Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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What Time Is It? Day 1

Leslie Basham: Do you understand our times in light of Scripture? Here's Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: We are not living in a chance world. Things don't just happen in this world—they're not disconnected. We need to know God's Word so we can know how to interpret and put together and connect the dots with what's happening in our world.

Leslie: Today Nancy will help us seek God for what He might want to do through us . . . for such a time as this.

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Monday, November 30, 2015.

We're entering a time of celebrating peace on earth and goodwill to men. But we also are observing violence in cities and schools, division in communities, redefinition of marriage.

Well, you do not have to fear. Nancy is helping us interpret our times, seeking God for what He might be calling us to do . . . for such a time as this. She's beginning a two-day series called "What Time Is It?"

Nancy: There's a room in my house I've come to call the "five o'clock room." Let me tell you why and how it got that name. A few months ago I was hosting, I don't know, fifteen or twenty people (for dinner) in my home. They were supposed to arrive at six o'clock in the evening.

I had some friends who were helping out in the kitchen, and Robert Wolgemuth (who was then my fiancé, now my husband) came over to the house and was going to join us for that dinner. He and I got to talking in what used to be called my sitting room, just off the living room.

We got into this conversation, and we totally lost track of the time. At one point I asked him, "What time is it?" He looked at his watch, and he said, "It's five o'clock." And I thought, Well, we're good, because the company's not coming 'til six o'clock.

Moments later we heard voices . . . lots of voices . . . a houseful of voices! Now, I have to explain to you that I hadn't yet changed into what I was going to wear for the evening. I thought I had plenty of time to do that, and all of the sudden there's this houseful of company in the living room, and I've got to go through the living room to get to the upstairs where I'm going to change for the evening.

It turned out Robert had not changed his watch from Central Time, from whence he had come, to Eastern Time, where we were sitting! We thought it was five o'clock; it really was six o'clock, and I learned an important lesson that day, and that is: You need to know what time it is!

It's important to know If you don't, you can get in trouble.

I set my alarm clock last night (actually it was early this morning) before I dropped off to sleep. I wanted to be sure I was here in time for this session. It's important to know what time it is!

Over the next several weeks here on Revive Our Hearts, we're going to be asking our listeners to consider supporting the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. Typically over forty percent of all the donations we receive in one year come in during the month of December. That's similar to what other ministries and non-profits experience.

As we've thought about sharing that need this year, the theme our team has come up with is "for such a time as this," and I've been reflecting on that theme. It actually comes, as you may recall, from the book of Esther.

Remember that wicked Haman, who was way high up in the government, was threatened by Mordecai's refusal to compromise his faith. Mordecai was a Jew, and he refused to bow before wicked Haman. As a result, Haman devises this insidious plan and the Jews were threatened with extinction, the whole Jewish race.

And right at that time, just in time, God raised up a young Jewish woman who was an orphan. He raised her up to be the queen, and raised her to pray and to fast and to intercede before the king on behalf of her people.

But for her to do that represented a huge risk. She knew that she could lose her life if she stepped up before the king with this request, if he hadn't invited her to come into his presence. While she was still hesitating about whether she could really do this, her Uncle Mordecai sent a message to her.

You read this message (you're familiar with it) in Esther 4:14. Mordecai said,

If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? 

For such a time as this!

So, inspired by Mordecai's message, with faith infused in her heart, Esther stepped out in faith. God intervened. God gave her favor with the king, and Haman's nefarious plot was thwarted.

I want to ask, today and tomorrow, "What time is it?" For such a time as this. . .what time is it?

I think one of the most familiar passages in Scripture that talks about time comes in the Book of Ecclesiastes chapter 3. It reminds us that:

For everything there is a season and time for every matter under heaven: There's a time to be born, there's a time to die; there's a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [or harvest] what is planted; there's a time to kill, there's a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; there's a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance (vv. 1–4).

And it goes on. What I think this passage says to us is that's it's important to discern what is God's heart and His timing for different seasons in our lives?

