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Posts Tagged ‘Vision and Purpose’

BUTTER AND HONEY

PART TWO

“…for butter and honey shall every one eat
that is left in the land”
Isaiah 7:24

Earlier, (See Part One) in the fifteenth verse of this chapter, we read the prophetic word given to Isaiah concerning Jesus the long awaited Messiah and Saviour. Here we read that what was true of Him is to be true of those who remain in the land after His judgements and dealings; they will also eat of “butter and honey”. The grace and beauty of the Son are to become ours also through the power of His Life ruling and reigning in us. Throughout the ages men and women of God have seen the power, majesty and purpose of God for His people. Faith has brought them to the place of embracing His Power in spite of their weaknesses. The Son becomes their “life” in substance and reality by a Grace not limited by their own doubts and blindness.

“By Grace we become what God is by nature.”
Athanasius

Even in this hour there are people who know the wonder of Life working within. This deep and powerful work of God brings clarity and separation in the midst of religious flippancy. It necessitates an obedience, submission and yielding of themselves to His Word and the moving of His Spirit. The intensity of His fire has one purpose: to purify and cleanse in order that He may empower with a fresh and Holy Expression of God in the earth.

The Word of God is not to be held in the intellect; it must be eaten and digested as butter and honey. Those who eat of His word cannot remain unchanged. There is no salvation in hearing, no safety in quoting the scriptures or listening to Sunday sermons and following great teachers.

“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…”
John 6:53

The power and life contained within the Word, when assimilated, will never leave the recipient unchanged. Those who only hear the word but do not obey will not experience lasting impressions. The effects of the Word are momentary and temporal (James 1:24). Some are ever learning but never come to the truth. Others, who eat of the “butter and honey” of God’s Word, will know the fire within that consumes and purifies from all that is not of Him. By this “refiner’s fire” His people come to “discern between the righteous and the wicked” and “between him that serves God and him that serves him not” (Malachi 3:18). They are not fooled by the appearance of those who claim to serve God but in reality are serving themselves and their worldly ambitions.

“Butter and honey shall he eat,
that he may know to refuse the evil,
and choose the good”
Isaiah 7:15

Ω

“Ordinary human motives will appeal in vain
to the ears which have heard the tones of the heavenly music;
and all the pomp of life will show poor and tawdry
to the sight that has gazed on the vision
of the great white throne and the crystal sea”
Alexander MacLaren

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Called with Purpose

“Whereunto I am appointed a preacher,
and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles”
2 Timothy 1:11

Those appointed of God know definitively His divine call upon their lives. The “Christian” experience is not to be one of aimless wandering in some religious wilderness. Those who know their God feel the weight of His call; they are not left to their own ways and choices. There is a sense of accountability deep within their being. While others may go and do, seemingly at will, such is not the life of the called.

Paul in his Epistles declares over and over that his apostolic expression is “not by the will of men”. It is a call that requires separation and obedience. It is a call to God Himself and not to an organization, ministry or selfish motives. God’s call leaves room for no one but Himself. Without hearing and responding to His call we will wander in a barren land without a sense of purpose.

It takes little effort, even in casual conversation, to recognize one who knows the Call of God. There is a fire, a passion and a desire for an apprehension of those things to be accomplished in their lives. There is an intensity that transcends the status quo of attending meetings, hearing messages and having casual religious conversations. Paul cries out with this intensity that he might “…apprehend that for which he had been apprehended”. This cry is not the result of a teaching. The cry is the result of the call. Without the call there is no drive to apprehend; no sense of being held accountable to fulfill His call. Meetings, conferences and sermons will easily satisfy those to whom the call has become distant and dim. The fire fades and the need to obtain and fulfill His purpose loses its hold upon the reins of their life. Retirement and comfort becomes more important than fulfilling the call. Those in whom the fire has gone out distance themselves from those who challenge them to rise up and press into their call.

