Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Story That Demands a Response

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss reading a letter we received from a listener.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: “It’s so hurtful to realize that I am so sinful. Acknowledgement of this sin is vital. Confessing this sin to God and to others is part of the process of God freeing me from the gallows that I have built for myself.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, June 27.

Yesterday, Nancy wrapped up a series on the biblical story of Esther and women have been writing us about this series. Here’s Nancy:

Nancy: Well, it seems that whatever book of the Bible I’m teaching at the time or studying in my own personal quiet time becomes my new favorite book of the Bible—and I’ve had lots of those. Then sometimes, when we teach a biographical study from the Scriptures or a character study, whoever I’m studying or teaching on or studying at that time becomes my new favorite person in the Bible.

During this period of time, Esther has been my new favorite woman in the Bible. Actually, hers is a story that I have loved for many years, and it’s been such a privilege to teach again through the book of Esther and to see the life of this true woman—who is such an example for us and who challenges us that God has called us into His kingdom for such a time as this.

It’s been a joy to walk through this series with you, over these last few weeks, and to hear from listeners who have been responding as God has been speaking to them through this series. As we sometimes do on Revive Our Hearts, we want to take time out today to just listen to some of those letters and emails and responses from listeners. We call this a Listener Letter Day. We want to let you share in the joy and the conviction that God has been bringing to different listeners’ hearts, as they’ve walked with us through this series.

I hope that you’ll not only listen to and be blessed by these letters, but that you’ll let God speak afresh to your own heart.

Here’s a lady who said,

I listen to the radio every day on my way to a difficult work place. God has used your teaching in the book of Esther to fill me with hope, knowing that I haven’t been forgotten or misled. God is at work in my life.

I don’t know what your life situation may be, how difficult it may be in the work place or in the home, or perhaps a situation going on at church, but I trust that this story of Esther has filled you with hope, and that you’re being reminded that God has not forgotten you. He knows where you are. He knows your story. He’s writing the script, and that God is at work always in the things that are going on in your life, even when you can’t see what He is doing.

If you’ve been following the series with us, you know that one of the big themes and threads throughout the study has been the subject of God’s providence—the fact that God looks ahead and He sees what’s going to happen. He determines what’s going to happen, and He is making provision in advance for every circumstance and season and situation of our lives.

Several of the responses we received centered in on this subject of God’s providence.

One woman said,

Today’s message on God’s split-second timing and His providence was such a faith-builder. Your challenge to review our own lives and see His specific providence just fills me with excitement. While I’ve always known His hand was on my life, there were certain events that didn’t seem to fit. Now I am convinced that they are definitely part of God’s great plan. Thank you, once again for applying God’s truth so practically.

Then another listener said,

It’s amazing how great the providence of God is in the entire story of the book of Esther. It’s a reminder that today, with God’s promises, we truly have nothing to fear.

That thread is such an important one. It is the awareness of God’s providence that delivers us from fear. Because while we don’t know what’s around the corner or how our current circumstances are going to work out in God’s great plan, God knows. He does have a plan, and that really can free us from fear.

That was the thought behind another listener’s email, who wrote to say,

Thank you for today’s teaching on God’s providence. Just yesterday morning I was confessing to the Lord that I knew that fear was too much a part of my life. I fear for my children’s future—if they’re going to live for the Lord or walk away from Him. I fear the judgment of God on our nation. I could go on and on about fears that seem to dominate my time and sap my joy and strength.

This morning when I saw that your teaching was on fear, [and I think this is probably someone who accesses the program by means of the Internet and pulls up the daily transcripts, so she pulled it up, and she saw that the teaching was on fear, and she says,] I thought about how good God is to encourage me through your teaching once again.

I realized after this morning’s lesson that fear really is a lack of trust in God and His sovereignty. What an awesome privilege we have as believers to rest in the providence and sovereignty of our Creator, our Savior, and our King. [Then she reminded us of this wonderful verse from Isaiah 41:10], “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

What a wonderful promise that is—one that you may need today, to deliver you from whatever fears you may be facing.

Here’s another listener who wrote along a similar line. She said,

As I read today’s lesson, I was convicted that the real issue for me is trust. When you find it hard to submit to an authority, it’s because you can’t trust in God. I know in my own life, that is a lie that I’ve continued to believe. The truth is, God can be trusted. Look how He cared for His people. Surely I can trust Him.

