4 Building Blocks for Successful Discipleship-part 3-Bearing the Burdens

This installment in the Invest series is the third building block for successful discipleship- bearing the burdens. The first installment was simply titled Invest , the second was Invest-part 2, the third was 4 Building Blocks to Successful Discipleship-part 1-Be an Example, and the fourth was part 2-Build the Relationship.

I’m definitely not an expert on the subject, I don’t have it all figured out, and I have so much to learn.  The tips and tools I’m sharing in this bible study series on biblical discipleship have been born out of a lot of mistakes and failures, and a few successes.

Everything is a learning experience if you let it be.  Discipleship thus far has been a blessing, even when it was heartbreaking and hard.

~Galatians 6:2~ Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Bear means to carry, to take up, to lift off of someone.  A burden is heaviness, weight, trouble, and a load.  Some examples of things that commonly weigh women down are:

  • Finances
  • Relationships
  • Emotions
  • Work/school/sports
  • Sin

So far the blog post that has gotten the most comments on is From Worry to Worship~ Shifting your focus from the “What ifs” to “What is”.  A lot of women carry that burden of worry on their shoulders and need the help of a sober minded woman to learn how to turn that worry into worship.  

Bearing the burdens in discipleship is:

CounselingDiscipleship is a lot of counseling. Yes, you are teaching them the word of God, and training them how to walk with God, but you are also walking beside them as they go through life.

The two main things to remember when counseling:

  • Listen more than you speak- Proverbs 18:13~ He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.  Don’t try to give counsel before hearing what is exactly going on in their lives.  Let them share what’s on their heart.  Ask questions to get to what the real burden is.  That is one way you’re going to lift that off of them.

~Proverbs 17:28~ Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

There’s a time to give advice, and there’s a time to just listen.

Think of the example of Job’s friends when he lost everything.  They sat silent and mourned with him for the first seven days (Job 2:11-13).  Then Job finally speaks of his misery and in chapter 4:2, Eliphaz says “who can withhold himself from speaking?” and begins to let Job know why he thinks Job’s in that predicament.

A lot of what these friends said to him was truth, but not true of Job’s situation, nor was it necessary or helpful.  They didn’t have the knowledge that Satan was tempting Job to blaspheme God.  We don’t have full knowledge of everything going on in another woman’s life either, so run it through that filter- is it kind, helpful or necessary?

  • Leave them with wise counsel- They really don’t need our opinion, or advice, they need help bearing those burdens with counsel from the word of God. Proverbs 19:21~ There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

This is where being familiar with your bible is essential. You need to know the scriptures that address the specific burden they have.

You may feel ill-equipped to do this.  I’m going to help get tools in your hand to be able to be more confident in this area, by providing a how to study the bible series in the future.  But you have to remember that in that position of feeling inadequate to minister to someone else, is exactly where God wants you.

Rely on the Holy Spirit’s leading. He knows exactly what they need to hear, so if you are in tune with the Spirit and following his direction, you’ll be giving wise counsel.  Before every discipleship session or before you answer any text or phone call, pray that the Spirit would give you direction.

If it’s a situation that’s pretty serious and over your head, don’t be ashamed to tell them that.  Direct them to your trusted counselor or someone you know has a testimony of godliness and wisdom that could help.  We don’t have all the answers, but God’s word does and he has placed skilled counselors within the body for this exact reason.

So prayerfully, and with the Spirit’s leading, share with them wise counsel from the word or help them get the help they need.  The next key component to bearing burdens is to have:

Compassion

  • Love them like Jesus- My favorite example of having compassion is the story Jesus tells in Luke 10:25-37, about the good Samaritan. He had compassion on him, dressed his wounds, gave him his ride, took care of him, and provided for his financial need to get the recuperation he needed.

To fulfill the law of Christ is to love your neighbor as yourself, like the good Samaritan did. Sometimes we need to help bear their burdens physically by providing material needs to help lift their financial burden a little.  Maybe we need to babysit for them to give them a little break.  Or go to the funeral when their loved one dies.  Organize meals for them when they need it.

~1Peter 3:8~ Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.     

