Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Heaven Still Rules

Dannah Gresh: Have recent national events got you wondering what to do or how to respond? Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says they’re opportunities to spread the gospel.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Our calling as Christians right now is not to curse the darkness. Whether it’s the past or the present or the future, it’s not to curse the darkness, but to turn on the light. Now, it’s not our light. It’s not showcasing us, but it’s pointing people to Jesus. What if we truly were filled with Christ and His light?

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of Seeking Him, for Monday, January 11, 2021. I’m Dannah Gresh. 

Recent events certainly have brought emotions to the surface. We’re living in historic times. Nancy felt it was important to turn our hearts toward a biblical perspective, so last Thursday she jumped on Facebook to share her thoughts live. We wanted to make sure you heard these timely words. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: Well, I’ve just got to tell you, and I know that you will likely relate to this, that my own heart has been so heavy as I’ve been watching the news reports and as I’ve read many social media posts. There’s so many that are deeply felt. They’re also deeply divided. (I think you know what I’m talking about.)

There’s such a wide range of perspectives and opinions about current events—whether it’s the pandemic, vaccines, election—and that includes those listening to me right now. We don’t all share the same opinions on these things.

We’ve just come to a highly polarized election season. And there are some who are listening to me right now who are super glad about the outcome of the election. And there are others who are super mad and sad about the outcome of the election, and everything in-between. Some are saying, “Well, I just don’t know what to think.”

Well, whatever your political affiliation and leanings, by any measure, I think we all agree that this has been a chaotic, contentious season for our country. And that yesterday, with the breach of our Capital in Washington, D.C., this was a terrible, dark day for our country.

Now, I think it’s helpful to just have a little bit of context and backdrop—I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know—but 2020 was a long, hard year. We all feel that. People are exhausted. They’re stressed. They’re anxious. They’re frustrated. And I think there’s just this growing, deep-seated resentment.

There are many who have sincere concerns and frustrations about election irregularities, and they feel that their voices have not been heard. And you can just see that coming to a boiling point. Then there are many others who believe that those who have these concerns are nuts, that they’re believing false conspiracy theories.

If you’re on social media at all, you know that tempers are flaring. People are flinging opinions, flinging accusations. It’s like there’s no middle ground. There’s no meeting of the hearts. There’s just this animosity, this intensity.

So as we’re living in this moment, I want to make several observations, several reminders, several perspectives, and several Scriptures that have been on my heart over these last few days. It’s not going to surprise you where I’m going to start, and that is with these two words: heaven rules.

Heaven rules. Heaven has ruled all throughout 2020 and every year that preceded it. Heaven still rules in 2021. There is no power of evil, there is no darkness that can sabotage God’s redemptive story and plan. Heaven rules.

Heaven has ruled throughout this past year as we’ve been through the pandemic, as my precious husband Robert has been through, not one, but two cancers. Thank you, by the way, for praying. We’re encouraged. We’re waiting to see how the treatments have gone, but we’ve said to ourselves a thousand times—I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say we’ve said a thousand times—“Honey, heaven rules.” We say it after we watch the news, “Heaven rules.” We say it after we get a doctor report, “Heaven rules.”

So thinking about this election moment. Administrations come and go, but God is always on His throne. He’s always working to accomplish His saving purposes in this world and to glorify Himself. So God has been on His throne. God is still on His throne today. And God will be on His throne no matter what happens tomorrow.

And that’s why, no matter what may be going on in our country, or, could I say, in your own personal life—in your marriage, with your children . . . We talked today with a friend who has a prodigal child, and their hearts are so heavy. That’s bigger on their hearts than what’s happening here in our election and all that’s fallen out from that. But whatever is going on, we can be people of hope because we know heaven rules.

And if we really believe this, then our hearts will not be troubled. We will have comfort. We will have hope. We will have assurance. We will be a people who are rooted and grounded in faith and a perspective no matter what—whether we can see what’s going to happen, whether we understand it, whether it makes sense—we’re going to be okay because heaven rules.

By the way, some have asked, “Have you made that phrase up?” Well, no, I didn’t. It’s found in the book of Daniel. Daniel is this man of God, this elderly man of God when you come to this part of the book of Daniel. He has served under multiple kings who are pagan kings. They are pagan rulers. They have all kinds of issues. The world is in a mess! It’s fragmented. God’s people are in trouble.

