Revive Our Hearts Podcast

How Older Women Teach Younger Women

Leslie Basham: Imagine this. A new staff member arrives at a church, and a fourteen-year-old Nancy Leigh DeMoss asks a bold question.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I said, “Would you teach me everything you know about ministry in the life of the local church. I would like to learn about discipleship. I promise you that whatever you teach me, I will someday pass on to others.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, December 3. This week Nancy has focused on Titus 2. If you missed any of the teaching, I hope you'll stream the audio or get the podcast at ReviveOurHearts.com.

An important idea in Titus 2 is that older women are to teach younger women. Today we’ll hear a practical discussion on how that works. Nancy will also address an important question. How do you prepare for any future economic downturns? First, one of our listeners describes the kind of life-on-life relationships we've been looking at all week. Here's Kim.

Kim: About eight years ago, I broke my elbow in church. I couldn't do anything for myself. We hired a lady to come and help us. At that time Tom and I were going through some difficult times—jobs and various things. She was watching and asked me, “How is it you guys can go through losing a job and all this stuff and you keep going. You don't fight. You don't throw things at each other. Your husband's not drinking. What is going on?”

I said, “Christ.” Well, she listened for a while longer. That was probably the summer after I broke my arm. Fall came. She said, “I've been looking at my Bible. It's an old Bible. I don't understand it. Do you have anything else that I could look at?”

I said, “Well, yes. We have lots of Bibles.” The Bible I gave her happened to have circumstances listed, so all of the circumstances she was going through, she could look up [Bible references for them].

Well, my housekeeper soon became my friend. That next Christmas Tom and I got to lead her to the Lord in our living room. So there are times that as older and younger women, we may be mentoring without knowing it. People watch us—particularly those that do not know the Lord, because they want to see what Christianity is.

I pray for my friend. She's not around us right now. She's going through some hard times. But I know God brought her to us for a specific season, and I feel He will bring her back.

I have a scar that I am very proud of right here, that I got at church. It's not for me. I kept going, “God, what are you trying to teach me through this?” It was for Peggy, my friend. It's very special.

Nancy: Amen. I wouldn't have scripted it that way, but God's writing the script, right? There's a great story in 2 Kings 3 of Elisha and the Shunammite woman. Remember, she didn't have a son, and Elisha prayed and God gave her a son. She had provided hospitality to the prophet, and he wanted to bless her. She had the son. Then one day the son came to her, was sick, sat on her lap and died. She goes running to the prophet, knowing that he has the power of God in his life, to get help. She goes to the prophet and tells him what has happened and wants Elisha to come. She's laid the child in a room.

Elisha's servant, Gehazi, runs ahead of the prophet and takes Elisha’s staff. Remember this? He runs ahead to the child. We don't know why or what he was thinking. I just wonder if Gehazi wasn't thinking, “Now I've got the prophet's staff, and this has amazing power.”

Well, it wasn't the staff that had power, it was the power of God on the man of God. But Gehazi takes the staff and goes to the room where the boy was lying, the dead, lifeless body. He lays the staff on the body. What happens? Nothing. I can imagine him thinking, “My master did this and it worked. How come it doesn’t work when I use the staff?”

Well, then Elisha comes into the room, and what does he do? He lays himself on the body. I mean chest to chest, head to head, arm to arm, leg to leg. He prays, and he breathes. If you could say on a human level, this was mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but that doesn’t work with dead bodies. This is the power of God. I think it's such a picture of how life takes place. It's life to life. You lay your life on someone and give them your life.

I quoted earlier from a passage in Thessalonians where Paul says, “I was pleased to show you not only the gospel of God, but our very lives as well” (see 2:8). I think a lot of times we want to take our staff and lay it on people. That's our books, our messages, listen to this CD, read this, go to this blog. Those can be helpful things, but in and of themselves they don't have power to give life.

Oftentimes what God uses to give life is when we are willing to lay our lives out and down and on that needy person. And that takes time. It takes sacrifice and compassion and effort. I'd rather pay for them to go to a seminar or give them a book. But to take your time, to lay your life on that person, then God breathes through you into that person and life comes about.

