Vision and Purpose

Vision and Purpose

“I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”
Acts 26:19

Purpose is the inevitable result of seeing Him. The true Love of God does not leave a life void of passion or purpose. Paul’s presentation of the Gospel made no allowance for a partial pursuit of God. For him, it was unfathomable to love God with a divided heart; becoming more like Christ was the only purpose. He knew in his own experience that the Love of God was the pure power and wonder of Life. Love is the means by which God subdues all things unto Himself. The human heart was created for this: to glorify God and to reveal His wonder, His person and His wisdom to the rest of creation. Continue reading “Vision and Purpose”

Preach the Word – Longsuffering

Preach the Word – Longsuffering

Part Two

Preach the word;
be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering…”
2 Timothy 4:2

For the preaching of The Word to be effective, it must spring from the source which is the love of God Himself. Care and concern for the status of God’s people is the motive. It does not rise from self-righteousness but from a deep knowing that God is righteous. There is a suffering borne by those who behold apathy and complacency; a pain carried within the hearts of those who feel the call of God to deeper and higher things, who sense a responsibility to cry out in the darkness. The call to speak is greater than the vessel. The need to present God far outweighs the desire for acceptance and friendship. Longsuffering is the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit. It is not an attribute of the flesh, but its hold upon a heart produces a suffering long with the condition of God’s House.

Sin is the reason for the suffering of humanity in its lost condition. Love is the reason for suffering in the godly. Christ suffered most, leaving us an example of what righteousness will bring to one who is growing in the wonder of His light and love.

“For consider Him that endured
such contradiction of sinners against himself…”
Hebrews 12:3

Let us consider Him who endured the contradiction of sinners, who suffered long in the midst of a perverse and lost generation. The greatest contradiction was from His own people who, in their blindness, and religious ambition, condemned Him to death, even the death of the Cross. Those who follow on to know Him must experience in some small way the same rejection.

“Love suffers long, Love endures all things”, and, to whatever measure we are held in its sway, there will be a corresponding expression of its virtues. By contrast, apathy cares little, speaks smooth words, is pragmatic and remains uninvolved with the conflicts between light and darkness. It hides itself in religious garments of false separation and indifference just as the priest and the Levite who passed by the man who lay beaten in the streets. It was the despised Samaritan, who involved himself in the plight of this one, of whom the blessed Saviour tells us to “go and DO likewise”.

The true love of God necessitates involvement and personal risk. The religion of men produces insulated living and empty words which lack the one essential thing: Love. The preaching of The Word must be fueled by the fire of the Love of God to make Him known in this world.

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”
Ephesians 3:8

The Grace of God received is revealed in the “necessity” to preach among those to whom the vessel is sent “the unsearchable riches of Christ”. There is no desire to draw men and women unto themselves. They have no church, organization or earthly agendas; they live to make Him known! Grace received can have no other heart!

“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”
1 Corinthians 9:17

There is no room for self-promotion or boasting; it is a burden of “necessity” to preach the Gospel. There is an unction and a fire which burns within those who hold a glimmer of His beauty and wonder. This is not a weak gospel that robs His people of the purity and the power of this love. This is not a casual gospel with a gentle presentation designed to make the wayward comfortable and anesthetized to their own sin. For what is often presented as the “love of God” is in fact a “gospel’ of a god who has been made in their own image and to their own liking.

Where are those who feel the pangs of “necessity” to make Him known in this day? May God pour out upon us a grace that produces lives compelled by the Love of God to make Him known. May He save us from slumber, indifference and ungodly apathy, speaking of “deep” things yet revealing our shallowness through unremarkable living; lives with little or no effect upon the world around us. Let us not claim to have a faith in word but which denies the power of God even within the confines of our own homes. It is time for a new generation to arise who will “Preach the Word” and bring strong exhortations of God to contend with the bondages of a lost generation.

May those who bear His fire in their hearts declare His Word unto the earth and unto the heavens!

