Revive Our Hearts Podcast

When Women Serve Other Women, Day 2

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Register for Revive '17: Women Mentoring Women the Titus 2 Way.

Leslie Basham: The apostle Paul described investing in others as “toil.” Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds you that, through the hard work of serving others, you need to keep asking yourself:

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: What’s the goal? That we might present every person mature, complete, in Christ.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A Place of Quiet Rest, for Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

Yesterday we began a message that Nancy gave to a group of women’s ministry leaders. Each of us are called to serve other women, so each of us can get a lot out of this message.

Nancy is recapping what she said yesterday.

Nancy: We’ve had three sentences:

1) Women need help (and so do men).

2) The Lord is our helper.

3) He wants to use us as His instruments to help others.

Now number four—this really excites me—God has provided the resources we need to effectively help others. I want to spend the rest of our time in this session pondering with you what some of those resources are. God’s resources are limitless—it’s Christ in us, the hope of glory that is our hope of helping others.

I love that verse in 2 Peter 1:3 that says, “His divine power [no limit to that, right?] has granted to us all things that pertain life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” Now, that sets the bar pretty high, right?

We’re called to His glory and His excellence, to become like Christ, to reflect Him, and that’s a pretty high standard. We’d be pretty hopeless if God hadn’t given us the resources to get there. But His divine power has given to us all things we need to get there: “. . . all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Christ who called us to his own glory and excellence.”

So that verse says to me that in God’s divine power we have all that we need to become the women that God wants us to be. (Anybody glad for that?) And we have all that we need to help others become who God wants them to be. And—the people we are trying help have all they need to become what God wants them to be. It can't get any better than that. God is a need-meeting God who never runs out of resources.

What are some of the resources He has provided specifically to help us move toward Christ-likeness and sanctification and to help us to help others move toward Christ-likeness and sanctification? In no particular order, let me just mention several here.

The truth. The truth shall set you free (somebody should write a book with that title—Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free). It's true—God's truth does set us free. Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." There’s liberating power in the truth.

That’s why one of our tasks as we come alongside people and attempt to help them is to help them identify lies they may have been believing. Because when it comes down to it, every time I choose to sin, or every time I get under the pile of my circumstances, at some level I’m believing something that’s not true.

Going back to the Garden of Eden, it was true for Adam and Eve, right? They believed lies . . . they were deceived. The woman was deceived, and we as women are still deceived. We find ourselves believing our emotions rather than believing the truth, believing our circumstances rather than believing the Word of God . . . believing what we can see and feel rather than what is invisible and eternal.

We believe things that aren’t true. So, we need to help women identify, “What are you believing that’s not true?” But that’s not enough. Then, we need to help them learn to counsel their own hearts according to the truth.

Isn't that what we need when our emotions are going rogue, and we are falling prey to being controlled by them? That's when we need to kind of take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and say, "Soul, speak to my own soul. Hope in God. He is your refuge. He is your fortress." Counseling my own heart according to the truth is what delivers me from those lies and that deception and those bondages. So the truth is a powerful resource.

You may feel like, "I'm just a simple woman." Some of the wisest women are women who don't have a ton of head knowledge, but they have confidence in the truth, and they know the truth of God's Word. They are women of the Word. They are women of wisdom. They are learning by God's Spirit to apply that truth to real life situations.

I've seen some elderly women who don't have a whole lot of book learning, but they just know God, and they believe God, and they have proved His Word to be true. They come alongside people, and they are able to help those in need because they believe in the power of the truth. The truth is such a great resource for us to use to help others.

Impossible to separate from that resource is this one—the Word of God, the written Word of God, the living Word of God, has power to transform lives. “God sent his word and healed them,” Psalm 107:20 tells us. “The words that I speak to you,” Jesus said, “they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). They give you life. The Word of God liberates, and it gives wisdom.

Over the years that I’ve been a Christian, I’ve watched in the evangelical world as we have fought the battle for the inspiration of Scripture—and thank God, today, in the evangelical world, most now would at least give mental assent to the fact that this is the inspired Word of God.

Then we’ve seen the battle for the authority of Scripture. To believe that not only is it inspired, but since it is inspired, it is also authoritative for every area of life and practice. We need to hold to that.

But here’s an area where, I think, in the evangelical world we fall short, and that is in truly believing in the sufficiency of the Word of God. Not only is it inspired, not only is it authoritative, but it is sufficient—it is enough. What I’m seeing as I’m looking around—and I think maybe you’re seeing the same thing in your circles—is that women aren’t in the Word. They’re not spending time in it.

