Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Dannah Gresh: One Revive Our Hearts listener was moved by a podcast about enduring life’s hardships.

Woman: Over the past three years, I’ve endured incredible opposition. Tonight I listened to Revive Our Hearts with tears. I needed to hear this message. I needed to hear about your struggles and how you persevere. I needed to hear that the Bible doesn’t change and we hold to the truth without swerving.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: We need to be reminded of the truth over and over again. I love what this woman said, because it shows how Revive Our Hearts is pointing women to God’s Word, showing them how to study it, and helping them cultivate an appetite to take in the Scripture for themselves. Just think what God can do as women get into His Word, understand it, and do what it says!

The only way Revive Our Hearts can continue introducing women to His Word is through listeners like you who support this ministry financially. As we’ve been sharing with you recently, this month is the end of our fiscal year. This means we’re transitioning to making plans for the coming year as we continue calling women into freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

So many women today are living in the bondage of sin, pain, addiction, fear, and more. They need to hear God’s open invitation to live in freedom. Our hope is to bring these women face to face with the power of Christ that can set them free.

Through our Bible studies, devotionals, and the kind of teaching like the one you'll hear today, we're sharing the life-giving truth of God’s Word with women around the world. Your support makes it possible. You may not be in a place to support us financially at this time, but what you can do is pray for us—there's nothing more important than that.

So as we come to the end of this fiscal year, would you join us in asking the Lord to provide the significant funding that is needed between now and the end of May. If you are able to give and the Lord prompts your heart at this time, you can make your donation at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can give us a call at 1–800–569–5959. Thank you so much for your prayers and for your generous support at this important time.

Dannah: Now, what occupies your mind during a crisis? Here’s how Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth puts it on today’s program.

Nancy: If our focus is outward and inward, on circumstances and on self, we will become fearful and insecure. We will hold on to what we have, and we will end up depressed and in despair. That’s the natural response.

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Lies Women Believe, for Tuesday, May 12, 2020. I'm Dannah Gresh

This year, our world has staggered under the coronavirus pandemic. Entire economies have shut down, and it remains to be seen what the full fallout is going to be. We’ve watched politicians attempt to turn the crisis into opportunities to promote their own agendas, while we’ve tried our best to obey shelter-in-place orders. On top of that, locusts have eaten their way across huge swaths of Africa, and Ebola threatens to become another epidemic.

As our team has watched these events unfold this year, we decided to bring you a message Nancy delivered in late 2008, just as the scope of a huge economic crisis was becoming clear. I think you’ll find this message to be full of hope in May of 2020, because the truth of God’s Word never changes. Nancy began by reviewing what was happening at the time.

Nancy: I have friends who have lost their home. I have friends who have lost their jobs, and you probably do, too. This has come really close to home. These are not just statistics out there anymore. This is where we live.

I’ve really had it on my heart and have been asking the Lord, “How can I, how can Revive Our Hearts minister grace and encouragement to God’s people in these desperate and difficult times—'in such a time as this'" ?

I want to start by sharing with you an email I received a week or so ago from a dear friend who is in his 80s. He copied me on this email that he had sent to his children and their mates. I found this email so challenging to my own faith and my own thinking, but I also found it very encouraging, and I think you will as well, so let me read to you some lengthy excerpts from this email.

The subject line at the top of the email read: “God alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold. I shall not be greatly shaken.” Of course, you recognize that as Psalm 62, verse 2. It’s a long subject line, but I thought it was such a powerful subject line for an email. “God alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold. I shall not be greatly shaken.”

Here’s what this dad in his 80s went on to say to his children:

Dear Family,

As you all know, we are now living in times of considerable economic turmoil. Businesses, large and small, as well as non-profits and even local churches are laying off staff. Of the three ladies in our office, all three of their husbands have been let go. A pastor of a large church told me yesterday that they can’t meet payroll this week, even after letting some staff go and cutting everyone’s salary, including his own.

I believe that our own family and the church in America needs to pray that God will use these stressful times as an opportunity to awaken His people. It is not too late. This might be the hour when God brings a revival. Everyone’s retirement fund has been reduced, often 30%–40%. The main god of our times (money, and what it promises), that god is beginning to topple and to be seen as an idol that cannot rescue—just like the Philistines in 1 Samuel chapter 5 shuddered when their wooden god Dagon fell over and broke on the altar.

As the effects begin to touch each of our lives, we have a wonderful opportunity to put our beliefs into practice. What do our hearts really trust in? As long as we have a visible support system—job, friends, savings account, police and fire departments—we are tempted to place undue trust [that’s a key word] in something or someone other than the Living God.

I want to remind all of you dear children that just within our own family we have seen the unmistakable hand of our God time and again. He has proved Himself faithful all the days of our lives, and He is the one who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Let me say, by the way, this is the role of godly, elderly parents to remind your children of who God is, of His faithfulness. When you’ve lived 80-some years, you’ve got a lot of track record. You’ve seen what God has done. Well, he goes on to illustrate this.

