Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘The Love of God’

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
http://www.aword.info

Read Full Post »

Philosophy versus Truth

Contained within the Greek language are differing words for knowledge and love. The word for Philosophy comes from two Greek words (φίλος- philos) and (σοφία-sophia). Philos is one of three main Greek words for Love; agape, philos, and eros. Each speak to a realm or a sphere of love. Eros is a love which proceeds from the flesh and in turn loves fleshly things. Philo is a love which originates from the soul; it speaks of friendship and affection and when combined with (σοφία-sophia) we end up with the word philosophy: man’s love for wisdom and knowledge. (In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve chose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil over the tree of life). Agape is a love which is of the Spirit, it is a pure love for it is God’s Love. It is a love that proceeds from Him, given and offered to all to love God with every fiber of their beings.

“…because they received not the love (agape) of the truth,
that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion,
that they should believe a lie”
2 Thessalonians 2:10-11

Those who are His have received a love (agape) of the truth; they can no longer abide or be content with mere information and teachings. To them who are called, Truth is a Life; it is nothing less than Jesus Himself. It is no longer something to hold in the intellect but something that must be known experientially within the regions of their own heart. In the reception of this Love of Him, men and women are captured by the beauty, the wisdom and the Glory of God of which Jesus is the “express image” (Hebrews 1:3) and in whom the “fullness of the Godhead dwells”. It is in Him we behold the sum and the substance of the Father. It is in Him that all the mystery of God Himself is hidden and it is in coming to know Him that we are changed from one glory into another! How can we be satisfied with anything other than Christ living, dwelling and reigning within our hearts? Why meddle in the vain philosophy of religion as the Scribes and the Pharisees of old who, knowing the word in the intellect could not see Him in the Spirit? They could not see Him nor hear Him in the Words of Life that He spoke. When men and women do not passionately desire to see Him in the midst of our gatherings, in the secret places of our hearts, and to see the fulness of Him in our brothers and sisters, then know that philosophy has replaced the agape of the truth.

Truth must be revealed in the power of God to live righteously in Christ. Religion and philosophy are expressed in the mere appearance of a thing rather than the substance of a thing. The two are not compatible and it is to such Paul speaks in his admonition to Timothy (2 Timothy 3:5). The Day of separation is upon us, and may the Lord quicken our hearts to seek out in Him the power and the glory to walk “worthy” of Him in this hour (1 Thessalonians 2:12).

“Beware lest any man spoil you
through philosophy and vain deceit,
after the tradition of men,
after the rudiments of the world,
and not after Christ.
For in him dwelleth
all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”

Colossians 2:8-9

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

Read Full Post »

HE WILL REST IN HIS LOVE

“…He will rest in his love”
ZEPHANIAH 3:17

John in his epistles makes some very startling statements, one of them being “God is Love”. Whenever love is used in relation to people it is always spoken as a verb, it is something we do or express. John’s profound statement reveals that love is not just something God does it is what He IS in Himself. Since He IS Love, everything He does flows from that one central point of His being which is governed by what He is. All of His justice, judgment, wisdom and righteousness are governed by LOVE. In order for us to understand such high and holy things we must recognize that it is impossible to separate love from all of His other attributes. God being who He is is incapable of internal conflicts; Holiness is never in conflict with Mercy, Judgement and Forgiveness meet without compromise, and Grace and Truth kiss in the Son.

Zephaniah is a Book of Judgment. It is a Book that prophesies of tremendous destruction and suffering upon His people. It is a book for today. It is a book whose very name means “hidden of YHWH”. It is a writing that pronounces great judgements upon Judah, Jerusalem and upon the surrounding nations for their idolatry, disobedience, apathy and unrighteousness. Love is the reins of our God. He knows that sin, idolatry and disobedience left unchecked will bring the human race into the very bowels of hell itself. Every act of selfishness is an offense to Him. Every impure motive, every attempt at deceit and hypocrisy is the very horror that keeps people from the glory and wonder of truth. For LOVE itself is the full expression of truth in substance and reality. In Corinthians Paul writes that “love thinks no evil”, and “seeks not its own way”. These are the fruits of the very Spirit of Truth. It is no wonder that in Zephaniah, after all of the pronouncements of incomprehensible judgments we read… “He will rest in His Love”. For at the end of all His judgements the scriptures declare that men will learn righteousness. When evil is judged and hypocrisy is destroyed then will God rejoice over His own, He will joy over them with singing. When righteousness and truth prevail God rejoices over His creation and peace and joy reign in the hearts of men.

