“THE TIME OF SEALING”

“THE TIME OF SEALING”

sound the alarm

“And it shall come to pass at that time
That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men
who are settled
* in complacency, who say in their heart,
‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil.”

ZEPHANIAH 1:12

In this time of silence preceding the conclusion of all that God began in Christ, there is a searching and a measuring of men’s hearts where eternal destinies are being determined. It is a subtle hour and a most critical time as the lamps of some begin to grow dim as the Bridegroom tarries. The Hebrew word used here for settled* (see below) means to become thick, slow and curdled. It speaks of people who start out well but who, as time passes, become set in their ways and are no longer flexible. They are no longer able to flow in the purposes of their God. Their waiting has turned into stagnation; the brightness of their hope has become dim. The vision has turned from a quest and a pursuit into a doctrinal concept that no longer energizes their hearts and minds. This is a slow and certain death; it is the enemy of us all! Slowly the obscurity falls like a veil over the heart and the whispers of the enemy speak with great cunning and craftiness, “what difference does it make, nothing seems to make a difference, I will just “settle” here and live comfortably…” In other words, “The Lord will not do good, nor evil” I will just pass the time here as other men. If calamity comes I will “then” be ok..

It is in this time throughout the history of God’s dealings with men that there is a marking and a sealing; a determining and a measuring of the hearts of His people. In the silence there are great things at work as God prepares for the unveiling of all that He has purposed. May we consider a couple of examples….

“And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city,
through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads
of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be
done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing,
Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare,
neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids,
and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon
whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary…”

EZEKIEL 9:4 – 6

“And I saw another angel ascending from the east,
having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice
to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees,
till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads”

REVELATION 7:2 – 3

It is a Day for seeking out those who “cry and sigh” over the state of His House; to dig deep and hide ourselves within the secret place of the Most High. It is a Day to speak, encourage and admonish the people of God to fight off the slumber of this hour, to pray and build up our lives on “our most Holy Faith”. It is a Day to seek out that fellowship that will challenge and provoke us unto the ardent pursuit of Christ Jesus our Lord. It is a Day to know in the reality of our hearts the setting aside of all that this world can offer to purchase that Pearl of great price. This is a costly thing, more than just a casual walk, more than just a religious concept; it is the Battle for Life…HIS LIFE.

“TO HIM THAT OVERCOMES…”

Can we not hear the Word to us, “TODAY”? May the Lord press upon our hearts that we are brothers and sisters of one great family, and BECAUSE of that we speak, we cry out and we plead with one another that we may assemble ourselves together in fear of the Lord and in the awareness of the hour in which we live!

*Note: קָפָא qāpāʼ: A verb meaning to curdle, to congeal; to become settled, stagnant. It refers to something standing still or slowing down its movement, becoming thick (Ex. 15:8). It is used figuratively of a person in great suffering being curdled, tossed about like hardening cream (Job 10:10). It depicts a dead or stagnant spirit in a person (Zeph. 1:12). It means, used with reference to the heavenly bodies, to shrink, to lose brightness (Zech. 14:6).  (S. Zodhiates)

Brian Troxel

Heart of a Priest Part 8

Heart of a Priest

Part 8

“And when he prayed for his friends,
Jehovah turned the captivity of Job”
Job 42:10

The depth of any individual’s ministry as a priest in God’s house will always be in proportion to the degree to which they are free from the contagion of self. God’s blessings fall freely and often upon those who are able to set self aside and minister His grace into the lives around them. We read here in Job the conclusion of a heated exchange of words with three of his brother’s in the midst of a very distressing situation. The bitter words spoken in haste and rancor escalated the trial of Job to an agonizing level. Job’s release from this situation was finally obtained when he prayed for his friends. True priests work through the bitter exchanges in life, the hatred, variance and strife within the household of God for they have His end in sight; a body filled with His Glory each member functioning in a measure of the very life of Jesus to one another. It is here that the mettle and heart of His people are revealed. It is in these contentious moments we have the opportunity to approve ourselves unto God.

