Revive Our Hearts Podcast

God’s Power on Display

Episode Resources

Listen to Robert & Nancy's story: "Unexpected Grace."

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has experienced the highs and lows of full-time ministry, but she says there’s one thing that makes it all worth it.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: My heart is to reflect the glory to God, to say to those around me, “God is faithful. He can be trusted. He is worth serving.” Yes, there are hard parts of whatever calling God may have given any of us, but He is worth it.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A Place of Quiet Rest, for August 28, 2018.

This week Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is marking forty years of vocational ministry. Yesterday Dannah Gresh started reviewing those forty years in her own interview with Nancy. Let’s listen to more of the conversation.

Dannah Gresh: Nancy, I had so much fun yesterday looking back on how you’ve served the Lord for forty years in vocational ministry.

Nancy: And I’m wondering: How did it get to forty years so fast? I turned twenty when I started in my first ministry position after college. And now I’m turning sixty and forty years of serving the Lord in ministry, and I’m saying, “How did this happen? How did we get here? How did this happen so fast?”

Dannah: Time flies.

We have treasured every moment with you, Nancy, as we’ve listened to your teaching on Revive Our Hearts, read your books, and yesterday was so fun exploring those early years as you let us behind the scenes, to some of your regrets and challenges and really personal pitfalls and how the Lord gave you grace to walk through those. You can listen to yesterday’s broadcast at ReviveOurHearts.com.

We began a conversation yesterday about how to have a personal quiet time with the Lord. We had lots of questions from listeners about that, and I asked those questions this way: Nancy, what does your devotional time look like? Is it in the morning or evening? Have you struggled with it ever? What advice do you have as we pursue our own private time with the Lord?

Nancy: Yes, Dannah. I think that is as foundational a question and a concept as anything I can think of in my years of walking with the Lord and serving Him over these past forty years.

In fact, the first book I ever wrote was on this subject: How to cultivate an intimate walk with God through a daily devotional life. It’s called, A Place of Quiet Rest. And that’s the book we’re offering today to anyone who makes a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts.

I still believe that’s the most foundational and important book I’ve written because, if we get it in terms of our walk with the Lord, our time with Him in His Word and in prayer, then every other challenge or frustration or need that we face in the rest of our lives, we’re going to have the resources we need to know what to do in that situation.

So this is a huge thing in my life. It was a huge thing in my parents’ lives. They modeled this—the importance of starting each day in the Word and in prayer. I’d like to say that I have been faithful at that every day of these forty years or my sixty years of life, but I can’t say that.

This has been a battle for me. I struggle almost every day. I want to hit the ground running. My mind is going with things I have to do, emails I have to respond to, things that need to take place that day. But I have found that, to the extent that I have disciplined my flesh to wait and to stop and be still and get quiet before the Lord and to soak in His Word and in His presence, that it makes a huge difference in my day and in every other part of my life.

I don’t have just one way of doing this. I do try to get that time first thing in the day because, for me, I find that if I don’t get a quiet time and a quiet heart at the beginning of the day, it’s really hard for me to get that quiet heart later in the day once everything starts piling in.

Dannah: Oh, yes. So morning is preferable?

Nancy: For me. And there are a lot of places in the Scripture where it talks about seeking the Lord in the morning. But I know there may be a mom with young kids who, even if she gets up at 3:00 in the morning, her kids are going to be up. So I don’t think the how and when you do it is as important as getting some time each day to be quiet and still and alone before the Lord.

And I’ll just say the part I most enjoy about my devotional life is soaking in the Word. I find prayer is much more difficult for me. It’s more difficult for me to concentrate. I know other people who say prayer comes more naturally for them, and they have a harder time getting into the reading and meditation and study of the Word.

So the aspect of my personal quiet time that has most ministered to me over the years is getting into God’s Word and getting it into me.

Dannah: Yes.

Nancy: Now, I’ll tell you that it’s not always, like, some amazing treat or delicious meal. Right now I’m reading in the first part of 1 Chronicles. And I don’t know if you remember, but the first nine chapters are genealogy books.

Dannah: Such a fun book.

Nancy: (laughter) Yes. I actually have in front of me the Bible I’m using right now. It’s a journaling Bible, so there’s a margin with lines on each page, and I’m journaling through the Bible.

Dannah: I see you’re filling those in.

Nancy: I’m loving doing this, but I’m in 1 Chronicles right now, and I’m going, “What do you write about all these names that you can’t even pronounce and you can’t figure out who was whose mother and brother and son?”

Dannah: Oh, that’s so good to hear, actually.

