Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Grow Up and Step Up

Leslie: Susan Hunt knows she’s on the last leg of her life’s journey. But she wants to stay engaged in God’s work to the very end.

Susan Hunt: Whatever your age, grow up and step up. Share the gospel and your life with another woman, and be a part of extending God's kingdom.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Quiet Place, for Wednesday, December 26, 2018.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: I hope you had a joyful Christmas celebration yesterday. And now we are getting ready to turn the calendar page to 2019. I like to take this week between Christmas and New Year's Day to look back and thank the Lord for what He has done this past year. And I like to look ahead and anticipate what He may have in store in the year ahead.

As a ministry we like to do that same thing. So for the rest of this week, we’re going to listen to some of the most meaningful moments from Revive Our Hearts in 2018.

Revive Our Hearts has always helped listeners look to God’s Word to understand what it means to be a woman. That perspective was especially needed in 2018 as people experienced a lot of confusion about gender.

And over this last year, there has been a lot of sin and abuse directed at women that had been hidden for so long that has now come to light. Sadly, that even included sin and abuse inside the church. This has been a time where we have needed to revisit the solid foundation of God’s Word to discover what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman, and how God designed us to treat each other.

And here on Revive Our Hearts, we did that by going through a series called the "True Woman Manifesto." Let’s listen to a highlight from that series.

Nancy [from The True Woman Manifesto]: Male and female are distinct. They are not interchangeable parts. Together they were created to reflect what God is like. Man and woman together in their complementary relationships represent the image of God in a way that neither male nor female can fully do alone.

Now, we need to be careful in saying that because it doesn’t mean that as a woman you cannot reflect the image of God or that you are not fully human or you are not complete because God may not give you a husband. But God created male and female together to reflect His image in a way that cannot be done as magnificently if there were just male or just female.

In Genesis 2 we have a little bit more detailed account of the creation of male and female. Let me just read it to you. It’s so familiar and the problem is some of us have been around this stuff too long and we start to get glazed eyes when we look at these familiar passages. We need the wonder of what these Scriptures say to us and how they speak to us in our season of life.

Genesis 2, verse 18:

Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."

Now that helper fit for him is made by God for a man who is not complete by himself. That says a whole lot about what it means to be a woman. Our femininity—so much of it is found in that concept of why God made the woman in the first place. Verse 19:

Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was it’s name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

So the LORD God [I think it’s after Adam realized there is not anyone on this planet who corresponds to me. After he realized that, that not one of these animals would do, God] caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. [So different from the way God created other living creatures.] And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man He made into a woman and brought her to the man (vv. 19–22).

What an incredible picture this is. The first woman fashioned by God. Now for starters, that’s breathtaking, that we were made by God. And the way God designed us is best. It’s good. It’s holy. It’s beautiful. It’s sacred. God designed us. He made us.

The first woman was fashioned by God for the man. She was designed to be a helper fit for him, suitable for him, corresponding to him, complementing him. Again, we’ve done whole series on Revive Our Hearts on different aspects of this True Woman Manifesto, so I’m just picking on highlights of each of these points in this series. You can go back to our archives and get a lot more teaching on each of these points.

She was fashioned by God for the man. She was made from the man, not out of the ground or the dust as the man and the animals were, but out of Adam’s very bone. Bone of his bone. Flesh of his flesh. She was made for the man. She was made from the man, and she was given by God to the man. Given by God to the man.

And when the man received that gift, he had a celebration. He was thrilled. He was effusive. You can’t tell that in the English translation here, but you get just a sense.

Then the man said, “This at last [at last what I have needed] is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man (v. 23).

Now by naming the woman, Adam was taking responsibility to be her husband, to protect her, to care for her, to provide for her. And in verse 23 we have a marvelous play on words that you can tell best in the Hebrew language. “She shall be called Woman,” the Hebrew word Ishsha, “because she was taken out of Man,” the Hebrew word Ish.

These two Hebrew words sound almost identical, but their meanings are different and they reflect the complementary relationship between the woman and the man. Ish, the word for man, comes from a root that means "strength." You add a feminine ending to the word Ish and you get Ishsha, almost identical sounding word. That word comes from a root that means "soft." Ish for man comes from a word that means strength. Ishsha, the word for woman, comes from a word that means soft.

