Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Preparing for the Most Important Guest

Leslie Basham: There’s an important guest coming! Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wonders, Are we ready?

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Jesus wants to visit your family, your church, your country. He wants to visit our world with His presence and His glory. He wants to visit you; He wants to visit me, with His presence and His glory. So what do we need to do to prepare the way and build a highway for Him?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Gratitude, for May 17, 2019.

Yesterday we heard part 1 of a series from Nancy out of Isaiah 40. One thing that made this message unique was where it was recorded.

Just a few weeks ago Nancy and some of our team went to South Africa for a Revive Our Hearts conference. It was the result of a lot of work among the South African team the Lord has put in place. (We’ll tell you more about that after this message.)

Nancy explained what it can look like for us to “make the rough places into a plain.” If you missed any of part 1, you can hear it at ReviveOurHearts.com. Here’s Nancy speaking in Pretoria, South Africa—continuing in Isaiah chapter 40

Nancy: What is the result when every obstacle has been removed, when the way has been prepared for King Jesus? Verse 5 tells us. When will all these things have been done . . . when we’ve humbled the high places, when we’ve filled in the low places, when we’ve straightened out the crooked places, when we’ve made smooth the rough places.

Then, “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” The glory of God is revealed in the face of Christ. He is the glory of God!

So, why should we build this highway? Why should we make those sacrifices? Why should we give our attention to building this highway of repentance and holiness? So this church might see the glory of the Lord! So South Africa might see the glory of the Lord! So the United States might see the glory of the Lord! So the whole earth might see the glory of the Lord! How desperately do we need that?!

The revival we’re praying for and believing God for is just a glimpse of that ultimate day when King Jesus will return to this earth in all His splendor, all His glory. The way will be prepared and that highway of holiness will be lined by a great multitude from every tribe and language and people and nation . . . and the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea! (see Hab. 2:14)

That’s the vision; that’s what we long for! The problem is, we want to see the blessings of verse 5, but we’re not quite so eager to make the preparations of verse 4, to remove every obstacle. But we must prepare a way for the Lord, build a highway in the desert for Him.

I want to share briefly a story of what can happen in a church when people prepare the way for the Lord. A number of years ago I was privileged to be a part of a team that was conducting revival meetings in a good-sized church in the State of Texas, in the United States. These meetings were scheduled to last for two weeks.

I don’t know if you have those kinds of meetings here. We don’t have them very often in the United States; that’s a long time for people to stop the things they’re doing and come to church every night to seek the Lord. But during those weeks, hundreds of believers got serious about seeking God. They set out to build a highway for God.

They started filling in the valleys and pulling down the mountains of pride and sin in their lives and dealing with the uneven ground and the rough places. They got honest with themselves and with God. They pulled off their masks of pretense. People stopped playing church. They got real about their true spiritual condition.

For example, there was one gentleman who said at the end of that time (he was a businessman, he was a Sunday school teacher), “My life was like the fake Rolex watch that I wore. It looks good and expensive on the outside, but inside there’s nothing of value!”

That man went back to all his family members, including a relative from whom he had stolen money. He went back to former employees to confess his sins, to make restitution for wrongs that he had committed.

Others began confessing sins that had been hidden, clearing their consciences. Thousands of dollars of restitution were made to former employees, to family members, to businesses, to banks. Back taxes that had never been paid and were owed were paid to the government.

One accountant confessed that he had stolen from his own mother’s estate! They confessed these things; they brought them into the light. It was painful! It was hard! But it was beautiful, as the glory of the Lord began to be revealed.

Relationships were reconciled. People who had not spoken to each other in months or years were reconciled. Marriages that were broken were put back together; families were reunited. Every imaginable form of immorality was confessed. People were set free from homosexuality and from many other sexual sins.

These meetings, this meeting with the Lord, ended up going for six weeks! And you couldn’t stop the people from coming, because there was a glory of the Lord--the presence of the Lord. And as people built that highway for the Lord, the glory of God was revealed! There was an overwhelming sense of the presence of God.

