Pursue God for God

These past couple months in School of Discipleship have been wonderful, yet hard.

God has been teaching me a lot about surrender. It’s revealing—I’ve been praying for the Lord to show me things in my heart and about my character that aren’t of Him. Now that He is showing me, I’m seeing how complacent my Christianity has been. We have been reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer (if you haven’t read this book, please do!), which has been the catalyst to all this realization. I didn’t understand how much of my motivation for seeking the Lord was self-focused: “what can I get out of this”, “what can I improve on”, ‘‘what can I get right by following God”. All those I”s! Those are some of the questions I would ask myself to stimulate my walk with God. I had to sit back and reflect on when I have sought the Lord to learn more about His character, His love, and His personality. The fact is that I can’t remember when that was. Maybe it is due to having a bad memory, or because I never pursued God for God. It has been painful to realize that it has been the latter.

Pursuing God needs to be about God. This is the wonderful part! My viewpoint on going through life has completely changed. Instead of living my life and trying to make as much time for God as possible, it needs to be the opposite: I live for God and make as much time for my life as possible. As simple as that sounds, it has been groundbreaking for me.

When I wake up in the morning, it’s not about making time for God in between all my daily tasks. It’s about making time for my daily tasks in between meeting with God. I’m so thankful that it’s all about Him and not about me. My issues and struggles look massive to me, but to God and His strength, they don’t stand a chance. Psalm 139 has been a beacon for me, directing me on what to pray for and showing me the straight awesome facts about the God we serve. Psalm 103:8-14 will always be my heart’s favorite verses, but 139 is getting up there! Praise the Lord for His faithfulness in revealing these things to me. I’m so ready to run hard after Christ.

—School of Discipleship student

Gospel for Asia

School of Discipleship

What can a Thermostat Teach You?

pic of thermostat

Gospel for Asia’s School of Discipleship is certainly challenging, but not always as I would expect. An example of this is the thermostat.

It was my first morning after I arrived at School of Discipleship. I had got in relatively late the previous night and thought I’d go downstairs to get more of a feel for the house and what was where; maybe even meet a housemate who had been out the previous evening. No such luck, but I did notice that I was freezing.

Shouldn’t cause any problems; I sauntered over to the thermostat to change the heat setting.

I’m from Canada, and Canada has been using the Metric system for decades; since well before I was born. So when I looked at the thermostat and it read 70 degrees, my first thought was why was I cold and not dying of heat? Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. Then I remembered that it was Fahrenheit. I looked up online what 70 degrees Fahrenheit was in Celsius and found that it was 18 degrees Celsius! Small wonder I was cold. I bumped the thermostat up a couple of degrees and the house became more tolerable.

That was not exactly what I expected for difficulties. Trust me, that’s not been the extent of my challenges. However, it taught me that what I think, and what is, aren’t always the same.

 

Gospel for Asia

School of Discipleship

Radios for the Kingdom

Radios-Kingdom-RT08-00517During our time in School of Discipleship, we have the opportunity to assist local ministries.  This provides us both a way to see how others live out their love for God, and it gives us the opportunity to partner with them in a practical way, in order that together we can be a part of advancing God’s kingdom. A couple of weeks ago, we had such an opportunity. We spent the morning putting together media players for Galcom. Galcom is an organisation that builds radios and media players for reaching people with the gospel who are illiterate or don’t have access to written copies of Scripture. The radios are designed so that only certain stations can be tuned in.

Assembling the players required some of the students to solder the batteries to the players; I was involved in placing padding within the player so that the components would not shift over time. Batteries and mini sd cards also had to be installed. Finally they were all tested to if the audio recordings worked. As the players were headed to a foreign country, we got to hear the first verse of Genesis in another language over and over.

Galcom was not at liberty to tell us exactly where the radios were headed. They were, however, going to an area where access to the Scriptures is limited. Partially through our efforts a considerable number of people will be able to hear the Bible in their own language even if they can’t read it.

—School of Discipleship student

The Blessing of Fellowship

Blessing-Fellowship-RT09-02546We, Canadian students, had the awesome privilege to visit the US office for a week. It gave us an opportunity to serve the staff, volunteer in the office and part take in some fun events. I can see how with a negative mindset it could have been a dread. However, I told myself that I would serve like never before. After all, serving gives greater joy anyway than wanting to be served. I prayed about having the right heart about going. The Lord answered and it was the most amazing time ever.