Mary Kassian is one of the bloggers on the True Woman blog, a dear friend, an incredible intellect. She’s a theologian. She’s a scholar, and she has provided such a service to the body of Christ with many of the things that she has written, including her newer book, Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild. If you don’t have that book, you want to get a hold of that.

She has written this about that difference between Ish and Ishsha, strength and soft. She says, “The implication becomes clearer when we observe the biblical meaning of a man’s 'strength.'" She gives several Scripture references where it speaks of a man’s strength. Then she draws this conclusion from those Scriptures.

Strength refers to a man’s manhood, his potency, virility, and procreative power. By contrast, a woman’s "softness" has to do with her pregnability, penetrability, and vulnerability (in a very positive sense).

Another writer, Stu Weber, has said it this way.

At the core of masculinity is initiation—the provision of direction, security, stability, and connection.

Now if that’s true and I believe that it is; there are many other parts of Scripture that would bear this out. If at the core of masculinity is initiation, then at the core of femininity is responsiveness, receptivity.

Now when I talk about all this, we need to remember that we are dealing with a mystery. That’s what Paul says in Ephesians chapter 5, that our human sexuality, manhood, womanhood, marriage, that’s all a mystery that represents the even deeper, more profound mystery of the relationship of Christ with His Church. There’s no way to fully fathom or grasp the significance or the meaning of manhood or womanhood any more than we can fully grasp the mystery, the significance of Christ’s relationship with His Church.

There is a danger of trying to reduce our manhood, our womanhood to a set of lists, to a set of bullet points. This is feminine, this is masculine. But in spite of the fact that we don’t want to reduce it to a set of lists, we still need to recognize it’s importance and to remember that all women, whether married or single, are to model femininity—distinctive womanhood—in their various relationships by exhibiting a distinctive modesty, responsiveness, and gentleness of spirit.

Nancy: We’ve been listening to a clip from the series, “The True Woman Manifesto.” We’re reviewing highlights from 2018 here on Revive Our Hearts, and you can hear more from all these series at ReviveOurHearts.com.

One of the most moving moments on Revive Our Hearts this year came from my friend Susan Hunt. We heard Susan talk about the struggles of aging. But she also showed us the beauty of a life that is becoming more like Jesus even into the final seasons of life. Here’s Susan.

Susan Hunt: When we gaze on the glorious goodness of God in His Word, when we begin to see the redemption story of Jesus in all of Scripture, His Spirit begins to transform us into His likeness. We begin to shine, to radiate the glorious goodness of God. And usually, like Moses, we’re unaware of it because we are increasingly unaware of self.

So not only do we teach women about Him, but because of the mystery of our union with Christ, because He lives in us, our life begins to show the gospel story—not always, and not perfectly—but sometimes, there are goodness sightings in us because the gospel has advanced in our hearts.

Paul captures this idea of teaching and training in 1 Thessalonians 2 when he writes,

But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel but our own selves, because you had become very dear to us (v. 8).

Teaching and sharing the gospel and our lives with one another.

And note how Paul uses mother imagery: He talks about a nursing mother taking care of her own children. This is a nurturing ministry. It is a mothering ministry. Whether or not a woman has ever birthed a child, she can be a life-giving spiritual mother.

This is not just about formal teaching. We’re always teaching—in our relationships, in our conversations. Think about how often as Jesus was out and about among people He used questions rather than immediately telling them what they should do.

I have five questions that I call my Titus 2 questions that I just have tucked in my mind so that I can use the whether I’m teaching a Bible study or in a conversation.

So let’s pretend for a moment that you have just shared with me a difficult situation or a difficult relationship. I would begin to intersperse these questions into the conversation. Here they are:

  • What will it mean for you to bring this relationship or situation under the authority of God’s Word?
  • What will it mean for you to glorify God in this relationship or situation?
  • Is there any way you’re being a life-taker?
  • What will it mean for you to be a life-giver?
  • How can I pray for you?

Good questions help us to orient women to God’s Word rather than to her feelings and frustrations. It helps her to think about what is good and true and beautiful.

At a True Woman conference a few years ago, I had done a seminar on Titus 2 discipleship. During the Q and A time, a woman told us that she had approached an older woman in her church and said, “Will you disciple me?” She reported that the older woman eagerly and immediately said, “Yes.”

And then the young woman said, “That was six months ago, and I have heard nothing from her since.”

