Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: This is Nathan.

Nathan Bollinger: Hello.

Leslie: He helps make sure all the videos from Revive Our Hearts get out the door on time and done with excellence.

Nathan: Thanks.

Leslie: And he’s been busy the last few weeks. What have you been working on?

Nathan: I've been working on the Adorned Small Group Kit.

Leslie: You see, when Revive '17 ended at the end of September, Nathan and the team got right to work getting all fourteen messages from the conference edited and mastered to DVD. That’s a big undertaking. And they worked so hard on it so that we could have these messages ready for you to share with your small group.

So when you start the Adorned small group study with your group, here’s the way it will work. The members of your group will get a study guide with discussion questions and just a little bit of homework. Enough to keep members engaged in the material but not enough to be overwhelming. And each week your group will get together and watch a twenty minute video—one of these videos Nathan and the team have been working on.

Each speaker will illuminate a point from Titus chapter 2. Speakers include Robyn McKelvy, Susan Hunt, Betsy Gómez, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, and more. Each message also goes along with a chapter in Nancy’s book, Adorned, which your group can be reading together.

Get more details on launching the Adorned study as a group by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, for Tuesday, November 7.

The book of Revelation opens with seven letters. The church in Laodicea received one of these. They lived in a prosperous city known for its eye medicine and clothing. Yet Jesus told this church they were poor, blind, and naked. They weren’t hot or cold, but a disgusting lukewarm. If you missed any of the programs in the series, I hope you’ll listen at ReviveOurHearts.com. I think you’ll find them insightful and convicting. That’s what some of our audience members found. Nancy’s talking with them about practical ways to apply what we’ve heard.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Have you ever found yourself at a place where you were spiritually lukewarm? And not just in like one area of your life but where that really was the description of your life. How did you get there? How did God deal with you? Like my friend who said she fell in love with horses and that whole period of her life where she had been really lukewarm. How did the Lord meet you there? 

Sarah: I don’t want to be lukewarm. I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to be spit out by Christ. I want to make a difference and that people would see Jesus in me. But at the same time there’s a battle because I want both. I want to please man and God, and I’ve got to choose time after time. Do I want to please man or God? If by chance, by some unusual circumstance it’s both, then that’s a blessing and a bonus. But my desire has to first be to please God.

That was just a reminder to me. Sarah, who are you going to please? My desire is to please Jesus. Is that always easy? Is it always fun? No. There will be challenges and there will be people that don’t like me and don’t like what I do if I’m standing for Christ. But that’s what I want to choose to do, and that’s what I want to want to choose.

In Galatians 1:10 it says who am I trying to please? God or man? If I’m choosing to please man, then I am not a servant of God. I want to be a servant of God and be willing to take the consequences that will happen, but that’s not easy. It’s a battle every day to do that.

Nancy: In the battle as I find myself stripped and cast in dependence upon the Lord, then who gets the glory? He does because people know I’m weak, and I am flawed and fallen and struggling and striving. But when the overcoming comes, they know it’s the Overcomer in me that has made that possible.

Gayle: I’ve heard that passage over and over all my life about the church of Laodicea and how sad that they’re lukewarm. But it hit me today that I am lukewarm a lot. I’m in a ministry, and I have my quiet time, and I’m serving, and I feel like I’m in God’s will. But I still feel lukewarm.

That troubled me until I realized that I am gauging my lukewarmness or my hotness—my heat or my cold—on my emotions. Instead, I need to run to the cross and acknowledge what Christ has done for me. That’s where I will be on fire.

It has nothing to do with whether I’m hearing an emotional message or the atmosphere that I’m in. It depends on, am I running to the cross? Am I embracing the cross? Am I acknowledging the price that was paid for me? That set me free in a way that I can’t even explain. There is freedom in that. That was a blessing. So I love that. I’m going to keep going back there.

Nancy: Emotions vary wildly for most of us. Certainly they do for me, and they can be affected by a lot of things—a lot of external circumstances, what’s going on in my own life, time of the month, time of the season of life. Just so many things. Hormones. Things that can affect us in the realm of feeling.

But that’s where we need to learn to walk by faith and to look at the facts and to let Jesus examine our lives and bring conviction by His Spirit and through His Word as to what’s really going on in my own heart.