They’re reading all kinds of other books and novels, and romance novels, and Fifty Shades of Grey, and they’re getting more counsel from Dr. Phil and Oprah than they are from the Word of God—and I’m talking about in our churches. They are turning to all sorts of places to get answers. And one of the things that we have to do, we have got to get women into the Word of God. They have no hope apart from the Word.

They need to get into the Word, get the Word into them. That’s what heals and restores and helps. (And you won't get them any deeper into the Word than you are yourself.) You be a woman of the Word. As you ooze Scripture, as your blood is "Bibline," as one of the Puritan writers said, "When I prick you what comes out if Bibline blood." That's the kind of woman you want to be. As you are, you'll find that the women around you will get a greater hunger for the Word of God.

I want to just mention two areas in the Word to and in which we need to keep pointing women and grounding their hearts. First, in the character of God as it’s revealed in the Scripture.

Then, getting them not only into the character of God, but getting them into the truth of the gospel, God’s redemptive plan . . . what Christ has done on our behalf. This is where women need to be grounded as we get them into the Word—how He saves us, delivers us from sin, from ourselves, from this present evil age.

I saw a quote recently by Dr. Al Mohler I thought was so helpful on this point. He said, “Most Americans believe that their major problem is something that has happened to them, and that their solution is to be found within.” In other words, they believe they have an alien problem that is to be resolved with an inner solution.

What the gospel says, however, is that we have an inner problem that demands an alien solution—a righteousness that is not our own. That’s the gospel, and that’s what we need to be pointing women to. We need to realize that your problem is not outside of yourself, and your solution is not inside of yourself . . . your problem is inside of yourself. In spite of the fact that there may be circumstances outside of yourself that have impacted your life, your issue is inside your own heart. Your solution is not in your own heart. Your solution is in Christ and His righteousness and what He has done for you.

All of that to say, the great resource we have available is the Word of God, that takes people to who God is, what He’s like, how He works, His character, and His gospel. Keep taking them back to those things that don’t seem so profound, but they are profoundly life-giving and life-changing.

Here’s another resource we have, and where would we be without the Holy Spirit . . . the power of the Holy Spirit? I’ve found, as I know you have as well . . . There are some women you can try and try and try to help. You can encourage, you can counsel, you can send them to the Word, you can get them into the studies, but it just doesn’t seem to click. That’s humbling isn’t it? We think, I’ve given them everything I know!

Well, what I know isn’t enough. What they need is the Holy Spirit to turn on the light, to quicken the truth to their heart.

I've had this happen in my own life this past Sunday morning. I was listening to another church service on a LIVE stream in another state. The pastor was preaching in the text where I had been having my quiet time that morning—that latter part of 2 Corinthians. He pulled a verse out of that text that I know I've read it before, but I had never seen that verse before in the way God brought it home to my heart that morning.

I could hardly breathe. The conviction of the Lord . . . there was an issue I needed to deal with. There was someone I needed to go to and attempt, yet again, to believe God for reconciliation. "If it's possible as much as lies within you, live peaceably with all men." I cannot make this relationship be right, but I knew there was another step I could take to seek to bridge that gap in a broken relationship. God used His Word by His Spirit penetrating my heart.

Something I read many times before, but it had not . . . The Holy Spirit drove it home to my heart in a way that made application that I just had not caught prior to that point. The Spirit does that in us, and we need to trust Him to do that in other people. Believe the Holy Spirit to turn on the light, to connect the dots to make it click.

Here’s another resource we have, and that is prayer. Prayer for others, drawing upon His power and His wisdom and His intervention. Calling upon the Lord to do in other people's live what they can't do for themselves, what we can't do for them.

I have a friend who is here whose heart has become hardened. I'm just praying, "Lord, would You soften her heart? I can't do it. No one else can do it." Don’t underestimate the power of prayer, the power of God, to work as we pray for those we’re seeking to help.

Another resource is the grace of God. Do you really believe that God’s grace is sufficient for every child of God, in every circumstance, and in every situation? Do you believe that? I’ve been in 2 Corinthians, and God says to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, in your weakness, in your struggle, in your trial . . .” (2 Cor. 12:9). God’s grace is sufficient for me—another truth we need to counsel our hearts with.

