Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Freedom from Sins of Your Past

Leslie Basham: Kay Arthur encourages parents to continually pray for their kids to come to the saving knowledge of God, but she also has this reminder:

Kay Arthur: You are the messenger, but you are not the Savior. If your child doesn’t come to know the Lord, it is not your fault. Everyone has to make their own decision.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, November 11.

Last Friday on Revive Our Hearts, we talked about the value of older women teaching younger women. Today, we’ll hear from a woman who has done just that. For several decades she’s poured her life into teaching others to love God’s Word.

Here’s Nancy to get things going.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I am so thankful for the chance to have this conversation with my long-time friend, Kay Arthur. Kay, thank you for taking time out as we approach your eightieth birthday to have this conversation. I know it’s going to be such a blessing to our listeners! Thanks for joining us.

Kay: Nancy, honey, you know how much I love you and how much I appreciate you. I’m so thankful for your knowledge of the Word of God, for your integrity, for your vulnerability, for the privilege of calling you my sister and working with you. I thank God for—we’ve had more than twelve years together—and especially for these last twelve years and what God has done.

Nancy: I would echo that from my perspective. I remember those early conversations we had as I was getting ready to launch out into this ministry. You were one of a small number of women ministry leaders who was such a friend and encourager—and have been through these past years.

It was so sweet that there was no spirit of competition with a new radio program starting, but you did everything you could. And you have continued to affirm and encourage me and this ministry. I thank you for that. I also thank you for the role that you’ve had, over many years now, in studying and teaching the Word of God to so many—maybe millions—of listeners, readers, people all around the world. 

Over these next couple of days, we want to talk about your life and ministry, but also Precept Ministries, what the Lord has done. Thank you for pouring yourself out on behalf of Christ and His people. We want to honor and bless and thank you for that today.

Kay: Thank you. It’s hard to believe I’m going to be eighty! I think, That sounds so old! I keep a paper calendar, as well as one on my computer and my iPhone and my iPad, because I’m just paper-oriented. So sitting at my desk sometimes I can see the whole month at a glance. I have “November 11, my eightieth birthday, Lord willing! Ha-ha!”

Nancy: As we’re having this conversation, it’s still several weeks before your eightieth birthday, so let me ask you, do you have any special plans for your birthday that you know of?

Kay: Do you know that David and the staff were talking about giving me a party. I said, “I really don’t want one. I want to go over to David and Margaret’s and have dinner with them, and I want to have lunch with my girlfriends, but I have no plans for a big birthday.

It’s not about me. I am so passionate about what’s ahead. I just feel such a passion to prepare people for the days ahead. On September 11 in the year 2001, I was teaching the book of Joshua. My son Mark—and you know Mark, and Mark loves you—was on staff at that time.

I was getting dressed to come down, because we were doing the Precept course. He said, “Mom, turn on the TV quick.” I turned it on just in time to see the second airplane go into the tower. I was teaching Joshua chapter 3 that day, and Joshua 3:4 says (talking about that the people are going to cross the river and take the Ark of the Covenant), he said: “Do not come near it, that you may know the way you should go.”

And then, this statement just grabbed me: “For you have not passed this way before. Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourself, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” And here it is, twelve years later. We have not “passed that way before.”

I think things for a while got better in the United States, but like you, I am very concerned about our culture. I’m very concerned about our country because we don’t even come close as a nation to fearing God, respecting God, knowing God, understanding God.

The ministry that you’re doing and the ministry that we’re doing is what it’s all about. It’s not about celebrating an individual. It’s about setting your face like a flint in preparation for the coming of the King of kings.

Nancy: You have been such a faithful servant in trumpeting that heart and that message. I’ve heard you speak on revival and a burden for the church and this country numerous times over the years. You’ve been kind of a modern-day prophetess with the Word of God, and how it practically and powerfully applies to our day, our era.

Over the next couple of days, I want to let you share more about your burden for our country and, as you turn eighty, what you see and what your heartbeat is, and what we can be doing about the times in which we’re living. It’s just been sweet, Kay, to see how the Lord has raised up women—and men—but women like you, who have had a message for “such a time as this.”

If we go back to your early life, your life could have gone a totally different direction if it had not been for the amazing grace of God. Am I right?

Kay: Exactly. As a matter of fact, this morning—I need eight to nine hours of sleep. The Lord has just shown me that if I’m going to work without the stress, then I need to get enough sleep. But my husband wasn’t feeling good, so he woke me up.

