You’re an Overcomer – Jesus is the Victory

You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ’til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds you
That you’re an overcomer

  Five years ago, a friend shared this song (Overcomer by Mandisa) with me, and God is still using it in my life this year. It had been my theme song for January. He has given me an abundance of strength and lavished His love on me to overcome so many struggles this last month. What a privilege to know I have victory in Him!

  We read through and discussed K.P. Yohannan’s book, Touching Godliness, talking all about submission. Ultimately to God of course. But then to the authority He has delegated above us. “Bitterness leads to rebellion. And that rebellion to man leads to rebellion to God.” God taught me so much through that book! At times, I felt like it was too much. But He always showed Himself faithful. He caused me to humble myself under Him, and those in authority over me here. I have overcome so much through Him! And He has given me strength, hope, and faith to keep fighting, reminding me that He is holding me in His arms this whole time. He has saved me and bought me with his precious blood, and I have victory in Him! He gets all the glory for all I overcame last month.

  Yes, I still have a long way to go, as it is a lifelong changing process, but I am praising Jesus for how far He has brought me. He is so victorious! He loves me, and has bought me with His blood. What keeps me going and gives me strength, by God’s grace, is pressing forward. Not to look back in regrets, but keep moving forward, remembering all God has brought me through. So don’t give up! Keep fighting. Make little moments matter. Look to the little things.

Oh victory in Jesus, my Savior forever
He sought me and He bought me
with His redeeming blood

He loved me ‘ere I knew Him
and all my love is due Him

He plunged me to victory
beneath the cleansing flood
(Victory in Jesus
by E.M. Bartlett)

Want to hear more from GFA School of Discipleship students? Watch Miriam’s School of Discipleship Story.

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I Shall Not Want

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor is for a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5

“From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
And from a need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, no, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want

From the fear of serving others
Oh, and from the fear of death or trial
And from the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Yes, deliver me O God

And I shall not want, no, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want”

I Shall Not Want by Audrey Assad

 

Discipleship is hard. There’s just some days that are really hard and seem impossible to get through. Those days it feels like everyone and everything drives me crazy.

There’s always a part of me since coming to School of Discipleship that wants to call it quits and go back home on those hard days. Things are easier at home. I can get more rest, I have more friends, I feel more comfortable and even feel I could perhaps impact lives in a deeper more personal way back home. But, that’s not the Holy Spirit talking, that’s me talking. The Lord has called me here for this season whether it feels like it or not.

The song at the beginning has been my prayer lately. There’s been a lot of hard times and hard days. I can relate to everything in this song. I want to be understood. I want to be accepted. I don’t want to be lonely. I’ve felt them all. Yet, I do believe that when I taste the Lord’s goodness I shall not want.

Psalm 119:71 says, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” I have related with this verse a lot lately. School of Discipleship is hard, but (for the most part) nothing worth pursuing is easy. So if all these trials and hard times mean knowing Jesus more intimately, then it is worth all the tough times.

“When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want.”

 

Have you ever felt the need to get away and spend time in solitude with the Lord? Read about what our students experience in School of Discipleship’s regular times of Sunday Solitude.

 

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Dying To Yourself

When the ad for School of Discipleship says, “die to yourself for a year,” they sincerely mean that. Upon arriving here, the concept was presented to my intellect and I perceived that I understood the practice…goodness, was I wrong! Knowing a concept or ideology and establishing the principle in your day to day life, are two drastically distant stand points.

I considered myself an individual accustomed to sacrifice before I checked in at Gospel for Asia. I’ve always loved people and desired to help in any way I could, and if one is to genuinely help another, it requires sacrifice, most typically. However, I’ve been learning that sacrifice is not only reserved for our fellow man, but most ultimately to God.

Romans 12:1 says (NIV): “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” This ministry wholeheartedly embraces that verse! GFA is an organization dedicated to sacrificing and giving all to Christ. Upon arriving here, I was on fire for the Lord, and thought I was ready to embrace this lifestyle as well. As my first month proceeded, I slowly started losing my passion more and more. I became burned out and grew bitter toward sacrifice; not so much sacrifice unto others, but primarily sacrifice unto God.

The Holy Spirit began convicting me to relinquish loved things that I held dear. Things that are not good for my spirit, and that are harmful in my growth with Christ. Upon being convicted of this, I became angry with the Lord and refused to surrender them over to Him. My course of action was an undoubtedly horrid mistake; when I refused sacrifice, I became bitter toward my Creator.

man kneeling, praying, surrender, sacrifice

The reader must note that my goal in confessing all of this, is not to drive you away from School of Discipleship or Gospel for Asia, but rather to inform you that you will face tremendous amounts of personal sacrifice. You, as an individual must choose to relinquish dear things that the Holy Spirit convicts you to let go of. From personal experience, if you do not, the School of Discipleship program will increasingly become more difficult and you will feel trapped. Prepare yourselves brothers and sisters if you are considering coming here. If our Father has called you here, then follow His commands. This is a wonderful and blessed place to be and I highly recommend it! The program is excellent: marvelously prepared, and supremely taught, but it will not benefit you if you are not willing to die to yourself.

