CHOICES

CHOICES

“…choose you this day whom ye will serve”
JOSHUA 24:15

Choices. The life of a Christian is a life of choices. Choices reveal the act and the exercising of a person’s will. It is here that faith is exercised and made strong within the life of every believer. We choose who we will serve. Serving the Lord has very little to do with going to church on Sunday. Serving the Lord is the daily doing of His will. In this day of apathy I hear men declaring that they can do nothing unless they get a word from the Lord. They are helpless, saying they cannot do anything unless they have a word, failing to realize that the Living One resides within our hearts to do His Father’s will! The Word of God is full of the expression of His Will.

“…rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS”
PHILIPPIANS 4:4

“Husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the church”
EPHESIANS 5:25

“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine”
TITUS 2:1

“So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
JAMES 2:12

“…speak evil of no man”
TITUS 3:2

“These things speak,
and exhort, and rebuke with all authority.
Let no man despise thee”
TITUS 2:15

“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you:
for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another”
1THESSALONIANS 4:9

This is just a small collection of scriptures requiring our daily attention and investment of our will into serving Him. The scriptures declare that we should be daily hearing His voice and doing His Will. Men who do not do, never grow. It is in the doing that we become strong. We are exhorted in 1Timothy to “exercise thyself rather unto godliness”.

Jesus said that we are the light of the world. We are to speak and demonstrate His Life, His Word and His Way into the world around us. It is in the doing of these things that we discover the need for His grace and power to grow into the things of Him. It is in the crucible of doing His Will daily that we come face to face with our weaknesses and stubbornness. The power of HIS Life in us makes us to LIVE beyond our own will and resources. These are the glorious choices of our will that bring the reality of the Son into our daily life.  According to the scriptures HE has and is making known to us His Will and it is our privilege to walk in it.

“Having made known* unto us the mystery of his will,
according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself”
EPHESIANS 1:9

*NOTE: The phrase “having made known” is a Greek Aorist Active Participle best rendered “making known” unto us the mystery of His will… This is ever an ongoing revelation as we grow and mature in the things of our Father. Only a small baby is free from responsibility. The greater the Life in Him the greater the responsibility and the greater is the blessing. God is not looking for those who are like the horse who must be led by the bit and bridle (#1), He is looking for those whose will is compliant to HIS WILL. A ten year old child will know in a measure how to function in the home according to his development and maturity. A twenty-year old should have a far deeper understanding of what that should mean. So it is with the knowing of His Will. To be twenty years old in the Lord and to declare that there is nothing we can do is a tragic statement and a reflection of the apathy of the present day (#2).

1. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle…” Psalm 32:8-9

2. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God” Hebrews 5:12

“The most important thought I ever had
was that of my individual responsibility to God”
Daniel Webster (1782–1852)

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

WORDS OF LIFE

WORDS OF LIFE

“And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting,
a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked”
ACTS 14:8

This is the common condition of the common man. In things relating to the Spirit we are all weak and without strength; “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5.6). Without strength, crippled from our mother’s womb and without the innate ability to walk right and be right. It is in that condition that the God of all Glory comes and speaks strength, life and a new ability to “rise up and walk”! By HIS virtue and power we are made alive to rise up out of the shadows and the miry places to walk in newness of life. As the prophet of old says…

“The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills”
HABAKKUK 3:19

He comes that we might begin to live and walk upon the high places; to see in the realms of the Spirit such wonders of HIS Grace that we are “changed from glory to glory”. His purpose is not merely that we can walk and live in righteousness; HIS purpose is to bring us to the place where we speak the same WORD OF LIFE into those around us and that we become fishers of men and a powerful expression of HIM whom we love and worship. This same crippled man at Lystra heard Paul speak….

