The Path to Ministry – Part Two

The Path to True Ministry

Part Two

ENABLEMENT

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

Thankfulness is the touchstone of a true disciple. There is an overwhelming sense of indebtedness to the mercy of God in Christ (Romans 8:11-12). Thankfulness frees the soul from jealously and envy of others. In the recognition of our own unworthiness of any favour from God, we begin our journey into discipleship with a right motive. Many make the mistake of thinking they deserve or are qualified for such a high and glorious call. It is from such that schisms and strife arise in the Body of Christ. Motive is critical to the receiving of His enablement.

In receiving His enablement, we are empowered to make HIM known in the earth. True discipleship can only be as deep as the purity of our motives in following Him. Whenever and wherever people seek the approval of others they will know little of this empowering grace. Freedom from self and the opinions of others is the stamp of a true disciple. Disciples follow Him; they do not seek positions or places of recognition. They do not seek advantage for themselves, but only seek to please Him who has called them unto a life of separation.

In our day the word “ministry” has come to mean something that has very little to do with God’s original thought or meaning. It is a word fraught with the horror of misrepresentation of all God intended. The reasoning is that by sending individuals to an institution we can prepare men and women for the highest purpose in life. One who has the ability to compile scriptures, and present them with cleverness and personal charisma, is considered to have the “goods” for ministry. We suppose by mere instruction and following the methods of men we can produce divine and unique expressions of the living Christ! How far we have fallen from our reliance upon the creative power of Christ Himself. May the Lord free us from our dependency upon our own resources and bring us back to the “Divine Enablement” of Christ alone.

“What is a man, a minister, a sacrament, a city, a nation, without the Spirit of God? What makes matters so far wrong in a land, but that there is so little of the Spirit with ministers and people? There is no life where the quickening Spirit comes not: O sirs, we will have dead preaching. dead hearing, dead communicating, lifeless work this day if the purchased Spirit does not come! When He comes life comes with Him”
– Ralph Erskine

(Continued)

Brian Troxel

The New Wine Skin – Part Two

The New Wine Skin

Part Two

“But when ye sin so against the brethren,
and wound their weak conscience,
ye sin against Christ
1 Corinthians 8:12

The New Wine Skin is to precede the pouring out of the New Wine. It will be one of a new living fabric in which only the Love OF God will rule. Secularism, the pride and conceit of denominations, the elitism of small and isolated groups, will have no part in the New except there be a change in our hearts. The wonder of the heart of Jesus is the only attitude which will enable His Own to come together in the unity and the power of His Spirit. The knowledge of God will bring the “fear of God” and the Awe of His Lordship; where our treatment of others will be considered our treatment of Him. Truth will be the foundation and pervading love will be the mortar which holds us in the firm grip of His authority in our midst. Every action and motive will be weighed in the balances. The horror of pretense, like Ananias and Sapphira, will be judged quickly in the fire of His wrath.

“Talk no more so exceeding proudly;
let not arrogancy come out of your mouth:
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.”
1 Samuel 2:3

Actions with the motivation to garner the praises of men rather than the approval of God will not be allowed in the New Wine Skin of God. Ministry will concern themselves only with His Glory and the integrity of the functioning of the Body of Christ. There is no room for the pride and vanity of man. All things are to be pure and holy with each member desiring the fullness of Christ in each member; encouraging the advancement of others rather than themselves. For the Kingdom of God is about purity of motive rather than the hierarchy of a religious order.

“He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward”
Matthew 10:41

How simple and wonderful is the Kingdom of God! What is a prophet’s reward? To do the Will of God. What is the reward of one who receives a prophet? A prophet’s reward. The reward is based on the doing of God’s Will not the expression of the vessel! If only we could comprehend the nature and the beauty of the New Wine Skin we would be freed from envy, jealously and striving for the approval of others.

