Quote for Today – James Christensen

Quote for Today

“The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life.”
― James L. Christensen

Timnath and the Riddle

Timnath and The Riddle

“And he said unto them,
Out of the eater came forth meat,
and out of the strong came forth sweetness.
And they could not in three days expound the riddle.”
Judges 14:14

The riddle of every believer can only be solved within the equation of their own experience. Samson’s riddle was one of personal experience and victory. There is no other living person who can solve the riddle of “Christ in you the hope of Glory”. Paul spoke at length of this mystery in Ephesians and Colossians.

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”
Colossians 1:27

The matchless wonder of the mystery can only be solved individually through the medium of obedience and victory. Samson’s riddle was his own; he did not share with anyone (initially) the victory over the young lion he met in the way. It was his victory and God’s strength that prevailed in the vineyards of Timnath. “Timnath” in the Hebrew means inheritance or allotted portion. What was true of Samson is true of everyone who truly knows the Lord. In our pursuit of Christ Himself (our Timnath) we will encounter the enemies of our soul that confront us, condemn us, and seek to destroy us. It is here we find provision in God to contend with our enemy until the victory is ours and our place in God is discovered.

Many Christians have no sense of spiritual identity, no comprehension of the call to walk and discover the unfolding mystery of Christ within them; a Christ who is known to them in the fierceness of the battle, a Christ who is known in the personal victories over sin, temptation and failure. To be an overcomer in Christ one must experience the victory of Christ within the riddle of their own life. The mists of confusion lift and doubts fade in the light and victory of Christ through our obedience to Him.

He is ever calling us to explore, walk and live within the sureties of His wonder in our lives. Like a flower ever unfolding, like the rising sun of each new day, He is beckoning us to explore and discover His riches within the sanctum of our own hearts. No one can solve this mystery but the individual to whom He is given. It requires walking, trusting, and a living faith to step into the Timnath of His Call in each of us.

May we, as Samson, know that out of that which sought to destroy us God prepares strong meat. Out of the strength of our enemies comes the sweetness of victory and the secret of the Lord. It is our glorious riddle to solve within the fabric of our own being.

“Blessed be the Lord my strength,
which teacheth my hands to war,
and my fingers to fight”
Psalm 144:1

Brian Troxel

Spiritual Discernment – Wisdom

Spiritual Discernment

Wisdom

“Doth not the ear try words?
and the mouth taste his meat?”
Job 12:11

The wise of heart try the words they hear. Words abound in the church today and none are without intent. There are voices and intentions veiled within the speech of men. Though there may be many voices there is but ONE voice with whom we have to do (John 10:27).

“The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters,
and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.”
Proverbs 18:4

Words hold an intimation of deeper things. Whether perverse or godly there is a wellspring from which they flow. The common speech of daily life reveals the riddle and mystery of the heart of man; it cannot be hidden for long. What a man loves and desires will be expressed by his words.

“…for out of the abundance of the heart
the mouth speaketh”
Matthew 12:34

Wisdom is the pure fruit of the fear of the Lord. In its dominion men walk in the caution and prudence of God’s Spirit. It is the expert wine taster who discerns the quality of the wine, it is the chef who savors the food before him, and it is the wise who discern the fountainhead of the words of others.

“…a wise man’s heart
discerneth both time and judgment”
Ecclesiastes 8:5

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – The Visitations of God

Thought for Today

The Visitations of God

“Thou hast granted me life and favour,
and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit”
Job 10:12

Nothing less than the presence of God can preserve, restore and refresh the soul of His Own. The heart of the true child of God was made for His presence. The focus of life is to live in Him and to have His life holding us in the firm grip of grace and glory.

“Whom have I in heaven but thee?
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee”
Psalm 73:25

The longing and pursuit of life is summed up in knowing Him. The Pearl of Great Price incites a singularity of purpose (Matthew 13:45-46). In His beauty the desire for other things is dissipated and drained of force and power within the human heart. Life becomes a journey consumed in the one great love, the one great quest and the one boundless pursuit of knowing Him.