I have three children under four years of age. I constantly need to remember to trust God and submit to God’s authority by honoring my husband and my other spiritual leaders. By showing my children that I trust in God, I pray that they will see my faith and trust Him as well, and therefore, submit to their authorities as well. Trusting in His goodness and strength, you can submit in any and all situations—praise God! May we be women who are humble enough to trust the Creator of the world.

To that I say, “Amen!” If God can create this world, and He can redeem us from the power of Satan and sin, what in the world is there that we can’t trust Him to do on our behalf?

Several listeners wrote and spoke about the issue in Esther of waiting for God’s final timing in which to reward our faithfulness.

For example, one woman wrote,

Today is the first time I’ve listened to the radio teaching of Esther, and it seems that the Lord led me specifically—today. As a stay-at-home mom, I certainly feel sometimes like I am not rewarded for the daily tasks at home and with the kids. But today God’s words touched me and encouraged me to continue to serve—that He will reward my faithfulness in due time. Thank you, Lord.

Here’s another woman who said something similar. She said,

I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I want so badly to please the Lord. I try to take care of so many things, and I’d like someone to notice. What I have missed is that someone is noticing. [Then she gets real practical.]

I’d love for my husband to walk in the door at night and say, "Wow, honey, the house looks great, dinner smells good, and I see the kids are in bed. You really did a lot today." But that doesn’t really ever happen, and you’ve shown me that if I stay faithful to the Lord, I will get my reward when I am called home.

That is when we get our ultimate reward. Not here. Not now, but there and then. We ask the Lord to help us serve faithfully, even when it seems that no one else is noticing—when no one else is applauding and no one else is encouraging—but knowing that God knows and heaven is applauding. God is faithful, and He will be faithful to reward our faithfulness.

There’s another side to this issue of final rewards, and this listener said,

Thank you for your teaching on Esther. Just this morning, I was very angry with my husband because he insulted my dinner last night. He really hurt my feelings, but I know he will not apologize. He never has before, and I have no reason to believe, aside from God’s conviction, that he will now.

I think a lot of people, all of us, can relate to times when we have tried to do the right thing and found that, instead of being rewarded, we got slammed for it. That can hurt. It’s a fallen world. Husbands are fallen, and we as women are fallen. We sin, and we sin against each other, and we get hurt. How do we deal with that?

This woman said,

After hearing your teaching on Mordecai, about not getting recognized for turning in those two conspirators until years later, I realized that I need to be content, that God will deal with my husband’s cruel words. I need to trust that God knows what happened, and that it’s not my place to force an apology out of him or to make him feel guilty about it. God knows my hurt. God knows my husband’s heart, and God will heal us both if I will be patient.

That’s what’s hard for us, isn’t it? We don’t want to wait for God to work. We don’t want to wait for God to intervene. We need to be patient and to know that God is able to deal with those hurtful situations, and people, in His way and in His time.

The danger—and we talked about this in the series on Esther—is that we just blurt things out and say them when we think them, rather than waiting for God to act. Several listeners responded to this issue. I think we really hit a nerve here, about how as women, we often over-communicate. We feel like we have to say something, and we have to say it now. I suppose the reason I emphasized this so much in the series on Esther is because this is an issue in my own life. When I’m troubled or bothered or upset about something, I just have to get it out. I have to say it.

But I don’t have to say it, and how much better to have the discretion that Esther had as she waited. I’m just always amazed about how she just invited the king to the first banquet and then held her peace, and then invited him to a second banquet and did not blurt out what was troubling her, as serious as it was, until it was God’s time, and when it was God’s time, God had orchestrated all the events so that Haman’s downfall would be sure.

We heard from a number of listeners about this subject. One woman said,

How thankful I am for this teaching. Women think we have to talk about everything. I know I was very guilty of that. I thought that not letting the sun go down on my anger meant we had to battle all night.

Well, that’s not exactly what that means, but she said,

Now I realize that God is the one to take everything to, then I need to wait and let Him work things out. He needs to tell me when I am to go and speak about something. We are getting a lot more rest and refreshment in our home now that I am learning to keep a quiet heart.

