Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Appreciating Your Shepherd

Season:  Best of 2017

Leslie Basham: Robert Wolgemuth asks you to imagine a football quarterback who’s been sitting on the bench. Suddenly he’s sent into action.

Robert Wolgemuth: And so he runs out on the field and he has the responsibility of calling the plays and making the team move down the field. It’s a very dangerous thing. So it’s the blend of the joy of leadership and the danger of leadership as well.

Leslie: Robert says that’s a picture of being called to lead a home.

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Quiet Place, for Friday, December 29, 2017.

This week we are reviewing some of what God has done in 2017, and we’ve been listening to clips to some of the top series of the year. And that includes a series called “Like The Shepherd.” Now Revive Our Hearts is a program for women, but we know men listen sometimes. And we knew all our listeners would enjoy hearing from Nancy’s husband, Robert. As we begin the top series of the year, here’s Nancy and Robert talking about his new book for husbands called Like the Shepherd: Leading Your Marriage with Love and Grace.

Nancy: I just want to get this out of the way, because I know somebody’s thinking it: If the husband is the shepherd, that makes a wife . . .

Robert: . . . a sheep.

Nancy: For a lot of women, I’m not sure that’s something they really want to be called.

Robert: I’m sure you’re right.

Nancy: That’s not necessarily a flattering concept, so help us out for those where this may seem like it just doesn’t make sense.

Robert: Yes, of course. When the Bible was composed, it was back in the day when people were herdsmen, and agriculturalists, farmers, fishermen. So that was the culture. The industrial age hadn’t happened yet. So the illustrations and so forth are in the context of those things. But it’s interesting, Nancy, because the Bible calls everybody a sheep.

Nancy: So not just wives.

Robert: Not just women. I mean, “All we like sheep have gone astray.” “Jesus is the lamb who was slain.” So we’re in great company. No one is exempt from being called a sheep, and there’s a reason for that.

Sheep are really good at wandering away. The first story in Luke chapter 15 is one that I talk about quite a bit in the book because the sheep lost his way. He wasn’t defiant. The prodigal son, that’s a story also told in that chapter, shook his fist in his daddy’s face and said, “I am out of here.”

The sheep wasn’t that way. The sheep didn’t seem to be defiant. It just seemed to be easily distracted—one little tuft of grass here, a little tuft of grass over there, and suddenly he looks over his shoulder, and he doesn’t know where he is. So that’s all of us. The Bible is very clear that all of us have that tendency.

Nancy: One of the things I love that you talk about in this book is it’s not just wives who are sheep and need to follow a human shepherd, but you challenge men. You challenge husbands that you can’t lead your wife well if you’re not recognizing that you’re a sheep in need of a shepherd and if you haven’t learned how to follow our Good Shepherd.

Robert: Yes. One of the most important concepts in all of life is the idea of being an apprentice.

Nancy: Yes.

Robert: I worked for a contractor all the way through college, and I learned how to do all the trades from masonry to electrical work to everything carpentry by watching him do it. I could have read a manual—back then we didn’t have YouTube—but I learned how to do it by watching somebody who was an expert do it.

So that’s the idea here. I am learning how to be a shepherd by being a sheep and having a Shepherd. I talk about that a lot. I have a greater capacity to be a good shepherd by watching my Good Shepherd and being an obedient sheep under His leadership. Then I know what it looks like. I’ve seen somebody else do it. I’ve experienced it from the Good Shepherd—capital G, capital S—and now I have some clues as to how to do it in my own home.

Nancy: That’s one of the things that has been such an inspiration to me. It’s no secret to our listeners that I’m a strong woman. I was single for fifty-seven years. I had leadership, and I had follow-ship as well, but not in the way that I do now as a wife. This could have been a rough or even impossible adjustment, humanly speaking, for me to now be in the role of a wife with a husband who has a vision for shepherding his wife.

The thing, besides God’s Word and God’s ways, that has inspired me on the human level is seeing how you daily, humbly, earnestly, seek our Good Shepherd. You’re following Him. You’re listening for His voice. You’re up at the crack of dawn, before dawn, actually, most mornings, and in the Word and on your knees and listening for His voice and praying for our marriage and for the things that concern us together.

