Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Restoring Your Vertical Relationship

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds you: Working for the Lord isn’t a substitute for spending time alone with Him in prayer and God’s Word.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Our churches and our ministries, so many of them, are filled with stressed-out servants, busy, people who need to get to the feet of Jesus and sit and listen to His Word.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Quiet Place, for Tuesday, September 4.

You’ve joined us today to celebrate a milestone. Nancy’s been serving the Lord full time for forty years. Last week our friend Dannah Gresh interviewed Nancy about what God’s done over these forty years, and you can hear that at ReviveOurHearts.com.

This week we are reviewing some of the main themes that Nancy’s addressed in her teaching over these years. Yesterday we looked at the nature and character of God. Today we’ll focus on our vertical relationship with God. Nancy, why is this so important, and why have you returned to this theme so many times?

Nancy: I’ve often said that if I only shared one message with women, I would want it to be about the importance of cultivating an intimate relationship with God through various means of grace: through a devotional life, through prayer, praise, the Word, worship, fellowship with other believers. There is nothing in our lives more important than that vertical relationship with God. If we don't have it right there, we won't have it right anywhere else.

All the themes we’ll be looking at this week are vital, they are important, but there is nothing that can be more important than encouraging women to know God and to have an intimate walk with Him. 

So I've found that over and over again during these past forty years of ministry, I've gone back to that topic: What does my relationship with God look like? Why is it so important? What can we do to really get to know God? 

Leslie: I’m grateful for the way God has used you to help so many of us develop a deeper relationship with Him.

One message that has affected so many people in such a significant way is called “Brokenness.” Let’s listen to a few minutes of this classic message, recorded at the Cru annual staff meeting in 1995.

Nancy from "Brokenness: The Heart God Revives": You see, we will never meet God in revival until we have first met Him in brokenness.

The epistle of James reminds us and calls us to,

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. [But there is a process, first] Cleanse your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. [First] humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and then he will lift you up (James 4:8–10).

There may be many tears without brokenness as there may be in some cases genuine brokenness apart from the shedding of tears. You see, brokenness is not a feeling. It is not an emotion. It is a choice that I make. It is an act of my will. And brokenness is not primarily a one-time experience or a crisis experience in my life, though there may be those.

Brokenness is rather a continuous, ongoing lifestyle. It's a lifestyle of agreeing with God about the true condition of my heart and my life as He alone can see it. It's a lifestyle of unconditional, absolute surrender of my will to God.

Even as the horse that has been broken is surrendered and sensitive to the direction and the wishes of its rider. It's a lifestyle of saying, "Yes, Lord. Not my will but Yours be done."

Brokenness is the shattering of my self-will so that the life, the Spirit, the fragrance, the life of Jesus may be released through me. Brokenness is a lifestyle of responding in humility and obedience to the conviction of God's Spirit and the conviction of His Word. As His conviction is continuous, so my brokenness must be continual.

Brokenness is a lifestyle that takes me in two directions. It's a lifestyle vertically of living, so to speak, with the roof off in my relationship toward God as I walk in the light in transparent honesty and humility before Him. But it's a lifestyle that requires also that I live with the walls down in my relationships toward others.

Leslie: That’s a classic message from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth recorded in 1995. That message on brokenness took on a life of its own as staff members of Cru—or Campus Crusade for Christ—heard the original message and then started sharing it by sending cassettes to those they knew. Eventually that message led Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine from FamilyLife to ask Nancy, “Have you ever considered hosting a radio program?”

We’re marking some milestones like that because this week marks the fortieth anniversary of Nancy being able to serve the Lord on a full-time basis. Today we’re looking at the way she’s taught on our vertical relationship with the Lord.

Nancy encourages all of us to look to Christ alone to satisfy the needs of our hearts. She talked about this in a classic Revive Our Hearts series called "Satisfying Our Thirst." It’s about a woman who met Jesus at a well.

Nancy from "Satisfying Our Thirst": She had a physical thirst, she had an emotional thirst, and she had a spiritual thirst. And we said that we have thirsts at the same three levels. Let us look briefly at how the woman at Samaria, the woman at the well, tried to meet her thirsts in each of these three levels. How did she seek fulfillment in each of these levels of thirsts? We want to also look today at how we seek to find fulfillment in each of these levels.