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine”
2 Timothy 4:2

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Henry Scougal

Quote for Today

“God hath long contended with a stubborn world, and thrown down many a blessing upon them; and when all his other gifts could not prevail, He at last made a gift of Himself “
– Henry Scougal

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

Psalm 63:1-2 – A Heart Aflame

Psalm 63:1-2

The Heart Aflame

“O God, you are my God; I will seek you diligently.
My soul thirsts for you…”
Psalm 63:1

The true pursuit of God is a proportional response to our seeing of Him. The diligent seeking of God in the life of David was a consequence of him seeing God in the sanctuary.

“Thus I have seen you in the sanctuary,
beholding your strength and glory”
Psalm 63:2

The land wherein David dwelt became a howling wilderness in comparison to the beauty and the glory he beheld in the Holy Place of God.

“…My soul thirsts for you;
my flesh longs for you
as in a dry and weary land without water”
Psalm 63:1

It is the seeing of the wonder of God that transforms one from being at home in this world into a pilgrim of faith; a sojourner with purpose and a captive of the hope which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In beholding the Pearl of Great Price men and women are freed from the gravity and pull of this world. His beauty mesmerizes the beholder; it causes an abandonment of all other loves and creates its own quest and inertia. There can be no settling for the artificial and trite for the deep of God beckons His own with the simple cords of Love and Desire.

“Deep is calling to deep
at the thunder of your waterfalls…”
Psalm 42:7

The depths of His being calls out to the Christ within. The tendrils of His love grip the soul in the embrace of God Himself. Only the Love of God in Christ Jesus can ignite our hearts into such a pursuit.

“Who, when he had found one pearl of great price,
went and sold all that he had, and bought it”
Matthew 13:46

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Love and Lethargy

Thought for Today

Love and Lethargy

“For this cause, when I could no longer forbear,
I sent to know your faith…”
1 Thessalonians 3:5

The love of God in the life of Paul initiated inquiries. Faith, seen in its proper light, is a living thing; an attitude with which one faces the battles of life. Faith is the gift of God. It is not an intellectual understanding but truly an impartation of Christ Himself. Paul was inquiring about the state of their living faith. Were they keeping it alive, pertinent and growing within their hearts?

“…lest by some means the tempter have tempted you,
and our labour be in vain”
1 Thessalonians 3:5

Paul goes on to say that his labour of love for them would be in vain if their faith was not a living dynamic. We have little comprehension of this love in our day. Do we reach out to others to inquire about the status of their faith? Do we feel the love of God pressing us to encourage one another to remain in the hold of faith’s power?

“For this cause, when I could no longer forbear,
I sent to know your faith…”

The Love of God pressed Paul to check the temperature of their hearts to see if they were growing in Christ’s dominion in their lives. It is easy to see the lethargy of this hour; the heartbeat of God’s love is so low that there seems little concern over the status of the FAITH in the lives of others. God’s Love is revealed in its concern for others.

We live in a day of unprecedented communication yet there is an apathy and lack of God’s love concerning one another. Faith and Love are to be the hallmarks of our relationships with one another; these are the glue and the bonds of the Body of Christ. When we care so little for the state of each other’s hearts we clearly reveal the lethargy of the hour in which we live. It is no wonder that the world is not greatly impacted by us.

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

Love does not ignore the life of another. Love inquires and seeks to know the faith of God’s own. It is nothing less than the Heart of the True Shepherd reaching out to all who are His.

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Richard Baxter

Quote for Today

1899-38633

“A foolish physician he is, and a most unfaithful friend, that will let a sick man die for fear of troubling him; and cruel wretches are we to our friends, that will rather suffer them to go quietly to hell, then we will anger them, or hazard our reputation with them”
– Richard Baxter

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”
Proverbs 27:6

The New Wine Skin – Part Two

The New Wine Skin

Part Two

“But when ye sin so against the brethren,
and wound their weak conscience,
ye sin against Christ
1 Corinthians 8:12

The New Wine Skin is to precede the pouring out of the New Wine. It will be one of a new living fabric in which only the Love OF God will rule. Secularism, the pride and conceit of denominations, the elitism of small and isolated groups, will have no part in the New except there be a change in our hearts. The wonder of the heart of Jesus is the only attitude which will enable His Own to come together in the unity and the power of His Spirit. The knowledge of God will bring the “fear of God” and the Awe of His Lordship; where our treatment of others will be considered our treatment of Him. Truth will be the foundation and pervading love will be the mortar which holds us in the firm grip of His authority in our midst. Every action and motive will be weighed in the balances. The horror of pretense, like Ananias and Sapphira, will be judged quickly in the fire of His wrath.

