Category: Women’s Ministry
Tonight is the night for our time together; to eat cake, to share in friendship, old and new; and to study together in Scripture what it is to Bear with One Another aka Be Patient with One Another in our ongoing One Anothering Series this school year. Sharon Durant will be leading us, along with Anne Holmes. So, don’t miss it! Bring a friend and get ready for a rich evening!
WHERE: Corsham Baptist Church Hall
WHEN: Monday, 24 April
TIME: 7:30 PM
Patient. It’s not a word that describes me best! And unfortunately, it is those who are nearest and dearest to me who know it all too well. Don’t get me wrong, I can keep my cool to a certain extent, but then I have a definite ‘snapping’ point and all too easily, I lose it. Since having my little boy I’ve learned SO much about my inability to be patient; two year olds have a marvellous way of pushing all the right buttons to reveal our true colours! Sometimes in the evening when I reflect back over the day’s happenings, I feel shame and guilt that my sin has impacted my parenting. What does the Bible have to say about patience in bearing with one another? What do I need to learn?
Firstly, God’s character gives us the blueprint to follow. Psalm 103 (one of my favourites) says “The LORD is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love” (v8, NLT). Mercy means to have patience and a forgiving disposition towards someone who is in your power; God is patient with us and He is always ready to forgive us when we turn to Him. Secondly, we are commanded to be patient! In amongst lots of advice for the young church in Thessalonica, Paul instructs the new believers to “be patient with one another” (1 Thess 5v14) in preparing for Christ’s return; he doesn’t give any exclusions like ‘if you feel like it’ or ‘in certain situations’ or ‘only if the other person is worth being patient for’! Simply, we must be patient with everyone. Another Bible passage that comes to mind is where the fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5 (v22-23). As Christians, we know if we are truly seeking to grow in our walk with God and are committed to learning and changing to become more like Jesus, the Holy Spirit will enable us to cultivate these Christ-like character traits in our hearts and lives. But how does this happen?
I want to share a little testimony to God’s goodness. In the last six months God has been working in my life in a way I have never known before. A very dear lady has been investing her time and energy in praying with me, encouraging me and holding me accountable for my personal prayer life, Bible study and other areas too. It has been amazing that our series on ‘One-Anothering’ has coincided with this time and I have been able to relate very personally to all the areas we’ve covered! My walk with God, my anxiety levels, how I make choices, my marriage and even how I parent have all been impacted.
I can see that as I seek to be more Christ-like and I daily commit myself to God, the Holy Spirit prompts me and I feel his ‘nudging’ in the moments when my patience is draining and anger is rising. If I am truly in step with Him, it is far easier to feel the nudge and act upon it; I ask God for immediate help in a quick prayer, I think about what I say before I say it, and I remember God’s kindness and mercy to me before I deal with my son.
I am still definitely not getting it right all the time, and I can tell when I am not in step with the Spirit and I have to repent, but I am so glad to be a work in progress (Phil 1v6) and thankful to God for his goodness in how he ‘giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater’ as the old hymn says. If He extends His grace and His mercy to us, day by day and moment by moment, how much more should we be bearing with one another with patience, kindness and gentleness in response?
Several years ago I auditioned for a wonderful mixed-voice choir in Bath. I joined the alto section, and was soon totally immersed in the wonder of seventy-plus different voices uniting together to make one magnificent ‘wall of sound.’
I learned that achieving true harmony required great diligence, patience, humility, and trust between a group of singers all pursuing the same goal – to produce a beautiful sound. It often meant singing monotonous lines (ask any alto) and allowing others to shine. It meant following the conductor carefully and sticking accurately to my part, even when those on either side were singing entirely different notes. But when true choral harmony was achieved, it touched not only those singing, but everyone listening as well.
Living in harmony with one another in everyday life isn’t too different from musical harmony. For most of us it’s a target that requires just as much practise, trust and humility, but like musical harmony, it’s worth fighting for. Like musical harmony it produces joy and life in those who pursue it, and touches those around them.
Ladies, we are not called to sing our song alone. We may feel the part our heavenly conductor has given us to sing is small, monotonous or insignificant, but without it the sound we produce together is weakened and less effective.
Romans 15:5-6 (Message Bible) says: “May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir – not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus.”
