Revive Our Hearts Podcast

In the Midst of the Storm

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Before you know it, we’ll be turning the calendar to January and a new year. I love the fresh start that a new year brings. It's a time I set some new goals and ask the Lord to help me grow in specific areas of my walk.

I’m also excited to flip that page on the calendar this year because I have a brand new calendar to hang up. It’s called “The Wonder of His Name” wall calendar. Each month’s entry focuses on a specific name of Jesus. January’s quote is about the name “Jesus.” The watercolor background hints at Jesus’ role as king, and in the foreground, calligraphy describes the wonder of that name.

This artwork was created by renowned artist Timothy Botts and the calendar was produced by Revive Our Hearts.

Even if I wasn’t part of Revive Our Hearts, I’d love this calendar because it’s so beautifully done, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity throughout the year ahead to keep reminding myself of the many splendid wonders of the name of Jesus.

I want you to have this beautiful calendar on the wall of your home. We'll be delighted to send it to you when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Call us at 1-800-569-5959, or visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com. Be sure to let us know that you would like a copy of the 2014 Revive Our Hearts wall calendar.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, October 31.

Nancy’s been in a very helpful series called, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." She’s been preparing us for the storms of life that will inevitably threaten us. If you missed any of the series, you’ll find it at ReviveOurHearts.com.

The series is based on Psalm 46, and as we’ve walked through it, Nancy’s provided important insight. She’s talked about the value of singing to the Lord even in the storm. She’s showed us how Psalm 46 compares God’s goodness to a river.

Some of our guests will refer to these points as they tell us how this series has affected them. They were part of the audience when Nancy recorded the series. We’ll start with our friend Leslie Bennett describing how Psalm 46 encouraged her.

Leslie Bennett: As I was meditating on this before I came, I could not get past the first three verses. I want to just read part of it to you the way God spoke it to me in my heart. The promise of verse 1: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way” . . . and, of course, it goes on, the earth, mountain, the waters roar, the mountains quake . . . “therefore we will not fear.”

If I stand on my own, and as a leader, I’m especially tempted to withdraw in my life when there are troubles and trials, and my faith will falter. I’m not meant to be alone. So what I saw was a corporate declaration, “We will not fear.” I need my sisters. God made the body of Christ to come alongside each other. I need to borrow your faith when I am weak. So I praise God for this.

And the two “thoughs” in the NIV . . . It doesn’t matter what it is. It does not matter for “we will not fear” because of who God is and His promise that we can claim and believe. I praise God for that, “therefore, we will not fear.”

Nancy: And we have those plural pronouns in Psalm 46:1, not just “we will not fear” but “God is our refuge.” We talked about this a number of years ago on the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matt. 6:9). There’s not one singular pronoun in the Lord’s Prayer. And here you have it the same in Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength.” Not just God is my refuge. He is that.

We’re so independent minded in our faith today. We try to do life alone. We’re not intended to do life alone. I need your faith when I’m in trials and troubles, reminding me that God is our refuge. God is our strength. God is a very present help when we are in trouble. But you need that from me when you’re in trouble.

We need each other. We need to come alongside each other when we’re struggling, when we’re being bombarded and remind each other: “God is our refuge.” Not just mine; not just yours, but ours. Let’s go together to Him. And as we get on our knees together, and we pray together—we cry out to the Lord on each other’s behalf. We’ve done some of that here today, praying for lost husbands, praying for burdens that people are carrying. As we go to the Lord together, we’re saying, “Oh, God, together, as a community of faith, we’re coming to You, and we’re saying, ‘God, You are our refuge.’”

This was a hymn for the Israelites to sing together—not just one Israelite. Of course, you can sing it on your own, but what a thing, as we’re singing it today in a sense in community with each other, and we’re saying, “I know it’s true.” It’s true for us collectively. We run together to Him, and therefore we, as a body of believers, will not be afraid.

Woman 1: As I was reading Psalm 46 before I came, I kept stopping at “cease striving” (my Bible says, “cease striving”). Though I had already in my heart confessed that I was striving and laid it down, I just made the connection that, because I was striving, where God dwells is happy and holy and safe and secure, and they can’t go together. So when I see striving, I need to trust Him and lay it down—the anger or whatever—because where He dwells is happy and holy and safe and secure.