How good and precious is the fear of the Lord! It holds us to our course. It keeps us attentive to the things of Him in our life. We are constantly stirred by the keeping power of His Spirit to stay on task concerning our portion in Him. It is here, as we seek out others with this fire and intensity, that we discover the real purpose of fellowship. The glory of knowing the call of God brings a sense of walking in an appointed way. This brings a certainty of purpose in the challenges of life.

“And we know that all things work together
for good to them that love God,
to them who are THE CALLED
according to HIS PURPOSE
Romans 8:28

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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The Secret of Receiving from God

“To him that overcometh will I give…”
Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26-28, 3:5, 3:12, 3:21

His table is set for us in the midst of our perplexities and adversaries (Psalm 23:5). His bread is rich in the spiritual nutrients of grace and the fruits of His Spirit. It is not in the absence of trouble that we grow and develop; rather it is in the midst of the very things which seek to undermine us. It is in the very face of our adversities that we are outfitted to walk and apprehend his call.

Little did Joseph’s brothers know that in their treatment of Joseph they were in fact unwitting vessels setting in motion the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Saul did not comprehend that his pursuit and envy of David were the means through which God raised a man after His own heart. Whether it is apathy, envy or distrust of our brothers and sisters, the forgetful butler (Gen. 40:23) or the unfeeling jailers of God’s people, the vision stands sure. God will accomplish His ends if we hold fast to the faith He has placed within our hearts.

It is not simply those who have vision who will receive of God’s gracious hand. It is those who overcome through hope in God’s vision who receive the prize of the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. Doctrinal visions fade with the passing of time. However, a vision received in the heart, held by hope in the ONE who cannot lie, is an unassailable power which will persevere until the day dawns and His purpose is fulfilled.

Overcoming is simply the result of His Life beating within our breast. His Life is the resurrection from death itself. No grave or disappointment can withstand Him. So not only do we hold to His promises but with the passage of time is the realization that we are held by Him! Through the mountains and valleys of our journey the flame of hope lights our way even in the darkest of nights. The flicker of the eternal keeps us bound to the vision He has birthed. As Paul stood before Agrippa bound in chains, held fast within the Roman penal system, he declared with all boldness…

“Whereupon, O king Agrippa,
I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”
Acts 26:19

True vision holds one to a life of obedience regardless of the circumstances. This was not a personal vision which held Paul; it was a “heavenly” one and as such it could not fade because of earthly circumstances. This vision supplies to the beholder faith, obedience and the wonder of Hope as an anchor to our soul. Those who let the vision fade become weary, pragmatic and compromised in a world which seeks to undermine the intense fire of all true pilgrims.

Overcomers are those who keep their feet moving forward, their hearts beating with the fervor of a love which cannot be quenched. In their times of discouragement and failure they rise because of a Hope that cannot be denied. True overcomers are those who follow the “heavenly vision”.

“So often we have a kind of vague,
wistful longing that the promises of Jesus should be true.
The only way really to enter into them
is to believe them with the clutching intensity
of a drowning man”
William Barclay

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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THE NATURE OF TRUE VISION

“Except a man be born again,
he cannot SEE the kingdom of God”
JOHN 3:3

This verse has become in some ways the message of the modern church. It presents a vital and eternal truth; a man MUST be born again. The word “except” precludes any other way. Yet within the confines of man’s relationship with God it is the matrix into eternity but not the Kingdom of God. It is by being born again that man is awakened and enabled to SEE the Kingdom, not enter it. Entering the Kingdom is vastly different than the mere seeing of it. How sad it is that men are satisfied with seeing rather than entering. The nature of Vision is that by stepping into the one, it always offers glimpses of another. Being born again is the beginning of our walk not the end. Most of Christendom is satisfied with seeing, a good and wholesome start, yet only the beginning of the wonder of eternal life. Some venture into the truths of the ceremony of baptism in water and even into the baptism and birth of the Holy Spirit where giftings become an experiential reality. Jesus goes on to say…