Okay, so I feel I am getting the hang of this one anothering thing now, I just need to gather a group of people around me, pray for them, encourage them, forgive them and love them. I can manage this. So I’ll do what I usually do; find people like me who I have lots in common with: so 35-45, married with kids, working women. Then we will know where one another is coming from and muddle through together.
NO!! This is not the biblical model, this is the world’s model as well as my default. Hence I have running friends, school mum friends, doctor friends – but the bible holds a challenge to this.
What is the point of biblical friendship and one anothering? It is to point one another to Christ and build up His church. Being surrounded with people who are at the same point as you might feel comfortable but is not where the Bible tells us to go for support and for the challenges that help us grow.
The Bible encourages inter-generational friendship, older women to teach younger women; younger women to energise or bring fresh eyes to older women.
At the moment I feel I sit in the middle (which is not the same as being middle aged!!), so I have wonderful older/wiser (the two often go together but not always) women who speak wisdom into my life challenging me to be self controlled and kind. I also meet with younger (in age or in faith) women whom I try to encourage and support.
3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
It is in sharing the journey even though we are at different point that we can : Proverbs 27:17: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Older women can share their story with me and point out areas where I can increase my maturity and challenge me to live life to the fullest as God has called me. With younger women I can share the tough seasons, be it young babies, or new married life and encourage as each new stage is reached. With single women I can rejoice at the freedom this allows them to do God’s work or mourn if this is not the place they want to be. We all have stories of God’s love we can share with one another to encourage and burdens we can share and pray through together.
Remember though, water may only flow downhill God’s love and grace flows in all directions so sometimes it is the younger women who challenge and the older ones who need support. All seasons have their ups and downs and we need each other through all of them.
So next time you reach out to someone try taking a risk and choosing someone in a completely different place to you and trust God will work through that relationship and mightily bless you both.
“My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more”
I’ve had these two lines of the hymn stuck in my head for about a month now. Yesterday, while humming it over and over on a two-hour car journey, the penny finally dropped. The whole of my sin is nailed to the cross. I’m not waiting for God to condemn me about the way I shouted at the children on Tuesday, or the lies I’ve told, or even the public theft of a traffic cone I committed in my youth. I bear this no more. The weight of my sin does not crush me anymore. I can approach God without fear and hold my head up at church because Christ has paid for my sin.
Now – I know this is a fundamental Gospel point and since I’ve been a Christian for quite a few years now, and I’m a pastor’s wife, I probably should have grasped this truth before. But it struck me as quite amazing; the whole of my sin is paid for.
Every day I add more sin to my load, and wonder whether I would still be accepted in church because of the weight of my sin. But what a fabulous truth: the grace of God is huge and has paid for the whole of my sin.
What about the grace I am shown at church?
What about the grace I show to others at church?
I’m only just cottoning on to the truth about God’s forgiveness. I’m still learning and I need grace. I need to show some grace to my sisters in Christ, because they’re still learning, too.
So bear with me, girls — I’m still a learner.
Bear with me – I still can’t believe God’s love for me.
Bear with me – My old self is dying slowly and painfully.
Bear with me – I often use my words carelessly and thoughtlessly.
Bear with me – I still regularly trip up.
Bear with me – I need you to point out my grace-less-ness.
Bear with me – I’m a work in progress and God isn’t finished with me yet.
Bear with me, and I’ll try to bear with you, because I know God hasn’t finished with you yet, either.
Bear with me, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
Listening is one aspect of carrying one another’s burdens. James 1:19 says this: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
I came across a thought provoking article on Good Listening by David Mathis-Desiring God.”Sustained, active listening is a great act of faith, and a great means of grace, both for ourselves and for others in the fellowship.” He goes on to say, “Good listening goes hand in hand with the mindset of Christ (Philippians 2:5). It flows from a humble heart that counts others more significant than ourselves. It looks not only to its own interests, but also the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4) It is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4)” (To read the whole article, go to:http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/six-lessons-in-good-listening)
I know that this is one area of carrying the burdens of one another which can be practiced and improved in my life to please God and love my sisters in Christ.
How about you?
Next Monday is our bible study in the church hall at 7:30. Hope your study buddy together time is going well!
When I first heard this month’s topic, I thought “That’s very straight-forward, I’m always happy to help others out. Bake a cake for an occasion, give someone a lift, pick something up from a shop. No problem!”