But here we have Daniel telling this wicked king, “Heaven rules.” Heaven rules. Daniel had to tell his own heart that, and then he knew that was the message that was needed for his day: Heaven rules no matter what. And heaven still rules today, and it will still rule tomorrow no matter what.

Now, with that as a backdrop for us and a foundation for us, we’ve got to keep counseling our hearts with that. We can’t stop saying it. We can’t stop reminding ourselves because we forget so easily. We start to think our president is in charge or our congress is in charge or a court is in charge or your husband or your wife or your kids or something else is ruling. But, no. Heaven rules.

Now, with that as our foundation, let me just say that we’re hearing lots of explanations for what’s going on in our country. We’re hearing a lot of proposed solutions. You turn on the news . . . You may listen to mainstream media. You may listen to cable news. You may listen to conservative or progressive, or whatever you prefer to listen to. But you’re going to hear a lot of different explanations and a lot of people saying, “This is what we need. This is what we need.”

What concerns me in this whole range of perspectives is that so much of what we’re hearing—I would say, most of what we’re hearing—leaves God out of the equation. When we do that as a country, as a media, as thinkers, as people in this country, that leaves us without any foundations, without any moorings, without any solid foundation or footing to cling to. And it leaves us hopeless and helpless.

If we forget God, if we forget that heaven rules, if we forget that there is a God, or if we don’t filter our perspectives and opinions through who God is, we’re going to be hopeless and helpless.

I saw this quote from Charles Spurgeon that somebody posted on Twitter the other day, and I’ve been pondering it. Spurgeon said,

 “A world without God is a world without fear, without law, without order, and without hope.”

Now, you say, “I’d like a world without fear.”

No, we need the fear of the Lord. We need law. We need order. And we need hope. But if we throw God out of our public life, out of our private lives, out of our institutions, out of our thinking, “a world without God,” Spurgeon said, “is a world without fear, without law, without order, and without hope.”

We have such a desperate need to return to the foundation, the center, the core. “In Him we live and move and have our being.” We can’t breathe without God. And we can’t process this time without God. I don’t care how conservation or liberal the pundits may be, if they’re trying to explain this or solve this without God, there is no hope for that.

Now, what we’re seeing all around us is a loss of faith in the basic institutions of our society. Just think about it—media, government, science, our pastors, our churches. People have lost confidence in these things that at one time you thought could be trusted or relied upon to be helpful.

But that’s part of the problem. “What’s part of the problem?” Well, that we have trusted in the basic institutions of our society.

Let me just remind us that fallen, sinful, broken mankind is always going to produce fallen, sinful, broken systems. Now, there are some systems that draw upon biblical thinking, and that’s always a good thing. Systems that are based on biblical thinking are going to work better than systems that are built without God.

But even systems that are built, like a marriage—you build on the foundation of God and His Word—there’s still two fallen, sinful, broken people in that marriage. So we’re going to produce fallen, sinful, broken systems.

We can’t trust in those systems. We can’t trust in those institutions.

The middle two verses of the Bible I think are something we all need to be really familiar with. Psalm 118—you might want to just look there while I’m talking right now. Psalm 118, verses 8 and 9. I think it’s significant that this is right in the middle of our Bible.

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lordthan to trust in nobles.” 

Think about that.

Whether we’re Christians or non-believers, every heart on this planet longs for and needs a refuge. We need a place to find safety in the storms of life. We’re all looking for a refuge. We’re looking for something that can be trusted. We’re looking for something that’s dependable, something that can be relied upon. We all trust in someone or something or things.

The question is: Not are we trusting in things, but what are we trusting? Who are we trusting? And where are we turning for refuge?

Trust in mankind, trust in humanity, trust in leaders, or nobles—as the psalmist says, if we trust in mankind or leaders or nobles, we will always be disappointed. We’ll always be disillusioned because when those systems fail us, we will be left without anywhere to turn if that’s where we’re trusting.

But let me say that when we’ve looked to those institutions to help us, to sustain us . . . We need human institutions of government and family and church. Those are God-ordained institutions. But we can’t trust in those institutions. But when they fail us, it actually can be a good thing if it causes us to turn our hearts upward.