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”
JOHN 3:5

Jesus begins to speak of the higher things of God. Now instead of SEEING the Kingdom He speaks of ENTERING the Kingdom. He speaks of being BORN of water and of the Spirit. This is a new call to ASK and SEEK for these things to become real in the lives of His disciples. Jesus told His disciples that He had many more things to share with them but that they were not ready to bear them. Their development of character was not sufficient (in the original language) but he said that when the Holy Spirit came HE would lead and guide them into ALL TRUTH. If being born again was to be the sum total of His Truth to us why would Jesus speak of greater things to come by the ministration of the Holy Spirit? Our failure to seek and hunger for the greater things makes us settle for seeing rather than apprehending. Paul cried out in Philippians that he was on a quest to “apprehend” something and that in the pursuit of the ONE THING he counted the loss of all things as dung in order to lay hold of it. This should be our cry as well. We settle for far less than what God has for us because the pursuit of that call involves a cost. It is a cost that few men are willing to pay. As a result of faithless inactivity their eyes grow dim, their hearts wither and they settle for the comfort of a teaching that will soothe and often even quench the fire for more of Him.

Let us consider the Call to Abraham the “Father of our faith”.

“Lift up now thine eyes,
and look from the place where thou art northward,
and southward, and eastward, and westward”
GENESIS 13:14

Abraham’s faith had brought him thus far. He had obeyed the call and left the UR of the Chaldees. He had passed through many places and built several altars unto his God. Men and women of faith cannot settle and abide in the Land of their Birth for faith is an active thing; a living thing that is filled with purpose and quest. Abraham had obeyed, had followed his God, and remained a sojourner in his day. The original call was to Abraham alone, yet Abraham brought Lot with him on his journey contrary to the call to leave all. Finally, in the dealings of God Lot and Abraham separate, Lot choosing the land that was compatible with his heart and Abraham remaining in the land of his promise (Genesis 12:7).

“And the Lord said unto Abram,
AFTER that Lot was separated from him,
Lift up NOW thine eyes…”
GENESIS 13:14

It was AFTER Lot had finally departed, after the separation that God came to him and spoke that word of wonder… “Lift up NOW thine eyes and look…” Obedience is the key to VISION. It was after Abraham and Lot were separated that the word of God came. For many years Abraham kept Lot in his company. Lot in the original means “veiled one” and we see the result of Lot’s faith in choosing the cities of Sodom to dwell in. This walk of separation is the price paid by those who walk in the faith and the obedience of The Call. It is costly and at times lonely; yet a small price to pay in comparison to hearing God say “Lift up NOW thine eyes…”

Vision lifts the beholder out of the “present world” and shows the promises of God. The danger of any vision is that it becomes stagnant and remains undeveloped. Men are prone to letting vision be the end rather than the womb of something greater. Every vision is only the beginning of a new journey, a new impetus into the deeper and higher things of God. Had Abraham been content with the seeing of the earthly land of promise he would not have become the father of our faith.

Vision in our language means to see; vision in God’s language means to enter into, walk in and possess. The great tragedy is that men become content with seeing. They enjoy discussions, teachings and even prayers concerning what they see. People gather together on the basis of a vision but with the passing of time the vision fades from a pursuit to an ideal. Faith once passionate and living now becomes a doctrinal statement and a forlorn distant concept. Those to whom the promise was once given, (through unbelief fail to enter in) their bones bleach white in the wilderness of disobedience. The vision remains and it waits for a new generation who will rise up out of the failures of the former and enter into a fresh aspect of God’s purposes.

The entering in to the new land of promise requires a greater vision to obtain it. It is one thing to cross over the river. It is quite another to have the vision of seeing God afresh, for that new land is filled with powerful enemies that must be conquered. There is no end to a new seeing of Him in our walk. One victory leads us to new battles and new victories for those who are gripped by the power of a living faith. The Call is not a High Call. It is an UPWARD CALL, one that is filled with an ever-increasing discovery of the Eternal Riches of Christ in God. There is no point of arrival for the unsearchable riches of Christ are eternally unveiling new vistas, new wonders and new dimensions of Grace and Glory!