Religion with all of its rituals, precepts and demands fail man’s inherent need… the visitations of God Himself! It is by His Presence we are preserved, refreshed and made right. He is our salvation, He is our strength and in Him alone are we kept clean from this present world.

“Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name:
the upright shall dwell in thy presence”
Psalm 140:13

Brian Troxel

Effectual Prayers – Part Nine – Discipleship

Effectual Prayers

Part Nine

Discipleship

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss,
that ye may consume it upon your lusts”
James 4:3

The nature of our walk will influence our requests to God. If we walk in the Spirit our requests, desires and needs will be consistent with His desires. If we walk in the flesh our entreaty can be influenced by the lusts and appetites of the flesh. Prayers delayed or unanswered may at times be prayers offered amiss because we are asking to satisfy or fulfill our own desires; or we may read our desires into the needs of others. Only those who are in the process of dying to self are able to be free of the taint of self. Our sympathies to the needs of others (especially ones we are close to) can skew our ability to see and pray clearly. It is here that our walk in God will determine our effectiveness. Only true disciples can learn to pray effectually for discipleship is only known by carrying our cross and following Him. The outworking of the Cross in our lives brings us to the heart and mind of Christ. It is within the confines of His rule that we begin to touch the true power of prayer.

“If ye abide* in me,
and my words abide* in you,
ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you.”
John 15:7

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon translates the word “Abide” as “something that has established itself permanently within my soul and always exerts its power in me”. The depth of abiding in Him is revealed in His Word exerting power within us. Obedience is the evidence of His Word wielding power over me. Those who do not obey express a life in which His Word has no power. Men and women may quote the scriptures, may teach others with seeming knowledge, but if there be no life of doing His word, it in fact has no real influence in their lives. If His Word has no power in us, our prayers will have no power with God. It is as we abide in Him that our prayers become the extension of His heart; His nature praying through us to the Glory of the Father.

Our progress in effectual prayer is contingent upon the growth and reality of our abiding in Him. We all begin our walk in Christ as children and we are “born anew” into a whole new realm of life and wonder.

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word,
that ye may grow thereby”
1 Peter 2:2

This initial stage of our journey is blessed and one which we all experience and walk through. Prayer time is spent asking for things and often the answers from our heavenly Father come quickly as He seeks to strengthen and confirm our faith in Him. However, as time goes on God brings us into deeper things as He seeks to teach us the ways of relationship and intimacy. We are required to grow in the wisdom of His ways and as this transpires it effects the tenor and spirit in which we pray.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child,
I thought as a child: but when I became a man,
I put away childish things”
1 Corinthians 13:11

A life of change is the evidence of life. Where there is little or no change in the lives of His Own it is the result of His Word having little or no effect within. As we grow from a child into maturity we begin to speak differently and think differently which brings a dramatic change in our prayer life with God. As we put away the former things we begin the process of becoming men and women of God.

“Ye are my friends,
if ye do whatsoever I command you”
John 15:14

*Pulpit Commentary
And our Lord next unfolds the principle of prayer which laid such hold on the mind of the Apostle John: If ye abide in me (and then, instead of adding, “And I abide in you,” he says); and my words abide in you; i.e. if my teaching so abide with you as to control your thoughts and ideas, remain in you as your guide and inspiration, “then ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done to you”.

Effectual Prayers Part One – Incense
Effectual Prayers Part Two – Love
Effectual Prayers Part Three – Righteousness
Effectual Prayers Part Four – Humility and Repentance
Effectual Prayers Part Five – Wisdom
Effectual Prayers Part Six – Asking Largely
Effectual Prayers – Part Seven – Elisha and Jericho
Effectual Prayers – Part Eight – Ruth and Boaz
Effectual Prayers – Part Nine – Discipleship
Effectual Prayers – Part Ten – Knowing Jesus
Effectual Prayers – Part Eleven – The Fragrance of Prayer

Brian Troxel