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Archive for November, 2010

No Sweat – Gospel for Asia

November 24th, 2010 No comments

When our ministry to the people around us is done as a ministry unto the Lord—doing His work in His way— there will be no striving. There will be no human sweat.

Why?

Because sweat signifies man’s effort. The first time sweat is mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 3:19. Because Adam had eaten from the forbidden tree, God told him, “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Genesis 3:17–19).

Sweat is a result of the curse that sin brought. Because of it, the ground would not yield its fruit without man’s effort and sweat.

Scripture also tells us that those who ministered before the Lord in the inner court were not to wear anything made of wool, anything that would cause them to sweat. “And it shall be, whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, that they shall put on linen garments; no wool shall come upon them while they minister within the gates of the inner court . . . They shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat” (Ezekiel 44:17–18).

This is a picture of the kind of service that honors the Lord. Work done out of man’s ability, smartness or money can be a horrible sweat. But when you come to the place in your life at which you begin to live and serve in His strength, you understand what it means to bear His yoke, which is easy and light (see Matthew 11:28).

In this way, the assignment He gives you will never destroy you emotionally or physically. It will not tear you apart. Why? Because you are not working in the realm of human talents, resources and strength. You are not producing it out of your own labor and sweat. There is no longer any flesh involved. It is Him—ministry unto Him and empowered by Him.

This brings tremendous freedom and liberty to laugh and be content and joyful in whatever comes. It makes no difference whether you are asked to turn the world upside-down or just to be a doorkeeper at the house of God. You simply do the work that He has given you in the strength that He supplies as a ministry unto 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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Freed for Pure Ministry Part 2 – Gospel for Asia

November 17th, 2010 No comments

In her book Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ, Madame Guyon writes about this change that takes place as we wait upon the Lord, using nature as an example.

Observe the ocean. The water in the ocean begins to evaporate. Then the vapor begins moving toward the sun. As the vapor leaves the earth, it is full of impurities; however, as it ascends, it becomes more refined and more purified. What did the vapor do? The vapor did nothing. It simply remained passive. The purifying took place as the vapor was drawn up into the heavens! There is one difference between your soul and those vapors. Although the vapor can only be passive, you have the privilege of cooperating voluntarily with the Lord as He draws you inwardly toward Himself. . . . Of course, the closer you are drawn to God, the farther you are removed from the activities of your natural man. The natural man, to be sure, is very opposed to your inward drawing toward God. Nonetheless, there will come a point when you will finally be established in [waiting before Him]. From that point on, it will be natural for you to live before the Lord!

If our outward actions are the result of a change that has taken place deep within our hearts—which comes from our intimate fellowship with Him—then what we do has spiritual value and lasts for eternity.

We don’t want to be like the prophets in Jeremiah’s time. They were servants of God, yet they did not remain in that attitude of waiting before Him, to hear from Him and follow His ways rather than their own. Because of this, their rebellious hearts led them and many astray. Of them God said,

“They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. . . . But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? . . . I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds” (Jeremiah 23:16, 18, 21–22, NIV, emphasis mine).

Notice how all this happened because they would not stand before the Lord. They were full of activity—prophesying, preaching, and so on—but it was not done out of standing before Him, ministering to Him or waiting in His presence. Their hearts and ministry were never purified, and the work they did did not flow out of love for Him. Their work was not done in the Lord’s way.

The only way we can live a life and ministry pleasing to God is if we come His way—the way of listening, humbling ourselves and continually following. We who began well must be careful to continue on the right path.

We must take the time to wait before Him, looking to Him alone until the whole divine presence comes and fills our soul. This is the only way we are prepared to serve others on behalf of our Lord.

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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A Prayer of Dependence – Gospel for Asia

November 16th, 2010 No comments

Dear Lord, please show us parts of our lives, whether big or small, where we have not looked to You, depending on Your grace and strength. Father, we want to please You by living lives that bear good fruit. Help us do that and to know You, and in knowing You, depend on You, giving You the glory for the work done in and through our lives.

Thank You for being God, all-powerful and all-knowing. Thank You for having ways that are higher than ours and for teaching us of those ways. Help us to humble ourselves and depend on You for everything. Be glorified in our lives, O Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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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Freed for Pure Ministry Part 1 – Gospel for Asia

November 9th, 2010 No comments

Waiting before the Lord and ministering to Him is so crucial because it deals with the worst enemy that keeps us from experiencing the fullness of God’s life, out of which all ministry must flow. That enemy is our “self.”

As we pull away from the busyness and all that can seem to clutter our lives and wait before Him, God removes us from ourselves and into His pure presence. By this our life and ministry are made pure, bringing Him true glory and honor.

