Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: It is important to pass on our faith to future generations. That can happen in formal settings or in the dailiness of life. Here’s Karen Loritts.

Karen Loritts: At home we had this little notebook that we kept not only Scriptures but also what we were asking and believing God for. And then we had how God is answering those prayers. That became memory for our children. They would listen to those God stories from the grandparents whenever they went to Virginia and would sit on the porch and listen to Pop talk about the faithfulness of God giving him his job in New Jersey, or Nana sharing things that she’s learned at church. So they always heard about the faithfulness of God upfront and personal.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Forgiveness, for July 26, 2019.

Today is the final day in a series called “Your Marriage Today . . . and Tomorrow.” The entire series is available to listen to or read online at ReviveOurHearts.com. Here’s Nancy to wrap up the conversation with Crawford and Karen Loritts.

Nancy: Over the last several days we’ve had really rich and sweet conversation with my good friends Crawford and Karen Loritts. If you missed any of it, I want to urge you to go back to ReviveOurHearts.com and read the transcript or listen to the audio. 

There are just so many practical, helpful, and wise bits of advice from a couple who have been there, who is there, forty-seven plus years of marriage. They come from very different backgrounds, but they have been going to the Word of God, to the wisdom of God, to get what they needed to have a marriage that goes the distance. 

So thank you Crawford and Karen for living this message and writing this book, and for talking with our Revive Our Hearts listeners this week.

Crawford: It has been a great privilege and joy, Nancy.

Karen: So rich, hasn’t it been?

Nancy: I’m listening on the edge of my seat. Robert’s actually been on the other side of the glass here in the studio. He’s listening as well. We’re so thankful for models like the two of you—not anybody perfect, but models that our own parents, that Robert’s parents and my parents, gave us.

Crawford: Yes!

Nancy: Such a gift of being married with grace and going the distance.

And of course, my dad died when my mom was only in her forties, so they didn’t have the length of marriage but to watch. But in both of our sets of parents, there was a commitment to God’s Word. Commitment to the lordship of Christ is a sweet gift that they’ve given us. Now we’re wanting to give to those coming behind us a gift of marriage that reflects the beauty of Christ. The book that you’ve written is not just about how to have a happy marriage, though living this way will certainly make for a happier marriage. But it’s about having a marriage that is missional. I think that, don’t you Crawford and Karen, in the era in which we’re living, I don’t know if this has ever been more important, because there’s such confusion even among Christians. Confusion about the purpose of marriage, what marriage is. Marriage has gotten such a bad rap because there are so many bad marriages.

Crawford: Yes.

Nancy: So don’t you think that it’s as important as ever that we have marriages that reflect the gospel?

Crawford: Absolutely, it is more important than ever, even just looking at it statistically. The divorce culture that we have inherited and that’s all around us has made us suspect and cautious about commitment.

Nancy: Some are not even bothering to get married anymore.

Crawford: Yes, some not even bothering to get married anymore. Cohabitation is exploding, and people are waiting longer to get married

Nancy: There’s fear.

Crawford: All of that, and I think a lot of that has to do with the pain and disappointment of poor modeling and seeing a marriage that didn’t work out. People think, I don’t want to repeat that cycle. So oddly enough, I think this has become an amazing opportunity for Christ-centered, godly marriages to be a testimony to the culture and a beacon of light in a humble but attractive way. They show that, no, you don’t have to live that way. This is what marriage should be all about.

Nancy: You’ve been very transparent in the conversation that we’ve had this week in saying that those kinds of marriages don’t just happen.

They’re not ready made. Karen, you came into marriage with a lot of baggage and a lot of poor modes.You both came in . . . you’re both sinners with lots of differences. But you have stayed the course; you’ve made adjustments; you’re humbled yourself; you’ve repented over and over and over again.

Karen: Yes.

Nancy: It’s not that it’s perfect, but God’s given you a sweet marriage that’s a gift to your children, to your grandchildren, to everybody around you.

Karen: And to my extended family, too.

They can look at Crawford and our relationship and marriage. They are not believers, but they respect that there’s something different about us. In their circles they didn’t see that, and I can only tell them that this is because of God.

I didn’t have it within me to do this. It’s a God thing. No matter what they may think about God, they cannot say that God has not been good to Karen.