I think those people in Laodicea probably felt like they were doing fine. I don’t know, but they didn’t seem to be too torn up about their spiritual condition. “I’m rich. I’ve prospered. I need nothing.” But Jesus said, "You don’t realize . . ."

Having good emotions doesn’t mean you’re doing okay. And having sadness or some roller coaster emotions doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve walked away from the Lord. That’s where you need to let the Word and the Spirit be what examine our hearts and show us our true heart condition.

Woman: I do want to speak to that very same thing that Gayle just said. I think that I know that I have found that I can become complacent and very much on the edge of being lukewarm or become lukewarm one day and then passionate about something the next.

But what I wanted to speak to is just the challenge that I think we here in the United States . . . You taught when you said about the Laodiceans that their problem was that they were so rich and they were in need of nothing. Here in the United States I really don’t think that we truly understand what it means to be in need like so many are around the world.

We recently had the opportunity to travel to Kenya and saw true need. We don’t know true poverty. My father said on this trip that our prisoners in the United States of America have more provisions than these suffering Christians around the world.

It was a true conviction that I hope my heart will never become lukewarm and always become zealous to serve Him. I pray for those people, and I pray for our country now much more seriously because we don’t truly understand how rich we are.

Nancy: So material prosperity (which is not a sin because every good and perfect gift comes from God) can produce a pride and a self-sufficiency that becomes a sin. That’s one thing that can take us down a road to lukewarmness. Have you thought at all about what are some other things that can cause us to drift into a place of lukewarmness spiritually?

Rhoda: A year before my husband passed away I was very lukewarm in that church. We experienced tremendous conflict, and I thought I was reading my Bible enough. I thought I knew God. I realize now I did not. But that brought me to my knees. I was having anxiety attacks. I never had them before in my life, never had suffered depression, but I was in deep depression.

I did not know how to fix myself. I got down on my knees and cried out, Lord, whatever it takes to heal my heart, change it. I knew I needed a major overhaul. Focus on the Family had a pastors’ wives conference. It was the first one I had ever gone to. That four days we were there I saw pastors’ wives just weeping tremendously, hurt through difficult ministries.

I went back to my room and I prayed. "Lord, why are we suffering? Why are your servants having to go through such difficulty in Your church?" Well, they never did solve our problems. What they did is they got us in God’s Word. For four days we spent time in God’s Word journaling, writing down our thoughts, giving God our pain.

God started a healing. When I went home, I had the first glimmer of hope that I had had in months. It was probably six months or more of just constantly in God’s Word. I read it in the morning. I read it in the afternoon. I read it at night. I just spent so much time getting on my knees with the Lord learning to pray. It felt like I discovered God for the first time.

The problems in the church never changed. In fact, they actually got worse. But my heart had changed. My prayer was, "God, change my heart." And He did that. He knew what I was going to face down the road. I was going to face losing my husband a short time later. But by the time my husband passed away, I was strong spiritually.

Not that I still didn’t know if I’d survive, but I knew God was faithful. He had supernaturally lifted me out of depression and anxiety. He had set my feet back on that secure path. I was hanging onto the Rock, and I thought, I am not going to move from this spot.

So God can lift you out of your depression. But it was the lukewarmness. Oh, I am so glad that the Lord didn’t give up on me and that He pursued me at that time in my life.

Nancy: Listening to Rhoda reminds me of what I have said many times on this program and that is that anything that makes us need God is a blessing. Don’t you think that’s one of the reasons that we drift into lukewarmness is because we’re not desperate. That’s how we can be complacent because there’s nothing that’s really pressing us to our knees.

Was it President Abraham Lincoln who said, “I’ve been driven to my knees many times by the realization that I had nowhere else to go”? That’s the President of the country in the middle of the Civil War. He was desperate. That means that anything that makes me desperate, that strips me of self-reliance, self-sufficiency, self-dependence actually becomes a gift, a blessing.

We wouldn’t want to write this script to have churches having conflict and losing husbands, but it’s a fallen world and those things do happen. Think about the times when you’ve had the greatest growth in your life. When you’ve been the most tenderhearted in your relationship toward the Lord, the most dependent upon Him, the most in love with Him, the most intimate periods of relationship with Him. How many of you would say that came as a result of or in the midst of some really hard times?