As a goldsmith purifies the metal in the furnace, so our waiting in His presence is the means by which the Lord purifies our soul.

Hebrews 12:29 tells us that, “Our God is a consuming fire.” As we throw ourselves into His hands and abandon all that we are—all of our plans, ambitions, ministry, desires, everything—the knowledge of the Holy One, the Consuming Fire, invades every area of our being, purifying us. The knowledge of the Lord and the understanding of His ways gradually consume all that is earthly and of self.

Even Job, the man acknowledged by God as the most godly and righteous person on earth, still had to go through this fire of purification. While his friends and wife did not understand the ways of God, he waited before the Lord, crying out, “When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10, NASB).

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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Self-Unimportance – Gospel for Asia

November 8th, 2010 No comments

Mother Teresa, the woman who gave her life to help the needy in India, was born into a wealthy Albanian family. When God called her to go to the poor of Calcutta, she was a respected principal at a Catholic school. Yet with joyful persistence she obeyed. Despite the worldwide fame and attention that later came her way, Mother Teresa remained humble and unimportant in her own eyes. She walked in the reality of knowing that the fruit from her life did not come from herself but was merely a by-product of depending on God and His working through her. For years she labored among the diseased and dying, never having received any formal medical training. Yet her service impacts thousands even today. Toward the end of her life she said, “I am convinced that when I am gone, if God finds a person more ignorant and useless than I, He will do greater things through that person because it will be His doing.”

What a lesson for us all to learn! I encourage you, my brothers and sisters, learn the strength of God, which is stronger than man; learn the wisdom of God, which is wiser than man. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6). We began well by trusting in the Lord. Let us now continue in His strength and live in His blessings.

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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Don’t be Led Astray – Gospel for Asia

November 2nd, 2010 No comments

The more naturally gifted one is, the more he or she must go through death to self and pride in order to be used by God. Our ego is so deceitful. All the talents and natural abilities given to any of us were given by God in the first place. Yet we so easily take ownership of these things and attribute them to ourselves. We must realize that God always seeks to bring us to the place of death so He can work through us (see Galatians 2:20). When we surrender our abilities to God, we become partners with Him, and He accomplishes great things through our lives.

It is possible to begin with absolute trust and dependence upon God and later to be led astray, thinking we had something to do with the victories. In the midst of great blessings, we can be rejected by God because of our pride. As we saw in Chapter 2, King Saul and King Uzziah both fell because of this. God can do great things through us, but we cannot take credit for what is His. Paul did amazing miracles, established churches throughout Asia and led hundreds to Christ, but he also said truthfully of himself, “I know that nothing good lives in me” (Romans 7:18, NIV). We are merely the instruments of God.

On the outside, something can look very wonderful (like King Asa’s victory) but in actuality be very displeasing to God. Nebuchadnezzar built a large and beautiful city, but does it stand today? Where is the Tower of Babel in our history? It is a remembrance only of the sinfulness of good-intentioned flesh. We need to keep in mind that that which is esteemed before men is despised by God. If anything in our life or ministry is to count for eternity, it will come forth from Christ as we are dependent upon 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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Purified in His Presence – Gospel for Asia

November 1st, 2010 No comments

Why is doing the Lord’s work the Lord’s way so important? If the job is getting done, doesn’t that justify the means?

The answer is no.

Why is it so critical for us to continually take the time to wait upon Him and hear from Him, drawing close and living in His presence? Because when we do not, we are walking in sin.

You see, there are two types of sin that we need to be mindful of. One is the sin of rebellion—we refuse to wait to know what the Master’s will is and do what we want to do with an independent, rebellious spirit, void of brokenness and humility.

The second is the sin of presumption. This is where we run ahead with our own plans and in our own understanding, never taking the time to hear what He desires or to find out His ways.

The prevention to each of these sins is found in waiting upon the Lord.

You see, by choosing to come into His presence, we leave aside our agenda and prepare ourselves to submit to His yoke. In His presence we are changed; the independent spirit is substituted for His will and His ways. Our hearts change as a deep transformation takes place within.

Yet it never happens overnight. This process of continually changing and becoming like the Lord only takes place as we take the time to be with Him, to sit at His feet and to gaze upon Him (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).

It is in these times that we are emptied of ourselves and become one with Christ. We experience the joy and victory of knowing that the ministry we have received is from the Lord and for Him (see 1 Corinthians 4:1). It is through this that the Lord can manifest His life and His glory and carry out His purposes through our earthen vessels, just as Jesus allowed His Father to fulfill His plan through His life on earth.

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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