Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Our Brokenness, God’s Promises

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Before we start our program today, I’d like to take a moment to encourage you to spend extra time this month crying out to the Lord on behalf of your family, your church, your community, your nation, and our world. I think you’d agree that these are desperate days, and as never before, we need to see God act.

Here’s my friend Robyn McKelvy to lead us in crying out to Him for our churches.

Robyn McKelvy: Our Father in heaven, thank You so much that we can come boldly to Your throne of grace. You said there we will obtain mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. So, Father, thank You that right now we can cry out to You.

You already know what’s going on in our lives, in our hearts, and in our minds. You already know everything that’s going on in this world. So because of that, we can completely trust You because You knew even before today.

So, Father, it’s my privilege to come before You and cry out on behalf of the pastors that are pastoring the Church that You have established. Lord, I pray that these men would worship You with the words of their mouth. Lord, that they would bless You with the meditations of their hearts. And, Father, everything that they do and everything that they say would be acceptable in Your sight because, Lord, You are the one that has redeemed us all from the pit.

Father, I also pray that these men will remember that You have called them. Sometimes we forget that You didn’t call us to be comfortable, but You called us out of darkness into Your marvelous light. So, Lord, help us to be lights to everybody that we come in contact with, that our light would so shine before men that they will be able to see Your good works through us and bring glory to You, our Father in heaven.

And so, Father, that’s my prayer for these pastors, that they would be lights in a dark world. Lord, that they will remember that You are the One in whom they can completely trust. You’re the Author and the Finisher of their faith. Lord, please encourage these men. Strengthen their hearts. Allow them to understand what it means to be bold and be courageous because You are the Lord of all the earth.

We thank You so much for the privilege that we can come before You at any time, any day, and no matter what’s going on. We can lay it at Your feet, and You know exactly what to do to bring those to You that need to be encouraged, that need to find salvation.

Father, this is our prayer and our privilege, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Dannah Gresh: We all know what pain feels like, so we need to be reminded of the promises of God. Here’s Erin Davis.

Erin Davis: The promise is not that you and the people you love most will never face physical suffering. The promise is that a day is coming when, if you are a child of God, you will be fully healed.

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Brokeness: The Heart God Revives, for October 12, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Well, this year has certainly been one of pain and difficulties for all of us. Maybe you have a loved one who passed away, or perhaps you’ve struggled with a lot of fear or frustration related to the coronavirus. It could be that you have strained relationships because of the upcoming political election.

Well, recently Erin Davis joined us in front of a small studio audience to point us to the hope we have—hope that it won’t always be this way.

Here’s Nancy with a further introduction.

Nancy: Several months ago I had the joy of hearing one of our team members, Erin Davis, who manages all the Revive Our Hearts content. I heard her teach a passage of Scripture to a group of women ministry leaders. I was so moved by that message that I went to Erin and said, “I’d love to have you teach this for our Revive Our Hearts’ listeners.

So, Erin, thank you for being back with us today to share what I know is going to be a very hope-filled, encouraging message for our listeners.

Erin: I’m honored to get to share.

Nancy: The text you use is found in the second-to-last chapter of the Bible. It’s the book of Revelation, chapter 21. If you have your Bible or you have a Bible app on your phone, I want to encourage you to open to that passage because I want you to see it with your own eyes.

In fact, as Erin teaches this passage over the next three days, you may want to go back to Revelation 21, at least the first five verses, and read through it over and over again until it becomes imprinted on your heart as it has become imprinted on your heart, Erin.

I know this is a passage you’ve gone back to again and again over the years.

Erin: Imprinted is the right word. I can’t remember when I first started to sit in Revelation 21. I’ve read it so often, and it’s been so important to me that it’s become a part of me. But I can remember a season when I decided to study it with some friends. We had experienced some devastating loss as a group, and for many weeks we would get together and just cry and cry. Then someone said, “We need some hope.”

We decided to walk through the book of Revelation because I knew enough about Revelation 21 to know that if we could get through the rest of the book, even though the whole book is filled with hope, that if our group of friends could get to Revelation 21, we’d get hit with that firehose of hope we needed.

We spent about a year-and-a-half walking through the book of Revelation—lots of tears—but we walked away filled with hope.

Nancy: This passage really is a pinnacle of a book that can be difficult to understand. Some people are, I think, just afraid to tackle it. Give us a bird’s eye view of how this fits into the narrative of the book of Revelation.

Erin: Well, the book of Revelation is written by John as he’s exiled on the Island of Patmos. And the first few chapters he’s writing letters to churches, so they’re very instructive.