Mom and I were married with no money, no job, no automobile, no home, no health insurance, and six to seven years of graduate education yet to be completed and paid for.

God is able! He miraculously led us all those years and provided our daily bread; gave us what we needed to feed, clothe, and house the five of you; got all five of you through Christian schools and through college and into homes of your own. Is He amazing, or what?

And all along the way God performed not only “regular miracles” which we take for granted—sun rising each morning, our bodies functioning, etc.—but also some extraordinary miracles.

You may remember how just days before going to Haiti as a family we prayed for an additional $935 for airfare that we needed. We told no one. One morning I found an envelope on the stoop from a young man whom I had not seen or talked with in three years. He had been overseas in the Army. We didn’t know he had returned, and he had no idea we were going to Haiti. We opened the envelope and found exactly $935 or $940.

Now, this man who is in his 80s can be pardoned for not remembering the exact amount all these years later, but it was just what was needed. He says,

The note simply said, "Use it for any ministry overseas.”

Then he signs this email,

Our God is truly awesome.

Dad

Then he puts this verse at the bottom, “My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121, verse 2.

I just love that email. I was so encouraged as I saw the heart of this dad who has walked with God and found Him to be faithful over the course of a lifetime, decades of seeing God at work. A dad who wants to assure his children and their children, who I’m sure have seen this email as well as many grandchildren and some great-grandchildren, he wants to assure them that God has never failed him, and God will not fail them. He wants to encourage his children to place their hope in God. He’s trying by this means to urge his kids to pray that God would use this current economic crisis to bring about true revival and spiritual awakening in our land.

By the way, when that dad and mom were going through the trials that he described early in their married life where they had no money, no job, no car, no home, no health insurance, and six to seven years of graduate education yet to be completed and paid for; if they could wind the clock back and remember what it felt like in those days, don’t you think they felt some moments of desperation? Don’t you think they were tempted to fear? Don’t you think they wondered how this was all going to end up? They didn’t know that God was writing a story in their lives. God was writing a chapter that decades later they would be sharing with five grown children and their mates and a ton of grandkids and great-grandchildren.

Now that leaves me to ask this question: What is the story that God may be writing in your life today? As you think about where you may be facing lack or uncertainty or struggling for provision, whether it’s economically or in other areas; what if God is wanting to write a story in your life today that maybe decades from now you will be sharing with others who need to know that God is faithful, and God never fails His children?

I’m thinking about how many families don’t have stories to tell like the one about praying for $935 to go on a mission trip to Haiti, and then seeing the Lord provide exactly what was needed. How many stories have not been written because we’ve taken matters into our own hands, and we made things happen ourselves, or we didn’t stop to pray, or we didn’t venture out in faith? You see, God wants to prove Himself to be great, and when we get out on a limb so far that there’s nothing or no one to help us except God, then we find out what only God can do.

Seasons of adversity, economic or otherwise, do not catch God off guard. God knows everything that goes on in our world. I know that we know that theologically, but the question is, “Do we really get it?” Do we get the implications of that? Do we grasp the fact that God knows?

He knows what’s going on today in your world and all across our world. He also knows something that none of us knows, and that is, what lies ahead, what’s around the corner, what’s coming in the days ahead. We have a God who is wisely and lovingly and graciously orchestrating all things in this world and in our lives to fulfill His good, eternal, redemptive purposes and to glorify Himself.

I’m so thankful we have a God who not only knows, but a God who cares—a God who cares about how adverse circumstances affect the lives of His children. He cares about how those circumstances affect your life. Those circumstances at times may be intense, they may be painful. I know that’s true for many of our listeners in this season of economic crisis, but those circumstances do not have to overwhelm us. They don’t have to steal our peace. In fact, in the ultimate sense—I’ve said this often, and it’s coming to mind again during these days—anything that makes us need God is a blessing.

You see, crises can provide opportunities for God’s people to flourish spiritually. They provide opportunities for us to point people to Christ, who is our only secure rock and hope in times of trouble. Interestingly, our experience as a revival ministry over the years has been that when people are prospering financially, they tend to be blind to their spiritual condition and their spiritual needs. They’re not desperate for God.

On the other hand, when the bottom falls out, and we saw this happen, for example, in the early 80s in Texas and Houston, when the oil industry crashed. We had ministry in churches, our revival teams did, in Houston and parts of Texas during those years.

I remember one church where there were fifty people in that church who were out of work, and some of these were high-paid executives who had lost their jobs. They went from big salaries to no salaries, and in those churches we saw some of the most amazing, powerful moves of the Spirit of God. Why? Because people were desperate—they needed God. All of a sudden their hearts were much more responsive to the Lord and open to see their need.

During these days there are a lot of practical strategies and tools that are out there available to help people weather the financial crisis. I’m not an economist. I’m not a financial advisor, and I know there are a lot of complex issues here, both at the macro picture and at the micro picture. Over these next couple of days, I want to share some biblical counsel and perspective that God’s been giving me from His Word that I think will help to strengthen our hearts in the midst of these uncertain times.