When you had no problems, no pressures, when your husband was wildly in love with you and your kids were all obedient and you had money in the bank and the sun was shining, do you find it at those times a little more difficult to cry out to the Lord and say I need You? We do need Him then as much as any time. But it’s desperation.

Andrea: I think another thing that causes me to become lukewarm is when I don’t live by faith. The promises that you talked about, grabbing hold of those promises and really taking them to heart versus just living by what I’m seeing around me or what I’m feeling.

I just see in my life that when I’m so focused on the things around me or my own emotions, I get discouraged and I can become indifferent and think why am I even trying this? It’s not making a difference. It’s because I’m not looking up. I’m not looking ahead until that end time and it causes me to become lukewarm.

Nancy: So what do you do about that?

Andrea: Well, I start believing the promises. I get frustrated with myself because I know better. I know the promises of the Word of God and for me I have to get them out of my time with the Lord and when He makes those verses come alive. I have to write them down and carry them with me throughout the day. I put them in Ziploc bags and put them in my shower because that’s where my mind kind of wanders sometimes, and I need that truth up there.

Or walking with my kids. We start out the day with a devotional. It is amazing how many times that verse—it is not for my kids; it is for me. It’s just a reminder that God is so faithful to give me those words and give me His Word. Then I have the choice of taking it and making it my own and claiming ownership of it and living by it or just continuing to live by what I’m seeing or what I’m feeling. I want to choose the right path so that I have a hot heart for the Lord.

Nancy: I wonder if that’s not part of what it means to be blind as the Laodicean church was. You see only what’s around you. The visible, outward, external realities, the physical realities, the natural realities, but you can’t see spiritual realities. You can’t see the things that only can be seen by eyes of faith. So you’re blind.

You have eyesight, but you look around and all you’re seeing is what people call the real world. Well, the real world is God’s world. It’s the spiritual world. It’s the eternal realities. Not until the Holy Spirit quickens our hearts and gives us faith and gives us sight—get to Jesus and get salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see what is really out there.

Remember Elisha having the Syrian army come and surround his house there in 2 Kings and chariots and horses surrounding the city. The servant wakes up in the morning and sees the house surrounded by the enemy. He’s terrified because all he can see is what’s visible, what’s material, what you can touch, and that produces terror, fear, anxiety (see 6:8–23).

That’s what is going to happen. That’s where you’ll live if you look at what is going on around us in the economy, in our country, in the government, in the world situation. There is not much good news. The big thing recently was the woman at work that had put out an email and said tell us if you know some good news we can report on. They had to ask the listeners to tell them about good news. So you can get terrorized.

But Elisha had eyes of faith. He had eyes to see spiritual realities and the promises of God. That lifted his heart. That gave him hope in the middle of what would otherwise be a hopeless situation. So he prays and he says, “Lord, open my servant’s eyes so he can see, so he can really see.” The servant says, "I’m seeing. I’m seeing enemies. I’m seeing chariots. I’m seeing opposition. I’m seeing soldiers. I’m seeing me dead."

No, that’s not the kind of seeing he needed. Almost everybody has that kind of sight, but few people have spiritual sight. When God opened that servant’s eyes, what did he see? Chariots of God surrounding the city. The hills full of them. He realized those who are for us are more than those who are with them. They’re the ones who are outnumbered.

Now, that was true even before the servant could see it. The chariots didn’t come just when he started to exercise faith. It’s not like we speak faith, and we make it happen. When we exercise faith, we have eyes to see what’s already true and then that changes the way we think. It changes the way we live. It changes the way we respond, because we realize there really is a God. There really is a throne in heaven. God really is on His throne.

I may feel helpless and hopeless and overwhelmed and overcome, but God has grace—tailor-made grace—to meet me at my point of need, and that’s how I become an overcomer. I start to live as if the promises of God were true. I start to cast myself upon them, to depend upon them, to let them drive my emotions rather than my emotions driving what I believe and how I respond.

Discouragement is my Achilles heal. That’s where I find my natural bent; it goes toward discouragement, to live as if there were no God. Or if He is, He’s very far away and He’s not really active in my case. Now, I know better. But that’s why I need friends who will love me enough to get in my face and remind me of the things that I know are true but that I’m living as if they weren’t true.

So we need to exhort one another daily, to encourage one another, to lift each other up so that our hearts don’t become lukewarm, hardened, fallen into that deceptive aspect of sin. The pride, that’s a deceptive aspect of sin. I’m rich. I prospered, and I need nothing.

