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The Living God – Gospel for Asia

March 2nd, 2011 Comments off

It didn’t take very long after the flood for Noah’s descendants to act independently from the Living God and band together to construct the Tower of Babel. When the Lord came down to inspect their ambitious and idolatrous building project, He made a very serious statement that teaches us volumes about oneness: “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them” (Genesis 11:6).

These words reveal the incredible power that is found in unity, even if it is used for an evil reason.

We have seen the truth of this Scripture demonstrated over and over throughout history when people rallied around a leader with an ungodly ideology and joined together to spread it by force to the rest of mankind.

But the good news is that this power of oneness is equally true when we as believers unite together in doing God’s will: Nothing will be impossible for us.

Jesus had that total oneness of spirit with His Father.

That’s why everything God wanted to do through His Son here on earth was fulfilled—unhindered. What was the key to such unity? It was the love they had for one another.

Think for a second how you take care of yourself. You won’t get a hammer and bring it down on your thumb. You won’t deliberately hurt yourself. Obviously, you care about what happens to you. When we truly love one another, what affects someone else, affects us. We won’t do something to deliberately hurt someone else. We want them to do well even if they’ve hurt us deeply. Jesus desires this kind of oneness in His Body. It far supersedes any unity the world could produce for its cause.

The devil knows this fact well, and he is afraid of the damage his own kingdom would suffer should God’s people succeed in becoming one in spirit. That’s why he fights so very hard to divide the Body of Christ and to keep believers from loving each other.

In fact, whenever God does something significant through His people, the most likely—and severe—counterattack will come in the area of unity, specifically broken relationships.

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 Christ – Gospel for Asia

February 25th, 2011 Comments off

Knowing Christ and walking intimately with Him will produce a love and passion for the lost world. In more than 40 years of serving the Lord, I have found that the more I get to know the Lord, the more concern I have for the lost. It is no longer about the need, but it is for the Lord’s sake. If our so-called “deeper life” doesn’t have this result, it is a counterfeit and a distraction.

So as we face the pull of this world and the pressure from the devil to walk away from God’s call, let us remember that we are on earth for only a short time. We are strangers and aliens to this world. We only have a visa for this life, but our passport is from another country.

The men and women of Hebrews chose not to return to their earthly country because they recognized that God’s work went beyond time and space. Their true country was a heavenly one. May the Lord find us, too, focused on what is real and authentic—beyond circumstances, what we feel, what others say or what the Enemy throws at us. And if He were to write another chapter like Hebrews 11, may He use your name and mine as examples there for others to follow.

This world is not our home—let us journey toward that eternal city.

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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Good or Bad Seeds – Gospel for Asia

February 23rd, 2011 Comments off

When Jesus came to live on this earth, He entered a world in which everyone continually fought to preserve his or her own rights, reputation and life. How foreign it must have sounded to them when Jesus, in reference to the cross, replied to those who wanted to see Him:

“The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:23–25).

In this Scripture, Jesus talked about the prospect of a single seed producing many more of its kind. But the most important requirement for that single seed to multiply is this: It must fall into the ground and die.

In Mark 4, Jesus told the parable of the sower who went out to sow seed. Some of his seed fell on the wayside, some on the rocky ground, others among thorns and the rest on the good ground. Now just suppose the seeds that fell on the good ground didn’t actually die. How much harvest would they have produced? None! In fact, there would have been no difference, in terms of the end result, between these seeds and the ones that fell on bad soil.

Think about it. You can take the best seed and put it in the best soil, but if it will not crack open and die, what good is it?

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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Whose Voice Will You Believe? – Gospel for Asia

February 17th, 2011 Comments off

When we study the lives of those in the Bible whom God called for a specific purpose, we often find that many gained clarity regarding their identity and mission while going through trials and wilderness experiences.

Jacob, after 20 years of scheming and failures, finally came to the end of himself. In the midst of all hopelessness, he heard the words from the Man who wrestled with him all night: “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel” (Genesis 32:28). Jacob understood his identity was no longer that of a deceiver but that of a prince. From that moment on, his life changed until it matched what God said about him.

After 40 long years living as a refugee and shepherd in the wilderness, Moses had even lost his ability to articulate well. That’s when God told him, “I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10). Moses’ identity in God’s plan was that of a deliverer who knew God face-to-face. This became clear to him after all the glamour of Egypt had been stripped away and he stood alone in the wilderness before the burning bush. As he began to walk in his identity, Moses fulfilled God’s plan.

