Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Episode Resources

Learn more about Seeking Him and the bonus material for the study.

Dannah Gresh: What are you seeking with all your heart? Social media likes? Better job? A dream home? Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds you that on their own none of these things will fulfill you.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: The things that we are seeking naturally apart from God do not satisfy. They never have. They never can. They never will. They can’t satisfy.

Leslie Basham: This is the Revive Our Hearts podcast with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, along with Dannah Gresh, for September 30, 2019.

Dannah: Nancy, fifteen fifteen years ago, you had a workbook with Tim Grissom called, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. I have done this workbook myself. It had an impact on my life. It had a huge impact on thousands of men and women and entire churches.

And something new and exciting is happening with that resource, Seeking Him. What’s up right now?

Nancy: We’ve been so encouraged, Dannah, by the response of people to this basic content, the basic Christian life, how to experience the joy of personal revival. And now we’re re-releasing that book. We’ve done some minor editing and just updating and fresh testimonies and illustrations, and that book has just come out. So we’re excited to see a next generation of believers get a hold of this content.

Dannah: Oh, I am, too. And I’m really excited because you just taught on this content a few months ago, and we took the time to capture it on both audio and video. So that gives us some really unique opportunities, doesn’t it? As women that love your teaching and are following Revive Our Hearts, what are some things they could do with those audio recordings and video teachings?

Nancy: Well, the reason we captured it on video was the hope that small groups could use this as a teaching component as they go through the study. It’s designed for individual use, five days a week of studying the particular topic or theme of that week. And then there’s a section for seeking Him together, where you get with some like-minded friends who are going through the study. And that’s a big part of what I think makes it effective. So those videos are available at ReviveOurHearts.com.

And I want to say what a great joy, Dannah, it was for me to freshly go through this content, to have these truths freshly confront and impact my own heart. I was able to teach this series with a fresh sense of the importance of these themes and how much they mean for our lives. And that’s why we’re calling this series, “The Joy of Personal Revival.”

Dannah: Yes. It’s a twelve-day series, and, Nancy, I can’t wait to dive in. So let’s do that now.

Nancy: We all know what it means to “seek.” To look for something that we really want, right? I want you to think of a time when you went on an earnest search for something. Maybe it was a lost child.

I remember I was sitting with a dear friend in her house. We were just having some fellowship and conversation when she realized that she hadn’t seen her two-year-old son for quite a while. So she went looking through the house for him. She was calling, “Jordan, Jordan!” She went outside, “Jordan, Jordan! Where are you?” No Jordan. No sight of him. Soon this search became an earnest search.

She couldn’t find him in the house. We couldn’t find him in the yard. And then this became a desperate search throughout the neighborhood. It involved friends and neighbors and the police until they finally found little Jordan asleep on the ground in the woods next to their house. And then—whew! You moms know what that is! Just this huge sigh of relief, this great joy. They found lost Jordan!

You may have spent hours on the Internet, searching, seeking. Maybe looking for a job. Maybe trying to find a house that was better suited to your growing family’s needs. Maybe looking for a dream vacation. Robert and I have done a little bit of that recently, just searching on the Internet. Would we like to go here? Would we like to go here? Or maybe you’ve searched for a retirement cottage on the lake somewhere. You’ve talked to realtors. You’ve searched.

Or maybe you’re looking for a replacement for an antique piece of china that’s really precious. It’s been in your family for generations, and one of your children dropped it and broke it, and you’re trying to find one just like it. You’re searching.

Or maybe you’ve moved to a new city, and you’re in the middle of a church search. So you’re searching for a place for your family to worship.

You may have spent time on Internet dating sites looking to find a husband.

Or maybe you’ve spent time with an adoption agency seeking to adopt a child that God would want to place in your family.

You may have spent months researching online to find your biological parents.

Or something else. You’ve known what it is to search, to seek, to earnestly long for something.

What we seek, what we search for, reveals what matters to us. And the things that matter most to us, those are the things we search for most earnestly.

