How Should We Repond to God in This Process? by K P. Yohannan

Hebrews 3:15 says, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” This verse tells us that when God works in our lives and speaks to us, we have a choice. Will we choose to soften our hearts to His work in us, or will we harden our hearts to Him and the circumstances He is allowing?

In fact, it is possible for us as believers to have a tender heart for a season, but then slowly turn and allow our hearts to become hard. This is a scary place to be. We can go years before we really begin to recognize the symptoms.

But the Lord will not just let us go. He will allow circumstances to pound us so our hearts will once again become soft and pliable. The people of Israel are the perfect example of this. Just think of how many times God allowed them to face famines, hardships, oppression, defeat and captivity in order to soften their hearts and help them return to Him!

How should we respond to God in this process? We should yield to His work and not make it more difficult for Him. The Enemy works constantly to lure us to the place in which we harden our hearts. It must be our highest priority  to keep our hearts with all diligence (see Proverbs 4:23). No matter how long we’ve traveled or how soft our hearts are right now, we have the choice just around the corner to allow either blessings or trials to harden our hearts. That’s why Proverbs says “with all diligence.” Keeping our hearts will not happen casually.

What are some of the potholes we may run into along the way?

Out of all the temptations, I believe the worst is having an elevated view of ourselves. Whether it is something significant we did for the kingdom or an area in which we feel superior, we can easily slip into feeling important and not recognize that our hearts are filled with pride, arrogance and an exalted view of ourselves.

We must remind ourselves that all the gifts, talents and ministry we have are given to us by the Lord. It’s all God’s grace. Look for opportunities to humble yourself. Choose to submit to one another (see Ephesians 5:21) and lay down your own preferences for the sake of others. Don’t fight for your rights, and be willing to give up something. Grace is given to those who are humble (see James 4:6), not to those who are right or feel indispensable.

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.

The Potter by K. P. Yohannan

When I was a boy, growing up in India, I often went to a potter’s house near my high school. I was fascinated watching him make clay vessels. During those visits, I never saw the potter take a hardened lump of clay and put it on his wheel to make something out of it. He, like every other potter in the world, used only soft and tender clay to work with. So does God!

The prophet Jeremiah tells us that God is like a potter and His people are the clay that He wants to form into a beautiful vessel. In order to accomplish this, God looks for soft and pliable hearts.

Man measures the quality and usefulness of a person by his education, ability and expertise. Yet God determines a person’s true value by the condition of his or her heart:

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, niv).

I used to watch that same potter soften the clay. Day after day he would pour water on it and pound it thoroughly until it became soft. It took God 20 long years of “pouring and pounding” until Jacob’s heart became soft enough. Moses needed 40 years of desert life to become the meekest man on earth (see Numbers 12:3, kjv), who could then lead Israel out of Egypt.

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.

Acceptable to God by KP Yohannan

Why aren’t our thoughts as believers in Jesus automatically in alignment with God’s thoughts? The Apostle Paul explains that our natural mind is always in opposition to God and what He thinks: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).

You see, when we were born again, our spirit was regenerated by the Holy Spirit, but the house is still the same. That means our body and our mind, left to themselves, will continue in their old ways. That’s why the Bible tells us clearly what we must do to bring both of them into subjection to God: “ . . . that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. . . . And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1–2).

It is our responsibility, not God’s, to get our mind renewed. How? We renew our minds by changing our entire thought process through God’s Word.

Naaman the Syrian first had to align his thinking with the word of God spoken to him by the prophet Elisha before he could receive God’s answer to his problem.

We too must make the same decision. If we want to see victory over the sin with which we struggle, our families saved, our needs met and this world won to Christ in our lifetime, we must consciously choose to abandon all our own natural (and even religious) thoughts and begin to think God’s thoughts. All things are possible with God if we believe—as God thinks.

Believe Him!

This entry was written by KP 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.

Abandon our Thoughts by K. P. Yohannan

Isaiah 55:6–11 gives us a clear picture of how much the Living God wants to abundantly pardon, bless us, answer our prayers and fulfill His wonderful promises. But those who come to Him must give up one thing: their own thoughts. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him” (Isaiah 55:7).

