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Thought for Today

The Wick

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“…and he (Moses) looked, and, behold,
the bush burned with fire,
and the bush was not consumed”
Exodus 3:2

God’s purpose for man is revealed in this verse. The call of God is to bring men and women to this one end: lives that burn with His fire through fragile earthen vessels. In a fully yielded life of surrender we become His light to the world.

The secret of this life is in the wick drawing upon the oil of His Spirit allowing His pure desire and heart to be the flame. The only way the wick will not burn up is by keeping the flow of oil constant through the power of an abiding relationship. Where there is no flow the wick will burn out and become useless, no longer able to shine with the wonder of the flame of God.

The oil without the flame is of little value. So too are the gifts and ministrations of the Holy Spirit apart from the purifying and glorifying flame of God within the vessel. The magnificence of this life cannot be known without these three components: The Flame of God, the Oil of the Holy Spirit and the Fragile Earthen Wick.

“And the bush was not consumed”

Ω

“It is of the Lord’s mercies
that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not”
Lamentations 3:22

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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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
http://www.aword.info

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Heart of a Priest

Part 11

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

The priesthood of the individual believer is a vital truth of the New Testament. The power of this truth alone will transform the life and walk of any true believer from one of faithless inactivity into a life filled with endless possibilities and new horizons. Understanding that each of us as individuals are enabled and gifted in Christ to become priests of the Most High God, and minister into the lives of those around us, brings a sense of purpose to daily life. It is to this end have we been called and sanctified. The Old Testament rituals and laws were for the express purpose of teaching us our own need to be set apart unto Him. Paul says all of these things were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world is come. Even the smallest details given to us by God are for our own growth and development.

“For it has been written in the Law of Moses,
“You shall not muzzle an ox treading out grain.” Deut. 25:4
Is it that it matters to God as to oxen?
Or does He say it altogether because of us?
It is written because of us,
so that the one plowing ought to plow in hope,
and the one threshing in hope to partake of hope
1 Corinthians 9:9-10

Paul takes one little truth out of the Old Testament to breathe into it the very life and purpose of God. If we fail to see the New Covenant written into the Old we are destined to see God in a very dim light. Even this scripture concerning oxen is woven into the truth of the individual priesthood of every believer; it ministers hope to us to be faithful in the walking out of God’s call. Where the truth of the priesthood of the individual believer is lacking so will the understanding of the Body of Christ be lacking. Those who do not see the necessity of the individual’s ministration will have no ability to comprehend this precious truth. It is in touching the Holy truth of the many-membered Body that our walk in God is transformed. As each member is empowered by His grace to bring forth unique expressions of the Head (the risen Christ), His people will experience new vistas of glory and wonder. In this place of seeing Him within each individual, the variety in God’s wisdom, envy and jealously are displaced by love and deep appreciation for each member. When we see the purpose of God in this we are no longer concerned with our own things; the real purpose of giftings is to see the Glory of the One Body become a living reality in the earth. Paul and all of the other apostolic, prophetic and teaching ministrations in the New Testament were to this end. Paul’s heart was to present His people to Him as a chaste virgin; pure, holy, set apart for Christ alone. There was no pervading thought of them having their own church for they simply saw themselves as instruments through whom others believed. We must return to the pure faith; a faith which sees Christ as the Head of the One Body and by whom we all minister the grace and wisdom of God who has “given severally unto everyone that believeth”. Paul admonishes the carnal thinking which was prevalent in the Church of God at Corinth…

“Therefore let no man glory in men.
For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas,
or the world, or life, or death, or things present,
or things to come; all are yours;
And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s”
1 Corinthians 3:21-23

The desire for His people to be one in spirit, faith and life is the transcendent cry of those who carry God’s burden for His people. The true priests seek not their own things. Their desire is to become the echo of His heart in all things.

“For this cause I bow my knees
unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory,
to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;
that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints
what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,
that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God
Ephesians 3:14-19

To be continued…

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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Heart of a Priest

Part 8

“And when he prayed for his friends,
Jehovah turned the captivity of Job”
Job 42:10

The depth of any individual’s ministry as a priest in God’s house will always be in proportion to the degree to which they are free from the contagion of self. God’s blessings fall freely and often upon those who are able to set self aside and minister His grace into the lives around them. We read here in Job the conclusion of a heated exchange of words with three of his brother’s in the midst of a very distressing situation. The bitter words spoken in haste and rancor escalated the trial of Job to an agonizing level. Job’s release from this situation was finally obtained when he prayed for his friends. True priests work through the bitter exchanges in life, the hatred, variance and strife within the household of God for they have His end in sight; a body filled with His Glory each member functioning in a measure of the very life of Jesus to one another. It is here that the mettle and heart of His people are revealed. It is in these contentious moments we have the opportunity to approve ourselves unto God.