Yesterday on the news, I was really moved to see a clip where congressional staff in the Capital were praying. They were crying out to the Lord. I actually heard (I don’t think I’ve ever heard this before) a newscaster call out for prayer, saying, “We need to pray. We need to pray.” That’s a good thing! Desperation can be a blessing, and anything that makes us need God is a blessing. Right? Because it causes us to look to Him.

And let me say that God is trying to get our attention. That’s true of believers. It’s true of non-believers alike. He’s trying to get the attention of the Church. He’s trying to get the attention of the world. God is trying to get our attention. So anything that makes us desperate for Him is actually a blessing.

We can’t expect systems of this world—including government, marriage, family, our churches—to be or to do what only God can be and what only God can do in our lives. That’s why the psalmist says, “It’s better to take refuge in the Lordthan to trust in humanity.It’s better to take refuge in the Lordthan to trust in nobles.”

Those who trust in the Lord with all their hearts will never be disappointed because He will never fail. He will never blow it. He will never disappoint.

We have a text thread, we call it “The Complete Circle”—it’s the Wolgemuth siblings and their mates. One of them posted this hymn stanza on there this morning. It was such an encouragement to my heart. It was written by Isaac Watts in 1708, and how timely those words are today. He said:

“O God, our help in ages past, and our hope for years to come;
Our shelter [our refuge] from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.

Under the shadow of thy throne, thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is thine arm alone, and our defense is sure.”

(“Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past” by Isaac Watts)

O God, O God—He’s been our help in ages past. He is our hope for years to come. So, we can’t trust in mankind. We can’t trust in leaders or followers or anybody or anything. But when we trust in the Lord, He’s our help. He’s our hope. He’s our shelter. He’s our refuge.

And under the shadow of His throne—heaven rules—we will dwell secure. Sufficient is His arm, His strength. And our defense is sure. Words written in 1708 are words we need here in 2021.

Now, I want to say also that it’s appropriate and important for us to lament and grieve the brokenness of our world. As we think about the deep-seated problems our world is facing, we ought to grieve. We ought to weep. We ought to lament because this is not what God intended when He created this world and said, “It is good.”

A night or two ago I just couldn’t sleep. I was restless. I was thinking about what was going on in our country and some other issues. I got up in the wee hours of the morning, and I posted just this short sentence on Twitter. I said, “I weep for you, America.”

That was a phrase that had just been rolling around in my head and my heart and my belly during the night. “I weep for you, America.” I posted that and probably had more responses to that, or as many as anything I’ve ever posted. Why? Because I think a lot of people feel the same way.

There’s just this inner groaning, this lament, this grieving. But let me say, we weep, not just for America, but we weep for our world. And we weep not just for the world, but we weep for the Church. And we weep, and we grieve, and we lament, not just for the Church, but for what God is exposing in our own hearts.

That’s really what it kind of comes down to. Because I can’t solve the country’s problems or the world’s problems or all the Church’s problems. But I can let God deal with the problems in my own heart.

You see, this is not a time for us to point fingers at the sins of others. Others do have sins. They have great sins, grievous sins. There’s a time for showing the truth of God’s Word and putting it up against our culture and our world. But first, this is a time to let God search our own hearts and to show us where we may have contributed to the chaos and the brokenness.

Now, that may take a little heart searching, but that’s why the psalmist prayed, “Lord, search my heart. Search me, O God”—not just prove to everybody else how wrong they are, what they’ve all done wrong. But humility begs for us to say, “Lord, what’s in my heart that You see?”

Think about your speech over these last days, the way you’ve talked about the outgoing president or the incoming president or the congress or judges or your governor or whomever—the newscasters. Think about your speech, things you’ve said maybe in your own study or sitting room where your TV is and as you’ve watched the news with your mate or your children.

Think about your interaction with other people, how you’ve talked. Think about your social media—what you’ve posted, the comments that you’ve posted.

Ask about all of these—as I’m asking myself: Does this all reflect the heart of Jesus?

If God’s people aren’t reflecting the heart of Jesus in our speech, in our interaction, our social media, our actions, our attitudes, how in the world do we think that this world is going to get it right?

Does your speech, your interaction, your social media, your attitude, your actions: 

  • Does it reflect hope? Or does it reflect despair?
  • Does it reflect that heaven rules? Or that something or someone else rules this world?
  • Does it express humility? Or does it express arrogance and pride?
  • Does it express grace? Or does it express anger and self-righteousness?

