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Archive for October, 2010

Fruitful Stillness – Gospel for Asia

October 28th, 2010 No comments

Please understand. I am not saying that it is better to forsake the work of the ministry to pursue the “deeper life” of just drawing close to God in solitude. There are some who give such great emphasis on this “deeper life,” yet so much of the actual work that God has for them goes neglected under the license of “waiting” upon Him. This can often just be a glorified laziness—and there are plenty of verses throughout Scripture that speak of the downfall of the sluggard (see Proverbs 21:25).

If we look at the life of Jesus, we see He was extremely busy—traveling here, walking there, healing her, touching him, speaking from a boat, teaching on a hill. He used His time and opportunities to the maximum.

Yet we also read, over and over again, how He would break away from the crowd and all the activity to be with the Father. His entire ministry, all of the seeming “busyness,” flowed out of His intimate relationship with the Father.

A.W. Tozer spoke of the need for this today, saying,

There is no question but that part of our failure today is religious activity that is not preceded by an aloneness—an inactivity. I mean the art of getting alone with God and waiting in silence and in quietness until we are charged, and then, when we act, our activity really amounts to something, because we have been prepared for it. . . . We can go to God with an activity that is “inactive.” We go to God with a heart that isn’t acting in the flesh or in the natural—trying to do something—but going to God and waiting. It just means that within, our inner spirit is seeing and hearing and mounting up on wings, while the outer, physical person is inactive, and even the mind is to some degree suspended. . . . There is an inactivity which, paradoxically, is the highest possible activity. There can be a suspension of the activity of the body as when our Lord told His disciples to tarry until they were filled with the Holy Spirit—and they did! They waited on God.

My brothers and sisters, first thing must be first. It all comes back to this one priority: our love for Jesus. No matter how hard we try, no matter what methods we try, the service that pleases Him most is the service done out of love.

This entry was written by K.P Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

 

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Give God All the Glory – Gospel for Asia

October 27th, 2010 No comments

Psalm 44:5–8 says, “Through You we will push down our enemies; through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us. In God we boast all day long.” “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm” (Psalm 20:7–8, NIV).

It is God’s delight to show His power at work through our lives. He is calling for each of us to trust in Him, to rely upon Him and to see what He can do through us. When we accept His call and choose to depend upon Him, we are able to stand firm, our feet placed on solid ground. Here are the points we must remember in order to stand firm:

  • It is important for us to understand that the Lord rejects a work dependent on any thing or any person other than Himself. God desires that we always look to Him, never relying on our own strengths and abilities or depending on anything apart from Him. Be it our talents, friends, family members, buildings, money, or the resources of other people—none of these should become the source of our trust. God uses these as means to help us in our times of need and to further His Kingdom, but ultimately He is the only one whom we can depend on.
  • Our abilities, skills, talents and backgrounds have no relationship to how much God can use us. God is almighty and He can do anything, but He has chosen us to partner with Him. He seeks us as jars of clay—channels for His work. God uses us to do His eternal work based on one criteria: our willingness to depend on Him and give Him the glory. The greatest saints are simply the greatest receivers. Relying upon the Lord, they are nothing but channels; they know this and give God all the glory.

This entry was written by K.P Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

 

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Purify Our Hearts – Gospel for Asia

October 20th, 2010 No comments

The truth is, we all have the same problem—wicked hearts. We’d rather be one of the priests who are busy standing before the people, active in what is immediately needed. We want our ministry to look dramatic and effective. Our flesh wants to glory in the praise of men.

Just think about it. If asked to do a job that is below our educational qualifications or beneath our dignity, how glad are we? How eager are we to continue if the results are not what we would like?

As humans, we often measure godliness and spirituality by external activities or a certain type of behavior that we see in people. The Pharisees were considered extremely spiritual people by the way they fasted and prayed and put on a humble demeanor.

Yet we know how Jesus spoke of them, identifying them for what they truly were and pronouncing the worst judgment upon them (see Matthew 23:13). Despite how spiritual they looked, they did not know the Father. And without that, all their religious activity meant nothing. The motivation behind all their action was full of self, not love for God. The motive is what makes the work spiritual or unspiritual.

We shouldn’t worry about how things look, what people might be saying, or whether or not there are the results we thought there would be. Our number-one concern must be to know Him and His ways and to follow His lead.

When we live like this, what happens, whether good or bad in man’s sight, whether productive or useless in man’s opinion has no bearing. We are not working for human beings. We are doing it because of our love for Him. It is ministry unto Him, and this pleases Him.