Now, it doesn't happen the same way every time. I don't mean to reduce it to a formula. But I think there's a principle there that people need our lives. We have so many desperate housewives, young women, who don't know how to love their husbands. They don't know how to love their children. They don't know how to be pure. They don't know how to be kind. They don't know how to be submissive to their husbands. They don't know how to be keepers at home. They haven't been mothered. They certainly haven't been spiritually mothered.

So for someone to come along in relational ways and in spiritual ways and lay their life on them, saying, "Come and keep house with me. Come and clean my house. I'll help you clean your house. Come and be in my home. See how life functions in my home. Get into the private parts of my life."

I was just telling somebody today that one of the blessings and challenges of having these young couples live in my home is I never have any private—I shouldn't say never—I have much less of a private life. If I’m responding in a fleshly way or carnal way to a life circumstance, they're right there. I'm teaching. That's accountability.

So in a sense it'd be easier for me to not have anybody that close to my life. But that's what family is supposed to do for us, among other things. It's to put us in a place where we are accountable, where we are exposed, where people do see who we really are.

The upside of it is, I have them very close to me and can be, just by living with that couple and investing in the life of that young 21-year-old soon to be mom, and loving her and taking her under my wing, encouraging, and learning from her as well. Just doing life together.

You don't have to bring them to live in your home. But I do think we have to be in real life circumstances together. Where you're walking together. Where you are sharing life experiences together. You're coaching. That's what a coach does. You do it on the field. You do it in the game. You do it in practice. You coach. You train. You encourage. You model. You show them how it's done.

When I was probably thirteen years old, a new staff member came to our church who had a lot of Christian education in discipleship ministry in the local church. I was very interested in this. I went to this man, if you can imagine this happening at thirteen or fourteen years of age, and I said, “Would you teach me everything you know about ministry in the life of the local church. I would like to learn about discipleship. I promise you that whatever you teach me, I will someday pass on to others.” I'm wondering what he must have thought with this kid standing there saying this to him.

I got close to him and his wife and developed a relationship there. They began to invest in my life, to give me assignments, to let me have experience, practice in the context of ministry of the local church, studying Scripture passages, and doing things hands on.

One of the things he taught me was this little process. I don't think it was original with him. He said in the process of training somebody there is first education, which is to tell them how to do it. Then there's demonstration, which is to show them how to do it. Then delegation. That's get them started doing it themselves. Then evaluation. Keep them going. So first you're telling them how to do it; then you’re showing them how to do it; then you're getting them started, and then you're coaching them.

Well, that's kind of the process I see in Titus 2 mentoring. In different areas of life, you’re telling them how, you’re showing them how, you're getting them started, and you're helping them keep on going. It can be many different areas. That's why it's not just a one-on-one relationship, necessarily, because there’s no one older woman who can teach everything that a younger woman needs to know. If you want to learn how to cook, you probably should get a different mentor than me. That's not something that I’ve had a lot of experience with since we started radio. My oven gets turned on occasionally, usually by other people.

But there are other areas where God has given me a life message and where I can invest. The cooking part, I may learn better from the younger one. So there may be different people that God uses in her life, in different areas of life. But sharing together in the context of life, laying your life on that person, that's where so much discipleship and mentoring takes place.

Woman: We were not raised in a Christian home. I was saved when I was about 25. I want to thank you, Elisabeth Elliot, and other Christian radio for the daily opportunity to take in instruction and mentoring of what it's like to be a Christian mother. I wanted to be a different kind of mother than the one that we had. Beyond that, women in the church and other women came alongside to mentor me.

It took about eight years before God blessed us with a daughter. I have had lots of opportunity just to learn from radio, books, and things shared with me by other women of what it looked like to be a Christian mom. So I’m just grateful to have a 23-year-old daughter who loves the Lord, despite the many mistakes that I made even with all the knowledge that I’d taken in. It just the opportunity to see her now walking with the Lord. Having gone to a secular school and many things presented to her, she was able to discern and understand what was right. God put people in her path to mentor her. I'm grateful for that.