So for me, it makes it a lot easier to follow your leadership, to trust your leadership. Not because I have expectation that you will be a perfect husband, any more than I am a perfect wife, but I know I can trust the Lord.

Robert: Yes.

Nancy: I know we can trust the Lord. And if you’re listening to Him, then God is going to be taking good care of us.

Robert: Even just as you’re saying those words, I feel a sense of panic. I do because I know what a sinful man I am. I know that without the grace of God and His mercy and His forgiveness, I don’t have a chance.

Nancy: But isn’t that the point for all of us?

Robert: It is, yes. Of course it is. But you’re saying these wonderful, kind things, and I’m grateful for them. They’re an encouragement to me because it helps me to want to continue to do that and to be that man in your life, but I am so aware of my own sinfulness and my own inadequacy when it comes to doing anything right, to being obedient, to listening to the voice of my Good Shepherd as I lead you.

Leslie: That’s Robert Wolgemuth talking with his wife Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth about his book, Like the Shepherd: Leading Your Marriage with Love and Grace. It’s one of the top series here on Revive Our Hearts in 2017.

Listener: After listening to Robert and Nancy talk about his latest book, Like the Shepherd, I immediately sent for a copy.

Leslie: A Revive Our Hearts listener wrote to tell us how she and her husband were encouraged by this series and Robert’s book.

Listener: After reading it, my husband decided to use it for the Men's Study that he leads. My husband reports that it has been an amazing journey already for this group of men! Some have been Christians for years, some are new believers. But the tears shed as they share their hearts and the passion expressed as they read the words of Robert Wolgemuth have been life-changing already.

Robert (from "Like the Shepherd"): We’re more accustomed to the image of driving cattle, not leading sheep. The interesting thing about that is the cattle have no choice. There’s a bunch of cowboys out there, and they’ve got lassos and whips. The have dogs at their heels. So if a cow gets out of line, he pays for it. A shepherd leads . . . which means the sheep willingly follow.

Listener: The dearest thing to me, as a wife is to hear how these men desire to be this kind of husband . . . a shepherd to their wives.

Robert (from "Like the Shepherd"): When you lead sheep, those sheep always have a will of their own. Your leadership is persuasive and gentle and compelling—all of those things that give your wife the joy of choosing to follow your lead. That’s a lot more work!

Listener: Some of these men have not had the privilege of growing up in a godly home or having this kind of godly attitude modeled before them, and they are devouring this. I do not think that my husband could be any better than he already is. He is an incredible godly man and husband, but he has so appreciated the words and challenge of this book. God bless you both as you continue to minister to us all.

Nancy: Wow, just think. Robert and I had that conversation here in the Revive Our Hearts studio. Then God used it had a big impact on this one couple. Now they are spreading the truth to other families. Just think of the generational effects this message could have as husbands learn how to lead like Jesus.

You are a crucial part of that process, if you’ve prayed for the ministry or donated to support Revive Our Hearts. The reason we were able to share this conversation on Revive Our Hearts is thanks to listeners who give and support this ministry financially.

In order to keep our outreaches going in the year ahead and pursue key new opportunities God is placing before us, we need a strong response during the month of December. That is particularly true in these last few days of the month since a significant portion of our support for the whole year comes at this time.

All through the month we’ve been telling you about a matching challenge provided by a group of ministry friends. They will match any donations this month, up to a total of $800,000. Now, some of those matching funds are still available, but not for long. This opportunity to double your gift—it only lasts through this weekend—ends when the clock turns over into the new year. So on this last weekday of the year, we are praying that lots of our friends, lots of our listeners, will join in responding to this opportunity. 

Your gift today can be matched and have double the impact, but we need to hear from you before the year wraps up in just a couple days. So ask Him how He would have you to partner with us at this time. Then just respond as He leads. Would you also ask the Lord to fulfill the matching challenge and take us significantly beyond it? Then pray that He would help us to wisely pursue the opportunities before us in the coming year.

