God’s Plans, Not Mine

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“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

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.


 

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.

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

Do you have a desire to know Christ more? A hunger to pursue His call? Don’t wait any longer—apply to School of Discipleship by May 31st and find yourself transformed in the year to come!
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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

Before the Day Began

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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?

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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

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