Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Passing Your Experience to the Next Generation

Episode Resources

Watch Nancy teach this series.

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: God teaches us so we can tell others . . . not so we can just soak it all in and die and then go to Heaven fat and full of all biblical truth, but so we can share it with others!

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A Place of Quiet Rest, for August 31, 2018.

Nancy has been showing us what the Bible says about aging well and relying on the Lord more and more every day.

Today is the final day in a short series based on Psalm 71. You can find the audio or transcript of any part of it at ReviveOurHearts.com. Now here’s Nancy to wrap up the series.

Nancy: Let me invite you to turn again in your Bible to Psalm 71. We’ve been looking at that over the past few days. As I’m getting ready next Monday to turn sixty, I’ve spent time over the last several months just reflecting, asking God to prepare my heart to give me a sense of what He has in store.

There are changes that are taking place in all of us as we age, but I want to have a sense of what God is saying in the midst of all of that: what His purposes are, how I can be honoring and glorifying Him. I know one of the things I’m very burdened about here at Revive Our Hearts is: How do we keep equipping older women to be passing the baton of truth on to the next generation? I’m being proactive about that myself, and hope that you are.

As we come to Psalm 71, we’ve seen that the psalmist is aging. Aren’t we all?! He’s facing some intense challenges and hardships. I love that he’s honest about what he’s going through. He doesn’t sugarcoat it.

He doesn’t pretend that everything is okay, like, “If I were spiritual I wouldn’t be noticing that these wicked and cruel and unjust men are making my life miserable!” He doesn’t pretend it’s all okay. He cries out to the Lord.

As you read through this psalm, you get this sense he’s alternating between pleading with God to rescue him and praising God for His protection, His power, His faithfulness. And isn’t that a great recipe for any age, any season of life? Pleading with God about the hard things, telling Him, “Lord, this is hard! I don’t know how to deal with this, this marriage situation, this prodigal child, this health issue.

We are telling God our needs, but then at the same time praising God. It’s like a fabric, it’s woven together. You can’t say verses 1 through 10 are a prayer and then the rest of the chapter is praise. It’s all interwoven together in the fabric of his life.

That’s the way I want to live as I get older—praying/praising, praying/praising, praying/praising all the time. What a recipe!

So Psalm 71 . . . I want to read just a portion of the psalm today and then make a few additional observations as we wrap this series.

In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! (v. 1).

And then we see he appeals to the character of God, verses 2 and 3:

In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man (v. 2–4).

By the way, as I read this passage, I can’t help but think that the Son of God did not let God rescue Him from the cross—from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.

He went through death, He went through the cross, He went through the shame, He went through the reproach so that we could be spared the wrath of God. He was taking that wrath for our sins, and so now we can pray, “Lord, rescue me!” He has rescued us in Christ.

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother's womb (vv. 5–6).

You can just sense that the psalmist is settling all his hope and trust in the Lord.

And He reasons this way: “God has always been faithful to me.” He looks back over his life; he can see hard times, but he can never see a time when God forsook him. The implication is, “God’s always been faithful. He’s not going to stop now!”

I have to remind myself of that sometimes: “Nancy, you’re at a hard place right now, you feel like you’re stuck, you feel like you can’t get extricated from this (whatever) problem. But God has never let you down before. He has never let any one of his children down—ever—before! Do you think you’re going to be the first one—ever—in the history of the human race to see God fail?” No!

So we remind ourselves of His past faithfulness, and that gives us hope in the present and the future. He says, continuing in verse 6, “My praise is continually of you. Ihave been as a portent . . .” That word, “portent,” commentators translate it a lot of different ways.

Some say it means “a wonder” or a miraculous sign. I think what he’s saying is, “Some people look at me and they say, ‘Oh, wow, God has judged him because his life has been so hard.”

“But,” he says, “you are my strong refuge.” He trusts God even when people say that God has forsaken him. “My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day” (v. 8).

Now in this paragraph, verses 6–8, I see two recurring themes, in this psalm, that are highlighted. I’m going to just focus a little bit on those today. The first is what the psalmist talks about—his mouth, his tongue.

When the psalmist is publicly attacked and maligned, as he is, what does he talk about? Does he defend his reputation? Does he talk about all the good things he’s done to serve the Lord? No. What he talks about is God. He shines a spotlight on God.

“My praise is continually of you” (v. 6). “My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory” (v. 8). “My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation” (v. 15). “My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you” (v. 23). “My tongue will talk of your righteous help” (v. 24).

You have a lot in this psalm about the mouth, the tongue. And what he’s talking about is God! What we talk about when we’re old—or young—especially when we’re under pressure, is really important, because what we talk about flows out of what’s inside us.