I wonder if maybe God wants to speak to you about this issue of not over-communicating, not feeling that you have to say everything you think. We’re not saying all those things should be stuffed, or that you should never say the things on your heart, but discretion causes us to wait for the right timing—for God’s leading, and to have a quiet heart—so that God can be free to work in the hearts of those that we love.

I wonder if God wants to bring about more rest and refreshment in your home, as this woman has, as you learn to have a quiet heart.

Then, as you might expect, there were a number of listeners who wrote and spoke about the issue of pride, and how God dealt with them through our study on Haman and his pride. We have come to see that in many of us there’s a Haman in our own hearts. Let me read what some of those listeners had to say.

One woman said,

Your series on the book of Esther has been very informative and humbling. My heart has been especially touched in that I find myself being and acting very much like Haman, with all the pride—needing the pomp and circumstance, always wanting to be acknowledged for what I do. Please pray with me that this stronghold would be removed in my life, and that, unlike Haman, I would have a heart of repentance.

Another woman said,

I’ve been home for some weeks on a forced leave of absence from my administrative position. During this time, I have suffered depression, and at the beginning felt that I was the victim. Deep down I knew that my circumstance was not just the result of a prideful and angry boss, but was also the result of my own pride. I asked God to reveal to me the things that I had done that were wrong. However, over and over again, it seemed that I was the victim and my actions were the result of being treated so poorly by my boss.

Through this series in Esther, God is revealing to me the Haman-like tendencies that I have. I realize that I had pride in my thoughts and actions. Through these actions, God’s hand was not on me the way He had been in the past, before my pride took over. I’m applying for a new position now and praying that I will always remember this lesson.

It’s so hurtful to realize that I am so sinful. Acknowledgement of this sin is vital. Confessing this sin to God and to others is part of the process: God freeing me from the gallows that I have built for myself. Then there is repentance, turning away from this idea that I am always right.

Well, I thank the Lord for His grace, His grace to show us when we have been prideful, and His grace to give us a heart of repentance and humility. I thank God for working in this woman’s heart so that she saw it wasn’t just her boss who was proud and angry, but it was her own proud and angry heart that needed to be humbled.

I wonder if God may have been speaking to you about the issue of pride, and you’ve been so focused on someone else’s wrong doing, someone else’s pride, that you’ve missed, perhaps, what God was wanting to say to you.

Maybe you’re one of those people who feels you’re always right. I would say the message of Esther—and the story of Haman in particular—is that God wants to deliver you from those gallows that you have built for yourself. He wants to set you free as you humble yourself and acknowledge that pride.

Another woman said,

It’s been a joy listening to the story of Esther. It really spoke to me. Mordecai, Haman, and Xerxes are all in my family. [They probably don’t go by those names, but it is true that we can see those types of people around us.]

I was able to see and understand the different personalities. I also saw how Esther handled her circumstances with God’s help. She was like a sweet aroma, and she took her time. That’s something I have never done. I had a lot of Haman in me. Thank you for this story. Thank you for the enlightenment. Thank you for giving me another reason to worship our Heavenly Father.

Then here’s a listener who said,

The teaching of Esther has shown me that I am right where God wants me to be—a homemaker, wife, mother, and homeschooler. I was always so worried that I was not out in the world making a difference, or that I was being disobedient because I was not busy doing good things out there, but God has shown me that I am right where I am supposed to be.

This is my ministry, and I have peace and joy, knowing that when I was trying to make things happen, or trying to be out there working for God, I had no peace and no joy. God made me to be a wife, a mother, and a homeschooler at this season, and I do not want to waste any more time trying to make things happen in my own strength.

Now, God may have you in a very different place at this season of your life, but wherever you are, if you are where God wants you to be, two things will happen. Number one, you will have peace, and you will have joy, and number two, your life will be making a difference. The world has convinced us that we have to be out there doing things the world considers great in order to really make a difference, but in God’s economy, in His kingdom, if you are faithful doing what God has called you to do at this season, then your life really is making an eternal difference.

I was so encouraged to hear some women who were challenged on this whole issue of fasting and prayer, as Esther and her friends and Mordecai did, as they faced this very difficult situation with the king.