Prior to the pouring forth of His wrath upon His Own He speaks of her ways and her insolence…

“Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!
She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction;
she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.
Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves;
they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.
Her prophets are light and treacherous persons:
her priests have polluted the sanctuary,
they have done violence to the law.
The just Lord is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity:
every morning doth He brings His judgment to light,
he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame…”
ZEPHANIAH 3:1-5

In the midst of such wickedness in His house and the things which are committed in His Name God must rise up to restore righteousness and judge evil. Even through all of this “God is in the midst” and “He will not do iniquity” and “every morning He brings His judgement to light” for He fails not yet the unjust continue on in their wicked ways.

Peter declares that “Judgement must begin in God’s House” even before the nations of the world.

“For the time is come
that judgment must begin at the house of God:
and if it first begin at us,
what shall the end be of them
that obey not the gospel of God?”
1 PETER 4:17

We see this same truth in Zephaniah as God’s anger turns from His house to the unbelieving…

“I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate;
I made their streets waste, that none passeth by:
their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man,
that there is none inhabitant.
I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction;
so their dwelling should not be cut off,
howsoever I punished them:
but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings”
ZEPHANIAH 3:6-7

God’s judgements are proportional to the stubbornness and rebellion of men’s hearts. He sends devastation and great punishments. If they do not repent He brings greater consequences for His motive is redemption and His reins are love and mercy.

“Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord,
until the day that I rise up to the prey:
for my determination is to gather the nations,
that I may assemble the kingdoms,
to pour upon them mine indignation,
even all my fierce anger:
for all the earth shall be devoured
with the fire of my jealousy”
ZEPHANIAH 3:8

When men fail to repent God becomes determined to pour out fierce anger and indignation and the earth will be engulfed in the fire of His jealously. The Day of the Lord is at hand and we are standing upon the very brink of the summation of all that He has purposed. What are the results of His judgements?

“For then will I turn to the people a pure language,
that they may all call upon the name of the Lord,
to serve him with one consent…”
ZEPHANIAH 3:9

“I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people,
and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.
The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies;
neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth:
for they shall feed and lie down,
and none shall make them afraid”
ZEPHANIAH 3:12-13

The result of God’s judgments is people who are free from iniquity (self will), lying, deceit and pride. His love as expressed in judgement will bring forth His desired end: a pure and holy people.

God will rest in His love, He will conqueror all and “…the Lord alone will be exalted in that day”! Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Brian Troxel

Read Full Post »

GOD IS LOVE

OVERVIEW

DIMENSIONS OF HIS LOVE

“THE BREADTH AND LENGTH AND DEPTH AND HEIGHTH”

“GOD is Love” 1 JOHN 4:8, 16

Having felt impressed to write a single article on God’s love it is now apparent that this will be a series of short writings in an attempt to present a brief outline of this majestic subject. The enormity of such an undertaking, and the sense of total ineptness on my part, is coupled with a prayer that HE who chooses the weak things to confound the mighty, the base things to confound the wise, may be pleased to do so here.

I remember probably 30 years ago pondering the responsibilities that God has given to men and the great need we have to draw from HIM the resources to be found faithful in all of the different aspects of our lives. The man of God must be a good husband learning by Christ’s example to love his wife AS Christ loves the church. The man of God must be a good father who discovers through his experience with the Heavenly Father to raise his children in the fear and the admonition of the Lord. Failure in these prevents us from having the experience and understanding to be expressions of wisdom in the Church. The man of God must be a good employee/employer as we recognize our accountability unto Him. The man of God must also be a witness and an example to the world without where we walk in wisdom and righteousness. As I contemplated these things the scripture in Ephesians 3:18 came alive and I was struck with the fact that there are four dimensions of knowing Him and His Love that we are to discover and experience.

“May be able to comprehend with all saints
what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge”
Ephesians 3:18

HEIGHT

The first dimension is the height of this LOVE. It is here that we must see that every aspect of God’s dealings with us is to enable us to discover that HE IS HOLY. Failure to understand this will dim and corrupt our ability to know His other dimensions; knowing HIS breadth, length and depth. Scripture is clear that “without holiness, no man shall see the Lord”. It is the responsibility of all those who minister to the people of God to set forth a clear presentation of the Living Christ. In so doing the hope would be that each life would see THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE and forsake everything in pursuit of the acquisition of it. Without the aspect of Holiness men will not see HIM as HE is.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:
And the knowledge of the holy is understanding”
Proverbs 9:10

There is a much today in terms of instruction, and scriptural facts concerning the Christ, but it is not the “knowledge of the holy” which is the true understanding of God. Men who know not of “the HOLY” know not God as they ought for God IS HOLY.

