Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Have you ever made the mistake of thinking of a godly woman as a wimp? If you’re going to be this Christian woman, you’re just going to be this mousy, submissive woman who has no brain, no ideas, no abilities; you don’t have any competence; you don’t have any skills—that’s what a godly woman is, so the world tells us.

Leslie: It’s Tuesday March 6th, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Over the last three weeks, we’ve been hearing about a woman who works hard. She has good business sense. She provides nice clothes for her family and prepares them for the future. This woman is described in Proverbs 31, and Nancy has been walking through it verse-by-verse. As you study it, you could become more and more like the woman you’re reading about, no matter how weak and discouraged you sometimes feel. Nancy will explain how.

Nancy: I’m so grateful for those who take the time to write to us here at Revive Our Hearts and let us know how God is using this ministry in their lives and how they’re growing. I’m also grateful for those who write and share with us how they’re struggling. It helps me to know how to pray for those who are listening to this ministry and to know also what are some of the sensitive areas. I know that if one woman writes and says, “I’m struggling with this,” she’s probably representing a lot more who may be wrestling with some of the same issues.

My heart goes out to the women who write and share of some major issues they struggle with in their walk with the Lord. And, by the way, when I read these on Revive Our Hearts, I want you to know that we do have permission. We ask for permission, and we get that before we read something like I’m going to share with you here from a woman who wrote recently and said,

I found myself not being able to sleep tonight. I’ve been up since two, and it’s now 3:45 a.m. My mind keeps racing as I think about all my troubles. The house—it’s like a money pit. Cars, finances, the kids—and there seems no end to the worry and weariness of it all, the pressure of it all. There’s a voice inside of me [it’s the Holy Spirit] that says, "Don’t let worry get a hold of you. You can trust Me.”

But I have a hard time coming to Him and telling Him my troubles (like He doesn’t know those already) because He seems so far away. I know that I should go to the Lord, but I can’t get past the wretchedness of myself and how I live my life.

I’m such a horrible Christian that I scarcely feel like I can call myself one. I don’t spend time with God. I spend time running from God. I’m in bondage to overeating and the habits I’ve allowed into my life: staying up late, feeling so fatigued all the time.

I feel overwhelmed with everything that life has thrown me, and I know I can’t handle it all. I would say defeated is the operative word for my life right now. I started out with this journey with God 22 years ago on good solid ground, and now I feel like I’m in sinking sand.

As I listened to this woman, I realized she represents so many women today for whom the operative word would be the word defeated—discouraged, frustrated, trying to climb out of this pit, and sometimes just feeling like you fall deeper into it.

Now, we’ve been looking at Proverbs chapter 31 for several weeks now, and we’re seeing a woman who represents the kind of woman God wants to make us as Christian women. So how do we get from feeling like this woman, who is defeated and frustrated and overwhelmed and stuck in life—the house, the finances, the kids—just feel this woman. It’s like everything is just crashing in on her. How do we get from those moments, those days, those seasons of life to become like the woman that we’ve been reading about in Proverbs chapter 31?

We come to verse 25 today, which paints for us a picture of a woman who is very different than the woman I just read about, who sent that email. Verse 25 tells us, “Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come” (KJV).

There’s not a lot said in this passage about what this woman wears, but here’s one clear thing about really the most important items in her wardrobe. If you were to go into this woman’s closet and say, “What are the most important items you have here?” it would be strength and honor that are her clothing.

Now that word strength sometimes is translated in the Old Testament as “boldness” or “power” or “might.” Have you ever made the mistake of thinking of a godly woman as a wimp—as a weak woman? Isn’t that the caricature that the feminist movement has given of Christian woman?

If you’re going to be this Christian woman, you’re just going to be this mousy, submissive woman who has no brain, no ideas, no abilities; you don’t ever think; you don’t have any competence, you don’t have any skills—that’s what a godly woman is, so the world tells us.

But that’s not what it sounds like as I read this passage. In fact, do you know it takes courage to be a woman of God? It takes strength to go against the tide of this world’s way of thinking and to reject wrong, deceptive ways of thinking that this world has hoisted upon us and to say, “I’m going to love my husband. I’m going to love my children. I’m going to be a keeper at home.”

That takes strength and courage. It takes power. It takes might. It takes inner character. Strength is part of her clothing. She’s not a weak woman. She’s a courageous woman. She’s a bold woman. She’s strong in the Lord. Strength and honor are her clothing.

