Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Divine Anointing, Day 1

Leslie Basham: When you experience God’s anointing, it affects all of life. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth shares an example.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: How many of you have teenagers? You parents need the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of True Woman 101, for Monday, June 12, 2017.

What’s the most difficult thing you have to take on today? Are you leaning on God’s power or your own talents? Well, we’re about to be reminded why you need God’s strength for everything.

Nancy first delivered today’s message to ministry leaders, but whether you have a public ministry or you stay behind the scenes, today’s message will help you find the strength you need.

Nancy: People often ask how they can pray for me. I’m so thankful when they do ask and when they pray. If you were to ask my staff—those who work with  me—what is the most frequent answer I give to that question, I think they would all agree that the thing I most often say is, "Please pray that God will grant fresh oil. Pray for the anointing of His Holy Spirit on my life and on my ministry."

This subject of fresh oil—the anointing of the Holy Spirit—is something that has been on my heart for many, many years. I have probably asked the Lord for fresh oil, for the anointing of His Holy Spirit more often than I have asked Him for any other single prayer request. I don’t know that there’s anything I’ve asked for more often.

I read passages like this one in 1 Thessalonians chapter 1:5. As the apostle Paul talks about the nature of his ministry to the Thessalonians, it almost takes my breath away to read words like these where he says,

Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.

As I read those words, I think, what must that ministry have been like? What would it be like to be under the ministry of a man who speaks not only with words, but also in power and with the Holy Spirit and with much conviction—with full conviction?

As God has called me to minister the word to women, this is something I have longed for. I pray for it. I dream of it. I ask God for it. What is it like to minister the Word of God, not in my words only, but in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with much or full conviction?

I make no claim to have in any way grasped what it means to minister in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, to have fresh oil. I feel like I have just touched the hem of the garment of His ways when it comes to this subject. But as I was asked to come and share here this week, I have felt burdened to try and release something that’s been on my soul for a lot of years and just the fruit of my own meditation and grappling with this issue of the anointing of the Spirit.

I know that you know that there is a connection throughout the Scripture between the subject of anointing and oil and the Holy Spirit. You see it in different ways. In the Old Testament, you remember how the prophets and the priests and the kings were anointed with oil signifying that they had been set apart for ministry to serve the Lord. They were being consecrated by this oil, which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. They were consecrated for their calling and empowered to serve the Lord.

“You shall anoint them,” Exodus 28:41, says, “consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister to Me as priests” (NKJV). And with that anointing invariably came the empowering, the enduing of the power of the Holy Spirit for service. You think of how David was anointed to be the king by the prophet Samuel. Then 1 Samuel 16:13 tells us, “The Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward” (NASB).

The anointing with oil—a physical, visible symbol of an inward work of God as the Spirit of God came mightily. I love that word mightily. The Spirit of God when He comes, comes with might, comes with power on His servants. Of course, we know that Jesus Christ, the ultimate Prophet, Priest, and King is the Messiah—the Hebrew word that means “the anointed One.”

The Scripture tells us in Isaiah 61:1, looking forward to the anointed ministry of Christ, the Prophet, Priest, and King,

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.

And then not just Old Testament believers and Christ Himself, but now as New Testament believers, we have been set apart as kings, as priests unto the Lord. Second Corinthians 1 tells us that God has anointed us, that He has set His seal upon us, and He has given us His Spirit in our hearts. What a precious, gracious gift is that. The gift of the Holy Spirit.

So we’re told, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). Now just who is it who needs this anointing? We need the anointing of the Spirit for anything and everything that God has called us to do as we serve Him. Of course, those of you who are preaching and proclaiming the Word, those of us who teach the Word, we need the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God in order to proclaim the Word of God.

Many of us in this room are engaged in not such public ways of proclaiming the Word of God, but in counseling, in discipleship, in evangelizing, in sharing the gospel. We need the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God every time we open our mouths to serve the Lord, to touch or to speak into the life of someone else—for every form of ministry.