“For there must also be heresies among you,
so that the approved ones
may become revealed among you”
1 Corinthians 11:19 (LITV)

Those who are of the Truth will always be revealed by their conduct, character and humility. The ability to shorten our trial lies in our ability to respond with His character and grace. The words, the rejection and the outright hostility from others become the very catalyst to bring forth healing waters from our hearts. His mercy is released from those who abide in His life. The fruit of the Spirit is the outflow of any life that walks in His Spirit. In the Song of Songs the Bride describes her beloved…

“His cheeks are like a bed of spices,
a raised bed of aromatic herbs.
His lips are like lilies dropping flowing myrrh”
Song of Songs 5:13 (LITV)

The process of becoming a priest in His house is directly related to the development of His Character and Life within our own hearts. Jesus, when men beat and mocked Him, turned the other cheek. He did not reply to His accusers for He came as the precious Lamb of God! When men smote Him the fragrance of spices flowed effortlessly from Him in whom there is no guile. His words poured forth like the sweet smelling myrrh and He held His composure in the midst of all that evil man could bring upon Him! (Who is like unto Thee, Oh Lord of Hosts!) As He is so are we to be in this world. When men and women walk contrary to this, yet boast of their walk with Him, they reveal the darkness and blindness of their way. While many will reject His own, speak evil and despitefully use them, those who are His reveal His Life by praying, reaching out to the offending ones and truly desiring and seeking reconciliation. Those who are His reveal it by the life they live and gracious manner in which they respond to the circumstances of life.

“Who is wise and knowing among you?
Let him show his works by his good behavior,
in meekness of wisdom”
James 3:17 (LITV)

This is the heart of a priest which beats and ever seeks to live in this world to glorify Him regardless of the cost to self.

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Heart of a Priest – Part 7 – Grace & Truth

Heart of a Priest

Part 7

Grace and Truth

“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,
that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble,
by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
2 Corinthians 1:4

The New Testament truth concerning the priesthood is in stark contrast to that of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament one was part of the priesthood by virtue of birth (with certain qualifications being met); in the New Covenant, we are made kings and priests as our hearts cooperate with the dealings of God in our lives. It is no longer a position but a call whereby the individual becomes a priest by growing in the virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ. As His Nature is imparted into our lives there is growth and a transformative work. No longer are we left powerless; His Life residing in our hearts brings change regardless of our age. It is here that we are afforded much grace. Much more than mere statements or religious doctrines, Truth is a life; nothing less than the Life of Jesus being held by faith within the core of our hearts. Living truth is in itself the expression of grace. We must submit to the working of His Way into our lives. No priest can be true if there is a diminishing of God’s Holy Word, His Call or His hatred of sin. True priests are unwavering in the ministration of truth.

Truth will never violate grace and grace will never violate truth. Jesus in dealing with the woman taken in adultery was moved with great compassion toward her. He spoke to the “religious elite” of His day concerning their own issues and then turned to the woman who was before Him and spoke the gracious words “neither do I condemn you”. Such unmerited grace! The Gospel today is full of this powerful truth, however, the complete words of Jesus are often left out of the sermons for He goes on to say “Go and sin no more”! This is Living Truth where grace and holiness meet.

“Mercy and truth are met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other”
Psalm 85:10

“For the law was given by Moses,
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”
John 1:17

These expressions are only known in those who have tasted of His judgements and His grace to such an extent that the two are one in word and in deed.

“And hath made* us kings and priests
unto God and his Father”
Revelation 1:6

The unity of these ministrations is evidence that one has walked with God. The imprint of His holiness breaks our hearts. The Word of reconciliation to our brothers and sisters and those who do not yet know Him can only be borne by those in whom beats the heart of a priest.

Many years ago, while teaching a class on electricity and attempting to explain the basics of electrons and molecular concepts, I got thinking about salt. Salt is composed of two elements: sodium and chloride. We are called to be salt in this world, to minister him in every phase of our lives. Salt, like truth, is composed of two elements each of which are poisonous; but combined in God’s wisdom salt becomes indispensable to us. It heals, it preserves and it generally makes things more palatable. Religious ideas of grace or holiness are also deadly. Grace without holiness or holiness without grace will destroy the very fabric of a man’s soul. However, combined in the life of the Son they are the means of my salvation and of those around me.