Do you believe God’s grace is sufficient for the person you’re trying to help? One of the wonderful things we can do for people is help get them to the grace of God. It's like the same song again and again and again. Don't ever get tired of playing it. God's grace can enable you to respond to that mate or to that child who has chosen a homosexual lifestyle or to that physical ailment or that parent who is living with you who has lost their mind and you are so exhausted from dealing with this situation, or those three toddlers that you have. Do you believe that God's grace is sufficient for that woman? Can you encourage her with the frequent reminders that God's grace is available. I have to keep getting to it; you have to keep getting to it. We have to help others keep getting to it.

And the last resource here—or close to last—a great resource and something I want to spend a few minutes on, is the Body of Christ . . . other believers. Can we just remind each other that growth and change take place in the context of community . . . the community of faith.

That’s why it’s so important for us and for those we’re trying to help to be grounded in the life of the local church. That’s where life-to-life discipleship takes place: compassion, friendship, encouragement, accountability, rebuke, prayer, mentoring, shepherding, teaching, discipline. All these things are intended by God to take place in the context of the local body of believers who belong to each other, who need each other, who are organically connected to Christ, the living Head.

The “lone ranger” Christian, which is becoming so much more popular today, so sets people up to not be able to get the help they need. Our churches are not perfect. They’re not all they should be . . . none of them are. I don’t care whether your church is big or little, who pastors it, how famous they are, how many radio stations they’re on. No church is perfect.

No church is close to perfect. We are a community of fallen and redeemed sinners who come together to do life together and to help each other in the Name of Jesus. So powerful! I’ve been reading in 1 and 2 Samuel over the past couple of weeks, in the Old Testament, and I love the progression there.

You read in 1 Samuel 23:16 that Jonathan, Saul’s son, came alongside David when David was being pursued, was fleeing from Saul. Jonathan “strengthened David’s hand in God.” The NASB says, “Jonathan encouraged him in God,” and isn’t that what encouragement does? It gives strength.

The NIV says there, “Jonathan helped him find strength in God.” Great verse! But look at the effect of that in 1 Samuel 30:6 when David comes to a place where he is in deep distress and Jonathan isn’t there. It’s when his wives and children had been taken captive at Ziklag, and the whole city had been burned, and the people were threatening to throw David overboard because they were so mad at him.

David’s in deep distress, and 1 Samuel 30:6 says, “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” How did he learn how to do that? Well, first his friend had strengthened his hand in the Lord his God, and then when the chips were down and his friend wasn’t there, David knew how to strengthen himself in the Lord his God.

Aren’t you thankful he did that? Now we have the book of Psalms, and now we can strengthen our own hearts and hands in the Lord our God. It’s a progression. You strengthen someone in the Lord, they learn how to strengthen themselves in the Lord, then they learn how to strengthen others in the Lord, and we become a body of people who are ministering to one another.

That brings me to this reminder. The people you’re trying to help need a network of multiple people involved in their lives—not just you. So, take the pressure off yourself. You’re one of a body, one of multiple parts that the Lord wants involved in their lives. They need intrusive relationships. We need to go down beneath the waterline and get into people's real hearts. Not to let them keep coming and sitting on the sidelines and saying, "Hi, how are you doing?" We're so surface—so much of our "churchianity."

My favorite ministry to be involved in in the local church is what I call my "aisle" ministry. It's in the aisles before and after services. It's just seeing who God puts me around, who's needy, putting my arm around someone and saying, "How are you really doing?" We don't sit down. We don't have formal meetings. I travel a lot and I'm not able to have a weekly responsibility, but I have an aisle ministry. God takes me to women who need to be strengthened in the Lord. He takes me to women who strengthen me in the Lord. We do this for each other.

But we have to ask questions. How are you really doing? How is it going in that specific area that we talked about last week? How is that child we've been praying for? Asking those questions. We remind ourselves that those relationships need to be established in the daylight before the crises come. Otherwise, when a crisis comes, the network won't be there, and people will flounder and they will be left on their own.

God calls us as women, older women to younger women, to do life together. I’m so thankful for a group of women friends I have. We call ourselves “the sisterhood,” and most of us are in similar types of women’s ministry—speakers, authors—we connect once a month.

We get on the phone together for a couple of hours. We ask how each other is doing, we pray for each other, we connect one or two times during the year. We have a private Facebook group where we share updated prayer requests.

Now, this is not a substitute for relationships in the context of where you live and do life, but ask God to give you relationships with those who can strengthen and encourage you, and be pointing the women you’re trying to help into those kinds of relationships as well.