May we be reminded of the words of Paul, who facing incredible responsibilities, great need and overwhelming difficulties still said, “None of these things move me” (Acts 20:24). The difficulties and problems, all the blessings and praise, the good and the bad that happened, none of these things changed his course. Issues of personal life or loss did not sway him. All he wanted to do was the ministry the Lord gave him to do. Nothing else and nobody else motivated him.

Please, we need to evaluate what our motive has been in serving the Lord. Are we seeking to meet the need around us, or are we seeking to know and please Him? Are we controlled, motivated and energized by our talents and by opportunities that present themselves? Do needs and others’ voices guide our course? Or do we really know, in our innermost being, that we are serving our King? Ask yourself these questions.

Whatever we are doing, whoever we are serving, we must be able to do it all with the heart attitude that we are doing this for no one but our God.

This entry was written by K.P Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

 

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God’s Ways – Gospel for Asia

October 20th, 2010 No comments

What are some signs or indications of someone who is not depending upon the Lord? I want to show you a few examples:

When you are looking for a new job, do you automatically take the one with the higher pay and best benefit package, rather than spending time in prayer and fasting, seeking the Lord’s decision in the situation? God’s ways are higher than ours, and unless we take the time to seek Him, we can miss out on what He may desire for us. Maybe there is someone He wants you to minister to in that lower-paying job. By waiting on God to hear His voice and His direction, we are saying, “God, I depend upon You. Please show me Your ways.” And in that dependence, He is glorified and our lives receive His blessing.

Do you spend days preparing a message, studying different commentaries and books, rather than spending even half the time on your knees, waiting before God? When the time to hear from God is replaced with anything else, we essentially are turning our eyes away from God and depending on the information we can find, rather than on the words of life that only He can reveal.

When you are sick, are your first thoughts, “Where is the aspirin?” or “I must call the doctor!” rather than seeking the Lord to heal you? When we do this, we basically tell the Lord that He is insufficient and that we cannot depend upon Him to heal us. My brothers and sisters, may this not be so.

Please don’t misunderstand the point I am making. Medicine and doctors are not bad at all. The Lord has given them to us and heals people through their work. Seeking the counsel of friends is not bad, for we read in Proverbs 24:6 that “in a multitude of counselors there is safety.” “How-to” books are not bad; reading commentaries and searching biblical text are not wrong; good-paying jobs are not from the Devil. The whole point is where do our hearts look first? To all these things, or to the Living God?

There are hundreds of other ways I could mention of how our lives turn from dependence on the Lord. I pray that you would open your heart to the Lord and allow Him to identify these places in you. By doing so, He will be glorified in your life, and you will walk in His blessing because your heart is fully committed to Him. And the Lord has promised, to this person, He shows Himself strong (see 2 Chronicles 16:9).

This entry was written by K.P Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

 

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Two Kinds of Servants – Gospel for Asia

October 13th, 2010 No comments

In Ezekiel 44, we find two groups of servants of God. One group were the Levites who spent their days busy, busy, busy in the outer court of the temple serving the people who came to worship the Lord.

These men were responsible for preparing the sacrifices and getting them ready for offering. Twenty-four hours a day, they were busy in the outer court, where it was full of people and noises. Many people saw the work the Levites were doing; it was a very visible thing. They were dragging the animals in, sacrificing them and putting them on the altar. These men were in great demand by the multitudes, pulled in all different directions, motivated by the screaming needs around them and all that needed to be done.

But there was also another group—the sons of Zadoc. These were men of the inner court. Where they stood, there was stillness. Unlike the outer court, the inner court was silent. Deadly quiet. The only individual there was God. There was no busyness, no service in front of people, no demand but to come into the holy of holies and minister unto the Lord.

Let me ask you—which group are you in? Are you like one of the sons of Zadoc, more concerned with coming into the holy of holies and ministering to the Lord than being busy serving the people? Or do you just keep going, going, going, moved in every direction with the busyness of the ministry? These are serious questions we must ask ourselves.

This reminds me of the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38–42 (NIV).

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

It is clear in this passage, although our flesh would much rather be in the center of attention, that the better thing is to be more concerned with sitting “at the Lord’s feet listening,” rather than busy with all the ways we are trying to serve God. It wasn’t that Martha’s service was wrong. Not at all. What was wrong was that “Martha was distracted” from her first love by all of it. Jesus said Mary “has chosen what is better”—to leave the busy place of the outer courts and come into the inner court and minister to Him.