I looked at her, and I said, “I can only imagine how devastated you are, but may I suggest that that woman is equally devastated because every day she wakes up, and she thinks, I really want to do this, but I do not know what to do. What have I gotten myself into? So she delays another day. And each day she feels more and more guilty.

So, what can we do?

Many of you are women’s ministry leaders. When the women’s ministry in a local church designs a Titus 2 ministry, trains Titus 2 leaders, and facilitates bringing women together, then we do not have frustrated, disappointed, guilt-ridden women.

Titus 2 Tools are the resources to help you do this. There are ideas for designing various kinds of Titus 2 kinds of ministries and also a section on how to train leaders.

But some of you are thinking, But our church doesn’t have a women’s ministry.

Well, you have women. So invite a younger woman or an older woman or each or several to meet with you maybe once a month and to read through the book Adorned together.

However you do it, when Titus 2 discipleship begins, it is unstoppable. It will not be confined to assigned groups. It becomes a way of life. It changes the culture of a church. It makes church feel more like family.

But some of you are saying, “Well, I’m not an older woman yet.”

Last summer I did a Bible study on biblical womanhood for middle-school girls. At the end of our time together, I asked them to write about a Titus 2 woman in their life. Kate, a twelve-year old, who is our youngest grandchild, wrote about two twenty-something-year-olds in her church. This is Kate’s story:

Two older girls at my church are making a huge impact in my life as they disciple me. Kristen and Autumn are so faithful and kind to give their time to us younger girls every Sunday to teach us about Jesus. During the week they text me and the other girls in our family group Bible verses and wise advice to help us make good choices as middle-school students.

We also share prayer requests. We have built such close relationships that when girls have gone through tough situations, such as parents getting divorced, family members being diagnosed with cancer, or struggles at school, we can share with the group and know we will be prayed for.

I’m so blessed to have Kristen and Autumn in my life. They are life-givers who teach me more and more about being a life-giver.

So, girls, now it’s your turn. Whatever your age, grow up and step up. Share the gospel and your life with another woman and be a part of extending God’s kingdom. I don’t know what will happen in the life of the other woman, but I do know that the kingdom will advance in your life because Jesus has promised to be with us.

Who, but God, would have thought of such a strategy?

Nancy: That’s my friend Susan Hunt, giving us beautiful perspective on aging. I want my life to be like Susan’s growing more and more like Jesus as I get closer and closer to seeing Him.

We heard that whole message from Susan last January here on ReviveOurHearts.com. We’re reviewing highlights from 2018 today.

And our next clip represents a ministry highlight and a personal highlight for me. Before we get to that, I want to remind you that all these moments from the past year were made possible through the support of listeners like you.

God-willing, I hope we’re celebrating the best programs of 2019 a year from now. But for that to happen—for the program to continue strong into the future, we need your support.

Some friends of this ministry want to continue hearing Revive Our Hearts into 2019 and beyond. And they want to support all the outreaches—the conferences, resources, leader training, the international ministry, and so much more.

So these friends have set up a matching challenge fund of $750,000. We really need to fulfill that challenge and go beyond it to meet some significant year-end needs. I’m grateful for all who have given so far. The challenge ends December 31, so you only have a few more days to do what God puts on your heart.

When you donate at ReviveOurHearts.com, your gift will be doubled. Every dollar you give will be matched as part of this challenge. Again, you can get in on this opportunity by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can call us at 1–800–569–5959. .

We’re reviewing some of the meaningful moments here on Revive Our Hearts from the past year. And one highlight for me was very personal. I celebrated my sixieth birthday, and I also marked forty years of vocational, full-time ministry. That got me thinking about wanting to be even more effective for God’s kingdom as I get older. And I explored this in a series on Psalm 71 called “God’s Faithfulness for Your Final Seasons.”

Nancy [from "God's Faithfulness for Your Final Seasons]: I want to be a woman who can’t stop talking about Jesus, hoping in Jesus, praising Jesus, telling others about Jesus, coming to Jesus for rescue and refuge!

I want to have this steadfast determination as I get older, that no matter what I’m experiencing—no matter how hard those challenges may be—that the theme of my life, the theme of my talk all the day long is going to be Jesus. I think that’s especially important as we get older!

Again, if you don’t start that when you are younger, it’s not going to be an easy habit to have when you’re older. Rather than talking about our complaints, our problems, our pains (of course those exist, and there are going to be more of them between now and Heaven for most of us), but above that, to lift our eyes up and talk continually about how great He is. That takes a steadfast determination.