Now, first the physical thirst is obvious. The woman came to the well looking for water because there was a physical need, a physical thirst. And you and I have physical needs and longings, and we try to get those needs met through physical things.

Now we saw that the woman had secondly an emotional thirst. How had this woman tried to satisfy her emotional thirst? What did she do? What did she look to, to satisfy her emotional thirst? She looked to men and marriage and relationships, one after the other. When one didn't satisfy, can't you imagine that she was just hoping and longing that maybe the next one would be the right one?

What do we do as women? We are particularly prone to try and satisfy our emotional thirsts through relationships. How many of you before you were married thought that when you were married your emotional longings would be satisfied? Can I see some hands? Many hands in here.

Now how long were you married before you discovered that that man as wonderful as he was could not satisfy your deep emotional longings? I mean, we women can't understand ourselves. I don't know how we can think men can understand us. So the day came when you were feeling a little disappointed with how marriage had not completely satisfied you and you thought, I know what we'll do, let's have a baby. That baby will satisfy my emotional longings and thirsts.

And you held that precious little baby in your arms and you said, "Now I will get my thirsts satisfied"—till that baby began to wail, and you realized that that baby had no intent of satisfying your thirst. That baby was thirsty. That baby came into the world thinking that you were there to satisfy its thirst.

So that baby didn't satisfy. And you said, "I know what we'll do, we'll have another baby. This one will be different." Well, you discovered sooner or later that children as precious as they are, as much as they are a gift from God, are selfish and that they cannot satisfy the deepest longing of your heart.

So you said, "Lets have grandchildren." They, I am told, are really wonderful. Some of you would be happy to show us some pictures of those precious grandchildren. But there comes that time that you would like to send them back to where they came from. You realize that even those precious grandchildren cannot satisfy the deepest emotional needs and longings of your heart.

But isn't it like us to keep trying to find satisfaction in relationships. When I begin to look to a man, a woman, an adult, a parent, a child, a friend to meet the deepest needs of my heart, to meet my emotional thirst, I become an idolater. I have forsaken God, the Fountain of Living Waters, who wants to be to me my great need meeter. I've instead made for myself this cracked pot, to try and hold water, to try and satisfy my thirst. But it doesn't satisfy. Everything in this world leaks. It's all broken and none of it can deeply satisfy.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth with a message we all need to be reminded of every day. When we look to anything to satisfy our needs apart from Jesus, we’ll be disappointed. But He will truly satisfy.

We are looking today at our vertical relationship with the Lord on Revive Our Hearts. Nancy has talked about our need to earnestly search out a close relationship with God. And no series expresses that better than one called “Seeking Him.”

Nancy "Seeking Him": Seek Him earnestly, not just with delight and desperation, but with diligence. Hebrews 11 tells us that God rewards those who diligently seek Him (v. 6). The word for diligent is a word that means “a concentrated effort.”

It’s an intense effort. This is not a casual glance in God’s direction. “Oh, Lord, you know, if You’d revive us, that would be nice.” No, this is a diligent search for God.

It brings to mind that passage in Luke chapter 15 where Jesus talked about things and people that were lost, and how their owners went searching for them.

He says in verse 8, “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?”

Searching with determination. Jesus said in that passage, “This woman searches diligently.” How long? Until she finds it.

If we’re going to search with determination, that means we don’t stop seeking until we have found what we’re looking for. We press on. We press in. We press into the Lord and we say, “Lord, I’m not going to let go until You come and meet with us in revival.”

Scripture says, “Seek the Lord . . . Seek His presence continually” (Ps. 105:4). Seeking Him is not a one-time experience. Revival is not a one-time experience. It’s a way of life. Seek the Lord continually.

So seeking, but not only seeking, but seeking Him. Seeking Him. One of the conditions the Lord lays out for revival in that very familiar verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14, is that we must seek His face.

“Seek My face,” God says. That means we seek Him more than we seek His gifts, more than we seek anything He can do for us, more than we seek His blessings, more than we want the people around us to change.