Nancy: Yes. So when we’re striving, we’re not safe and secure or happy and holy. Right? We think we’re in control. If we could just strive, we’re just holding on to the bitterness. I’ve had so many moments recently of: you just mull things over in your mind again and again, people who did this and did that. You think you can maybe get some sort of justice in the situation by holding on to anger or bitterness, but all you do is destroy yourself. Right? And then you miss the presence of God. It’s better to let it go. Cease striving, and be happy, holy, safe, and secure.

Woman 2: Everyday as I am tuning in to The Today Show or some of these new shows we get twenty-four hours a day, I’m just amazed at how . . . I’m addressing the heathen rage and how things have turned in my lifetime from being a nation under God. I just learned this year that we are a nation that embraces evolution, and I didn’t know that it was so understood that we are not a nation that believes in the creation anymore. A gentleman said on one of the new shows that he thought that matter had been settled at the Scopes Trial.

When I hear things like that, I get raged. I have to pray and ask God to help me keep my eyes focused on the Lord of hosts. I love to think about my God as being that military man. When I praise God and I worship God in the mornings, there’s a song that I can never get through without crying. I sing six or seven songs before I pray, and one of those songs brings me so much excitement, and it is, “He Is Lord.”

You get down in there, and it says, “Every knee shall bow.” And I just keep singing it, “Every knee shall bow, and every tongue, they’re going to confess that Jesus Christ . . . they’re going to say it . . .  is Lord.” They’re going to say it. They don’t want you to mention His name. You can say, “The Man upstairs.” You can say all these foolish things, but when it really comes down to Jesus, they hate Him. So, you know what? They hate me.

But I love how you ended it, Nancy. I love it. We win! I walk in light of the fact that we win. I am the most scared person that you would ever want to meet. I’m scared of everything, but when it comes to taking a stand for the Lord, I don’t know, I just have this martyrdom attitude, and that is not me. When I say that, I say, “Who said that?” (laughter) But it’s like, I love God so much, and I’m ready to defend Him because He is Lord. And how dare America announce on my behalf that we are no longer a nation that believes in the creation.

I love this psalm because it has shown me the military God that we stand behind. We don’t do anything. We just watch. I just love this psalm!

She put me to sleep on the plane, my sister here, by reading that to me. I don’t fly. Nancy has me in the air flying, and I’m trying to figure out, “Okay, how are we going to do this?” But my sister, we studied it; we prayed as we came each morning, and she just began to read. I had never gone to sleep on anybody’s airplane, but I slept. Did I not sleep? I slept. And then they said, “We’re here,” and I’m like, “Look, God used that psalm to even strengthen me.”

Now, if somebody had said something against you, I would have been awake. I would have been awake, and I would have been talking to them. These earthly things, God knows. Pray for me in that area, but He is strengthening me, and I just go and do what He wants me to. He is our refuge.

Kim Wagner: I just love what a faith marker, a faith builder that this psalm is. I love how God uses the contrast of the fact that, yes, He brings judgment; yes, He brings destruction; yes, He brings the wind and the storm. But He’s also the God who merely utters His voice and the earth will melt, and He chooses to inhabit us. He chooses to dwell with us.

When I think about the power of that God, how can I fear? Yes, those fearful things hit us, and our first inclination may not be to run to the safe place. But as soon as we reflect on and acknowledge who He is, He merely has to utter His voice and the earth will melt. We have no need to fear.

Woman 3: I was just thinking about verse 10: “Be still and know that I am God.” I love that. I’ve always loved that verse and just applying it to us and ourselves. But it struck me, and I’m so thankful to you, Nancy, for bringing it out today, how merciful God is for Him to say to His enemies, “Be still. Don’t you realize who I am?”

To people who want to say that we are a nation of evolutionists, “Don’t you realize who God is?” That ultimate mercy just gives me a softness in my heart for people who don’t know. I was one of those people. I was a chemistry teacher, and God has brought me full circle all the way around to say, “Absolutely not. God is the God of the universe, and the God Almighty.” But He took that time through people to say, “Don’t you realize who God is?”

It just makes me think of Job where He kind of talks Job down and says, “Don’t you realize who I am? Do you want to hold back the ocean? Try it.” It’s just another reminder of His incredible mercy to us and to even His enemies on earth, and I just really appreciate that.