Men and women who bear this living truth know full well the horrors of who they are apart from Him but in the piercing revelation of His light they cannot help but preach righteousness. Isaiah beheld God (Isaiah 6) and was instantly aware of his own condition (as well as all other men) yet he was a flaming expression of God’s truth and holiness. Those who have seen God cannot preach any other Gospel. They cannot make room for compromise within their own hearts or in the lives of those around them. He who is Holy has called us to be holy.

The garments of the High Priest in the Old Testament were white linen with the colors of Blue, Purple and Red woven in. Each of these colors speak of the wondrous virtues of our Great High Priest which become ours as we walk with Him. The Blue speaks of His Holiness and the Red speaks of Grace and Mercy (Redemption). The royal colour Purple is the result of the blue and the red mingled together (mercy and truth combined into one expression)  to reveal the attributes of Our King.

These things cannot be learned by books or teachings. They become ours through the medium of obedience to our Great High Priest. It must be by the Spirit and through the Spirit until we so live in Him that they are expressed through us IN the Holy Spirit. This is the making of the heart of a true priest of God.

*Note: See Heart of a Priest Part 5 Greek Meaning

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Heart of a Priest – Part Six – Jehovah’s Inheritance

Heart of a Priest

Part 6

“For Jehovah’s portion is His people”
Deuteronomy 32:9 (LITV)

The true priests of the Lord know deep within the very core of their hearts that God’s people are His portion in the earth. They carry the burden of knowing that the condition of God’s people, their manner of life, their love for Jesus and one another is paramount to all other things. They cannot be content with the prevalent “business as usual” attitude. True priests are concerned with the fervor, the passion and the temper of God’s Church. True priests are concerned with the purity of heart by which the service and the offerings are brought unto the altar of the Lord. It is one thing to go through the motions of a Sunday meeting where the rote of a “service” is conducted; it is another thing all together when the praise and worship unto God proceeds from hearts filled with the wonder of His Love. Men and women who are content with tepid offerings unto God and the religious garb of a priesthood that delights in the pews being full rather than hearts being full, are hirelings. They are satiated with outward things but the fire within has long gone out.

Those who burn with the fire of God’s love know that nothing less than sacrifice offered with the Holy Fire of God is able to bring forth the sweet aroma unto our God. The Epistles of the New Testament burn with words of fire that flowed from hearts that were aflame for God’s glory, not their own. They were concerned about His inheritance; not their church, fellowship or ministry.

True priests minister truth. They are not interested in being popular or accepted. Their estimation of life is to glorify God and to see that the altar receives the sacrifices and offerings unto God which are offered in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24). Worship flows from hearts that know it is on the basis of God’s grace, His shed blood and His mercy that they are able to stand before Him. Those who know they have been forgiven much love much. Little do God’s people realize that as in the Old Testament so also in the New we are to bring forth sacrifices as a holy priesthood!

“…you also as living stones are being built a spiritual house,
a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”
1 Peter 2:5

We are to be a nation of priests. That ministry is not for a select few; every member is called into their own vital ministration in God’s economy. A human body does not have non-vital members (unless it is unhealthy), if it is healthy every member participates with their own function within the context of the whole.

“But you are “an elect race,” “a royal priesthood,”
“a holy nation,” “a people for possession,”
so that “you may openly speak of the virtues”
of the One who has called you
out of darkness into His marvelous light”
1 Peter 2:9 (LITV)

Lord, we pray over Your inheritance in our land. Move afresh upon our hearts to see the true call to which you have called us. Let us see our portion in the rising up of your Church to the glory, the beauty and the expression of all that you are. Remove the blindness, the shortsightedness and the apathy from our hearts. Cause us to see how we have been backslidden in our singleness of heart to serve you. Move with great power to turn us from our religious ways, from the ways of the world, from our kingdom building and the seeking of pre-eminence. Cause us to be broken over Your inheritance in our land and bring repentance from seeking the things of this world and the building up of our own houses while your house lays waste (Haggai 1:4-7).