What we think about is what we ultimately talk about. What we think and talk about has incredible power to change how we feel about our circumstances. What we want to do is we want to say, “I want to feel different! I want to have different emotions! I don’t want to struggle with this fear or with this anger.”

But what we need to do is start thinking differently, start thinking great thoughts about God, and then start talking great things about God. As we think and talk about that which is eternal and good and pure and true (see Phil. 4:8), we begin to feel different. Our emotions follow what we think and what we talk about.

Now, this isn’t that profound, but I have noticed (have you?) that you can’t worship and whine at the same time. You can’t do it! So when we praise God with our tongues, there’s no room for complaining and murmuring. Praise displaces bitterness, doubt, and fear.

When we’re under pressure, as we’re getting older, as we’re facing those challenges and weaknesses and needs (strength declining, whatever), don’t stop telling God how great He is. We are weak, but He is strong! It’s okay to acknowledge that we’re weak, but don’t stop there. Don’t forget to say, “but He is strong!”

My husband is so great about this. (I love that about you, Honey. You’re sitting in the back of the room here.) He’s such a great example to me because I tend to focus on what’s hard, what’s negative, and just kind of camp there. Robert helps me lift my eyes and my thoughts upward and tell God, and others, how great He is.

I mentioned Joni Tada earlier in this series. She’s a woman who just comes to my mind when I think of this habit. Life is so hard for that woman. She’s been for over fifty years a quadriplegic in that wheelchair. It’s very obviously hard. She has unrelenting pain and hardships and challenges.

She can’t brush her own teeth or fix her own hair or give herself a drink of water, but she’s a woman whose mouth is filled with the praise of the Lord. She’s always talking about the greatness of God; she’s always singing hymns about the greatness of God.

You know what? I think it’s a strategy on her part. I don’t think it just flows naturally out of anybody. What flows naturally is murmuring and complaining. But here’s a woman who has disciplined her life to talk about how great God is instead of highlighting her problems and her issues.

If that could be true of Joni, couldn’t it be true of us? What do you talk about at home, at work, at the church, at the gym, at the grocery store, at your grandkids’ ball games? What do talk about? What do you focus on?

Is it what is pure and good and true and lovely? What is more good, true, and lovely and pure than Christ Himself? So there’s this theme in the psalm of using our mouth, our tongue, to speak the praise of the Lord.

And then, here’s another recurring theme in this psalm: it’s the word “continually” or the phrase, “all the day.” You see it several times through this psalm: daily, moment by moment, continually. What does the psalmist do? He continually comes to God for refuge.

Verse 3, “Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come.” You’ve got to keep coming. You’ve got to keep going to the Rock of Refuge. Some of you use a chiropractor, or you have doctors. You go to them continually. That’s okay, but don’t stop going to God! You need Him. I need Him. We need Him—continually—for our Refuge.

Praise Him continually! Verse 6, “My praise is continually of you.” Verse 8, “My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory [a-a-a-all] the day”—morning, noon, and night! Not just when you’re at church, not just when you’re with your small group or your Bible study, but all the day, everywhere, talking about, praising, the Lord!

Continually hope in Him. In verse 13 it talks about “accusers” who seek his hurt; and then, verse 14, he says, “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.” So there are continual problems, but he says, “I’m going to hope in the Lord continually.”

And then continually tell others about His grace and His power. Look at verse 15, “My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day.” Verse 24, “My tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long.”

As I read this psalm, I just think, I want to be a woman who can’t stop talking about Jesus, hoping in Jesus, praising Jesus, telling others about Jesus, coming to Jesus for rescue and refuge!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You know, when it comes down to it, the thing that really matters is not that I can be faithful to God, but that He is faithful to me. That’s what keeps me holding on to Him—not that I keep clinging. I want to, but there are going to be times when my hand wants to let go of the rope. But His hand is on me; He’s holding me!

So I say, “Lord, don’t forsake me! Help me to be faithful. Help me to keep proclaiming Your truth and Your power to those who are coming behind me!” I don’t know how long God will give me strength to do that. I hope it’s for a long time. I love God’s Word. I love teaching it. I love ministering to women, love teaching the next generation.

But I don’t have a guarantee that I’ll be doing it this time next year . . . nor do you. So use the days that you have, use the time you have, use the opportunities you have—not just if you have a microphone in front of you, but you have people in front of you. You have social media in front of you; you have relationships in front of you. Use them to proclaim His might to another generation!

Verse 19, “Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens.You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?” Who is like You? It’s a God-centered lifestyle. That’s what makes our life beautiful as we get older. It’s more beautiful, because we know God better and we’re trusting Him more.

And then, in verses 20 and 21, the psalmist expresses faith and confidence that God will come through, that his present circumstances are not the end of the story: “You who have made me see many troubles and calamities.” Oh, wait a minute. He said, “I have all these evil men in my life.” Who let those evil men be in the psalmist’s life? God did it.