Leslie: A listener from Revive Our Hearts has been explaining the value she gets from Christian radio. To her, listening to Revive Our Hearts each day is similar to a mentoring relationship. Now, we do encourage you to find women who can mentor you one on one. We encourage you to find women that you can influence one on one as well. But at the same time, we're thankful for the way that God allows us to connect each day over the radio.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss taught earlier in the week about the mentoring relationships described in Titus 2. We've gotten some practical ideas today in forming those relationships. Now, a lot of woman feel the need for mentoring in one specific area—finances. Since Nancy functions as something of a mentor to so many, we're going to take some time to hear the advice she offered not long ago in a Q&A session. A woman wrote down this question for Nancy to address.

Nancy: How are you preparing for the possible economic collapse of our country?

Scripture tells us that things are going to get worse and worse because this is a fallen, sinful planet. There is a cosmic battle going on between Satan and God. This world's system is subject to an enemy who hates God. The Scripture says the earth, the world travails. It writhes in pain under the influence of the fall, the curse, the sin.

Sin doesn’t make things get better, it makes things get worse. We're making sinful choices, foolish choices, not only in this country, but around the world. In many areas, the debt load so many people are carrying . . . We gripe about the Federal Government carrying such a debt load, but there are very few Christians who are debt free.

So what do we do? Well, first of all, we try to be wise ourselves. We try to make wise financial choices and decisions and to live in accordance with the principles of God's Word. That means you've got to be in God's Word to know what those principles are. There are a lot of resources available. Crown Financial has some great studies that can help you learn how to live within your means.

There are also spiritual issues of learning contentment, learning that we don't have to have what everybody else around us has. So I think to be making wise financial decisions, insofar as it's possible. Sometimes we reap the consequences of other people's poor financial decisions, and we're seeing that in this country. We can't control that. But I tell you what, we do know the One who controls all things. That’s where I think we need to be prayerful, and exercising faith, and believing even in times of economic devastation, God is able to provide for His own.

In 1 and 2 Kings you read those amazing stories with the prophets, Elijah and Elisha, with famine in the land, with economic collapse and devastation, but how God provided for His prophets. He sent widows—the least expected source of revenue—poor, poverty-stricken widows who were on their last bit of what they had to survive. But God used them as a means of supernatural provision.

God sent a raven with food to feed His prophet. These are not just fanciful, old-time stories. They're true stories that represent a true God. If God needs to send ravens to feed your family, if you're trusting Him and obeying Him, God can do that today. Now, I’m not saying that's His norm. It wasn’t His norm in the Old Testament. But He can do that. If that's what it will take to glorify Himself, He will.

We tend to run to fear. I think we need to be careful when we see the economy collapsing around us and we see morality collapsing around us that we still remember He's got the whole world in His hands. God is still on His throne, and He cares for His own. But if the worst were to happen and we were to starve to death, we're better off. We have something to look forward to. We have hope. Hope is what the world doesn't have, that it needs.

That's why I think these desperate times are opportunities for Christians to show, not that we scramble and scurry and get nervous like everybody else, but that our hope is fixed on Jehovah God, the King and Provider of the universe. We really do trust Him when we can't see how He's going to provide.

I think also in these times, it's a great opportunity for Christians to demonstrate the heart of Christ by giving to meet the needs of others, and working hard so we can have something to share, according to Ephesians 4, with others who have needs. I know I’m speaking through this ministry to people who are unemployed, but I have seen God provide for people in very desperate circumstances. I've seen Christians really showcase the greatness and the goodness of God by the way they respond with generosity, with faith, wisdom, constraint, with contentment. These are all virtues that can shine in the most desperate economic times.

Keep in mind, too, that if we're praying for revival—Revive Our Hearts, that's the heart for this ministry, to believe God for revival—it's very possible that in answering our prayers for revival, God may allow the economy around us to collapse. I find people in times of plenty and prosperity are not highly motivated to think about their souls. They're not highly motivated to deal with sin issues or to pursue Christ and prize Him as their greatest treasure. Why should they if they have all the treasure of the world? But when they start to lose things, it's those times of desperation that make people go to their knees and cry out to the Lord in repentance and faith.

