Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: We can get so wrapped up in religious activity and never take the time to ask, “Is God really in this?” Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I think of how the presence of God is missing from so many of our lives, from so many of our churches, and how oblivious we are to the fact that He’s been gone for a long time in terms of His manifest presence. Many of us haven’t even noticed it.

Leslie: It’s Monday, September 10, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

If a friend called you and said, “Can you help me? I’m desperate,” your ears would perk up. Well, you and I should come to God with the attitude of that friend, but far too often, we don’t realize how needy we really are.

Today’s program on desperation launches a special twelve-week series called Seeking Him. Here’s Nancy to get us started.

Nancy: One day as I was preparing for this series, my friend Holly and I decided to go out for the afternoon and take her kids to the park.

As we were driving into the park, we heard this very faint jingling music-box sound. Her kids knew instantly what it was. They have these ears that can hear things only dogs can hear.

It was this faint sound, but to them, it was the unmistakable sound of an ice cream truck. Immediately, those kids started to screech, “Mom! Mom! We want ice cream! Please, Mom, it’s the ice cream truck. Please can we stop? Please can we have some ice cream? Mom, we want ice cream.”

It was in unison, and Holly being the obedient mom that she is, turned her van around and started to follow that truck. We actually had to follow it for quite some distance because he didn’t see us.

He didn’t know we were trying to get his attention. I don’t know how he couldn’t hear all those kids.

So we drove out of the park. We went into this major thoroughfare, and finally we were able to flag him down and get him to pull off into a little parking lot, and the kids got their ice cream treat.

Those kids were ecstatic to see that ice cream truck and then, of course, to have what was in that ice cream truck. As I watched that scene taking place in front of me, I thought, “That is a beautiful picture of the series that we’re getting ready to start, called Seeking Him.”

Here were kids who were seeking for ice cream. They were diligent. They were determined. They were ecstatic about this treat that they wanted, and they were seeking for it earnestly.

And that’s a picture, I think, of this journey that we’re going to be taking together over the next twelve weeks.

Now, conventional wisdom, at least when it comes to radio, is that you can’t do a series for twelve weeks and have people hang in there with you. But we’re going to do that because I believe there is a process, a progression that’s involved in our seeking the Lord together with all our hearts.

There are no shortcuts to that process. If we want to experience revival, we have to go through the process. Today, we want everything fast; we want it quick; we want it easy; we want it overnight; we want it pain-free, and the best things just don’t come that way.

If we’re going to seek the Lord, we’re going to have to seek Him with all our hearts, and it takes time—time to get our hearts prepared, time to hear what the Lord has to say, time to let Him reveal Himself to us through His Word, and then time to respond and let what He has revealed to us really take root in our hearts.

So I want to invite you to come on a journey with us over these next weeks. The workbook that’s a companion to this series is called Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.

I believe that if you will hang in with us over these next several weeks, if you’ll stay with us, if you’ll set your heart to seek the Lord in a fresh way, if you’ll press into this process, I believe that twelve weeks from now you will say that you have not only sought the Lord with all your heart, but that you have found Him in a fresh, new way, perhaps in a deeper way than you’ve ever before dreamed possible.

In the first part of this series, each week will be a theme that will relate to the twelve units, the twelve chapters of the Seeking Him workbook.

But in this first week, I want to introduce the concept of seeking Him. I want to introduce the series, give you an overview of where we’re headed, and give you some context for what we’re talking about when we talk about seeking the Lord.

So today I want us to just focus on those two words: Seeking Him. You’ll find that concept in the Scripture more often than you might have realized.

Think of that passage in 1 Chronicles chapter 22 where, as David was getting ready to die, he was passing the baton; he was passing the crown, the throne, to his son Solomon.

Solomon was a bright young man. He had many things going for him, but David knew the most important thing his son would need to succeed as a king was to have a relationship with God.

So David said to Solomon, “Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God” (verse 19). Do it now. Don’t wait until you’re an old man. Now! Set your mind. Set your heart. Be determined about this. Be intentional about this. Be intense about this. Do it now, and set your heart and set your mind to seek the Lord your God.

That instruction of David to his son suggests to me that this is supposed to require focus and attention. This is something you concentrate on. There’s an effort involved. There’s an intense desire.

“Set your heart to seek the Lord. This is a priority. This is the number one thing, son, that you are to do as you move into this role and this responsibility as a king.”