Then the middle of Revelation can be hard to understand. It’s important. We need to read it. But it can be a little bit difficult to understand.

And then we get to Revelation 21, and there’s a turn. You can feel the turn in John’s heart as he’s writing. The language becomes very clear. It’s a little bit simple. It’s obvious what he’s describing to us. He’s describing the day when we will experience the future hope that we’re going to talk about in this series.

Nancy: Well, this is certainly a day when we all need hope as we look at the unraveling of our world, the contention, the polarization, the difficult things—not only here in the United States, but around the world—people are experiencing. God’s people are not immune to these hard things. There’s suffering on a world scale, but then there’s also suffering going on in many of our lives. We need the hope we’re about to hear from Revelation 21.

So, let me pray as you teach that God will encourage each of our hearts by this hope-filled passage.

So, Lord, we are in troubling times. There is suffering. There is hardship. There is pain. There is a sense of futility and hopelessness as we look around our world. And in many individual hearts who are hearing this series this week, there’s a sense of, “How am I going to survive? How am I going to make it? How am I going to get through this?” And, “Is there any future for me?”

I pray that You would anoint Erin with fresh oil and fresh insight and wisdom and joy as we unpack this passage, and that Your Holy Spirit would cause these words from Your Word to penetrate our hearts and infuse Your people with fresh perspective and hope this day. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Erin: Well, I wonder if there are any two words in the English language that carry more baggage than “I promise”? Whether the promise is big or small, we almost instinctively assume that the person promising us something has their fingers crossed behind their back, that they have no intention of following through.

What is that thing that kids say when they make a promise? “Cross my heart; hope to die; stick a needle in my eye.” It’s a weird saying, but it’s proof that we’re all pretty skeptical in the promises department. We like to have a down payment before we buy in.

A promise is at its core, banking on future hope. The promise is not the reward itself. I’m grateful for my engagement ring, but it wouldn’t mean much without the marriage.

Paul wrote about this in Romans chapter 8. He wrote, “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (v. 24)

Perhaps this is why promises can be so hard to hold onto. By their very nature, they force us to hope in something we cannot fully see, something we cannot fully grasp, something that can never fit on our bar graph and spreadsheets.

Our hope is in all that we don’t see. Our hope is in the promises of God.

Now, the Bible contains more than 5,000 divine promises. These are statements to which God is unchangeably committed. And, therefore, these 5,000 promises are statements upon which we can totally depend—they are as good as in the bank.

I am writing the promises of Scripture for my four sons. It’s an effort that can take me many, many years, but I can’t think of anything more important as a mother than to show my sons how to hold on to the promises of God because the promises of God are like a prism.

If you’ve ever seen a prism, you know how they work. The light comes in on one side, and then it actually bends and sends a reflection somewhere else. The light comes in, and it looks like one thing. Once inside the prism, it bends, and it looks like something totally different. When God’s promises become our lens, that’s how it works. Everything in our lives bends into something new.

If you’ve ever seen the light of a prism, you know it’s beautiful. The promises of God bend everything in our lives into something beautiful.

So you’re already with me in the book of Revelation, and we’re going to park there together for a while. God’s Word is full of promises, but my very favorites are found in this book—the book of Revelation.

The passage we’re going to look at together has done so much for me. It’s made me a fearless ambassador for the gospel. I don’t fear the current moment when I think about all that God has promised. It’s made me a woman who can endure suffering with grace and even joy. The joy that James talks about, related to suffering, I see it here in the book of Revelation as it points us forward.

It’s made me a mother who’s able to play the long game of parenthood. It’s made me a Bible teacher in love with my Bible. I hope that you hear it in my voice—these words have changed me. They’re changing me still.

Listen as I read to us Revelation 21:1–5:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”

I don’t want you to switch into autopilot here as we’re reading this chunk of Scripture. I sometimes face that temptation when I’m hearing somebody teach. I want you to imagine this. I want you to imagine a loud voice booming from God’s throne and saying that God will dwell with us in a way that we’ve not yet experienced.

And then listen to the promises; picking it up in verse 4:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

These words that we’re reading were written by the apostle John, and he was exiled to the Island of Patmos for his faith. So he didn’t write these words at a happy moment when all was well with him. He wrote these words as he was alone, as he was suffering, as he was being punished, as he was being cut off from the people of God. In the midst of the suffering, under a repressive Roman empire, John was given a vision of the day when all suffering would pass away.

I know that any of us who have experienced an intense moment of suffering probably wished that we could have a vision of the new heaven and the new earth like John did. But God gave it to John and recorded it here for us.