And so the psalmist says, verse 9, “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.” This says that our strength will fail. No matter what the advertisements may tell you, there will come a time when your strength will fail; it will decline.

Verse 16 in the New King James Version says, “I will go in the strength of the Lord.” When my strength fails, I will go in His strength. I love Psalm 73:26: “My flesh and my heart may fail [they will fail!], but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

So when you’re weak, when you’re frail, when you feel like you’re failing—physically, emotionally, just falling apart, maybe—“But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Let me just read through the rest of this psalm and make a few other comments, and then I want you to hear from a woman who is living out this message.

My enemies speak concerning me; those who watch for my life consult together and say, "God has forsaken him; pursue and seize him, for there is none to deliver him." O God [there’s a prayer], be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! May my accusers be put to shame and consumed; with scorn and disgrace may they be covered who seek my hurt.

[They do this. They are enemies. “But I” . . . what am I going to do? I’m not going to attack them back.] “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day [there it is!], for their number is past my knowledge.

With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous [works]” (vv. 10–17).

I want to look at that “proclaiming His works” as we wrap here.

He says, “From my youth you have taught me . . .” God has taught the psalmist and he says, “I want to teach others what you have taught me.” I’ve had the joy of studying and learning the Word of God since I was as young as I can remember: Sunday school, Christian school, in our home, family devotions, and my personal devotional life.

I’ve had the joy of soaking in God’s Word, listening to preaching. I thank God for the joy, the gift of growing up in churches where the Word of God was proclaimed. I thank God for Pastor Earl Connors, who was the pastor who baptized me when I was five years old.

I thank God for Pastor Bill Hogan, under whose ministry I grew up, who had the joy of marrying Robert and me when I was fifty-seven years old. Bill was in his eighties! He and Jane still pray for me. I’ve told them so many times how thankful I am for the years of sitting under the preaching of the Word of God from that precious man!

I’ve been taught. “From my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.” Listen, ladies, God teaches us so we can tell others . . . not so we can just soak it all in and die and go to Heaven fat and full of all biblical truth, but so we can share it with others!

Verse 18: “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come." If I have a verse in this season of my life, that would be it. “Even to old age and gray hairs.” Well, the gray hairs I’ve had for a very long time.

But, “Even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.” This is our calling! This is our mission as older women who are followers of Jesus—to share with the next generation the grace and the power of our Savior!

We’re supposed to be living with others in mind, not just ourselves. And that’s a hard thing, because as people get older, I’ve seen, it’s easy to become preoccupied with our own needs. But the psalmist says, “I’m not going to live with my needs at the center of my life. I’m going to live with others in mind . . . especially the next generation.” “Until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.” This can keep us from wallowing in self-pity, I think as we get older, to say, “I have a purpose in life.”

We’ve got two eighty-plus-year-olds in the room today, and I know Jean, I know you’re on Facebook. I know you use it to tell people that God is good and that He’s faithful. Some of us younger women are watching you, and we’re being blessed.

When my life feels hard or challenging, I think of my eighty-year-old widow friend, Jean Warren, and how faithfully she cared for her husband when he was sick years ago (we’ve been friends for a long time). I see how faithfully God is meeting your needs in this season.

You’ve got a ministry there; it’s a Facebook ministry. You’ve got ministry with your kids and your grandkids. I see you visiting them, and I see God using you. I want to be like that—not self-centered, but others-centered.

There are many older believers who taught me so much about Christ when I was a girl, when I was a young woman. There are times now, as I’m getting older, that I just feel weak. There are times I feel weary. There are times I get discouraged. There are times I want to throw in the towel. And that’s when I pray, “Lord, please don’t forsake me!”

You know, when it comes down to it, the thing that really matters is not that I can be faithful to God, but that He is faithful to me.

Nancy: Well, 2018 was a big year for me as I turned sixty and thought about how to be more effective for the Lord’s work in the years ahead. I’m grateful I could explore that with you here on Revive Our Hearts. We just heard a clip from a series on Psalm 71 called “God’s Faithfulness for Your Final Seasons.” To hear more, visit our archives at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Tomorrow we will hear more highlights from 2018. We’ll explore lies women believe and lies men believe. And we'll hear from a dear young friend who came face to face with death and is now a walking testimony to God’s power. Please be back tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you keep growing closer to the Lord in the year ahead. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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