Do you want Him, or do you want a good husband and a happy marriage? You say, “Well, I’d sure like to have both.” I want to tell you, once you find Him, the Lord, then you will have everything else that you need for your well-being and happiness.

Seek the Lord. Seek His face. 

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth from a series called “Seeking Him.” She went on in that series to explain how we seek the Lord, and you can hear it by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. Click on “Resources” then “Programs” Then search for “Seeking Him.”

Today we’re exploring different messages Nancy’s given about our vertical relationship with the Lord. One of those classic series is called “The Splendor of Holiness.”

Nancy "The Splendor of Holiness": Several years ago when I first started doing serious study on the subject of holiness, I took time to read through the first five books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy; and then the New Testament Epistles, the letters to the churches, and to write out, by hand, every verse that I could find that had anything to do with holiness.

I think I actually started in the book of Exodus because that's where you have a lot of emphasis that comes in about holiness. And I filled page after page of a legal pad with verses in just those books of the Bible about holiness.

For example, in the book of Leviticus alone, three hundred and eighty-six times you find words that are related to holiness: clean, unclean, holy, sanctified, purity, wash, defiled—words that are in that family of words, just in the book of Leviticus.

Remember if you have waded through the book of Leviticus, that in that book God gave His people minute detailed instructions about cleansing, about ceremonial purity. And you have to ask yourself as you are trudging through the book of Leviticus, why? I mean, why did God take all the time and effort to spell out these detailed instructions about every aspect of daily life and worship and ceremonial cleansing?

Well, those regulations were intended to be an object lesson to the people of Israel. What did God want them to see in those object lessons? Well, He wanted them to see first that He is holy, that God is Holy. They were a picture of the holiness of God.

Then God wanted His people to realize that God is concerned about holiness in every detail and aspect of our lives, that it matters to God that we be clean, that we be pure, that we be holy, and that that holiness affects every area of our lives.

I'll tell you something else God wanted His people to understand (and that we have lost sight of today) and that is the blessings that come with holiness; that holy living is a blessed way to live. And God also wanted His people to see that sin has consequences; that when we don't live holy lives, there are consequences. There are results that are not pleasant. They are deadly, in fact.

Now, we sometimes think that God had higher standards for His people in the Old Testament than He did in the New; that in the Old Testament, God is this holy God who judges sin. People who violate God's commandments or His laws in the Old Testament get struck dead sometimes.

Then we think, Wow, when we come to the New Testament, we can breathe easy. God's a God of mercy and love and kindness, the gospel, the good news. But as you read through the whole Scripture, what you come to realize is that God never changes. The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament, and the God of the New Testament is the same as the God of the Old. All through the Old Testament you see the grace and the mercy of God, and in the New Testament you also see the justice and the righteousness of God.

It's at the cross of Christ that these marry each other. As the Psalm says, "Righteousness and peace kiss each other" (Ps. 85:10). That's where they come together in great relief. But the New Testament places no less emphasis on holiness than the Old. Over and over again, Jesus and the New Testament authors call us to a life of purity. 

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth from a series called “The Splendor of Holiness.” We’re re-visiting several classic series from Nancy this week to mark the fortieth anniversary of when she started serving in full-time ministry.

Today we’re focused on one of the prominent themes in Nancy’s teaching—our vertical relationship with the Lord. And one thing she has stressed over the years is the importance of connecting with Him daily.

In a series called “Discovering the Joy of Daily Devotions” she took us to Luke 10 and the story of Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus, and her sister Martha, who spent more time keeping the house running than listening to Jesus.

Nancy "Discovering the Joy of Daily Devotions": Now, I just have to tell you, I far more often find myself in Martha’s shoes than in Mary’s—distracted with much serving. Busyness. Doing good things. Serving the Lord. Spending so much time in the work of the ministry that we don’t have time for the Lord of the ministry.

Ministry itself, tasks in the ministry can actually keep us from seeking God’s heart. Now, they don’t have to, but they can. So Jesus says to Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41).

Think about your to-do list, your agenda, all the things on your list, and at the end of the day, you say, “Boy, I just didn’t even get to those things at all.”

“Martha, Martha, you are troubled and anxious about many things, but one thing is needful.”

David said, “One thing have I asked of the Lord.”

