A High Calling and Great Purpose

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God has angels, why does he not use them for His work instead of man?

In Pastor Damian Kyle’s message “The Fall of a Great Man” from the series “The Making of a Psalmist” he asks this question and also answers it.

Damian Kyle is focusing on the time in David’s life where he falls into sin with Bathsheba. Now there isn’t any way we as humans can be perfect. Sin will always find a way to express itself but Damian Kyle said that when we are occupied with doing the Lord’s work, we are less likely to fall into sin. That would be one of the reasons why we are chosen to do God’s work.

Even when we do fall into sin, He gives us the victory in trials. He picks us up and tells us to try again.  Being in God’s will, might be hard but being outside of His will, would be even harder. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10. We are God’s masterpiece, Christ has restored us to Himself and we are now holy and blameless in His sight. “Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without fault.” Colossians 1:22

This brought a new question into my mind; why wouldn’t God use us for His work? Without the perfection of Christ I am nothing. Because I am incapable of living a perfect life I need the application of the righteousness of Christ.

When Christ came to die, His joy was set before Him and that joy was me. In His eyes, we are nothing less than perfect. “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil – the commander of the world of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised from the dead.” Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-5a

—School of Discipleship student

School of Discipleship CA

Glorious Redemption!!

Glorious Redemption!!picture of cross glorious redemption

The Son of God is hanging on a cross, suffering unimaginably but not just from physical pain but from the weight of the sin of the whole world, my sin included! He has the choice to call ten thousand legions of Angels to His rescue but He stays, He submits to the will of His Father to redeem mankind from their sin. He knows He is their only hope, and so He willingly gives up His life on the cross. All creation trembles and the sky grows dark, it acknowledges what has taken place.

It was here at the cross when Jesus died that redemption was made possible for us. Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of God’s grace.” (NKJV)

I have known the truth of this for almost my whole life, having grown up in a Christian home, but only recently has it actually changed my life. I have been a Christian for a couple of years now; I gave my life to Christ at a revival meeting one night when I was 18. The joy of being forgiven of my sins was amazing! I was on fire for God; unfortunately it didn’t last very long… I didn’t know what I had done wrong and I started doubting my salvation. I had many doubts and had no victory in my Christian life, I felt confused and alone. I lived this way for many years and eventually I began searching Scripture and started believing the promises of God about how He has called us and will complete the work He has started in our lives. I didn’t have complete victory over this until recently.

We had a speaker come and teach our class a couple of weeks ago and his topic was not about redemption but while teaching he mentioned briefly what redemption means and how it impacted his life and I was just struck by this truth and it has stayed with me ever since. He said that when we come to the cross in repentance and salvation we exchange our lives for the Righteousness of Christ, so that when God looks at us He does not see us in our sinful flesh but He sees Christ’s Righteousness in us. Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (ESV)

This verse was not foreign to me, I just never really fully grasped it’s meaning but it makes so much sense now and it has really encouraged me and helped me be victorious in my life! Through Redemption Christ lives in me, by understanding this truth I now can fully surrender my life to Christ and trust Him to work in me and make me more like Him; I don’t have to try and overcome my sins and failures on my own.

1 Corinthians 1:30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.” (NLT)

—School of Discipleship student

School of Discipleship CA

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

Hold On to Christ!

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Praise God! We are already in the last third of the School of Discipleship year, which seems absolutely absurd! Truly, God continues to amaze me!!

We had the privilege of hearing our leader, Bro. KP, teach about depending on God. A few words he said caught me a bit in my tracks. He said, (in my summarization) “We must remember that God cannot fill His Spirit and blessings into hands that are already full.”

So often, I desire that God would fill me with His Spirit. I want to be full of Him. But I then question myself, Is God able to fill me with Himself, if I am already full of other things? Do I even possess the room? In absolutely everything that God gives, which far exceeds anything earthly, why do I still find it excruciating, to empty my hands of everything earthly, in order to hold on to Him?
Some of a quote that puts this well is in the journal of Jim Elliot. The quote reads,

“Father, let me be weak that I might lose my clutch of everything temporal. My life, my reputation, my possessions, Lord, let me loose the tension of the grasping hand. Rather, open my hand to receive the nail of Calvary, as Christ’s was opened, that I, releasing all, might be released, unleashed from all that binds me now. So let me release my grasp.”

Oh, that I would learn the blessedness of depending on Him, surrendering to Him, clinging to Him, and seeking Him! Only then, can I really be a true disciple of His, and discover His true worth!!

—School of Discipleship student

Keeping From Discouragement

Keeping-from-discouragement-WP_20151108_018This past weekend I was able to go to a Women’s Conference. The theme of the conference was “Take your Jericho”. The Keynote speaker shared stories from her own experiences and testimony to demonstrate her points. The passage she shared from was Joshua 6-8; the Israelites had to keep walking and trusting God even when they were tired and wanted to give up. They wouldn’t have defeated Jericho after only six times around the wall, they had to walk the seventh time around. There are many times when I’ve wanted to give up the battle and go the easy way. How can we keep from the discouragement that causes us to give up?

The speaker shared three ways for us to fight our battle. The one I want to point out is the second one because it is the most important to me at this time. Self-confidence is a big way that causes us to lose our battles. In Joshua 7, Joshua is ready to fight another battle after watching God defeat Jericho before them. He doesn’t realize God isn’t with them anymore because of disobedience in their camp. They go up to battle against the smaller army of Ai and are defeated. Then Joshua falls on his knees and cries out to God.

Suddenly I realize I am like this so often. I go forward confident that I can do it and I will come through okay. Only to fall on my knees, moments later in complete defeat.

God commands Joshua to get up and cleanse the sin from their midst, only then will they have victory. It’s the areas where I am disobeying the command of God, that cause me to fall in defeat, but when I come before God asking Him to show me my sin and cleanse me from it, I then can go forward in His strength.

And the Israelites attacked again the city of Ai and this time they defeated it because they obeyed the command of God. It’s in obedience and humility that the toughest battles are won.

—School of Discipleship student

What does water do?

What does water do?
At some point we have all heard the account from John 4 of Jesus and the woman at the well. I have heard this account so many times that for awhile I actually missed what Jesus was saying when He referred to the gift of God as the “living water.” I was quite humbled at my lack of knowledge for a seemingly elementary concept of Christianity. But when I asked God to please show me what He means when He says the “living water,” His response was almost instantaneous, as if He had been eagerly waiting my whole life to reveal this truth to me.

“What does water do?” came the voice in my heart. Well, let’s see here… Water refreshes, it cleans, it gives life, it sustains life. The world and everything in it cannot stand a chance without water. Of course! How could I have overlooked this for so long?

Jesus was using water to tangibly describe Himself and the gift of salvation in a way that we can understand. What water does for our mortal bodies, Jesus does for our souls!

Jesus refreshes us when we are exhausted. Jesus washes us of our sins and makes us clean. Jesus gives us life and He sustains our life. Without Jesus we are dry and lifeless. Knowing now this tangible way that Jesus is in my life, how could I ever go a day without a drink of Him? And I love what Jesus promises us, “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14)

I hope you are encouraged in whatever drought you may be facing, that Jesus is the source of your life and refreshment to your soul.

—School of Discipleship Alumni

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