Sue: When you came to the end of the first one about the song, I just want to say that singing and giving thanks, I think, is the best thing you can do when you’re down. When you’re discouraged, when it looks like everybody else is winning, just sing and give thanks is a blessing.

Nancy: I agree with that, Sue, and I found at so many times in my own life, when my heart was heavy, when the clouds seemed to press in around me, the storms seemed to be beating up against me, if I will sing (this is why I love having a hymnal around), it’s amazing how the clouds can start to dissipate.

At times I’ll have my hymnal open, and I’ll be singing, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” and at first I’m crying so hard you couldn’t even understand what I’m singing. But if I will keep pressing through, singing God’s truth back to Him, it’s amazing how He really will so often settle our hearts—the power of singing. That’s probably why in the psalms we’re told so many times to sing to the Lord.

Ruth Ann: I was reminded of the passages in the New Testament that talk about when the disciples were with Jesus at the Last Supper. They were leaving there and going to the Garden of Gethsemane, and Jesus knew the battle He was about to face, and He led them in singing a hymn.

It’s just a few short words in there, but that was brought to mind. I just remember that if He sang as He faced the greatest torture of the world, then certainly I can sing and praise Him for facing that for me and taking the battle and having the victory over it.

Nancy: Amen! Great insight, Ruth Ann. That little phrase—when they had left the Upper Room where they had the Last Supper—“after they sang a hymn, they went out.” Where did they go out to? To Gethsemane, and then to the cross.

We’re told that probably what they sang at the end of the Passover was Psalm 115–118, part of which is this verse: “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it” (118:24). Can you imagine Jesus singing that as He is heading to the place where He’s going to lay down His life for the sins of the world? Great illustration there in Christ—great pattern.

Woman 4: I particularly was encouraged by your talking about God being the river that flows through us and His life. I have been going through some physical struggles for the last few years. I’ve had an affliction where I feel like I constantly can’t get my breath. Doctors have really been trying to figure this out and what is causing it.

I was reading in the Scripture one time, and it says that “my sighing is not hidden from You.” God’s presence has just been a theme in my life. “He is at my right hand. I will not be shaken.”

This was just another reminder of His presence. He is with us. That is the encouragement. “In His presence is fullness of joy.”

I loved what you said, that God’s presence and grace through us makes us fruitful. We can’t always see that, but just that trust and abiding in Him, if that can glorify Him, that is the encouragement I need. So thank you.

Woman 5: I love what we heard today because, for me, it is future preparation for future storms. But I’m also sitting here just praising God because I’m coming out of a huge storm. Two years ago I was at the Times of Refreshing Retreat—let’s just get it out there. I’ll cry—“Times of Refreshing Women’s Ministry Director Retreat.” We weren’t expecting Nancy to step in, but she did on our Friday night when we were together. There were only about ten of us there, and she popped in and just said hello to us.

It was just so sweet because we circled up around the piano (I’m sure you don’t remember this), but what you said that night was, “I just kind of want to share with you ladies what’s on my heart currently. You shared about people in ministry and their prodigals. I was one of two that raised my hand. I loved your example to us to just pray. You stopped, and you prayed for Ben, and it was just so sweet.

I’ve seen that over and over again in this ministry. But to God be the glory, Ben, the prodigal, returned last July. He literally walked in the door, and he said, “I’ve sinned against God; I’ve sinned against you.” We are now praying and fasting with him, not just for him but with him for his future. So He is that help.

And the other thing, too, is His Word. I would not trade my time in His Word through those years and the number of Scriptures I have his name and date written next to, because God used those words to just penetrate my heart. I have that promise—the fall of 2007, He gave me the promise from His Word through Isaiah that He has seen Ben’s ways, and He would heal him. I clung to that over and over again, and I wouldn’t trade that. He really was and is my help. In all that trouble, everything we went through, He never ever left me. To Him be the glory.

Laura Green: Back in April we were just outside of Tupelo, Mississippi, and, if you remember, the tornadoes came through there. A little town called Smithville was practically leveled by an F5, and we were about 45 minutes north of there. The night before that storm system came through, there had been a couple of nights where we’d been awakened in the middle of the night by sirens going off.

