Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Ten Things I've Learned

Leslie Basham: Don't you wish you could escape from all your pressures today? Nancy Leigh DeMoss offers some important perspective.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You have pressure in your life, I have pressure in my life, we have pressures in this ministry. The fact is we need pressure in order to grow and in order to serve the Lord and to be used in the ways that He wants to use us.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, September 12.

Nancy:  If you’ve been listening to Revive Our Hearts over the past week or so, you know that we’ve been celebrating the ten-year anniversary mark of the launch of Revive Our Hearts radio. And if you’ve been listening every day, you may be wondering why we’re devoting so much attention to commemorating a 10th anniversary.

As I look back in the Scripture, I see such value in remembering the deeds of the Lord, celebrating His faithfulness, rehearsing what He has done and recounting to one another the stories of God’s greatness, His faithfulness, His provision.

You remember in the Old Testament when the Children of Israel would get to certain points where God met with them in a significant way, God would say, “See those stones over there? Pick up some stones and make a memorial here. Make a marker so that in years to come, even generations to come, when your children see those stones, they’ll say, 'What does that mean? What is that all about?'”

You can tell your children and your grandchildren the stories of what God has done. I think back to Numbers chapter 33 where God told Moses to keep a journal of the travels of the Children of Israel. To us, as we look at that list of names of cities, most of them really obscure names, those names mostly don’t mean much to us. But they meant a lot to the Children of Israel. They could think back, “Yes, at Rephidim, that’s where God did this, and at Kadesh-Barnea, that’s where God dealt with us about our unbelief and showed Himself to be powerful.

Again, we have in Scripture lots of examples of the importance of looking back, remembering what God has done, and then looking forward with faith bolstered by what He has done in the past.

Just a short while ago, during this 10th anniversary celebration, I had the opportunity one evening to meet with our entire Revive Our Hearts teamall of our staff, their mates, several of our staff who serve in other states (we call them our remote staff). We were all together for a special time. I had the opportunity to share with our staff, as we gathered that evening, ten themes that have emerged in my thinking over these past ten years that have been really important in my own life, my walk with the Lord, and in the development of this ministry.

As we thought to this season of the broadcast, I thought it might be meaningful to wrap up our 10th anniversary celebration by sharing those ten themes with you, to perhaps give you a greater glimpse into my heart and this ministry, but also because I think these themes are important for every believer.

In each season of our Christian life, these are things that can help us stay the course and serve the Lord in a more effective way. I want to take these moments today to share with you from my own heart ten important themes to me. Over these past ten years of ministry these are things I’m taking with me into what I trust will be ten more years of effective, fruitful ministry.

These ten themes, I haven’t ordered in any particular order, but I say number one is probably the most important, at least in my thinking, and that is that ministry flows out of intimacy with God. That’s true whether it’s my life in ministry or your life and the ways that God has called you to serve Him as a wife, a mom, in the workplace, in your local church. Effective ministry flows out of an intimate relationship with God.

It has to be the overflow of a life, and there’s really no substitute for our personal walk with the Lord. The fact is, and people have reminded me of this many times over the years, in my own ministry, if I’m not full of the Word of God, the Spirit of God, the presence of God, then I don’t really have anything to offer others.

I will tell you this, sadly, out of some personal experience. I know it’s possible to fake it for a while, or to perform, to go through the motions of ministry, serving the Lord and serving others. We can do things that impress others and produce results. I can write books. I can record radio broadcasts, but in the long run, if that ministry is not being undergirded and sustained by a genuine, authentic walk with the Lord, it’s only going to carry me so far. It certainly is not going to produce the depth and the type of fruit that God wants to produce through my life.

One of the continual challenges to me in this ministry is to put first things first, to prioritize my relationship with the Lord so that everything I’m doing is out of the overflow of that walk with the Lord. Number One: Ministry flows out of intimacy with God.

Number Two: This has been something of a mantra to me over the past ten years, and that is, “We are weak, but He is strong.” You may have heard me share in the past that in the early years of Revive Our Hearts, when I was just struggling to keep my head above water and was so challenged by the demands of doing daily radio, the Lord was so kind in those early years. Virtually every morning I would wake up with that little phrase of the children’s song, “Jesus Loves Me,” that little phrase running through my mind. It was my first conscious thought every single morning, “They are weak, but He is strong.”