It is a day for us to consider our ways and turn back to the good and right way wherein righteousness and glory dwells. Turn us Oh Lord and we shall be turned.

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

AGELESS FAITH PART TWO

AGELESS FAITH

PART TWO

“And even when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not leave me
until I declare Your arm to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come.”
PSALM 71:18

To those that know Him life has but one overriding purpose… to declare His power and glory. Age and infirmities do not preclude this one thing. We live to speak and declare Him. We live to honor Him with all that is within us. For He has redeemed us, He has girded us with strength in the times of trouble, He has lifted our soul from the ways of this world and He has given us the very LIFE of His Son. How can we not declare Him to all who would hear?

Faith does not grow old nor is it dependent upon the natural strength of man. Its vitality and power, like a fine wine, develops with age and, by testing and trial grows more precious with the passing of time.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while,
if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
that the genuineness of your faith,
being much more precious than gold that perishes,
though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor,
and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ”
1 PETER 1:6-7

Genuine faith ever lives to glorify God. It is never static or cold. It is the very breath and life of those who love God. Faith is the fuel that enables men to walk godly in this present world. Faith is the fire that keeps a man’s heart aflame in the midst of a lukewarm church. It is the gift of the Almighty that enables us to remain strong and vibrant in God.

“But you, beloved,
building yourselves up by your most holy faith,
praying in the Holy Spirit…”
JUDE 1:20

Men of Faith are always concerned about the next generation. They are passionate to share the fervor and the authenticity of His power to those who follow after; to declare HIS ARM to the succeeding generation. They cannot rest until the Glory of the Lord truly fills the whole earth with righteousness.

Even so Lord, do not leave us until we have finished our purpose to this generation.

“O God, do not leave me
UNTIL I declare Your arm to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come”

Brian Troxel

GRACE

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

SPIRITUAL HABITAT ~ THE ALTAR ~

SPIRITUAL HABITAT

PART TWO

THE ALTAR

“…he built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD,
and he pitched his tent there;
and there Isaac’s servants dug a well”
GENESIS 26:25

This verse immediately follows Isaac receiving a promise and a visitation from the LORD. The PROMISE was no longer just Abraham’s it was now Isaac’s. The promise was given because of Abraham’s life of faith and obedience but there must come a time where the promise of God becomes our own. HIS promise not only becomes Isaac’s own but it produces a life of response within him. In the reception of the promise Isaac builds an Altar, calls on his God, pitches his tent (dwelling/abiding) and digs a well.

THE ALTAR

In the New Testament the altar speaks of many things but for the sake of brevity we will sum up the altar in the life of the individual believer as the place of true worship. This worship is to become a way of life for the true child of God. The Altar speaks of much more than a short time of singing one day a week; it is the place where we live and grow in our relationship in HIM, where we begin to realize that we are to offer ourselves unto HIM (Rom. 12:1) as a living sacrifice, where we offer the praises of our hearts, where we bow down under the weight of a Glory that softens our hearts and allows us to touch the very Holiness of HIS PRESENCE and the wonder of HIS BEING. It is here that we commune with HIM in the private sphere of our lives hidden away from the seeing of men. Here we offer prayers and the secrets of our heart in the most intimate of transactions with a Holy God. It is here that we learn of Him, we touch HIM, and HE speaks to us of things that words fail to convey. In this seeing of HIM we discover the truth of whom we are and the staggering contrast between who HE is and what we are. We begin to understand that even angelic perfection, though sinless and pure, cannot look upon HIM in HIS undimmed Glory in the heavens.

The Altar is the only place where we can touch such places of Glory. Here we are CHANGED into the Glory that we see from Glory to Glory; “EVEN AS BY the SPIRIT OF THE LORD”. As the Son walked this earth HE would spend hours alone with HIS FATHER in that perfect HOLY UNION that HE had from all eternity. The New Covenant provides ACCESS for us into the Holiest of ALL because of our lives being “HID with Christ in God”. It is by virtue of such a living reality that we can grow into the place of living and abiding at the very ALTAR of God. It becomes our spiritual habitat as we learn to abide in HIM.

