Abide:  to stay or live somewhere, to remain or continue, to wait for, and to endure without yielding.

Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

— Jude 21 ESV

GFA Discipleship Program has been so good for my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I am growing in my love for him and learning to abide in Jesus like never before, by the help of the Holy Spirit. I am starting to learn what it is like to abide in Christ and in the love of the Father. It was during my time of solitude that the Lord started showing me a little glimpse of what is means to abide in Christ.

I was sitting outside for solitude on a lovely spring day, waiting on the Lord to direct me where He wanted me to read that it seemed he was directing my attention to a man who was pruning a tree. As I watched him prune away the dead branches the thought came that I should read John 15. This is where an absolutely amazing journey began (which I hope never ends). God started teaching me what it is like to abide in Jesus. I say started, because to abide in Christ and grow in Him takes time; it doesn’t happen overnight.

discipleship-blog-versevs 1. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. vs 2. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. vs 4.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me… As my Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.”

While reading John 15, I was struck by how many times the words “abide”, “in me” and “remain” show up in the first 11 verses. I think Jesus is trying to tell me something. Jesus was and is trying to drive home a point! I need to abide in him and in his love all the time! When hard times come (which they will) we are to abide in the Lord Jesus. The times of pruning in our lives are when the vinedresser cuts away the dead branches that hinder us from bearing fruit. When they are gone, we can grow and yield lasting fruit that glorifies our Heavenly Father. There may be things in our life that distract us from abiding in Christ and loving Him relentlessly.

This is a wonderful promise from God. As we keep His commandments, we will abide in his love! The Holy Spirit is our helper and guide and He enables us to abide in Jesus. It is hard to share everything that I felt like the Father was revealing to my heart as I watched the man prune the tree and as we read John 15:1-11. I am the branch that has been grafted into Jesus the true vine. The dead branches which are being pruned away from me are the things that take the place of God in my life. I can rest assured knowing that my Father knows what He is doing in and through my life. The fruit that will come from this will bring glory to the Father, which is what truly matters.

—Disciple in GFA Discipleship Program



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discipleship-blog-fallsDuring my solitude time this past week I was reading from Isaiah chapter 8 where God speaks to Isaiah about the coming judgement against Judah. Because of their wickedness, God is going to send the nation of Assyria to punish them and carry them away into captivity.

God reminds the prophet Isaiah in the midst of all of this not to be overcome by fear but to keep his focus on God. Verse 13 says, “The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.”

In times of difficulty and struggle, it can be so easy to take our eyes off of God and to be overcome by the fear of man, but God says that He is the One we are to fear.

To fear God means to live in reverential awe and respect of who He is. When our focus is on the power and might of our God, we will no longer be concerned about what is taking place around us. We can trust that God is in complete control.

Further on in Isaiah 8 verse 17 says, “I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in Him.”

Isaiah knew that He could put His complete trust in God and had faith that God would use the Assyrians to bring His plan to pass.

Waiting on the Lord means to be attentive to His voice and to be constantly in tune to what He is doing. Just as a waiter at a restaurant has the job of making sure the needs of their customers are met, so we must be looking to see what God requires of us and how we can serve Him.

When I am facing a spiritual battle it is so easy for me to focus on what is going on around me instead of keeping my eyes on the One who is in control of the situation. Instead of waiting on the Lord and being attentive to His voice I allow fear and anxiety to overtake my mind. God used this passage in Isaiah to remind me that my mind must be continually on Him. He is the One that I should fear and stand in awe of. I can wait on Him and rest in the assurance that my trust does not lie in man but in God, who is sovereign over all.

If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord’s people have always been a waiting people

— Charles Spurgeon

—School of Discipleship student



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Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands… Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD God disciplines you.

— Deuteronomy 8:2&5

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It has been the cry of my heart for years that God would call me to be a missionary and use me to do something significant for Him. Last year God closed the door on what I had been counting on doing and longing for. I was upset, I couldn’t accept the reality of it and believed it would still happen. Then God showed me why I was so upset. I had my own plans that I had given my life to and when God changed them, not only was that moment shaken, but my whole future.

It didn’t happen just once. God also opened a door I counted on being closed. I wrestled within my heart and fought the will of God, until finally I accepted it and followed Him. I can’t explain the peace that filled my whole being each time I surrendered my plans and submitted to God. He waited so patiently for me, just like a loving Father, not letting me have my own way.

Now as I look back I realize that for the longest time I had fooled myself into thinking, I was submitting to God’s plan. In my outward actions I was, but my heart was set on the things I wanted to do. Without knowing it, I put my plans above God. They were good things I was longing for, but when they became more important to me than God, my walk with the Lord was hindered. As I read this verse from Deuteronomy, I see what God was been doing. I thought He was keeping me from something good, instead all this time He has been patiently teaching me to follow Him and preparing me for what lies ahead. He’s been testing my heart just as He did to the Israelites, to see if I’m really willing to obey His commands; He’s disciplined me in a gentle and Fatherly way.

My longings aren’t gone. I still hope and pray for God to open the door He closed, yet I know His timing is best – better than any of the plans I have. I hope that when God changes my plans I will be quick to surrender to His ways. I may have learned this lesson once or twice, but I have to continually surrender my plans to God. Every day is a choice.

—Disciple in GFA Discipleship Program



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discipleship-blog-radioDuring our time in School of Discipleship, we have the opportunity to assist local ministries.  This provides us both a way to see how others live out their love for God, and it gives us the opportunity to partner with them in a practical way, in order that together we can be a part of advancing God’s kingdom. A couple of weeks ago, we had such an opportunity. We spent the morning putting together media players for Galcom. Galcom is an organisation that builds radios and media players for reaching people with the gospel who are illiterate or don’t have access to written copies of Scripture. The radios are designed so that only certain stations can be tuned in.

Assembling the players required some of the students to solder the batteries to the players; I was involved in placing padding within the player so that the components would not shift over time. Batteries and mini sd cards also had to be installed. Finally they were all tested to if the audio recordings worked. As the players were headed to a foreign country, we got to hear the first verse of Genesis in another language over and over.

Galcom was not at liberty to tell us exactly where the radios were headed. They were, however, going to an area where access to the Scriptures is limited. Partially through our efforts a considerable number of people will be able to hear the Bible in their own language even if they can’t read it.

Disciple in GFA Discipleship Program



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We, Canadian students, had the awesome privilege to visit the US office for a week. It gave us an opportunity to serve the staff, volunteer in the office and part take in some fun events. I can see how with a negative mindset it could have been a dread. However, I told myself that I would serve like never before. After all, serving gives greater joy anyway than wanting to be served. I prayed about having the right heart about going. The Lord answered and it was the most amazing time ever.

We had the privilege to room with the US students during our stay. We got to help with cooking, cleaning and also sitting in during their classes. We took part in house dinners, celebrations, and even the Hog Slog race. The thing that I took note of most is the fellowship we as Christians get to have. When we arrived, we were not only welcomed with open arms, but there was an instant connection. There is a common bond in what Christ has done for us and that we are fellow labourers in the Gospel. Paul the Apostle understood that type of bond, and he longed for believers to live in unity. This instant connection with the students, was in that we are all disciples of Christ, that we’re going through the same School of Discipleship program and labouring and reaching the lost together from a distance. So sharing our joys and struggles was a great joy and encouragement.

Being in the family of Christ is the greatest blessing for someone on earth. The church, the body of believers and community living has become a lot clearer for me in this past year. We are made to distribute our gifts and talents within the church. We are not meant to be lone rangers walking this earth but we have each other and it’s Christ alone that made it possible.

This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

— John 15:12-13

—Disciple



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