I came in to our converted carport that I now call a parlor. I came in there so I could turn on the light and have time with the Lord. I was thinking about that very thing that you asked me about—where I was headed; what I was like, and just the incredible grace of God. I just began to thank Him for that amazing, awesome grace that would reach down to this woman who was married, divorced, immoral, telling God that I knew that I needed to quit living the way I was. And after shaking my fist in His face and saying, “To hell with you God, I’ll see you around town. I’m going to find someone to love me. . .” And turning away, looking for love in all the wrong places. I came from a religious family, but I didn't know the Word, I didn't hear the Word . . . not an evangelical atmosphere like you and I are used to now.

God plucked me out of that! I have a sister that it’s just a strain for her to even talk with me. I have a brother that won’t talk to me, and of course my mother and dad are deceased. But just to think that God in His mercy would reach down and take this women who, for all intents and purposes, would be described as a harlot—with two boys—which is horrible.

It’s one thing to be a harlot without children. It’s another thing to be a harlot with children because of the impact on the children. That God would turn me around and give me this life and allow me to stand and to teach and proclaim His very words that have come out of His mouth and have been preserved for us and all generations and which will not pass away. . . His words that are truth to us. It’s just mind-boggling!

Nancy: I think, Kay, that’s got to be a great encouragement to some of our listeners who have young adult daughters or sons who are not walking with the Lord, who are maybe where you were back in your twenties. To know that God really can reach down . . .

He’s the Hound of Heaven. He can pursue and bring them to repentance and faith and change their lives and use them in a great way for His Kingdom. I’m just thinking as you’re sharing that, the message for some moms of adult children today may be, “Don’t give up! Don’t stop praying! Don’t stop believing that God really can capture the heart of that loved one, or the heart of that friend who is so far from the Lord."

Kay: There’s a verse in Isaiah that says that the Lord’s ear is not deaf, that it cannot hear; and His arm is not short, that it cannot rescue. Nothing is impossible with Him. (See Isa. 59:1.)

Right now I’m writing an inductive study course on Acts and, of course, in Acts you see the conversion of Saul, who is later called Paul. His Jewish name, his Hebrew name is Saul. Paul is his Gentile counterpart name. You read in 1 Timothy that he calls himself  “the chief of sinners,” that he’s not worthy to be called an apostle.

Then when you read Acts and you see him standing there, and Stephen’s being stoned, and Saul’s just heard this message—the Scripture says Saul left breathing out threats and grabbing people and putting them to death and putting them in prison. He was so blind to Christ, so zealous for the Jewish religion, and so messed up—so to speak—in his theology. 

Then he meets Jesus! God turns him around. But the interesting thing, for our listeners, is the Spirit says to him, Jesus says to him, “It’s hard for you to kick against the goads, isn’t it?” In other words, “You have these pricks; you have these convictions; you have these doubts, and they’re growing and it’s hard for you, isn’t it? I really am who they believe I Am.”

I think what we’ve sown in the hearts of our children God can take and God can use. God does not always bring reconciliation between you and a child. I have a son I’m not reconciled with, and you know the reason I can live with it, Nancy? It's the same way that these women that are listening need to know. 

God is Sovereign. He rules over all. The heart of the king is in His hand. My consolation is always this. He doesn’t lose a single one. Jesus says in John 17, “Father, all that You have given me have come to me.” (See v. 11.) So if Judas would have lived to be ten thousand years old, Judas never would have been saved.

I think that we pray, we realize that God’s hand is not shortened, His ear is not deaf, and we pray and beseech God. We ask God, “How do I pray for this prodigal? How do I pray for my child and for my friends that are in rebellion, that are blind to sin?”

We pray, but we remember—and I think parents especially need to remember this—you are not the Savior. You are the messenger, but you are not the Savior. If your child doesn’t come to know the Lord, it is not your fault, because everyone has to make their own decision.

Nancy: You brought up the apostle Paul. Certainly, he had to have struggled with regret or guilt as he thought about his past. You mentioned your past, prior to coming to Christ at the age of thirty.

I know we have listeners who have a past that they’re ashamed of. Some of them continue to live in shame or regret or guilt. How have you dealt with those issues as you’ve thought about your past sins and failures. How did you deal with that? Was that a process with you? Was there a moment, in Christ, where you put that behind you, or was there a journey for you in dealing with that?

Kay: There was a journey. The Psalmist tells us, “He sent his word and healed them, and delivered them from all their destruction” (Ps. 107:20). I think the more that we are in the Word and you believe the Word of God and you study the Word of God and saturate yourself with the Word of God, this is the Word He brings to us.

My mind goes to all these different places when you mentioned the guilty conscience. I think about Hebrews. I love the book of Hebrews, and I love the fact that we have a High Priest that can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; a High Priest who was tempted in all points as we are and yet without sin. (See 4:15.)

