Discernment – Solomon and the Two Mothers

Spiritual Discernment

Solomon and the Two Mothers

Two women come to Solomon each seeking to portray themselves as the true mother of a child presented in Solomon’s court (1 Kings 3:16-28). Each claimed with great emotion that they were in fact the mother of this child. A perplexing situation indeed and one which presented a great test for the king! Those who would rule and walk in authority in God’s house must be schooled in the wisdom and council of God Himself. The spirit of discernment must work and rule within the heart of His own.

Solomon’s answer?

“Bring me a sword”!
1 Kings 3:24

Hallelujah! How can we not love the living word of God! It is a divider of that which is flesh and that which is of God’s Spirit. It is living, active and it is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the hearts of men.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do”
Hebrew 4:12-13

His living word is the sword of the Lord which pierces and divides asunder the very hidden workings of deceitful expressions and false pretenses, of seducing spirits and the presumptive expressions of false ministers in the community of faith.

These are but a few examples presented to us in the scriptures where the true and the false both seek to present themselves as true expressions. How we must grow into the place of abiding in Him for discernment and wisdom!

The purpose of all true ministry is to bring God’s people to the place of knowing and discerning the things before them. Without discernment God’s people have a very limited ability to pray, speak or react to the situations of life.

“And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.”
Ezekiel 44:23

Discernment is not only a gift of the Holy Spirit it is also a faculty which must be developed within the heart of every believer. The “strong meat” of the word of God is withheld from those in which the faculty of discernment is not developed.

“For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Hebrews 5:13-14

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“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man”
1 Corinthians 2:14-15

Brian Troxel

Discernment – The Pythonic spirit

Discernment

The Pythonic spirit in the Book of Acts

“And it happened, as we went into a place of prayer,
a certain girl slave having a Pythonic spirit met us,
whose divining brought much gain to her lords”
Acts 16:16 (LITV, BLB)

What was this Pythonic (original Greek word used here) spirit declaring?

“…These men are the servants of the most high God,
which shew unto us the way of salvation”
Acts 16:17

To those who have had at least some experience with true spiritual warfare this is not surprising. The fact that these things are found in the scriptures prove that His people should have some knowledge of the deceptive nature of our enemy. In many places today such “prophesying” would be readily received to their shame and their own spiritual deception. It is imperative that we test the spirit that birth these expressions and not judge simply by the mere words of the utterance. It is here where many of God’s people are ill equipped in the discernment of things they allow in their midst. Spiritual ignorance is the product of a shallow and untutored walk with God. It is an indication of a heart which has not been open to the voice and the leading of His Spirit.

The Pythonic spirit is one of change, camouflage, deceit and is difficult to discern. The scripture describes its manner of working:

“There be three things which are too wonderful for me,
yea, four which I know not…
the way of a serpent upon a rock…”
Proverbs 30:18-19

Paul in addressing the Church at Corinth spoke hard words in order for them to stay true to the Gospel of God. Here Paul upbraids them for their willingness to receive false expressions over the true because they did not really want to embrace the truth of their condition.

“But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so your thoughts should be corrupted from the purity which is due to Christ. For if, indeed, the one coming proclaims another Jesus, whom we have not proclaimed, or if you receive another spirit which you have not received, or another gospel which you never accepted, you might well endure these
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 (read the previous verse as well for context)

He is saying if one comes and presents another gospel or another spirit you might well endure such a one. Yet they had more trouble with Paul because he spoke the truth to them instead of nice smooth words. He actually cared for them with a godly love and jealously. It is because of these things the Church of God requires the Apostolic and Prophetic ministrations of God.

“Take heed to yourselves,
that your heart be not deceived,
and ye turn aside”
Deuteronomy 11:16

Excerpt from the Spiritual Discernment and False Prophets Part One Writing

Brian Troxel

The Instruction of Wisdom

The Fear of the Lord
The Instruction of Wisdom

“The fear of the Lord is THE instruction of wisdom;
and before honour is humility.”
Exodus 26:20

Let the power and substance of this verse sink deeply into the very core of our being. “The fear of the Lord is THE instruction…” His fear in our lives is what teaches us the true wisdom of His ways. It is in knowing “the fear of the Lord” where access is given to the “hidden wisdom” of His ways. Without the fear of the Lord there is a limitation in understanding the wonders of His Covenant or the mysteries of His righteousness.

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him;
and he will shew them his covenant”
Psalm 25:14

The fear of the Lord is His way of instructing us and keeping us free from the snares of man’s methods, ways and teachings. It is His way of preserving us from the “wisdom of this world” and the folly of the religious ways of men.

It is the fear of the Lord that causes us to walk circumspectly and to consider our words, our thoughts and the motives of our hearts. Without this hidden operation of touching His Holiness there is a dimming of the wisdom, understanding and spiritual discernment of our God. The religious ethos of any generation in which the fear of the Lord is lacking will be revealed in the lawlessness of “every man doing that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6).