I want to suggest that though none of us are kings and will probably never have that type of public position or responsibility, I don’t care what your position is in life, what your responsibility is in life, the number one priority of every child of God has got to be to seek the Lord.

You want to succeed in what you’re doing in life? Do you want to be blessed? Do you want to fulfill God’s purpose for your life? You may be an older woman. You may be a high school student. You may be in college.

You may be single. You may be married. You may have lots of children or no children or be an empty nester. Whatever your season, whatever your calling in life, the number one priority is to seek the Lord.

It requires that we be proactive. Solomon was not going to be able to be passive about seeking the Lord. He needed to be proactive. “Son, do this. Set your mind. Set your heart to seek the Lord. Be intentional about this.”

David understood that there is huge value, huge importance, to seeking the Lord. Now, as we think of seeking the Lord, I know that some people think of that whole idea as—if they were honest—they think of it as being a duty, drudgery.

“Oh, I’ve got to seek the Lord. There are a whole lot of other things I’m interested in doing with my life. Maybe I’ll seek the Lord when I’m older. Maybe I’ll seek the Lord after I get this business started. Maybe I’ll seek the Lord after my kids get into school and things aren’t so hectic and I can get a good night’s sleep. But to seek the Lord now, that just sounds like an extra thing to add to my list, and my to-do list is already way too full. This sounds like a burden.”

As I think about Holly Elliff’s kids, screeching for the ice cream truck, I think ice cream for them at that moment was not a duty. It was not drudgery. It was sheer delight.

It was in their voices. It was on their faces. It was delight, and I want to say to you that those who have ever sought the Lord and found Him know that there is huge delight for those who seek the Lord with all their hearts.

If we only knew, if we could have a glimpse, a glimmer of what it is that God has in store for us, what God intends for us, then we would seek the Lord the way those kids were seeking for that ice cream truck.

We’d be passionate about it. We’d be earnest about it. We’d be putting other things aside. We’d be saying, “There is nothing more important in my day or in my life, no matter what else I have going on, there is nothing more important.”

I was doing an interview the other day on a national radio program, and as the interviewer and I were talking about the issue of forgiveness, in the middle of the interview on live radio, it’s as if a light went on in her mind and in her heart.

She began to talk about the fact that she had some things she needed to deal with as it relates to forgiveness, and she said, “I’m just realizing as we’re talking that God has a whole life of joy and fullness and experience for me beyond what I’m experiencing, that if I refuse to forgive, I’m cutting myself off, shutting myself off from something incredible that God has for me.”

That began to motivate her—the delight of what she could have, the treasure that is in Christ, the pearl of great price. You seek Him, and you will have everything. You will have the delights and the desires of your heart fulfilled as you seek the Lord.

So there’s delight in it. The subtitle of this book Seeking Him is Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. There’s joy here, and that ought to motivate our hearts.

I want to say to you, you may not think of knowing God and walking with Him as sheer delight at this point in your life, but if you will set yourself to seek the Lord, you will find the greatest delight that this world has to offer, for in His presence is fullness of joy.

There’s not only delight involved in seeking the Lord, but there’s desperation involved in seeking Him. In 2 Chronicles chapter 20, we’re told about a time when the Moabites and the Ammonites came against Judah for battle.

The armies of Judah were hopelessly outnumbered. There was no human way they could win this battle, and the messengers came and told King Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you” (verse 2).

Then verse three of chapter 20 tells us, “Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord.” He was desperate. He was afraid. He was terrified. There was nothing he could do to solve that situation. He was desperate.

So I think about that story. I’m reminded of an incident that took place 20-some years ago, but I don’t know that I’ll ever forget it. I was sitting with my friend Diane having a piece of apple pie at her kitchen table, and we were talking with another friend.

All of a sudden, Diane got this anxious, worried look on her face, but she didn’t really say what she was thinking, and I noticed she seemed preoccupied, and she walked in and out of the room a number of times.

She finally said, “Where’s Jordan?” Jordan was her (then) three-year-old son, and she realized she had not seen or heard Jordan for a long time.

She was in and around the house looking for him, and started calling for him. Well, she finally told us what the situation was. Where’s Jordan?

All of a sudden, the topic we had been meeting about did not matter any more. Nothing else mattered. Everybody is looking for Jordan. Where’s Jordan?