The Altar is not only a place of sacrifice, communion and worship it is also the place of PROVISION; a PLACE where we eat and partake of HIM. It is the place of the “hidden manna” that comes to us by the seeing of HIM and the eating of HIM in the secret place. We read in Hebrews…

“We have an altar,
whereof they have no right to eat
which serve the tabernacle”
HEBREWS 13:10

And again…

“Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things
live of the things of the temple?
and they which wait at the altar
are partakers with the altar?”
I CORINTHIANS 9:13

Suffice it to say that the way of the ALTAR is the way of life. In the life of Isaac the first act of his response to GOD was the building of the altar. In the New Testament all spiritual realities are “made without hands” and as such we build our altar by simply spending time with HIM in the secret places of our hearts until it becomes our spiritual habitat. The Altar preceded the pitching of Isaac’s tent for it is in the “building” of the one that the life of “abiding” is cultivated.

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – THE KINGS TABLE – PART 16 –

PSALM 23

PART SIXTEEN

THE KINGS TABLE

“Thou preparest a table before me… ”
PSALM 23:4

The table spoken of here is no ordinary table; it is the King’s Table. It is the Table of Royalty designated for Kings yet we find it set for those who follow the Shepherd! The Hebrew Word translated “TABLE*” here שֻׁלְחָן is properly defined as “a king’s table, (for) private use, sacred uses” (BDB Hebrew Definitions). It is the Hebrew Word used for the “Table of Show Bread”; the Hebrew word used when the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon’s “Table” and was astonished at the glory found therein. It is used when God was angry at Israel for how they treated HIS Table in their day of apostasy and neglect (see Malachi 1:7, 12). This is the Table that is provided to all who would follow their Shepherd and their King! It is a table of provision; a table of intimate and private concourse with the King of Kings. It is here that we eat of the Hidden Manna. It is here that HE comes and draws us aside to break the bread of fellowship and understanding that we may grow in strength and in our relationship with HIM. This is a PRIVATE TABLE reserved for those who follow HIM in Spirit and Truth; not with lip service but with all the passion of a heart that knows that nothing but Jesus can satisfy the longing within.

This is a prepared table. It is not one that is hastily set. The Hebrew word used here for “prepared” is translated most often in the Old Testament speaking of the armies of Israel being “arrayed” for battle. It is a prepared table for a prepared people. It is ordered and set with the utmost of care and attention to detail. God is never in a hurry. HE is always the ONE in CONTROL and HIS TABLE is prepared from eternity for our strengthening and preparation. While men would panic in the DAY of Battle our God is calm and purposed. We see Jesus at the last supper with His disciples, knowing full well the drama that was about to unfold, filled with PEACE and enjoying intimate fellowship with HIS disciples! There was no panic for HE was and is the REIGNING ONE! Let us draw near to this table and eat of HIM, with HIM and by HIM that we may arise as He PREPARED TO MEET the enemy in this HOUR.

This PRIVATE TABLE is seen throughout the Gospels as Jesus spoke in parables to the crowds and the religious leaders. Later He would take His Disciples aside to cause them to know and understand the truths of what HE had spoken. It is in these private moments that the “bread of LIFE” becomes alive to our hearts and we see and hear things in a new way! The reason men do not see the power of HIS LIFE pulsating in the Word of God is that they have not discovered this table. This table will only be found by those “who follow the Lamb” wherever HE goes. This is a table of relationship PREPARED for those who would eat of its rich provisions and walk in the strength of it. It is not a Table filled with sweet things only but also with meat seasoned with bitter herbs and bread to make men strong (EXODUS 12:8). It is, after all, the “Table of the Lord” and those who would minister Him must EAT ALL that is set before them. For it is in the eating of HIM that HE becomes a part of us!

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,
and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life;
and I will raise him up at the last day.
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me,
and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father:
so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me”
JOHN 6:52 – 57

This is not a table for the curious, for those who like to hear the latest teaching or those who run after signs and wonders. Rather it is a table set aside for those who will EAT of HIM through the medium of OBEDIENCE! Martyrs and Saints of all generations have eaten of this table and found FAITH and GRACE to overcome. May we follow the LAMB in our day to share at His table the prepared provision for the DAY THAT IS UPON US.