The first night when the sirens went off, we got up and turned on the TV to check and see what was going on. The announcer on the TV said, “If you are in a mobile home (and you can’t get any more mobile than an RV sitting on a church parking lot), you need to go to a safe place.” So we did. We got up and went into the church and tried to get as safe as we could.

You said a little while ago, “God is our safe place in the midst of the storm.” That really struck me because it’s the same words that man had said, “Go to a safe place because trouble is coming.”

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that when I see trouble coming, I don’t always run to that safe place. I give in to fear, and I give in to temptations to doubt. So that was very convicting to me. When trouble is coming, run to God, run to that safe place—just like we did that night to avoid the tornadoes.

It’s like when you hear that siren going off and you hear trouble coming (think of those sirens going off), that’s your cue to get to that safe place; to run to God and not let fear take over.

Nancy: Yes. And remember that this is not to say that there won’t be times when . . . People do lose their lives and have lost their lives a lot recently—tornadoes, earthquakes and storms. It’s not to say that your physical life will necessarily be preserved, but as our soul takes refuge in the Lord, nothing can harm or damage us in that place of eternal refuge. We will still be safe and protected. “The body they may kill; God’s truth abides still. His kingdom is forever.”

To say you trust in the Lord—and I know you weren’t applying this, Laura. But as you read a passage like this, you think, “So if you trust in the Lord, does that mean you won’t lose your house in a tornado?” No. There are believers who’ve lost their homes in earthquakes and tsunamis and tornadoes.

But remember, God brings desolations on the earth. At least part of His purpose in bringing desolations on the earth is that His splendor may be seen, His glory may be seen, His power may be seen; and so that He may bring peace into the hearts of men, He may bring people to a place of repentance and rightness with Him, reconciliation in their relationship with Him. See, God is looking at the end game—the eternal, big picture, and we get so absorbed in the immediate picture.

I was reading some news this week about one of the recent tornadoes, and a request was made to pray for the people in this area. One of the commenters, with language I won’t repeat in the way they said it (this was a secular news website), basically said how foolish it was to pray to a God who would do something like this. A lot of people think that way.

People who don’t know God don’t know that actually these earthquakes and tornadoes are severe mercies intended by God to bring about redemption and salvation and warnings and repentance for the ultimate good of our souls and, even more than that, for His greater glory.

So run to the safe place who is Christ the Rock, God our Eternal Refuge, but don’t think necessarily that your circumstances are going to improve. That doesn’t mean your husband is going to get saved. He may. We’ve heard some neat stories about that today. God certainly can do that. It doesn’t mean your house is going to be spared. It doesn’t mean you’re going to find the job you need.

It’s a broken world, and there’s no promise that all those problems will be fixed when we run to trust in God our refuge, but there is a promise that our hearts will be safe, that we will have the help and the grace we need to endure even in the midst of that storm, even in the midst of great loss.

Those are tension truths that you have to kind of balance when you’re dealing with a passage like this.

Leslie: We’re all going to go through storms. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing you how to lean on the Lord through those storms. She’s been walking us through Psalm 46 for the last couple weeks in a series called "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." 

Today is the final installment in that series, but you can still prepare for the storms of life. When you get the series on CD, it will help you understand why God sometimes allows you to go through the storm and what you should do when you’re in it. Look for the series "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" when you visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Hearing this kind of teaching each weekday is so valuable to busy women. It’s a chance to focus on what matters most and be reminded how the truth of God’s Word interacts with real life.

The True Woman blog does the same thing. It’s a chance each day for you to consider important topics about embracing God’s call on your life. Mary Kassian is one of the contributors to the blog.

Mary Kassian: The True Woman blog is an incredible resource for women, and I love it because every day you get a little bit of drip. You’ve probably heard of “drip marketing,” and I think that’s what the world does. It drip markets its ideas about womanhood into our hearts, and so this True Woman blog does that as well. Every day you get a little bit of truth, and it helps conform you into the image of Jesus Christ—little bit by little bit, day by day. That’s why it’s really valuable to sign up for the blog and to read it every day.

Leslie: To check out the True Woman blog, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. You can follow a link to the True Woman site.

I hope you'll be back tomorrow as we call women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. Join us again next time for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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