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Thought for Today

The Alabaster Box
And
Freedom from Strife

“Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people…”
Psalm 18:43

God has an answer for the strife, jealously and contention of religious, partisan discord. Clinging to teachings, ministries of God, and the honoring of men and organizations over Him, clouds His likeness in this world. It destroys the very fabric and wonder of His salvation and the unity of His Spirit. It is as we abide, seek and desire Him alone that He delivers us from the misery and shame of the “strivings of the people”.

The Alabaster Box

There is no better description of this age-old spectacle than that of the story of the woman with the Alabaster box. The room was filled with the carnality, contention, and strife of the various sects of the religious world. The self-righteous Pharisee (himself a leper), the indignant and blind disciples, and the broken-hearted woman (who alone saw the true wonder and glory of the Son) were all confined in one room. Have we not all been in such situations and even sat in the seat of each of these at some time? The Pharisee was oblivious to his own state yet filled with contempt over the woman’s reputation. The disciples were supposedly distressed over the cost and waste of the ointment being poured out. The worshiping woman saw nothing other than the priceless beauty of Christ.

The Pharisee was disturbed with the person, the disciples concerned with the gift, while the woman only had eyes for Him. Singleness of eye is God’s deliverance from the “strivings of the people”. A pure heart rises above partisan politics to see the motivation from which an action proceeds. The reality is that both parties of this drama were offended by her lavish and unmitigated worship of Him! Religious people will always find fault with the true worshiper of Christ; it is an indictment of their own lack of passion for Him.

The Scribes and the Pharisees consulted in the killing of Lazarus for his very presence was a testimony to the resurrection life of Jesus. Cain killed his brother Abel because his gift was accepted and Cain’s rejected. The Pharisees had to cover their ears during the stoning of Stephen because it was a damning of their own true condition. Those who walk with singleness of eye will know loneliness in this world and the contempt of the religious but the joy of seeing Him delivers them from the “strivings of the people”.

“Truly I tell you,
wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world,
what she has done will also be told,
in memory of her”
Mark 14:9

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Unity  

The Natural State of All Things In God

Unity is the natural order of anything which pertains to God in the Spiritual world. Where God rules, Unity is. It is not something to be attained by works rather it is the natural state of anything that is submissive to God’s Spirit. Jesus prayed that we may be ONE as He and His Father are. Jesus did not strive to be ONE with His Father for that ONENESS is who they are. If we are in Him the natural expression is UNITY. It is the Lie and the desire of self that prevents that which is in heaven to be so in the earth. Men do not want to give up their positions, their churches, fellowships, ministries or their very selves in order to see God’s end in the earth: the ONE Body. Unity is the fruit of the heart of Jesus and the whole purpose of salvation is expressed in us “being transformed, by the renewing of our minds” until we are freed from the fallen nature into the mind of Christ. (Read each verse in the same Spirit which inspired it).

2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:2-8

How can we read this and not feel the piercing of His Holy conviction? How do we reconcile the thing we see in the land today with such deep and powerful words? We see every day, everywhere the contradiction of this within the household of faith. Men and women ostracizing others, declaring this is our church, our beliefs, our teacher (pastor, evangelist, prophet or apostle). This is not the language of the New Testament nor of the Spirit of God! It grieves God’s heart for such things to even be spoken. Yet many of God’s people feel no pangs of sorrow, no grief of soul and are even comfortable with the arrangement.

“The prophets prophesy falsely,
and the priests bear rule by their means;
and my people love to have it so…”
Jeremiah 5:31

This is nothing new for where there is no change within the human heart there will always be this comfortable arrangement. Jeremiah precedes this verse with a telling description of the environment which is conducive to this horror.