“After this I looked, and, behold,
a door was opened in heaven:
and the first voice which I heard
was as it were of a trumpet talking with me;
which said, Come up hither,
and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter”
REVELATION 4:1

Brian Troxel

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Vision and Quest

”Many shall be purified,
and made white, and tried;
but the wicked shall do wickedly:
and none of the wicked shall understand;
but the wise shall understand”
DANIEL 12:10

Understanding comes to the wise. The wicked pass through life void of the understanding of the Almighty God. Though trials, testings and temptations are the common lot of those who seek first His Kingdom, there comes to us the consolation of true understanding that more than compensates for the hardness of the way. With true understanding comes Vision. In the purposes of God, vision must give way to reality. Joseph’s dream must become substance. For a vision to remain something visionary only is the danger of religion; where the impulse of the desire of God becomes a teaching and a doctrine, a thing instead of a life. Men linger in the realm of words and creeds. A living vision must create a life of pursuit and quest where obedience is not optional.

“Whereupon, O king Agrippa,
I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”
Acts 26:19

True vision communicates a need for obedience for it births a burden for the thing to come to pass. All true visions concerning God and His purposes must impart a burden for the thing to be made real. Vision is the womb of a quest. It is the conception that enables a birthing of that which was promised. People with a teaching are content with words; people with a  burden cannot linger. During a great storm the disciples were besieged in a small boat. In the midst of this they saw Jesus walking on the water and they were terrified. Only Peter saw Jesus in a way that communicated a longing to walk as Jesus. The vision imparted the desire to walk. The vision birthed the impulse to launch himself from the security of the boat into the violent sea. Men and women throughout the ages have launched themselves into the purposes of God. They have left the safety of their “boat” for the great sea of God’s will. Abraham went out…not knowing where he was going. The launch precedes the knowledge of the destination; the impulse is in itself the very compass which will unerringly bring us to His End. To ignore the impulse is to miss the launch.

The launching of our lives into the purposes of God is a series of definitive acts not just a one time occurrence. It is a life of yielding to Him. There are many opportunities along the way for compromise and failure. Our one hope is found in His Faithfulness. Faithfulness to lead us from the good to the better, from the better to His highest. We see Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration saying it was good to be there and “let us build” only to be rebuked from God Himself. While many settle for the good those whose vision transcends the status quo can never be satisfied with the building of human hands regardless of how “good” the experience or motive. The heavenly call is upward not just higher. Upward communicates a direction not a destination; higher is just another step in the stairway.

SPIRITUAL HABITAT

Men declare their heart by their “abode”. The demoniac dwelt in the graveyard, Lot in Sodom, and Abraham in Mamre. In all of God’s creation every organism has a habitat that is in harmony with its inner life; so also in the spirit. Where people dwell is the revelation of the life within.

“And Jesus saith unto him,
The foxes have holes,
and the birds of the air have nests;
but the Son of man
hath not where to lay his head”
Matthew 8:20

The scriptures are full of such illustrations. May we find within our hearts the call to follow, the call to forget the past and the call to apprehend that for which we have been apprehended.

“So David went on his way,
and Saul returned to his place
1 Samuel 26:25

Saul’s vision was for himself, his concern was for his house (legacy), while David’s was for God and His House. Such is the contrast between the static and the dynamic.