It's important to discern what is God's heart and His timing for different seasons in our lives

There are different seasons we go through, and we need to discern, "What is God saying? What is He doing? What time is it in God's plan for our lives?"

Often after a conference, I will have women come to me and share a burden for a prodigal son or daughter, or for a difficult marriage that they're living in, and they'll ask me to pray for them. And one of the things I pray is that they will know "what time it is." What time it is in their life, what time it is in the life of the loved one for whom they're concerned. 

I pray that they will know when they should speak and when they should be quiet, that they will know when thy should take action and intervene, and when they should be still and just wait for God to move. I pray that they'll know when they should lead with truth in the dialogue, and when they should lead with grace and mercy.

They need to know "what time it is" in that relationship and what God is doing in that person's life. It's important to know not only what God is doing in our own lives and "what time it is" in the micro situations of our lives, but also in the macro—to know "what time it is" in our world, in God's eternal plan.

I think it's important that we learn, as people of God, how to discern the significance of the time in which we live. No one else in the history of the world has ever lived in this time. So, what time is it in this world, and what should we be doing? How should we be responding in light of the time in which we live?

You remember that verse, 1 Chronicles 12:32, "[The men of Issachar, one of the tribes of Israel] who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do." It's not just enough to know what time it is, but then we need to know what we ought to be doing in light of the time.

In Luke 12:54–56 Jesus speaks to the crowd, and He says to them,

"When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, 'A shower is coming.' And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, 'There will be scorching heat,' and it happens." You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky [you know how to look at the sky and the earth and say, "This is what's going to come, this is what time it is, this is what's going to happen, we need to get our crops in, our family in, this is what we need to do. . ."], but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?"

Now, you don't get that by looking up into the sky, you get that by looking into this Book—into the Word of God and into the face of God—through Scripture and through prayer, saying, "Lord, what time is it? What are doing in our world? What are You saying. And, what should we be doing at such a time as this?"

One thing I find is that most people, even those who consider themselves biblically literate Christians, don't know how to connect the dots. They see and hear things in the news or in their circumstances or in their families or in their churches or in politics or in the world . . . they see all these things, but they don't know how to interpret what is happening in the light of Scripture, in the light of the ways of God.

You see, we are not living in a chance world. Things don't just happen in this world—they're not disconnected. We need to know God's Word so we can know how to interpret and put together and connect the dots with what's happening in our world, what's happening around us. That takes discernment, it takes prayer, it takes wisdom, it takes the Spirit of God helping us to understand these things.

So, again, in this session and in the one tomorrow, I want to just talk biblically about, "What time is it?"

One of the things we see, in Ephesians 5:15, is that it is a time to walk carefully. It is a time to be wise; it's a time to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Why? Because "the days are evil." The times in which we live are evil. I didn't have to tell you that, you know that.

We know the times are evil, but I think we forget the "therefore" of that. If the times are evil, what should we do? We should walk carefully. We should be wise. We should be filled with the Spirit: "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:15–16).

Again, I don't have to tell you that, but in case you've forgotten, let me just tick off some things of which we're all very aware: In this country, in the United States, we see the explosion of violence in our cities, our streets, in our schools, our communities, in our churches. We see racism tearing neighborhoods apart. We see epidemic drug and alcohol abuse and all that comes from that. We see the erosion and the redefining of—or the attempt to redefine—marriage.

Not too many months ago we saw the Supreme Court decision regarding so-called "same-sex marriage." They said the wisdom of the ages, the wisdom of God, the wisdom of God's Word, generations and centuries of history are all out the window. "We're going to say what marriage is and isn't." So we see this erosion of marriage.

The whole issue of abortion: fifty-seven million babies have been murdered in this country alone since 1973. Fifty-seven million! As if that's not enough, we see what's been going on and has been exposed in recent weeks and months with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. They are not only aborting the babies, but then they are selling their body parts for profit. The days are evil! The days are evil!

I saw a news piece just in the last day or so about some religious leaders—so-called "Christian" leaders—parading, cheering the opening of an abortion clinic and blessing it. The days are evil!