Jesus takes it even further:

“And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”
Matthew 10:42

Can we not see the nature and the heart of His Kingdom? Only the New Wine Skin will receive the New Wine. The Old Wine Skin, by its very nature of being rigid and unbending, cannot hold the precious New Wine. The New Wine Skin is in reality a heart condition whereby truth and authenticity are the deciding factors.

“And no man putteth new wine into old bottles;
else the new wine will burst the bottles,
and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.
But new wine must be put into new bottles;
and both are preserved”
Luke 5:37-38

It is pointless to speak of the New Wine without a change of heart to become a part of the New Wine Skin. God will not pour His New Wine into an old order. Men and women may try to patch up the old in an attempt to keep their doctrines and positions intact but it will be to no avail.

“No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.”
Luke 5:36

The New will not agree with the Old. Let those who have ears to hear, hear what the Spirit is saying! It is a day of change and that change must be in the heart of all who would taste of this “Heavenly Wine”. The pride of men will be brought low and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day! Sadly, many who have tasted the approval of the esteem of others are comfortable with things as they are and will linger in the old rather than step into the New.

“But new wine must be put into new bottles;
and both are preserved.
No man also having drunk old wine
straightway desireth new: for he saith,
The old is better.”
Luke 5:38-39

There must be a forsaking of the Old; the desire for the New becomes the impetus to leave the old. It takes faith to launch oneself into the care of the Great Shepherd. The forsaking of the old will only happen in those who so love Him that they can fully trust Him to order their steps aright. This journey into Him will bring testings and the humbling of self, but also the flaming desire to SEE Him exalted in the midst of His Church. This is the crisis and the reward of His Own.

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
Joel 3:14,18

The Valley of decision (Hebrew is threshing) precedes the New Wine. It is in the valley that the sifting takes place. As it was for Gideon’s army so it is in this Day. It was a test of which the 22,000 were unaware. So also for us. It is in our daily lives that the siftings of God take place. In the “today” of our lives we reveal our heart and nature; in our treatment of our brothers and sisters and in the integrity of our walk. It is the forsaking of the Old Wine Skin which will prepare us for the New.

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert”
Isaiah 43:18-19

Ω

“While it is said,
Today if ye will hear his voice,
harden not your hearts…”
Hebrews 3:15

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – The Alabaster Box

Thought for Today

The Alabaster Box
And
Freedom from Strife

“Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people…”
Psalm 18:43

God has an answer for the strife, jealously and contention of religious, partisan discord. Clinging to teachings, ministries of God, and the honoring of men and organizations over Him, clouds His likeness in this world. It destroys the very fabric and wonder of His salvation and the unity of His Spirit. It is as we abide, seek and desire Him alone that He delivers us from the misery and shame of the “strivings of the people”.

The Alabaster Box

There is no better description of this age-old spectacle than that of the story of the woman with the Alabaster box. The room was filled with the carnality, contention, and strife of the various sects of the religious world. The self-righteous Pharisee (himself a leper), the indignant and blind disciples, and the broken-hearted woman (who alone saw the true wonder and glory of the Son) were all confined in one room. Have we not all been in such situations and even sat in the seat of each of these at some time? The Pharisee was oblivious to his own state yet filled with contempt over the woman’s reputation. The disciples were supposedly distressed over the cost and waste of the ointment being poured out. The worshiping woman saw nothing other than the priceless beauty of Christ.

The Pharisee was disturbed with the person, the disciples concerned with the gift, while the woman only had eyes for Him. Singleness of eye is God’s deliverance from the “strivings of the people”. A pure heart rises above partisan politics to see the motivation from which an action proceeds. The reality is that both parties of this drama were offended by her lavish and unmitigated worship of Him! Religious people will always find fault with the true worshiper of Christ; it is an indictment of their own lack of passion for Him.

The Scribes and the Pharisees consulted in the killing of Lazarus for his very presence was a testimony to the resurrection life of Jesus. Cain killed his brother Abel because his gift was accepted and Cain’s rejected. The Pharisees had to cover their ears during the stoning of Stephen because it was a damning of their own true condition. Those who walk with singleness of eye will know loneliness in this world and the contempt of the religious but the joy of seeing Him delivers them from the “strivings of the people”.

