Jonathan Goforth was born on 10th February 1859 in London, Ontario.
His mother was a devout Christian who taught him how to pray, read and memorize scripture from an early age. Theirs was a humble family — his father sometimes had to walk a long distance to get food for the family.
"In all things seek to know God's Will and when known obey at any cost." ~ Jonathan Goforth
Despite the difficult circumstances, Jonathan managed to keep up with his education while at the same time working on the farm each year between the months of April and October. At the age of 15, he was given the responsibility of being in charge of the family land, which happened to be 20 miles away from the farm where they lived.
His father was well pleased with the good work that he did taking care of the farm.
He completed high school at the age of 18 and came under Reg Lachlan Cameron, who was a minister of the gospel. One day he attended Rev. Cameron's Church, and the Word of God ministered to him at the point of his need. He was brought to conviction and gave his life to Christ.
"Seek each day to do or say something to further Christianity among the heathen." ~ Jonathan Goforth
He became an active growing Christian and started giving out tracts to people inviting them to come to church.
Later he began a Sunday evening service in an old schoolhouse not very far from his home and started the practice of family worship. He prayed earnestly for his father's salvation, and not long after that, his father publicly gave his life to the Lord.
Challenges in His Early Christian Life
His early Christian life was not an easy one as he was mocked and jeered by both his fellow students and some of the teachers. This pushed him to spend a lot of time in the word of God, and as a result, his faith was firmly established.
With time, Jonathan's classmates and teacher were brought back to the ways of God. The Memoirs of Robert Murray M'Cheyne also had a powerful impact on Jonathan's life.
"Seek to give much -- expect nothing." ~ Jonathan Goforth
One day he attended a meeting where George L. Mackay of Formosa spoke about the need to reach the heathen world with the gospel. He said how he had been going around seeking missionary reinforcement but had found none. As Jonathan heard this, he was so moved and captivated and right away decided to become a foreign missionary.
Not long after, he left his home to go to Knox Christian College in Toronto. His reception there was not as good, and he was humiliated because of the clothes he was wearing. But this did not kill the desire in him to take the gospel to the needy around him.
He ministered continuously in the jails and homes in the slums. Later the students of Knox College sent him as a missionary to China.
"Who am I that I should urge these missionaries to confess their sins in public, when, for all I know, they may be living nearer to God than I am? The Spirit of God does not need me to act as His detective." ~ Jonathan Goforth
This demonstrates the power of his Christian character. At one point, as college was opening, the principal asked him how many homes he had visited during the summer vacations, and he said 960.
He was able to lead very many souls to Christ. Many are the times that he would walk long distances in order to bring one soul to Christ. He would go to any length to share the word with sinners, including entering salons, brothels, etc. Most of those who knew him closely said, "He walked in the power of the Holy Spirit."
Marriage Life and Ministry in China
During his missionary work in Toronto, he met Rosalind Bell-Smith, who was Episcopalian. She was born again and also longed to live a life of service to God.
Not long from their first meeting, they got married in 1887.
Goforth also visited many churches to talk with them ab out and get support towards missionary work in China. His desire and fire for missions melted thousands. In 1888, Jonathan and Rosalind sailed to China under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church of Canada.
"If revival is being withheld from us it is because some idol remains still enthroned; because we still insist in placing our reliance in human schemes; because we still refuse to face the unchangeable truth that ...‘
It is not by might, but by My Spirit’." ~ Jonathan Goforth
They first settled at Chefoo, and his appointed co-worker, James Frazer Smith, was able to join him a few months later. Within two weeks of Smith's arrival, Goforth and Smith began to tour the North Honan region of China, where they intended to work, and took time to assess the entire region.
Together they traveled over 1,200 miles during their 2½ month tour and observed the Chinese in their home environment. By December of that year, more missionaries arrived, and within no time, they had four workers busy translating and preaching.
Goforth was very successful in planting Churches and was greatly associated with revival among Korean Christians in the early 1900 and with the revival in Manchuria in 1909. Presbyterians, however, dismissed him; and Goforth, Rosalind, and their five children became missionary gypsies, preaching across China with no fixed abode.
Never let a day pass without at least a quarter of an hour spent in the study of the Bible ~ Jonathan Goforth
The Goforth's will be remembered as extraordinary people who did extraordinary work for God in China.
Contact us today at Westside Bible Chapel through our website contact form or send us a message on our Facebook page.