“This man heard Paul speaking.
Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed,
said with a loud voice,
“Stand up straight on your feet!”
And he leaped and walked…”
ACTS 14:9

What do men hear when we speak? What faith is communicated from the core of our lives? Have we settled for a life conditioned to the status quo or do we look into the ever living word and hear the voice of the Son calling for a deeper and fuller expression of who HE IS? If the things we communicate do not stir the heart of another, if they do not cause a greater longing to know HIM and walk with HIM, then our lives need repentance and change. Powerless words come from powerless lives. Paul prayed for Philemon….

“That the communication of thy faith
may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing
which is in you in Christ Jesus”
PHILEMON 1:6

God’s real purpose is to bring us to the place of being able to COMMUNICATE our faith into the lives of those around us. To see men and women who are crippled, lost and without strength, hear and rise up and walk anew. We are not talking about the doctrines and the teachings of men. We are speaking of a living faith that makes others live; a faith streaming from our heart that communicates a hunger, a love and an intensity to know and please HIM.

“If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said,
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”
JOHN 7:37 – 38

“Believest thou this?”
JOHN 11;26

Brian Troxel

BY FAITH ~ PART TWO ~

BY FAITH

PART TWO

“For by it (Faith) the elders obtained a good testimony*
HEBREWS 11:2

Faith is the only means by which men can please God. Faith is the “essentia” of man’s witness unto God and the only expression which garners God’s approval. Through faith these men and women of old OBTAINED a worthy commendation from the living God! By their lives being governed by the promises of God they “reckoned”, “accounted” and “judged” God faithful to see them through. Just as “faith without works is dead” so are works without faith dead and worthless. We must see that the life OF FAITH, a life lived IN FAITH and a life lived BY FAITH is the only thing acceptable to our God!

“…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin”
ROMANS 14:23

Faith is to be the indispensable element of our daily walk whether at home, work or any other situation of life. Faith is the criteria by which all our actions are weighed. Whatever point we are at in the development of our faith is what we reveal in the common flow of our life. We cannot live in the estimation of others for true faith is only concerned with the pleasing of our Heavenly Father. As our faith develops so will the revelation of that faith be in our life. Many try to live their lives according to the acceptability of what others may think, to attempt to please or impress others with their carefully planned actions, but this is neither faith nor a life pleasing to God. Faith seeks ONLY to glorify its Author. There is a freedom in simple childlike faith that gives us liberty from the opinions of men, living solely for His pleasure.

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith:
as it is written, The just shall live by faith”
ROMANS 1:17

The righteousness of God can only be revealed through our lives to the degree that Faith has been developed within us. Our life of faith is progressive “from faith to faith”, a living dynamic gift that God has given to us by His Mercy. Faith must grow through the experiences of life, through trial, tribulation and seeing God’s hand move in the daily aspects of our life! How good He is to those who trust Him! How faithful He is to those who rely on Him in all that we go through! How can we not desire that our trust in Him grows as well as our love FOR Him? Is He not to be the sole purpose of our life? Can we not seek to live our lives to the fullest extent of the faith that is at work in us, so that we may please Him more and more in the passing of our days?

“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren,
as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly”
II THESSALONIANS 1:3

Ω

John Paton was making a translation of the Scriptures into a language spoken in the country where he was a missionary, and searched long for the world for “Faith”. The natives had no word for “believe” One day, while working on his translation, a native entered his room, exhausted and flung himself down on the nearest chair, and placed his feet on the chair across from him. The native remarked how good it was to lean his whole weight into that chair. Dr. Paton noted the word he had used for “lean his whole weight.” He had his word for “believe”.
John G. Paton

*“Literally, “were witnessed of;” that is, an honorable testimony was borne to them in consequence of their faith”
Barnes New Testament Notes

