Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’re running a relay race, and we’ve got a baton in our hands. It’s the baton of faith in Jesus Christ. We have a huge responsibility to pass on to the next generation, to those who will run the next leg of this race, that baton of faith.

Leslie Basham: It’s Tuesday, March 20th, and you’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

A lot of us are really going to miss hearing about Proverbs 31 because Nancy’s been teaching through this chapter for the last 26 days. It’s been incredibly insightful to me. Today will be no different as we learn how to pass on what we’ve learned to the next generation. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, we’ve had quite a journey over these last several weeks through Proverbs 31, and I hope it’s given you a whole new perspective on this wonderful passage, and a sense of God’s heart and His purpose for our lives as women. What a huge influence we have on the people around us, not just our own generation, but generations to come! That’s what I want to focus on in this last session of the Proverbs 31 series that we’ve been airing.

I want to go back to the original context of Proverbs 31. We talked about this several weeks ago. If you’ve been following with us through these weeks, you’ll remember that this whole passage is a teaching that came from a king. But where did he learn these words? Where did he learn these concepts?

Verse 1 of Proverbs 31 says, “These are the words of King Lemuel. It was an oracle that his mother taught him.” These were things he learned from the wisdom, the heart, the mind, and perhaps at the knee of his mother. She said to him from presumably even his earliest years, “What are you doing my son? What are you doing son of my womb? What are you doing son of my vows? Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings” (verses 2 and 3).

She goes on to describe to her son the kinds of things needed to be a wise, good, and godly leader. She warns him of the areas where he needs to guard his heart and principles he needs to understand and self-control issues. Then in the verses we’ve been concentrating on most recently, she gives him some things to look for in the wife that he will marry.

She says to him, “The choice of a mate, a life mate, is so important. So here are some of the things that you should look for.” We’ve been trying to learn for our own lives as women, what is God’s heart—what are the characteristics that we want to have as counter-cultural women.

But I want us to step back today and remember that not only is this message for us in our generation, but these are concepts and words and truths that we need to be passing on to the next generation—to our children and our grandchildren.

I say that, realizing that I am a single woman. I don’t have biological children of my own. But as a family of God, as the Body of Christ, we are responsible for passing on the truth of God’s ways, the truth of the gospel, and the truth of purity—we’re to pass that on to the next generation.

We’re running a relay race and we’ve got a baton in our hands. It’s the baton of faith and faith in Jesus Christ. We have a huge responsibility to pass on to the next generation, to those who will run the next leg of this race, that baton of faith has to handed to them intact.

So that’s what we want to focus on today. I want to do that by way of a conversation with a long-time dear friend who is visiting in our office in Michigan with us this week. Susan Henson and I go back a long way. We go back almost twenty-five years and have been kindred spirits, sisters in Christ, and have both influenced each other’s lives in significant ways.

Susan is a part of our Revive Our Hearts team. She is married to Pastor Al Henson. They live in the Nashville, Tennessee area, and he is pastor of Lighthouse Church there. Susan has such a heart for helping to pass on the truth of God’s ways to the next generation. She’s been here with us here at Revive Our Hearts, here in Michigan, for some meetings along with her husband.

Susan, thank you for your willingness to sit and have this conversation about something that I know is on your heart.

Susan Henson: Thank you, Nancy, for having me. Yes, this is a deep burden of my heart! I have a passion that we in this generation will be so desperate to take the truth that God has given us and be able to pass that baton of faith and truth to the next generation. If we don’t, who will?

Nancy: You say that, of course, just as a woman of God—a woman who loves God’s Word and God’s ways. Susan, you have a mother’s heart. That’s one of the things I so appreciate about you. We’ve been talking, as we’ve been in these meetings this week, about something that’s been very heavy on both our hearts.

We have been discussing that so many of our children who are growing up in Christian homes, in our evangelical, Bible preaching churches, are leaving those homes when they graduate from high school, going in their college years and young adulthood and our leaving the church—leaving the evangelical faith, never to return.

Susan: Yes—the statistics are staggering!

Nancy: Yes, I’ve seen statistics that perhaps as high as 80% of these kids are growing up and having no interest in the faith of their parents. We’ve been asking ourselves,“Why is this?” This is sobering!