Jesus says to Martha, “One thing is absolutely necessary. If you don’t get anything else done on your to-do list today, will it be this one thing? One thing is needful.”

What is that thing? It’s what Mary has chosen—to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him, to commune with Him. He says, “Mary has chosen that good portion, [that one needful thing] which will not be taken away from her” (vv. 41–42). This requires a conscious, deliberate choice.

I’ve found, and I’m sure you have, too, that if I just try and fit God into my day, He’s going to get crowded out. What I need to do is plant Him in the middle of my day, first in my day, core central in my day, and then let everything else fill its way in. “Mary has chosen that good part.”

Our churches and our ministries, so many of them, are filled with stressed-out servants, busy, people who need to get to the feet of Jesus and sit and listen to His Word.

I’m so thankful for the example of this principle that I had in my life of a dad, Art DeMoss, whose first priority at the beginning of each day was to seek the Lord in that quiet time—call it devotions, quiet time, holy hour. I don’t really care what you call it. I do care that you get it.

My dad became a Christian in his mid-twenties. He was not from a godly background. He had been a wild profligate rebel, and in his mid-twenties the gospel of Christ was presented to him, and God rescued him from himself, brought him to Christ. It was a dramatic conversion, and his life was totally transformed . . . which is the way I think it’s supposed to be with all of us.

Then somebody challenged my dad in his first year as a Christian to begin giving to God the first hour of every day in the Word and in prayer. My dad took that challenge, and he kept that commitment every single day for the rest of his life until twenty-eight years later when he went home to be with the Lord.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, from the series “Discovering the Joy of Daily Devotions.”

Today we’ve heard clips from several series from Nancy. Each of them was a different look at one of the main themes in her teaching. She’s encouraged us to seek a personal, close relationship with the Lord.

Each day this week we’re looking at one of the main themes in Nancy’s teaching. It’s to mark a milestone of forty years serving the Lord in full-time ministry.

Nancy has taken a lot of these themes and woven them into a daily devotional called The Quiet Place. In this book you’ll find 365 devotional readings. They will set your mind on the Lord and encourage you to seek after Him.

Here’s the way one couple has been using The Quiet Place as part of their daily routine.

Jack Schrader: We are Jack and Karen Schrader. We've been married since 1966. We have been using devotions together for a long time. Then we were given the book The Quiet Place, from Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Karen Schrader: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Jack: That's right! (laughter)

It immediately caught our eyes as being a very valuable resource for family devotions for us together. So our plan in 2016 was . . . We found ourselves in Florida for most of the month of January, and we relished the thought of using The Quiet Place together in the morning before breakfast. We get up, get all washed up and ready to go for the day, and then we sit down together and read this.

Karen: Sometimes we've gone to a park or something like that. But most of the time, every single morning, we're down on our couch in the family room together, and we are reading it together. We also usually have an attribute—faith or love or something—that we pray for our children.

So when we read the Word, then we ask, "What does this say? What are we going to do with it?" Then we pray together.

Jack: So after two years, we thought that maybe we should turn to something else, so we did. But now we look back on it with great appreciation because it really did drawn us together in very practical, very straight-forward principles.

Karen: I personally appreciated that it was God's Word . . . what does God say? Then it was some of her own experience, some of how she interpreted it in her own life. Then at the end there was always, "What are you going to do about this? How are you going to obey? How are you going to obey today what God says?"

Jack: She has these almost uncomfortably confrontational questions. What are you going to do with this now? We would always say to ourselves, What is our takeaway here? We didn't just read it to read it. But, what are we going to do with it?

Karen: To renew our minds, that we would be transformed into His likeness. So we are so thankful for The Quiet Place as a tool to focus on the Lord.

Leslie: We’d like to send you a copy of the book that’s meant so much to this couple. We’ll send you one to say "thanks" for making a donation of any size to help continue the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. Ask for The Quiet Place when you call 1–800–569–5959 with your donation. We’ll send one copy of this book per household for your donation this week. You can also donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com and get your copy.

Today we focused on the vertical—our relationship with God. Tomorrow we’ll see how that spreads to the horizontal—our relationships with each other. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth loves to see your passion for the Lord to grow. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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