Now, I am so glad that you are beginning this journey of, “Seeking Him,” seeking the Lord, seeking Him in a fresh way in your life and your relationships. Perhaps you’re doing this study with others in your small group or in your church, and you’re seeking Him together.

Now, let’s just start by saying we seek God not because He’s lost, but because we are lost without Him, and because we need Him more than we need anything or anyone else in this whole world. That’s the heart you hear behind this psalmist in Psalm chapter 63, where he says,

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water (v. 1).

He’s thirsty. His soul is parched, and he’s saying, “O Lord, I know You’re real. I know You’re God. I know You’re my God, but I’m thirsty for You. So I’m going to seek You earnestly.”

Now, the beautiful thing about seeking Him is that this is a search that God initiates. I love that! In fact, apart from His initiative, none of us would ever seek after Him. Do you know that? It’s true.

Remember back in Genesis chapter 3, after Adam and Eve had sinned, how God went seeking for them when they were lost? They were hiding with their guilt and their shame. That’s the heart of God. He’s a seeking God.

You see that heart pictured in the man in Luke chapter 15 who goes searching diligently for his lost lamb. That’s our seeking God.

Our Good Shepherd sought for you long before you sought for Him. Remember that some days when you feel like nobody cares, like God is distant. Remember that He has been seeking and searching for you.

God wants to be found by us. He’s not playing hide and seek with you. He’s not trying to hide Himself from you. He wants to reveal Himself to you. He wants for you and me to find Him as we seek for Him.

So Seeking Him, the study we’re embarking on, is a twelve-week study. And I love the subtitle. The subtitle is “Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.” Seeking Him is what we’re going to be doing because He is seeking us, and He has called us to seek Him. And as we seek Him over these weeks—and not just over these twelve weeks, but for the rest of our lives—as we seek Him, we are going to experience the joy of personal revival.

That’s a reminder that seeking Him is not a burden. It’s not a “have to.” It’s not one more thing to put on our to-do list. It’s not an obligation. It is a journey to joy.

And as we start into this series, I want to look at a passage that reminds us how seeking Him, seeking the Lord with all our hearts, leads to joy and revived hearts.

So let me invite you to turn in your Bible, if you have it there, to the book of Isaiah, in the Old Testament, Isaiah chapter 55. Isaiah is just to the right of the middle of your Bible. It’s a long book, and so it’s not as hard to find as some of those one- or two-page books. Isaiah chapter 55, and if you’ve got your phone there, you may want to just scroll to it, but I want you to see for yourself what Scripture has to say to our hearts today.

Here in Isaiah 55, the Lord speaks to His people, and He issues an invitation, beginning in verse 1. He says:

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Now, let me just pause there. There are several things to notice in that passage. We’re not going to unpack it in depth, but I just want to first point out: did you notice the repeated word in that first verse? What was the word? 

Audience: Come.

Nancy: Come. Five times in the first three verses: Come, come. “Come, everyone who thirsts.” “Come buy and eat.” “Come buy wine and milk.” “Come to Me, in verse 3.” This is an earnest invitation. It’s a serious invitation to come to Him.

And then He says, “Who can come?” 

Well, He says, “Come, everyone.” 

So you stop there, and you say, “So this invitation is for everyone, right? Everyone in the whole wide world.” Well, not exactly—maybe yes and no. He qualifies it, doesn’t He? He says, “Come, everyone who is thirsty, everyone who thirsts.” And, “Come, he who has no money.”

So who can come? Who’s invited to come? Everyone who is needy and parched and dry and dissatisfied and empty and broke! Like, you don’t have any money to pay for what it is that you need because you could say, “Yes, I know I need Him, but I don’t have anything to give Him.” 

He says, “You come, too. Come, those who are thirsty. Come, he who has no money.”

The only qualification for coming is that you’re thirsty, that you need Him, and that you can’t afford to pay anything for His favor. And that’s all of us! We’re all qualified. It’s our poverty that qualifies us for God’s gracious provision in our lives.

