Somehow, that phrase "Die to Self" just doesn't become more appealing or for that matter easier. I'm certain that by now I have heard every form of how you can die to self. In a vehicle, I can let someone else get the front seat and die to self. In relationships, I can be the first one to go apologize, reconcile and die to self. In finances, I can consider the needs of others, share and die to self by not just making selfish provisions. Name an area of life and I'm sure I can name a way I can die to self in it. But knowing and doing are as far from each other as the East is from the West. Lately this warning has been ringing in my ears, James 1:22 "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." And in Luke 6:31 "And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise." I need to die to self and consider others. 

Dying to self isn't even about self. It is a removing of the self and replacing it with someone else's concern or pleasure above my own. First and foremost, God's pleasure, then other's cares and concerns. Today I baked an apple pie, with some help, for no other reason than to do it for God and for the people who will be the recipients of it. I am not someone who bakes pie for the fun of it. In fact, I try to keep busy with everything else before I'll do kitchen work. So how did it come about that I would bake this pie? And with joy? Well, in my last speech I shared a practical way of how I can apply what God is teaching me about work from the book the Divine Embrace. In the book, it talks about Benedictine monks and that they equated prayer, study and work. And though I see myself as hard working I realized I do not have a healthy attitude towards some kinds of work such as baking pie and other kitchen related things. I shared in my speech that I have come to learn recently that if I dare to enjoy eating an apple pie I need the humility to bake an apple pie with a diligent spirit. Yes, and this pie isn't even for me. 

God in His Sovereignty put an opportunity in front of me that even a blind man could see. Someone asked for an apple pie that was homemade and just like the ones we had provided at the Fall Fest. As I'm hearing this request I stand rolling my eyes at God saying, "is this a test?" He says, you can either put your speech where your mouth is or be a hypocrite with many word and no action. So, I baked the pie and did it with joy because it was simple obedience to what I knew to do. I love receiving fresh baked treats and I ought to take opportunity to give of my time to bless others by giving baked treats to them as well. I am floored by the way God speaks so directly into my life. He knew I needed to put into action the practical application of changing my attitude towards work and He provided an opportunity to do it.  

 Will I always get it right from now on? No, but always turn around if I'm heading in the wrong direction. Romans 6:13 says, " And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." If God can use me to bless someone else then in fact I am alive to God and I am an instrument of righteousness. I tend to over spiritualize thing and say things like: "what good can come out of a pie?" Or, "how will that help anyone grow in their faith?" Those are good questions but what if the question I need to answer is actually: am I reflecting Jesus in my words, thoughts and actions right now and in this situation? I can read all the books on godly character that I want to but if there isn't an immediate change in my heart upon the Spirit speaking to me, then truthfully, I become more useless to God then useful. At the end of the day it's not about me dying to self because if I'll have done that, then I'll have forgotten all about me and I'll be able to think about God first, others second and then perhaps myself. As the Apostle Paul, I declare: "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21) I have not mastered this by far nor do I think it possible but this is my life goal because Jesus is my Saviour, my Lord, my Brother, my Redeemer and Example and I will follow Him. So, my attitude towards work has slightly changed... and praise the Lord, He's not finished with me yet. Die to Self and Bake Some Apple Pie



Comments

 Add Comment




Solitude is something I look forward to every month which is part of the Discipleship Program. As students, we are given a turn to share a devotional before we go to be alone with the Lord. My desire is to give glory to God for what He is doing.

I would like to share what the Lord has been teaching me and how that has affected me the last few months. It has taken me some time to process and the more I process the more there is more to learn.

I use the “Revised Common Lectionary” for my devotional times in the morning which is really good. When we have our regular 6 am house devotional time we read the same passages and then at the office for our prayer meetings we read the same Psalms as well. So, all throughout the day I hear the same scriptures read and the Lord has used this to minister to my heart. I have found that each day God has given me a word of encouragement, hope and strength to continue in the fight.

While spending time with the Lord one morning I was reading Deut 6:16-25, which talks about the Lord having brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and is giving them the commandments they are to keep and teach to the coming generations. What I came away with was from verses 23-25 “And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.” It was like the Lord was asking me if I trusted Him to take care of me and if the fear that was in my heart was the right kind of fear. Would I leave behind my own plans and follow Him no matter where He called me to go? or would my fears of the unknown keep me back?

Trusting Him is the first area I needed to address. If I don’t trust the Lord then I will not follow. Just like the children of Israel needed to leave Egypt behind so I need to leave my fears behind. The promise land is prepared, will I go in and take it or will my fears keep me in the wilderness? Having seen the Lord’s faithfulness throughout my life and even more so in the last two years, being in the Discipleship Program how could I not trust Him?

My Father reminded me of another passage from His word, which came through him extending his loving hand for me to take as an act of surrender and complete trust. 1 John 4:18-19. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.” The fears I had before were tormenting me and had caused me to shrink back in times past; but now I was ready to place my hand in His and follow wherever He chose to lead me.

As I surrender my plans for His I am learning to trust my leaders and realising that my time and schedule are not my own and this has been so freeing for me. Fear has been replaced with perfect Love. Trusting the Lord by obeying all that He asks of me has caused me to glorify Him and praise Him for being faithful.

—Disciple in GFA Discipleship Program



1 Comment

 Add Comment




widows-and-abandoned-children_KpHQq9i.jpg


We returned from the mission field last week, and now are back to the everyday routine, except with a whole new outlook on the work. Knowing what we've been a part of and what is being accomplish on the field is one thing, seeing it with your own eyes is another. I always knew that behind the power points, pictures and stories, there were real people but now I know what kind of people are behind them. People with tears, laughter, hopes and dreams and faces with lines on them that tell stories. It's been a real eye opener.