That word honor is sometimes translated “majesty, excellency, or goodly glory.” This is speaking of a woman’s inner character. That’s her clothing—that’s what matters most to her. Here’s a woman who is not weak and whiny. She’s not an energy taker; she’s an energy giver. She’s not controlled by her circumstances.

We know that her husband—no matter how godly he is, no matter how great a man he is—that he’s just a man and that he has weaknesses and limitations. And she has to live with this man. She lives with children that don’t start out as model children because children are sinners. They need to be trained; they need to be disciplined and trained in the ways of the Lord. So she lives with the very same kinds of issues in her home that you live with in your home.

But she’s not controlled by those circumstances. She’s controlled by the power of the Spirit of God within her that gives her the strength to respond in a gracious way when her teenagers are acting like teenagers, and her husband’s acting like a teenager, and when she feels like acting like a teenager! It doesn’t matter what time of the month. It doesn’t matter what was going on around her. She was clothed with strength and honor.

Now, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t blow it. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t fail. She does; but she knows how to get up, confess her sin, appropriate God’s forgiveness, and go on. She doesn’t wallow in her failure. Yes, she blew it. Yes, she said something she shouldn’t have said. She mouthed off. She goes back. She makes it right. She seeks forgiveness, and she goes on. That’s a woman that’s clothed in strength and with honor.

When I think of a woman like this, I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus. A little description is given to us in John chapter 19 at the cross of Christ. Now, here’s a woman whose son, her firstborn, is being crucified, the most painful form of execution known to man at that time.

She knows that He’s perfect. He’s never done a single thing wrong; and yet, He’s here exposed, naked, shamed, humiliated before the watching world, dying as a common criminal, has done nothing to deserve it. And here’s his mother. You might expect to find this woman dissolved in a heap of tears and hysteria at the foot of that cross.

But she’s not. Do you know what John tells us in chapter 19? “There stood at the cross His mother, Mary” (John 19:15, paraphrased). That little word “stood.” She’s standing there. Now, is she sad? Yes. Is she grieving? Yes. Is she perplexed? Of course. Does she fully understand what’s happening? Probably not. But is she controlled by her circumstances? No. Is she controlled by the power of the Spirit of God? Yes.

So she is able to stand, clothed in strength and honor in the midst of a circumstance that would send many of us as women into convulsions of hysteria. She’s not overwhelmed because there’s a power within her as a virtuous woman—a power of strength and honor.

Do you know where you get that strength and honor? From the Lord. Not from your circumstances, not from your husband, not from your children, not from your parents, but from the Lord. Psalm 96, verse 6, tells us that honor and majesty are before Him. Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

Do you want to reflect the beauty, the strength, the honor, the majesty of Christ in your home, in your circumstances? Then learn to live in the presence of the Lord. Get into His presence. Get into His Word.

You say, “I don’t have time.” If you don’t have time, then make time; find time. Because if you’re not spending time alone with the Lord beholding His beauty, you will never reflect His beauty. You’ll never be like Him. You’ll never have that strength and honor to deal with life’s pressures if you’re not living in the presence of the Lord.

When you do get into His presence, you’ll find that He begins to clothe you first within, and then in a way that can’t help but come out with His beauty. “Honor and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary” (Psalm 96:6, KJV).

So help us Lord to live in Your presence, to get filled with Your Word, with Your Spirit, so that when we’re squeezed, what comes out is Your beauty, Your responses, Your reactions, Your heart. Clothe us, O Lord, with Your strength and honor. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: You can become more like the woman described in Proverbs 31 by staying close to God and letting His power work through you. God uses His Word to transform your life, and I hope you’ll respond to the suggestion that Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been making during our current series: It’s to read Proverbs 31 every day for 31 days.

God also uses teachers like Nancy Leigh DeMoss to help us understand His Word. That’s why I hope you’ll spend some meaningful time in Proverbs 31 with Nancy. Order her complete series, called The Counter-Cultural Woman.

Imagine these scenarios: you’re driving to work or sitting in the carpool line, and you pop in a CD of this teaching. Or while you’re exercising, you have this material on your iPod. Or you take 30 minutes per day with your Bible open, listening to these messages, meditating on God’s Word. If you were to do any of these, it would transform your day and help you grow as a woman of God.