“For there must also be heresies among you,
so that the approved ones
may become revealed among you”
1 Corinthians 11:19 (LITV)

Those who are of the Truth will always be revealed by their conduct, character and humility. The ability to shorten our trial lies in our ability to respond with His character and grace. The words, the rejection and the outright hostility from others become the very catalyst to bring forth healing waters from our hearts. His mercy is released from those who abide in His life. The fruit of the Spirit is the outflow of any life that walks in His Spirit. In the Song of Songs the Bride describes her beloved…

“His cheeks are like a bed of spices,
a raised bed of aromatic herbs.
His lips are like lilies dropping flowing myrrh”
Song of Songs 5:13 (LITV)

The process of becoming a priest in His house is directly related to the development of His Character and Life within our own hearts. Jesus, when men beat and mocked Him, turned the other cheek. He did not reply to His accusers for He came as the precious Lamb of God! When men smote Him the fragrance of spices flowed effortlessly from Him in whom there is no guile. His words poured forth like the sweet smelling myrrh and He held His composure in the midst of all that evil man could bring upon Him! (Who is like unto Thee, Oh Lord of Hosts!) As He is so are we to be in this world. When men and women walk contrary to this, yet boast of their walk with Him, they reveal the darkness and blindness of their way. While many will reject His own, speak evil and despitefully use them, those who are His reveal His Life by praying, reaching out to the offending ones and truly desiring and seeking reconciliation. Those who are His reveal it by the life they live and gracious manner in which they respond to the circumstances of life.

“Who is wise and knowing among you?
Let him show his works by his good behavior,
in meekness of wisdom”
James 3:17 (LITV)

This is the heart of a priest which beats and ever seeks to live in this world to glorify Him regardless of the cost to self.

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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ALWAYS ABOUNDING

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast,
unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labour
is not in vain in The Lord”
1Corinthians 15:58

As God’s people we are to be ALWAYS abounding in the work OF The Lord. This is not to be confused with work FOR The Lord; rather it is work OF The Lord. While visiting some relatives this week I noticed this scripture on a plaque in their home. It was in another version and it really struck me with great conviction. “Always abounding”! This phrase can only be applied to Disciples. This is not a part time occupation, not a scarce and rare moment in the life of a true believer. It speaks of being occupied with His Work and a fulfilling of His desires in our daily life. The “always” is based upon a faith that knows “that your labour is not in vain”. It is a deep assurance that if we walk faithful to Him, “abounding” in His Work, we shall surely reap fruit unto His Glory. Men who believe little, do little. This walk and journey of life can only be according to the faith which is at work in our hearts. We reap according to our sowing, we grow according to our doing, and our faith is exercised by the doing of His will.

Those who are “always abounding in the work of The Lord” are “steadfast” and “unmovable” in The Lord. By the handling and working of the things of our Father we remain engaged in the power of His reality. There is a subtlety in just “knowing” things about God; without the “doing”, the things of the Spirit become distant, doctrinal and mysterious. They become ethereal and rare rather than the simple flow of Him in and through our lives. Many speak of the “will of The Lord” as a hidden thing that is hard to find. Let us be reminded that Paul is speaking to His brethren in Corinth; not a select few, but the whole church there. We must put away wrong thinking and seek this life of “always abounding in the Work of the Lord”.

“Wherefore be ye not unwise,
but understanding what the will of the Lord is”
Ephesians 5:17

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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THE NEW WINE SKIN

OUR BROTHERS KEEPER

“And the clean person shall sprinkle
upon the unclean on the third day,
and on the seventh day:
and on the seventh day he shall purify himself,
and wash his clothes,
and bathe himself in water,
and shall be clean at even.”
NUMBERS 19:19

Within the sacred writings of the Old Testament we are constantly amazed at the glimpses into the New Covenant! In this passage we read that an Israelite who in his daily life touched something unclean (making him unclean) or something dead (bringing a ministration of death into his life), required a ministration in order for him to be received back into the life of the community of Israel. If only we could see the import and the necessity for us to so interact with one another that the community of faith (known as the Body of Christ) would begin to flow in the love of God and edify itself in HIS Love.

“From whom the whole body
fitly joined together and compacted
by that which every joint supplieth,
according to the effectual working
in the measure of every part,
maketh increase of the body
unto the edifying of itself in love”
EPHESIANS 4:16

This picture presented to us in the Book of Numbers clearly demonstrates the heart of God. We are not here to live independently from one another. We are to interact in the out workings of God. Men who have no desire to flow with others will not know of the fullness of God. God in His wisdom prescribed this WAY for the unclean to be so ministered to by his brothers that he is brought back into the life of the community. There is no mention here of the shedding of blood but of the sprinkling of water unto cleansing. This is not dealing with redemption and salvation; this is a ministry of the washing of the water by the Word being ministered to one another. It is like washing one another’s feet as we journey in this world full of darkness, temptation and death. This is a life found within the ministrations of the Holy Spirit, member to member, cleansing, encouraging and exhorting. If there is to be any real desire for righteousness and purity how the Body of Christ needs to see the vitality of this life of interaction!