Nancy: Yes.

Karen: And what He’s done in our lives, they see it.

Crawford: Yes, and there’s great intentionality that you have to embrace too. I think it was Chuck Swindoll, the Bible teacher, radio Bible teacher, that said that, “Great marriages are not kept together by feelings of love but by a commitment to love.”

Where you have to be intentional and where I want out listeners to understand something here though . . . yes, we’ve been married for forty-seven years, but it’s not over yet. As long as we’re breathing, we’re just a quarter of an inch from stupid. We can do foolish things.

The Bible says let he “who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Nancy, we were talking about

Nancy: You can’t coast.

Crawford: No, you can’t coast. We were talking off-air about a great Bible preacher and teacher who was up in his eighties who told a friend of ours that, “Hey look, I’m afraid of drowning in shallow water.” What he meant by that was, look, after all of the good things that God has done for me, I don’t want to get lazy and do something very foolish that just washes away God’s faithfulness. That’s not to make us fearful, but that is to infuse this with urgency in that we can’t coast through the finish line.

Nancy: Yes.

Crawford: Every day of our lives, we have to trust God with every moment of our lives. This institution of marriage is a gift from God. The enemy wants to destroy our future. He wants to destroy everything that we have stood for. So we have to be vigilant and very very intentional about not only what our marriage looks like now, but what we’re placing in the hands of the next generation.

Nancy: There’s a lot at stake.

Crawford: There’s a lot at stake, that’s right. I don’t mean to sound preachy here, but I look at the state of our culture and what’s going on today and our country and the lack of leadership and the character that’s necessary. No matter how you slice and dice it, all roads lead back to somebody who said, “I do.”

All roads lead back there. If the family structure is eroded, there’s pain and there’s shrapnel and there’s issues that we have to deal with. We somehow need a revival of godly marriages that will go the distance—a commitment to that. Not in some legalistic sense but in a real and transformative sense that leads with the Word of God and models what things should be. That becomes a compelling example of what the destination looks like so succeeding generations will have bench marks when they go through their times of adversity and suffering.

Karen: Wouldn’t that do a lot if our marriages were godly models? Then our churches would be godly models in our community would be godly models in our schools.

Crawford: Exactly.

Karen: It would just spark a revival all over the globe, wouldn’t it?

Nancy: Yes.

Crawford: That’s right, because the first institution was the family. God intended the family to be the cornerstone of all of civilization. If that is fractured, then you don’t need to be a social psychologist to figure out that it has residual impact on everything else in the culture and society

Try as you might, you can rebrand the family, you can redefine what the family is, you can redefine what marriage is, but, excuse the illustration, it’s kind of like putting lipstick on a pig. It has to be what God intended for it to be. Until we get back to His intention, we’re going to be reflecting less than what He wanted us to reflect in the context of human history.

Nancy: And of course, His intention is to give and earthly picture of the great, eternal, heavenly reality of the plan of redemption.

Crawford: Exactly.

Nancy: Christ’s covenant-keeping love for His Bride. And the Bride’s eager response of, “Yes Lord.” That’s the story that we are meant to tell.

Crawford: Absolutely.

Nancy: And that’s a story that only Christian marriages can tell but that they ought to tell well. There’s something bigger than us. There’s a cosmic story here, and not only cosmic, but for generations to come.

Crawford: Absolutely.

Nancy: That reminds me of a passage, I’d like us to just spend at the end of this week of broadcasts that we’ve had in a passage that’s familiar to each of us and to many of our listeners. It’s a psalm. It’s not really about marriage per se, but I think that it has a lot to say about the priority, process, and product of the kind of missional marriage we’ve been talking about. It’s written by one of the worship leaders, Asaph. This is part of our worship. It says, 

“Give ear O my people to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark things from of old, things that we’ve heard and known, that our fathers have told us. [You see legacy here.]

“We will not hide them from our children, but tell to the coming generations the glorious deeds of the LORD and His might, and the wonders that He has done” (Ps. 78:1–4).

So he’s saying that there’s something that we’re going to pass to the next generation, that we’ve received from a previous generation.

Crawford: Right.