I sat with our Revive Our Hearts team at a gathering we had last night, and I said to them, “Sooner or later, we’re all going to be gone." We want to live out God’s truths in our generation. But the question is: Who is going to live this out in the next generation? We have to care about what happens to the next generation!

This passage that we’ve been looking at says that there are some truths, some principles, some understanding of God’s ways that mothers need to pass on to their children—not just with their words, but with their lives.

I know, Susan, there are other passages of Scripture that speak to us about this subject of passing on the truth to the next generation.

Susan: Yes. I think Titus 2:4-5 gives us the indication that there is a mandate, that we are to train the younger generation—the younger women. The older women are to do this, and to teach them not only to be lovers of God, lovers of their husband, lovers of their children, but also to teach them to be self-controlled and to be pure.

It’s not an option. God has given us this mandate. This is something that we as mothers and grandmothers need to pass down to the next generation. I think, as being a grandmother—sometimes we think, “Well this is our children’s responsibility.”

But, as a grandmother, I can see I can have an incredible influence on my grandchildren’s lives, especially when they’re young. When they are in that very molding stage, we can plant little seeds along the way when we have them in our care, in our watch-care, in our love, and under our wing.

Sometimes as a grandmother, I have found that my grandchildren have embraced and have heard what I have said at that particular time. In fact, they took it to heart even more than they do with their mom, because I’m not the disciplinarian in their life at that moment. So they listen more precisely.

Nancy: So as you think about your influence as a grandmother on your grandchildren, Susan, what are some of the ways, or some of the opportunities that you have to speak truth into their lives?

Susan: Just a few months ago I went to a pre-conference meeting, and I took my granddaughter, Leah, with me. I purposely, ahead of time, took a book along—it was just a coloring story book, but it was a story about a salvation experience—of how a young man came to the Lord.

God even orchestrated some events that night—there were some questions that she brought up that flowed right into the book! We just were able to talk about salvation and planting those seeds. There were times that tears just came into her eyes. She just cuddled up so close to me that night.

It is important for grandmothers to be planting those seeds of salvation and purity into the life and heart in our grandchildren so early. We do have to be intentional. If we are not intentional in that, then the world will gladly take them by the hand and teach them its truths.

We’re really living out the book of Judges, in a sense that everybody is doing what is right in their own eyes. We’ve got to start teaching our children truths at an early age so they can be able to combat the lies of the culture that comes against them—to be able to know what is truth and what is a lie. What is the culture saying about this? What is truth according to God’s Word? That is so important in our day and time.

Nancy: It’s interesting that you mention the book of Judges—where every man did that which was right in his own eyes. It was a state of moral anarchy and just chaos in the nation of Israel. If you go back to the book of Deuteronomy where Moses spoke to the parents of that generation, he told them, “The Lord your God is one God. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart” (6:4-5). 

Then he said, “You’re to teach these things diligently to your children. Write them in your house. Write them everywhere they can see them. Talk about them when they go to sleep, when they get up, throughout the course of the day” (6:6-8, paraphrase).

Well, what happened between those words in Deuteronomy and the book of Judges, where you have a whole generation that is in moral anarchy? What happened is the parents didn’t teach their children.

Susan: All it takes is one generation.

Nancy: One generation—when the parents forget to teach their children about God, the children forget God. That’s what we see in Judges 2:10. It says, “There arose [after the generation that knew God], another generation after them who did not know the Lord nor yet the works which He had done in Israel.” I think that is one of the saddest verses in all of God’s Word.

I want to just insert a word here—I know we have a lot of listeners who do not have their own children, a lot of single women—women who are not mothers or grandmothers. Let me just say, this is a responsibility for all of us. We’re in this together. That means we need to pray for one another’s children, be involved in each other’s children’s lives, and be crying out to God to do that, which only God can do in “connecting the dots.”

You know parents can “do everything right,” and yet it takes the grace of God to turn on the light and to cause it to click in the lives of those children.

Let me go back for just a moment to something you said, Susan—that you are wanting your little granddaughter, Leah, to come to know salvation through Christ. Of course—that’s just foundational for her whole life here on this earth and her whole eternal life!