It's like the Lord gets our attention when we suffer financially. I don't pray for economic collapse. I don't hope for it. But I also know that if that's what it will take in this country for God to deal with our pride and temporal priorities and to get His kingdom priorities and to become true servants of Christ and to live out the values of the kingdom of God, if it takes economic collapse for that to happen, then wouldn't that be a good thing?

I've often said on this program that anything that makes us need God is a blessing. Our ministry right now is going through the toughest financial period we have ever had in the ten years we've been in existence. I'm not going to sit here today and tell you that I’ve had no fear, that I’ve been this great woman of faith all throughout. I've had some real moments of doubt. I’ve shed some tears. I've been tempted at times to take matters into my own hands. Not that I could solve it anyway, but we try. Repeatedly, the Lord has reminded me that anything that makes us need God is a blessing.

Those aren’t just words, its true. It's true in your family. It's true in this ministry. It's true in this country. We are praying more as a ministry than we have in other seasons because we are desperate for God to provide. We need Him. In the process of praying, He's showing us some other things that have nothing to do with money. He'll show you other things. He'll show our nation other things. It's not just about the economy. It's not about money. It's not about stuff. It's about our hearts and God wanting to purify those, purge them, and strip away the idols from our hearts. Times of doing without, times of financial stress, and times of needs will cause us to be more desperate for God.

We have found in this ministry that the greatest receptivity, the greatest responsiveness comes in the most financially depressed parts of the country. I remember back in the eighties when they were going through the oil bust. The most responsive places in this country were down in Houston and throughout Texas where people were losing jobs left and right. People with big incomes overnight didn't have jobs. I remember being in one church where there were a hundred families that were out of work. There was a hunger, openness, and responsiveness to the Lord that we didn't see in the times when the oil business was booming.

Again, you don't pray for famine, but you realize that God uses these things. God's economy is always right. He knows how to provide. Some of us don't pray "give us this day our daily bread" because we've never had to. It's always just been there. It's in the refrigerator. It's in the freezer. It's on the counter. It's always surplus. For most of us, not all, even in our difficult places, we're not really destitute. Sometimes it may take having less for us to say, “Lord, You are our provider.”

We're praying this week in our ministry for our daily bread in a way that we haven't prayed it in the past. That's a good thing, because we'll come out of it knowing God better, knowing His ways, trusting Him more, and being able to glorify Him in a greater way.

Leslie: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss from a question and answer session. A woman asked how we can prepare for any economic hardship that may be coming in the future. Nancy, you referenced the serious needs that Revive Our Hearts is facing right now. I appreciated hearing your heart in that segment. You know, listeners will naturally want to respond when they hear about the most challenging financial situation Revive Our Hearts has faced. How can people help?

Nancy: Well first of all, pray. Ask God to provide what we need in the month of December. Our staff are meeting daily to pray about this need, and we'd be so encouraged to know that you're praying with us. We know that the need is significant, but we're also confident that God can provide all that is needed. As you pray, ask the Lord what He might have you to give.

If you're married, let me encourage you to talk and pray with your spouse and ask the Lord together what part He might want you to have as a couple in helping to meet this need. Then, donate. Your gift will be doubled when you contact us during this current matching challenge of $300,000. Some friends of the ministry have established this matching challenge to encourage many listeners to participate in giving during this critical time. Meeting this challenge amount will be an important step in reaching our overall goal.

But that challenge itself isn't enough. We need to far surpass that goal in order to address a budget shortfall and begin 2011 in a strong position as we continue calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. So please pray. And then as the Lord leads, please contact us and let us know you'd like to give a special gift to help with this need. You can give your gift online at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can call us toll free at 1-800-569-5959. 

Thank you so much for praying and trusting God with us during this time. And then, as the Lord prompts, thank you for giving to help meet this need.

Leslie: Earlier in the program, Nancy explained the value of contentment. Bob Lepine will explore that topic further, starting Monday. How does contentment relate to food, beauty, and control? Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Join the Discussion