Nancy: But I’m finding if I’ll stop and think and meditate and ponder and wait before the Lord, He brings riches of His Word. Even if that particular day isn’t something to write home about, I find that the habit of spending time with the Lord each day is something that, over the long run, brings strength and grace and wisdom and perspective.

Dannah: It has a cumulative effect.

Nancy: It does. I try to shake it up, to have variety. I’m doing this journaling Bible right now. It’s going to take me about a year and a half, I anticipate. Sometimes I’ll spend just a few months going through the Psalms, journaling the Psalms. Sometimes I’ll do a slower read of a part of a Scripture or read one book—like I spent months in Habakkuk one year—three short chapters.

Dannah: Wow! Now, you know you love Jesus when you’re reading Habakkuk. (laughter)

Nancy: But sometimes I’ll try to read through the whole Bible in a much faster because I want the overview, but I also want to put a microscope at times on a part of the Scripture. So I try to mix it up so that I don’t get bored, and that it doesn’t always look the same.

Dannah: I love that. I love that you’re being transparent about that you struggled.

Just yesterday as I was preparing to come here, I didn’t have a great quiet time with the Lord, and I thought, Nancy probably prayed for five hours today. She’s always prayed up.

Nancy: I wish.

Dannah: I think sometimes we think leaders have that all together—even when we’re close to those leaders.

Nancy: It’s a discipline for me. It’s a discipline that, at times, I’m very . . . I sit down at my quiet time chair, and all of a sudden I think of all the things I need to do. I start getting lists of my tasks. I’ll get a new burden for house cleaning. If I can picture it as . . . This isn’t something I have to do. This isn’t something I have to check off my list. I’ve had my devotions.

This is an invitation from the God of the universe who says, “With six billion people in the world, I want to spend time with you today.”

Dannah: Wow. How beautiful.

Nancy: What a privilege that is. Now, I don’t always see it that way. I sometimes forget that. But if I step back and remember that this is a privilege, then . . . I’m thinking back to a song that Steve Green sang years ago that says, “Love for God is the spring from which our service overflows.”

So if I don’t have that first love for God, if I’m not cultivating an intimate love relationship with Him, then this forty years of ministry is going to go up . . . it’s going to be wood, hay, and stubble. It’s not going to be stuff that lasts if it’s not coming out of a heart that knows and loves and walks with Christ.

Dannah: So for those of us that struggle with “doing” for God rather than “being,” would you say it’s safe to say our first “work” is prayer? Prayer must precede all the other things that we do for Him.

Nancy: Well, when you say precede, I think it needs to be all the time, and not just first in the day. And, again, I’ve said that prayer is really, really hard for me. I would not write a book on my prayer life. I do think I know the joy of spending time with the Lord, listening for His voice in His Word, responding to Him, and seeking to know His mind and His heart. I’m not going to do any messages soon about my prayer life because I don’t want to hold that up as a model for others.

I do remember when I was starting into Revive Our Hearts radio, a really wise friend who was giving me some input and counsel on this and who’d been involved in media ministry before, he said to me . . . He knew how relentless the demands would be of doing daily broadcasting. He said, “You need to determine what your non-negotiables are. And by that, he was meaning your relationship with the Lord, your time with the Lord.

He said, “Make it non-negotiable, and don’t let it go, because if you don’t have a walk with the Lord, then you don’t have a ministry. You may have ministry jobs, but you don’t have a ministry.”

Dannah: And you’re probably not going to have the fruit that comes from abiding in Him. Right?

Nancy: Exactly.

Dannah: One of the things that I do when I haven’t had a great day of prayer is I use the Revive Our Hearts podcast. I can take it with me anywhere. If I have to walk the dog, if I have the blessing of riding my horse that day, if I’m in the car and I’m on the way to an appointment, I can squeeze that in and just download the Word through the Revive Our Hearts podcast.

Nancy, I’d like to talk about your publishing career. You’ve had nineteen books published that reflects over three million book sales. What I think of the great testimony of your heart is that 100% of the royalties of those books supports this ministry here of Revive Our Hearts. So just purchasing a book somewhere written by you is fueling all these ministries that we’ve been talking about.

Nancy: Let me say what a privilege that is. I’m so grateful. And when you’re saying nineteen books . . . I’ve often said that writing a book, and, Dannah, you’ve written many books yourself, it’s like giving birth—although my sister who has five kids says I have no clue what I’m talking about! (laughter) But there is labor and travail. Sometimes Robert can hear me in my study, while I’m trying to finish up a book, and I’m going, “Push!”

Dannah: (laughter) That’s a visual.