We had the privilege to room with the US students during our stay. We got to help with cooking, cleaning and also sitting in during their classes. We took part in house dinners, celebrations, and even the Hog Slog race. The thing that I took note of most is the fellowship we as Christians get to have. When we arrived, we were not only welcomed with open arms, but there was an instant connection. There is a common bond in what Christ has done for us and that we are fellow labourers in the Gospel. Paul the Apostle understood that type of bond, and he longed for believers to live in unity. This instant connection with the students, was in that we are all disciples of Christ, that we’re going through the same School of Discipleship program and labouring and reaching the lost together from a distance. So sharing our joys and struggles was a great joy and encouragement.

Being in the family of Christ is the greatest blessing for someone on earth. The church, the body of believers and community living has become a lot clearer for me in this past year. We are made to distribute our gifts and talents within the church. We are not meant to be lone rangers walking this earth but we have each other and it’s Christ alone that made it possible.

“This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13

—School of Discipleship student

God is King

God-King-RT09-02541I was recently reading the book of Ruth.  I found this story very interesting especially since the backdrop it is given is the book of Judges.   The final verse in the book of Judges states, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  This phrase no king in Israel was sticking in my mind as I noticed that the first character in Ruth was Elimelech.  I have had very basic instruction in Hebrew enough to know that “El” means God and “melech” means king.  This piqued my interest God and king.  I looked it up and His name means God is king.  In Judges we see the natural appearance that there is no king and in Ruth we see the true reality that God is king.

As we continue on in the book of Ruth we see that despite his name Elimelech had no confidence that God was his king.  When things got tough he didn’t put his trust in God, but rather sought a solution in a nation that did not know God with disastrous results.  I am sure we all know what happened.

However the story does not end there.  We are introduced to Ruth, his daughter-in-law.  This is where it gets exciting.  She was not raised with the God Israel, but she possessed such a great faith in Him.  She takes God as her God and will not leave Naomi.  As a foreigner in Israel especially as a Moabitess she would be subject to the hatred of the people, but she had the confidence that God would care for them.  This attitude of Ruth is what God had intended for His people that they recognise and trust Him as king.

For you and I, what can we glean from this?  With the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven and the New Covenant, God is our king .  Do I live in the reality that He is king and will care and provide for me, or do I attempt to look for my provision and protection from myself?  I have the testimony of Ruth and others throughout Scripture of what God will do if I trust Him and I am without excuse not to.

—School of Discipleship student

Who am I… Really?

I·den·ti·ty- the fact of being who or what a person or thing is

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins. But now in Christ Jesus you who were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:1 & 13

As the year in School of Discipleship continues, it is amazing that one doesn’t just get to know the Lord more intimately, but one also gets to know themselves through this challenging year of being discipled.

In class, the Lord has been teaching me to recognize the importance of knowing my true identity. All of Mankind has identity. Our identity may come from many areas in life including family or friends, job, money, or even the past. The Lord has been challenging me in this regard:  In the way I live, where is my identity rooted from? If my supreme identity comes from anything other than Christ Himself, I will soon realize that whatever else I root my life in will be earthly and thus will diminish. As a child of God, I have the amazing privilege to know and be known by an ever infinite God, and must recognize my value in this, rather than anything else that bids for my life.  I am ultimately not who anyone else says I am, nor known supremely by my weaknesses or failures, but I am who CHRIST alone says I am!

Does Christ complete me? Do I feel as if I need that one thing, aside from Christ, in order to  “feel” complete?  What makes my heart race and receives my awe? In what is my identity really found when everything else is stripped away?

Though I have been greatly challenged in learning my need for a complete self-denial, the Lord has been teaching me that my absolute only boast, and ultimately life, must be in Christ. I have and am absolutely nothing without Him, but am everything in Him. It is unfortunate to know that I can go through the daily tasks of serving the Lord, without ever realizing who I am as His blood bought child, and miss out on the relationship that our Father longs for with His children.

So when I am tempted to believe that other things will somehow satisfy, or to ‘amen’ what the enemy would have me to believe,  I must remember that as a child of God, He is the one who makes me who I really am. In Christ, my identity is completely sure since He never fails nor changes forever.

identity

—School of Discipleship student

Before the Day Began

Before-Day-Began-WP_20151022_002

Time has gone by very fast this year.

It seems the month just begins and then it is the end. Now, there are just over a few weeks till the graduation of my first year at School of Discipleship.

Lately I’ve been pondering how fast time is going and struggling with what I can do to take advantage of it. I want to make the most of every last day, but how can I? How can I truly grasp everything out of today?