“…To him that overcometh
will I give to eat of the hidden manna”
REVELATION 2:17

Ω

“God walks with the humble; He reveals himself to the lowly;

 He gives understanding to the little ones;

He discloses his meaning to pure minds,

 but hides His grace from the curious and the proud”

THOMAS A KEMPIS

 

* Note the instances where this word is used it consistently refers to a table of royalty (good and bad), prophets and a table of showbread in the Tabernacle and Temples.

table, 56 Ex 25:23, Ex 25:27-28 (2), Ex 25:30, Ex 26:35 (3), Ex 30:27, Ex 31:8, Ex 35:13, Ex 37:10, Ex 37:14-16 (3), Ex 39:36, Ex 40:4, Ex 40:22, Ex 40:24, Lev 24:6, Num 3:31, Judg 1:7 (2), 1 Sam 20:29, 1 Sam 20:34, 2 Sam 9:7, 2 Sam 9:10-11 (2), 2 Sam 9:13, 2 Sam 19:28, 1 Kin 2:7, 1 Kin 4:27, 1 Kin 7:48, 1 Kin 10:5, 1 Kin 13:20, 1 Kin 18:19, 2 Kin 4:10, 1 Chr 28:16, 2 Chr 9:4, 2 Chr 13:11, 2 Chr 29:18, Neh 5:17, Ps 23:5, Ps 69:22, Ps 78:19, Ps 128:3, Prov 9:2, Isa 21:5, Isa 65:11, Ezek 23:41, Ezek 39:20, Ezek 41:22, Ezek 44:16, Dan 11:27, Mal 1:7, Mal 1:12

tables, 14 1 Chr 28:16 (2), 2 Chr 4:8, 2 Chr 4:19, Isa 28:8, Ezek 40:39-43 (9)

The Book of Hebrews declares that “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat…” (Hebrews 13:10)  The only way to eat of this table is to Serve and Follow the LAMB OF GOD!!!

Brian Troxel

APOSTASY AND THE SPIRIT OF GRACE

APOSTASY
And
THE SPIRIT OF GRACE

THE GREAT FALLING AWAY

“Let no man deceive you by any means:
for that day shall not come,
except there come a falling away (ἀποστασια) first,
and that man of sin be revealed”
II THESSALONIANS 2:2

Apostasy. What does it mean and what does it look like? The Greek word used here for “a falling away” is ἀποστασια, a female derivative of the Greek Word ἀποστασιον that is translated “DIVORCE” in the New Testament (see Strong’s Concordance #646 and #647). Divorce is the result of a relationship where, over a period of time, the love has died. So it is with the word APOSTASY: it is the result of a love for God that has grown cold over time. The decay is so subtle and deceptive that the heart can scarcely discern it. The reason love grows cold in this day of obscurity is that “iniquity abounds” (lawlessness) within the house hold of faith; the wages of SIN are no longer to be feared, morals are loose and boundaries become less and less sure. The preaching from the pulpit is intended to create a “seeker friendly” atmosphere. The LIVING WORD of God is no longer offensive to the proud, the arrogant, and the haughty. We are told that God is LOVE therefore HE could not possibly be angry with SIN and the suffering it causes. We are presented with a meek and gentle Jesus that we cannot seem to reconcile with the ONE who cleansed the Temple, or with the New Testament judgement that fell on Ananias and Sapphira. We tend to pass over literally hundreds of warnings given to us in the New and Old Testament from a God who HATES SIN and JUDGES INIQUITY. As a result Grace has become cheap and meaningless in the ministration of the Gospel. It is God’s estimation of SIN that gives GRACE value and import. Amazing Grace is really only known by those who have truly known within their hearts the touch and the taste of the FEAR of the LORD! (A grace that saved me from a hell- bent life style is the only reason I am here. There was and is nothing good within me yet while I was in that hellish state, so lost and so ignorant, HE CAME. That is GRACE!) We do God a tremendous disservice when we appeal to men with human reason and carnal salesmanship rather than ministering in the power and the unction of the Holy Ghost! Men like John the Baptist would be disallowed in our church services as we would consider him uncouth and reckless. Men like Jeremiah and Isaiah would be far too fanatical for our polished presentation of the Gospel. Elijah would be too far out there for the comfortable environment we have produced.