The most important and power component of our lives is the mind. The mind (our thinking) determines who we are, and also how we perceive ourselves. Scripture brings out this very powerful truth in the following scriptures:
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…(Proverbs 23:7)
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (Deuteronomy 30:19)
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent (Change your way of thinking), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (Matthew 4:17)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)
Here’s a good example about the children of Israel in Numbers 13:30-33. They perceived themselves as inferior.
Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we." And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."
Paul in Romans 12 admonishes us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds to that we can be able to prove what is good, acceptable and perfect will of God for us and our lives.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2)
So how then do we go about renewing our mind? Here are 5 ways to help us renew our minds.
1. Seek to know what God thinks (says) about you
Starting with knowing what God thinks about you. Scripture in Jeremiah 29:11 tells us clearly that God has good thoughts towards us. Thoughts of peace and not evil, to give us a future and a hope. God has also told us that:
2. Consciously and deliberately determine the thoughts you want to have
We have to deliberately replace the enemy’s lies with the truth that is in the Word of God.
What thoughts do you have of yourself, life, the future? The Bible says, as we think in our hearts, so are we.
3. Put away destructive and negative thoughts
Paul tell us that we are to engage the act of our will which means we have to fight spiritually against these thoughts.
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 (2 Corinthians 10:5-6)
4. Replace negative and evil thoughts with good ones
What you put away has to be replaced with something new and better.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8
5. Confess what you believe and not what you feel
There is power in speaking the truth of God – in speaking to ourselves or proclaiming it out loud. Scripture says faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God.
Listening to God’s Word – even when we are the ones speaking it renews our mind to God’s promises and purpose for our lives.
Just remember that when your mind is renewed then your life will change. Your life tends to follow your mind.
If you want to know more about how to renew your mind, you can talk to us. Contact us through a contact form on our website Westside Bible Chapel or through our Facebook Page.
The Word of God is full of scriptures that testify to the power of spoken words. If we were to start our journey in Genesis, God demonstrates this by how He created all that we see in the world from nothing (No physical matter, or raw materials) but just by saying ‘Let there be and there was’.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:1-3, 11-12)
We are created in the image and likeness of God. It is no wonder then that most of the scriptures that talk about the tongue and the power it has.
We see people in the Bible who were able to speak blessings or curses on their children and those words coming to pass as they were actually spoken.
In Genesis, we see Jacob speaking over each of his children as He was about to die and everything that he said comes to pass.
It is important that we first understand the source of what we say or what comes out of our mouth (tongue):
Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34)
This scripture brings out clearly that the state or condition of our hearts determines what will come out of our mouths or what we will say. Our tongues therefore can either produce life or death according to Proverbs 18:21
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
What is it about what we say that carries death or life? The Bible teaches us that our speech is either true or a lie, sweet or bitter.
When we speak truth and sweetness, we are conveying truth that is alive to others. If they intake those truths, it will be life to them. In contrast, when our speech is bitter and false, it only drags the hearer down spiritually and physically (death).
With this background, we would like look at how we can fill our tongues with life:
1. Fill our Hearts with the Word of God by Reading, Meditating and Memorizing It
By doing so, the Word of God becomes the life that we speak with our mouths. In the book of James Chapter 3, the Bible says that ‘No human being can tame the tongue?’
We cannot tame our tongues to speak life without God’s help. By immersing ourselves in the Word, we are filled with the life-giving words of God.
David understood the value of hiding the word of God in His heart and that is why he says:
Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (Psalms 119:11)
2. Diligently Guard our Hearts and Continuously Praise God
What we allow in our hearts will have an effect in what comes out of our mouths as we see in:
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. (Proverbs 4:23-24)
The Word of God also says we are to offer God praise through our lips.
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15)
3. Let the Spirit Direct Our Thoughts to Positive and Right
Our thoughts have a powerful effect in what we say and that is why this scripture tells us what we should think about. When we think the right things, they will find their way to our tongues.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
4. Ask the Lord to Set a Guard over our Mouths
Lastly, with self-control as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, we need to guard the words of mouth to keep ourselves from destructive actions and calamity and instead speak life.
Proverbs 21:23 says “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.”
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” – Proverbs 12:18
We also need to depend on the Lord by dedicating our hearts and tongues to Him so that we can be led to say the right things will go a long way in helping us to become a source of life through the words we speak.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. (Psalms 19:14)
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalms 141:3)
May God help us become a conduit of His life-giving words as we speak to others each day.
Contact us if you want to know more about God and how you can speak life into every aspect of your life with God’s Word. Use the contact form on our website Westside Bible Chapel or through our Facebook Page.