“Truly I tell you,
wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world,
what she has done will also be told,
in memory of her”
Mark 14:9

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

A Plea to God’s People

A Plea to God’s People

“This people says, the time has not come, the time for the house of Jehovah to be built. And the word of Jehovah was by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you yourselves to live in your finished houses, and this house to lie waste? And now, so says Jehovah of hosts: Set your heart on your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but are not satisfied; you drink, but not to be filled; you dress, but there is no warmth to one. Yea, he who sells himself sells himself for a bag of holes. So says Jehovah of hosts: Set your heart on your ways. Go up the mountain and bring wood and build this house. And I will be pleased with it, and I will be glorified, says Jehovah. You looked for much, and, behold, little! And when you brought it home, then I blew on it. Why, declares Jehovah of hosts? Because of My house that is ruined, and you, each man, run to his own house. On account of this, the heavens above you have held back the dew, and the earth is held back from her produce. And I called for a drought in the land, and on the mountains, and on the grain, and on the new wine, and on the oil, and on that which the ground produces, and on man, and on livestock, and on all the labor of your hands”
Haggai 1:2-11(LITV)

This word and its implication in the days in which we live are burning in my heart. The response of God’s people, many of whom once believed in the entering in (Hebrews 4:1-6; Philippians 3:8-14), is dismal as they have settled and grown weary with the way. I have heard it said that the reason for the poverty of this generation is because God is not opening the door. There will be no proper response to God from His people until we ourselves acknowledge that it is our doing which has brought about the spiritual malaise of this hour. It will require broken hearts, repentance and a coming together on the basis of His worthiness and His glory; people with an inherent cry to enter in to that which has been given to us.

It is we who have caused God’s presence to be dimmed as all the prophets of old have declared. We have become accustomed to the lack of His Presence in our midst. We have settled for ease and shrugged off our accountability unto Him. We have been forgiven, called, and gifted, in order to declare His Glory to this generation. Instead we have become comfortable with brothers and sisters who do not speak to one another, animosity and division which ruptures the very fabric of His Body. We are called to love one another, pray for one another and admonish one another unto love and good works. A great storm is about to break and we have not laid these things to heart. It is a day to repent, to turn from the love of the world, and to acknowledge that if I do not care about my brother I am walking in darkness. We must facilitate the rising up of HIS BODY in the earth. We cannot continue to walk outside of the fear of the Lord, for in His fear we are aware that our words and deeds are measured before our God.

It is with this attitude of heart that I plead with my brothers and sisters to reach out to find common ground in His heart; to relate to one another in His Love that we might receive the encouragement and admonition of the Lord and rise up out of our apathy in the Unity of His Spirit and His Faith. Unto Him be Glory in the Church now and forever! Amen.

A New Generation Arises

There is a new generation arising with faith and determination to enter into that which God has set before them. Many of the older generation* have failed to enter in because of unbelief (Hebrews 3:19, 4:6). They seek by prayer and religious works that which has already been provided for in Christ. The Word of God declares…

“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief”
(Hebrews 3:19)

“Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein,
and they to whom it was first preached
entered not in because of unbelief
(Hebrews 4:6)

The thing that God has promised sits before us, open and ready for those who step into the River Jordan. While the former generation hold prayer meetings and discussions about how God needs to open the door, a new generation is hearing the call. Those who sit in faithless inactivity fail to understand the truths in the parables of the pounds and the talents. He has given us great ministrations of His Life; it is what we do with them that determine the outcome. To declare that God is the one holding us back is to intimate our spiritual condition is due to His providence rather than our own unbelief. The River parts AS His People step into it. It is unbelief to pray to God to give what has already been given (Exodus 14:15-16). Unbelief cloaked in religious activities has been the sin of many a generation, yet within these times of unbelief God has people who are rising up to take the promise of their day and their hour. Such is the crisis/opportunity of today. In the midst of this unbelief there is a new generation arising that will not be denied. Their hearts cannot linger in the “religion” of unbelief and a faith that does not produce the works of the Son. The veil has been torn (past tense) and to ask God to open the veil is an expression of unbelief.