You who have made me see many troubles and calamities [you] will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.

Those are promises: “God, You will . . . You will . . . You will! You will revive me. You will bring me up. You will comfort me. You will increase my greatness.”

He says, “My current struggles are not the end of the story!” Listen, if you’re still breathing, God is not done with you. He’s still coming through. And so we close:

I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long, for they have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt (vv. 22–24).

Now I think he’s saying that by faith. I don’t think he’s seen the end of those people yet. But what he’s saying is that the day is coming when God will right all wrongs. In the meantime, I’m going to keep trusting Him; I’m going to keep clinging to Him; I’m going to keep praising Him.

One of the women that God has used in my life and in this ministry to be a great example of Psalm 71-living, is Susan Hunt. You’ve heard her on the broadcast. If you’ve been to a True Woman conference or a Revive conference, you may have heard her there.

At our Revive ’17 conference, we asked her to speak on the subject of aging, and she did—twenty minutes—there wasn’t a dry eye in the place by the time she was done. The audience was on its feet, not praising Susan, but praising the God she exalts.

I want to play for you just an excerpt of how she closed that message, because I think it’s a great example for us of what it looks like to run well. She’s in her late seventies now. This is what it means to finish well (she’s not finished, but she’s finishing her race well). I think this will encourage and strengthen your heart, wherever you are in your race. Here’s Susan Hunt.

Susan Hunt: My sisters, wherever you are on life’s timeline, begin now to pray for grace to finish strong. The older I get, the more I understand that finishing strong means “finishing weak.” Jesus said in 2 Corinthians 12:9 and 10: “My power is made perfect in weakness.” May our response be that of Paul: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me . . . when I am weak, then I am strong.”

This verse is very real, very precious, very personal to me. I always knew it at some level, but a few years ago I had a sudden and severe attack of vertigo that was eventually diagnosed as being the result of a virus in my inner ear. It left me with very little balance.

So my body has had to learn to compensate for me to stand upright. It also left me deaf in one ear; my eyes sort of dance around and don’t always focus well. But what I have learned through this is the power of God in my weakness!

For me to stand here with lights glaring in my eyes, to not topple over and to put two or three sentences together is a testimony to the power of God! And so I boast in my weakness. (applause)

But the truth is, that was always the case, not just when I had that episode of vertigo. The sooner we acknowledge our utter dependence upon Him, the sooner we know the power of His strength upon us. So don’t fight against your weakness, and don’t deny your weakness. Let it bring a child-like dependence upon our strong Savior!

Even if I outlive my love for Jesus, I will never outlive His love for me! (applause) He tells us in Isaiah 46,

Listen to me you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you, and I will carry you. I will sustain you, and I will rescue you (see vv. 3–4).

So how does it feel to be an old lady? It feels like a tired, very dependent, very happy little girl being carried in the arms of her Father. And she’s calling to her friends, “Look how good and strong my Daddy is!” And she knows that when she falls asleep in His arms, she’ll wake up at home.

Leslie: That’s Susan Hunt encouraging each of us to lean on the Lord more and more in every season of life. Before that, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been teaching from Psalm 71, giving us perspective on aging. She’ll be right back to pray.

After hearing today’s program on how to serve the Lord all your days, you might be wondering how to apply this message in your everyday life. May I offer you a suggestion? You can begin making the most of your days by investing in the next generation—whether that’s teaching children, befriending young women, or something else entirely.

God wants you involved in His kingdom work. Nancy wrote more about God’s design for these kinds of mentoring relationships in her book Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.

Today when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount, we’ll send you a copy of this book. Go to our website ReviveOurHearts.com and click on the donation page, or you can give us a call at 1–800–569–5959. Be sure to ask for Nancy’s book, Adorned.

Monday is September 3, a special date for Nancy and the entire ministry! Be sure to join us next week to hear what the excitement is all about. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

And now Nancy’s back to pray.

Nancy: Father, thank You that through the psalmist and in the Scripture and in real live people like our friends Susan Hunt and Joni Tada, You have shown us examples of what it means to lean hard on You—even in aging years with increased weakness and increased dependence. They’ve shown us to find You strong and able to carry us all the way home.

So Lord, our prayer is that You will help us to run well, to lean hard, to listen, to praise, to pray, to fill our mouths with proclaiming your goodness and your grace so the next generation will look at us and say, “I want to follow Jesus like she does.”

So, Lord, keep us by Your grace faithful all the way to the finish line. Use our lives to pass that baton of faith on to the next generation that they may proclaim Your goodness to those who are yet to come. We pray it in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth invites you to lean on Jesus in every season of life. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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