“Now hear this, O foolish people, even you without heart, who have eyes and do not see. who have ears and do not hear. Do you not fear Me, declares Jehovah? Will you not tremble before My face, that I have placed the sand as the boundary for the sea by a never ending decree, so that it cannot cross over it? And though they toss themselves, yet they cannot prevail; though its waves roar, yet they cannot cross over it. But to this people there is a revolting and a rebellious heart; they have turned, and are gone. And they do not say in their heart, let us now fear Jehovah our God who gives both the former and the latter rain in its season; He keeps for us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withheld good from you. For among My people are found wicked ones. They lie in wait, as one who sets snares. They set a trap, they catch men. Like a cage full of birds, so their houses are full of treachery. On account of this they have become great and grown rich. They have become fat; they shine. Yes, they pass over the deeds of the evil; they do not plead the cause, the cause of the orphan, that they may prosper. And they do not vindicate the right of the needy. Shall I not visit for these things, declares Jehovah? Shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this? An astounding and horrible thing has happened in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their hands; and My people love it so…”
Jeremiah 5:23-31(LITV)

The reason things do not change is because His people are comfortable with the status quo. The preachers preach a comfortable gospel, the people pay them to do so, there is no conviction, reproof or exhortation in the land. We are not pressed to forsake our carnal ways and the way of the world..

There can be no unity to those who walk in the strategies of the carnal mind, “for the carnal mind is not subject to the law (and reign) of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7-8). Unity will only be known by those who walk, live and dwell in His Spirit. They who insist on their own way, who love the pre-eminence and the control where God’s people meet will never know of the blessing, power and glory of God in our midst.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
Psalm 133:1-3

The unity brings the anointing, the power and the blessing.

Ω

“The Church, during the apostolic age, did not consist of isolated, independent congregations, but was one body, of which the separate churches were constituent members, each subject to all the rest…”
– Charles Hodge

 Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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THE WELLS OF ISAAC

PART THREE

REHOBOTH
THE WELL OF ROOM AND PEACE

“And they digged another well,
and strove for that also:

and he called the name of it Sitnah.
And he removed from thence,
and digged another well;
and for that they strove not:

and he called the name of it Rehoboth;
and he said,
For now the LORD hath made room for US,

and we shall be fruitful in the land”
GENESIS 26:19-20

As with all things in God, Rehoboth is more than just a name; it is a promise and a place of great value. It speaks of peace, fruitfulness and growth. A place of quiet repose for the weary sojourners whose vision and purpose is God. The true beauty of Rehoboth is that it is a roomy place. Isaac declares “…for now the Lord has made room for US”! The true heart of a believer must come to the point of the experiential knowing that our journey in God is ALWAYS to culminate in US. The time of the singular pursuit of God is necessary for our development and the discovery of His Call to us personally. However with the passing of time we begin to feel His Heart for HIS BODY of which we are just a part. The cry and very heart of Jesus in John 17 is that we would be ONE AS HE IS WITH HIS FATHER! This desire is HIS and as we grow into HIS HEART by the partaking of HIS very nature (2Peter 1:4) this longing becomes ours. Nature must transcend teaching; the living plant is the transcendent expression of the seed. We must not placate ourselves with a form and a teaching of the life without the travail of heart to BECOME the verity of that life. Travail is the fruit of conception. It is the precursor of Birth and birth is the verity of the new Life!

“…but we also
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,

even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
eagerly waiting for the adoption,
the redemption of our body”

ROMANS 8:28

The more I read the language of the New Testament the words with force and power are the simple ones; “we”, “ours” and “us”. The Well of Rehoboth speaks to us of this truth. The Body of Christ must move beyond the contention and strife. These are not only the work of the enemy, but are in fact the result of an earthly wisdom that is self-seeking, self-promoting and the result of man’s fallen nature.