It is for this very reason that we have fallen under the spell of APOSTASY AND LOOSE LIVING! Men and women see nothing strange about sitting in a pew or a living room couch for years with little or no expression of WHO GOD IS IN THEIR LIFE! Unaware of an eternal calling to be living ministrations of power and light! Unaware that they are called FOR A PURPOSE; not to give 10% of their earnings into an offering plate but to give 100% of their lives unto the King of Kings! How can we not look at what we call “church” and wonder at the incredible contradiction between what we see today and what we see in the New Testament? Where are those who can no longer be anaesthetized by the doctrinal statements, church programs and deep sounding teachings that have rendered the people of God harmless and impotent in a world racing towards judgement? Where are the cries that are birthed out of an inconsolable grief over the lack of HIS PRESENCE AND HIS POWER IN OUR MIDST? Where are those who are grieved by the insensitivity of how we treat one another, how we act in business, in our work and in our homes in terms of walking in such a way that men would ask “what is the hope” that lies within us? Our preaching first and foremost is to be with our lives and how we conduct ourselves, by how we treat our wives or how we treat our husbands? Where are those who would sound the alarm over a divorce rate that is OVER SIXTY PERCENT? Where are the preachers in the pulpit that rise up to the challenge of divorce and remarriage within the CHURCH? Where are those who will preach the Gospel even if it means that a large percentage of the pews will be empty the next week? Where are those who preach the truth because they desire to be found faithful unto HIM rather than to be considered a successful pastor due to the size of the congregation rather than the quality of the lives to whom they minister?

We are in the DAY of APOSTASY and men know it not for the most insidious result of sin and iniquity is that it numbs the hearts of those it holds. That is why leprosy is the figure of sin in the Old Testament. People with this disease lose their body parts one at a time because they no longer have the ability to feel pain.

We are in the DAY of the falling away, when the hearts of men grow cold and indifferent, where religion replaces relationship, where traditions of men usurp obedience, and the Sunday meeting goes on whether God shows up or not. Do we not read the “love of MANY shall grow cold”, that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and FEW there be that find it” and again “MANY shall say in that day LORD, LORD… And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”? Do we not read these things and tremble? Can we not give ear to the voice of God in this hour? Let us see and feel the weight of all that is transpiring around us and began to cry out to God to move afresh in HIS CHURCH.

The DAY of the Lord is at hand for the APOSTASY is growing like a cancer and men see it not just as in the days of Noah when the “flood came and took them all away”! Read carefully and you will see that it was not Noah who was taken away. It was those “who knew not”; those that lived in carelessness and were too caught up in the world to notice that the DAY of Judgement was upon them. Jesus said the Day of His return would be as it was in the days of Noah…

The Day of the Lord is at hand for we also read that Jesus said that the Day of the Lord would be as it was in the days of LOT when promiscuity and sexual perversion filled the land. Do we not see this same thing and how it has flooded the Church in our day? Where are those who will cry out unto God for HIM to pour out the “spirit of GRACE and SUPPLICATION” that will bring the people of God to mourning, confession and repentance?

“And I will pour upon the house of David,
and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
the spirit of grace and of supplications:
and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced…
In that day shall there be a great mourning…”
ZACHARIAH 12:10 – 14

This mourning is the RESULT of the spirit of GRACE and SUPPLICATIONS being poured out on the people of God! Grace to return us to a people of a broken heart, a contrite spirit and a life that once again trembles and honours God’s Word! In the pouring out of such grace upon us and the resulting response from our hearts we read of God’s response…

“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David
and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness”
ZACHARIAH 13:1

