Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A God-Centered Life

Leslie Basham: Marriage is a picture of the most important relationship you can possibly have, according to Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Married to Christ, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, and a lot of people are going to be finding out in the days ahead, “Did we really love Christ for who He is, or were we paid lovers, loving Him for what He can give us?”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms, for Wednesday, October 10, 2018.

When you start to explore the riches of God's wisdom, it will deeply affect your life. Nancy began to show us this yesterday, speaking from Romans chapter 11, verses 33 through 36. She originally delivered this message ten years ago this week, at the very first True Woman conference. Let’s celebrate this anniversary together and listen to the message, “From Him, Through Him, To Him.

Nancy: Now, God’s ways do not always seem right to human reason and sense. Sometimes God’s ways are hard, painful, confusing—confusing to us, not to Him. We stand in a long line of sisters who have been faced with the inscrutable ways of God.

You see them all through Scripture:

  • Sarah, whose husband’s wavering faith on two occasions that we know of put her life in jeopardy.
  • Ruth, being widowed, living in a strange land, becoming the object of racism and hardship.
  • Hannah, years of infertility, unfulfilled longings, month after month after long month, longing for a child. Then to top it off, ridicule from a rival wife who delighted in tormenting her and a husband who didn’t understand her longings for a son. Then, getting the son, and giving that son back to God.

The inscrutable ways of God!

  • Mary of Nazareth. The inscrutable ways of God. She would have not scripted that teenage pregnancy, a sword piercing her soul, offering up the one who would be offered up for the sins of the world.

God’s ways for you will not always make sense to your human reason. They may mean physical challenges, weakness, weariness, the challenges of aging, and cancer.

I have a friend right now who is suffering from late stages of Lou Gehrig's Disease. It's a horribly debilitating, painful way to die.

Inscrutable ways of God. It may mean for you financial hardship, family difficulties, infertility, a special needs child. There’s a woman who I believe is here whose daughter has been in a coma for over a year, if I’m not mistaken, as a result of a tragic accident. Inscrutable ways of God—you’d never script it this way.

Caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s, unfulfilled longing for a mate, loss of a mate, loss of a child, prodigal sons and daughters. And on and on the list goes. We stand in that line with Jesus, for whom the ways of God meant divesting Himself of His rights, experiencing rejection, ridicule, and ultimately death on a cross—the inscrutable ways of God. We would have never come up with that script.

Your circumstances may seem difficult. They may be hard to understand. They may be incomprehensible to your feeble sense, but be assured. God has an eternal purpose and plan for the display of His glory throughout all of this universe and every other universe, and He is working out that plan.

And though at times it seems that the plan is not working, or the outcome seems in doubt, some part seems strange to us, it may not be the way we think the script should be written. We can’t know; we can’t comprehend the details. We know that His ways flow out of the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. He doesn't make mistakes.

That mother with a prodigal daughter that I talked to in recent weeks said to me with tears in her eyes, "If I hadn't been through this, I wouldn't know God the way I do. I wouldn't desire Him the way that I do."

And then verse 36—here’s the heart of the matter. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” Here we have a call for a God-centered life and perspective, a God-centered worldview, tethered to who God is and His eternal purposes.

If you don’t have that, you will be set adrift on a sea of shifting emotions and wild ways of thinking. You will be depressed; you will be angry; you will be bitter; you will be perplexed; you will be confused; you will have no reference point for your life if you don’t get this: “From Him are all things.”

He is the source of our existence, the origin. All things were created by Him. We have no life apart from Him. He is the ultimate cause of every circumstance that touches your life and mine.

Ladies, the ultimate issue is not your husband, your kids, your singleness, or your health. In fact, to resist or to resent the circumstances, the situation in which you find yourself, is ultimately to resent and resist God Himself. By the way, that's a battle that you can't win.

To resist or to resent the circumstances in which you find yourself is ultimately to resent and resist God Himself.

From Him are all things. He is the source. If you stop and realize, “This situation isn’t from that person ultimately.” Ultimately, all things are from Him.