I’m currently struggling with a multitude of convictions; relinquishing them is immensely difficult, in fact I would dare say it is near impossible without the strength of our Loving God. As our Messiah told us “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 (NIV) (bold letters not in actual text).  If you feel that God is calling you to this wonderful ministry, then by all means come! However, brothers and sisters, prepare yourselves to sacrifice to the Lord. Dying to self hurts…that is why it’s called dying, but know that our Loving Father is using this necessary and painful process to benefit and bless your life here and in eternity!

– GFA School of Discipleship Student

 

Read about another GFA School of Discipleship student who was challenged to re-learn what it means to lay her life down.

 

 

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Finishing Well

In a few weeks our students will graduate from School of Discipleship. They chose to die to themselves for a year to pursue the Lord more, and in many ways, they were stretched and challenged. Each student has brought joy to the community here. We are sad to say goodbye to them, but we are excited for what God has for them next.

 “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”  – Philippians 3:7–8

The students graduate on July 31 at 4 p.m. (CST). We would love to have you join us. Live-stream the ceremony here

 

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Pursuing God

The School of Discipleship (SD) students are currently going through their next course on The Pursuit of God. Throughout my first year in SD in 2015, I went through many different courses that brought me closer to Jesus. My favorite, by far, was the course on this book by A. W. Tozer. It wasn’t long, but each chapter was full of things that challenged me to go deeper in my walk with Jesus. I remember reading the one or two chapters before each class repeatedly and gleaning new insights each time I read them. I loved how the teachers unpacked what Tozer wrote even more through the classes in the morning.

“Before a man can seek God, God must first have sought him.” —Tozer

I came to SD to not just be discipled; I came to know Jesus more. I wasn’t satisfied with where I was at. I wanted more. I didn’t know how to follow Jesus on my own. I only saw what those around me did, and I tried to do that. I didn’t take much responsibility in my walk with the Lord. I realized how much it was up to me to follow Jesus. I had to work for it; it wouldn’t just happen on its own. It was a personal relationship I had to engage in. God was already pursuing me, I needed to respond in pursuing Him back.

“Full knowledge of one personality by another cannot be achieved in one encounter.” —Tozer

This program gives students many opportunities to meet the Lord in both purposeful and everyday situations. One thing I remember being repeated to me by some of the leaders was “You are as close to God as you want to be.” You can have everything you need to grow, but it still is something you must do. I wanted to be close to God, but I lacked that motivation to work for the relationship. Praise the Lord that He never gave up on me during that year. He kept after me, and I found myself waking up at 5 a.m. so I could have uninterrupted time with Him. I wasn’t satisfied with where I was. Tozer’s words rang true in my life: “I thirst to be made more thirsty still.” The more time I spent with the Lord, the more I wanted.

He met the sheltered 19-year-old girl who wanted to know Him. I read this passage often: “Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” – Jeremiah 33:3 I was shocked that the God of the whole earth would want to talk to me and wanted me to talk to Him about everything. Nothing was “off-limits” with Him. He cared for me and my life. I began to understand more of who He was as the year went on.

The Lord used my two years in School of Discipleship to lay a lot of ground work in my heart. I learned what it means to genuinely pursue Christ, and I am continuing that journey today. It is a choice I must make daily to go after Him.

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Let His Love Motivate Us

2018 is here! People are making goals and changes for the year that may or may not last beyond the month of January. (I mean who can really give up sugar and chips for life?) It is the start of a new year, a fresh start and a new beginning. What are some of your goals? How do you want to be different than you were last year? How do you want your life to be marked as a disciple of Christ this year?

Gospel for Asia has started a blog called “What Motivates Us”, and through every post it shows the heart of the ministry, what drives us to do what we do and what we are about. I’ve been thinking about that a lot, “What is supposed to motivate us as Christians?” I quickly found the answer to that question in the Bible. 2 Corinthians 5:14 says, “For the love of Christ compels us.” Some translations read that His love “controls us.” Is my life controlled by His love? Or am I living for myself? I know I am more apt to live for me than for others around me. Every decision we make often goes through the filter of “how will this affect me?”

GFA’s SD students are going into their next class on Roy Hession’s book Calvary Road, which will teach them how important it is to let the Lord have every part of their life. It helps us understand that we must give up our pride and be broken before the Lord realizing we are nothing without Him. Hession says, “The Lord Jesus cannot live in us fully and reveal Himself through us until the proud self within us is broken.” Brother K.P. Yohannan, the founder of Gospel for Asia, often refers to this book during our prayer meetings and reads it yearly.

Our pride keeps us from caring about the needs of those around us. We want to be loved and accepted by other as we are, but we have a difficult time stepping into another’s mess. Our hearts and attitudes must change, we must begin with our love for God and His love for us. We can only love others well by the Holy Spirit’s power at work in us. As He reveals His love for us and teaches us how to love, we then can love others as they are. It never starts with “self-love.” It starts with Christ’s love. The Lord shows us how we are to love others by showing us how He is loving us in our mess and brokenness. He never gives up on us. He stays. He loves us. He works on us and He makes us look more like Himself. He walks with us as we journey through learning to love.

The students are learning to live out this kind of radical love and are choosing to let their lives be marked by their love for Christ and for others.

“A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34–35 (NKJV)

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