That’s why I hope you’ll order The Counter-Cultural Woman. You can get it on 10 CDs, or if you’re going to listen on an iPod or computer, you can order one MP3 CD. Call to order at 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com. When you visit that website, would you tell us what you think of this series? Add your comments to the listener blog, or send Nancy an email. A lot of listeners have been doing that, and Nancy’s here to share the feedback we’ve been getting.

Nancy: When we first started a series on Proverbs 31, I have to tell you that some  listeners admitted that they weren’t sure how they felt about a series on Proverbs chapter 31. I can relate to that, because as I said earlier in the series myself, when I used to read Proverbs 31, I would think, “Oh no. Here is comes again. Here’s this kind of woman that I just could never be.”

Some of our listeners said they felt the same way. One listener said, “Whenever I hear a message on Proverbs 31, I just feel tired. I always feel discouraged whenever I read or hear it, but by God’s grace, He put me in my car to hear your program. After only two days, I already feel more kindly toward this woman. I believe I will love her by the time the series is over. I will never look at Proverbs 31 in the same way.”

I think this series was particularly meaningful for some of our listeners who were not raised in homes where they learned the heart and the ways of God. One woman said,

My mother and father were divorced when I was six. My mother never remarried and became rather cynical toward men. I have, like her, become independent in every way and have a difficult—no, impossible—time embracing the role of the Proverbs 31 woman. Thank you for leading me, training me, and inspiring me. I have accepted your Proverbs 31 challenge, and this standard is in my heart and mind every day. In fact, a day does not go by where I do not draw from your teachings to interact with others.

Now, this lady referred to the Proverbs 31 challenge. And if you weren’t with us when we aired the earlier parts, we challenged our listeners to make a commitment to read Proverbs chapter 31 every day for 31 days. I think that will be a huge blessing to you.

One woman wrote in to say,

Thank you for the Proverbs 31 challenge. This chapter was so rich. One of the main things I received from it was that this virtuous woman’s mission statement was to prosper her husband in every way—emotionally, financially, physically, and spiritually.

As I look back over this chapter, now all marked up in my Bible, there is so much God has taught me that has changed the way I’ve always seen this chapter. I have always felt hopeless about the standard presented, but now there is a hopeful, encouraged, and exciting understanding of Proverbs 31, and I often refer to it in my quiet time, even though the 31 days are over.

I think one of the things that God has used this chapter and this teaching to do in many women’s lives is to give them a whole new perspective on serving their family. A number of listeners wrote to say that they were finding a new joy and freedom as they served their families.

One woman wrote and said,

Revive Our Hearts has been a huge help for me to understand what it means to be a godly woman. I was raised opposite of everything I should be, and I always wondered why I never felt right as a mother or wife. Through reading the Bible and listening to your program, I now understand what I should have been doing all these years. I’ve once again found joy in taking care of my family. I even find myself singing and smiling while doing the housework—can you imagine? I wanted you to know how much this program has changed my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Then we received a number of letters and emails from women who were thankful to be affirmed in a decision they have made to be at home with their children. Let me share one of those particular illustrations with you. This woman said, “Thank you so much for affirming the choice not to work full-time outside the home. My husband was out of work for an extended period of time, and I was blessed to get a wonderful full-time position with excellent pay."

And let me just insert here, some women wrote and said, “I don’t have a choice about this. I’d love to be home with my family, with my children, but I’m a single mom; or financially, there is just no way we can make it without me working outside the home.” Can I just say to you, commit your case to the Lord. Trust Him to direct you; look to His Word. I’m not God in your life. I cannot tell you what God’s will is for your life. But God knows your heart, and if God wants you to be at home with those children, He is able to make a way for you to do that. And otherwise, you follow the Lord’s leading and direction in your life.

This woman went on to say, as she had this full-time position,

I enjoyed the confidence boost and the independence, but I was not at ease in my spirit about being away from home for extended times. Although my husband was at home and our children were in good hands with their other parent, they missed having mom around.

After my husband got another steady job, I continued to work full-time to help with the bills, but those months were very unsettling. When summer approached, I could not adjust to the idea of my seventeen-year-old babysitting my nine-year-old. It was unfair to both and not biblically sound. [So she made a radical decision.] I quit my job, adjusted to the cut in pay, and I’ve been content ever since with the help of God’s Word.