“And through Him are all things.” Not only is He the source, but He is the sustainer. Scripture tells us that He upholds the universe by the word of His power. What a word!

“And in Him all things hold together.” Do you realize that apart from His power and His word sustaining the planets, the sun, the moon, the stars, sustaining us, that it would all fall apart? It would be unmitigated disaster.

He sustains it. Through Him are all things. You say, “That’s lofty. What does that mean?” Well, one thing it means is that when you think you can’t hold things together any longer, and we all get to those places, the fact is, we can’t hold anything together!

We can’t even hold ourselves together! But He can hold us together. “Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling.” We are upheld by Him. He will enable you to do His will in whatever circumstance you find yourself.

From Him are all things, through Him are all things, and to Him are all things. He is the source; He is the sustainer, and He is the supreme purpose and sense and goal of all things, for all things were created for Him and for His pleasure.

That is so contrary to our natural perspective, isn't it? Our natural way of thinking is, it's all about me. We live as if all things work from us, through us, and for us. That leave us fearful, angry, proud, bitter, confused, and depressed.

God is the source of all things. He is the sovereign Lord and director of all things. He is the sustainer of all things, and in the end, all things—even the sinful choices of fallen human beings, some of whom you may live with, and all of us fall into that category—even the sinful choices of human beings in the end will glorify God and demonstrate the greatness of His wisdom, His power, and His grace.

So what’s the response? Paul tells us, “To Him be glory forever. Amen.” Paul says, “The response is, we put God in the spotlight where He belongs.” We praise Him; we worship Him; we give Him glory, and we say, “Amen, let it be so.” We make our affirmation that we agree. We believe this. We submit our lives to God’s holy, eternal purposes.

Now, before we wrap up tonight, what does all of this have to do with being a true woman? How does this apply to where we live?

It has everything to do with being a true woman of God. This passage, these truths—and I have not begun to do justice to them—but I pray God will work them into your hearts by the power of His Spirit. These truths bring comfort; they bring courage; they bring conviction to our calling as women.

There are many implications, many applications we could touch on, but I want to leave you with three tonight. I pray that you will remember them and that you will orient your life around these realities.

1) A true woman lives a God-centered life.

We live in a self-centered world, but a true woman lives a God-centered life. She lives for His glory and His pleasure and not her own.

Ladies, a little bulletin here. It’s not about us. It’s all, all, all about Him. A true woman who is living this God-centered life can embrace the purpose for which she was created, to reflect the beauty and the wonder of His ways, and to join every created thing in heaven and on earth and under the earth in glorifying and worshiping Him eternally.

As God-centered women, we will embrace that as our supreme calling and purpose in life, and it’s not just something way out there. It’s something that ought to get us up in the morning and keep us going through the day and be with us as we go to sleep at night.

Every day, every moment of the day, living with that supreme purpose at heart. It means having a God-centered perspective, turning our eyes upon Jesus, in whose light the things of this earth grow strangely dim. Am I right?

When you see the magnitude of His greatness, that gives us a context for our puny, little problems and challenges. You say, “You don’t know how big my challenge is.” You’re right, and I don’t mean to minimize it, because compared to everybody else in this room, it might be huge. But when we get the perspective of the greatness of God, every challenge we have is swept up in the torrent, the river of His love, His mercy, and His grace. This gives us hope in the midst of a pain-filled world, the loss and uncertainty.

We can talk about, and we will, about being a godly wife and mother and friend and daughter. We can talk, and we will, about the need for repentance and holiness and service, but the primary core issue of this weekend and of our lives is a call to be enthralled with the Lord Jesus Christ who is the pearl of great price, the supreme treasure.

A true woman is a God-centered woman.

2) A true woman trusts God.

These won't be complex. They are easy to get into our heads, but an entirely different thing to get into our walk.

We live in a really, really fearful world right now. But the true woman doesn’t give into fear. She smiles at the future because she knows that He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s in charge. God can be trusted. A true woman knows that God knows and understands everything about her and her situation. He knows what to do. He has a plan, and His plan will not be thwarted.