God in His mercy will deliver a new heaven and a new earth. Revelation 1:1 tells us that all of this must soon take place. That’s how it’s described. I like to imagine how tightly John held on to that lifeline, that soon the suffering would pass away as he lived out his sentence as a religious prisoner in exile.

If we look at God’s Word as a gold mine for a moment, as we come to Revelation 21, we just hit the mother lode. I’m convinced that for every single area of ache . . . As you’re listening, I’m sure there are areas of ache in your heart. I’m convinced that for every area of ache, God’s Word gives us a promise to hold onto.

For now, I just want us to focus on two areas in my own life where I need God’s promises most often to bend my reality into something new: God’s promises for our broken bodies and God’s promises for our broken hearts.

I don’t know about you, but I’m suffering from brokenness fatigue.

Just this morning I was scrolling through the newsfeeds on my phone, and I saw the word “fatigue” in multiple headlines. We’re tired. As I sit on the pew in my church on Sunday mornings, the cancer list is just too long. There are too many babies who are sick. There are too many marriages on life support. As I hear that list, I’m so grateful to know how I can pray for the fellow saints, but I need some hope. I need a lifeline to hold onto.

What is our hope in these days of desperation? When I believe the front of darkness has moved toward the people of God, we hope in the promises of God.

So, first, what does God’s Word promise for our broken bodies?

We have four sons and three of those four sons have serious kidney issues. Just this month I learned that I am the weak genetic link as my own kidneys have struggled to keep up. So in a family of six, four of us with kidney problems.

Eli is our oldest. He’s twelve years old, and his kidney issues seem to be the most severe. He only has one functioning kidney. So every year we load everybody up, and we head to the children’s hospital a couple of hours away from our home, and we meet with our pediatric urology team.

I always spend the weeks before that appointment praying, because I am of the opinion that if God can raise Jesus from the dead, He can raise one little kidney back to life inside the body of my boy—but so far He hasn’t done it.

I’ve seen enough of those ultrasounds to know what I’m looking at. Every year I go into Eli’s screening. He’s there on the table, and I look up at the screen, and I can tell—this isn’t the year. God hasn’t chosen to heal my boy—yet.

While I do feel the sting of disappointment every time, here’s what I know for sure: My son will be healed. How can I know that when year after year after year I’m praying for something that hasn’t happened yet? Because Revelation 21 tells us that Jesus is making all things new, even bad kidneys.

When Jesus taught us to pray, He taught us to pray for His kingdom to come, and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. He was asking us to pray with our future reality in mind. Whether it’s on this side of heaven or the other side of heaven, my boy will be fully healed. I’m essentially asking Him every year to do here on earth what He’s going to do in heaven someday.

Our ultimate hope is not in the healing of my son’s kidneys. It’s not in any physical healing that we would pray for here on earth. Our ultimate hope is not that God would heal these broken vessels.

So often as we gather together at funerals, we’ll say something like, “She lost her battle with cancer,” or “He lost his fight with ALS.” And the promises of God bend that reality for the saints. The diseases that attack our bodies ultimately, they lose their battle with us, and we win because we have the promise of glory with Jesus, free from all pain, from all physical suffering.

Listen to Philippians 3:20–21: 

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

There’s another promise. Write it down. He’s going to transform these lowly bodies into glorious bodies with the same resurrection power that God used to raise Him from the dead.

The promise is not that you and the people you love most will never face physical suffering. And the promise is not that God will heal you in the way and the timeline that you hope He will.

The promise is that a day is coming when, if you are a child of God, you will be fully healed. Confused minds and aching backs and dead kidneys will be traded in for glorified bodies. The Bible describes them as “imperishable bodies” granted to us by Jesus.

So what about our broken hearts? I don’t know about you, but give me a broken body over a broken heart any day. Scripture promises us that God is close to the brokenhearted, and I can tell you that promise is true. I’m so grateful for His nearness when our hearts break—but that’s not the full promise.

The full promise . . . our future hope is not that God is with us when our hearts are broken. Our future hope is that He is going to put an end to all heartbreak—at long last.

I want you to think for a minute about what is breaking your heart right now. Just for a moment. I don’t want us to linger there. But there’s no point in pretending our hearts don’t hurt. And now listen again to the beautiful promises of God found in Revelation 21:4:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

If you’re in the midst of a heartache right now, and I think if you have a pulse, you’re probably in the midst of a heartache right now. I’m sure, like me, you want to know when. “When will the crying stop? When will the pain be over?”

This isn’t a promise for the here and now. Remember that to hold onto God’s promises means to hold onto future hope. The promise is that a day is coming—after the final judgment, after the redemption of God’s people, when Christ will come to earth to reign and rule.

