For His Name’s Sake

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We had the amazing privilege to have a pastor from a local church come and share with us just a little while ago. His first question that he asked us was “what do you love most?” Next he asked us “what do you think God loves most?” Right away my thought was “His people.” Well, to my surprise I learned that there is one thing that God loves more than me and you and that’s Himself. Then we were also asked “what are your thoughts when you think of God loving Himself most?” In our eyes it seems selfish. God is the greatest and He loves what is the greatest first. The only reason we think it to be selfish is because of our own selfishness and is not about us. But if God didn’t love Himself most, it would be idolatry.

Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul, He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

1 John 2:12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His name’s sake.

Romans 1:5 Through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His name among all the nations.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see Your good works and give glory to Your Father who is in heaven.

Notice how these verses point to His name and His glory, and these are only a few of them. The Bible is filled with verses like these. Gods purpose for us and all His creation is for His glory and for His name to be lifted high. Let’s do all things for the glory of God and His Son Jesus Christ.

 

Sap and Surrender

 

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As my class and I read through How to Pray by R.A. Torrey I ask myself, how do I know if I am abiding in Christ and staying connected to the vine? If I am in Christ and the connected to the sap (the Holy Spirit), I will bear fruit accordingly.

Therefore, to abide in Christ means that I need to be surrendered to God. By surrendered I mean as the Lord shows me areas in my life that I need to give up, that I do. It will be a continuous process of surrendering to the Lord for the rest of my life.

Yes, this is going to take a lot of time. I wish I hadn’t prayed for patience all those years ago. The Lord is finally answering my prayers. If that is the way that it needs to be, then the Lord will give me grace and strength to persevere.

Now the real question is, how will I practically apply or act upon what the Lord showed me?

With the Lord’s help, I will surrender those things in my life that the Lord shows me and to seek to abide in Christ. I may have to surrender on a continual basis, maybe even moment by moment.  Lord, I am going to need your help even more than before. I know You are faithful though, so I’ll make it. No problem.

Faithful Forever

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Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt so stressed out you didn’t know how you were going to make it through?

Or maybe you have just been super worried about some big thing in your life that looks impossible to overcome or get around. I know I have had to deal with these things before. Worrying doesn’t help anything! Worrying always seems to make the situation look darker and more impossible! Worry takes our focus off of Jesus and puts it on our own life; worry makes us try to figure everything out ourselves when what we should really be doing is seeking the Lord more! I think that is exactly why the Bible tells us so many times not to worry.

God gives us trials and tribulations to draw us to Him and make us stronger in our faith–not to show us how awesome we are at figuring things out. We are to trust Him in hard times to take care of us, whether everything works out like it is supposed to or everything falls apart. This is not an easy thing! I know for me, I always think I know how God should do everything and exactly how everything should go. How arrogant of me! God is faithful; His ways are so much higher than my ways! How could I presume that my plans and my preferences are better than His?

One of my favorite passages in Scripture is Psalm 146. This passage has been a real help to me in the hard times, especially verses 1-6. I encourage you to read this passage next time you start feeling stressed or are tempted to worry. It will be a great help to you!

1Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. 2I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. 3Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. 4When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. 5Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.

6He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. 7He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, 8the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. 9The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord.

 

Student Testimonials

Here are a couple of testimonials of students who went through the School of Discipleship program:

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“I have been serving the Lord at GFA for almost two years, and Lord willing I will continue to serve here for many more. I have been extremely blessed by being here. Every day I am surrounded by people who truly love the Lord and want to serve Him with their lives, and who truly have a heart for those who do not know Jesus as Savior. The leaders at GFA are gracious, loving and humble, and they represent the Lord well. I know I can trust them and that they truly care about every person serving here. I learn so much through their examples all the time. The Lord has used my time serving here to grow me and to make me more like Him, and I am so blessed that this is where He has placed me to serve Him.”

-Taylor

 

josiah

“I have been with Gospel for Asia for three years now, and I have been blessed in so many ways! Through my time at Gospel for Asia, I have been challenged to use my gifts for the glory of God and to grow in Him daily.

Gospel for Asia has also given me the ability to be part of a movement that is reaching millions of people with the Good News of Jesus. This alone has blessed me so much! Lives are being changed, fellowships are being established, and every day people are hearing about Jesus for the first time!

“I thank God for the opportunity He has given me, through what I do at Gospel for Asia, to serve Him in what small capacity I have and carry His message to millions of people who have never heard of His amazing love. I am undeserving of the privilege.”

-Josiah

To find more testimonies from former students go to:

http://www.gfa.org/schoolofdiscipleship/student-testimonials/

Reminding Me of My Call

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Recently God has been reminding me of His call on my life here at Gospel for Asia. I know that God has called me here, but in recent weeks it has gotten tough.

