Quote for Today – Alexander MacLaren

Quote for Today

alexander-maclaren

“We must have the glory sink into us before it can be reflected from us. In deep inward beholding we must have Christ in our hearts that He may shine forth from our lives”
– Alexander MacLaren

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord”
– 2 Corinthians 3:18

Thought for Today – Comfort in Distress

Thought for Today

Comfort in Distress

“If I walk in the midst of distress
Thou revives me…”
Psalm 138:7

Trouble and distress is often the precursor to glory. Our heavenly Father’s purpose is to bring “many sons to glory”. He who “spared not His Son” on our behalf will not spare His rod and His staff from the lives of those who have purposed to know Him. In our distresses we become focused and aware of the eternal issue; to know and honor God. It is in the press where the grapes are squeezed, the spices are crushed and the pride of man is broken. These are the times that the vision of a true soul sees with the most clarity and the vanity of life is exposed. The fine wine is brought to maturity, the bouquet is sweetened and the flavor is deepened and refined as the dregs of self are removed. That which was once bitter is made sweet by the gracious work of God. In His economy the best wine is always brought out at the last to glorify the wonder of the work of the Son. The waters in the earthen pot have been transformed into the wine of the Spirit for others to drink and be refreshed.

The quickening and reviving work of God is ever in the midst of the trial. In our holding fast to Him the storm inevitably gives way to the calm. That which has been torn will be restored; that which has been driven by the wind will find the harbor of His peace and security. Grey and angry skies will clear and the deep blue face of heaven will be more serene than ever before.

Do not fear the storms for He who knows our frame and our fragility also knows how to keep His own within the everlasting arms.

“O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:

Who holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.

For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.

Thou hast brought us into the net; thou hast laid affliction upon our loins.

You allowed men to ride over our heads;

we went through fire and through water:

but you brought us to the place of abundance.”
Psalm 66:8-12

God’s end is to bring His own to a place of abundance!

Brian Troxel

The Purpose of God

The Purpose of God

“So then death worketh in us,
but life in you”
2 Corinthians 4:12

The radical nature of the Kingdom of God is one of mystery and paradox; it is contrary to the constitution of natural man. Entering into it requires the death and renunciation of the self-life in order to touch the wonder of its power. The very LIFE of the Kingdom of God is only available in Jesus. There is “salvation in no other name” and there is LIFE in no other. He ALONE is the Kingdom and He ALONE is the Way into the Kingdom. He is the TRUTH of the Kingdom and He is the LIFE of the Kingdom.

“For the Jews require a sign,
and the Greeks seek after wisdom”
1 Corinthians 1:22

Here Paul sums up the inclinations of the world and the people of God. His people desired signs and wonders and others sought “wisdom” (Greek word “sophia” from which we derive the word philosophy*). The nature of the heart of man has not changed. God’s Kingdom will not be found by these means for Paul goes on in the very next verse of scripture:

“But we preach Christ crucified,
unto the Jews a stumblingblock,
and unto the Greeks foolishness”
1 Corinthians 1:23

Christ crucified is the pivotal point upon which the entire purposes of God rest. The Way into this Kingdom is dependent upon the extent of our identification and participation in His death being worked out in our lives. The corresponding revelation of His Life in us will be to the degree of “death” being worked into us. This happens through the operation of His Holy Spirit combined with our own will yielding in true discipleship. Smooth words, elaborate teachings and overt signs and wonders will never replace the power of a crucified life. It is in this place that God’s work must culminate if we would enter into the wonder of His Life. Again Paul continues:

“But unto them which are called,
both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God,
and the wisdom of God”
1 Corinthians 1:24

It is in those who are called that this revelation is made known. The nature of a call requires a response and the call to discipleship is predicated with an “if”. The “if” allows a free-will response from the individual. Entrance into the Kingdom is not by words, understanding, or signs and wonders but by the crucible of the Cross.

“For we which live
are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake,
that the life also of Jesus
might be made manifest in our mortal flesh
2 Corinthians 4:11

The end and purpose of all life is “…that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh”.

*NOTE: 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. Philos 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. It is a knowledge which may sound deep and good but leaves those who hold it weak and ineffective in the ministration of His life. God’s end is Agape – it is His love ruling, leading and holding us to His ways and purposes. God’s love cannot rest in anything which is contrary to His nature. It is the One over-riding motive which can produce discipleship within the heart of an individual. Peter’s love (philos) failed for man’s affection will never hold a heart true in times of testing.

“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men,
but in the power of God”
1 Corinthians 2:5

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

DIVINE LONGINGS

“DIVINE LONGINGS”

“Let us pass over unto the other side…”
MARK 4:35

The life of a Christian is to be one of movement and quest. It cannot remain static and unchanged. There is something about the Spirit of Christ in us that is ever pressing us to move on, to cross over and to know the life of continual growth in Him. All of creation shows us this; constant growth is the revelation of life. Growth IS the evidence of life and a life unchanged reveals a life unlived. In the wonder of our living God there is no point of arrival, there is no end, there is only growth and discovery. The glory of Him is unsearchable, His wisdom past finding out. His love surpasses knowledge and words such as “infinite” and “perfection” are inadequate to convey the matchless mysteries of Him. How can we not as Paul be caught up in the pressing toward that mark (Philippians 3:14), or as David spoke of in Psalm 42…

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks,
so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God”
PSALM 42:1 – 2

This is the whisper of the Spirit of God within the hearts of His own. This is the glorious restlessness of His Life in us. It is not a disturbing restlessness; it is the restlessness of His Life in us to grow and become all that we have been called to. It is the restlessness of life that causes the young man to leave home and walk and grow and explore what life is to be for Him. It is the life that breaks open the egg shell; it is the life that births the struggle of the butterfly coming forth from the cocoon. It is the force of rivers causing them to flow back to the great ocean from whence they came. It is the longing of life that drives the salmon to swim upstream against all the barriers and obstacles in its way. Let us not quench that cry within us.

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled”
MATTHEW 5:6

Ω

“The yearning to know what cannot be known,
to comprehend the incomprehensible,
to touch and taste the unapproachable,
arises from the image of God in the nature of man.
Deep calleth unto deep,
and though polluted and landlocked by the mighty disaster
theologians call the Fall,
the soul senses its origin and longs to return to its source.”
AW Tozer

“Let us pass over unto the other side…”

Brian Troxel