To say that the reason God’s people live in such spiritual poverty is because of God’s unwillingness to open the way is to lay blame for their spiritual condition upon God rather than themselves. This is a fearful place to walk.

While the bones of one generation bleach white on the sands of unbelief * a new one rises with added grace to enter in and displace the enemies who have too long held the Land of our inheritance. May we be those who feel Him pressing us to walk with the “hind’s feet” (Psalm 18:33) of His provisions. We cannot linger in the valley of vain words, religious meetings and wordy discussions. We must shed our unbelief and stop consoling one another with words rather than the works and admonitions of faith.

I am blessed and encouraged to see the faith of this new generation taking them beyond the impotence and staleness of former things. They are lights shining in the dark! Their words convey a faith not learned by reading books or hearing sermons but a faith that is the very gift of God. They know intuitively there is a Land filled with the Glory of God which is beyond the reach of the religious, but easily accessible by childlike faith. It is a great consolation to hear these voices arising which are speaking better things than the jealously of Saul, the gainsaying of Korah, and the greed of Balaam. The cry within their hearts is for the Unity for which the Son prayed and they will not allow jealousy, apathy and high-mindedness to deter them. They understand the truth of Isaiah 58; the true fast of the Lord is one of doing and becoming rather than the Pharisaical works of the flesh. It is of these that Jesus speaks “suffer the little children to come unto ME”. They are not schooled in the unbelief of our day. They do not know and care little about great men; they have been enamored by the ONE who matters. They know we are here to be the answer to HIS prayer and desire in the earth.

“…that all may be one, as You are in Me,
Father, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us,
that the world may believe
that You sent Me”
John 17:21 (LITV)

The final outpouring of His Spirit will not fall on a divided and sectarian people. The New Wine will only be poured out into a New Wineskin (Matthew 9:16-17). The old, inflexible wineskin, held together with the carnal energies of those who would seek their own glory and not His, will never be able to contain His Glory. Patching things up rather than seeking the New will never work. There is only ONE NAME by which this will happen; His Name is JESUS and it is above all others. This coming move of God will not be identified as Pentecostal, Baptist, Alliance or the thousand other names by which men have sought to differentiate themselves from others. Those who will be part of this New Wineskin will find their whole identity in Him and seek His Glory alone. They will so minister the life of Jesus that they will rejoice when their brothers and sisters surpass them in their knowing of Him. It is from such a heart that Paul declared:

“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh
Romans 9:1-3

This is the heart that draws the anointing from God; the heart to which God can entrust the power and the wonder of His ways; the heart that knows the ministration of the Holy Spirit is not about them but about His People and His Inheritance. It is into such a vessel that this New Wine will be poured out without measure. It will not be poured into those who separate themselves from God’s people and pray for God to move. Faith without works is not a living faith. Elijah prayed for the “child of promise” which had died and when the prayers were not answered he stretched himself out and identified with that dead body (three times) in order to see it arise (1 Kings 17:19-22). Any “truth” which does not cause an individual to identify with God and His People is not truth but simply a teaching.

“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light,
that his deeds may be made manifest,
that they are wrought in God
John 3:21

One cannot hold faith or truth within their hearts
and be without the deeds which are borne of them.

* Note: In the midst of a whole generation failing the purposes of God at Kadesh Barnea there were those of that generation who walked in the faith and fire of God. These are they of whom it is said they followed after a “different spirit” than the generation who declared the enemies were too large and strong…

“But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land wherein to he went; and his seed shall possess it”
(Numbers 14:24)

The promise of entering in is not based upon teachings or doctrines; it is determined by the spirit in which one walks with God. Many linger in things which are dead and passing away, even things which had life for many years. They now must give way to the New and the New can only be known by having ears to hear and a heart to obey.

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth…”
(Isaiah 43:18-19)

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info