Gideon, hiding and scared to death of Israel’s enemies, heard the Angel of the Lord declaring his identity to him: “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12). He first thought it was a bad joke. However, each time Gideon stepped out on this declaration with a tiny bit of faith, he found it to be true, and he increasingly gained courage. In the end, we see him boldly marching with 300 people against an enemy “as numerous as locusts”—and God giving him the victory (see Judges 7:12–8:12).

Even Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, fasting, praying and facing severe temptations, before He started His public ministry. Although He already knew who His real Father was, He revealed His identity as Messiah only after His wilderness experience.

None of us looks forward to facing difficulties, loneliness, misunderstandings, problems and accusations. All these can present real wilderness experiences. I want to encourage you not to let these times be an end in themselves, but to find in them who you are in God’s plan.

Being aware of who we are in God’s kingdom is important for our stability on this journey. Every day Jesus encountered people who publicly declared that He couldn’t be the Messiah. Even His closest followers were oftentimes confused about His identity.

How did He ignore all those voices around Him and continue His journey toward the cross without being shaken? He listened to and believed only one voice—that of His Father. Each time people asked Him who He was, He confessed the identity His Father declared about Him.

We must follow the footsteps of our Lord. We too must refuse to give in to the voices of our mind and emotions and whatever negative things other people tell us. Instead, we must confess, believe and act upon the identity Jesus gave us in His Word and the calling of God upon our lives. This will lay a strong foundation for our life and service to God and set us free to live through Christ.

Whose voice will you believe?

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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What is Your Default: Judgment or Compassion? – Gospel for Asia

February 15th, 2011 Comments off

Matthew 7:1–5 clearly tells us not to judge because we are not qualified nor called to do so. The consequences of not staying within our job description are much more serious than we think. First of all, we will be judged with the same measure that we use to judge others. But also when we judge, we inflict additional wounds on those whom the Lord seeks to make whole and set free.

God wants us to walk through this world with great spiritual sensitivity and discernment. We should not think that He wants us to close our eyes to unrighteousness. However, instead of judging, He has given us a ministry of compassion.

While the whole world was condemning One, that One was hanging on the cross for the whole world. Failure and weakness in others’ lives should only make us aware of their needs. It should evoke compassion in us and a desire to bring healing and wholeness to their lives. It should lead us to pray and cooperate with God’s work in them.

Thus, instead of judging and destroying, we become agents of change. We respond as Christ did and in obedience to Him who has asked us to follow His example.

What is your default: judgment or compassion?

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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Humble Yourself – Gospel for Asia

February 10th, 2011 Comments off

Philippians 2:5–8 shows us the heart of Jesus, which is diametrically opposite to Lucifer’s. Instead of looking for ways to go up, Jesus looked for ways to step down. He laid aside all His glory and emptied Himself to become a man. But He didn’t stop there. His humility took Him much farther: “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).

The Bible says in the following verses that this was exactly the reason why God highly exalted Him.

Seeing our struggle with pride, Jesus invites us in Matthew 11:29 to follow His example: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (emphasis mine).

This simply means that if we take the low road like Jesus did, all our striving will come to an end. And when we are asked to submit to someone who is younger or to serve others instead of being served, we will find that our hearts will be at peace.

Do you want to be more like Jesus? Look for opportunities to humble yourself.

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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Humility – Gospel for Asia

February 7th, 2011 Comments off

Have you ever wondered how much of your humility and servant attitude is truly Christlike? You can easily find out—the next time you are given the opportunity to submit yourself to someone who, in your estimation, should be serving under you. How do you react? What are your thoughts and feelings? Is your heart at peace and your joy undisturbed, or do you struggle with resentment?

In one of our offices, a capable brother who had been with us for many years was asked by his superior to take on another position that carried a greater responsibility and a heavier workload. The brother felt honored by the offer and he understood how the change would benefit the overall work, but he responded, “I have great difficulties in making this change.” When asked why, he replied, “I am older, and I have been here longer, and now I would have to report to someone who is younger than me. It is below my dignity. I don’t think I can handle it.”

The leader prayed for this brother and gave him a copy of The Calvary Road by Roy Hession. A few days later after reading the book, which deals with brokenness and humility  in a believer’s life, the older brother was willing to accept his new position. And ever since, he has faithfully worked together with and reported to the younger brother.