Make a list of all the things God’s promised to remove permanently from the lives of His children: Every tear, death, mourning, crying, and pain. It’s a short list, but it sure packs a punch.

Why are tears and crying and mourning mentioned so repeatedly? Maybe because it’s because there’s so much of them in our lives here on earth. And yet, here’s the promise. It’s as good as in the bank. They’re goners. They’re destined to pass away.

So whether something grieves you for two days, or two years, or two decades, or your entire life, here’s God’s promise. Reach out and grab onto it with both hands right now: It will not grieve you forever.

We have a couple of sayings in our family. One of them comes from my Aunt Rhonda. She says, “This came to pass. It didn’t come to stay.” The idea is that whatever it is, it’s just passing through.

There’s another saying we say to each other pretty frequently, and it’s that “All bad things must come to an end.” Maybe you’ve heard it the other way, that “All good things must come to an end.” But for the child of God, the reality that God has promised us here in Revelation 21 is, “All bad things must come to an end.” In the fullness of time, because of God’s mercy towards us, our broken hearts and our broken bodies will be made new.

My friend Cathy prayed for me recently. She’s one of those women that’s not a prayer warrior; she’s a prayer general. When she prays, your heart just perks up and pays attention. I won’t say it as beautifully as she did, but she prayed something like this, “Jesus, help Erin to know there is a reservoir of hope. It’s always waiting for her, and she can drink from that reservoir any time she wants to. And help Erin to know that when she cannot drink, I will hold the cup for her.”

I want you to think of that reservoir of hope for a moment, and I want you to let me hold the cup for you. The promises of God are always right there. They’re always there for you to take a drink and find hope.

But you know, we’re skeptical about promises. How can we know for sure? How can we know for sure that God will keep His promises to make all things new?

I want you to close your eyes for a minute. I want you to close your eyes and consider the brokenness in your life that needs to bend as I read 2 Corinthians 1:19–20:

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

How can we know? How can we know that God will keep His promises? Because He sent Jesus, the Redeemer. He promised to save us from our desperate brokenness.

Hear me: If your heart is hurting or your body is broken, hear me: The cross is collateral for all the promises of God. “Crossed His heart; chose to die; stuck a spear in His side.” Let’s pray.

Jesus, we love You, and we know that You love us. We are so grateful for Your precious promises. I pray for everybody listening to grab onto these promises as the lifeline that they are and to trust that a future hope is coming for our broken hearts and our broken bodies and that You will see us through. It’s in Your holy, holy, holy name I pray, amen.

Nancy: Wow! Amen. I needed that, Erin. Thank you for pointing me today to that reservoir of hope and holding up the cup for me to take a fresh drink of the promises of God that these broken bodies, these broken hearts will be healed—not fully yet, but we have that hope to look forward because of the promises of God found right there in Revelation 21.

We’re going to continue this series. I can’t wait to hear the next two days as you continue to unpack this precious passage for us.

You might want to be reading Revelation 21, at least verses 1–5—maybe again and again over these next few days as you let God speak to your heart about the promises that you need in this season.

And speaking of season, as we look around, we can already see that Christmas is just around the corner. And what we as believers love about Christmas is the reminder that hope has come, that when God sent Jesus to this world, He came bringing the hope that we so desperately need.

Advent—that word means “come”—the coming of Christ. We celebrate His first advent not too far around the corner. And this year I’ve written a third book in the trilogy of Advent books that we’re making available to our listeners, and this one echoes that theme.

“Oh Come, Oh Come Immanuel”

“Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”

“Come to My Heart Lord Jesus”

We’re going to unpack some of those beloved Christmas carols in this Advent devotional called, Born a Child and yet a King. It’s a 31-day devotional that you can use throughout the month of December to let it be your heart cry to the Lord as we look at this broken, fallen world, and you cry out, “Oh, Lord Jesus, come and rescue Your people. Rescue us from our sin. Rescue us from ourselves.” And may our eyes be fixed on Jesus during this time.

We’d love to send you a copy of this Advent devotional when you make a donation this month to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. This book is only available through Revive Our Hearts. When you make a gift, it enables us to give this hope and the promises of God to women around the world.

So you can give your gift by going to our website, ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can call us at 1–800–569–5959. And by the way, if you’re part of our Monthly Partner Team, we’ll be sending you automatically a copy of this new Advent devotional. It’s our way of saying, “Thank you for your ongoing partnership with this ministry.”

Well, Erin, I’m so eager to hear what you’re going to share in the next session in this series. You’re going to point us to what Scripture does, and that is the hope of a better country. So be sure and join us again tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to remind you of the hope God promises. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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

About the Speaker

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many …

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