God at Work in History

One of the things I have been learning through my study of Church History this year is that God is always at work in the lives of His people. Even during the times of darkness and chaos when it looked as if God wasn’t even in the picture, He was at work behind the scenes using each circumstance for the good of His people and to bring glory to His name.

All throughout history the Church has been faced with hardships from within and without, but the Middle Ages was an especially dark time for God’s people. We recently read about some of the struggles they faced during that time including: wars from invading barbarians, the destruction and violence of the crusades,  leadership corrupted by greed, the  division of the church between East and West,  and the devastation of plagues and sickness.

Yet in the midst of all of this there is evidence that God had not abandoned His people. Even during this dark time we can see that God was at work bringing forth His purpose through it all. He raised up missionaries, like Boniface and Lioba who dedicated their lives to  reaching Germany with the Gospel, Reformers, such as the monks, who called people to a life of holiness and a deeper love for God, and the Mendicants, mobile preachers who travelled from town to town preaching the Gospel to all who would listen. During this time the Gospel was taken to many unreached peoples such as the English, Irish, French, and Moravians (modern-day Czech Republic). God was working through the lives of His faithful followers who were willing to give their lives in order to be obedient to God’s calling upon them.

In one of the lectures we watched the speaker made a comment that really stood out to me. He said “God is like a field teeming with life below the surface.” On top it may look like nothing is happening at all, but underground, within the soil, the seeds are very much alive and change is taking place. Soon the seed will sprout and push its way out of the soil.  Then what has been taking place below the surface will become visible to all as we see the evidence of a new life.

Many situations in my own life are much like that field. On the surface I don’t see anything happening and assume that what I can or cannot see in the natural must be all that is taking place. I am so quick to focus only on what is right in front of me and grow discouraged because it appears that God is not at work. In the midst of difficult circumstances I don’t see any way that God can be using it to bring about  His purpose. I am unaware of what is taking place just below the surface and that out of the trials and struggles God is creating something new and beautiful.

God has been reminding me that just as He was at work behind the scenes in some of the darkest times of history so He is at work in the difficult moments of my life. I can trust that in the same way He raised up His faithful followers to bring about His purpose during a dark time in the Church, so He will use each circumstance in my life to ultimately show His faithfulness and unfailing love to the world around me.

My desire is to choose each day not to focus on the apparently lifeless soil above ground but to remember that underground, where I cannot see, change is taking place. What I can see in the natural is only momentary in light of all that God has in store for eternity.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Living by the Power

Living-Power-TD10-01166School of Discipleship Vision/Goal 8: Understand that the Christian life and ministry cannot be lived apart from God’s help.

When arriving at Gospel for Asia’s School of Discipleship program in January 2014,  I was blessed to learn what the vision for the program would be. After just over a year and a half of having the privilege of being discipled and trained in the ways of God, I feel as though it is this core value that has become an increasing reality in my life.

When first pondering upon this truth- the Christian life made possible only by Christ- it seemed rather like a gimme. However, only now has the Lord been teaching me in a greater measure of the significance and necessity of His Spirit being preeminent in my life.

In a recent message we heard by Major Ian Thomas, he states, “ Christ is the only One capable of living the Christian life”. Oh the thought! When I ponder upon this, I must humbly conclude that this is the only thing that makes sense.  I find myself coming repeatedly to quick failure when attempting to live the Christian life in the flesh. One author put it well when he declared, “There is nothing more nauseating than the flesh trying to be holy”.

Although the Lord has had to remind me of my neediness for His Spirit, I am blessed and relieved by the liberating thought that I simply will never have what it takes to live for Christ, but He sure does! I am challenged to remember this beautiful promise!  My flesh must die, and then I will be able to live. It is in the moments of feeling strong that I invite a dangerous conception of following Christ in my own so called strength. Through self-denial, I must stay needy and completely dependent upon Christ alone.

Praise God for His Spirit that does indwell us, as we can be sure that His power and enabling that has kept us until now will continue to sustain us until the end.

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 2 Corinthians 13:4

—School of Discipleship student

Lessons on Super Heroes and Dust

“You do not have to be Superwoman.” That was the lesson of the day.

I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to this week and was kind of discouraged last night. That’s when the Lord started the super hero lesson.

First it was through a message Pastor Chuck Smith gave from the book of Job. “Hey, you’re not Superman, you’re not Wonder Woman; you’re dust,” he said. “You’re not the super saint that you’d like to be–and sometimes think that you are. You’re dust! And God remembers that.” I was encouraged to remember that the Lord understands my weaknesses.

Then, on a completely different track, I was reading First Things First by Stephen Covey. He explained that the goal is not to cram as many activities in our schedule as possible. “We’re not trying to be Superman or Superwoman,” he wrote. Lord, I think you’re trying to make a point.

But He wasn’t done. This morning, Brother K.P. Yohannnan gave a message on the importance of thankfulness. Can you guess what he said in the middle? Yep. We don’t have to be Superman.

So, it’s settled. I am not Superwoman. But what does that mean?

God knows my limitations and failures and He loves me anyway. In Psalm 103, David says it this way: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” This removes a lot of pressure.

God is so good and His grace does not depend on our output. “We are not on a perfomance contract with God,” one Gospel for Asia leader often reminds the staff. I am thankful to have a Father who loves growing, struggling, less-than-super people.

Today’s Video – “I want To Die”

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“After 10 billion trillion years those in hell will scream saying, ‘I want to die,’ ‘I want to die,’ that’s all, not even for a drop of water, they just want to die! And the answer comes again, and again, and again ‘You shall never die,’ ‘You will never die.’ That is the fate of multiplied billions on planet earth. And you and I say ‘Jesus I love you!’ And I tell you what; if we can believe what we say we believe with our lips, it will revolutionize our life, it wil turn our lives upside down.” – K.P. Yohannan

Christ Call Follow My Footsteps
K.P. Yohannan

Graduation Message – Dr. Stuart Briscoe

Dr. Stuart Briscoe former senior pastor of Elmbrook Church shares and challenges the graduating students how being a disciple of Christ is not something you achieve or graduate from. But rather the development of a lifestyle, the lifestyle that has a termination point – that day you Jesus and on that day you will be like Him. This lifetime is an opportunity to learn and become more like Jesus.

 

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Check out the School of Discipleship YouTube Channel

 

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