There were other specific areas where the Lord spoke to women’s hearts as we went through these earlier portions of Proverbs 31. One woman said,

During this series, I felt so convicted when I heard your teaching regarding women not neglecting their husbands’ sexually. I have made so many excuses. My husband has been bitter toward me because of my neglect towards him. We’ve only been married a little over a year. I love my husband dearly, and I want to make sure I do what God wants me to do in this marriage. I’m going to start over today. Now, maybe my marriage can be revived. Please pray for us.

And can I please say to that listener and to others like her, your marriage can be revived, and you can start over through repentance and humility and faith, whether you’ve been married just a little over a year or many years. God can revive you. He can revive your marriage.

Now, this woman asked us to pray for her, and let me just say as a reminder that when we receive requests or letters like this, we do pray for those requests. We have a team here. We take those requests and pray over them one by one. I hope that you will, as you have a specific prayer burden on your heart, that you will write and share that with us so we can join you in taking that burden and taking you to the throne of grace.

Here’s another specific area where the Lord spoke to a woman’s heart through the earlier part of this Proverbs 31 series. She said,

Today’s program really spoke to my heart. What struck me most was when you reminded us to let our mothers know how much they mean to us and how much we appreciate their sacrifices.

Sadly, my mother is in a nursing home, at the age of 55. She has a disease like Alzheimer’s that has robbed her of her memory of us. I’m now a mother of two, and I wish I could go back and tell her how much her example meant to me. I pray that others took your advice and told their mothers how much they’re appreciated because you don’t know how much time anyone has left, and you don’t want to leave those words unspoken.

What a good challenge that is as we come into this last portion of Proverbs 31, where we’re going to learn that the children of this virtuous woman rise up and call her blessed.

Well, there are lots of other letters I’d like to read. We received one from Malaysia, from a woman who said, “I read Revive Our Hearts on the Internet daily. I am getting married in a few months, and this series on the counter-cultural woman has really opened my eyes. I now have a clearer picture of my place in a marriage, God’s way.” So here’s a woman on the other side of the world, who has been encouraged and challenged in her coming marriage to be the woman that God wants her to be.

Let me just wrap up with another letter that perhaps expresses how you have felt as you’ve listened to the Proverbs 31 series or maybe other series here on Revive Our Hearts. This woman said,

I totally agree with what you’ve said, but my question is where do I begin on this journey? I feel overwhelmed with life in general, and I know I need to make changes, but I just don’t know where to start.

I’ve wasted a lot of my life going after things and ideas of this world, so needless to say, my life is not in order right now. I see that I’m wrong, but I don’t know where or how to begin the change. Could someone help me get started in the right direction?”

Can I just say if perhaps that expresses the way that you feel as we think about this Proverbs 31 woman, the place to start is by going to the Lord and telling Him how you feel. Say, “Lord, my life is a mess. It’s not in order. I don’t know where to start, but I want to start. Would you show me how?”

I read in my quiet time just yesterday Proverbs chapter two: “The Lord gives wisdom. Out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6, paraphrased). Then after you ask the Lord what to do, let me encourage you to find another woman, a woman who’s mature, who’s godly, who’s walked with the Lord perhaps longer than you have, and say to her, “Would you disciple me? Would you mentor me? Would you listen to my questions? Would you pray with me? Would you help me understand how I can take the next steps in my walk with the Lord?”

And then, I believe that if you’ll join us here at Revive Our Hearts over these next few weeks, you’ll find a lot of practical insights that will help you take the next step in your spiritual journey toward becoming the woman that God created you to be.

Leslie: Isn’t it encouraging to hear how God uses His Word to transform women’s lives? We’ve been hearing about women who have been deeply affected by Proverbs 31 and Nancy’s teaching through the chapter. Her series is The Counter-Cultural Woman. Maybe you’ve thought of someone who would get a lot out of this teaching. Tell them.

There are a lot of ways you can share this life-changing content. When you visit ReviveOurHearts.com, go over to the left where it says, “Spread the message.” You’ll see a lot of options for doing just that. For instance, you can send a fun E-Card through Revive Our Hearts. You can also look up a radio station in your friend’s area. And here’s a cool one: If you have a blog or a website, you can add a Revive Our Hearts banner. Again, get more details at ReviveOurHearts.com.

How often does a busy woman laugh? Probably not enough. Find out what Proverbs 31 says about smiling and laughing tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

 

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