It all started during Lent (the 40 days heading up to Easter). The whole focus of Lent is on Jesus’s death on the cross. I started having this thought, “If Jesus could give up everything to die for a sinner like me, then why couldn’t I dedicate my life to Jesus and reaching the 2 billion people who have never heard of Jesus.” As much as I tried to shrug it off, I simply couldn’t.

These are people who Jesus loves they are going to Hell, 80,000 of them every day without having heard of Jesus before. Why shouldn’t our hearts break for the people of Asia (especially in Nepal where the earthquake happened)?

Yet while this was going on, I was reminded of some of some of the difficulties serving here at Gospel for Asia. This is when God started asking me another question. He started asking me, “Are you willing to suffer hardships for my sake and for the sake of the call I have given you?” I was a little hesitant to answer that question.

With this question, you can go to two extremes. The first one is to blurt out something like Peter did and then be rebuked by the Lord at the end. The second extreme is to run away just like Jonah only to be turned back. The Lord knew my heart though. He knows I would be able to (with His strength) to continue in His calling and not run away.

Jesus never promised our life would be easy if we followed Him and shared the Gospel. On the contrary, He promised hardships and suffering to all who followed Him and His calling. Though this certainly didn’t attract followers, it sifted out His true followers from those who wanted to get something out of Him.

At the same time though, Jesus promised our lives would be fulfilling. Not only are we spreading God’s kingdom throughout the world, but the Lord promised heaven for those who believe in Him and do what He wants them to do. I choose to follow the Lord, what about you?

 

Losing Faith and Hope

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As Christians and students of the faith we are about the business of gaining insight into God’s character.  It always amazes me how much more we can learn about His character as we move further along in our journeys.

Ever since God made me aware of my call to missions, I have been one track minded seeking out opportunities to go overseas and  joining different missions organizations.  I remember abiding in His strength only and being sold out to Him. I look back on that season with longing often as at that time I was completely sold out to Him.

For past few years I have been task oriented when it comes to my walk with the Lord and obeying His commands. If He tells me to do this or that, I will go do those things but in my own strength. What I didn’t realize is that I stopped abiding in his strength. After a while I became spiritually lazy and would be in self-indulgent. Of course, I would do whatever God told me to, which at the time I thought consisted of the notion of going to another country and dying for him. I began to rely on my walk in the past and therefore became lazy. Since I read the Bible and had learned so many lessons from it, I had the notion I didn’t need to read the Bible anymore. Even though I had no desire to read my Bible I would have gone and died for him.

Recently, my School of Discipleship class went through a book called Calvary Road. When I was reading through it I caught myself thinking that I knew these things, but then God convicted me the next several days saying, “There are so many things you think you know! You lost faith in the blood of the lamb, you lost hope in eternity.” I didn’t realize that I slowly but surely let the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches cloud my judgment. I had become a hearer of the word deceiving myself.

I was reading in the Word and read through Romans 3:25 “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” The Spirit led me to carefully analyze and consider these things. What is faith? Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction in the things not seen. What is conviction? Conviction is belief. Somewhere along the way I stopped believing. I was running on fumes. But the Lord is faithful and assured me that He is with me always. I am thankful that my logic and judgment does not dictate the truth, such as whether or not there is a God and His Son is Jesus. He has helped me realize that I need to become a Christian who lives by faith and not by experience,  feelings or emotions. He has shown me that reading his word refines my faith in Him. I love His faithfulness.

“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

His Plan is Best

Joseph. Joseph was a dreamer. He had vivid dreams of his family bowing to him. In one dream, he relates in Genesis 37:6-7, ““Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” This made Joseph’s brothers angry, who were wondering why their youngest brother would dare to say such things.

Not only did Joseph have these vivid dreams, but he was seen as their father’s favorite. Joseph got a coat of many colors from his father. One day, while Joseph was walking to the fields, his brothers began to plot against him. At first they wanted to murder him, but decided against it. Joseph’s brothers decided to sell him to a group of Ishmaelite traders who were heading to Egypt. When the Ishmaelite traders made it to Egypt, Joseph was sold into slavery. There he encountered false accusations by Potiphar’s wife and imprisonment.

His imprisonment was the turning point of his life, even though he was there for four years. After four years, when Pharaoh had a couple of dreams, it was found that Joseph could interpret them. Pharaoh was elated and made him second in command over Egypt in order to store grain for a famine. After this, Joseph’s brothers come back on the scene. His brother couldn’t recognize Joseph at this point. He demands they bring his younger brother Benjamin in order to test them. After a few tests, Joseph reveals himself saying, “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt.’”(Genesis 45:8-9) In other words, everything that happened was for God’s plan to be fulfilled.