However, as time went on the penny dropped. Through the Holy Spirit’s prompting, God gave me a hard prod. “Bear one another’s burdens,” goes both ways was the message I was getting. That sent my thoughts into a spin “What?!? But I’m fine, I don’t need any help, I’ve got it all under control.”
This was of course exactly God’s point. Of course I don’t have it all sorted. My life is as crazy and messy as everyone else’s but let anyone help me, never mind ask for help? Now there is a challenge.
It is an issue that we face every day: how I can share my life and grow deeper in fellowship if I don’t let anyone close enough to help me?
Worse, if I act like this to people, how much more do I show this in my relationship to God? So that is me – total control freak – and that is totally unbiblical. Is living life this way saying “Not my will but Yours Lord be done?” Is it a life of depending on God and resting in his love and peace? NO!
So when I know it is wrong and it is an exhausting way to live why do I continue with it? On reflection, I think the answers are fear and pride.
Fear that if I’m not doing everything and getting it right then God won’t accept me. Let alone anyone else. And pride/shame of what people will think if I’m not coping.
You see, I know I am an unworthy sinner who will forever fall short of God’s standards but do I also know that through Christ. As the song goes, “I am forgiven and there is nothing to pay” (Sam Bailey Forgiven). I do know it, but I don’t live it as I need to. I need to trust that God loves me just as I am and nothing I do makes him love me any more or any less and trust He will help me by his Spirit or through his people the church.
So let’s make a start on this challenge shall we? Start with just really hearing one another. Bearing one another’s burdens can be as simple as just actively listening to where people are honestly at.
So next time I tell you I’m fine, poke me! Remind me that you know I’m only just clinging on with my finger tips like everyone else. Point out that being honest for 5 minutes and letting you see where I really am won’t bring the sky crashing down and then accept the challenge and be ready to be open back!!
“So we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” 1 Thessalonians 1:8 NIV
Hi Sister Bloggers!
We are considering “carrying each other’s burdens,” this month. Okay, so are you gazing through glazed eyes at all the vast lists of all that needs to be done while trying to read this? Ironing, reports to file, carpet to hoover, accidents to clean up, overdue phone calls and appointments, carpooling here, there and everywhere….. I can hear you! “Really Kathy, it is great on paper. But please!!!!!!! Enough on my plate! Really can’t share my life at the moment!”
I can commiserate with the best of you in all “our stuff” that is always there in our line of vision. Many of you have little ones and husbands you would like to stay acquainted with….Understand. However, as you are taking a deep breath, hear me out. We must challenge our inner tendency to live our lives in isolation, self reliance, checklists, and self justification. As God’s girls, to carry one another’s burdens is not something which is drudgery. It is a lifestyle given from our Lord as the law of His love. And it goes both directions.
You know, burden bearing is very similar to disciple making. I read this morning that “it is costly because it demands continuously giving — giving time, giving energy, giving attention, taking initiative, making sacrifices, facing opposition, losing privacy, embracing obscurity, even shedding tears. Carrying each other’s burdens means sharing our own selves (1 Thessalonians 2:8), gladly spending and being spent for the souls of others (2 Corinthians 12:15). It means giving, giving, giving.”
The above quote is to encourage you sister; not to lay a heavy yoke on you that you are not able to carry. Our Lord gives us everything we need to live for Him!!!!(Matt. 11:28-30) So, I am praying for you “That from God’s unlimited, glorious resources, He would empower you with INNER STRENGTH through His Spirit.” (Eph 3:16) I am praying for YOUR INNER STRENGTH-to fulfil today’s tasks, to cope with today’s challenges, to bring Christ’s love into someone’s life, to make right choices -choices and priorities that will honour God and build your character; to see life through the lens of Christ, to carry each other’s burdens. And watch what God does in and through you as He answers this prayer!
We are called to be Jesus’ hands and feet; as we grow in HIS love and grace, we want to look more and more like the MESSENGER. And girls, when we give from the source of STRENGTH which the HOLY SPIRIT empowers us with through GOD’S POWER, there is reward! There is enabling. There is desire. There is growth. Love and unity and peace will be flying all around! It will invade us and overflow, spilling over into each other’s lives while a hurting, “desperate to find purpose” world watches on.
So hold on sister, living for Christ is an adventure as you share your life with others!
Ever, only all for Him!