Nancy: We’re not just isolated, stuck here as dots on this planet right now. We have a history and a future. Then verses 5–7 where we want to focus the next few moments. 

“He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works God.” 

Now that is a great psalm that goes on, but let’s just stop there and help us see. Asaph talks about a testimony and a law. Tell us what this passage says to us that we can apply to our marriages, starting with the priority that God has for our marriages.

Crawford: Yes. I think that Asaph was giving to us is how we shape the next generation. This is the blueprint for shaping the next generation. I’m not saying that it’s easy to do, but the commissioning here is very clear; there’s a lot of clarity that he gives us in terms of what we need to do to shape the next generation.

Nancy: This isn’t just for pastors and teachers.

Crawford: No, it is not pastors. 

Nancy: It’s for all of us.

Crawford: The psalm here . . . He really pushes the rewind button here and speaks of Israel as the family of God. So I think that these principles can be applied to what marriage is all about. And mind you, the whole purpose of marriage is to, among many things, is to steward the image of God from one generation to the next placing that into the hands of the next generation.

Nancy: So this is like a baton race here.

Crawford: Yes, like a baton.

Nancy: A relay race, we’ve got to pass that baton.

Crawford: Yes, that’s right. So what are we placing in the hands of the next generation, and I think that what we really need to be clear about is, it’s wonderful to give our families—give our kids great experiences, wonderful vacations and the great memories of holidays together and the birthdays and celebrations and all these things. That’s great, but the thing that’s going to endure, the passion and the purpose is found in verse 5 when it says, “He establishes His testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel.” 

Here you have two things that God placed permanently in our hands to pass on from one generation to the next. I would argue that when he says “establish a testimony,” that he’s talking about the character of God—who God is and how He’s worked in your history. Focus on that, that this family, this marriage has been about Him.

It’s been about His hand and blessing. Try as you might, you cannot escape the faithfulness of God in the development of this household. It’s all around us; it’s all around His provision, and His intervention.

Nancy: And you want that to be unmistakably clear to your kids.

Crawford: You want it to be unmistakably clear to your kids that you were not and I’m not that smart. I mean, I’ve said to our kids, any dysfunction that you have isn’t God’s fault, it’s probably mine. Any issues that you have is not on God, it’s on me. God was trying to hit a straight lick with a crooked stick, and I’m the crooked stick.

But it’s all about Him, and so that’s His character. But he says, “. . . and He appointed a law in Israel.” I love the word “appointed a law.” It’s a statement of objectivity. So you have the character of God and then secondly, you have the content of Scripture. 

This frames who you are. This is your identity. This is what’s placed in your hands from one generation to the next. It’s almost as if Asaph is saying that if you want joy, if you want completeness, if you want wholeness, if you want purpose, if you want stability, then it’s all about the character of God in the context of Scripture.

Nancy: And it’s not just about holding these things for yourself.

Crawford: No.

Nancy: You need it yourself first. But then he says, Karen, that they should “tell the next generation, arise and tell them to their children.” I know that you and Crawford have been really intentional as your four kids were growing up and now with your grandkids.

Karen: Yes.

Nancy: You’ve been intentional about telling your kids and grandkids about the Word of God and the character of God. You’ve done it both in more structured ways but then in informal and unstructured ways.

Karen: Right.

Nancy: Give us a glimpse of what that looks like.

Karen: Sometimes worshipping together at church, not sending them to church but going to church with them and being involved in what they are learning in church. Then at home we always had this little notebook that we kept not only Scriptures, but what we are asking and believing God for. Then we have the answers of how God is answering those prayers. That became memory things for our children. 

And then listening to those God stories from the grandparents whenever they went to Virginia. They would sit on the porch and listen to Pop talk about the faithfulness of God in giving him his job in New Jersey or Nana sharing things that she’s learned at church. They always heard about the faithfulness of God upfront and personal. 

Worship at home and worship at church and those types of things. And then having those Scriptures around the house. Then being on staff with CRU for all those years. Then being involved in all those missions and taking them on mission journeys. So they are not just hearing what mom and dad are saying, but they’re seeing Scriptures lived out in lives whether it’s an international trip or wherever. But they saw God personally in our lives and how we worshipped together.