When I’m starting to live like I am something and the world owes me respect and that I have rights, when I start to live like that spoiled brat that we sometimes do, I have friends who love me enough to get in my face and remind me as Jesus reminded that church.

They may not say these words, but you are wretched and pitiable and poor and blind and naked. You need the Lord! You cannot make it without Him. So the one anothers come into play here to help keep us from lukewarmness.

Sarah: You made the comment, Nancy, about taking the mask off. I appreciate that you said how when you’re in need and when you’ve been struggling, you seek people out to pray for you. I think that’s good counsel to all of us that we need to be willing to be that first person in our women’s group or whatever, to be real and show that we first of all need Jesus, but that we need the fellowship of other believers to be as iron sharpening iron.

Nancy: I know we have a lot of listeners who feel like they are in churches where there is not a lot of hunger and heart and zeal for the Lord. Revival is God’s job, but what can we do to create a climate that’s conducive to God moving? What can we do in our own hearts. We don’t want people just going out and stirring themselves up to be zealous for God. What helps get us and our churches out of that lukewarm position and into a place of zeal before God?

Carrie: I remember the night very well. I was saved when I was fifteen years old, and was zealous for the Lord for probably two or three years. But after that I just drifted back into the culture, and that was a few years ago and not even in this culture that we have today that is so drawing our young people.

I remember very clearly being about twenty-five years old and on a New Year’s Eve being up alone. I was married, and my husband and my kids were in bed. But just kneeling down in front of a chair and saying, "God, I don’t know exactly who You are. I know You’ve changed my life. I know You redeemed me, but I’m not any different really anymore."

It had died. There was something in me that died, and I didn’t even know how to get it, and I was in church all of my life—AM and PM,  every time the doors were open. I just as a very, very simple childlike prayer said, "God, I need You, and I so desperately need You that whatever it takes in this next year would You show me who You are, and would You impact my life?"

So this is what God did for me at twenty-five. That next year I had no clue how to study the Bible. I had no clue how to pray. I just know I desperately needed Him. So every morning for a few minutes I was in the Word of God. When you begin to see truth and you begin to see who God is, then it impacts you and God transforms it.

I’ve heard that so many times. The Word of God will transform. It will just change who you are, how you think, how you live. You cannot be, I don’t think, in the Word of God without it impacting, if you’re obeying it. If you’re walking in obedience to Him.

Leslie: Carrie Gaul has been giving us some wise words on maintaining a hot heart for the Lord. She’s been talking with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and many of our listeners reflecting on the teaching we’ve heard this week. It’s been a helpful look at the letter to the church in Laodicea and the danger of a lukewarm faith.

If you missed any of the programs this week, I hope you’ll listen at ReviveOurHearts.com. Carrie just talked about the importance of God’s Word in helping you maintain a fervent faith. That’s why we focus on Bible teaching for women at Revive Our Hearts. When God uses this ministry to connect women to His Word, we’re thrilled. Nancy’s here to tell you about one of those times.

Nancy: Well, I wish you could hear the excitement in our office whenever we hear a story about how God is using Revive Our Hearts in someone’s life. There was a buzz in our office not too long ago when we received an email telling about a missionary in Hungary who was preparing for a two-day event. She was getting ready to speak on the topic, "The True Woman of God."

ReviveOurHearts.com, our website, was a great resource to her as she was visiting that site, learning from God’s Word, and then passing on what she had received to women in the country of Hungary. That’s just one glimpse of the many ministry opportunities that are available today. New forms of communication and technology make it possible for us to speak to women, not only across the United States, but around the globe.

But we can only take advantage of these opportunities when our listeners support this ministry financially.

When you support this ministry with a gift of any amount, we’ll say thanks by sending you the 2018 wall calendar. Listeners look forward to hanging these calendars up each year. They provide monthly encouragement and cool artwork. This year's theme is “The Truth That Sets Us Free.” To see example of this year’s monthly encouragement and cool artwork, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

You can donate online and get the calendar, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. Make sure to ask for The Truth That Sets Us Free wall calendar.

When you call someone to repent, it’s not a negative message. It’s actually very positive. Find out why when Nancy’s back tomorrow here on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth hopes to feed your fervent faith. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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

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