Here’s how you can give your gift today or during this weekend. You can go online anytime through the weekend at ReviveOurHearts.com. Just click the donate button— it’s quick and easy. You can also call us at 1–800–569–5959. Our call center will be open through the weekend if you call. Or you can write to us at P.O. Box 2000, Niles, Michigan, 49120.

If you are going to send your gift through the post office, you need to be sure to have it postmarked by tomorrow, Saturday the 30th. Because the postal service will be closed on Sunday to celebrate the holiday.

Leslie: Thanks Nancy. We’re reviewing some of the top series on Revive Our Hearts in 2017. This year we marked the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with Dr. Erwin Lutzer. In that series he and Nancy talked about Katie Luther and the influence this woman of God had on her husband, Martin Luther.

Dr. Lutzer: She ends up being an amazing wife for him.

So, anyway, he decides to get married. He says, first of all, to please his father. Now, his father was against him going into the monastery. So he visited his father, and he thought, Maybe this might be a way to keep my father happy.

Why did he do it? First of all, he says, “To please his father.” The second reason is to “spite the devil.” And the third reason was “to make angels rejoice.”

So he gets married. But I want us to think today about the opposition that occurred to him and what he had to put up with.

There was not a lot of possibility that this marriage would succeed. First of all, sixteen years different. He is a famous man. She, of course, nobody heard of her except that she was a runaway nun. And, by the way, her father dumped her off into the nunnery, at the school, at the age of six. I don’t think they ever met again because he was on a different trajectory.

She becomes his wife, and there is huge opposition. Melanchthon, who was Luther’s sidekick and he was buried with him in the Castle Church in Wittenburg, was so opposed to the wedding that Luther never even invited him to the wedding. He found it very difficult to come around on that point.

But the other thing, Nancy, and isn’t this sad, the brunt of all the criticism was against Katie. She was called the seductress. They said, “You knew how weak this man was, and you seduced him into marriage.” She was blamed for the fact that they got married. That criticism of Katie even continued after Luther’s death.

So Luther and Katie get married. They are in a wedding. First of all, a private wedding, and then they go to the church where Bugenhagen ultimately marries them. He was the pastor at the time. And, yes, she is twenty-six, and he is forty-two, sixteen years different. And the opposition continues.

This is humorous: Even King Henry VIII of England . . . Now, we’re going to have to talk about him in the Reformation because he’s a contemporary with Luther, and some of the things that he did and how it impacted the Reformation. But even he accused Luther of “disgraceful lust in violating a nun who was consecrated to God.” Now, King Henry, you know, is the one who beheaded his wives when he didn’t like them, but, “Luther, you are filled with disgraceful lust.”

Now, Katie becomes a spectacular woman in terms of all that she did for Luther in the twenty-three years they were married together. For example, gardening. She had to garden because, you must understand, if you see the Black Cloister where they lived, it’s a big building. It had about forty rooms, and those rooms were always full. Not necessarily of students. Politicians came, and lots of students came, and important dignitaries came to see Luther. They all stayed there, and they all stayed there for free.

He begins to call Katie the morning star of Wittenberg because she gets up at four o’clock in the morning, and she doesn’t really complete her day’s work until nine o’clock. Now, in the middle of this, she does have six children, we should say. So she was spectacular in her ability to garden.

She was a nurse. Luther was confounded by all kinds of illnesses, and she had all kinds of remedies. By the way, I read that historians do not know where she learned all of that. She wouldn’t have learned that necessarily in the nunnery. Maybe it was when she was with the Cranachs because she was able to nurse him. People marveled at the fact that Luther’s health improved after marriage. That, I’m sure, was because of Katie.

They developed a very strong love between each other. But really, Nancy, the real thing that held it together during the rough spots, and it’s clear that there were rough spots, is respect. They continued to respect each other, and they gave one another their space.

Leslie: That’s Dr. Erwin Lutzer, talking with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth about the marriage of Martin and Katie Luther. That’s from a series we aired earlier this year on Revive Our Hearts to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. To hear the whole series, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. If you click on “Resources,” you can search all our archives by airdate or by series title. The series we just heard was called “Celebrating the Reformation.”