There was an amazing spirit of worship and freedom and grace. Lost people began getting saved because they saw real Christianity! There was one youth service where more than forty teenagers made a profession of faith!

Now, you might wonder, Does it last? I had the joy of going back to that church eighteen months later and for a couple of days, I sat and listened (with a recorder going) to people whose lives had been transformed in that revival, telling the stories of how God had changed their lives and where they were today. And it was still so sweet and fresh!

In fact, one of those women said, “Revival is not an emotional touch. It’s a complete take-over!” That’s what God did in so many of those people and in that church. Now, I want to tell you a story that’s a little closer to home—one more story.

In 1857 there was a man in New York City who was a businessman, but became a lay missionary of the Dutch Reformed Church. He began to be burdened for the condition of his city. It was at the height of the Industrial Revolution; people were making money hand-over-fist. Everybody thought they were just doing swimmingly well!

But he felt there was a need for prayer and for the glory of God. He felt that it was a spiritual wasteland, that it was a wilderness, and that they needed to pray. So he put out a sign one day and he said, “On September [I think it was the eighteenth] we’re going to have a prayer meeting at noon in the Old North Church (of the Dutch Reformed Church) on Fulton Street.”

And at noon that day, he waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. And finally, just six men showed up for prayer-—not many in the bustling city of New York. But they came again the next week, and there were a few more . . . and the next week, and there were a few more. And within a few weeks, there was a great financial crash that devastated all the successful businessmen (in New York)!

They lost it all, and in that desperate place they finally recognized their need for God. And do you know where they went? They went to the prayer meetings! Pretty soon those once-a-week prayer meetings became every day prayer meetings . . . first at noon and then throughout the day and then throughout the night!

Day and night the churches of New York City were crowded with people desperate for God, crying out to God for mercy! One reporter went through New York City one day on his lunch hour to see how many people there were actually praying. He said he lost count at 10,000 people!

That revival spread throughout the United States, and in the next five months or so there were one-million professions of faith, people coming to know Jesus in that great Prayer Awakening. Well, in 1859, that revival spread across the sea to the British Isles, especially Northern Ireland.

I brought this book with me called Revival Fire, by Wesley Duewel. He shares some of these accounts. He says,

There were reports of intense conviction of sin and glorious conversions arrived almost hourly! . . . The whole country of Northern Ireland seemed studded with prayer meetings, and the face of Irish society had changed.

You say, “What does all this have to do with South Africa?” Some of you have this story. For years in South Africa a man named Andrew Murray, Sr. had been longing and praying for revival in this country. He read about the revivals of 1858 in the United States and 1859 in Northern Ireland. He read about them in the Dutch Reformed church journals.

Individuals and prayer groups across this nation began to pray earnestly for revival. And in the spring of 1860 (about 160 years ago), the revival fires began to burn! Let me just read to you a few descriptions of what it was like. (Even if you’ve read this before, as I have, it always challenges my heart to see what it can be like when the glory of God descends on a people.)

There were prayer meetings day and night. People who had never prayed before began to pray. There was great conviction of sin. Strong men cried to God in anguish!

It was like the glory of the Church in the first century. One writer said, "God accomplished more in a few weeks in this country than in all the previous history of the church!" Some churches could not hold all the people who came to worship!

Fifty young men from Andrew Murray, Sr.’s congregation felt called into the ministry, and the revival launched Andrew Murray, Jr. (who so many of us have read and been blessed by his writings) into a worldwide ministry of speaking and writing.

And then I read this:

Actually that revival in South Africa began among the Zulu and Bantu before it reached the Dutch Reformed Church. Tribal people [and we heard some people sing in Zulu the yesterday; I can see why the revival began there! There was a joy and a freedom and a beauty there!] flocked to the mission stations on the frontier.