Crawford: We tried to infuse that even in terms of how we disciplined our kids, we got some great advice. We weren’t this smart, we got some great advise when our kids were really small, I mean they were like toddlers. Advice like when you discipline your children about doing stuff wrong to hug them to pray with them before you discipline them and to read the Scriptures to them to help them understand. This might not sound like it, but this is hope-filled.

Karen: “You’ve hurt the heart of God.”

Crawford: You’ve hurt the heart of God, but it also gives them hope too because there’s love and forgiveness with Him. So then when they had disappointments in their lives or they didn’t make a team or something happened that didn’t work out, we tried to infuse God’s principles in their hearts and lives. It was not that they were beaten up by the Bible, but it was a natural part. Even when we failed as parents to repent before them, ask for their forgiveness, tell them that we were wrong . . . all that worked out.

Nancy: Yes.

Crawford: So they absolutely couldn’t miss it. One of the things that we did too is, we did this with all of our kids, but particularly Brian. He was our oldest son, and when he was a little boy I used to take him down to Conover, North Carolina, which is the old homestead for the Loritts family. 

A number of years ago, Brian and I were speaking at a conference here in Asheville, North Carolina (which is not too far from the old homestead, Conover is less than an hour away). I said, “Brian, do you want to go to Conoverand just go to the graveyard there behind Thomas chapel at AME Zion church there. 

So we got in the car and drove down there. He hadn’t been there since he was a little boy. We walked behind the church. That church was originally Loritts land. My grandfather had given them the land to build a church. But there had been a cemetery back there even before the church was there. Back in that cemetery, oh I would say about a third to almost half of the folks buried there are Loritts.

Nancy: Wow.

Crawford: They are related to us. Even Peter the slave is buried back there, but we couldn’t find his grave. As Brian and I were walking around and I was explaining who these people were . . . You know, here’s your great-grandfather Milton and your great-grandmother Anna and they’re buried there. Your Uncle Emery’s here, and your Uncle Wardell and your Aunt Annie and all this and who these people are and the price that they paid. I remember that, Nancy, that I got ambushed by emotion. I began to weep because I turned to Brain and said, “Son, these people paid your tuition.”

Nancy: Yes

Crawford: And what I meant by that . . . He got it was that their godly lives what was placed in their hands and what was passed on from one generation to the next. As parents we want people, our grandkids and great-grandkids visiting the cemetery where we are, we want them to say with joy in their hearts, “Thank you for the character of God, and thank you for the commitment to the Scriptures. You paid my tuition.”

We want to live and fight in such a way that it’s worthy of their gratitude. Even if you don’t have biological children, we’re all influencing people. There are folks that were mentoring, people that are watching us. We’re related to other people. Our model and our walk counts and it matters. So these same principles in Psalms 78 verses 5–7 can be expressed through us through discipleship and through mentoring, and we can have a signature that can go on long after us.

Nancy: And that’s true also for those who are not married.

Crawford: That' right.

Nancy: Let me say as someone who was single for the first fifty-seven years of my life, we’re talking about the family of God here. The way that we speak about marriage, the way that we represent God’s heart on marriage, but also the way that we invest in the lives of those in the next generation, all is making a difference.

Crawford: Amen.

Karen: That’s the story of my married friends: Mrs. Cawaukcuck and Mrs. Borne. They were two women who never had children, and yet they loved me as their child.

Nancy: And look what we get today!

Karen: Yes, yes.

Crawford: Absolutely.

Nancy: Thank you Jesus!

Karen: Yes, those two women.

 Crawford: Amen.

Nancy: The hope then is the outcome that you read here in Psalm 78, that they will put their hope in God, that they will not forget the works of God, and that they will keep His commandments.

Crawford: Absolutely.

Nancy: That they’ll be receiving that legacy that you are leaving for them but also being intentional about passing that legacy on to the next generation, how else is it going to be passed on?

Crawford: Yes. And this sounds like a narrow statement, but I’ll say it. Nothing else really matters. I mean the money, that’s going to be gone, and trinkets and toys the stuff. What really matters is that each succeeding generation represents and embraces that image, that sense of mission, that joy, that amazing purpose. It’s just unbelievable, and that’s what we want to do for them.