We go to Israel every year. At the house of Caiaphas, I share the whole arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This last time I was telling them what happened to me in the Garden of Gethsemane. When you’re out there on that patio, you can see where the Garden of Gethsemane is—the direction that the upper room is. You’re right by the steps that Jesus would have come up to come to the house of Caiaphas. 

I told them about the time when I was tempted. A handsome Arab was our agent who was leading us. He picked us up at the hotel (this was years ago). I had an ear infection. We were walking out of the hotel and two Arab men walked in. They said something in Arabic. I didn’t know any Arabic except “thank you.” 

We get into the car; he puts me in the front seat. It’s a gorgeous day. He opens the door where he’s going to sit down as the driver, closes the door, puts his arm behind me on the seat, looks at me, and all of the sudden—now you’ve got to remember I had an immoral past—all of sudden, within me, there rises this desire to flirt with this man.

Now, here I am, I’m the Bible teacher, teaching  in Israel. Here I am dealing with this desire, this lust of the flesh. I had a choice. Either witness to that man—because although he professed Christ, I knew he didn’t believe in Him—or to have that momentary flirt. I witnessed to him and shared with him. He said, “You know, I’ve been here with lots of great men. No one has ever explained it to me like you have.”

I’m teaching in the Garden of Gethsemane from the Scripture that is talking about Jesus, and it’s talking about Him saying, “Father, if it’s possible, take this cup from Me.” And He has said to them, “I want You to keep watching and praying, for the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

I said that, and I began to cry as I was teaching it. I thought, Lord, You know the flesh is weak. You understand, because You had to pray three times, "Not My will, but Thine be done. If it’s possible, take this cup from me." So, You understand. You understand that the flesh is weak.

So when I have guilt, first of all I have the Savior that can understand the temptations that I deal with. Hebrews teaches this. When I get to Hebrews chapter 10, and it’s talking about this awesome sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins, once for all, paid in full—“There remains no more sacrifice for sin. . .”

Then I get down to the bottom of chapter 10 which says this: “We can draw near with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience [that means from guilt] and our bodies washed with pure water” (v. 22). What we have to do is constantly, constantly remember what we have in Christ Jesus.

I love that hymn, “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.”

I think, the guilt you’re dealing with, the failures as a mother, the failures as a parent, as a wife, or whatever that your child is hurting from, wounded by, accusing you of—you have to go back to Jesus. You have to go back to Him, to who He is.

You have to go back to the fact that He’s the one who was there when God spoke and brought the world into existence. John 1 tells us that all things came into being by Him. He created you, He chose you in Christ Jesus—in Himself—before the foundation of the world. (See v. 3.)

You live in the light of that, and you move past your emotions, and you move past your failures, and you move past your past. Paul said, “Forgetting those things that are behind, I press forward towards the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).

In that same passage he says, “I count all things as loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, for whom I suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung, that I might win Christ” (v. 13).

Nancy: Kay Arthur has been illustrating for us in such a beautiful way the value and the beauty and the wonder of getting into God’s Word, and getting God’s Word into your heart. I hope that, as you’ve been listening to her, her words have whet your own appetite to get into God’s Word and to let it transform your life, as it has hers.

As Kay celebrates her eightieth birthday this week, I know that many of our listeners would like to send her a birthday greeting or perhaps share a personal testimony as to how God has used this woman and Precept Ministries in your life to give you a greater love for God’s Word, to teach you how to study God’s Word.

If you go to and pull up the transcript of today’s program, there’s a comment blog at the end of the transcript where you can write your message to Kay. Then we’ll send those greetings and those words of encouragement to Kay at the end of this week.

Kay, thanks so much for this conversation. We’re looking forward to continuing it when we come back on Revive Our Hearts tomorrow.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. If you’ve been intrigued with this conversation between Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Kay Arthur, I hope you’ll learn more from our guest. Kay Arthur wrote a book that will show you how to dig into the Bible, understand it, and apply it.

Kay’s book is called Discover the Bible for Yourself. We’d like to send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Your gift will help us continue providing Revive Our Hearts each week day. We can’t continue producing the broadcast and hosting it online without support from listeners like you.

When you donate any amount, ask for Discover the Bible for Yourself by Kay Arthur. Our number is 1–800–569–5959. or visit

When you read the Bible, God is speaking to you directly.

Kay: What do you mean you can’t study the Word? It’s God’s Word! God is speaking! These are words that He has breathed, that He has written, that are your life, of course! Spend it in the Word.

Leslie: Kay Arthur talks about the wonder of this concept tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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


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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.