Joseph Parker

Quote for Today

Joseph Parker
Commenting On
John the Baptist

“Look at John; see how the great men crowd around him; hear what temptation they suggest to him. It had never occurred to John himself, in all probability; that was Elias, that he was “that prophet”, that he was some great one. So the suggestion comes to him with all the force of a subtle temptation. What does he answer? He says, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord.” That was his answer: “What did he say of himself? “I am a voice.” What did he say of his ministry? “I am sent to prepare the way of the Lord in the attention and the affections of the world.” Thus, he who had offered to him by a very subtle temptation a brilliant crown and a high throne said, “No; I am but a voice; I am not the expected One, clearly understand my ministry and function in life; I am the herald, not the King: I blow the blast of the trumpet and he himself will be here presently.” That is just what every Christian has to do; to go before, to proclaim the Lord, to call men to preparedness, to awaken their attention, to tell them to be ready: for the Bridegroom cometh, and then to stand out of the way, as those who have indeed done a humble, yet a most useful work, in the world. But I repeat, he who knows his strength as John knew it will be strong, as no man can be who imagines himself to have a power with which God never invested him. A stern, solemn, grand man was John.”
– Joseph Parker

The River of God

The River of God

“Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus,
better than all the waters of Israel?
may I not wash in them, and be clean?
So he turned and went away in a rage.”
2 Kings 5:12

There are endless strategies and so-called resources to treat the ills of the human heart. Many seem right and sound right to a heart desperate for change and deliverance. Yet there is only ONE river that can bring the cleansing and healing power of God to the soul of man. Many will take a sip of it; they may even dip their toes into its life-giving flow and feel temporary relief; but few dare to immerse themselves into its depths and embrace the import of its full power.

By definition the River Jordan means to descend, to be humbled and brought low. It speaks of freedom from the pride, arrogance and self-seeking of the human condition. The horror of this pride is rampant within the Body of Christ with all of its associated vices: competition, rivalry, division and strife. These are clothed in spiritual garments of deceit and guile that keep His people suspicious, restless and out-of-sync with the character of God. These ones seek relief in confessions, exclusive cliques, and the pre-eminence in religious circles in an effort to appease the emptiness within. When invited into an immersion of a true “baptism” of humility they become angry at the audacity of such a notion. The God of all grace offers no other solution for any of us. We must do it His way or stubbornly refuse the waters of His Life and remain unchanged.

But made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant…”
Philippians 2:7

God has a provision. It is stepping into this river of humiliation and rejection, in concert with Him who deliberately “made Himself of no reputation”, wherein we find the wholesome life promised to all who would obey Him.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls”
Matthew 11:29

The call of Christ is to Himself. In coming to Him, in taking upon us His yoke of obedience, we will discover this “rest” for our souls. It cannot be learned or experienced apart from obedience. The proud seek the accolades and approval of men, while inwardly they are excluded from the “learning of Him”. The River Jordan is deep and costly. It is filled with sufferings and humiliations, denunciation by friends and foes, but only by immersing ourselves in it are His graces formed within the depths of our being.

“Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place”
Psalm 66:11-12

The wealthy place of His ways in us is a land of broad streams, where His mercy flows freely. Forgiveness has been learned in the furnace of affliction and the Character of Christ has been formed in the inner recesses of our hearts. How good and wise are His ways in the lives of His own!

Can we not hear His Call?

“Come unto me,
all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest…”
Matthew 11:28

The wisdom of Naaman’s servant applies to us regardless of our situation in life.

“And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?”
2 Kings 5:13

Humility frees the heart from its own poison. It is the Balm of Gilead alone which can bind up the wounds of relationships from the rivalry, envy and jealously which are the offspring of pride and the source of so much division in His Body. This is the River of Life of which the inspired Psalmist declares:

“There is a river,
the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God…”
Psalm 46:4

Brian Troxel

Daily Diligence

Daily Diligence

“They came round about me daily like water;
they compassed me about together”
Psalm 88:17

The unseen world is filled with confrontations between Light and Darkness. Temptations and persecutions assail the righteous as flooding waters; a battle that is waged daily. Many of these battles are far from sight but are fought in the thoughts and imaginations of our inner life. It is here where victories are won and we are afforded greater vistas of the Grace of God.