“Talk no more so exceeding proudly;
let not arrogancy come out of your mouth:
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.”
1 Samuel 2:3

Actions with the motivation to garner the praises of men rather than the approval of God will not be allowed in the New Wine Skin of God. Ministry will concern themselves only with His Glory and the integrity of the functioning of the Body of Christ. There is no room for the pride and vanity of man. All things are to be pure and holy with each member desiring the fullness of Christ in each member; encouraging the advancement of others rather than themselves. For the Kingdom of God is about purity of motive rather than the hierarchy of a religious order.

“He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward”
Matthew 10:41

How simple and wonderful is the Kingdom of God! What is a prophet’s reward? To do the Will of God. What is the reward of one who receives a prophet? A prophet’s reward. The reward is based on the doing of God’s Will not the expression of the vessel! If only we could comprehend the nature and the beauty of the New Wine Skin we would be freed from envy, jealously and striving for the approval of others.

Jesus takes it even further:

“And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”
Matthew 10:42

Can we not see the nature and the heart of His Kingdom? Only the New Wine Skin will receive the New Wine. The Old Wine Skin, by its very nature of being rigid and unbending, cannot hold the precious New Wine. The New Wine Skin is in reality a heart condition whereby truth and authenticity are the deciding factors.

“And no man putteth new wine into old bottles;
else the new wine will burst the bottles,
and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.
But new wine must be put into new bottles;
and both are preserved”
Luke 5:37-38

It is pointless to speak of the New Wine without a change of heart to become a part of the New Wine Skin. God will not pour His New Wine into an old order. Men and women may try to patch up the old in an attempt to keep their doctrines and positions intact but it will be to no avail.

“No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.”
Luke 5:36

The New will not agree with the Old. Let those who have ears to hear, hear what the Spirit is saying! It is a day of change and that change must be in the heart of all who would taste of this “Heavenly Wine”. The pride of men will be brought low and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day! Sadly, many who have tasted the approval of the esteem of others are comfortable with things as they are and will linger in the old rather than step into the New.

“But new wine must be put into new bottles;
and both are preserved.
No man also having drunk old wine
straightway desireth new: for he saith,
The old is better.”
Luke 5:38-39

There must be a forsaking of the Old; the desire for the New becomes the impetus to leave the old. It takes faith to launch oneself into the care of the Great Shepherd. The forsaking of the old will only happen in those who so love Him that they can fully trust Him to order their steps aright. This journey into Him will bring testings and the humbling of self, but also the flaming desire to SEE Him exalted in the midst of His Church. This is the crisis and the reward of His Own.

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
Joel 3:14,18

The Valley of decision (Hebrew is threshing) precedes the New Wine. It is in the valley that the sifting takes place. As it was for Gideon’s army so it is in this Day. It was a test of which the 22,000 were unaware. So also for us. It is in our daily lives that the siftings of God take place. In the “today” of our lives we reveal our heart and nature; in our treatment of our brothers and sisters and in the integrity of our walk. It is the forsaking of the Old Wine Skin which will prepare us for the New.

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert”
Isaiah 43:18-19

Ω

“While it is said,
Today if ye will hear his voice,
harden not your hearts…”
Hebrews 3:15

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – David Brainerd

Quote for Today

david brainerd

“Here am I, send me; send me to the ends of the earth; send me to the rough, the savage lost of the wilderness; send me from all that is called comfort on earth; send me even to death itself, if it be but in your service, and to promote your kingdom”
– David Brainerd

“For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis”
– Colossians 4:13

 

Quote for Today – Thomas Kelly

Quote for Today

“The deepest need of humans is not food and clothing and shelter, important as they are. It is God. We have mistaken the nature of poverty, and thought it was economic poverty. No, it is poverty of the soul, deprivation of God’s recreating, loving peace”
Thomas Kelly

“He restoreth my soul”
Psalm 23:3