The Lord used that as a constant reminder that I am weak, and I can’t do this ministry on my own. I can’t fulfill what He’s called me to do, but He is strong. I’ve learned over these years that my weakness provides a platform for His strength. Your weakness can be a means of showcasing the strength of the Lord. That’s a phrase that has gone with me over these years.

Then the third one is this, this has become something of a statement we share in our ministry. We can say it in two words: pressure sanctifies. You have pressure in your life; I have pressure in my life; we have pressures in this ministry. The fact is, we need pressure in order to grow and in order to serve the Lord and to be used in the ways that He wants to use us.

You’ve heard me say it this way over the years: Anything that makes us need the Lord is really a blessing. I’ve learned over these years that God is not so concerned about using me to build a ministry as He is about using the ministry to build my life and to conform me to the image of Christ, to make me into a true woman.

I’ve been so conscious over these years, when there are times of pressure and challenge and difficulty, that God is wanting to use those pressures to make me into more of a true woman who reflects and radiates the beauty and the grace of Christ.

You’ve probably seen this in your own life: The greatest growth happens in hard places. We’ve been in hard places many times over these past ten years. I could share many of those stories with you. We call them “Red Sea moments.” Times when you are up against the Red Sea, and you’ve got the enemy breathing down your neck and mountains on either side. You think, “I don’t know how to get out of here. I don’t know how we’re going to get through this particular challenge."

Sometimes it’s been coming up on recording days where we were going to record eight or ten new programs and I couldn’t pull all the content together quickly enough and thoroughly enough. We would say, “This is a Red Sea moment!”

Now, as I look back on these past years and many of those Red Sea moments, I can tell you this for a fact: God always, always, always, has a way to get us through that Red Sea. It may not be the way we would have scripted or in the timing we would have chosen or desired. It may seem to us that God is running a bit late with that rescue and that deliverance. But I can testify there’s never been a time when I’ve been at a Red Sea that God has not been faithful to come through. So I want to assure you that He will come through for you, and that He will use the pressure, the problems, the challenges, to sanctify you.

That leads me to the fourth theme that has run my life and this ministry over the past ten years. This may not sound very encouraging to you, but it really is if you stop and think about it for a moment. The theme is that ministry is hard. And can I just broaden it and say, life is hard?

We live in a fallen world. It’s a prodigal planet. We are sinful creatures. We live in bodies of flesh; we have limitations. And ministry, whatever ministry God’s called you to, the ministry God’s called me to, requires hard work. It requires sacrifice. Scripture talks about the burden of ministry.

We know that we’re in a battle. We face spiritual opposition and enemies and attacks. It’s easier to be faithful in ministry when things are novel and fresh and new and exciting. But the real test is whether you have staying power and faithfulness over the long haul. That’s going to be tested, because ministry is hard.

Motherhood is hard. Whatever God’s called you to do, it’s hard. It’s hard work. I will say this, Jesus is worth it. He’s worth it. It’s worth whatever sacrifice, whatever tears. I have shed buckets full of them different times over these ten years, and I keep reminding myself, “Jesus is worth it.”

When I think of all He has done for me, the labors, the sacrifices, the tears He has shed for me, the blood He has shed . . . I haven’t shed any blood in ten years of Revive Our Hearts history and thirty-some years of vocational ministry. Chances are, you have not either, but Jesus did shed His blood for us. That says to me, in the long nights, the long, hard days, the difficult parts of the journey, that Jesus is worth it.

Not only is He worth it, but I want to remind you of something that encourages me when there are those long, hard days. That is the promise that every bit of our labor for Christ done in the power of the Holy Spirit, done for Him, will be rewarded. Maybe not here, maybe not now, maybe not in the immediate future, but God’s Word says in Hebrews chapter 6, verse 10, “God is not unjust. He will not forget your work and the love you showed for his name when you served the saints, and you continue to serve them.”

When we see Christ, we will realize that is was worth it all for Him, and then we will experience, if not sooner, the rewards of those labors. At that point, all we will want to do is take those rewards and give them back to Christ, and say, “O Lord, it was all for you.”