So let’s just stop there. Do you sometimes feel like you could come more readily to God if you could do something for Him or prove something to Him or demonstrate how serious you are about obeying Him, then you could come? 

How much of our lives do we spend, even as Christians, trying to jump through hoops to let God know we’re serious and we mean this? And God says, “No. Your need, your emptiness, your barrenness, your poverty, that’s what qualifies you to come.” And I love that, because that means all of us can come if we acknowledge our need.

But we have to recognize that we’re needy. We have to be willing to admit that we’re needy. We all are needy, but a lot of people—all of us at times—are too proud to admit that we’re needy. Those who think they’re self-sufficient, those who think they’re doing okay, won’t come. Why would they? They don’t recognize they have a need.

Those who are too proud to admit their need won’t come. And those who don’t believe that He can satisfy their thirst, they won’t come either.

So to come to Him requires honesty. It requires humility. It requires faith—faith that if we do come, He will receive us.

Well, look at verse 2. He says, 

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?

What is God saying here? He says, “You’re wasting the little bit that you have on things that aren’t what they seem to be, things that can’t fulfill what they promise.” We see here the foolishness and the futility of trading our meager resources—useless as they are, insufficient as they are—-for those that cannot satisfy the true and deepest needs of our hearts.

The things that we are seeking naturally apart from God do not satisfy. They never have. They never can. They never will. They can’t satisfy because God has made our hearts with this cavern, this emptiness, this vacuum that can only be filled by Himself.

So, what are some of those other things that we seek? Well, we could come up with a whole big, long list, but:

  • We seek solutions to our problems.
  • We seek escape from pain.
  • We seek money, stuff.
  • We seek marriage—we seek to be out of a marriage, in some cases.
  • We seek youth.
  • We seek beauty.
  • We seek healing in relationships.

And all of these things—some of them good things—but all of these things are insufficient to satisfy the deepest longings of our heart. So if we seek for them, we’re going to be left thirsty. We’re going to be left needy. We’re going to be left poverty stricken.

The joyful news in this passage is that God has something better for us. God has something more for us than all those things we seek apart from Him.

So He says in the second part of verse 2, 

Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; [there it is again!] hear, that your soul may live.

Now, here’s what I see when I read that verse: God is not stingy. He’s not offering us some tiny, little paltry blessings. He’s not putting us on a starvation diet, saying, “Come to Me, and I’ll give you just enough crumbs to keep you from dying.” No! God has rich blessings in store for His people—for you! He wants to fill us up with what is good, to delight us with rich food.

But in order to have the good stuff, the stuff He wants to give us, the abundance He wants to pour into our lives . . . And here we’re talking about something that is far more wonderful and good and rich and abundant than just physical or material blessings because you could have a ton of those and still have an empty soul. Right?

But God says, “If you want the good stuff, if you want your heart filled, if you want your heart revived, if you want joy, if you want peace, if you want to know that you’re right with God, if you want to have this delightful, rich food that is good for you, then you’ve got to be willing to listen. Listen diligently to Me. Listen carefully to Me. Incline your ear.” We’ve got to be willing to incline, to lean into Him, sit on the edge of our seats, incline our hearts to Him, to hear what He has to say, and to come to Him, to move toward Him.

We’re not going to stumble on all these great blessings God has available for us if we ignore Him, if we treat Him like a bit player in the drama of our lives. Like, we’ve got our whole life going on. We’ve got everything that we’re interested in, that we’re doing: school and work and play and marriage and social activity and sports and recreation. We’ve got all that stuff, and then there’s God in this little box over here. I know we pull Him out every Sunday, but He’s a bit player in our lives.

No, we’re not going to get the good stuff if we treat Him that way. We’re not going to get the good stuff if His voice is being drowned out by other, louder voices that matter more to us than His voice.

So move down to verse 6. He says, 

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.

And here we come to the theme of this study: “Seek the Lord . . . seek Him. This has got to be what matters most to us, what we most desire, what we long for, what we’re eager to have, what we’re focused on having. Seek the Lord.