Congregations overflowed and hundreds were baptized! On Sunday evening, May 22, 1859 at the close of the service, the Spirit came upon the Zulus with such power that they prayed all night. The news spread far and wide among the Zulus, and so did the work of God all that year!

The Zulu Revival produced extraordinary praying, tremendous conviction of sin, immediate conversions, and vigorous evangelistic outreach.

Oh, there’s more! You could read in that book the stories of how God sent revival in South Africa in the early 1900s.

It says in one writing that God’s power was so mightily present that black and white people prayed, wept, confessed, and testified together without any awareness of racial differences. And in Johannesburg, it tells about revival meetings in one of the largest churches that was packed every night. This man preached through three interpreters so different tribes could understand, and hundreds came forward every night to receive Christ as Savior!

Well, you can read more about those stories. Jesus wants to visit your family, your church, your country. He wants to visit our world with His presence and His glory!

He wants to visit you; He wants to visit me, with His presence and His glory. So what do we need to do to prepare the way and build a highway for Him? Repent! Confess all known sin! Soak in His Word, listen to Him. Pray, pray with others. Seek Him with all our hearts!

I want to show you just a three-minute video of how, in a conference we held for women called True Woman in the United States a few years ago, God used one praying woman to bring a moment of His glory and His presence. The woman narrating this video is a friend of mine named Mary Kassian.

In fact, many of you women who have studied the book True Woman 101, Mary (on this video) is the one who co-authored that book with me. Just listen to this. Watch this snapshot of God using the prayer of one older woman. Let’s watch the screens.

Mary Kassian: One of the most profound moments for me in the whole conference came in the last session after Pastor Bill talked about revival.

Pastor Bill Elliff: We need to know and believe that God can still send mighty nationwide, worldwide, revival and awakening!

Mary: Revival is something that the Lord has had on my heart for years and years and years!

Pastor Elliff: Revival is the extraordinary movement of the Spirit of God that produces extraordinary results.

Mary: Bill presented this, and my heart is stirring, and I’m going, “Ohhh! I’ve just wanted it for so long! I’ve just yearned for it!” And, just even in this True Woman movement, that’s really what we’re yearning for. We’re yearning for women’s hearts to be revived by taking a look and addressing those issues that are standing in the way of our relationship with the Lord!

So I was just aching and yearning. He was speaking, and then there was this moment when I saw this little, white-haired lady. You could tell she was a prayer warrior, an intercessor.

She just was walking slowly, making her way to the front as the message was happening. She had a white hanky, and she was waving it from time to time. But she was just moving toward the stage and then just kneeled down and prayed.

The Holy Spirit just spoke to me, and it was like, “This is a woman who has been faithful to the end! She’s nearing the end of her days, and, Mary, will you be faithful to hang on and to fight and to push and to believe and to have faith and to yearn and to pray for revival the rest of your days?”

That so symbolized the heart cry of this conference and, really, of the whole True Woman Movement. The cry that we are indeed seeking Him together for a spiritual awakening in our hearts and in our homes and in this land.

Leslie: That’s Mary Kassian in a video that Nancy showed to the congregation in Pretoria, South Africa. You can watch that same video at ReviveOurHearts.com. Nancy will be back to close our time in prayer in just a moment.

We’re so excited to see that the Lord has raised up a group of leaders in South Africa passionate to share the truth of God’s Word in their country. When Nancy was able to speak there earlier this year, it was part of a fulfillment of an idea the Lord birthed in her heart a long time ago.

Nancy: Yeah, this is something I’ve hardly ever shared with others, because it was such a sacred moment for me. But years ago when I was a teenager, I was in the middle of a conference where the Word was being preached and we were challenged to have God’s heart for the world. I just had this inescapable sense of the Lord placing in my heart a burden to make disciples in every nation of the world.