Brian Troxel

BY FAITH ~ Part One ~

BY FAITH

PART ONE

“By faith we understand…”
HEBREWS 11:3

Faith is the means by which we see and understand the purposes of God. For faith IS the substance of the thing hoped for. It is the deposit of that which is not seen. In order for us to see these things FAITH becomes not only our eyesight but in itself is the very SUBSTANCE of the thing that we see and hope for. The reason we see so little understanding in our DAY, the reason that there is so little VISION and PURPOSE in our DAY, is because we are living in a time when FAITH has very little to do with the everyday life of the average believer. We hear much, yet we see so little in the expression of a dynamic living FAITH gripping the hearts of His own. We see little in terms of a personal faith being expressed in unique ministrations of the life of the Son from member to member. We have succumbed to a faith that is in word only; a “faith” that is not producing His Likeness and His Righteousness in our everyday life. We have settled for a righteousness that is by doctrine rather than a Righteousness that is the product of a living faith ABLE to bring forth a REAL RIGHTEOUSNESS that this world can see.

“Little children, let no man deceive you:
he that DOETH righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous”
I John 3:7

By FAITH we understand that this is true and that by His Faith living and growing within these things are possible to all who believe. Faith lays hold of such truths and produces within us the seeking (seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness), and the doing. By FAITH we UNDERSTAND that these things that are declared in His Word are to become our living experience.

The very Word of God without FAITH will remain a religious document, a historical narrative about something from a distant era, an outdated book that has no real relevance for today. That same Word when viewed through the eyes of one in whose heart FAITH is alive and well pulsates with LIFE, HIS LIFE. It reveals mysteries and glimpses into the very wonder and glory of God. It draws a man into a quest and a life of pursuit of the RISEN CHRIST; for BY FAITH it breathes into our hearts the “substance of things hoped for and the EVIDENCE of things not seen”. Such things cannot be held with the intellect. They are only ours through the operation of a living, breathing FAITH!

For one to look into the Word of God and believe it one must first KNOW that it is TRUE and that whatever is written therein is for us in Christ Jesus. This can only be when we see it through the eyes of FAITH.

“BY FAITH WE UNDERSTAND…”
HEBREWS 11:3

Ω

“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable,
and receives the impossible”
Corrie ten Boom (1892–1983)

Brian Troxel

NEVERTHELESS

“Nevertheless”

“And Simon answering said unto him, Master,
we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing:
nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net”
Luke 5:5

True living faith will never be conditioned by experience. Faith, to be faith, must always find its dependence in God not ourselves. Though experience says one thing the cry and purpose of faith must remain undaunted. “Nevertheless” is the word of a man who sets aside his own resources, strengths and abilities and believes God in the moment. This faith must birth a doing in the now. “Nevertheless” is a word that gives way to the doing of a thing regardless of our past experience. It is a word that comes to those who believe, and by that believing there is a response in the now of our life. It is not the “faith” of Mary who said Lord I know “… in that day…” something will happen, for the Christ stands in our midst speaking “I AM the resurrection and the life…”

Let this word “nevertheless” speak to us of better things than what our experience would teach us; for those who listen and regard their experience cease to walk and live by faith. “Today if ye will hear HIS voice…” is the creed by which we must live. Men who don’t do won’t hear. The Word is to those who “have ears to hear” for with every hearing there must be a corresponding act of doing and obeying HIS WORD.

The Spirit of God is HERE to press us beyond our circumstances, our former experiences, and our own resources into the glorious provisions of a God who is constantly calling us to deeper waters, a higher vision and a greater dependency upon HIM. How good is our God! How gracious are HIS ways; the thing we are confronted with is HIS doorway into greater things in HIM!

Faith, to be faith, must always be fresh, living and beating within our hearts. Faith IN a teaching or an idea will eventually become stagnant and dead; the faith of the living Son is active and real! It is never static for it is always moving from one faith into a greater. Every living thing grows and everything static and stagnant remains the same.

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

Two men; one ever moving on in the WAY of God the other set in ways of stagnancy, disobedience and compromise.