Brian Troxel

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MAMRE

THE PLACE OF SEEING 

PART ONE

“And the LORD said unto Abram,
after that Lot was separated from him,
Lift up now thine eyes,
and look from the place where thou art
northward, and southward,
and eastward, and westward:

For all the land which thou seest,
to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
And I will make thy seed
as the dust of the earth:

so that if a man can number
the dust of the earth,

then shall thy seed also be numbered.
Arise, walk through the land in the length of it
and in the breadth of it;
for I will give it unto thee.
Then Abram removed his tent,
and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre,
which is in Hebron,
and built there an altar unto the LORD”
GENESIS 13:14-18

Abram “came and dwelt” in the plain of Mamre* (vision).  Men of faith are men of vision and purpose.  Life is no longer a string of unrelated events and meaningless experiences.  Faith gives birth to vision and vision becomes the defining purpose of a man’s life.  Mamre is located within Hebron*, the place of fellowship and intimacy.  It is from here that we see God, we see His purpose for our lives and within the scope of this ministration we are drawn out of this world into His.  It is in seeing this heavenly land that we are freed from this world.  It is in hearing His voice calling us to “arise and walk” that we are constrained to leave the bondage of this world and the paltry offerings of a religion that has Ichabod written upon it.  While the Lots of faith choose to settle down in Sodom and Gomorrah Abram dwells in the land of vision and fellowship with God.  No man is truly lonely if God is His friend.   With all of the activity of the religious world racing on with no real impact or purpose there are those who find sitting at the feet of Him who is “the way the truth and the life” a ministration beyond compare.  Abram dwelt here, pitched his tent, built an Altar and lived to see the birth of his Isaac.  This land is not earned; it is given to those who make it their home.  But it is incumbent upon us to “arise and walk” within its borders to know and feel the length and the breadth of it.   We make it ours by moving our tent into the very center and dwelling there.  For it is here where we meet with Him, commune and learn of Him.

Abram’s journey in God (as is ours) is one of being and walking in the WAY.  It is a life of obedience and submission to God Himself.  How beautiful and comforting are the words spoken here unto Abram…

“Lift up now thine eyes,
and look from the place where thou art…”
GENESIS 13:14

The place where Abram now stood was confirmed by God as His Will.  Though barren and a prisoner of HOPE we see God’s word of the divine approval “look from the place where thou art!  Vision has to do with location.  Where we are determines what we see.  Mamre is a portion of our inheritance of the land of Hebron; it is a life of vision that arises from intimacy with the Most High.  It is here that the promise of God of the long awaited Son is confirmed and made definite, the barren womb is given hope and Sodom is judged.  The birthing of the ONE must necessitate the judging of the other.  As a friend with God, Abram is now brought into the place of knowing God’s moving in the earth and the necessity of his priestly portion in it.

“And the LORD appeared unto him
in the plains of Mamre”
GENESIS 18:1

*NOTE: Mamre
ראה

The root-verb ראה (ra’a) primarily means to see or look at or notice (Genesis 6:2, Isaiah 6:5), and, much as in English, came to also mean to understand (Jeremiah 5:12). This verb’s derivatives are:

  • The adjective ראה (ra’eh), meaning seeing (Job 10:15 only).
  • The masculine noun ראה (ro’eh), meaning seer (1 Samuel 9:9, Isaiah 30:10).
  • The identical masculine noun ראה (ro’eh), meaning prophetic vision (Isaiah 28:7 only).
  • The feminine noun ראית (re’ut) or ראות (re’ut), meaning look (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
  • The masculine noun ראי (re’i), meaning mirror (Job 37:18 only).
  • The masculine noun ראי (ro’i), meaning sight or appearance (Genesis 16:13, Job 7:8).
  • The feminine noun מראה (mar’a), meaning vision as means of revelation (Genesis 46:2, Numbers 12:6).
  • The identical feminine noun מראה (mar’a), meaning mirror (Exodus 38:8 only).
  • The masculine noun מראה (mar’eh), meaning sight or appearance (Exodus 3:3, Isaiah 11:3, Ezekiel 8:4).

*NOTE: Hebron
חבר
“Hebron” = The Binding Friendship Place

The conventional interpretation of “Hebron” correctly identifies its main, and most obvious, meaning.
“Hebron” = heth-bet-resh-vav-nun = XBRWN = XBR + WN = “Binding Friendship”
[XBR = “association”, etc.] “place” [-WN]

The root-verb חבר (habar) means to join

Brian Troxel

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