Nancy: In the close of this book you have an afterward and I think that it’s really moving. You say that, 

“Our hearts’ desire in writing this book is to underscore the reality that marriage affects future generations. The sacred institution of marriage was meant to be an ‘until death do us part’ commitment. That’s because it’s God’s heart and intention that marriage serves as an anchor, a portrait of stability, and a source of hope in launching future generations. [And then you say, and we’ve talked about this.] Divorce and dysfunctional marriage have produced a harvest of instability leaving the next generation wondering if it’s possible to find and experience true love, joy, and happiness in marriage. If what we’ve seen in our homes is so disappointing and unfulfilling, then why would we want to repeat the cycle?” 

And I think that that’s what a lot of people are thinking and feeling today.

Crawford: Yes, yes, yes.

Nancy: This is what you’ve been telling us all through this series; the cycle doesn’t have to be repeated. What we’ve seen and experienced doesn’t have to be our reality. God can change the direction of your life and your future. He did it for Karen. He did it for my mother. As you said Crawford, He is doing it for thousands of others, and that’s our hope as we’ve had this conversation this week, that God would start a whole new thing in many hearts, for His glory, for the happiness and joy of His people, but for His glory in subsequent generations.

Leslie Basham: Karen and Crawford Loritts will be back in a moment to pray. They joined Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth all this week talking about the importance of investing in your marriage and leaving a godly legacy. 

If you’ve been challenged by this conversation, I hope you’ll take a step in living out what you’ve heard. Here’s one easy first step, get a copy of Crawford and Karen’s new book called Your Marriage Today . . . and Tomorrow: Making Your Relationship Matter Now and for Generations to Come

We’d like to send you a copy when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. You can do that at ReviveOurHearts.com, or by calling 1–800–569–5959. Ask for a copy of Your Marriage Today . . . and Tomorrow.

God is doing some amazing things to rescue women who have been caught up in sex trafficking, hear some powerful stories of hope starting Monday. I hope you’ll join us here on Revive Our Hearts.

Now Nancy’s back to wrap up her conversation with Crawford and Karen Loritts.

Nancy: I would love for us to close this time by asking first Karen if you would and then Crawford if you would pray that God would sow seeds of grace and hope and healing in people who have been listening to this conversation.

Karen: Oh Father, You are able, and I just thank You so much for Your Word; it’s so true. Lord, You will bless us as we bless Your Word. And Lord, just as You’ve done in my life and hundreds of lives across this country that know You and are following You and believe in You Father, You have taken something that was illegitimate and dysfunctional that had “no hope” written on it and because of the blood of Jesus, You’ve covered that. 

I thank You personally, Father, for the salvation that You gave me as a young girl. I’m so surprised that now You have used me, not because of who I am, but because of You. I thank You Father that You will do that for those that are listening to my voice. There’s nothing that You cannot do. There’s nothing hard for You. We just thank You Father. Would you do it again? I pray in Your name.

Nancy and Crawford: Yes.

Crawford: And Father, we thank You for the fact that You are the God of new beginnings. Wherever there’s breath, there’s hope, Father. We are not just prisoners of our background. We’re Your children. God, by faith if we’ve trusted You and received You as Savior and Lord, You give us what we need to be what you’ve called us to be. 

Father, I do pray for that listener out there who is struggling, who needs hope. I pray that they will reach out to You and open Your Word and claim Your promises. Oh God, may they realize that moment by moment You can give them exactly what they need. 

Lord, we would be so bold to pray for the marriages and families of this country, that we would see a revival in our homes, that You would begin a work afresh and anew—restoring families and restoring hope and giving us what we need. 

Lord Jesus, I pray that You’ll encourage those of us who are out there day by day. Maybe we’ve gotten discouraged, but may we turn to You and realize that this is a mission worth giving our lives for. We said, “I do,” and God You are able to help us keep our word. The burden is on You, the pressure is on You, and You are able to translate that vision into reality. Bless succeeding generations through us. In Jesus name, amen!

Nancy and Karen: Amen

Leslie Basham: Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth is trusting God for a revival of godly marriages. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries

The Rubik's Cube is a 3D twisty puzzle. Learn the beginner's solution method memorizing only a few algorithms.

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