Ω

“Belief is truth held in the mind;
faith is fire in the heart”
Joseph Fort Newton (1880–1950)

Brian Troxel

The Preaching of the Gospel

THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL

“Woe is unto me,
if I preach not the gospel!.”
I CORINTHIANS 9:16

The ministration of the Gospel is not for a select few; it is the awesome responsibility of every one of His people. Each one of us is CALLED to a unique and specific ministration of HIS LIFE. The Good News of HIS LIFE IS the Gospel. It is most perplexing that we have relegated the preaching of the Gospel to a select few when in reality each of us may be the only Bible that some people are going to see and hear. It is a DAY to live and preach the Gospel to all of those that are around us; to those who are walking in darkness and to those who are walking in the light! We see our brothers and sisters struggling in sin and defeat; they also need the GOOD NEWS that there IS an answer to their struggles! We need to see that the reality of the LIFE of Christ IS the answer for the world. We need to be bearing within our hearts the eternal flame of HIS CRY for all men.

“For thou shalt be his witness
unto ALL men of what thou hast seen and heard”
ACTS 22:15

The criterion of our witness to others is based on what WE have seen and heard! I am not responsible to preach or declare what someone else has seen or heard. My responsibility is to DECLARE WHAT I HAVE SEEN AND HEARD! The question to each of us now is, WHAT HAVE WE SEE AND HEARD? Men who see little have little to show in their lives of our great God. Men who hear little have little to declare of the goodness and majesty of our God.

We live in a day of information overload; a day in which knowledge has increased. Unfortunately, this knowledge has produced little in the Christian Church in North America of a clear and powerful expression of the risen Christ. Too few have burning within their hearts the passion to EXPRESS HIS LIFE in this world. Too many are content to sit in faithless inactivity as it relates to the ministration of HIS LIFE in this world. The apathy of “if God wants it done He will do it” is the statement of a heart that has not touched the core of God’s heart. If “God so loved the world that HE sent HIS SON” will HE not also send you and me? If Paul cried out “Woe is unto me… if I preach not the Gospel” how can we be excused from our own responsibility? In the midst of all the religious activity around us, where is the burden in the lives of individuals to become an expression of HIS GLORY? Where is the sense of HIS CALL upon our lives? Where is the inescapable desire within our hearts for a life in HIM that completely transcends our present reality? Men who have no vision of God will have no sense of the purpose of the life that God has called them unto. We are to be HIS WITNESSES unto ALL men. We are to BE HIS EXPRESSION of all that HE is to ALL MEN! What that expression in each of us is dependent upon what we “have seen and heard” individually. The lack of a burden to reveal HIM, the absence of a cry within each of us to reveal our portion of HIM in the earth, is an all too common sign of the condition of the Day in which we live.

HIS return is predicated on the preaching of the Gospel…

“And this gospel of the kingdom
shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations;
and THEN shall the end come”
MATTHEW 24:12

Brian Troxel

Spiritual Provision

SPIRITUAL PROVISION

“Do you not know that those who minister the holy things
eat of the things of the temple”
I CORINTHIANS 9:13

We partake of that which we serve. We are called to be servants of the Most High God. We are called to be a people whose chief joy and occupation in LIFE is to serve HIS Purposes here and now. EVERY BELIEVER IN CHRIST is called into a life of ministry and purpose. The priesthood of the individual believer is not a “nice teaching”; it is the CALL of God to every believer to be consumed with HIS purposes in the earth. If we want to eat and partake of the things of the Temple we must live the reality of ministering (serving) the Holy Things of God! The provision of God is found in occupying ourselves with the things of God. It is in the OUTFLOW of HIS LIFE that we discover the INFLOW! Men who hold the things of God in faithless inactivity never come to know the basic LAW of HIS LIFE

“Give and it will be given to you”
LUKE 6:38

The fields are rich all around us. In HIS eyes the fields are white unto harvest. The provision of God for the needs of the multitudes around us is found in the “five little loaves and two fishes” that we hold in our hand. We always want to have a sense of the plenty when in reality we have all that we need to BEGIN the journey into the LAW of HIS LIFE. Spiritual poverty is always the result of self-will, self-serving and self-reliance. Those who do not find themselves BECOMING servants of the MOST HIGH will never know of HIS PROVISION; the provision is found in the doing. It is in being faithful to what we HAVE that more is given. It is in being a source of strength and encouragement to others that we know of the mystery and wonder of HIS strength and encouragement into our own lives.