We’re re-visiting some of the top series from 2017 here on Revive Our Hearts, and we’ll conclude by hearing from a major study Nancy took us through on the letters to the seven churches in Revelation.

Listener: Thank you ever so much for the Revelation study.

Leslie: Here’s how this series affected one Revive Our Hearts listener.

Listener: I had been extremely discouraged with our church situation. I felt perfectly content to not be involved and read online material instead of going to church.

Nancy (from "Letters to the Churches"): We need to know what Christ thinks of the church. We need to know what His concerns are.

Listener: Through this series I’m getting a glimpse of how much Christ loves His Church.

Nancy (from "Letters to the Churches:): But Christ, whose eyes are like a flame of fire—what He sees and what He knows. We need to know what matters to Him, and what He thinks about the true condition of the church, what His diagnosis is, and His prognosis, and His prescription for the Church.

Listener: I’m asking God how I can be involved again and have a burden to pray for the purity of His Bride.

Leslie: Here’s Nancy from the series that re-awakened a love for the Church in this listener. It’s called “Letters to the Churches in Revelation.”

Nancy: A lot of people who love to talk about prophecy, about final things, about things that will be down the road, have a hard time living in the here and now, dealing with issues as they are. Sometimes, and I’m not saying this is true of all people who love prophecy, but I’m saying sometimes people who want to spend all their time in prophecy may be trying to escape or avoid living in the nasty “now and now.”

The point of the prophecies was not so that we could figure it all out. It was to help us know how to live in a state of readiness and preparation now so that when those things do happen, in whatever sequence, whatever they would look like, then we would be ready.

It’s a lot easier to argue about when the rapture is going to take place or, depending on your system, if the rapture is going to place, then it is sometimes to deal with very practical issues of obedience, controlling our tongues, pride, confessing sin, forgiving people who offend us, loving your mate, making financially wise decisions, dealing with pressures, with problems.

That’s the stuff of life that God has given us His Word and His grace to deal with, and the letters to the churches help us deal with the here and now. Not that the other does not have application, the things that are to come can give us insights about the here and now, but the letters to the churches, they were written to churches like us, people who dealt with situations and issues like we do.

As I’ve been studying and memorizing and meditating on these letters to the churches, I have found my heart encouraged and blessed. You will find your heart not only encouraged and blessed as we go through the series, but also challenged and, at times, there will be rebuke that will come from the mouth of Christ to our own hearts and to our churches because we’re so like these churches in Revelation in different ways.

You’ll find yourself instructed, as I have been.

  • These letters give us hope.
  • They tell us how to find grace and peace in the midst of trouble.
  • They give us perspective.
  • They help us to live purified lives in an impure world.
  • They help us to endure through hard times.
  • They call us to repentance.
  • They warn us of dangers to watch out for.
  • They help us persevere.
  • They inform us.
  • These letters to the churches are written to us, and they inform how we are to live life here and now and how to prepare for life then and there.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, in a series called “Letters to the Churches in Revelation.” We’ve reviewed that message as we’ve gone through the best Revive Our Hearts series of 2017. If you missed any of these best-of programs, you can hear them all at ReviveOurHearts.com. And you can also hear all the complete series we’ve featured here at the end of 2017. To listen to the archived programs, click on "Resources," then "Programs."

Nancy: I’m so grateful for the opportunity and the joy I’ve had to share God’s Word here on Revive Our Hearts throughout 2017. And I’m looking forward to another fruitful year of ministry in 2018. I hope we'll hear from you today or during this weekend and that you’ll be part of helping us to meet and exceed our matching challenge that wraps up Sunday at midnight. Join with us and be part of what God is doing to change the lives of women all around the world.

You can go to ReviveOurHearts.com to make your gift. You can call us at 1–800–569–5959. Or if you get your letter postmarked by tomorrow, you can mail us at P.O. Box 2000, Niles, MI 49120.

Now, as we close out our programming for 2017, on this last weekday of the year, I'd like to pray a benediction found in that first chapter of the Revelation that we looked at a few moments ago.you prepare for another year of serving Him, I’d like to pray for you.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priest to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you focus on the truth in the coming year. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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