This entry was written by K.P Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

 

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Route of Discipline – Gospel for Asia

October 12th, 2010 No comments

The reason this is so important is because it’s only when we come to know someone that we can trust and depend upon them. An example of this is found in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14–29. The man who received the one talent buried his instead of investing it like the others. His reason for doing this? “ ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground’” (Matthew 25:24–25, NIV).

“I knew you were a hard man . . . ” and “I was afraid . . . ” The real problem is not that the man buried his talent but that he truly did not know his Master, hence there was no trust. This left the man looking for a way to handle the talent according to his logic. And when relationship is absent, so is dependence.

What are some signs or indications of someone who is not depending upon the Lord? I want to show you a few examples:

When a problem arises in your life, do you seek the counsel and advice of friends and the people you know, rather than turning to God first? When we choose to make anything other than God our refuge and strong tower, we turn our dependence from the presence of God and begin to depend on the counsel of friends. This is a dangerous trap.

When your bank account is full, do you just dish out money for anything, whenever it is wanted or needed? Or do you take the time to pray and seek God, waiting upon Him to speak to you and show you how to handle the resources He has given you? By always looking to Him, even in the good times, we show that our lives are fully dependent upon Him and Him alone.

Do you, as a parent, spend more time trying to figure out how to raise your children, what route of discipline is best and so on, rather than spending time in prayer for your children? Praying for and seeking to live a godly life before your children will make more of an impact upon your household than all the “how-to” books you could read.

This entry was written by K.P Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

 

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Knowing Him – Gospel for Asia

October 5th, 2010 No comments

As the disciples testified of Jesus after His resurrection and ascension, incredible miracles took place. All throughout the book of Acts, we read of how thousands believed on the Lord Jesus, lame people walked and the blind received their sight. As the educated theologians and experts in the Law watched the disciples and the miracles that happened through them, they wondered at their abilities. It says in Acts 4:13 that “when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” True, compared to the theologians of their day, the disciples were uneducated men. These experts in the Law did have greater knowledge of God, probably more knowledge than all the disciples put together. But knowing about someone and personally knowing someone are worlds apart.

Please understand. You may know the Bible very well, even hold a Ph.D. in theology, extensively knowing Greek and Hebrew. But even with all this knowledge, you can be spiritually bankrupt if you do not know the Lord Jesus Himself. That which made the difference between the disciples and the theologians are the three and one half years the disciples spent with Jesus. Even the theologians recognized this, realizing that the disciples “had been with Jesus.”

Spending time in the Bible does not necessarily mean you are spending time with the Almighty. In John 5:38–40, Jesus pleads with the religious leaders, saying, “But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” Even though these men searched the Scriptures, knowing them inside out, His Word was not abiding in them. And in all their knowledge about God, they missed the most important thing—knowing God.

This entry was written by K.P Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

 

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Foundations of Ministry – Gospel for Asia

October 5th, 2010 No comments

But it’s not always easy to wait. If we are honest, we will admit that we are usually restless when we have nothing to do. We need noises and things happening all the time. We want to be kept busy and have something to do at any given moment of the day. Most of us have difficulty just being quiet and still, waiting before the Lord.

Why is it so hard to wait? Oftentimes it can be because our motive in the ministry is wrong.

In the past, we have had a couple of families on staff with us who left the ministry because they were dissatisfied, feeling as though they were not doing what they considered “real” ministry.

In one particular situation I remember a wife who said, “I came here to serve the Lord, and I have no ministry.” This family had two children to take care of, but for her, raising those children in the fear of the Lord, serving her family and being an intercessor for the lost world was not real ministry. She wanted to do something that appeared more significant.

Please understand. It is good to long to serve God in the best way we can. But discontentment, discouragement, frustration and grumbling just because we don’t like what the Lord gave us to do is not good. We must be able to discern between truly desiring to please the Lord and our own restlessness and self-seeking.

We must be able to discern what is motivating us in the work of the Lord. A lot of times we can be pulled in many different directions by the needs around us. And we can like it too.

The work of the Lord certainly has its satisfaction for the flesh. There is the crowd of people, the results, the praise, the attention and the “thank-yous”—all of these can really make the flesh feel good. We definitely enjoy the attention, the limelight and the sense of accomplishment and self-worth that come in ministry.

But what we are called to in serving Him must be rooted in pleasing Him and done out of our love for Him—not our own gratification and glory. It must be for His.

This entry was written by K.P Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia, with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

 

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