  • Lead them to the Lord-  Matthew 11:28-30- Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Some people are carrying around a burden of guilt, shame, and sin, and need to be brought to the Lord for salvation.

Sharing the good news of the gospel lifts those burdens. That’s loving them, and having compassion and care for their soul.

Casting those cares on Christ

  • Lift them to the Lord- Pray for them! Jesus is really the one who bears all of our burdens.  We can’t hang on to them, we have to lift them off of our disciple or friend, and lift them right up to Jesus.

Lift them up to the throne of grace so they can obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. You may be the only one praying for them.

  • Lead them to the throne- In the last point you are praying, in this one you teach them how to do it themselves. Always be setting the example for your disciple and training them how to walk through the trials of life with the Lord.Teach them how to cast their cares on Christ, so they will eventually go straight to him to bear their burdens instead of to you.

When we bear the burdens in discipleship by counseling, with compassion, and casting the cares on Christ, we minister in a way that changes lives. When we minister like Jesus did, we can know the blessing of fruit that remains.

~Romans 15:1~ We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

Proper Perspective

~Psalm 101:2~ I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

David, the king of Israel, a man after God’s own heart, a lover of the word, and a passionate pursuer of God’s glory, wrote those words. He was concerned about his behavior and his heart as he walked within his house.

That prompts me to examine my own heart and behavior in the home.

As a homeschooling, babysitting, blogging, writing, cleaning, cooking, shopping, chauffeuring, praying, stay at home mom- I die daily.

I have to.

I can’t chase after my own plan and dreams and forsake the needs of those that God has entrusted me with caring for.

When the day goes opposite of my agenda, and I feel so very unproductive, I can respond with peace and joy, or in frustration and anger. I don’t always get it right. The difference is where my mind and will is at.

I have to surrender my day to the Lord and pray for the right heart attitude to serve these precious people with humility. And I have to be intentional to put my mind on  three things:

1) It’s worth it! Whatever you have to give up, or put on hold, to minister to the souls God puts in your life, it’s totally worth it. Jesus is worthy, and the eternal rewards for a faithful and fruitful woman definitely outweigh the temporal sacrifices.

~Colossians 3:24~ Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

2) Your labor is not in vain! You may not see the fruit of your time, talent, treasures, or truth, this side of heaven, but God’s word doesn’t return void, it accomplishes what He wills it to. What you’re doing today matters!

~1Corinthians 15:58~ Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

3) This is just for a season! Before you know it your kids will be grown and gone, your house will be quiet and clean, and you’ll ache for those babies to be back in your arms. Enjoy the season you’re in!

~Ecclesiastes 3:1~ To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

So when it feels like they’re pushing you to the brink of exhaustion or insanity, and your to-do list gets buried under homeschool or homework, be intentional to think on those three things- It’s worth it, It’s not in vain, and It’s just for a season! 

Even if you’re not in the exact same situation as me, I know you can relate. Dying to self is something we all are called to do.

~Luke 9:23~ And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Dying to self daily is painful, but necessary in the sanctification process as God conforms us to the image of Christ.

Praise the Lord we don’t have to try to do it on our own. God supplies the grace, peace, joy, and strength that we need to lay aside our will to follow his.  His Spirit within us provides the power to obey his word and glorify him in every area of our lives.  We just have to rely on the Spirit, rest in the Lord, and remain in his word.

Here’s a great prayer to help us on those trying days:

~Psalm 143:7-8~ Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

Practical tips for proper perspective:

1)Proper perspective comes from prayer. Ask God for help!

2)Proper perspective comes from the word. Take a few minutes to read or listen to the Bible!

3) Proper perspective comes from remembering why you do what you do. Be purposed to turn your thoughts from yourself to your tribe!

4) Proper perspective comes from praising the Lord. Recount your blessings and list them back to the Lord. Turn on the praise music and rejoice in the Lord!

5) Proper perspective comes from lifting your eyes up from yourself and your problems to Jesus as Lord, Savior, Redeemer, and Friend!

6) Proper perspective comes from being filled with the Spirit. Repent of any sin, do the things above, and let the Spirit rule your heart and home!

