I found this article from Henry Blackaby truly encouraging today since I am still fighting out the details of how to fund the work in Kenya. The funds are not the issue, it’s getting them there. I cannot tell you how my heart burns as I fight through the issues. However, I am finally at the end of it all.
With that said, read this article. It will encourage anyone else out there who finds themselves fighting to “take the land…”
“Look, the LORD your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the LORD God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 1:21)
One of the paradoxes of the Christian life is that God’s gifts often require labor on our part. God brought the Israelites to the Promised Land and told them He was going to “give” it to them (Num. 13:2). The gift of the Promised Land sounded great to the Israelites until they realized that, with the gift, came battles against giants and fortified cities! Perhaps they assumed God was going to obliterate the inhabitants of the land before they entered. Ideally for the Israelites, they could then have entered a vacant land with houses and cities already built and ready to inhabit.
Instead, God said they would have to fight for it. They would not have to fight in their own strength, however; God would be present to fight for them. God would bring down the walls of cities, give them strategies to defeat their enemies, and empower their warriors to fight. The Israelites would have a divine advantage over anyone they fought, but they would still have to fight.
It would be wonderful if, when we become Christians, God would fill our minds with a complete knowledge of the Bible and with Bible verses already memorized. It would be easy if God would instill in us a delight in spending hours in prayer each day and a fearless desire to share our faith with others. But God doesn’t relate to us that way. Instead, He gives us the free gift of His salvation and then tells us to “work out” our salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12b). Are you discouraged because the Christian life is more difficult and challenging than you expected? Don’t be. God’s gifts to you are perfect because, through them, God makes you perfect as well (Matt. 5:48; James 1:17).
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I love this article by Blackaby and I am adding it here because I think this is an EXCELLENT thought on Discipling people. I am big on the Missional type of church and that church focuses on Discipleship and the Kingdom of GOD.
So, here is the lesson…
Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. (Colossians 1:28)
Discipleship is personally transferring the full dimensions of your relationship with Christ to the person you are walking with. It is not the imparting of spiritual disciplines as much as it is acquainting another with a Person you love. Paul said that he would teach and urge with all his strength that every person God placed in his life would come to a complete experience of the person of Christ (Col. 1:29). He was not satisfied with people becoming partially like Christ. He would not rest until those around him were perfect, or complete, in Christ. That is, that the fruits of the Spirit were being fully expressed through each life and the character of Christ was reflected in each person (Gal. 5:22).
We can mistake Christian activity with becoming like Christ. Christian activity and Christlikeness are not the same things. We must not assume that because our friend attends church and reads her Bible, she is growing as a Christian.
Christian activities are an important expression of your relationship with Christ. They can lead you to a relationship, but the danger is assuming that your religious activity is the relationship. If you are only encouraging those around you to attend Christian activities, then you have not “discipled” them the way Paul did. You do your_fellow Christians an injustice by teaching them that Christian activity is equal to Christian maturity. Do not rest until those around you have become “perfect” in Christ. If God has put new Christians under your care, you have an obligation to “stay with them” until they have reached Christian maturity.
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This morning reading this devotional really affected me. I had to post it here. I have been talking about Poppa wanting access for a while now and this really is encouraging on that note.
“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)
As Christians, we talk about God “opening doors” to us as a means of His revealing His will. What we are asking God to do is engineer our circumstances to match what we think would be best. The problem is that we misunderstand what the door is. Jesus said He is the door. Circumstances are irrelevant, for no one can shut the door that Jesus opens (Rev. 3:8). If you have substituted activity for your relationship with Christ, then circumstances can disrupt your activity. When the activity is hindered, you may assume the door has been closed. Yet, if Christ is the door in your life, He will guide you into every experience of Him that He wants, and there will be nothing that people can do to stop Him.
When Paul and Silas were thrown into prison at Philippi, it appeared that the door to their ministry in Greece had been violently and firmly closed (Acts 16:22–24). The reality of their situation, however, was that their Lord had opened a door of ministry to a previously unreached group of men in prison. The Philippian jailer and his household would become a significant nucleus of the new church in Philippi. From a human perspective, a door had been closed; from God’s perspective, Paul and Silas continued to minister exactly where God wanted them to.
When people oppose us, we can become discouraged or worry about what others are doing to us. We may even try to take matters into our own hands to accomplish what we think God wants. This reveals that we do not really believe Jesus is the door for our lives. If we did, we would be assured that through Christ we have access to everything He wants to do in and through us.
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