Before-Day-Began-WP_20151020_012

I believe it starts at the beginning of the day.

A while ago I asked one of the staff at Gospel for Asia what keeps them focused on God throughout the day, and they said that it was spending time with God in the morning and surrendering the day into His hands. When they spent time with God in the morning they were more focused during the day. I find it challenging to focus on Jesus throughout the day a lot of the time; but giving myself to prayer and the study of God’s word early in the morning makes a difference. It’s kind of like putting on one’s armour for the day.

I once heard Joni Eareckson Tada (a lady who became a quadriplegic at a young age from a diving accident) say on the radio that she would pray a certain prayer every morning. It went something like this: “Lord, please look at the world through my eyes today and speak your words through my mouth and listen through my ears….” and so on until she had dedicated herself to God for that day.

This has stuck with me ever since I first heard it and I believe it is part of the reason why Joni is such a friendly, joyful, encouraging and loving person. And why she has impacted so many lives.  Because of Joni’s inspiration I want to write my own prayer of dedication and I thought I would share it with you.

“Dear Father,

This morning I give my eyes to you

For only your grace to shine through.

I give you my words today,

That my mouth may speak of your way.

Please take my ears for you to use,

May I hear only what you choose.

Whatever, Lord, my hands will do,

I dedicate it all to you.

Father, please lead the paths of my feet,

That I walk where joy and suffering gladly meet.

Each thought, each action, movement and plan,

I gave to you before the day began.

Amen.”

—School of Discipleship student

An Uphill Climb

Uphill-Climb

One thing I have realized is that the Christian life is an uphill climb. It’s not easy and I never was promised an easy life. But don’t get me wrong, it’s worth it. It is through trials that we are made steadfast. I have slowly been learning this and I am realizing more and more that blessings are received through trial. Through my trials the Lord is strengthening me and making me more like Him. Trials are fruitful soil. I have been learning to be content and joyful through trials and struggles. It is through the trying times that my Godly character can shine through and through this I can be an example to others. When we persevere to the end there is a reward that awaits us in Heaven.

James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

—School of Discipleship student

The Final Stretch of School of Discipleship!!

Final-Stretch-RT14-07548It seems unbelievable that we have just over five weeks left until we are finished our year! I remember that the end looked so far away, but yet, how quick the time has flown. I can hardly grab on to one day until the next one budges in. God has and continues to be so very gracious and faithful!

As the year winds up, God has been challenging me to trust Him like never before, as I seek Him for future plans ahead! I am challenged in my walk with Him, questioning myself, “Do I really trust God?” “Am I too proud or smart to let the Sovereign Ruler of the universe lead and guide me?” I believe that it is in these times of my insufficiency that God can even begin to grant me the grace to start trusting Him. I am sorrowed at how often I take the invitation to trust God lightly, sprinkled with a bit of groaning or whimpering! Oh, may He grant me the grace to completely and wholly surrender and submit my all to Him!

So, in closing, I firstly praise God for this year with it’s beautiful times of challenges as well as victories! How unworthily blessed I feel to have been a part in the School of Discipleship program! It has truly been a journey that I believe will impact my entire life! Praise and glory to the Lord!

—School of Discipleship student

Trust and Obey!

Trust-Obey-TD15-00796O what fullness of life, to trust and obey the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Having studied the book Touching Godliness by K.P. Yohannan, I have learned much about submission to authority, and how submission and obedience is the secret to an intimate relationship with God and with my fellow creation. It amazes me that submission to authority and obedience to the commands of that authority are the principles on which all invisible and visible things exist and are sustained. If GOD were not holding all things in order as the ABSOLUTE authority, this world would be absolute chaos. I’m sure I would have been annihilated a long time ago by a falling star, if God were not in control and holding all things in order with absolute perfection!

Unfortunately, my natural sinful arrogant nature wants to do everything but submit and obey to God and others. I realize this is my overruling problem; that as long as I want to live my own way doing what I think is best I will never truly come to know and live the life that God desires me to live — one of freedom and peace and joy!  The amazing thing is that we can live an intimate life with God with only one condition: that we die to ourselves. Hebrews 5:8 says that “Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered”. I guess that means we “must suffer” if we are ever going to come to a place of obedience. This is most certainly true but the amazing thing, is that what is already “wretched and rotten” is that which will suffer and die so that we can be raised anew to truly live a godly life! This is a most amazing exchange and oh so worth it. Learning to Trust and Obey Him, is to KNOW HIM and this is all we need!

—School of Discipleship student

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