“But what things they do not know; they speak evil of these. And what things they understand naturally, like the animals without reason, they are corrupted by these. Woe to them, because they went the way of Cain, and gave themselves up to the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the speaking against of Korah! These are sunken rocks in your love feasts, feasting together with you, feeding themselves without fear, waterless clouds being carried about by winds, fruitless autumn trees, having died twice, having been plucked up by the roots; wild waves of the sea foaming up their shames, wandering stars for whom blackness of darkness has been kept forever”
Jude 1:10-13

This is not the description of those without, it is a warning to those within!

“They feed themselves without fear”

Wherever grace is promoted at the expense of righteousness hypocrisy and worldliness will flourish.

Can we not hear the crying out of wisdom unto all who would be instructed in the way of the Lord? His way is the way of life and it is in our knowing the “fear of the Lord” wherein we are instructed to abide within the walls of His salvation.

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me:
I will teach you the fear of the Lord”
Psalm 34:11

Brian Troxel

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

Quote for Today – Thomas De Witt Talmage

Quote for Today

Thomas De Witt Talmage

“And as it is appointed to men once to die,
but after this the judgment:…”
Hebrews 9:27-28

“There is a very cheerful emphasis on that word “once.” I know people who have so much grace that death seems to be attractive to them, and they really talk as though they would be willing to die half a dozen times. It is not so with me. I submit to the idea only because I have to. But, thank God, we die but once. We take seventeen thousand breaths in a day, but there will be only one last breath.

1. I remark, in regard to the first crisis, that it will be the ending of all our earthly plans. If Napoleon wants to fight Austerlitz, he must do it before that, or never fight it at all. If John Howard wants to burn out the dampness of the dungeon, he must do it before that, or never do it at all. The last moments will snap off all our earthly schemes. If our work at that time be rounded, it will stay rounded. If it be incomplete, it will stay incomplete, like the national monument on Calton Hill, Edinburgh — a row of pillars showing what the building was meant to be, but is not.

2. Again, I remark that the first crisis spoken of in my text will be our physical ruin. However attractive the body may have been, it must come to defacement and mutilation. Dissolution!

3. Again, I remark, in regard to the first crisis of which I speak, it will be the ending of all our earthly associations. From all our commercial, all our social, all our political, all our religious, all our earthly associations, we will be snapped short off.

4. Again, I remark, in regard to that first crisis, it will be the ending of the day of grace. Before that, plenty of bright sabbaths, and golden communion days, and prayers, and sermons, and songs; but at that point a messenger from God will stand with uplifted hand, bidding all opportunities of salvation “Stand back!” But I have given you only half the text. Is there anything after that? When our physical life is extinct, are we done? No! I am immortal. “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment.”In that one word of eight letters are piled up harps and chains, palaces and dungeons, hallelujahs and wailings of eternity.

1. I remark, in regard to that second crisis, that it will be our physical reconstruction. Paul will get back his body without the thorn in the flesh; Payson his, without the pang; Robert Hall his, without the lifelong excruciation; Nero his; Robespierre his; Napoleon III. his; the sot his; the libertine his. Some of the bodies built up into unending rapture, some of them into unending pang.

2. I remark, again, in regard to that second crisis, that it will be the time of explanation. Why is it that the good have it hard and. the bad have it easy? Why that the Christian mother is deprived to-day of her only child, and the household of the godless left undisturbed? I appeal to the day of judgment. On that day God will be vindicated, and men will cry out, “He is right — everlastingly right!”

3. That last crisis, I remark, will be one also of scrutiny. I do not know how long the last trial will take, but I am very certain that all the past will rush through our recollection. And just imagine it, how that man, that woman will feel when displayed before him or her there shall be ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years of unimproved opportunities.

4. I remark, again, in regard to that crisis, that it will be one of irrevocable decision. If we lose our case in the Court of “Common Pleas,” we take it to the “Circuit”; or, failing there, we take it to “Chancery,” or “Supreme Court.” If we are tried before a petit jury, and the case goes against us through some technicality of the law, we get a new trial. But, when the decision of the last day shall be given, there will be no appeal.”
Thomas De Witt Talmage

“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved,
what manner of persons ought ye to be
in all holy conversation and godliness”
2 Peter 3:11

Quote for Today – Corrie Ten Boom

Quote for Today

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength
– Corrie Ten Boom

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life…”
– Matthew 6:25

Thought for Today – Who is Wise Part 2

Thought for Today?

Who is Wise?