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,
whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place,

with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit…”
ISAIAH 57:15

In our religious world today there are many forms of contriteness and humility but unless these qualities are the RESULT of seeing Him they will always fall short of being the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Watchman Nee remarked in the book “Release of the Spirit” that there are many types of brokenness but the only brokenness of any value is that which brings the release of the Spirit of God into the lives of others. So it is with every facet of the Fruit of the Spirit.

The absolute truth that God is Holy and that God is Love is the revelation of WHO and WHAT HE is in HIMSELF. These are not attributes. They are HIS intrinsic self (HIS NATURE) and as such all that HE does flows from the great substance of HIS BEING. We can no more remove the wonder of HIS Holiness from HIS Love than we can take the element of hydrogen from water and still expect to have water. The church of today has in fact removed that element from HIS expression and because of this it is left with a love that is soulish, tepid, shallow and devoid of the power and the pulse of the Holy Spirit. This will taint the expressions of love that are poured forth from the life of the individual believer. The most blatant result seen today is the lack of LOVE between the members of the Body of Christ. Those who have the fear of the Lord know that they are not free to pick and choose which brother they will interact with for the LOVE of GOD is without partiality. They have a holy sense of the connectedness of the Body of Christ and are able to extend that LOVE of GOD to other believers because they ARE His body. They know the flow of that LOVE for it is based upon HIS Nature not upon a brother’s worthiness or capacity. This is where the breadth and length of the expressions of God’s love is determined by the height of a man’s understanding. If there is no comprehension of the height the love becomes earthly and human in its expression. Without the height men become very comfortable with the status quo of the day, exhortation and reproof are seen as expressions that contradict this “love”, and we become apathetic and comfortable with our current condition.

In the letter to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation we see a God who pronounced judgment upon the Church at Ephesus for leaving their “pre-eminent love”. In the Church at Pergamos we see false teachings were being embraced because God’s Holiness was not presented in their lives. We could expound on the other issues found in each of these locations but the cure for all of them is a people who live in the fear of God. Men who fear God have no interest in the approval of men.

BREADTH

Concerning the breadth of God’s love we must come to see that HIS love in us will love not only every brother who is truly a part of the Body of Christ but also those who are contrary and opposed to all that God is. A love that truly loves its enemies prays for them even to the point of blessing them. The absolute breadth of such a love is truly beyond understanding. This love is beyond the manufacture of men, beyond human ability or desire, and it almost seems to contradict our very understanding of Justice and Truth. The breadth of such a love is revealed in the first martyr as we see Stephen being stoned and asking God to forgive them! It is one thing for us to forgive men for their deeds but it is another thing altogether to ask God to forgive them eternally! It is no wonder Paul prays for us to be “strengthened to lay hold” of such a love.

LENGTH

In our consideration of the length of this love we must grasp the enduring love of God who has gone to great lengths of patience and long-suffering with us in our walk with Him. This same love will produce in us a love that will continue to love in the face of indifference and rejection. This is the love that will enable us to suffer long with a brother who refuses to grow, develop, or overcome the obstacles of life. It is a love that, because of God’s Holiness, will not compromise with a brother’s walk but will ever seek to raise them up to the CALL of God to holiness and righteousness. In this dimension there is a suffering born of the knowledge of God’s provisions and HIS own priestly concern over the life of every one of HIS. This is a love that will go to every length within its sphere to see HIS people rise and walk with their Holy God!

DEPTH

When I began to contemplate the mystery of this fourfold knowing of HIM and HIS LOVE I was impacted by the realization that in earthly things my concepts were only three dimensional. Having enjoyed drafting and drawing buildings and such when I was younger it occurred to me that one of those words used in Ephesians 3:18 was beyond my capacity to know. In studying the Greek words used for all of these dimensions I came across the word that is translated depth. This Greek word is a mariner’s term used to describe the ocean and its depths. As sailors they understood they were merely moving upon its surface but that below that surface there was a whole other realm of life about which they knew nothing. Praise the LORD! It is the same Greek word that Jesus used when He invited the disciples …

“Launch out into the deep,
and let down your nets…”
Luke 5:4

Can we not hear HIM inviting us to leave the shallow waters of men’s concepts, traditions and teachings and launch ourselves into the depths of HIS BEING where light, glory and LIFE abound? Do we not instinctively sense depths within HIM that surpass knowledge and words, books and sermons, where the Apostle Paul himself declares that he saw and heard things which cannot be uttered? These are things which men cannot articulate for they are beyond the speech of men, beyond the reach of the human mind and are only shown to those who have made holiness of life and purity of heart their pursuit.

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:

for the Spirit searcheth all things,
yea, the deep things of God”
1CORINTHIANS 2:9

My prayer is that together we will explore the unfathomable dimensions of His Love, for to love Him is to know Him and to know Him is to love Him.