Number five is a theme that has been important to me over the years, and that is that little things matter. By that, I mean, everything that I do, my attitudes, my behaviors, my responses, all those things that I think are maybe insignificant, they all contribute to something greater.

Those little choices matterthe way I use my time, the way I respond to the Word of God, things that are maybe unseen by others, things that others might now consider very important, they all contribute to the greater “whole” of the woman I’m becoming and how God is using me. Hopefully those things can contribute positively, but I also realize that when I make selfish or foolish choices, those seemingly little things also matter, and they can detract from what God is wanting to do through the ministry.

As these years have unfolded, I’ve become more conscious of the importance of those seemingly little things. They do matter. So I challenged our team the other night, remember that everything we do—your behind-the-scenes position, the responsibility you have that you don’t get any visible recognition or credit for—those little things really do matter. They add up to a whole ministry that is being used of God in a significant way in many people’s lives.

Number six, it’s not about us. It’s all about Him and others. I’ve just been reminded so many times over the years, the effectiveness and success of this ministry is not measured in terms of statistics or operations or the broadcasts or the resources we can produce, or the events we’ve pulled off. I thank the Lord that He’s blessed us in many of those arenas, but more than that, it’s about the glory of God and the lives of people that are being impacted with the truth of God. It’s not about us; it’s all about Him and others.

And then, number seven, and oh, how I’ve learned this over these years, we need each other. I shared this with our team the other night. I told them that I’ve never been much of a team player naturally. I was one of these kids in school, that when they had group projects, I would rather do a project on my own than as a part of a group.

But I’ve learned over these years how much we need each other, the value, the necessity of team work, of community. I’ve experienced it in my own walk, even over these past couple of years as I’ve walked through some difficult personal issues and as I’ve experienced the blessings and the benefits of the prayers and encouragement of God’s people who have come around me to provide support.

I see it in our team as we have different gifts and strengths that complement each other. We are one body, one team, but we have many members, and every part is essential. We really do need each other. I would just say to you, you need the body. You need other people in your life, encouraging, supporting, using their gifts, and the body needs you. We really do need each other.

Then, number eight, God’s truth really does set people free. I want to highlight on that point. Over these last ten years, I’ve come in an even greater way to appreciate the preciousness and the power of the Word of God. I’ve come to love it more myself as I’ve taught it and I’ve experience its reality in my own life and seen how God’s Word sustains and strengthens my heart. It gives me courage, faith, insight. It sheds light on my path.

I’ve also seen the power of God’s Word through this ministry to change others’ lives, to set them free, to heal, to restore. God’s truth really does set people free.

Then number nine, God’s faithfulness really is steadfast. God is faithful. His promises are true. He knows our needs. He cares. Over and over again through these past ten years, as we’ve had different needs, different crisis points, or we didn’t know what to do or how a need would be met, we have seen God be so faithful. We’ve seen Him provide financially, thanks to the support of many of our listeners, our Ministry Partner Team, hundreds of them who support this ministry faithfully each month, God has been faithful through you.

He has met our needs through your prayers, through your encouragement. Behind all of that has been the spectacular, steadfast faithfulness of God. I’m so grateful.

Then, number ten—this is the tenth thing I shared with our team the other night—God’s grace really is amazing! God’s grace is sufficient for every need. It’s sufficient for every one of my needs as I look back over these last ten years, God’s grace has been sufficient for every need of Revive Our Hearts.

I want to remind you that God’s grace is sufficient for every one of your needs, whatever your need may be today—you need strength, you need power, the ability to say “no” to temptation, you need grace to keep pressing into a difficult life circumstance, a relationship—God’s grace really is amazing.

It’s the grace of God that’s been active over all these years in changing people’s lives. You’ve heard some testimonies over the last week or so of transformed lives. That’s not Nancy Leigh DeMoss, that’s not Revive Our Hearts, that’s the grace of God, the power of God, the truth of God, the Word of God penetrating and piercing people’s hearts and changing their lives.

I want to add my voice to those who’ve spoken over these past days and say how grateful I am to God for His grace, for His faithfulness and His greatness as it’s been displayed in so many ways through this ministry over these last ten years.