Nancy: There’s labor involved in it. I hope that’s not too graphic.

Dannah: No. I think many women will understand.

Nancy: So I can think back to having those “babies” over the years, and sometimes . . . I remember on Thanksgiving Day one year where I had a deadline on one of the Revive Our Hearts’ Trilogy books, I think it was the Surrender book. I had to meet that deadline, and here I’m spending this holiday and I’m feeling very sorry for myself.

I don’t love writing books. It’s hard work for me. The only thing I love about writing is pushing the “send” key on the manuscript.

Dannah: Oh no.

Nancy: But I love what God does in me while I’m writing it.

Dannah: Yes.

Nancy: I know you’ve just been working on a book that’s going to be available shortly called, Lies Girls Believe.

Dannah: I’m so excited.

Nancy: As I was reading your manuscript recently, you acknowledged that there had been some really hard patches that you had to press through. And I’m going, “Yes! I know exactly what you’re talking about.”

But it’s what God does in us, through the message.

Dannah: Yes.

Nancy: I find that whatever book I’m writing at that point tends to be an area where God wants to do a deeper work in my own heart. So what comes out is out of the overflow of what He’s saying to me through that process.

Dannah: So you’ve lived out those messages in those books on the hot pavement of life before they’ve been published.

Nancy: Yes, sure trying to.

Dannah: Now, a name from a publishing company, Jennifer Lyell, she’s one of . . .

Nancy: A dear friend of both of ours.

Dannah: Yes, one of our best, dearest friends. You met her in your early years of publishing.

Nancy: Yes. She was working at Moody.

Dannah: She has a few questions that I think women will love to hear the answers to.

One is: Other than the Bible, what book or maybe which author has most influenced your own writing?

Nancy: Wow. I don’t know if I could narrow it down to one. I certainly have been an avid Elisabeth Elliot reader over the years, and I still love going back to her books. I’ve read her devotionals. I’ve read some of the biographies she’s written—the story of Jim Elliot’s martyrdom. Many of her books are timeless. They’re so, so rich, and I’ve been very blessed by those.

I love reading. I’ve loved reading since I was a little girl. I suppose the two kinds of books I keep in front of me almost all the time, one is biographies—stories of men and women who’ve walked with God and been faithful in serving Him—George Mueller, Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael. Those are some of these faithful men and women of God over the years.

I read those stories, and it inspires me. It gives me faith to press on through the hard places. It challenges me to go for broke with God, to be intentional about my walk with Him. So I’ve always loved those.

Then I almost always keep a devotional book in front of me. I’ve read Elisabeth Elliot’s devotional books. John Piper has written some wonderful devotional books. Some old-time ones whom the names of the authors aren’t famous or familiar. I’ve read Andrew Murray and Oswald Sanders. My Utmost for His Highest, The Valley of Vision, A Puritan’s Prayers, A Collection of Puritan Prayers—I’ve read through that many times over the years.

Those just help to kind of jumpstart my quiet time with the Lord. They get my mind drawn in from all the other things that are distracting it.

So I do a lot of reading, but those two things I find myself going back to a lot.

Dannah: When you mention having a devotional book nearby, that makes me think that today on Revive Our Hearts we have a very special offer for our listeners.

Nancy: Yes. We just mentioned the first book I wrote, A Place of Quiet Rest, which isn’t so much a devotional book as it is a book about how to have a personal devotional life. As we talked, we thought that would be a great thing to offer our listeners as we’re reflecting on these years of writing, publishing, ministering, serving the Lord, and a foundational core message that means more to me probably than . . . If you ask me which is my favorite book I’ve written, I’d say that it’s . . .

Dannah: I am going to ask you that.

Nancy: Well, that’s like saying, “Which of your children is your favorite child.”

Dannah: Oh, now I understand.

Nancy: But if I had to name one, it’s probably that book. It was my first, so I’ve grown a lot as a writer since then. But it’s the message I’m still probably the most passionate about.

So we’re making that available today to any listener who says, “I want to make a donation to Revive Our Hearts to help this kind of ministry continue calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ around the world.”

So when you make a donation of any amount today to this ministry, we’ll say “thank you” by sending you a copy of that book, A Place of Quiet Rest. Be sure to ask for that book when you call us to make a donation. You can call 1–800–569–5959, or you can visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com, and be sure to mention that you’d like a copy of that book.

Dannah: Nancy, talking about some of your favorite books, I think maybe one of my favorite books might be, Lies Women Believe. That book has just gone platinum, which means that it’s sold over one million copies.