Part 2

“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
Daniel 12:3

God given wisdom is anchored in righteousness and the fear of the Lord. Those who are wise, have a fear of the Lord as they walk and seek to understand the true righteousness of God. The wisdom of God causes His people to shine in the brightness of His countenance. It is the truly wise who understand the consequences of sin and righteousness knowing that in Him all their actions are weighed. The foolish do not consider the wages of sin; they walk lightly and carelessly. They forget that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” and give an account for all the things we have done (1 Corinthians 5:10). Their lack of understanding produces wrong thinking, wrong living, and consequently, unholy lives.

The wise shine forth His counsel and righteousness for it is in the ministration of wisdom that others are made wise. It is in the speaking and the living with a true understanding of “the holy” (Proverbs 9:10) that others are turned to righteousness. There are many who preach forgiveness, acceptance and grace but do so at the expense of righteousness. It is in the preaching of righteousness that men and women seek God for mercy and forgiveness! There can be no true and earnest desire for mercy except there be a revelation of the righteousness of God. A penitent heart is one who has been impacted by the holiness of God.

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” Acts 2:37-38

It is the preaching of righteousness in the power of the Holy Spirit that “turns” people to righteousness. The preaching of grace and forgiveness apart from the ministration of God’s righteousness is an absurdity.

“The depth of our repentance 
will determine the depth of our revival”

Frank Bartleman

The reason for the dearth of holy zeal, passion and fervency of spirit is because we have not seen the enormity of our sins! For they who are forgiven much love much. Lukewarm hearts, apathetic lives and lethargic living in His people is the fruit of those who have forgotten or have never known the extent of their transgressions.

They who are wise preach righteousness
for they love Him who is righteous.

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. for if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. but he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins 2 Peter 1:5-9

The foolish lack diligence, virtue, knowledge, temperance and all the above qualities of the character of Christ because they have become blind through forgetfulness of how much they have been forgiven.

They who are alive in Christ walk in the wisdom of God and live for the sole purpose of preaching Christ and His righteousness.

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

Thought for Today – Who is Wise?

Thought for Today

Who is Wise?

“Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine,
and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man…”
Matthew 7:24

The scriptures are full of God’s thoughts and His determinations. Those who set their hearts to please and honor Him will have little difficulty discovering these things. It is a simple concept for us to consider; hear His Word and obey it. While many love to discuss revelations, dreams and visions the simplicity of doing His Word will make one wise and pleasing to God. As one man observed, the disobedient scholar has to muddy the water in order to make it appear deep. In reality the wonder of obeying Him brings us to clear waters, pure hearts and a faith built upon the very Rock of our Salvation.

There is no better teacher than obedience for it opens the heart to feel God within. It cleanses the eyes that we may see clearly and it causes our ears to become sensitive to the intonations of His voice. Obedience will always clarify our walk. In obeying we soon discover whether a thing is of God or of ourselves. Those who never obey His voice within are left with obscurity in the things of life. They have never acted on the still small voice within and therefore the ambiguity of His way is never solved. With the passing of time the voice becomes reticent and men and women are left to their own thoughts and ways.

Child-like faith will always reveal the Father. It is to such He comes to show them the wonders of His Son and of His Kingdom.

“But whoever does what is true comes to the light,
so that it may become evident
that his actions have God’s approval”
John 3:21

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

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

Heart of a Priest Part 11 Continued

Heart of a Priest

Part 11

Continued

WISDOM

“The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned,
that I should know how to speak a word in season
to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning,
he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”
Isaiah 50:4

Those priests of God who are walking in the way of truth begin to be “awakened” to hear His heart within their own. In the mystery of relationship with Him there is a divine enablement to “speak a word in season” to those who are faint and weary. Through the medium of knowing and experiencing Him in our own walk we touch His ways and His heart to the end we may be wise in the ministration of His grace to others. Whether it be encouragement, hope, a kind word or even a word of admonishment it is all with the earnest desire to see our brothers and sisters rise up and finish the race set before us.

The ear of the “learned” is to come to a place of being tuned in to His voice and heart. It is not something which can be learned through books, counselling strategies, Christian seminars and other means of education. The true understanding of such things can only be found in a life “yoked” with Christ in God. He (Jesus) is the sum of all wisdom, love and true knowledge and it is in Him we learn to live and move and become the very extension of all that He is. This heart is really only available to the true disciple who has discovered the wonder and joy of following Him and the necessity of carrying his own cross. This way is fraught with the discovery of one’s self. It is a way of repentance, transformation, and glory. In the Old Testament the priesthood was mainly obtained by birth but in this New Covenant we are made priests by the ministration of His Life within us through obedience and relationship.

“And hath MADE us kings and priests
unto God and his Father;
to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever”
Revelation 1:6

It is His purpose to make us kings and priests unto Him who alone is the “Great High Priest” of better things to come.

“But Christ being come
an high priest of good things to come,
by a greater and more perfect tabernacle,
not made with hands…”
Hebrews 9:11

It is in our learning of Him and His ways that we discover, grow and develop the “tongue of the learned” because our “ears have been awakened morning by morning” to His living word.

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info