  • for parenting—how many of you have teenagers? You need the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God.
  • for toddlers
  • for grown children
  • for every act of service
  • for serving on worship teams
  • for leading worship
  • for the gifts of administration and helps and mercy and service

In all of those ways of serving the Lord, we need the anointing, the fresh oil of the Holy Spirit of God. Because spiritual results (and why else would we be serving the Lord if we don’t want spiritual results) never ever come about as a result of natural means. Natural means cannot produce spiritual results.

I’m convinced that this matter of the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God is one of the most essential ingredients in ministry. I also believe that in twenty-first century evangelicalism, it is one of the most neglected and overlooked and lacking ingredients.

Now we know that that anointing has nothing to do with our natural abilities. It has everything to do with the supernatural infusion of the Holy Spirit. I’ve seen some of the most naturally gifted communicators and Christian workers who just don’t seem to have the anointing. Now God is the One who knows and who measures and who quantifies all this.

But by the same token I have seen clear-cut, unmistakable evidence of the supernatural hand and breath of God on some who arguably have only average or less than average gifts and abilities. How do you explain that? It’s the anointing, the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now I’ll be the first to say that when we get into this realm, we’re dealing in the realm of mystery. You cannot demonstrate the anointing of God in a test tube. You cannot quantify it, but we know that it is vital. We know that it is real. It’s not something that we can manufacture. It’s not something we can make happen. There is no formula. I wish there were. There is not.

It is the work of God. It is the gift of God. But I’ve asked myself over the years that being the case, what is our part? It strikes me that there are several elements that have a bearing on this matter of the anointing in our lives and in our ministries. In my thinking they divide into two aspects. First, there is the anointed life—that is my personal preparation for the ministry of the Word. And then—oh, that God would grant it—anointed lips, the powerful proclamation of God’s Word, whether to multitudes or one on one.

So first the anointed life—our personal preparation to proclaim the Word of God. I believe that an anointed life is the foundation for all of our message preparation and delivery. Of course, the preparation of our message is essential. I spend a lot of hours alone in my study. Two hundred sixty radio programs a year. I take it so seriously as a responsibility to proclaim the Word of God. I spend a lot of hours studying and reading and thinking and outlining and preparing messages.

But when it’s all said and done, if I do all of that but don’t have a life that is anointed, that is prepared to study and to seek the Lord and to minister the Word, then all of that proclamation will fall flat. It will not have the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

We read of Ezra that he set his heart. He was intentional about studying the law of God and doing it and then teaching His statutes and rules in Israel. He set his heart. There was this anointing of the life. He set his heart to know it for himself first. To do it, to live it out, to have a life message, and then to proclaim.

I love that verse in Psalm 39, verse 3, “My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue” (NIV). How often do we speak with our tongues, whether life to life or to whole groups, without that fire first having burned hot in our own hearts? If we would have an anointed life, we have to let God speak to us before we speak His Word to others.

You see, it is all through the Scripture. You read about Moses who went into that place of meeting. He went in before the Lord to speak with Him and then he would come out and speak to the children of Israel whatever God had said to him in that meeting place or up on that mountain.

The end of 1 Samuel chapter 3, and the beginning of chapter 4 of 1 Samuel, there’s a progression here that is so precious and powerful. It says, “The LORD revealed himself to Samuel” (v. 21). He revealed Himself, how? By the Word of the Lord. The Lord spoke to Samuel and then “The word of Samuel came to all Israel” (1 Sam. 4:1).

I love that commentary—that divine commentary—on Samuel’s preaching and speaking and prophetic ministry. It says, the Lord “let none of his words fall to the ground” (1 Sam. 3:19). I’ve sought the Lord for that. I have asked the Lord for that. It makes you careful with your words because you want to make sure that you’ve heard God speak, that you’ve listened to His Word before you speak it. By faith we have said, “Lord, don’t let a word that is from You fall to the ground.” Well, how do you know that’s going to happen? You get your word first from the Word of the Lord.