Nancy: We never would have dreamed back in 2001 when that book was coming out, how God would be pleased to use that message. It’s counter-cultural. It’s not really a great marketing title. You want to hand someone a book that says Lies Women Believe, like I’m saying, “You believe these lies”?

I don’t know exactly how we came up with that, but God has been so faithful to use that message. He’s used it in our lives, and, in fact, there have been some other books birthed as a result of that one. You co-authored with me Lies Young Women Believe.

Dannah: Yes.

Nancy: And now you’re working on Lies Girls Believe. And then Lies Men Believe is getting ready to come out just around the corner.

Dannah: Yes. I’m very excited, which brings up the topic of Robert. It brings up the question I promised ladies we would ask about Robert.

Nancy: Oh, yes, but it’s not because he wrote Lies Men Believe.

Dannah: Robert, your husband, wrote Lies Men Believe, which is releasing shortly. And in 2015 you married for the first time.

Nancy: At age fifty-seven.

Dannah: It surprised all of us!

Nancy: Yes. It surprised me probably more than anybody!

Dannah: Yes! Actually, it was such a beautiful thing to watch that love story unfold and see you begin to paint the picture of the love Christ has for His Bride, the Church, as a new bride. There’s an entire broadcast about that love story that you can look up on ReviveOurHearts.com if you want to hear the whole love story.

But one listener asked this question (her name is Kathy). She wants to know: Nancy, would you change anything about Lies Women Believe now that you’re a married woman?

Nancy: (laughter) Oh, you know, I used to tease, years ago, when people would say, “Do you think you’ll ever get married?” And I would say, “Well, I don’t know, because then I’d have to live out all the things I’ve been saying to married women over all these years.”

Dannah: I know!

Nancy: I want to say that it’s a joy to now be living out those things in this marriage.

But, yes, Lies Women Believe, when I wrote that book, I was a young woman. I was a single woman. I had a heart for truth and a love for God’s Word. But it’s not just marriage that has made me want to change some things in that book. It’s just maturing and growing and getting older and having some more life experience.

Actually, you were one of the team that helped me just in the last couple of years to come up with a new version of Lies Women Believe.

We took the original book, the original concepts, but added a lot of new content to it. And then we just worked through everything that was in it about marriage and every other subject and said, “Is this gospel centered? Is it sensitive in the tone? Does it take into consideration the things that women are really going through in real-life situations?”

So we made a lot of changes, not because truth changes, but because we felt it would be helpful to reshape and repackage that truth. So, yes, as a married woman, it’s given me a new perspective.

In fact, another book that I would say is one of my favorites is Adorned, which is actually my latest new book, the book on Titus 2. I started that book when I was single, and I finished it when I was married. So the chapter on marriage in that book, on loving your husband, I actually totally rewrote that chapter when I finished Adorned because I wrote it years ago when I was single, and my perspective had changed.

But I rewrote it early in my marriage. The first line of that revised chapter on loving your husband in the Adorned book is, “What in the world have I done?” (laughter) So here I was as a young bride thinking, This is a huge adjustment for a woman who’s always been single, and a man who had been married—had a good marriage—for almost forty-five years but had been widowed, and God bringing our lives together.

So, yes, I’ve asked a lot of questions, done a lot of thinking, and really tried—not that I’m in any way an experienced voice now in marriage, we’re still not quite to our third-year anniversary. But I’m still learning, still growing, and will probably be doing that the rest of our married life.

Dannah: Adorned I think is what I would call your legacy work. I think it’s the book that’s going to change the most lives for the longest. It is such a rich treatment and theology of the Titus 2 biblical womanhood approach.

What I love about it, though, is I feel like there’s a new voice in there. This reader asked, “Did marrying change Lives Women Believe?” Well, I think marriage changed the tone of writing. That first sentence in that chapter is an example. In forty-five-seconds, you have to tell us the story of washing your laundry on your honeymoon, because that’s in the Adorned book.

Nancy: (laughter) It was just after our honeymoon, and it’s actually what created some of the tension and angst that led to that chapter being rewritten. But let’s just say that I created a crisis by operator error on our washing machine that resulted in the first floor of our house being flooded and all of the flooring having to be replaced.

So Robert and I ended up spending weeks sitting in a little upstairs room, knee to knee, working—both of us were working on books—and being newlyweds. I had wrecked this house and caused a lot of expense and a lot of headache. And I would say he was very sweet and patient about the whole thing, but I was embarrassed and needed a lot of grace.