But then you’ve also mentioned a couple of times your burden for that generation to understand a heart for purity. We are told in Titus 2 that older women are to teach the younger women. One of the things they’re to teach in that curriculum is to be pure and to have pure hearts.

I know this has been a huge burden on your heart over the years. How did God give you this burden, and why is it so strong in your heart?

Susan: Well, it goes back to a time that I was spending with you and two other pastor’s wives. You were sharing about your burden and your prayer that God would raise up a counter-cultural generation, and how Revive Our Hearts could be a part of that. God also put that same burden upon my heart, and I began to pray about that.

We were talking about resources that were on the market that were “counter-cultural.” One of the moms mentioned a little fairy tale story, a parable, called The Princess and the Kiss. She was just sharing a little bit about that, and how it could teach purity. I could not wait till I got home to be able to purchase that book and read that to my grandchildren! They were much younger then.

But, as I began to read that story and find out that God gave this little princess a special gift. Her parents presented it to her when she was grown. It was illustrated by this beautiful yellow glow, and it was the gift of her first kiss. It was a physical kiss, but it was illustrated—it gives the illusion of something that would be of great value and great worth.

After presenting her with the gift, the king gives her some instructions. He says “Be wise and save your kiss for the man you’ll marry. Do not give it away to strangers.” I was reading this story and I got three-fourths of the way through the story. Then my grandson—who was only five at the time—sits up in bed, looks very serious at me and says, “But Maw-maw, Anna who’s in my K-5 class didn’t save her kiss! She gave it to me!”

Nancy: Susan, I remember when the Lord first put that resource, The Princess and the Kiss, into your hands and how excited you were about the response of your grandchildren—even your little grandson who was five. God put it into your heart to develop some companion resource to help moms and grandmoms press these truths into the lives of children.

So you developed a companion tool with the author, Jenny Bishop, called Life Lessons from the Princess and the Kiss. The Lord has also provided another resource for the boys now.

Susan: Yes. It’s The Squire and the Scroll. Jenny Bishop, the author, is an incredible writer. She has a “C. S. Lewis” kind of flair to her. She did an incredible job of writing this parable.

In the story, the lantern of purest light has been stolen from the kingdom. The king sends his last knight on this journey to recapture that lantern. All the other knights the king sent on the journey did not return.

That is just an incredible picture of our culture today—how innocence has not only been stolen from our young boys, but also from our culture. We need to intentionally go and seek ways in which to regain that pathway of purity back into our culture and for our young children’s lives—back into the kingdom.

Nancy: One of the things we’re very intentional about and burdened about at Revive Our Hearts is how to produce resources like these, and others we’re making available, that can be tools for moms and grandmoms to do what this woman did in Proverbs 31. She trained her son before he was a king—when he was still a young boy. We need to train our children how to guard their hearts, how to love the things that are true, how to be innocent concerning evil but wise concerning what is good.

Also, the Lord has given us a vision for using those tools and those resources, to give women a track to run on. There’s some things, for example, like Princess Clubs and Squire and the Scroll Clubs, that I know you’ve been involved in helping church ministry leaders—women who have a heart for this to do in their churches. Give us just a little bit of a vision for some of those clubs.

Susan: Well, it’s really equipping the church, to equip the parents, so the parents can then in turn be able to personally have a simple and non-threatening way to implement these truths and plant the seeds into their children’s lives.

One of the ways we’ve tried to do this simply, is to say, “Okay, moms, you do two lessons at home. Every third lesson you can come together in a small group and facilitate that in a small group setting in a way that—not that you’re going into any details that would be offensive in that way at all. Just really focus in on the purity of heart and life in those clubs. To be able to take those principles and that story, and combine those together with some activities, questions, and some craft times.

Nancy: It’s really creating a climate of positive peer-pressure when it comes to purity.

Susan: Yes—not only for the children, but for the parents because it gives strength. It gives courage to the parents to say “yes.” Also, they learn from the other parents in their interaction. You’ll be surprised what will come out of that. I think one of the things we have seen is that they usually take ten or twelve weeks to go through this. The mothers and dads would walk away from this saying, “I can’t stop here. I’ve got to keep doing this.”

Nancy: We’re also seeing God use these materials and these club ideas. People are doing it very creatively. There are a lot of different ways to do this, and a lot of ideas, we’re sharing on our website at ReviveOurHearts.com.