“Only by pride cometh contention…”
PROVERBS 13:10

“But if ye have
bitter envying and strife in your hearts,

glory not, and lie not against the truth.
This wisdom descendeth not from above,
but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
For where envying and strife is,
there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure,
then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without partiality,

and without hypocrisy.
And the fruit of righteousness
is sown in peace
of them that make peace”

JAMES 3:14-18

The Well of Rehoboth is the promise of provision to those who choose to move from the strife and contention of the religion of men, with their efforts to build something “for” God, and into a place of fellowship and refreshment IN GOD.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious ointment upon the head,
that ran down upon the beard,
even Aaron’s beard:
that went down to the skirts of his garments;
As the dew of Hermon,
and as the dew
that descended upon the mountains of Zion:

for THERE the LORD commanded the blessing,
even life for evermore”
PSALM 133

Brian Troxel

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ONE BREAD ONE BODY

“For WE,
though many,
ARE one bread and one body;
FOR we all partake of that one bread”
I CORINTHIANS 10:17

Love is mentioned 156 times in the New Testament while the word WE is mentioned 630 times; the majority of these are concerning the body of Christ. The WE is the expression of the Love. The commonality of the communal heart was a ONENESS in the peoples’ lives revealing the ONE BODY and the ONE CHURCH. The thing that made the unity was the partaking of that ONE bread which was broken for them. The closer one is in relationship to the HEAD the more one is cognizant of the one body. This explains the fragmentation and sectarianism that has robbed the body of its power and reality.

Love is the fruit of relationship with the head. Love surpasses knowledge, rejoices with the truth, stands for truth and knows that the only hope for anyone to be truly free, truly righteous and truly like the Son is by the ministration of truth. Where truth is neglected love will be a dismal expression of all that God is for “God IS Love”. I cannot know what love is except in the true knowing of God. Truth is my only hope for knowing what LOVE really is.

Love is the selfless and pure expression of the God who so loved the world that HE gave His only Son. That same Love that gave is the same God who in total holiness and impartiality is the judge of all men. All the heavens and they that dwell there are awestruck with the Holiness, the Righteousness and the Omnipotence of His Majesty. The most holy Angels who have never known sin or rebellion shield themselves from His glorious penetrating light; such a contrast with the apathy and religion of today. Where there is no unity in the midst of God’s people there will be little or no glory.

In every case of unity in both the Old and New Testaments there was God’s glory to such an extent that men were bowed and the heavens were opened. The unity PRECEDES the moving of God. On the day of Pentecost they were in ONE ACCORD prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We read in the Old Testament that when the singers and dancers were of ONE Voice the Glory of God fell. Jesus said…

“And he spake also a parable unto them;
“No one tears a piece from a new garment
and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new,
and the piece from the new will not match the old.
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins.
If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled,
and the skins will be destroyed
LUKE 5:35-38

The New Wine will not be poured out into old wine skins. They are old, inflexible, and weak. They have become rigid and have a form of righteousness that cannot be changed. God is not in the renovating business; HE TRANSFORMS anyone who dares walk in truth and in the light. His Love does not compromise with sin and religion. He cleansed the temple in His Day and He has not changed! Men were satisfied with their paltry offerings and even the disciples (prior to Pentecost) were found marvelling at the temple buildings in their day. Jesus says that there will not be left one stone of that old order. For the new was ready to break forth upon the grounds of the pure sacrifice of the LAMB OF GOD. Now it is a temple not made with hands; a living temple made up of living stones mortared together by the simplicity of the LOVE of God. Men no longer build their own edifices but are themselves built together INTO this glorious temple.

“In whom ye also are builded together
for an habitation of God through the Spirit”
EPHESIANS 2:22

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men,
but chosen by God and precious, you also,
as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house,
a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”
I PETER 2:5

The ONE BREAD is to bring forth the ONE BODY in truth and reality. Not a oneness based on the effort of men or the compromise of the truth! This ONENESS is the REVELATION OF THE TRUTH not the ignoring of it. TRUE LOVE IS THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT which IS CALLED THE “SPIRIT OF TRUTH”. When men love programs, teachings, the esteem of men and self promotion more than they love truth they reap the fruit of their own ways. This in itself is the great judgement of God. When men are content with such things nothing changes. Agnosticism is in full expression and men declare that God moves at times and not at others as if it were some mysterious thing. Truth is seen as being relative; there is no concern for wrong teachings and soulish ways. We are not to say anything, do anything, that might offend others. God has a name for such a generation… ICHABOD!