We see this whole thing of "gender fluidity," transgenderism. I watched a documentary the other day about children and transgenderism: children who, at age two or three or four or five, decide they aren't the sex they were born to be. Regardless of how biologically they're configured, they think they're some other sex—something different.

We're seeing this, not as an oddity or rarity anymore, but as something that's becoming increasingly mainstream. It's saying God didn't know what He was doing when He said, "Let there be male and female," created in the image of God.

We're shaking our fist in the face of God saying: He's not wise, He's not an authority, He's not in charge. We're an authority! We can determine what gender we are and what we do with that. The days are evil!

We see widespread, rampant immorality. We watched the unfolding and the exposure of the whole Ashley Madison situation—a website designed for the purpose of inviting people to come and have a secret affair. As Scripture says, what is done in secret, spoken in the closet, will one day come to light.

And that has happened, as that website got hacked. I think I saw recently that there are thirty-seven million names (of mostly men, but millions of women as well) who had signed onto that website saying that they wanted to have a secret affair. Now their names and their email addresses are out in the open.

We see the widespread expansion and proliferation and celebration of immorality.

We see that the days are evil on the world scene. We see the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. We see ISIS claiming victory after victory in the Middle East and now gaining a foothold in Europe. And you can bet it won't be long before we see that foothold established here on our continent.We see the Kremlin becoming more aggressive.

The days are evil! We're hurtling toward judgment. I believe that the judgment of God is not just something that is coming, that is yet future. That is the case, but I believe we're experiencing a form of God's judgment that takes place when God just lifts His presence and lifts His protective hand from off a people, or off a nation, or a culture and says, "You want to have it your way? Have it your way!" And He gives them over to their wicked devices.

You see, the presence of God in this country among those who believe the Word of God and practice it—the salt and the light and the reverence for God and the fear of the Lord (even among those who didn't know Christ in a saving way)—there was still a reverence for God in generations past. But we see that being removed, and God just giving us over to have it our way.

That's the judgment of God. What could be more dangerous!

Some of you follow, perhaps, Joel Rosenberg, who is a man who understands the times and understands what we ought to do in light of the times. Not too long ago he wrote a blog post (he writes them frequently) about what's going on in our culture and in our world.

Back in June, one of his posts said this, "Warning signs are flashing everywhere! Alarm bells are ringing everywhere. Far too many self-professed Christians are groggy or asleep, and we need a wake-up call!" We need a wake-up call.

That's what the apostle says in Ephesians 5:17–18, "Therefore [because the days are evil] do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine . . ."

Don't give yourself over to excess. Don't fall into the spirit of our age, which says, "Live and party and celebrate; eat, drink and be merry. Today we live, tomorrow we die, so what? Que sera sera."

He says, "Don't be like that for that is a foolish way of living!"

[continuing Ephesians 5:18] "[don't get drunk] for that is debauchery, but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit." Now, who would have thought that, when the days are evil, the solution would be what the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to say in Ephesians chapter 5?

"When the days are evil," he says, "Look carefully how you walk. Don't be unwise. Be wise; don't be foolish. Understand what the will of the Lord is. Make the best use of your time. Don't be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit."

Do you know what God's antidote is for "such a time as this?" What does God say? He doesn't say, "Go march in the streets; go campaign; go elect somebody different . . ." (though I think, as citizens of this country, we have a responsibility to vote responsibly for those who fear the Lord and will honor His way). Ultimately, the key in "such a time as this" is for the people of God to be filled with the Spirit of God, to have wisdom and understanding, to live wisely, to live out the gospel in the context of where God has placed us—in our homes, our neighborhoods, our schools, our churches—to pray to be wise, to be understanding, to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God.

So what time is it? Even in these evil days, it's time to trust the Lord. That's what Scripture tells us. It's not a time to be afraid. It's not a time to cower in fear. It's not a time to barricade ourselves in our little holy fortresses.

It's a time to be confident in the Lord. Psalm 31 illustrates this. The Psalmist, in this passage, was surrounded by enemies who were setting out to destroy him. He says in verse 14, "But I trust in you, O Lord." It's not a time to be fearful. It's a time to trust in the Lord, to be confident in Him.