But God is using it also in the lives of these parents, some of whom have issues and baggage from their own past, where they didn’t know the ways of God or didn’t follow God’s ways. We’re seeing God really set free some of these moms and dads who are taking their sons and daughters through resources like these.

Susan: Yes, and I think they are finding the strength to realize they want more for their children than they received for themselves. It gives them that desire of “I’m going to invest in my children’s life. I may not have got it, but I can take these tools, and I can take these resources, and I can at least plant the seeds into my children’s lives. I can give.”

It gives them hope that they have at least covered those areas of information. They have given them the tools to take that next step toward biblical womanhood and embracing that.

Nancy: Because it is so counter-cultural, we find that it’s helpful to moms to be able to meet other moms who have this same heart and to be able to get together and have strength in numbers—in doing this in community with one another.

One of the ways we’ve encouraged that is through conferences that we’re developing, Pure in Heart Conferences. We had the first one last fall, and we’re in the process of launching others. This is going to be your focus with us in Revive Our Hearts. Tell us a little bit about that first Pure in Heart Conference.

I had the privilege of being there, and it was really a precious thing to see those several hundred mothers and daughters come together all day Saturday. Tell us a little bit, for those who weren’t there, what it was like.

Susan: Nancy, it was incredible. It’s hard to put into words. It was just such a blessing to see these moms and daughters come together and just to see these young girls huddled up under the wings of their moms—how they had that time of connection there.

So many walked away commenting about what God did in the lives of the moms. I think it cast a vision to the moms to be able to realize that they do need to be intentional. Now they have a way in which they can go home and be able to plant the seeds and continue this process. It was so wonderful to see these moms and daughters come together.

Nancy: That’s the burden of these conferences; it’s the burden of these resources. For our listeners who want to know more about these resources or about the possibility of hosting a Pure in Heart Conference in their area, they can go to our website ReviveOurHearts.com. There’s a link there that will take them to more information about some of these resources.

That brings to mind, a passage we’ve quoted before on Revive Our Hearts. But I want to just quote it again. I think it’s such an important part of our mission and ministry here at Revive Our Hearts.

It comes from Psalm 78. The psalmist says, “Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might and the wonders that he has done.

"He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children” (verses 1-6).

So how many generations are listed there? Three or four or five perhaps. One generation to the next. Why? “So that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God” (verses 7-8).

So, women, we really have a huge calling and responsibility not only to be faithful to God ourselves, but to pray and influence and share the truth. Pass that baton on to the next generation. We need to realize that to some significant measure, that we really have influence as to whether that next generation and the next will be ones that love the Lord and obey Him and shine as bright lights for Him or whether they will be a stubborn and rebellious generation whose heart is not faithful to God.

Lord, I thank You so much for those who have taught us Your ways. I think of my mom, my dad, and a praying great-grandmother and others who’ve influenced my life and whose lives made the gospel believable and attractive. Lord, now we come to You on behalf of the next generation and the next.

We cry out to You on behalf of our children, our grandchildren, and even the children yet to be born. We say, “Oh Lord, would You give us wisdom and faith and purity and courage?” Help us to be intentional. Help us to be brave and bold and not to just throw up our hands and say, “Oh what a tragedy it is the way all these kids are going!”

Help us not to stand by and criticize, but Lord, to roll up our sleeves, to get on our knees, to cry out to You, to lay hold of You and to say, “Lord, we are not letting go until You give us the hearts of these children.”

I pray, Lord, that You would help us to use the resources You’ve given to us. Thank You for Susan and her ministry and for The Princess and the Kiss and The Squire and the Scroll, and for Jenny Bishop who wrote those terrific little tools. Thank You for these Princess Clubs and The Squire and the Scroll Clubs that are starting up around the country, and for Pure in Heart Conferences that will take place, Lord willing, in the coming months around this country.

Lord, we pray that there would be a movement of purity, of grace, of counter-cultural biblical womanhood. Lord, may we be able, at the end of our lives, to look at the next generation and say they have gone further spiritually than we ever dreamed of going! That they will be bright and shining and pure lights to represent the pure heart of Jesus for generations to come! We pray it 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 unless otherwise noted.

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