In the same way, God allows bad things to happen in our lives in order to fulfill His plans. In MGmy own life, God allowed for me to become ill during my first year in the School of Discipleship. I didn’t understand why I had to go home in order to finish the rest of the course. God is starting to use that for His plan. Even though I don’t know completely how God will use my experience to reach others, I can trust God that it will encourage others to keep on going in their year at School of Discipleship and not give up no matter what circumstance they are in. I encourage you to keep going forward in what God has asked you to do. He has your best in mind.

ONLY BELIEVE

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John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that who so ever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

We have all heard this verse many times and memorized it. But do we really believe and understand its truth? So often I think I must do something to earn God’s gifts and promises, and yet the Bible says only believe.

Here at Gospel for Asia School of Discipleship I’ve been learning that God uses others to speak into our lives if we will let them. This weekend something cool happened. Three times I heard a similar message, each time by a different person. I couldn’t help but think perhaps God is really trying to teach me something here! They were all talking about believing God and accepting the gift He is offering us. It is so crazy to think all I have to do is accept and I will be saved. But even accepting the gift of Jesus destroys ones pride. I want to do something for God, to show my worth, but He says “you can’t earn this, you can only believe”. I wonder how much I’ve missed out on in the promises of God simply because I didn’t believe. So it is that belief runs our lives; the choices we make, the way we spend our time and the desires we have are all based on our beliefs. It is very important what we believe, and I pray God will give me the grace to believe the promises He has written in scripture. Oh, what a freeing thing it is to believe our Saviour died for us while we were yet in our sin and He wants so much to have a relationship with us. Praise the LORD. God is definitely working at Gospel for Asia, and the best part is watching the staff follow Christ and walk in their example. They know who they are in Christ by believing His word and that is why they can follow Him. It is easy to follow someone that you believe the words they say.

Walking In The Footsteps Of Jesus

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I have only been in School of Discipleship for two months and the amount that I have learned already is amazing. We have gone through the Core Values and now are reading The Jesus Style. Not only have I learned from these classes but the characteristics and values that we have studied are so well lived out by Gospel for Asia staff. I count it a privilege to be here and have these servants to look up to, to follow and learn from their example.

A few of the characteristics of Jesus that I have observed and seen lived out by staff are servanthood, love and grace. The staff at Gospel for Asia are NOT afraid to go the extra mile for anyone, they are ready to serve. There seems to be a never ending supply of love. It is truly the love of Jesus shining through. In the two months that I have been here I have had to learn many new things and all the staff has been very gracious through it all.

One of the Core Values that stood out to me was “being a people sold out to win the lost at any cost”. Through most of my life I never realized the need to share the Love of Jesus with others. How selfish, to only be concerned about my own salvation. A few months before arriving at Gospel for Asia the Lord started working in my heart and giving me a desire to share His love with others. However, even though I had this desire, I didn’t know where or how to start sharing the Gospel with others. Now having gone through some evangelism training, I have an idea how it’s done. I have yet to actually go out and evangelize. Lord willing, that will be very soon.

I am looking forward to all that the Lord has for me to learn yet!

Our Will and His Will

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“Bekah, go make your bed.” My mom told me. “Mom, I don’t need to though because I’m just gonna sleep in it again tonight!” I replied. “Bekah, do it anyway, I know you don’t understand why you need to right now, but you will someday.” She said again. “But I don’t have time to do it, I need to go do school first.” I insisted. I continued to persist until I was punished for disobeying. I’m pretty sure that you can think of at least one instance where you had a conversation like this with your Mom or Dad and I don’t know how yours turned out, but I know mine never ended well. I was extremely stubborn and strong willed and it took a lot for me to obey.

To this day, I continue to struggle with obeying, not necessarily my parents, but the Lord. When the Lord called me to Gospel for Asia’s School of Discipleship, I responded in the same way I did to making my bed. But, I need to go to college. But, it’s too much money! But, I can’t because I can’t leave my family and move to Texas! I really did find any excuse I could to ignore what God was calling me to. But strong willed as I am, the Lord’s will is stronger, and He didn’t give up on me just because I was making excuses.

I don’t know where I would be at right now in my relationship with the Lord if I hadn’t obeyed the Lord and followed His will that was so obviously placed before me. And as hesitant as I was, coming to School of  Discipleship was the best decision I’ve made in my life. God knows best for us, and although there is uncertainty or doubt or unwillingness in our hearts, trusting and obeying the Lord will always turn out good. In Romans 8:28-29 it says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

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