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”
2 Corinthians 10:5

Often our victory in casting down these thoughts will come as we lift Him up. The Holy Spirit has one mandate in this world and that is to bring all things into the obedience of Christ. It is in our thoughts that life is defined, victory known and our confidence in Christ arises. Authority in the inner life will culminate in victory in our daily life.

“And beside this, giving all diligence,
add to your faith virtue…”
2 Peter 1:5

The persistence of the temptations of the world and the weakness of the human heart require a diligent and continual drawing of grace from Him. In our victories we find ourselves “hid with Christ in God”. He is to become our dwelling place with the intent that He will be at home in the sanctuary of our hearts.

Purity is the path to seeing Him,
Faith is the hand which holds Him,
Humility is the grace which draws Him.

Ω

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,
and by the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their lives unto the death”
Revelation 12:11

Brian Troxel

Love the Brotherhood

Love the Brotherhood

Part One

“Love the brotherhood”
1 Peter 2:17

The brevity of this statement may cause us to overlook the power of its message. Simple as it might be, it holds within it the very purpose of God. It requires a living faith to even begin to plumb its depths. The “brotherhood” spoken of here is not the segregated few with whom we happen to have fellowship. Nor is it speaking of the alignment with others of the same doctrinal persuasion. The Greek word used here for “brotherhood” literally means of the same womb, not the same mind. It is a brotherhood based upon new birth, new life, and the unifying faith of the Son of God.

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith…”
Ephesians 4:13
(read the context)

The true purpose of the five-fold ministry is to bring God’s people to this wondrous state. This unity cannot be attained by agreement of doctrinal persuasions, ecumenical endeavors, or the diluting of purity and holiness. The true ministry of God has but ONE purpose: to bring every believer to Christ Himself. It is our mutual relationship in Him wherein the unity of the faith is known. The sad truth of our day is that we have a church system that prospers on division. It highlights our differences so that we can propagate our programs, our doctrines and our growth using the same worldly stratagems as the corporate businesses of the world: branding and advertising. Often those with positions in this church are in competition and sadly God’s people are drawn to winning personalities and comfortable teachings. We fail to understand that God is the author of the diversity in the ministries He has placed in the Church.

“For who maketh thee to differ from another?”
1 Corinthians 4:7

GOD does!

The differences are for our growth. We do not have the right to prefer one over another.

Paul prefaced this truth with

“…that in us you might learn not to think beyond the things which are written, that none of you be puffed up against one another”
1 Corinthians 4:6

The carnality of God’s ministers clamoring for more followers at the expense of devaluing others is the carnality which pervaded the Church of God in Corinth. In choosing one ministration over another we are robbing God of His purposes in the diversity of ministry given for the building up and the safety of His Church. The five-fold ministry is comprised of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, teachers and shepherds; this is not debatable. While many love the shepherds who gently tend the flock of God, few care to be around the prophetic or the apostolic; their ministry (divinely appointed) is for correction, maintaining the purity of the life of the church, and dealing with false and heretical practices (things which cause factions to HIS Body). The Church of God at Corinth; (not the Corinthian church — 1 Cor. 1:2), had at least 4 or 5 apostolic expressions who paid regular visits to them, each bearing their own unique ministrations of the Spirit of God. Where would the New Testament be without Peter, Paul, James, Jude and John? Each one had a clear and distinct expression of Christ without which we would be lacking many great truths.

“I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you weren’t yet ready. Indeed, not even now are you ready, for you are still carnal. For insofar as there is jealousy, strife, and factions among you, aren’t you fleshly, and don’t you walk in the ways of men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you carnal? Who then is Apollos, and who is Paul, but servants through whom you believed; and each as the Lord gave to him? I planted. Apollos watered. But God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are the same, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers…”
1 Corinthians 3:2-9

In the early church the ministry went from house to house so that the people of God would receive the richness of the variety of God’s wisdom and provision. In the Epistle of John, the evil of the spirit of Diotrephes rose up to cut off others from ministering and sharing in his church. That same spirit is at work in much of the landscape of the church today. Those who refuse the ministrations of others (from outside their circle) often walk in the spirit and works of Diotrephes. It is the nature of carnal fallen men that usurp God’s ways for their own; they will face the judgment of God in the day of His reckoning!

“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes,
who loveth to have the preeminence among them,
receiveth us not”
3 John 1:9

There are things that need to be fervently refuted in the truth and power of the fire of God. Love “rejoices in the truth” and contends against all things that would contaminate the purity and wisdom of the living God.