 

 

Thankfulness 

Giving thanks for so many things today!

From my handsome and hardworking husband, to my four fantastic children who love Jesus, and the team of faithful followers we’re blessed to be able to do life and ministry with- my cup overflows!

Every day isn’t all sunshine and lollipops, but it’s a blessed life.

I’m grateful for the grace of God that supplies the strength we need to glorify him every day. He is so good to us!

There was a time when things weren’t so great though. My husband and I had kids and were married very young. We basically all grew up together.

We loved each other the best we could, but we were two selfish sinners endlessly seeking our own way. Needless to say, it was a rough ride for a long time.

You can click on the link below to read the rest of our story. It’s my first guest post I wrote for Inspirational Life. I hope it’s a blessing to ya! Be sure to checkout some of Rachel Lane’s posts on that blog as well. 🙂

Thanksgiving blessings,

Annie

p.s. If you’re in a troubled marriage, don’t lose hope. Jesus is in the miracle-working business! He repairs, restores, redeems, and revives relationships that are designed to bring him glory. He did it for us and he can do the same for you! Put Christ at the center of all you do, and pray without ceasing.

~Proverbs 3:5-6~ Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

via Thankfulness 

 

“I’m a Fool!” Wisdom from Proverbs

Wisdom from the Proverbs

I distinctly remember the shame I felt when the realization struck me, and I had to honestly and humbly admit- I’m a fool. To spill the beans on this is contrary to my natural tendency to conceal and deal privately with the Lord on the issues of my heart.  But in order to help women to walk in the wisdom of God’s word daily, I have to divulge how I obtained wisdom in various areas of my life.

It was early on in my walk with Jesus.  By my standards I was a great wife. I cooked, cleaned, and cared for my family.  Yet I was harboring bitterness and unforgiveness. Carrying the baggage of the past around like a ton of bricks, constantly pointing out my husband’s flaws, and nagging him to be a Christ-like husband and father.  

Without a sober mind or a submissive will, I dug in my heels and set myself in array against my husband as public enemy number one.

I was so self-deceived.

Painful as it was, allowing the Lord to reveal my true character according to his word was necessary to my spiritual maturity, and the strength of my marriage.  

The Lord had placed a deep desire within me to be a godly woman, but I had no idea what that meant, so I began to study it out.  Popping off the page were the role and responsibilities of a wife in Ephesians 5 and Titus 2, and the character and conduct of the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31.  God started to highlight key verses contrasting the wise and the foolish, unveiling a godly woman as a wise woman.

~Proverbs 2:6~ For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

The result of that time mining the scriptures was a broken and contrite heart, and my pride was crushed to the point of repentance.

The Wise Woman:

Virtuous~ Proverbs 31:10-31.  Her virtue originates from her fear of the Lord, and it’s the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 1:7) It’s her relationship with God that fills her up and gives her the strength, honor, and ability to minister so well.  The verses that really convicted me were 11-12~ The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.  Consumed with myself, I was definitely not loving my husband well, or doing him good. How about you?

  • Can you say that you do your husband good and not evil? 
  • Would your husband agree?

EdifyingProverbs 14:1~ Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.  Piece by piece my marriage and family was being further destroyed by my foolish behavior. Instead of pointing out the things my husband was doing well, and being thankful, I focused on the things that he didn’t do.  I wasn’t shy about voicing my discontentment.  My thinking was that if I didn’t tell him, how would he know, and how would anything change? 

What the Lord taught me was that all I really needed to do was pray, and leave my husband in God’s hands.  I started reading The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O’Martian, and my mindset toward him began to change.  The more you pray for someone the more you love them, and this book definitely helped me to love my husband better and build my house.  It’s a must read!

  • Do you regularly pray for your husband?

The Foolish Woman:

Clamorous~ Proverbs 9:13~ A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.  Ouch.  I had to admit that I was a trying and tumultuous woman, and I didn’t know it all.  That one hurt because I like to know what I’m talking about.  I like to be right, and honestly, before I studied this all out I was oblivious to my foolishness and thought I was right.  I justified my attitude and actions based on my husband’s behavior.  