Now I don’t know, I was sixteen/seventeen/eighteen years of age. There was no way, back then, that I could have imagined how this could be possible! So it wasn’t something I set out to accomplish. But I just kept it in my heart and pondered. I knew that if this burden was from the Lord, it was something that He would bring about in His way and in His time.

Well, fast-forward several decades, and we now live in a time when the Internet can carry messages to every nation of the world!

The Lord has chosen to use Revive Our Hearts to proclaim His Word to women everywhere. I see that as God fulfilling, in some measure at least, that burden that I felt He placed on my heart as a young woman.

We see Him at work in South Africa, where He’s raised up a team of leaders for Revive Our Hearts, sharing a message of biblical womanhood and revival in their country. The same thing is happening across Latin America and in the Farsi-speaking world among Persian women, and throughout Europe.

Just recently I met with a woman from India who asked, “Is there any thought that Revive Our Hearts could take its message India?” What is God doing? I don’t know, but we’re watching God at work, amazed by His ability.

And as grand as some of these initiatives and projects may sound, that fact is, the Lord uses people just like you and me to make it happen! We’re able to follow God’s leading—and these new opportunities and languages—because friends like you support this ministry as you are able and as the Lord prompts you.

This month we’re asking the Lord to supply a total amount of donations to this ministry of at least $775,000. That will help us end our current fiscal year strong and then also make plans for the outreaches of the next twelve months. So your gift right now means so much!

As a podcast listener, your gift could be doubled this month! That’s because a friend of the ministry is doubling every gift—up to a matching challenge of $75,000—when that gift comes from someone who’s never given to Revive Our Hearts before.

So if this ministry has been a blessing to you but you’ve never sent a gift to support it, would you help us to reach that goal, to take advantage of that matching challenge, and meet that need? And when you make a donation of any size, we want to say “thank you” by sending you a brand-new journal and devotional set that we’ve called Refresh.

It will take you through a thirty-day process of experiencing times of refreshing in the presence of the Lord. So if you want to be a part of providing a much-needed gift at this crucial time, you can do that by contacting us at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can call us a 1–800–569–5959.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. Now, let’s close our time today with the conclusion of the message you gave in South Africa based on Isaiah chapter 40.

Nancy: How many of you would say that today God has spoken to you about something that you need to do to prepare the way for the Lord to visit this land in revival? Is there something He’s put in your heart? Maybe a conviction of His Spirit about a mountain that needs to come down? A low place that needs to be filled in? A crooked place that needs to be made straight? Or a rough place that needs to be made plain?

God wants to reveal His glory! He wants to comfort His people. He’s speaking tenderly to us. He’s crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way! Prepare the way! Make a highway for your God!”

When we have done what He has asked, then “the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all the earth will see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken this” (Isa. 40:5).

I wonder if God has spoken to you about something in particular, personal, and you would just like to express a symbol of humility and agreement with the Lord just by lifting your hands up to the Lord.

Maybe God wants you to be that woman who will intercede here at the altar, there at the altar in your home, to pray, to cry out to the Lord. Listen, this whole conference happened this weekend because for years there have been some women praying in their prayer closets, seeking the Lord. He heard those prayers. He’s answering!

Maybe it’s your prayers He wants to use to bring the next wave of a movement of His Spirit.

Oh, Father. We bless Your name. We worship You. Thank You that You didn’t end Isaiah after the first thirty-nine chapters. Thank You that You didn’t end with judgment and condemnation. Thank You for these words of consolation, comfort, and hope. Give us grace here in South Africa, here in Pretoria, in Zambia, in Mozambique, in Kenya, in Italy, in Germany, in Spain . . . in all the different places that were represented . . . and, O Lord, in the United States!

How desperately we need You! Come and visit us. May we prepare the way. We can’t bring revival, but we can build a highway of holiness and repentance and prayer.

We pray that the day would come when we would see the glory of the Lord cover the earth—cover the nations—as the waters cover the sea! We pray it in the name of Jesus our Savior, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is pointing you to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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