A true woman accepts God’s plan, His design, His will, and His ways as good, though it might not be the way we define good. It’s God who defines good, so she leans on Him. She depends on Him in times of prosperity and joy, with gratitude, but also with gratitude and trust in times of pain and hardship and loneliness and uncertainty and confusion.

Married to Christ, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, and a lot of people are going to be finding out in the days ahead, “Did we really love Christ for who He is, or were we paid lovers, loving Him for what He can give us?”

Do we really love Christ for who He is, or are loving Him for what He can give us?

What happens when it’s taken away? Do we still love Him for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health? A true woman trusts God with circumstances she cannot understand or that she would never in a million years have chosen from her limited frame of reference.

It may appear to us sometimes that God doesn't know what He is doing. Now, if you were raised in the environment I have, you'd never say that out loud. You might not even consciously think it. But how many of us are practicing atheists? We live as if there is no God, or if there is, He’s surely messed up. We live as if His plans and His purposes will never be fulfilled.

A true woman exercises faith. She trusts God; she is patient; she believes that in His way and in His time, His promises will be fulfilled.

You say, well, it’s not God who’s messed up. It’s me who messed up. What about my failures? A true woman trusts that her past failures are not beyond the reach of God’s redeeming grace.

I love that quote of Martin Luther, who said, “God can draw a straight line with a crooked stick.” By the way, not only can He redeem your past failures, but He can redeem your parents, your husband, your children, your employer. He can make a straight line with a crooked stick. It's not past Him. The way that God goes about the redemption of creation is entirely different than the way we would do it. 

So when we cannot understand what He is doing or why He is doing it, it’s not our place to resist, to resent, to challenge, to dispute, but to humbly bow before His sovereignty, and His goodness, and His mercy, and His greatness, and the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God, and to align ourselves with His purposes and embrace His will.

The true woman who trusts God doesn’t have to strive. She doesn’t have to be afraid. She can relinquish control. She doesn’t have to manipulate and control the whole wide world, as if we could.

She doesn’t resent, or resist, or run from the cross. She embraces the cross with faith.

You’ve undoubtedly heard that hymn written by the nineteenth century English poet, William Cowper. I found these words so rich in conjunction with this paragraph in Romans 11.

God moves in a mysterious way, 
His wonders to perform; 
He plants his footsteps in the sea, 
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines 
Of never failing skill, 
He treasures up his bright designs, 
And works his sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, 
 The clouds ye so much dread 
Are big with mercy, and shall break 
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the LORD by feeble sense, 
 But trust him for his grace; 
For behind a frowning providence, 
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
[You may say, “Not fast enough for me!” It’s fast in God’s timetable.]
 Unfolding ev'ry hour; 
The bud may have a bitter taste, 
But sweet will be the flow'r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err, 
And scan his work in vain; 
GOD is his own interpreter, 
And he will make it plain.
 

("Light Shining Out of Darkness")

A true woman lives a God-centered life. 
A true woman trusts God.

3) A true woman says, “Yes, Lord.”

 (And by the way, you can’t call Him Lord and say anything other than, “Yes.”)

A true woman says, “Yes, Lord.” In fact, that’s what Paul goes on to say in the very next verse, Romans chapter 12, verse 1, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual [or reasonable] form of worship.”

See, a true woman recognizes that her life is not her own. She lives for the glory of God. Her compass is the Word of God, not the world. She affirms that His purposes for creating male and female are good and wise, that His design is good and wise.

Therefore, she accepts the way God made her and who she is in His economy. She embraces Her God-created design and roles for her life. And she does it with a grateful heart. She says, “Thank You, Lord, for making me a woman. Thank You, Lord, for the privilege of serving and giving and fulfilling Your holy purposes in my calling as a woman.”

She lives intentionally. She’s not just drifting, letting the circumstances of life pull her along. She’s willing to be a salmon, swimming upstream, to live a counter-cultural, godly life, in an unholy world.