One woman said,

This study on Esther has been especially encouraging. The topic of prayer and fasting is one that really burdens me because it appears that the church is not utilizing this most important ingredient for seeking God’s wisdom and direction. We are living in spiritually dry and desperate times, and it seems we should collectively seek the Lord for individual and corporate revival through the means of prayer and fasting.”

Another woman picked up on this same theme but in a more personal sense in her home. She said,

Today’s lesson was just what I needed. I see my husband making a wrong choice in relation to a friendship. He is very bitter with his friend and is letting it be known. I know this is not God’s will or His way, but this lesson allowed me to see what I am to do—not to be critical of my husband or his friend. I will fast and pray to seek what God wants me to do and when.

How important it is, women. I had a woman say to me yesterday, “If I would just spend more time praying, seeking the Lord about these situations that trouble me in my marriage and in my extended family, rather than griping, whining, complaining, nagging, cajoling,” All those things that we all know how to do so well, she said, “if I would cry out to the Lord, what a difference that would make.”

Whether it’s your burden and concern for what’s going on in our nation or what’s going on in your family, maybe God is calling you, as He’s been calling these listeners, to fasting and prayer, seeking the Lord, seeking His direction as to what to do and when.

Let me just share this one other response from one of our listeners who said,

Esther is my favorite woman in the Bible. Her courage and determination make me want to do everything God tells me to do without worrying. When you said that maybe we had come into the kingdom for such a time as this, I felt like you were talking directly to me.

That woman sensed the Lord talking directly to her through His Word, and I believe God wants to talk directly to each of us, and that God has called each of us as His women into His kingdom for such a time as this. Now is the time for us to be God’s true women.

Speaking of “now is the time, and true women,” I want to encourage you, if you haven’t registered already for the True Woman ’08 Conference, coming up shortly in Chicago, October 9-11, I want to encourage you to go to our website. Learn more about the True Woman ’08 Conference. Get registered. There’s still room.

This is going to be a conference where we will be seeking to become women like Esther—true women, women of discretion, women of courage, women of faith, women of humility, women of prayer. There will be times throughout the course of that conference when we will go to our knees together and cry out to the Lord on behalf of our own lives, our families, the next generation, our churches, our nation.

This conference falls just a month before the general election, and if ever there were a time when thousands of women needed to come together and seek the Lord for revival and renewal and awakening in our land—now is the time.

I want to encourage you to be planning and preparing to come to the True Woman ‘08 Conference, and in between now and then, to be joining women and men across the country who are coming together on Thursdays from 12 to 12:30, local time—wherever you are, coming together in groups of two, three, or four, to cry out to the Lord for revival in our lands.

People are doing this in homes, in churches, in work places, throughout the course of this year and through the election, and I want to encourage you to be a part of that movement. Now is the time for us to be true praying women.

I want to thank each of our listeners who have written to us, to share with us how God has used this series on Esther in their lives, and many others that we could have shared today. I also want to thank each of you who have prayed for this ministry and who support this ministry financially so that we can be airing this message day after day, five days a week, 260 days a year on over 500 stations and outlets, all across the United States. What a privilege it is to be proclaiming the truth of God’s Word, calling women to freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ.

We could not be doing that without the financial support of listeners like you who say, “I want to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of women.”

We are a listener-supported ministry, and month after month, it’s such a joy to watch God touch the hearts of His people to support this ministry financially. As we come to the end of this month, we’re trusting God to provide the resources that are needed to meet this month’s expenses, and, as we go into the summer months, those months are usually more challenging and stretching financially.

Let me encourage you, if God has used this series on Esther, if God has used this ministry of Revive Our Hearts to touch your life, to touch your home, to minister to you, then would you ask the Lord if He’d give you the blessing and the joy of sending in a financial gift to help support this ministry? You can go to ReviveOurHearts.com to make that gift, or you can call us at 1-800-569-5959.

Thank you, so much for your encouragement, your financial support, and most of all, for your prayers for this ministry.

Leslie: When you donate, ask for the booklet to help you follow-up this series in your daily devotions. The booklet is called Esther: The Exile Queen. We’ll send it to you when you donate at ReviveOurHearts.com, or let me give you that number again in case you want to call, 1-800-569-5959.

I hope you enjoy a great weekend, including serving, learning, and worshiping at church. On Monday, gain a biblical perspective on intimacy in marriage, how to cultivate it, how to keep it. I hope you’ll be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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