Let us read afresh the beauty of this singular statement:

“Love the brotherhood”
1 Peter 2:17

May the ministry of this day love God enough to confront the adulation of those who would ascribe to them the honor that belongs only to Him. May they minister out of the motivation to facilitate and foster the truth and wisdom of God into the tapestry of His One Church.

“That there should be no schism in the body;
but that the members should have the same care one for another”
1 Corinthians 12:26
(read the whole chapter)

Brian Troxel

The Marks of True Servants – Part Two

The Marks of a True Servant

Paul’s Final Departure
(from Ephesus)

Part Two

“For I have not shunned
to declare unto you all the counsel of God”
Acts 20:27

True servants withhold nothing of God’s counsel for fear of losing the approval of men. They speak the truth because they love the truth. Within their hearts beats the singular desire to live unto the Lord alone. They seek His approval alone.

“But in all things
approving ourselves as the ministers of God…”
2 Corinthians 6:4

To live unto Christ is to be free from the fear of man. Truth is the person and majesty of Christ Himself. This dynamic of His Life can only be known as we abide in Him. This ONE who purged the filth of man’s pollution from the Temple, also revealed the tenderness of mercy to the woman at the well; His Life cannot be held by the mere doctrines of men. The necessity of abiding in Him is what frees us to express Him in the moment, in the situation we are facing. It is the only means by which His Truth can be expressed! To speak of kindness when the Spirit of God seeks to confront a situation, is error. To speak judgment when God’s Spirit is soft and gentle is to miss Him grievously. A carnal concept of God has always been the bane of religion! To try and live by the precepts of Christ will inevitably end in failure and sin for we are to be in this world as HE IS in the moment.

Only His life can rightly express His heart. We are called unto a Life of abiding in Him to the intent that

“…as HE IS,
so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17

The truth of our walk in Him must culminate in a life of abiding in Him. Present truth can only be known by those who live in the presence of God. As His Life becomes ours, we know the truth; His truth for the moment. Peter in dealing with Ananias and Sapphira did not violate the Love of God; He revealed it. Those who walk in a concept of the love of God will be offended by this expression of truth. Naaman the Syrian had a concept of how the Lord would heal him. Had it not been for the wisdom of one of his servants he would have missed God and remained a leper the rest of his life.

His prophets spoke the Word of the Lord to the situation they found themselves in. The Word spoken was present truth, The Word for His people in the Day in which they lived. It was not a random Word, pulled from history’s pages, but truth for moment.

“…they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruninghooks…”
Isaiah2:4

Yet in another day the word given was:

Beat your plowshares into swords,
and your pruninghooks into spears”
Joel 3:10

His Spirit will never violate the Word but it will breathe the life and wonder of God INTO His Word. Such enablement, grace and wisdom can only be known to those who abide in the ONE who is the sum of all Grace and Truth. Jesus did not come to expose the world to a new teaching or a new religious concept; He came to fill us with Himself. He did not come to give us A new life but to give us HIS Life that we might know the power of His indwelling word.

The “marks” (brands) of the true servant of God are those who withhold not His truth and counsel regardless of the “consensus” of men. Only as we are freed from self are we truly able to be His servant.

“For do I now persuade men, or God?
or do I seek to please men?
for if I yet pleased men,
I should not be the servant of Christ”
Galatians 1:10

The true servant of God is one who is poured out in service to Christ. He seeks no following and does not desire the finances of this world. His only desire is to be true to the ONE who enlisted him into His service. Only then is he free enough to declare the whole counsel of God to his generation.

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ” ……………………………………. Romans 1:1
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” .. James 1:1
“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ…. 2 Peter 1:1
“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ” ………………………………….. Jude 1:1

“For he whom God hath sent
speaketh the words of God…”
John 3:34

Σ

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me”
John 15:4

The Marks of a True Servant is a series of writings revealing the tried and true character of Paul as he met with the Church at Ephesus for the last time. His life was the testimony of a man who had spent his life as a true bond-servant of Christ. May God complete His work in each one of us. Blessings to All who have made it their life purpose to serve and honour Him.
BT

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – John Owen

Quote for Today

“It is to be feared that very many have little knowledge of the main enemy that they carry about them in their bosoms. This makes them ready to justify themselves, and to be impatient of reproof or admonition, not knowing that they are in any danger” (2 Chronicles 16:10)
― John Owen