“The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself”
PROVERBS 11:25

In this day let us be occupied in the Holy Things of our God; exercised in the portion of grace that HE has given to every one of us. Let us not sit and squander the time and opportunity afforded us of participating in the ministry of HIS LIFE and HIS CALL.

“…those who serve at the altar
partake of the offerings of the altar”
I CORINTHIANS 9:13

Ω

“God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies”

HUDSON TAYLOR

Brian Troxel

CARELESSNESS

CARELESSNESS

“…But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink;
and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not”

AMOS 2:12

The road to apostasy is paved with carelessness, the watering down of true discipleship, and a refusal to hear the Word of the Lord. The calamities and judgments that followed such a prescription of “religion” are devastating and inevitable. Where the fear of the Lord no longer enters the mind of the people of God, His Holiness and Majesty is watered down to a God who no longer is concerned about righteousness and truth within the hearts of His people. Where the majority of the preaching today basically says ‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil”.

“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

The result of the religion of men is to reduce God to one that neither rewards righteousness nor judges evil. While this is not said in so many words it is the premise of much of the presentation of the gospel in this hour. We tell the world that they need to repent but after having “accepted Him” there is a lack of concern about how one lives. The complacency and carelessness of the people of God in this hour is evident when we no longer expect from ourselves a life of righteousness; those who are pursuing this life are told to “drink wine (compromise)” and in effect “don’t take this stuff too seriously”. We hear the expression that a man is so heavenly minded that he is no earthly good; in fact it should be stated that unless we become heavenly minded our lives are no earthly good!

May the Lord stir up the prophetic word in this hour to show the error, apostasy and the carelessness of His people. Let there be a WORD going forth in the FIRE of His love and jealously that this is the DAY OF THE LORD. THIS IS THE DAY TO TURN FROM OUR WAYS. It is not a day to live carelessly and walk in the love of the things of this world for the WORD OF THE LORD IS…

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him”

I John 2:15

The focus of our life is the revelation of the love of our life. Our prayer life reveals the things that are dear to us. If all we pray for is our needs, wants and troubles, if the only things we hold up in prayer are those things that concern US and OUR little circle then we NEED to find Him afresh. We are here for the “building up of the Body of Christ”; to see the “Unity of the Faith” revealed IN THE EARTH! If the Risen Christ is ever “making intercession for US” that expression of love for others should also be a reality in our hearts.

Brian Troxel

HEARING

HEARING

“Let your hands be strong, you that hear in these days”
ZECHARIAH 8:9

True hearing is paramount to faith. We live in a day of information overload; conferences, seminars, I Pod’s, and other multimedia resources that enable us to listen to the latest Christian messages over the internet… but to what end? There are many types of hearing but each of them will produce a different response.

There is a hearing with no understanding….

“…hearing they hear not, neither do they understand”
MATTHEW 13:13

There is a hearing with no doing….

“But he who heard and did nothing
is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation,
against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell.
And the ruin of that house was great.”
LUKE 4:49

Then there is a hearing that produces FAITH revealed by doing …

“Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them,
I will show you whom he is like:
He is like a man building a house, who dug deep
and laid the foundation on the rock.
And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house,
and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock”
LUKE 4:48 – 49

How a man hears determines the eternal issues of life. Since FAITH is the product of hearing, and our faith is revealed in what we do, what we pursue, and what we are, it is an hour for us to be asking HIM to search out our hearts and motivations. Unforgiveness, presumption, secret sins, pride, old wounds, envy, jealously and any other strongholds that keep us bound within, all hinder us from hearing and doing. Hearing is related to the condition of our hearts not our intellect.

“Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing…”
MATTHEW 13:15

Brian Troxel