Our independence, lack of trust and pride keep us from the power of this life. It is God’s way and in refusing His way we are left to our own. We have in the New Testament a picture of this in the revelation of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. Only Jesus has the power to raise the dead; but once Lazarus has been raised Jesus turns to His Disciples and says “Loose him, and let him go”.

“And he that was dead came forth,
bound hand and foot with graveclothes:
and his face was bound about with a napkin.
Jesus saith unto them (the disciples),
Loose him, and let him go”
JOHN 11:44

Just as with Lazarus, Jesus speaks the Life of Resurrection to every true child of God. He then expects us, as His disciples, to remove the grave clothes (lingering effects, ways and habits of the “old man”) that bind. He tells His Disciples to “loose him and let him go”. Can we not see the connection? We are HIS BODY, and as such, by the interaction with one another, we are to be the means by which every man becomes truly free. Too many of God’s people are sitting passively in pews, or isolated in little groups, or alone, while the power and the WAY of God go untouched due to our lack of interaction. We are to be the New Wine Skin but as long as we refuse to walk in this way He will not pour out the New Wine.

“Then He spoke a parable to them:
“No one puts a piece
from a new garment on an old one;
otherwise the new makes a tear,
and also the piece that was taken out of the new
does not match the old.
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins;
or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled,
and the wineskins will be ruined.
But new wine must be put into new wineskins,
and both are preserved.
And no one, having drunk old wine,
Immediately desires new;
for he says, ‘The old is better.’”
LUKE 5:36-39

We keep thinking that He is going to patch up the old! Perhaps if we had a new pastor or a new teacher or a new youth leader; or perhaps if we just prayed a little harder we could get OUR way of “fellowship” or method of meeting to work. It will not happen. IT IS A NEW DAY and the new day REQUIRES a new and fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit! The former things must pass away! The problem is that people like the old wine. They say the old wine is better, they resist change, are set in the old ways and do not desire the new enough to forsake the old. It is because of this that God must go out into the highways and the byways to bring in new people who have not “acquired” the taste of the Old Wine.

GOD HAS A WORD for those who linger in the old and leaking wineskin; He has a Word for those who desire the Old Wine instead of the NEW…

“Moab* hath been at ease from his youth,
and he hath settled on his lees,
and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel,
neither hath he gone into captivity:
THEREFORE, his taste remained in him,
and his scent is not changed
JEREMIAH 48:11

Moab* is a people who were the incestuous offspring of Lot; they were born out of a desire to save or preserve the seed of Lot after the judgements of Sodom. They will not change, they refuse to be “poured from vessel to vessel” and because of this THERE IS NO CHANGE in their own lives.

“Remember ye not the former things,
neither consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing…”
ISAIAH 43:18-19

It is a day to forsake the former things for it is the DAY of the New Wineskin; a day to seek and desire to fulfill God’s heart: the full revelation of the “Body of Christ”. It is a day to forsake the format and the structure of the old wineskin that will NOT make room for the new. Let us embrace the power of the life of the Son where the New Wine Skin is birthed by the vital relationships of the people of God, each member beholding the Head, even Christ.

“…unto Him
shall the gathering of the people be”
GENESIS 49:10

How can we continue to meet in the name of some denomination, or in the ways of some great teacher or organization, how long can we gather in the name of anything other than JESUS! The early Church had no other name, they had no other impediment in their coming together for they were drinking of the New Wine for it was poured out into a New Wine Skin. The word testifies that they were in ONE ACCORD PRIOR to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the NEW WINE SKIN must precede the pouring forth of the precious HOLY SPIRIT.

In 2 Kings God pleads with His people to give heed to His Word and change their ways and they refused and instead of obeying Him they clung to their former ways…

“Howbeit they did not hearken,
but they did after their former manner”
2KINGS 17:40

Can we not hear, is their not within our very hearts the cry for something real, powerful and NEW? How long will we cling to the former things, how long will we languish in that which is old and leaking? When will we so desire the new that we rise up and forsake that old and impotent way? A man’s desire for a thing must come to the place of such intensity that it produces the arising and the seeking for it.

*NOTE: Moab is a seed who springs out of the mighty deliverance from Judgement   In which Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt, Moab is a type of a people who desire to preserve THEIR way, THEIR position and THEIR relevance in the things of God. They will not change, they refuse to be “poured from vessel to vessel” and because of this THERE IS NO CHANGE in their lives. The taste of the wine that flows from them and the scent of their spirit and their heart remains intact and to such a people there will be NO NEW WINE. Moab’s inheritance and place of abiding in the Old Testament was the Dead Sea! Can we not see the end of such ways?

“Therefore also now,
saith the Lord,
turn ye even to me
with all your heart…”
Joel 2:12

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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