Seek the Lord now, because He will not always be found.

Call upon Him now, for He will not always be near. “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.” He is near now. He is drawing near to us as we draw near to Him, so seek Him now. Seek Him today. Seek Him tomorrow. Seek Him this week. Seek Him over the course of this study. Seek Him every day for the rest of your life.

Now, that may mean that in order to seek Him, we’ve got to pivot. We’ve got to turn. We’ve got to refocus our attention, take our eyes and our focus off all the things that consume us, and we’ve got to turn to the Lord.

That doesn’t mean we don’t do those other things. It doesn’t mean you don’t clean your house, or you don’t go to work, or you don’t go to school, or you don’t have conversations with your husband or your friends. It doesn’t mean you don’t ever get on your computer. But it means, while you’re doing everything that you do in this life, you’re also seeking Him through and in all of that.

Now, as we seek Him, we need to remember that He is holy, and those who want to seek Him, those who want to find Him, have to be willing to turn from anything and everything that is not pleasing to Him.

So in verse 7, He says, 

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.

He’s saying, “You’ve got to repent. (We’re going to talk about that in this series.) You’ve got to repent. You’ve got to turn. You’ve got to repent of all sinful ways and thoughts. Abandon, leave behind your own ways and your own thoughts. They’re cluttering up your life. They’re distracting you. They’re robbing you of the good things God wants to give you. And you’ve got to repent of those things and turn from them and return to the Lord.

And then it says, “He will have compassion on you, and He will forgive your sins.”

Look at the rest of verse 7: “Let him return to the Lord.” So you’re turning from something. You’re turning from your wicked ways. You’re turning from your unrighteous thoughts. And now you’re returning to the Lord. That’s repentance—turning from and turning to. 

Return to the Lord that He may have compassion on him. Who’s God having compassion on? On this wicked, unrighteous person who was willing to turn from his ways and thoughts and return to the Lord. And it says God will have compassion on him. “And return to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (v. 7).

Now, just think about that part of that verse for a moment. We deserve God’s eternal judgment and wrath for our wickedness and our unrighteousness. So we expect if we draw near to Him, if we seek Him, that He’s going to be mad at us because we’ve blown it. We have forsaken Him. We have forgotten Him. We have traded Him in for all of these little baubles of this earth. And you’d think that when you come back to Him, He’s going to mad at you. Right?

But God surprises us when we return to Him. He stuns us with compassion—compassion. “Return to the Lord that He may have compassion. Return to our God for he will abundantly pardon.” How amazing is that! It’s in returning to Him that we experience that compassion.

I was texting this past week with a friend of mine. Some of you have heard her share on Revive Our Hearts. Her name is Jennifer Smith. She is on the staff of a transition home for women coming out of prison. She ministers to these women with hard backgrounds and difficult lives. It’s just messy, messy work, but it’s a glorious mess because you see the grace of God coming and shining through in these women’s lives. And then sometimes you have ones that just don’t make it.

We were talking about this session and this passage, Isaiah 55, and she said to me on this text:

We have four girls right now who went through our home but left because their hearts started seeking other things, and now they have all returned broken. Late last night I got a phone call from one of those girls. She had just been released from jail, had nowhere to go, was on the streets, broken, begging to come back.

I’m thinking about how my heart responded in compassion to get her a motel and then get up at 4:30 this morning to drive 2½ hours to pick her up and bring her back.

Bring her back! Here’s a woman, she was in the good place. She left it, seeking other things. She was a prodigal. She left the good place. She messed up her life—again. But when she was broken, when she returned, Jennifer said, “God put compassion in my heart.”

Then Jennifer said:

Then I think, “That’s only a fraction of the compassion that we get to experience from God on a daily basis because our hearts [Our hearts—not just these girls that have been in prison and done all kinds of things that some of us might never think of doing. She says, our hearts] are so inclined to wander away, but in the returning we are gifted His compassion.”

"I will put compassion on you. I will abundantly pardon.”