Even so Lord pour out upon us the “spirit of GRACE and SUPPLICATIONS” that we may be turned from our carnality and carelessness. Turn us again unto the right way, the way of repentance and restoration. May we as the prodigal son return broken and contrite from the folly of our worldly ways, where we have secularized your people, we have called ourselves by other names, we have met in the name of an organization, a teacher and a movement rather than simply coming together unto THEE. We have separated ourselves from the “lesser” brethren. We have elevated ourselves against those who are blood washed in the same blood that has purchased us, and in so doing we have separated ourselves from you. Bring us again to the common faith; to the discerning of the Body of Christ. Cause us to hate the sin in our hearts more than the inconsistencies in our brothers and sisters. Work in us to will and to DO of your good pleasure. Unite those who are yours that we may once again meet in the power of your Name and the Glory of your Presence.

EVEN SO LORD COME!

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – PART 15 – HIS STAFF

PSALM 23

PART FIFTEEN

THY STAFF

“Thy STAFF…comforts* me”
PSALM 23:4

The Hebrew Word translated here as staff has two meanings. The first is translated generally as anything that supports and stabilizes (A feminine noun indicating a support, a supply. It is used of what firms up, keeps stable, furnishes needed supplies…{TCWS of the Old Testament}). It is this aspect that causes us to trust in Him, lean upon Him and draw from Him strength for all our daily needs. On our journey of LIFE we discover the truth of all that HE is to us. Through this unseen support and ministration we began to see that HE is not only our saviour but indeed HE is our salvation on a daily basis. It is in the present truth of HIS life that we find ourselves in full agreement with Psalm 46:1; HE is our PRESENT HELP in trouble. Not a God that is afar off, but a God who is present and real. It is this present help that *comforts us, humble us and causes us to exclaim with the writer of the Book of Hebrews “what is man that thou art mindful of him or the son of man that thou shouldst visit him”. These are moments when HIS unmerited goodness causes us to be humbled and broken; HIS goodness expressed in the face of our stubbornness and pride.

His staff supports, leads and guides, gently nudging us into the path that HE has chosen. It is HIS staff that leads us to green pastures, quiet waters and causes us to know that HE is ever watching over the lives of HIS own. How good and faithful is our Shepherd. How merciful and gracious are His ways with us. Left to ourselves we are all like sheep that “have wandered astray”. We have sought out our own ways, our own pastures and without Him we would ever be lost in the wilderness of our own wisdom with our own miserable resources. The LORD is our Shepherd and it is in the ministration of His staff that we are comforted and made right. It gives us hope and comfort when we feel the sting of His correction for it is in learning of Him that we grow in the wisdom and love of our shepherd. It is in learning of Him that we can be more effective in our ministration of that life to one another. For the Body of Christ to become ONE in heart, faith and reality there must be a corporate expression of His heart to one another. It is in learning of Him that we are no longer able to segregate ourselves from each other. For to have the Love of God beating in our hearts we must come to the place of loving what He loves and hating what He hates. We can no longer pick and choose who may be our brother or sister. We can no longer elevate one ministry over and above another for we have seen that each ministration of His life is necessary to reveal His fullness.

It is in being humbled by His goodness that we become expressions of that goodness to one another. It is in the appreciation of His unmerited grace that we become expressions of that grace to those around us. The truth of the staff enables us to walk no longer in the poverty of our own resources. Rather it brings us to the recognition of a supply of strength that is beyond ourselves; a strength to stand when we have no strength; a hope in His supply that will not allow us to succumb to the testings we must endure. His staff becomes a point of strength where we can declare the “Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not lack…” He has come, HE is come to be to us all that our present circumstances require. We are not to feel as chaff driven by the wind, we are not to feel as sheep having no shepherd, and we are not to be as orphans without hope in this world. He has come to strengthen us in HIM, to bring us to the place of trust in the God of our provision. He has come to make us PARTAKERS OF THE RICHES OF HIS FATHERS HOUSE!

His staff comforts us, enables us and causes us to become rich in the provisions of our God.

“The LORD God is my strength,
and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet,
and he will make me to walk upon mine high places”
HABBAKUK 3:19

* See Psalm 23 Part 12 for the definition of the Hebrew Word used here

Brian Troxel