Bearing One Another’s Burdens

Bear One Another's BurdensDay of Prayer

Saturday we’re having a day of prayer at the church. This provides an opportunity for the church family to set aside distractions, meet together, and pray for each other and for the needs of our church.

If you do not have other obligations, please try to come, if even for part of the time.  Shy about praying? Come and join in as others pray.

Bear Your Own Burdens

Last week’s post brought up some questions about what it means for a church family to share the burdens and blessings of its members.  How do we bear one another’s burdens and show compassion for the body of Christ we have been placed in?

Bearing burdens does mean that you dump your worries, concerns and problems onto someone else and expect him to fix everything for you.  Galatians 6:5 reminds us that ‘every man shall bear his own burden.’

Remember, God allows troubles to either correct us or to teach us. He promises He will not give us more than we can bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13) and promises that these things are to glorify God and cause Christian growth in the believer. (2 Corinthians 4:17.)

Bear One Another’s Burdens

But we are also instructed to bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2) There are times when we are so overwhelmed by heartache, sadness, grief, disappointment, or fear that we need others to pray with us as we go through a trial.  God wants us to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.’  (Romans 12:15)  People do not know to pray for you if you do not let them know that you need prayer.

We have many first generation Christians in our church.  A number of them have been saved for only a few months and are excited to learn about Christ and godly living.  These dear brothers and sisters live their joys and trials in front of us.  If someone is having a rough week their burden is shared with the church family so we can all join in and pray with them.

Our pastors encourage a transparency which is both refreshing and challenging.  If I am struggling with something in my life and share that with others, won’t that case them to be discouraged?  I kind of had that idea for a long time.  If you are in leadership, you should appear as if you have it all together, regardless of any struggles you may be having.

Without Me Ye Can Do Nothing

How does that model dependency on Christ?  It doesn’t!  If others cannot see that leaders as well as the average church attender must depend totally on Christ, we are not pointing people in the right direction.  Christ tells us in John 15:5, “Without me ye can do nothing.”  Nothing.   Not one thing.

How to Connect with the Church Family

So what’s involved in bearing one another’s burdens?

Get to know one another.  Come to church.  Come to prayer meeting.  Invite people over or out for coffee.  Participate in special meetings, studies, and events sponsored by the church.  Take a few moments to talk with people after church.  We’re not typically going to meet someone and have them immediately pour out their burdens for us to share.  It takes a bit of time and effort to connect to people in the church.

If you are prevented from regularly attending church, ask for the church prayer sheet.  Contact one of the pastors and ask for your requests to be included on the weekly prayer sheet.   Make this a reciprocal ministry – you ask others to pray for your burdens, and you pray for theirs.  Make sure you understand enough to know who and what you are praying for.  Ask for updates when you see that person.  (If it’s something too personal just ask for an unspoken prayer request to be remembered – God knows what it is!)

Praying throughout the Day

Some people make lists and divide requests so some are prayed for each day.  Others pray for urgent matters of health and safety and others may remember requests as God brings a person or situation to mind.  When I am unable to sleep at night I often ask God if there is someone specific He wants me to pray for.  I pray as I drive along in the car or as I’m busy with mundane chores at home.  It’s not an exact science – we just need to be talking with God throughout the day.

So as we refine this process of showing compassion to each other by bearing one another’s burdens, let’s ask God to help us model our dependency on Christ as by praying for the needs of others as we ask them to pray for us.

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Be Still and Know that I Am God

Be Still

Be Still and Know that I Am God

This was written in response to the struggles that many in our church family have encountered lately.

The Blessing of our Church Family

I love our church family.  More than any other church I have ever been a part of, our church family shares not only the blessings, but the burdens on the hearts of the members.  There is so little judgmentalism and so much compassion for what others are going through.

But it does not stop at compassion.  Our pastors, by teaching and example, have shown the family how to bear one another’s burdens scripturally. Sin is not condoned.  Instead, if someone is struggling with a sin habit, he is pointed to scripture and urged to draw upon Christ to overcome the problem.  When we share our burdens and struggles, we know others are praying for us.

Burdens and Trials

This past Sunday I became aware that an unusual number of the church family were wrestling with major trials.  Some were temptations to sin, some were relationship issues, some were health and personal trials.

That morning I prayed quickly with several of my friends before the service. Later in the day the Lord provided an answer to one of my own unspoken requests, but not in the way I was hoping or anticipating.  I was sad and asked God to help me wait on Him for a resolution to my prayer.

Scriptures and Hymns Bring Comfort

In answer He brought several things to mind for me to meditate on.  First, He again asked me to “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) He knows the end of a thing as clearly as the beginning.  Can I not depend on Him to work the entire thing out for my good and His glory?  Too often I’m like a dog on a leash who either dashes ahead straining and choking on its collar, or sits down and refuses to obey when the master says it’s time to move.

He also reminded me of Katharina von Schlegel’s wonderful hymn which beautifully reflects the teaching of Psalm 46:10.

Be Still My Soul – A Hymn for the Hurting

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

God Has the Answers!

He has the best interest of His children at heart.  It may not be what we want, or hoped for, or planned, or anticipated, but it is what is best for us.  He truly is ‘our best, our heavenly friend’ who orders our lives and provides all that is essential for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) He can be totally and absolutely depended on!

Are you struggling with temptation to sin?  Ask Him to show you that way of escape He has promised.  At the end of your rope in a relationship conflict?  Plead with God to give the wisdom He promises. Burdened by lack of provision?  Call upon God to show an unbelieving world that the Heavenly Father ‘supplies all your need.’ Discouraged, grieved, or afraid?  Lay it all before the Lord and tell Him you need Him to walk with you and sustain you with strength, courage, peace and joy as you go through your valley.

But most of all, we need to cease our struggles, ‘be still’, and KNOW that He is God!