Ezekiel experienced this. I’ve read Ezekiel’s calling many times over the years and just had a sense of God doing this work in my own heart when He said that “You, son of man, hear what I say to you. . . . open your mouth and eat what I give you” (Eze. 2:8). Then you know God gave him a scroll with writing on it. They were words of lamentation and woe and judgment. They weren’t just sweet words.

God said, chapter 3, verse 1, “He said to me, ‘Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. . . . All my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears'" (vv. 1 & 10) and then go and speak to your people (v. 11 paraphrased). The eating of the scroll—symbolic of taking the Word of God into our beings, digesting it, internalizing it until it burns within us as an inextinguishable flame or fire. The passion of God has got to first fill us before we can expect to proclaim it with power.

Jesus said, “I do nothing on my own authority, but I speak just as Father has taught me. I speak of what I have seen with my Father” (John 12:49 paraphrased). The apostle John concerning the Word of life, “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you” (1 John 1:3). We can’t give to others what we have not received from God. We have to proclaim that which we have seen, heard, and experienced for ourselves.

Then following on the heals of that, our lives must incarnate or illustrate or flesh out that which we proclaim to othersIf the truth hasn’t first changed us, it’s not likely to change anyone else as we deliver it.

Going back to 1 Thessalonians chapter 1:5–6, the apostle Paul said,

You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers (2:10). 

The apostle Paul understood the importance of a life message, and that’s why he could say, “Follow me as I follow Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1 paraphrased).

One of the things that is a great heartbreak to me is that so many in our evangelical churches . . . I hear from them constantly. We get emails from people who are in the churches that we attend—our Bible churches, our Bible-preaching churches. These people by and large are not connecting the dots between orthodoxy and orthopraxy. They’re not getting it. I can’t help but wonder, is one of the issues (and I know it is) that they are not seeing in us incarnated, lived out, the truths that we’re proclaiming?

Oswald Chambers talks about this a lot. He got it on this. He said,

The message must be part of ourselves. Our lives must be the sacrament of our message. Before God’s message can liberate other souls, the liberation must be real in you.

I have to tell you that I live a very public life. One of the reasons I didn’t want initially to be called to this radio ministry was anonymity is something that, humanly speaking, I would loved to have had. I knew that if I said yes to this calling, I would never have a private life again. That has proved to be true, by and large. I had to come to the point where God reminded me it wasn’t my life but His to be broken bread and poured out wine on behalf of others.

Yet as much as my life is open and exposed and whatever you’re doing people are watching. They see you. They scrutinize. They evaluate. They sometimes misunderstand.

I live in a lot greater holy fear of that Day (capital D). That Day when every last vestige of my private life is laid open and bare and exposed before the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-searching eyes of a Holy God who sees and knows what the crowds don’t see. The God who knows who I am behind the scenes, in the private places, in the secret places of my heart, in the secret, hidden places of my thought life. The God who knows that if my life does not incarnate, even in the private places, the truth that I am proclaiming, I will forfeit the anointing and the power of the Holy Spirit in my public ministry.

Well, not only an anointed life, but anointed lips. Some things that God has put on my heart about this matter of anointed lips. First, that we must cultivate and communicate a reverential awe for the Word of God. The Scripture talks about trembling at God’s Word. You don’t see much of that today. You don’t hear much from the lips of those that you know tremble at the Word of God.

I am gripped over and over and over again with what an awesome responsibility it is to hold this Book in my hands, to handle the Word of God, and to speak the Word of God into other people’s lives. I stand in awe of that responsibility. I don’t want to ever take it lightly what it is to speak the Word of God.

Augustine said, "When the Scripture speaks, God speaks." We’ve got to cultivate a sense of awe over God’s Words as compared with our own words; where we experience and communicate the wonder of the Word of God, the fact that God would speak to us. That ought to grip us. If it grips us, it will grip others. We can’t expect people to be stirred by truth any more deeply than it has stirred our own hearts.