In the following verses, God gives us the reason why it is so important for us to give up our own thoughts: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’ ” (Isaiah 55:8–9).

Then God goes on explaining that His Word (or His thoughts) works just as the rain and the snow that come down from heaven and bring forth fruit: “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

The whole message God wants to tell us is that if we want to experience God, we must first abandon our thoughts and then start thinking His.

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.

The Key to Christ’s Humility by K.P. Yohannan

A well-known preacher flies into town for a citywide crusade. He expects to be greeted at the airport by a delegation of prestigious individuals. Instead, an old taxi driver holding a piece of cardboard with the preacher’s name misspelled waits at baggage claim and then drops him off at a second-class hotel. The room is small, the bed uncomfortable, the service lousy, and there is not even a fruit basket or welcome note. When no one calls or takes him out to dinner, he feels deeply offended and says to himself, “How dare they treat me like this? Don’t they know who I am? They don’t deserve my ministry. That’s the last time I’m coming to this place.”

The next morning, however, all his honor and good fortunes are quickly restored after the organizers discover that their guest speaker had become a victim of miscommunication.

Could it be that this incident was not an unfortunate mixup, but rather the Lord testing His servant’s humility? After all, He had sent this man to represent Himself, the Christ of the New Testament. And in the Gospels, we see so clearly that Jesus was genuinely humble in His dealings with others.

What was the key to Christ’s humility? It was deeply rooted in His understanding and accepting the truth that the greatest glory in heaven and on earth is to be the servant of all. That’s the reason why prophetic passages like Isaiah 53 portray Him as a servant, and Psalm 40:8 describes Him saying: “I delight to do Your will, O my God.”

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.

Belief in God and His Goodness by K. P. Yohannan

But if we stop believing in God and His goodness, we are without a safety rope and have no way to climb out of our pit.

Charles Templeton had lost that critical safety rope—his belief in God and His goodness. Without it, he could not get back on the road to recovery. I believe that just as with Peter, Jesus is not necessarily praying to the Father that you will not fail, but that in the midst of it your faith will not fail. God doesn’t want you to forget His faithfulness.

Although God will not prevent you from failure, He will ensure that Satan won’t test you to the point of ruin, just as He did with Peter. You see, today Jesus is interceding for you (see Romans 8:34).

All of us must remember this truth that even when we are unfaithful, He remains faithful (see 2 Timothy 2:13). God’s goodness and love toward us will never change. “Put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption” (Psalm 130:7).

So even when all seems dark and hopeless, I too pray that your faith will not falter. Even when all emotions and feelings dry up, hang on by faith, knowing that His love toward you is constant, as sure as the rising sun.

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.

2 Corinthians 10:5 by K.P. Yohannan

Also, we need to be sure to guard our minds against wandering thoughts.

Do you ever find that when somebody is praying and you start entering into prayer, all of a sudden your focus is gone? Your brain is on what happened during the day or some other random thought. But some­how, just before the end of the prayer, you snap back. You’re able to say, “Amen,” as though you were fully alert through the whole prayer. Somehow, right after someone starts praying, within two or three sentences, I can be gone if I don’t harness my thoughts. There are so many concerns, so much to do, so many calls I need to make that I can quickly lose focus in prayer. The enemy seeks to distract us like that so the promise “if two of you agree” (see Matthew 18:19) will be defeated.

Second Corinthians 10:5 speaks of this battle for our thoughts. It says, “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Thousands of times my thoughts wander away in prayer. Maybe I am discouraged or depressed. Maybe I am thinking about what to do next. Many times I fail miserably. But then somehow, by God’s grace, I’m able to catch hold of what is happening. Through the blood of Jesus and the Word, we can defeat the enemy and bring our thoughts into captivity. But we must be on the alert, ready to harness those thoughts and bring them into captivity to obey Christ.

In prayer meetings, be sure to let liberty reign.