Let me just touch today on the first of those ten points. The first one, in times of economic crisis, we need to look upward rather than outward or inward. You see, how we fare in turbulent times will be determined by our perspective, and our perspective is determined by where we place our focus. The natural response in times of adversity or calamity or crisis, the natural focus is not upward, but outward and inward—outward to look at circumstances and inward to look at ourselves.

  • When our focus is outward or inward, we’re going to tend to be fearful in times of crisis.
  • We will become insecure.
  • When we become fearful, our tendency will be to hoard, to hold on to what we have—to hold on even more tightly for fear of losing it.
  • When we respond in fear and in hoarding, ultimately we’re going to end up in depression and despair.

So there’s a progression there. If our focus is outward and inward, on circumstances and on self, we will become fearful and insecure. We will hold on to what we have, and we will end up depressed and in despair. That’s the natural response, and you can look around and see a lot of people responding that way from Wall Street to Main Street. There’s a lot of that progression taking place in people’s lives.

But there’s another way of responding. Not the natural way, but the supernatural way. What’s the difference? Instead of our focus being outward and inward, the supernatural response will be to focus our eyes—where? Upward—to God. Instead of being fearful, we will respond in faith. Instead of being insecure, we will have confidence in the Lord. When we have faith and confidence in the Lord, we won’t have to be hoarders—to hold tightly on to what we have. Instead, we will be able to practice the grace of giving, generosity. We won’t hold on to what we have, we will share what we have. Because we’re not tightening up in fear, we can be generous, and instead of being depressed and despairing, we will have joy and hope.

You see, God’s people in such times as these should be people who are filled with joy and with hope. That doesn’t mean they don’t have problems like everybody else. That doesn’t mean that Christians will be spared difficulties or that Christians will not lose their jobs or their retirement accounts or their savings or their stocks won’t plummet—that all can happen—just think about Job.

Job was a faithful, righteous, godly man, and he lost everything, but he still had God. His focus was Godward, so as a result he was able to exercise faith and confidence in the Lord. When your faith is in the Lord, then you can be generous, and you can have joy.

So which of those progressions, those responses best describes where you find yourself during this time of economic crisis?

  • Are you responding naturally, looking outward and inward in fear and in hoarding, in depression, discouragement, and despair?
  • Or are you responding, by God’s grace, supernaturally, looking upward? Your faith is in the Lord; you’re able to be generous even out of the little bit that you may have; you’re motivated to share with others who may have greater needs than your own, and you find yourself with a heart of unquenchable, irrepressible, unexplainable joy.

People should be able to look at Christians in times like these and see a response to pressure that is distinctly different, unexplainable. The world is not impressed when we are happy and peaceful in the good times because anybody can be happy and peaceful in the good times, but when we go through tough times as Christians, and we don’t crack up, we don’t give in to despair or fear, the world stops and takes notice.

In recent weeks as has been the case with so many individuals and businesses, most ministries that I’m aware of have been hard hit by the economic crisis, and many of them are having to make major cuts in staff and in programs—good programs. Revive Our Hearts has had to make some cuts and is preparing to make others as needed. We don’t spend money we don’t have.

I’m so burdened that during this time God will accomplish His purposes in me, in our staff, in our ministry, in His people, and in our country. Our natural tendency, our natural instinct in times of financial pressure and economic uncertainty is to become fearful and insecure, to hold on more tightly. But this is really an incredible opportunity for you and me, for our families, for our ministries, to demonstrate to the world what it means to be a child of God—that we are under His care and protection, that He is our provider—not our employer or our retirement account, the stock market, our donors.

God is our provider, our major donor, to show the world that we really can trust Him to meet our needs. Again, not meaning that we won’t have loss or that we won’t feel the crunch, but remembering that if we have Him, we still have everything that we really need.

Dannah: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth originally recorded this in 2008 at the beginning of an economic crisis, when many of us were tempted by fear and anxiety. A lot of those same fears and anxieties exist today as the world is facing health, financial, and mental struggles through this pandemic.

And even still, God is our provider. He is with us; He sees our struggles, and He gives us what we need. As Nancy mentioned at the beginning of this program, Revive Our Hearts is trusting God to provide a significant amount as we near the end of our fiscal year. Thank you for praying with and for us. You can find out more details about the ministry’s fiscal year-end need at ReviveOurHearts.com.

If you’d like to give a financial gift to Revive Our Hearts, we’ll send you a new book called Uncommon Compassion: Revealing the Heart of God by Erin Davis, a member of our ministry team. This small book will give you a glimpse into the compassion that God has for us. Just ask for Uncommon Compassion when you give a gift of any amount by going online to the Revive Our Hearts website, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Now, the way you and I respond in a crisis reveals what we truly believe about God. Learn to respond with more faith and less worry tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts. I’m Dannah Gresh. Please be back.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to remind you that you can trust God with your needs. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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