Then again, following right out of that, we need to confidently trust the power of that Word—the power of the Truth. It’s not our words that give life. Jesus said, "The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). There’s such a tendency in the consumer-driven culture in which we live to rely on natural gifts and to applaud in others natural gifts and abilities, communication skills. The packaging. The creativity. The innovation. The PowerPoint presentations.

I’m not opposed to those things, but they’re just tools. They’re useless and empty and vapid and vain apart from our confidence in the Word of God and the power of His Word. Don’t underestimate the power of the Truth—unadorned—to bring life.

  • It’s the Word of God that brought the world into being.
  • It’s the Word of God that holds the world together as we sit here in this place.
  • It’s the Word of God that heals, that convicts, that converts, that sanctifies.

I think today, maybe because we don’t know God, we don’t know God’s Word, we’re so prone to lean on the arm of flesh, to lean on the packaging, to lean on the pretty things rather than saying this Word is powerful. "It is sharper than any two-edged sword. It can cut through the hearts and discern between soul and spirit and joints and marrow" (Heb. 4:12). It exposes the hearts of men and women to have confidence in the power of God’s Word and His truth.

Martin Luther said, “The Bible is alive. It speaks to me. It has hands. It lays hold of me. It has feet. It runs after me.” When I get up to minister the Word of God to women, I always go with a sometimes overwhelming sense of my own inadequacy and weakness. I say, "Oh Lord, I am clay. Loaves and fishes, minimal, are the best I have to offer You. But take Your Word and wing it into the hearts of Your people." 

I truly, truly believe in the power of the Word of God to change lives. If I didn’t, if you could see the emails I get day after day from those who listen to our program, who pour out their hearts and share things they would not, in some cases, share with their closest friends; things they have not told their pastor; things they have not told their family members. They write to us as these anonymous people out here and share the issues and the needs in their lives.

If I did not believe in the power of the truth to make all things new, to right those things that are wrong, to straighten out what is crooked, I’d go get another vocation. It’s the Word of God that has the power to change lives. God’s Word is like a fire, like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been delivering a message called "Divine Anointing." As she explained, everyone who wants to bring glory to God needs an anointed life. She just began her second main point on anointed lips, and she’ll pick that up again tomorrow.

Revive Our Hearts listeners have come to expect programs like this one. Nancy’s teaching helps you focus on the Lord and incorporate His truth into your life every day.

A listener named Jen appreciates this. She wrote during the in-depth study on Titus 2 earlier this year. Jen said,

I’ve been so en riched by this series "God's Beautiful Design for Women." I’m part-time working mom who homeschools our six-year-old and dreams of being home full time. This series has brought me tremendous insight into my situation, especially the realization that I DO have a heart for my home. 

But she said it also showed her ways she can show even more love to her husband and her children like we read about in Titus 2. She said,

May God see this ministry through its current financial needs and continue to be a blessing to women such as myself. 

And we are so grateful that in the month of May when we were praying about a serious financial need, God and Revive Our Hearts listeners really came through. We were praying for $830,000 in donations in May, and you gave generously to surpass that goal. Later this month, Nancy will give you a full report and tell you some of the stories from those who gave.

This ministry still has budget needs here in June, and when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount, we’ll say thanks by sending you the new CD of hymns for children by our friends Keith and Kristyn Getty. You’ll get twelve hymns, some new and some old. These are kid-friendly arrangements designed for singing along. And even though it was designed for kids, adults love singing along as well.

We’ll send you the CD when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Call and ask for a copy. The number is 1–800–569–5959. When you donate online, you can request either the CD or a digital download. The web address is ReviveOurHearts.com. We’ll send one copy of the album per household for your donation this week. Think about this. If you’re just leaning on your natural abilities, you’re not leaning on something strong enough.

Nancy: The world and the church do not need to see what we can do. They’ve seen what we can do. They need to see what only God can do.

Leslie: She’ll talk more about that tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth helps you connect with your true power source. It is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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