Of course they looked in the house; they looked around the house. Diane called her husband at work. He worked just down the street. He came home. Where’s Jordan? Looking for Jordan.

Finally the police got involved in the situation. Now hours have gone by. No sign of Jordan, and all the mothers in the room just groaned, because you maybe have had this experience and you know the utter desperation.

So what do you do as a mother? You seek! You seek! You seek! You’re desperate. You’re earnest. Nothing else matters. You seek for the one that is lost.

I’m happy to report that Jordan was found. He was up in some woods not far from the house and just oblivious to everything that was going on. He had been having a great time, I think, and of course, the relief when Jordan was found was huge.

I’m sure there were tears shed, but anybody would have said it was worth the effort, worth the search, out of the desperation to find that little child.

As I think about Jordan being missing and the desperation with which his family and friends and the police were seeking for him that day, I think of how the presence of God is missing from so many of our lives, from so many of our churches, and how oblivious we are to the fact that He’s been gone for a long time in terms of His manifest presence. Many of us haven’t even noticed it.

But once you do notice it, and once you’ve tasted what it is to have the presence of God expressed in your life and among His people in an extraordinary way, you will never again be content without it.

There’s a desperation. There’s a desperate need for the presence, the visitation of God to be restored and experienced among God’s people, in our churches, in our homes, and in our lives.

Are you desperate for that? When you’re desperate, then you will start seeking, and you’ll keep seeking until you have found Him.

God may at this moment in your life be creating circumstances to make you desperate for Him. As we conduct Revive Our Hearts conferences in different cities, one of the things I pray in the days leading up to those conferences, I pray for the women who will be coming. I pray, “Lord, would You this week create in these women’s lives circumstances that will make them desperate for You.”

I don’t know what those circumstances are, and I tell the ladies I’ve been praying that way when we come to the first night of the conference, and some of them look at me like, “Oh, you’re the one responsible for what happened to me this week! You’re why my life fell apart this week.”

I say, “Well, I’m not going to take the blame for that,” but if God is getting your attention and making you thirsty for Him through your life circumstances, hard as they may be, then that is a good thing.

Anything that makes me long for God is a blessing. Anything that makes me desperate for Him, anything that brings me to the end of my own resources, my own strength, my own power, that’s a good thing.

Thank God if He is creating circumstances to make you desperate for Him, and then you seek the Lord with diligence.

Seek Him earnestly, not just with delight and desperation, but with diligence. Hebrews 11 tells us that God rewards those who diligently seek Him (verse 6). The word for diligent is a word that means “a concentrated effort.”

It’s an intense effort. This is not a casual glance in God’s direction. “Oh, Lord, you know, if You’d revive us, that would be nice.” No, this is a diligent search for God.

It brings to mind that passage in Luke chapter 15 where Jesus talked about things and people that were lost, and how their owners went searching for them.

He says in verse eight, “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?”

Searching with determination. Jesus said in that passage, “This woman searches diligently.” How long? Until she finds it.

If we’re going to search with determination, that means we don’t stop seeking until we have found what we’re looking for. We press on. We press in. We press into the Lord and we say, “Lord, I’m not going to let go until You come and meet with us in revival.”

Scripture says, “Seek the Lord . . . Seek His presence continually” (Psalm 105:4). Seeking Him is not a one-time experience. Revival is not a one-time experience. It’s a way of life. Seek the Lord continually.

So seeking, but not only seeking, but seeking Him. Seeking Him. One of the conditions the Lord lays out for revival in that very familiar verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14, is that we must seek His face.

“Seek My face.” That means we seek Him more than we seek His gifts, more than we seek anything He can do for us, more than we seek His blessings, more than we want the people around us to change.

Do you want Him, or do you want a good husband and a happy marriage? You say, “Well, I’d sure like to have both.” I want to tell you, once you find Him, the Lord, then you will have everything else that you need for your well-being and happiness.

Seek the Lord. Seek His face. We’re all seekers. We all devote our time, our energy, our efforts to seeking after one or more things. We seek after the things that matter most to us, the things we really want.

That’s what we seek after. I know that a lot who are listening to us today are seeking a mate. There are those who are seeking happiness, seeking relationships, seeking friendship, seeking money, seeking position, seeking recognition.