Brian Troxel

Read Full Post »

IS OUR LOVE DIFFERENT?

“And if ye salute your brethren only,
what do ye more than others?
do not even the publicans so?”
MATTHEW 5:47

The Greek word for “salute” would best be translated here to embrace or literally as Thayer’s Greek Thesaurus translates this word, “to draw to one’s self”. It is translated “embraced” in Hebrews 11:13. In the verse preceding this one Jesus states that if we love {agapao Grk.} only those that love us, how do we differ from the publicans? May the weight of these things impact us as we look around and see this love displayed to varying degrees throughout the church today. Does this not vividly describe the condition of the sectarian ways to which we have fallen? We see churches and various groups holding on to the close confines of those that “fellowship” with them and the common definition of the church or body today has mistakenly come to mean the ones that we meet with.

To add weight and importance to the above verse Jesus follows with…

“Be ye therefore perfect,
even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”
MATTHEW 5:48

In other words our Father in Heaven is nothing like this. His Love knows no bounds; He does not show impartiality nor is He a respecter of persons. He sends the rain on the just and the unjust and His Son died for the sins of the world. We speak of “our” church, “our” pastor and “our” ministry as if we owned something or that because of our goodness these things have become ours. In Corinthians Paul states…

“For who makes you differ from another?
And what do you have that you did not receive?
Now if you did indeed receive it,
why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
1CORINTHIANS 4:7

If we seek only to meet with those of like mind we remove from us the wonder of His mosaic and the richness of the variations of His Wisdom. When we exclude or diminish another for differing from us we reveal the love of this world. We wonder why the world has not seen the Glory of our God in our midst while we live divided and walk in a love that loves only those that love us.

Peter, one of the Chief Apostles, started to segregate himself from the “gentiles” in his midst and was strongly rebuked by Paul and rightly so. The carnal man seeks to distinguish himself from others thus elevating one’s self. The need for recognition and distinction is at the core of that fallen nature. Jesus HAS broken down the middle partition between Jew and Gentile, between “Baptists” and “Pentecostals” and whatever other walls may be added through the “names” of teachings and doctrines. The gathering of the people is to be unto Him and Him alone.

Sadly the Proverb speaks to our day with such clarity…

“Only by pride cometh contention”
PROVERBS 13:10

Ω

“Division has done more to hide Christ from the view of men
than all the infidelity that has ever been spoken”
G. MacDonald

Brian Troxel

Read Full Post »

SUCH LOVE

“Wherefore in all things
it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren”
HEBREWS 2:17

Love always seeks to identify with the object of its desire. We read here of the astounding truth that there was a necessity within the heart of the SON to be made like unto us! There was an obligation for Him to leave the splendor of heaven to come and become a MAN, so identifying with us in our weaknesses, our temptations, and our limitations that HE would BECOME a merciful high priest for us unto God the Father.

“Therefore, in all things He HAD to be made like His brethren,
that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest
in things pertaining to God… For in that He Himself has suffered,
being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted”
HEBREWS 2:17 – 18 NKJV

It is IN HIM identifying with us, becoming us, becoming our sin that we are to become the righteousness of God in Christ (II Corinthians 5:21). The reason that He was compelled to be “made like unto His brethren” was because of LOVE. It was the LOVE of God sending His own Son into this world that we might know, walk and live in the power of His Eternal Life.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”
JOHN 3:16

That same Love that precipitated the giving of His only begotten Son to whoever calls upon His Name is the same love that initiates within us the desire to identify with Him, that we may be made like unto Him. Teachings, religious concepts and human desire will all fail to bring this to pass. Rather it is that same “agape’” love working within us, inspiring us to identify with Him in all things.

“…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,
and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead”
PHILLIPIANS 3:10 – 11

Love is the fulfillment of God’s purpose in man. His Love. It is not only the end of His purposes; it is the WAY into His purposes. Without Love being the only motivator within our hearts our motives are wrong, selfish and fragile. For only God’s Love “endures all things”, “thinks no evil” and wonderfully “NEVER fails”.

“God is love;
and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God,
and God in him”
I JOHN 4:16

God’s love in us cannot be known apart from Him; it is only in HIM dwelling in us that we know and live within the sphere of that Love. The measure of our love for Him is revealed in the desire to seek, to live, to participate and identify with Him in this journey of life. The power of His Love will naturally produce abandonment to Him. It is in us discovering the “the pearl of great price” that we gladly sell all that we have in order to procure its loveliness.

“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might”
DEUTERONOMY 6:5

Brian Troxel

Read Full Post »