Waiting On The Lord

Waiting-Lord-DSC_0211During my solitude time this past week I was reading from Isaiah chapter 8 where God speaks to Isaiah about the coming judgement against Judah. Because of their wickedness, God is going to send the nation of Assyria to punish them and carry them away into captivity.

God reminds the prophet Isaiah in the midst of all of this not to be overcome by fear but to keep his focus on God. Verse 13 says, “The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.”

In times of difficulty and struggle, it can be so easy to take our eyes off of God and to be overcome by the fear of man, but God says that He is the One we are to fear.

To fear God means to live in reverential awe and respect of who He is. When our focus is on the power and might of our God, we will no longer be concerned about what is taking place around us. We can trust that God is in complete control.

Further on in Isaiah 8 verse 17 says, “I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in Him.”

Isaiah knew that He could put His complete trust in God and had faith that God would use the Assyrians to bring His plan to pass.

Waiting on the Lord means to be attentive to His voice and to be constantly in tune to what He is doing. Just as a waiter at a restaurant has the job of making sure the needs of their customers are met, so we must be looking to see what God requires of us and how we can serve Him.

When I am facing a spiritual battle it is so easy for me to focus on what is going on around me instead of keeping my eyes on the One who is in control of the situation. Instead of waiting on the Lord and being attentive to His voice I allow fear and anxiety to overtake my mind. God used this passage in Isaiah to remind me that my mind must be continually on Him. He is the One that I should fear and stand in awe of. I can wait on Him and rest in the assurance that my trust does not lie in man but in God, who is sovereign over all.

“If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people”

– Charles Spurgeon

 

School of Discipleship CA

—School of Discipleship student

God’s Plans, Not Mine

God's plans WP_20160508_008

“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands… Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD God disciplines you.” Deuteronomy 8:2&5

It has been the cry of my heart for years that God would call me to be a missionary and use me to do something significant for Him. Last year God closed the door on what I had been counting on doing and longing for. I was upset, I couldn’t accept the reality of it and believed it would still happen. Then God showed me why I was so upset. I had my own plans that I had given my life to and when God changed them, not only was that moment shaken, but my whole future.

It didn’t happen just once. God also opened a door I counted on being closed. I wrestled within my heart and fought the will of God, until finally I accepted it and followed Him. I can’t explain the peace that filled my whole being each time I surrendered my plans and submitted to God. He waited so patiently for me, just like a loving Father, not letting me have my own way.

Now as I look back I realize that for the longest time I had fooled myself into thinking, I was submitting to God’s plan. In my outward actions I was, but my heart was set on the things I wanted to do. Without knowing it, I put my plans above God. They were good things I was longing for, but when they became more important to me than God, my walk with the Lord was hindered. As I read this verse from Deuteronomy, I see what God was been doing. I thought He was keeping me from something good, instead all this time He has been patiently teaching me to follow Him and preparing me for what lies ahead. He’s been testing my heart just as He did to the Israelites, to see if I’m really willing to obey His commands; He’s disciplined me in a gentle and Fatherly way.

My longings aren’t gone. I still hope and pray for God to open the door He closed, yet I know His timing is best – better than any of the plans I have. I hope that when God changes my plans I will be quick to surrender to His ways. I may have learned this lesson once or twice, but I have to continually surrender my plans to God. Every day is a choice.

—School of Discipleship student

School of Discipleship CA

The Danger of Independence

I have an independent personality. I’m not saying that I’m rebellious or disobedient (though there have definitely been times those would describe me). I just like to do things myself.

If I can do it well, then let me do it alone. If I think I know how it works, leave me alone and let me work. If I don’t quite know, I’ll get the documentation and figure it out. That is what I have learned about how I work. I didn’t realize any of this before I came to School of Discipleship. I have come to understand just how independent I am since attending this program.

I have learned since being here that I can’t afford to be independent. There are aspects of life that just don’t work doing it alone. I share a house with two great guys, and they are there to help me through my struggles. The days I’m on an emotional roller-coaster, I’ve learned the best help is the help my brothers can offer to me. I used to wade through chest deep problems on my own and tell people I’m fine. I was independent.

When I need advice I’ve learned to ask. I honestly can’t remember ever asking my father for serious life advice. Now I realize that I need advice. God has placed people in my life who know more than I do, or have even gone through the exact same situations. Asking for advice is not something I used to do. I was independent.

The danger of independence is that I could suffocate alone, drown in my own problems, or panic over decisions others have made.

Father keep me dependent.
Empty me of my selfish pride.
And when I am crooked or bent,
Straighten me to be at your side.

Teach me to learn from the others
With whom You’ve surrounded me,
And keep my heart close to my brothers
That my life should be pleasing to Thee.

School of Discipleship US

From a Cold to a Caring Heart

kid on street

I didn’t come to School of Discipleship for the missions aspect. I grew up in a church that was often talking about missions, but I never had a heart for it. Missions was not something I ever wanted to do or worry about. I came to School of Discipleship for my walk with God, because I wanted to deepen my walk. My walk definitely deepened.

I have and am discovering that the closer my walk with God is, the more I seem to have a genuine heart for people who don’t know Christ. I find myself hurting for the fact that there are children across the world that have never known what love is. I was reading No Longer a Slumdog and my heart was breaking over the children mentioned in the book.

It has taken more than a book to break my heart. It took my coming here, being discipled, and genuinely seeking God more than ever and allowing the Lord to work in me. For my heart was cold when I came. I saw and heard of the conditions that millions of people go through every day but my heart did not break. There was no sorrow or great desire to see them restored. However, I knew that the Lord’s heart breaks for those who suffer and I wanted to have the Lord’s heart. So that was part of my prayer this year, “Lord break my heart for what breaks yours. Help me value these people I don’t know. I want to see them as people and not just sad photos”. They are real people. I know they are. However, the truth is I don’t see them that way.

I can say the Lord has changed my heart in countless ways; one of those ways is having a heart for people. I’m still growing but I can say that I am finally starting to see the national missionaries as who they are; my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I can see the suffering children as precious, valuable and desperately needing to be loved. The Lord has used this whole time here to shape me and give me a new heart that I don’t recognize. It’s the most amazing thing and I thank God for it.

 

School of Discipleship

Bridge of Hope

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?

identity-fb

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

Page 1 of 371234...1020...Last »