What are you seeking? Jesus said in Matthew chapter six, “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles [the unbelievers] seek after all these things” (verses 31-32).

That’s what they’re seeking after. Does that mean that these other things are unimportant? That they don’t matter? That it doesn’t matter you don’t have something to eat or something to wear or something to drink?

It doesn’t mean they don’t matter, but Jesus said, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (verse 32). So the point is not that they aren’t important. The point is that they aren’t most important.

They are not the things after which primarily we are to seek. It’s not to be our primary focus. So what did Jesus say should be our primary focus? “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (verse 33).

You get them, you get what you need, everything that you need, with the package when you find Him. So what are you seeking? What really matters to you? What are you investing your times, your effort, your resources in?

And who are you seeking? We seek help and direction and counsel and provision often from the people around us, from friends, from family, from pastors, counselors, therapists, sometimes we’ll seek from books or from resources or conferences.

Are you seeking the Lord first and foremost? Over these next twelve weeks, I want to encourage you to seek the Lord. That may mean you have to say “no” to some other things—some good things.

It may mean that you spend less time in front of the television, less time with your favorite program, less time perhaps on your computer. Maybe less time playing computer games or surfing the Internet or less time sending emails.

It may mean that you need to get up earlier in the morning. I’m not telling you what time to get up; I’m just saying, seek the Lord and ask Him, “What would it mean, Lord, for me to seek You with all my heart over these next twelve weeks?”

By the way, I hope that the pattern of seeking the Lord over these next twelve weeks will become for you a lifetime pattern of seeking the Lord.

Set aside time. You have no more precious commodity than time to seek the Lord. Seek the Lord by yourself. Seek the Lord with others. Seek the Lord with a group. Perhaps get this workbook, and if you haven’t done it already, it’s not too late to get this “Seeking Him” workbook and say to some friends, “Could we go through this together?”

People have done this before as we’ve done the Seeking Him series, and some of you have been through it with us before, and you’re thinking, “I’ve been through that book. I’ve heard this series. I’ve been through this.”

Seek the Lord continually. Let me encourage you to not stop seeking Him because you’ve done this study before. The Scripture says, “Will you not revive us again, [and again and again] that your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:6)

God wants to use you, perhaps, as an instrument of revival in the lives of others, to encourage others to seek Him. So get a group together. Do it with others.

And let me encourage you to plan throughout these twelve weeks to participate with us in the twelve weeks of the National Prayer Meeting for Revival.

Saturday mornings for the next twelve weeks, starting this coming Saturday morning, is a chance for you to seek the Lord together with other believers from all across this country.

We’ll be telling you how you can partner with that. Go to ReviveOurHearts.com. There will be more information about the National Prayer Meeting for Revival as we seek the Lord together over these next weeks.

Leslie: Twelve weeks from now, will your life be pretty much the same as it is now, or will you look back twelve weeks from now and think, “I’ve grown so much”?

We hope you’ll be closer to God in twelve weeks than you are now, that you’ll seek Him with the kind of desperation you just heard about.

There are a couple of ways we’re encouraging you to seek God. First, participate in the National Prayer Meeting for Revival. These are the Saturday prayer meetings Nancy was just talking about.

Those leading the prayer time truly know how to seek God. As you listen in and pray along, your heart will resonate with theirs. For information on how to listen in your area, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Secondly, ask us for the Seeking Him workbook. It’s yours when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. For twelve weeks, participate in this daily, thought-provoking, challenging devotional.

It’s not just an exercise, not just busy work. It’s a daily adventure that will connect you with God. When you request Seeking Him for your personal Bible study, we’ll include a booklet called Preparing for Revival.

Ask for Seeking Him and Preparing for Revival when you make a donation of any amount by calling 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

If you have a small group, Seeking Him would be perfect. Order the workbooks and DVD of Nancy teaching this material, again at ReviveOurHearts.com.

We’ve used the words “personal revival” today. Maybe that’s not a familiar term. Learn more about what revival is and is not, tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Now, Nancy’s back to pray.

Nancy: Lord, our hearts cry out to You and say, “Lord, we want to seek You. We want to seek Your face.” I pray, Lord, that You would give us a sense of desperation, a sense of diligence and determination and then joy and delight as we seek You with all our hearts.

Thank You for Your promise that as we seek You, our hearts will be revived. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

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

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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

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