She’s willing to make personal sacrifices—time, resources, for the sake of the glory of God and the Kingdom and the Gospel of Christ, instead of saying, as we Americans in particular are wont to say incessantly, “What will make me happy?”

She’s always be asking, “What will please You, Lord? What will further Your Kingdom? What will display Your glory? If it pleases Thee, it pleases me.” The true woman echoes with Mary of Nazareth, Luke 1:38, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

“Yes, Lord.” To say, “Yes, Lord,” means for us, many of us tonight in this place, just making it really, really practical, it means to say, “No,” to a lot of other things:

  • no to bitterness
  • no to self-centeredness
  • no to whining
  • no to complaining
  • no to pining
  • no to resisting, resenting, running from the will of God.

But it means to say, “Yes,”

  • yes to forgiveness, yes to forgive those who have sinned against us
  • yes to receive God’s forgiveness
  • yes to repentance
  • yes to serving
  • yes to embracing God’s choices for our lives
  • yes to trusting Him with our circumstances—even the ones we cannot understand
  • yes to finding and fulfilling God’s purposes for our lives.

A true woman lives a God-centered life, she trusts in God, she says, “Yes, Lord.”

It really comes down to trust and obey, doesn't it? Trust and obey. He is God, and we are not.

Now, walking in that pathway sometimes is scary. The path may be steep, because we walk not by sight, but by faith. But I want to assure you that the day will come when you get to the top, as Paul does in Romans chapter 11, verse 33, and you look around, you look down, you look back at where God has brought you from, and the sight will be glorious.

And we will say, “I see it! It all makes sense! Why was I anxious? Why did I fret? Why was I bitter? Why was I angry? Why did I despise my husband who made my life difficult? I see now that he was an instrument in the hand of God to fulfill God’s holy, eternal purposes; even the wrath of men will praise Him.”

We’ll see it with clarity that we cannot possibly have now. “Oh Lord,” we’ll say, “My God, how very great Thou art. You have done all things well.” With Paul we will say, “To Him be glory forever. Amen and amen.”

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. She’s been teaching from Romans chapter 11 on the riches of God’s wisdom. She first gave that message ten years ago this week at True Woman ’08. It was the very first True Woman conference, and it had a huge effect on countless women around the world.

Revive Our Hearts is possible thanks to listeners like you who pray and donate to make all the conferences, resources, and this program possible. When you support the ministry this month, we have a special thank-you gift for you, and Nancy’s here to tell you more about it.

Nancy: Leslie, this is a resource we've produced for our listeners, I think, every year since we went on the air. It's the annual Revive Our Hearts wall calendar. Our listeners always look forward to getting a copy of this calendar the our Revive Our Hearts team designs. This time the calendar is based on themes from a book that I co-authored called, Seeking Him.

The pages are beautifully designed with colorful, botanical artwork and hand lettering. As you flip the page each month, you’ll find a new scripture verse and corresponding quote to encourage you in your walk with God throughout 2019. This quote about God’s grace was particularly encouraging to me. It says, “There is not a moment or circumstance you will ever face for which God’s grace is not available and more than sufficient to meet your need.”

That's right. The grace of God—sufficient, available for every need, every circumstance, every moment of our lives in the year ahead. That's just one of the quotes that you'll find highlighted in the 2019 Revive Our Hearts wall calendar.

You can request the calendar to put in your home when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Your gift today allows us to produce programs with messages of gospel hope for women all over the world. Let us know what amount the Lord is putting on your heart to give when you visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can make your donation and get the Seeking Him wall calendar by calling us at 1–800–569–5959.

Thank you so much for your support. And we are eager to say "thank you" by sending this Seeking Him 2019 wall calendar.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. Tomorrow we’ll hear from a pastor’s wife from Dubai. She fills her time being a mom to four children, along with authoring several books and ministering to women in the United Arab Emirates. She’ll tell you how to treasure Christ when your hands are full. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

All Scripture was taken from the English Standard Version.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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