Well, just as we wrap up this session, move to verse 12 in Isaiah chapter 55. I want you to see for just a few moments the blessings, the reward, the hope, the promise of seeking Him; of returning, of turning from the other things you’ve been seeking and turning back to Him. What are the blessings? What can we hope for? What can we expect will happen? Verse 12: 

For you shall go out in [what’s that word?] joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off (vv. 12–13).

What does God do here? He holds out a vision to His people, a vision for their future. It’s a future of joy, of peace, and of the transforming power of His grace.

And then He envisions a day when the whole earth will be redeemed from the catastrophic, devastating effects of sin and of the Fall. The thorny place will become a cypress tree. The briers will come up as myrtles. Those placed that were scratchy and rough and destructive, they’ll become beautiful. They’ll be transformed. The whole earth that writhes in pain from the effects of sin today will be redeemed.

And those who have been redeemed; broken, fallen sinners who have been restored and who have experienced His compassion and His forgiveness because He has sought them and they have come to Him and sought Him, these redeemed will experience eternal joy.

We sing about it at Christmas, but not often enough, those great words of Isaac Watts:

No more let sins and sorrows grow nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.

That’s the promise. And these are blessings made possible for us because of the suffering Servant of God that you read about two chapters earlier, Isaiah 53, “He was wounded for our transgressions.” He endured the wrath of God for our sin, the wrath we deserved, so that we could have the compassion and the forgiveness of God. You see, it’s Christ, it’s the Messiah who makes all these blessings possible for us.

Seeking Him involves a process, and over these next few weeks, we’re going to be tilling up the soil of our hearts, plowing up the soil.

We live in rich farmland around here. And you can see in springtime when those plows come through with those deep, big blades that they go down in the earth, and they turn up the soil. They turn it upside down. They get out the rocks and the roots and the things that would choke out the seed if it were sown without the plowing.

We’re going to go through a plowing process first. It can be hard, but that’s a necessary part of this process of seeking Him. So I want to encourage you as you’re doing this study, as you’re following along with us, hang in there! Don’t give up! There’s a rich harvest ahead! Your search will not be disappointed, for God’s Word promises, “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

So are you thirsty? Are you hungry? Are you needy? Have you been seeking for substitutes that can never satisfy the deepest longings and needs of your heart? Things you hoped would satisfy or fill you, but they haven’t. The invitation to you, to me, to us today is to come to Him, to seek Him, to listen to Him, and to return to Him.

So I want to just ask: Would you purpose to seek Him with all your heart over these next days and weeks?

Perhaps you would make this your prayer. It comes from Psalm 27:

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek (vv. 7–8).

And when you seek Him, God’s Word promises you will find Him, and you’ll find everything else that you need with Him—joy, satisfaction, your needs met, your heart’s longings fulfilled. All we need is found in Him. When you have Him, you have everything you need.

There’s a verse in Psalm 69 that sparked this series on “Seeking Him.” Psalm 69, verse 32: “You who seek God, let your hearts revive.”

And, oh, Lord, how we pray that over these next days and weeks that we will seek You with all our hearts, and that as we seek You, our hearts will be revived, and You will be glorified. We pray it in Jesus’ name, amen.

Dannah: Everyone is seeking something. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been helping us seek after the one thing that will truly satisfy—a relationship with Jesus.

This message is part of a series called, “Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.” It goes along with her workbook Seeking Him. Every message in this series is also on video, and I hope maybe you’ll go through this workbook and learn more about the characteristics of personal revival with Nancy by watching the DVD. Even better—do it with a group of girlfriends.

We’ll send you a copy of the newly re-released workbook, Seeking Him, when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. And when you contact us, find out how you can get the DVD set. Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. Be sure to ask for your copy of Seeking Him and find out about the DVD video series.

In the journey toward that joy of personal revival, the way to be lifted up is by lowering yourself. Tomorrow we’ll look at humility. I’m Dannah Gresh, inviting you back for Revive Our Hearts

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth invites you to find your complete satisfaction in God alone. The podcast is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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

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