We should have freedom to be the people God has created us to be. We should have freedom to express His thoughts with the emotion He gives us.

I remember attending a prayer meeting in South Korea a couple of years ago. I’d like to go back to Korea just for that experience again. Their culture is particularly a shame-culture; that is, they do not want to do any­thing to bring shame upon themselves or their family. But when it comes to prayer, these people are completely unashamed. They cry out to God in their loudest voice, with streams of tears running down every face.

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.

A Nation Asleep in Bondage by K. P. Yohannan

Religion, I discovered, is a multi-billion dollar business in the United States. Entering churches, I was astonished at the carpeting, furnishings, air-conditioning and ornamentation. Many churches have gymnasiums and fellowships that cater to a busy schedule of activities having little or nothing to do with Christ. The orchestras, choirs, “special” music—and sometimes even the preaching—seemed to me more like entertainment than worship.

Many North American Christians live isolated from reality—not only from the needs of the poor overseas, but even from the poor in their own cities. Amidst all the affluence live millions of terribly poor people left behind as Christians have moved into the suburbs. I found that believers are ready to get involved in almost any activity that looks spiritual but allows them to escape their responsibility to the Gospel.

One morning, for example, I picked up a popular Christian magazine containing many interesting articles, stories and reports from all over the world—most written by famous Christian leaders in the West. I noticed that this magazine offered ads for 21 Christian colleges, seminaries and correspondence courses; 5 different English translations of the Bible; 7 conferences and retreats; 5 new Christian films; 19 commentaries and devotional books; 7 Christian health or diet programs; and 5 fund-raising services.

But that was not all. There were ads for all kinds of products and services: counseling, chaplaincy services, writing courses, church steeples, choir robes, wall crosses, baptisteries and water heaters, T-shirts, records, tapes, adoption agencies, tracts, poems, gifts, book clubs and pen pals. It was all rather impressive. Probably none of these things were wrong in themselves, but it bothered me that one nation should have such spiritual luxury while 40,000 people were dying in my homeland every day without hearing the Gospel even once.

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.

The Beauty That Comes by K. P. Yohannan

In the ancient town of Bethany there lived a woman, whose story we read in Mark 14:3–9. One evening she traveled to the house of Simon the leper, because she had heard that Jesus was there. She came seeking to do one thing—to pour out her costly perfume to Jesus. “A woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head” (v. 3).

Please notice that Scripture does not say she came and poured out two or three drops and then closed the flask and went home. She did not pour out half of the contents and then decide that was enough. No. She broke it. All the contents were poured out as the vessel was broken and the entire area was filled with fragrance.

My brothers and sisters, the Lord desires the same for us, for these earthen vessels, these jars of clay, to be thoroughly broken before Him, that Christ within may come flowing out in all His beauty, making our lives a blessing to all those around us.

Inner Transformation

When we come to the place at which we experience this brokenness, we begin to change within, in our character. The climate of our heart changes and we start to daily walk in repentance. There’s no more defending ourselves and the things we’ve done. There is no more shifting blame and saying, “It’s my nerves, the circumstances. You don’t know what I have to live with! I only reacted. It’s my weakness. It’s my DNA from my great-grandfather.” None of these things is left. We simply say, like the prodigal son, “I have done wrong; I have sinned.”

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.

May Your Faith Not Fail by K. P. Yohannan

Jesus sat eating the Last Supper with His disciples, sharing His final words with them hours before He was to be seized, brought to trial and crucified. In this setting, He turned to Peter and said, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31–32).

Jesus knew Peter was going to deny Him. I find it interesting that His prayer was not that Peter wouldn’t fail. Jesus did not seem as concerned about Peter failing as He was that his faith would not fail.

Why was our Lord more concerned about Peter’s faith than his failure?

Our faith in God and in His goodness is the safety rope that pulls us out of whatever pit in which we find ourselves. If we believe God and believe He is good, no matter where we are, that safety rope will get us out. Even when contrary to the feelings of the moment, simply affirming with conviction, “I believe You, God. I believe that You are good,” will get us on the road again.

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.