The Path to True Ministry – Part Three

The Path to True Ministry

Part Three

ENABLEMENT

I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12

The Cross is the Path to the Empowerment of Christ

The days of apostasy in God’s house are always preceded by a people walking and ministering His truth through the power of self. Whenever man is exalted the fire of God recedes and the resulting horror is a people left to themselves. God’s enablement falls upon those upon those who remain faithful to Him. His Life, His Power and His sharp two-edged sword proceeds from those who have known (in some measure) the devastating work of the Cross to the natural abilities and resources of their own selves. The cross is reserved for those who follow Him within the context of everyday life.

“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”
1 Corinthians 1:18

Where there is no obedience there can be no Cross.
Where there is no working of the cross
there will be no true power of the Christ of the Cross

The Cross of Christ is NOT the testings and the trials of everyday life for the world knows of these same things. The Cross of Christ is that which comes to those who DO His Will. It is in the doing of His Will where His Own know and identify with Him and the resulting opposition and hatred which comes their way. It is in speaking, standing and walking out of His Will where the graces of Him are formed and the natural tendencies of self are crucified. How foolish is the notion that we can experience the workings of the Cross of Christ apart from obedience unto Christ? Paul was enabled because his life was one of faithful obedience and submission unto the will of God.

The “enablement” of the favour and ministration of Christ Himself is the only source of power in His Church. The energies of self will always leave an individual powerless, fruitless and impotent in the ministrations of Christ. Fruit is the revelation of the power of our relationship with Him…

“Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, He takes away.
Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes, that it may bear more fruit

John 15:2

Fruit is the undeniable result of a branch which abides and lives out of the resources of the living vine;

Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me
John 15:4

(Continued)

Brian Troxel

The Path to True Ministry – Thankfulness

The Path to True Ministry

Part One

THANKFULNESS

I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12

In this verse Paul the Apostle shares his heart with a young Timothy as to the foundation and truth of all genuine ministry. The Epistles to Timothy and Titus are expressions of a fatherly and love-laden soul. There is no hint in these epistles of Paul seeking to use these two precious ones to extend his own influence or to perpetuate his own ministry. Rather he seeks to bring them to the pinnacle of life: a walk of devotion with a singular reliance upon the life and approval of Christ alone. True and pure ministry, as presented in the New Covenant, is the fruit of our walk and obedience unto Jesus Christ. Paul does not refer to the giftings of the Holy Spirit, the variety of personalities, personal or intellectual abilities, or associations with other ministries, organizations or teachings. Paul’s presentation to Timothy concerning ministry is first and foremost infused with thankfulness. “I thank Him”! Why was this? Paul knew of his utter dependence on divine enablement to walk such a life! True recipients of grace are ever thankful and humbled by His great mercy. May God open our eyes to see that without the enablement of the Living Christ there can be no true ministration of the power of His Life. Without it men and women are reduced to powerless words, religious phrases, and vain expressions.

Jesus declared:

“He that speaketh of (or from)
himself seeketh his own glory…”
John 7:18

Thankfulness is the fruit of a life which knows its own unworthiness. Those who minister out of self, walk in a proud or haughty spirit (even though it may be clothed in a false humility), and carry a sense of entitlement. They “expect” to be treated differently. They consider themselves superior and reveal this in how they conduct themselves with others. The chief mark of a life called of God is humility. Humility is the foundation of all true authority. It is the revelation of one walking under God’s authority and it can only be expressed through the medium of obedience. In God only the humble can obey. (Titus 1:16)

Ω

I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12

Let us read carefully and meditate upon the above scripture. By the grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit allow His thoughts to invade and bring to us His Light to bear upon such words of Divine power.

Thought for Today – Silence and Security

Thought for Today

Silence and Security

“And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders,
he answered nothing”
Matthew 27:12

It is in the face of false accusations that the power of Christ is most manifested. Our security in Him, who is our justification, is revealed in the crucible of false accusations, gossip and strife. It is here where His dominion and power in our life is revealed.

Humility is evidenced in a life free from the opinions of others. Its foundation lies in the power of a life rightly related to the will and purposes of God. A life lived in obedience to the truth will not have the need to justify itself to others.

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth”
Isaiah 53:7

Brian Troxel