I think about those amazing redwoods in northern California—some of them are like 350 feet high and more than 2500 years old. You would think that those trees must have an enormous root system that would go hundreds of feet down into the ground below in order to sustain those huge trees.

Actually, I’ve been told that the roots of those redwoods are pretty shallow. They don’t go any deeper than six to ten feet. So you wonder, “How do those trees stand up for seconds, much less thousands of years?” The secret is not in the depth of those roots but in the inter-connected nature of those roots.

The trees grow so close together that their roots get intertwined around each other. So, when the storms come and the winds blow, which they definitely do in that part of the country, those redwoods stand strong because they’re not standing alone. Each one supports and protects the other. What a picture that is of our need for one another in the Body of Christ.

We are designed to grow in community together as believers and not in isolation. When we are failing or faltering, the Enemy tells us we want to be alone. But that's when you don't need to be alone. We need to encourage women to come into the light and get their root systems intertwined with each other and provide mutual encouragement and protection and support.

The apostle Paul says, “I toil to invest in other people’s lives.” It’s labor. “I struggle with all His energy that He powerfully works in me,” What’s the goal? “That we might present every person mature, complete, in Christ.” (see Col. 1:28–29). That’s the goal.

Let me remind you, we are not talking about solving all of life's problems or life's issues for people, but about getting people to the throne of God, to the grace of God where they can find mercy for their sins and grace to help in time of need.

Remember that people’s problems—their baggage from the past, past areas of failure, areas of temptation, areas of woundedness . . . all of that is part of what God uses to accomplish that objective in their lives, that they would become complete in Christ.

So, as you help women, I would just remind you that there is toil involved, there is labor involved. This is not an easy calling . . . it’s demanding, it requires patience. Sometimes you invest in people for a long period of time and then they throw in the towel and disappoint you. It’s like spiritual parenting, right?

There are no short-cuts. You’re going to have sleepless nights and high-maintenance women to deal with, but I want to tell you—as I look around this room and think of some of the women here—I’ve watched God transform your lives. I’ve watched God take ashes and make a work of beauty for His glory and the display of His grace. I’m reminded that He is the helper God who is active, alive and at work in helping us help women, that Christ might be formed in them for His glory and the display of His grace.

Leslie: That's Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. She delivered that message before a group of women’s ministry leaders, and let me say, all of us are leaders to somebody. All of us are called to teach women the things we've learned. So whether you're in the older woman or younger woman category, if you have a heart for this message, I hope you’ll make plans to join Nancy for the Revive '17 conference. It's a conference about women mentoring women. It's coming to Indianapolis September 29–30.

Now . . . I have here fifteen reasons you should consider attending Revive '17.

And Nancy, will you help me read these?

Nancy: Sure.

Fifteen reasons to attend Revive '17.  Number 1: Mentoring can sound intimidating, but at Revive '17, you'll meet other mentors who have already grappled with some of the issues you’re facing.

Leslie: Number 2: Hear Bible teaching from speakers who have a heart to invest in other women.

Nancy: Number 3: Be reminded why discipling the next generation is so important.

Leslie: Number 4: Worship with hundreds of other women with a heart for the Lord.

Nancy: Number 5: Invest in other mentors by sharing your experiences with them.

Leslie: Number 6: Recapture the sense of wonder that God works through broken people.

Nancy: Number 7: Breathe. Life is busy, but at Revive '17 you don’t have to be on stage or be in charge.

Leslie: Number 8: Be energized for whatever season of ministry you may be in right now.

Nancy: Number 9: Seek God without being distracted.

Leslie: Number 10: Get practical help in becoming a more effective in discipling other women.

Nancy: Number 11: Know you’re not alone in ministry.

Leslie: Number 12: Be encouraged to serve the Lord and His people.

Nancy: Number 13: Discover new ways of living out the beauty of the gospel and take it back to your church and community.

Leslie: Number 14: Discover resources that will give practical help to the women you serve.

Nancy: And number 15: Be reminded of your important calling as a woman of God for such a time as this.

And I do hope you’ll make plans to join us for Revive '17 in Indianapolis, September 29–30. The early registration discount ends May 1, so make your plans this week and you can still save on every registration. Get all the details at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959.

Tomorrow my friend Damaris Carbaugh will walk us through Psalm 23 and help us discover peace in a chaotic world. Please be back with us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth helps you help others. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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