Without grace we are left to our own resources, our own thoughts and our own ways. Grace is to be in us a power to live beyond our own abilities. Failure to receive of this Grace causes us to wither and become ineffective in the world around us.

The scriptures declare that Noah “found” grace in the sight of the Lord and because of that he OBEYED God and built an ark to the saving of him and his family. Grace is the great enabler that produces within us a life that testifies of Him and desires to please Him. Grace received will never leave us barren nor unfruitful; it will always honor and glorify the giver!

“That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
may be glorified in you, and ye in him,
according to the grace of our
God and the Lord Jesus Christ”
2 THESSALONIANS 1:12

The measure of Grace in which we walk today is good and precious. It is to be guarded and appreciated. It is given from our Lord Jesus Christ with the intent that we would grow in the apprehension of it and its influence in our lives.

“But grow in grace,
and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To him be glory both now and forever.
Amen”
2 PETER 3:18

Ω

“Grace is an energy; not a mere sentiment;
not a mere thought of the Almighty; not even a word of the Almighty.
It is as real an energy as the energy of electricity.
It is a divine energy; it is the energy of the divine affection
rolling in plenteousness toward the shores of human need.”
Benjamin Jowett (1817–1893)

Brian Troxel

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PROVISIONS

“Prepare your provisions,
for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan
to go in to take possession of the land
that the Lord your God is giving you to possess”
JOSHUA 1:11

Though the manna was still falling every day Israel was now preparing for war; the trials of the wilderness were giving way to the reality of battle. The manna was God’s provision but it was now time for God’s people to be weaned off the manna and begin to prepare their own provisions. They would soon have to live off the Land they were to enter. The manna was for a season only and it ceased WHEN they had eaten of fruit of the land!

“And the manna ceased on the morrow
after they had eaten of the old corn of the land;
neither had the children of Israel manna anymore;
but they did eat of the fruit
of the land of Canaan that year”
JOSHUA 5:12

Sadly some of God’s people are still waiting to be fed when they should be preparing their own provisions so that they may be ready for warfare and be able to feed others. They sit passively in a pew, while someone else feeds and waters them, rather than reading God’s word and finding their own provisions to make them strong and vital in the army of the Lord.

Transition is normal and necessary for a healthy and active life in God. Too many of us settle into a life that has become stagnant and stunted in growth and development. To enter in into new places in God will require a change in our provisions. New resources will be required to enter into the things that we are called to.

We read in John of Jesus coming to Jacob’s well and the scriptures testify that Jesus was “wearied with the journey” and sent the disciples into the city to buy food. While Jesus sat at the well a woman came for water and Jesus began to minister unto her. When the disciples returned with food Jesus said he was no longer hungry; in the doing of His Father’s Will He Himself was fed.

“In the mean while his disciples prayed him,
saying, Master, eat.
But he said unto them,
I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
Therefore said the disciples one to another,
Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
Jesus saith unto them,
My meat is to do the will of him that sent me,
and to finish his work”
JOHN 4:30-33

The disciples had not yet learned of this provision but they would learn of it in the days ahead. In the Tabernacle there were three distinct offerings or provisions of bread as they traveled in the wilderness. In the Outer Court (which was their present experience) was the gathering of the manna that was wonderfully provided by God. In the Holy Place the priests had access to the table of showbread (Heb. Bread of the Presence or more literally Bread of the Face to be discussed in a later writing). In the Holy of Holies there was the “hidden Manna” that was found within the Ark of the Covenant, overshadowed by the very Shekinah Glory of God. In Revelation the “hidden Manna” is given to those who have overcome. This “hidden manna” is the bread of those who have engaged in the life of battle and victory. It is a provision for those who have “overcome” the enemies of their own hearts and the compromise and issues of the condition of the church of their day.

“He that hath an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
To him that overcometh
will I give to eat of the hidden manna
REVELATION 2:17

Each of these distinct phases of provision from our heavenly Father is to be an experiential reality in our lives. To remain content with being fed and watered by others is to miss out on the vitality and wonder of our own relationship with God. It is vital that we go on into the deeper things of God for there are always new provisions. May God stir us afresh to GROW into the “strong meat” that HE desires to give us (Hebrews 5:14). Let us leave the “milk of the Word” as it can no longer sustain us in the normal progression of a healthy life in God. A child must be weaned from breast milk in order to grow and so must we! Growth is the EVIDENCE of LIFE.

“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers,
ye have need that one teach you again
which be the first principles of the oracles of God;
and are become such as have need of milk,
and not of strong meat.
For every one that useth milk
is unskilful in the word of righteousness:
for he is a babe”
HEBREWS 5:12-13

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ,
let us go on…”
HEBREWS 6:1

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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