  • Does drama seem to follow you wherever you go?
  • Are you the kind of woman who’s always in an uproar about one thing or another?
  • Have you decided that you’ll be a virtuous wife when he starts being a godly husband?

Contentious~ Proverbs 21:9~ It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house. 19~It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.  Proverbs 25:24~ It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.  Lack of trust in his leadership, and my need for control made me an angry and argumentative woman. The Lord showed me that I was really lacking faith in His ability to lead our family, take care of our every need, and mold both of us into Christ-like servants.  It was a heart problem and a faith issue.

Continual DroppingProverbs 19:13~ A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.  Proverbs 27:15-16~ A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.  Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.   The incessant nagging grated on my husband’s nerves like a leaky roof dripping into a bucket below. It never accomplished a thing.  It just provoked his pride and made him defiant to do anything I asked.  

  • Do you have a control problem?
  • Are you angry and argumentative?
  • Do you nag your husband? 

~Proverbs 16:32~ He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Faced with the reality of my sinful condition I confessed, repented, and purposed to love my husband biblically- with a sober mind and submissive spirit, allowing him to lead our family, and cultivating love and peace in his heart and our home.

My husband is now a godly man who loves Jesus, and preaching God’s word.  He’s faithful, he’s a family man, he’s a really hard worker, and he loves me like Jesus does.  He’s got his role and responsibilities down, and has for several years.  He wasn’t changed by my nagging.

It was the power of the Holy Spirit, through the word of God, spending time with godly men, and going to marriage retreats together that transformed him.  I have the husband I prayed for.  And all glory goes to God alone!

While I don’t see “I’m a fool!” on the bios of any women these days, and I doubt it’ll make it on a t-shirt, the truth is written on their heart, and worn in their attitude and actions.

~Proverbs 12:4~ A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

A crown or a cancer… you choose.

 

Memorizing Scripture from A to Z

One of the most important things a disciple must do is memorize scripture.  For some that’s an arduous task, for others it’s a breeze.  Writing them out on index cards, putting them to a beat or familiar tune, and practicing them over and over again are some ways that I’ve found to be helpful in memorizing scripture.

There are some key memory verses that have helped me tremendously in my walk with the Lord, and I decided I’d share them with you!  There’s one for every letter of the alphabet, with the exception of “X”, because I use the KJV and there’s not a single verse that begins with that letter.

There are verses for evangelism, discipleship, faith building, renewing the mind, praising the Lord, prayer, and Spirit-filled living.  I hope they’re as big of a blessing to you as they have been to me!

A ~ All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2Timothy 3:16

B ~ Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?  Jeremiah 32:27

C ~ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

D ~ Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Psalm 37:4

E ~ Every word of God is pure, he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.  Proverbs 30:5

F ~ For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

G ~ Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.  Psalm 145:3

H ~ Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.  Psalm 5:2

I ~ I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.  Psalm 18:1

J ~ Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  John 14:6

K ~ Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  Proverbs 4:23

L ~ Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

M ~ My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.  Psalm 57:7

N ~ Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.  Ephesians 3:20

O ~ Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.  1Samuel 12:24

P ~ Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  2Timothy 4:2

Q ~ Quench not the Spirit. 1Thessalonians 5:19

R ~ Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.  Philippians 4:4

S ~ Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  James 4:7

T ~ Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5

U ~ Unto thee O LORD, do I lift up my soul.  Psalm 25:1

V ~ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life.  John 5:24

W ~ Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.  Colossians 4:5

X ~ None in the KJV

Y ~ Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.  Philippians 3:8

Z ~ Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there.  2Samuel 15:29

The verse for “Z” was a little hard to find, and not one that I have memorized yet.  It isn’t the typical verse for victory, but it does remind me that these guys had a job to do and they did it.  They were a part of bringing the presence of the Lord back into the midst of the holy city. What a blessing!

Have you ever done an exercise like this?  If so, what are your favorite verses?  Do you have any tips to share for memorizing scripture from A to Z?  I’d love to hear from ya’ll on this, drop me a comment below!

~Colossians 3:16~ Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.