“And she named the child Ichabod,
saying, The glory is departed from Israel”
I SAMUEL 4:21

It is time to read the scriptures for what they say and to see through the “status quo” of today. It is a day to return to the simplicity of truth and the power of His Spirit that can only be found where the New Wine skin is made up of those that love one another fervently out of a pure heart. We can no longer meet in the ways of the world. The true church is not an earthly organization but a spiritual organism living in the breath of the Holy Spirit, where men no longer walk in titles and positions but live and walk in the pure expression of His love. It is a place where our meeting together is no longer orchestrated by the programs of men but has become the place where the Spirit of Liberty is free to EXPRESS THE LIVING CHRIST. A place where His Glory comes in such power that the ways of Ananias and Sapphira are judged and God is glorified. A place where HIS Glory so permeates our gatherings unto Him that no earthly agenda can survive and men speak as the oracles of God.

We need to stop reading the scriptures as if they were for another day; to stop viewing the Holy Word as if it were a historical document.

Daniel in captivity UNDERSTOOD by the reading of the scriptures that they would be in exile for 70 years and began to pray and repent; GOD ANSWERED! It is as men read the scriptures and hear HIS voice that repentance and change comes. He did not simply say “Well, God is going to do it”… HE knew God enough to know that HE MUST RESPOND to God’s Word personally to experience the LIFE OF IT. FAITH IS SIMPLY THE ABILITY TO RESPOND TO GOD.

The scriptures are read everyday across our land but the famine of the word is not in the reading of it but in the HEARING of it. For FAITH comes by hearing not reading. So Jesus warns us to take heed “HOW WE HEAR” and “WHAT WE HEAR”.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD,
that I will send a famine in the land,
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of HEARING the words of the LORD”
AMOS 8:11

That day is upon us, but the promise of God to His Church is …

“He who has an ear, let him HEAR what the Spirit says”

The unity of the true Body of Christ is only known by the simplicity of WALKING IN THE LIGHT…

“But if we WALK in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another”
I JOHN 1:7

Ω

“The unity of Christendom is not a luxury, but a necessity.
The World will go limping until
Christ’s prayer that all may be one is answered.
We must have unity, not at all costs, but at all risks.
A unified Church is the only offering we dare present
to the coming Christ,
for in it alone will He find room to dwell”
Charles H. Brent

Brian Troxel

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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

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THE CALL

PART ONE

“Get thee out of thy country,
and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house”
GENESIS 12:1

The CALL of God upon a person’s life will always require a rising up and a forsaking of things familiar, of places where we grew up in our spiritual life, and of associations that have become satisfied and static. The CALL necessitates response. The CALL keeps us aware that we are sojourners and pilgrims in this world. The CALL presses us to seek Him above all other things. A loyalty to organizations, ministries, and teachings can become the graveyard of the true Disciples of Christ for the affinity to these things causes us to settle in the earthly rather than the Heavenly. The true pursuit of the CALL causes us to know and feel HIS heart for the UNITY of the Spirit and in that CALL we recognize that every other agenda apart from this one thing is an affront to His Purpose. Every TRUE ministration of His Life is to make men see what is the HOPE of HIS CALLING unto us and to recognize that we are “members one of another”. This UNITY is based upon the work of the SPIRIT OF TRUTH not compromise. It is in becoming true that we have access to the mystery of this UNITY which already exists, (“that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me”), in the heavens.

“Now this I say, that every one of you saith,
I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ”
Is Christ divided?
I CORINTHIANS 1:12 – 13

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