Yes, I'd been overseas before but I did not see the work of God in action like I did this time. We saw many things, heard lots of honking from unorganized traffic and experienced a whole new world in comparison to North American life. Through the heat of each day, from one destination to another we had much time sitting in a vehicle and time to think about all we were seeing. It begged the question, what on earth am I here for? Am I going to build my kingdom here in the sand or live for the one True God and His Kingdom? Creation groans for the redemption of Jesus Christ. Am I willing to yield myself to God and be used by Him to impact the world with His love? Yes, because Jesus paid for my freedom with His blood, I owe Him my life.

 One of the things that impacted me most was seeing the Widow’s ministry. A group of widows were gathered under tarps when we arrived. They all sat on the ground but they had put chairs out for us to sit on. They greeted us with flowers and much affection. Then, a few of the widows shared their testimonies. As one as one was finished sharing her testimony another would stand up, then another. It was touching because all they wanted was a voice and someone to hear them. I can’t imagine myself in their place. I hadn't thought much of the deep scars on their lives and what it would be like for them to lose their husband. But as they shared they had to fight tears because they recalled the memories as though they were yesterday when their husband didn't return home again. Now left to fend and provide for the family, forced to earn a living by daily labour for other villagers, life itself became a burden. 

But that wasn't how things remained. Our dear Sisters of Compassion and brothers were sent to share the hope of Christ with these precious women and to care for them. To help them with domestic work and make a way for them to have a community together with one another and with God at the centre. It wouldn't have happened this way had someone not been sent to share the Good News with them. God's love stooped down and met these precious widows and their children where they were at and met all their needs. He cares for widows deeply and tells us in His word to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction (James 1:27). What’s on my Father’s heart ought to be on my heart, not out of duty but because He loves, I also love. What a boundless joy to be a part of touching the lives of the people in Asia with the love of Jesus now, and seeing love in action. The harvest is still plentiful, and the workers are still few (Luke 10:2), there's much work to be done. 

—Disciple in GFA Discipleship Program




Comments

 Add Comment




Serving LepersThroughout our trip I was encouraged to realise that, yes, my prayers do make a difference and in awe of the fact that that God has chosen me to be a part of the work that He is doing on the mission field.

 I felt so humbled and privileged to get to see and experience the many different ways that lives are being touched through God’s love. To see the love on a widow’s face as she expressed her gratitude for the hope that she has found in God or the life and excitement in the eyes of the children at the Bridge of Hope centres we visited. Their smiles and joy reflect the fact that for the first time in their lives they have hope and a future ahead of them.

What an honour it was to get to pray for the missionaries who give up everything, face persecution and count it all joy for the sake of reaching those in need! I felt so small alongside them and yet they would ask me to pray for them. Because we are a team and both the senders and the workers, the prayers and those on the front lines are absolutely vital to this work that God has called us to.

I was touched by the example of the Sisters of Compassion we met serving in the leprosy colony. They are willing to go beyond the barriers of culture and society to serve and actually touch the lepers. Through this they show the lepers that in God’s eyes they are worth loving and touching and holding. They are no longer just lepers but precious men and women, so valuable in the sight of God!

To sum it all up I would say that the one thing that impacted me the most on this trip was the love that I experienced, God’s love. It was expressed in the lives of the missionaries who are love in action. It shined out of them in a way that made me say, ‘there is something different about that person.’ God’s love is what causes the Sisters of Compassion to touch the lepers, wipes away the tears of the widow and gives the destitute children hope.

In response to all I have seen and experienced my prayer is that God’s love would also shine through my life in such a way that all those around me would be drawn to Christ as a result. May His love be the reason behind all that I do and the focus of my life. Only through God’s love will I be able to lay down my life and be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world around me.

As it says in 1 Cor. 13:1-3 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

And verse 13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

~ Disciple in the Discipleship Program



Comments

 Add Comment




Has the Lord ever prompted you to pray for something very specific but you were uncertain whether the Lord would answer or if it was really from Him? I’ve been there, and I am excited to share with you how the Lord does answer specific prayers when they are according to His will to strengthen our faith and to bring Him glory.

 Jeremiah 29:11-12. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”

It was a year or two ago when the Lord impressed upon my heart to pray for something specific and trust Him to bring the answer within a certain time frame. I had heard others share how the Lord answered specific prayer; but I wasn’t ready to commit myself to what the Lord was asking me to pray for. It just seemed to impossible for me. I was reminded of the verse in Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” And I know this is talking about the rich young ruler walking away from Jesus; but somehow the words that are italicized challenged me to step out in faith and watch God work out the impossibilities.

Well I came to the point of surrender and stepped out in faith to watch God answer my specific prayer. By now you may be very curious as to what the request was that I was praying for and whether the Lord answered my heart’s desire. The request was for a trip overseas for my 30th birthday, which sounds silly and rather selfish, doesn’t it? I thought so too at first which was part of my hesitation when praying about it; but the Lord had given me that desire and all he asked me to do was tell only Him, pray and believe. This trip wasn’t for relaxing and vacationing; but rather to visit friends who were on the mission field and see what the Lord was doing in and through their lives.

Bridge1 Thessalonians 5:24 “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” The Lord called me to trust Him and by His grace and perfect timing I was able to visit the mission field before my 31st birthday, so technically in my 30th year the Lord answered my prayers and showed that He is faithful all the time. We serve an awesome God who delights in blessings His children and watching grow in trusting Him.



Comments

 Add Comment

None