Andrew Murray includes in his small book titled Humility the essence of the following text (paraphrased):

Humility is far more than being broken because of our sin. It is participation in the very life of Jesus. Humility is the only root from which the genuine fruit of the Spirit can grow. Pride degraded the highest angels into devils. Humility on the other hand, has raised fallen men to the throne of angels. The great purpose of God in raising up a new creation is to demonstrate this great truth throughout eternity that all evil begins from pride and that all goodness springs from humility.

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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Hearing God’s Voice – Gospel for Asia

February 3rd, 2011 Comments off

Abraham had just heard God’s voice telling him to leave his country, his relatives and his father’s house and go to a land God would show him.

How was Abraham going to make the right decision? Logic told him to stay where he was and not listen to mysterious voices. Furthermore, for him to leave his relatives and father’s house would mean that he had no one to protect and rescue him should he get in serious trouble. Besides, it made no sense to trade his present affluence and comfortable lifestyle for a harsh, nomadic existence.

It’s amazing that in spite of all these reasons, Abraham still decided to walk away from everything he knew and follow God’s call to the Promised Land. What caused him to make the right decision?

It was the fact that he did not look to the present with all its comforts and benefits—but rather to the future and to the far greater blessings God promised him: “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great. . . . In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. . . . All the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever” (Genesis 12:2–3, 13:15).

We, too, make decisions every day: what college we should attend, whom we should marry, where we should live, how we should spend our money, what we should do with our time, in what way we should serve the Lord—and a thousand other choices.

We can learn a vital lesson about making the right decisions from Abraham: The most significant element in making the right decision is considering not the present condition, but the future. In other words, what does our decision mean for the kingdom of God and in the light of eternity?

Although Abraham received God’s glorious promises for the future, some of these promises were still decades— and others, centuries—away from becoming reality. What did Abraham do in the meantime? He lived in anticipation of seeing these promises fulfilled, and he made his daily decisions by faith, in preparation for what he believed was going to happen in the future.

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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Run With Endurance – Gospel for Asia

February 2nd, 2011 Comments off

I am always intrigued when I watch the start of the marathon during the summer Olympics. All the runners appear to be in top physical shape, excited to represent their countries and determined to win the gold medal.

However, it’s an entirely different story when I watch them 15 or 20 miles later. They look exhausted from the hot sun that beats down on them or miserable because of rain that makes their road slippery. Some have trouble breathing when the race takes them over a mountain, and others struggle to keep up with the fast pace.

Although everyone, no matter how long it takes them to cross the finish line, is celebrated with cheers and applause, some runners will never get there. Somewhere along the route they drop out of the race due to exhaustion, injury or discouragement.

In the marathon race and in our Christian life, persevering until the end is what it’s all about, not just starting well. What do I mean? Don’t give up your walk with Jesus; endure in the call He gave you to win this lost world and build His kingdom.

Like the marathon runners, we, too, will encounter adversities along the way that could cause us to quit the race. What are some of these adversities?

• Relationship problems with other Christians that severely threaten our treasured self-life.

• Physical and financial setbacks that cause us to lose hope.

• Lack of apparent fruit and thus fulfillment in our service to the Lord.

• Facing our latent failures and sins that expose our unbrokenness, pride, selfishness, stubbornness or critical spirit.

• Frustration when serving the Lord becomes hard work and the feelings are gone.

• Feeling inadequate and overwhelmed by the expectations of others.

• Spiritual dryness that comes when God tests us to see if we will still walk with Him by faith, even when there is nothing within or without to support us.

• Losing sight of our priorities—shifting from serving the Lord to protecting our self-interests.

I have served the Lord full-time for the past 40 years. From my own life and experience, I can tell you this: The godliest Christian leaders I have met, the most challenging sermons I have heard and the best books I have read on evangelism and discipleship have not been enough to help me survive in the race!

Only one thing has kept me in the ministry and following Christ, and that is learning and practicing what the writer of Hebrews said: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1–2).

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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Stand in the Truth – Gospel for Asia

January 27th, 2011 Comments off

Jesus found His identity in Scripture and always directed these people to the Scriptures and the prophecies that spoke of Him. He first established His identity in His hometown of Nazareth when He preached in the synagogue there. He read the passage in Isaiah that described the Messiah’s ministry:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18–19).

Then He said to His audience, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).

As we, too, believe and understand our position in Christ, it will revolutionize our thinking, our walk with God and our service to Him. Like Him, we must go to the Word of God and find our identity in what it says about us. And when we face our battles, the knowledge of who we are will fill us with tremendous strength and the assurance that as sons and daughters of the Living God, we indeed will be more than overcomers. Take courage: Stand in the truth of who you are.

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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