As I think about these ten themes that have proven true in my life and in this ministry over these years, these are really the same themes and threads that are going to take us into the future. As we move forward in this ministry, I challenged our team to press on, to consecrate ourselves and exercise faith. I believe that there’s much, much more God wants to do to display His glory and the gospel of Christ through our lives and through this ministry. We are still believing God for a movement of reformation and revival in the hearts of women throughout this country and around the world.

We want to keep pointing women to Christ, keep proclaiming the Word, keep believing God for an outpouring of His Spirit in revival. I reminded our team that our hope for the future, as for the past, doesn’t lie in methodologies or programs, but it lies in the power of the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Over these past couple of weeks, we’ve been offering a little booklet that our team has put together called, “Up Close and Personal.” In that booklet I shared my heart about some of the things we’re believing God to do through this ministry in the years ahead.

There’s a section in that booklet where I’ve opened up some of my personal journals, some of the things I wrote in the months and years leading up to the launch of Revive Our Hearts radio, just to give you a glimpse into what was in my heart, what I was thinking, what I was experiencing, how God was birthing in me what became the ministry of Revive Our Hearts.

I want to close this program today by sharing with you an excerpt from one of those journal entries. This is actually an entry I made on September 2, 2001. It was the night before the official launch of Revive Our Hearts radio.

Let me share with you what I wrote those ten years ago, because it so much expresses what is still on my heart today. I said,

Lord, I want to offer a sacrifice of praise. Words can’t express the greatness of Your grace and mercy to me throughout this past year. I stand in awe of Your providential hand, and all You’ve done to bring this ministry to fruition. Your provision has been so faithful throughout this launch phase.

Day after day, all we have needed Your hand has provided, yet You have kept me in a place of utter dependence. This calling is so far beyond my own natural gifts and abilities. My eyes are on You, O Lord. You are able. Help me to trust, to stay in the yoke with You, to rest in You, and to serve You with gladness of heart and in the fullness of Your Spirit.

I consecrate myself afresh to You, O Lord. I am your servant. All I ask is that You would fulfill Your holy, eternal purposes in and through my life. May my life bring you pleasure.

I pray for wisdom, and for supernatural enabling sufficient for this task. I ask for protection from every weapon the adversary forms against me. Guard my heart, keep it pure. Guard my mind and my emotions, sustain me by Your Word, Your grace, and Your sweet Spirit. Fill me with Your Spirit. I pray for the mark of Your presence, for Your anointing on our feeble efforts.

[And then this prayer, which I would ask you to join me in making for Revive Our Hearts, as we step now into this new decade of ministry. I prayed,] O Lord, would You be pleased to multiply the seeds we have sown and produce a great harvest of revival and righteousness in the lives of women? How I pray for a movement of Your Spirit that can’t be explained in terms of human effort. Would You turn Your face toward us, cause it to shine upon on us, and turn the hearts of women towards Yourself? May You be magnified through this ministry.

O, Lord, as I prayed that prayer ten years ago, I pray it again now, and say, “Would you be magnified? Would you be glorified through this ministry in the days, months, and years ahead? I pray it for Jesus’ sake, and for the sake of Your great Kingdom, amen.

Leslie: Are you facing any Red Sea moments today? Any tough challenges? Any questions about your current ministry? Well, Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been giving you important perspective for all these situations based on her experience in ten years of radio ministry on Revive Our Hearts. She read from a journal entry she originally wrote ten years ago.

You can read that, along with other entries from that time when you get a booklet called, "Up Close and Personal." Find out how Nancy has learned to lean on God through the challenge of daily radio. It will teach you to lean on Him through everything He’s called you to do.

When you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount, we’ll say thanks by sending you "Up Close and Personal." We’ll also include Nancy’s Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. Your gift will help us to continue calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ as we launch into a second decade of ministry.

Just ask for Lies Women Believe and "Up Close and Personal" when you call with your donation. The number is 1.800-569-5959, or donate at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Sometimes you sense the Lord’s presence and can feel His closeness, but at other times it can feel like you’re in a desert. Learn how to walk through life’s deserts. Nancy will be back to talk about it tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

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