You see, the anger of man, Scripture tells us, does not work the righteousness of God. It’s one thing for the world to be out there ranting and raving and screaming and yelling and going crazy, but that is not appropriate for us as children of God, not if we care about the righteousness of God being affected in this world.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for righteous anger, but so much of what I’ve seen and so much of what I’ve felt at times, in relation to what’s going on in our country, I’ve got to say, it’s not righteous anger. It’s self-centered—“How does this affect me?” It’s my opinions. It’s self-exaltation.

So this is a time for us to let God search our own hearts and show where we may have contributed. Because this nation is just a composite of the hearts and the thinking and the actions and the behavior of all of us collectively.

And then let me say, and I hope this is encouraging to you, that what seems so messy right now could actually, in God’s providence, His timing, His way, could actually prove to be a season of great gospel opportunity. So that’s why we shouldn’t despair. Because as dark as it gets, God is at work. God is on His throne. God is still accomplishing His purposes.

And let me say, the world, our world, our country, desperately needs for the people of God to be light in the darkness.

Now, again, I know I’ve said we’re coming from a lot of different positions and perspectives. You may be one of those people who looks on the last four years as being exceedingly dark, and you are ecstatic that a new administration is just around the corner.

Or you may be one of those people who thinks that the last four years are exactly what our nation needed, and what’s coming in the next four years, you’re dreading it, because you see it as looming darkness that’s going to be with us for the next four years.

So you may be thinking, The last four years were utter darkness. Or you may be thinking, The next four years are going to be utter darkness.

Let me say: Either way, whichever is true, or whichever is more true, our calling as Christians right now is not to curse the darkness. Whether it’s the past or the present or the future, it’s not to curse the darkness, but to turn on the light. Now, it’s not our light. It’s not showcasing us, but it’s pointing people to Jesus. What if we truly were filled with Christ and His light?

I think of Romans chapter 12, verse 21, that says, “Don’t be conquered by evil. [That’s what’s happening to a lot of us. Our minds, our emotions, we’re being conquered by evil.] But instead, conquer evil with good.”

Light overwhelms darkness. There is a time to expose deception and darkness, but we have far too little of us turning on the light, overcoming evil with good—not by being warlike or angry or contentious. That’s just acting like the rest of the world. “Don’t be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” This is a season for great gospel opportunity if we will be the light of the world.

I want to remind us that the problems we are facing are not going to be solved by any political party, nor are they going to be solved by science or by any other human efforts. These are problems that require diving intervention. That’s why this is a time for us to cry out to the Lord and to pray as we have never prayed before.

I saw a tweet from a pastor who’s a friend of our ministry in the last day or two. He said, 

“I believed it for some time, but today is a confirmation. The only answer to the problems in our country is a Holy Spirit empowered, all-consuming, great awakening revival. Would you join me in fasting and praying for the next twenty-one days?”

Here’s a pastor who realizes this is a gospel opportunity, and we must cry out to the Lord. Only He can do what needs to be done.

I’m thinking about that letter that the prophet Jeremiah wrote to the exiles, the Jewish exiles who were living in Babylon. In Jeremiah, chapter 29, he sent them this letter. They were living in a foreign country. They were in exile. Life was hard. But he said, 

“This is what the Lord says . . . Pursue the well-being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it thrives, you will thrive” (v. 7 CSB)

And, by the way, he also said, “While you’re there, settle down. Build houses. Plant vineyards. Have children. Get married, have children.” He said, “You’re going to be there for a while. So don’t just get your head in the sky and hold on for the Rapture. Settle down there and live there, but don’t put your hearts’ roots down there. And while you’re there, pray like crazy for the well-being of this area.” (see vv. 4–14)

And let’s remember that we have brothers and sisters in many countries around the world who are facing far worse issues than those we’re facing here in the United States. So God’s Word says, “Pray for the well-being of the country where I have placed you, the city where I have placed you. Live your life there and live it for the glory of God.”

And then, as we come to a close here, remember that this world is not our home. We are exiles. We are pilgrims, the Bible tells us. We’re not just intended to huddle together and hang on until the end comes. We have an obligation to those who don’t know Jesus—otherwise, God could just take us to heaven now, and, like, “let’s just get on with it.” But He’s put us here for a purpose.

The apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter chapter 2, beginning in verse 11: 

“Dear friends, I urge you, as strangers and exiles [You don’t belong here! This world is not your home. You’re strangers. You’re exiles. But, he said] abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul, and conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles [among those who are not believers] so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day he visits” (vv. 11–12 CSB).

Listen, the day is coming when God is going to visit this world. We’ve recently celebrated the first Advent of Christ coming to earth. But there’s a day coming when He’s coming back—this time in judgment. He’s offered salvation. He’s giving us time for people to repent. But He’s coming back to judge this sinful, wicked world.

And so the apostle Peter said to live your life in an honorable way, in a Christ-like way, so that when people point their finger at you and say, “They’re evildoers,” they won’t be able to dispute your good works, and they will glorify God on the day when He visits. They will say, “I saw those Christians. I saw the way they lived. I had an opportunity to repent.” Either they will repent now and believe, and they will join us in eternity with Christ, or God’s judgment will be seen to be just and righteousness because we showed them the gospel through the way we lived.

I was texting last night with a young friend, a twenty-one-year-old young man who’s a friend of Robert and me. We were just talking about the day’s events and what was going on, and this friend said: “We need a new country.” And then he said, “I guess we’ll have that in heaven.”

Wow! So wise! He’s right! This world is not our home. Our citizenship is in heaven. We long for a city; we long for a country that God is building. It’s not temporal. It’s not earthly. It’s not man-made. It’s God-made. And our citizenship is in that country.

That’s what Paul said in Philippians chapter 3, verse 19. He talks about those who are focused on earthly things, but then he says, 

“Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there—the Lord Jesus Christ.”

We’re living as foreigners, as strangers, as pilgrims in this world, but our citizenship is in the presence of Christ. And that’s why, as long as we are here:

  • We can suffer when we need to.
  • We can endure.
  • We can persevere under hard times.
  • We can love well.
  • We can serve well.
  • We can have peace.

We can have joy because our citizenship is in heaven. Our home is in heaven. And we’re waiting, we’re longing for, we’re eagerly expecting that any day now. The clouds are going to split; the Lord Jesus is going to return, and we will be forever with the Lord.

And that perspective should change everything about: 

  • How we live.
  • How we function.
  • How we endure.
  • How we love.
  • How we talk.
  • How we post on social media.
  • Everything about how we live our life here during this short stay on earth.

Would you pray with me?

Oh Lord, wow! How we plead with You to intervene in this world, in our country, in our churches, in our homes, and in our own hearts.

But today, as those who are citizens of the United States, we especially lift our hearts up and pray that You will have mercy on this country, that You will have mercy on this transition taking place in our government. I pray that we will not put our hopes in princes, in presidents, in leaders, in congressmen, in certain parties.

We’re not going to be looking ahead to 2022 or 2024, “Our problems are going to be solved then.” Lord, You can work. You can move with any party in charge because they’re not in charge. Heaven rules.

So we pray that You would intervene. (And when we say that, we’re not asking that You would give us a certain kind of government or a certain kind of something that suits us better in this world, because Your Word says things are going to get worse and worse.) 

But would You intervene in calling men and women and families and children to repentance.

Would You expose deception that’s in our world? Would You bring truth to light? 

Would You send forth through Your people hope for the hopeless and for the despairing through Your people as they see in us that You really can be trusted to write our story, and that Your plan is good and beautiful, and that we trust You. May they be moved to trust You as they see that in us.

We pray for revival in the Church. 

We pray for You to be glorified in this world. We pray for an explosion of Your power and Your grace and Your goodness in our country and in our world. We pray that people would get so desperate that they would say, “We can’t go on without God.”

And, Lord, we pray the prayer the Lord Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. May Your kingdom come, may Your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.” That’s what matters to us.

And may Christ be magnified in this day and in this hour and through Your people, I pray it, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Dannah: Amen. Well, friend. What words of Truth are getting you through this difficult days? We’d love for you to share them with us on the Revive Our Hearts Facebook page or on Instagram.

If you’re a newcomer to God’s Word, or the Bible seems daunting, we want to help you make sense of it. Kelly Needham will be with us tomorrow to share how the Word of God speaks to us, and where to start in our reading. Please join us, for Revive Our Hearts. 

Reminding you that heaven still rules. Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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