It was a metaphor for what we need, whether married or single, every day of our lives, because we do mess up. We cause messes. Other people cause messes that we have to deal with. And that’s why we need to breathe grace in and breathe grace out. I’m not soon going to forget those days, but also the sweetness of grace being applied to that difficult situation.

Dannah: So if your marriage has ever gotten messy, and you’ve had . . .

Nancy: Your life! It’s not just marriage. It’s life. Life is messy. Right?

Dannah: Yes!

Nancy: And that’s what the gospel is for.

Dannah: That’s when we get to live this out. Right? That’s what matters the most. Not in the easy days, not on the days when you’re adorned and dressed up for your wedding . . .

Nancy: . . . but for seven weeks later when you’ve made a mess.

Dannah: Yes, exactly.

Nancy, as this program comes to a close, I have a question about the future. It’s from a woman in the Dominican Republic, because your ministry has extended far beyond the United States, especially with the True Woman Movement. Now there are millions of women globally participating in the conversation about biblical womanhood.

Nancy: I love that.

Dannah: Could you imagine that happening when you started?

Nancy: No, I couldn’t have, but I’ll tell you this, Dannah. God planted seeds in my heart when I was a little girl of somehow being involved in taking the gospel to the world.

Dannah: Tell us about that.

Nancy: I had no idea what that would look like. It’s not something I set out to do at all. It’s not something I aspired to make happen, but I think those things God puts on our hearts when we’re young—whether chronologically or young in the faith. Don’t be afraid to believe that God really can bring those things to fruition—whatever that might look like in your family or in your life.

So I’m not surprised to see what God is doing. I couldn’t have scripted it, couldn’t have planned it, couldn’t have made it happen. I’m deeply grateful. But I’m not surprised because God is such an incredibly big God.

Dannah: So when you were that nineteen-year-old with her first job in a children’s department of a church, and when you were an itinerant minister traveling around the country with your—what did you say?—your thirteen, fourteen, fifteen messages . . .

Nancy: Doing women’s seminars.

Dannah: Doing women’s seminars, and when you were starting Revive Our Hearts and writing those books, largely ministering to North American women, there was still that seed that the Lord had planted years ago to be basically a missionary teaching God’s Word.

Nancy: Yes.

Dannah: And He’s brought that to be as you were faithful in the long-steady obedience of each new opportunity He’s placed before you.

Nancy: And, Dannah, I just want to say I am so, so thankful. My heart, my desire now, as I’ve I’m thinking a lot more about legacy and what I’m leaving behind, and what I’m passing on to the next generation, my heart is to reflect glory to God, to say to those around me, “God is faithful. He can be trusted. He is worth serving.”

Yes, there are hard parts of whatever calling God may have given any of us. There are times when you can’t see how you’re going to make it happen, how you’re going to do it. We are weak, but He is strong. But He is worth it. He is so worth serving. He’s worth pouring out our lives, making whatever sacrifices.

When we get to heaven, in eternity, a moment or two from now in the light of eternity, we’re all going to say, “I wish I had given Him more.” It’s not going to seem like a sacrifice. It’s not going to seem like a hardship because He really is worth it.

Dannah: Wow. Well, you know, as many would look at your ministry, they would see a leader of a movement, but what I’m hearing these last two days is a servant of the Lord.

Nancy: What else is there? That’s our calling. “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as You have said.”

Dannah: Your life verse.

Nancy: It is.

Dannah: The final question. Lisa, from the Dominican Republic, wants to know: What do you hope to do with the next forty years?

Nancy: Well, I’m just about sixty, so my earnest hope would be that within the next forty years I would be in heaven, celebrating the victories, celebrating the triumphs of Christ, and reflecting on how incredibly faithful and beautiful and lovely and wonderful Christ has been. He’s an amazing Savior and Lord and Lover.

I want to honor Him in this life, but I want to be able to honor Him and worship Him for all eternity. So I want to be faithful.

I often sign my letters to other people who are serving the Lord, particularly in vocational ministry, “May the Lord keep you faithful in the battle all the way to the finish line.” And that’s my goal.

The older I get, I know that each day I need His faithfulness to keep me faithful, but I want to do it all the way to the finish line, for His glory.

Dannah: How beautiful.

Nancy, thanks for sharing your life and your heart with us and making us desire to be servants of the Lord and finish well, too.

Nancy: Yes.

Leslie: That’s Dannah Gresh and Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth marking forty years of vocational ministry.

I want to remind you about the book they told you about earlier. It’s called A Place of Quiet Rest. You can get that book when you send a gift of any amount to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. The number to call is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says life doesn’t necessarily get easier as you get older, but she’ll tell you why you can trust God all your days. That’s tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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