"I say, 'You are my God.'" Even in these evil days, even in these times when the enemies of God are threatening the people of God and the ways of God. "I trust in you, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God' (vv. 14–15). My times are in your hand.  Now, that's a safe place to be. That's a great place to be!

Our times are not in the hand of fate. Our times are not in the hands of government bureaucrats or elected officials or the courts or pollsters or social architects and engineers. Our times are not in the hands of those who despise Christ and His gospel.

Our times are not in our own hands, try as we might to control our own lives. Our times are in His hand. He's got the whole world in His hands! And aren't you glad our times—this whole world—it's all in His hand?

We see in Scripture that God sovereignly appoints times and seasons. That's why we can trust Him. Acts 17:26–27 (I love these verses),

God made from one man [Adam] every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined [God determined this] allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place [why?], that they should seek God.

God sovereignly, and in eternity past, determined who would live where, who would live when. And He did all this so that in every generation and in every place, people should seek the Lord. Now, there are some aspects of God's plan and His timing that we cannot know, we can't discern, we can't understand.

In those cases we have to just trust that God knows exactly what time it is, that God knows exactly what's going on in this world. God knows exactly what He's doing. He's always at work so that people would come to seek Him and believe the gospel and be saved.

After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples, and He told them to wait in Jerusalem until He sent His Holy Spirit. In Acts 1:6 we read that when they came together the disciples asked Jesus (this is after the resurrection, now), "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"

You see, they had a script in mind, they had a plot in mind, they had a plan in mind, they had their own thoughts. And they thought, Now God's going to get rid of these Romans. He's going to overthrow the Roman government, and He's going to give the kingdom back to the people of God.

Jesus didn't really answer their question. He didn't tell them what was going to happen. He just said, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But [here's what you can know] you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses."

Whatever happens—whether the Roman government continues—which it did for a great while; it got worse before it got better. It's going to get worse before it gets better. Jesus says, "My father determines the times. Here's what you [disciples] need to do: Be filled with the Holy Spirit and be My witnesses, wherever you are placed."

So, in such a time as this, we're not supposed to just drift and stumble around like blind men and hang on for dear life until the rapture of the church. We have a calling. We have a mandate. We're supposed to be filled with the Spirit, fulfilling what He has left us here on earth to do—pointing men and women and children to Jesus.

We have a mandate. We're supposed to be filled with the Spirit, fulfilling what He has left us here on earth to do—pointing men and women and children to Jesus.

There's a lot that we don't know about the times and what God is up to. But one thing we do know, according to God's Word, that it is time to seek the Lord. "It's time to seek the Lord," Hosea 10:12, "that he may come and rain righteousness upon you."

We seek Him out of desperation, but we seek Him with hope, knowing that we have nowhere else to turn. He is the One who's got this whole word in His hands. He's the One who's accomplishing His eternal purposes. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life," [Peter said].

We pray that He would come and rain down righteousness upon us—upon our lives, our families, our churches and upon this world. You say, "Could that really happen, that God would pour down a downpour, an outpouring of righteousness?"

Well, it's happened at times in history. We call those "spiritual awakenings." We call them "revivals." I think of Ninevah's day, when God sent the prophet Jonah to call the people to repentance, and they repented! God turned their hearts, and their response was quick; it was deep. No one could have predicted it. There's no human explanation, except that God moved, and He turned away the disaster He had threatened because people turned to Him.

Should we not be seeking the Lord also and believing Him for our nation . . . for your nation, whatever that nation may be . . . for our world? We should seek that He would once again move in response to the heart-cries of His people, out of His great mercy. "For such a time as this." That's going to be our emphasis over these next weeks, during the month of December.

I want to encourage you that it is time to seek the Lord. I want to encourage you (and I'll share a little bit more about this tomorrow) to give to support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts as we're trying to get this message out about the times in which we live, to those who listen to this ministry.

But before you give to this ministry, let me just say that it is time to join our hearts in seeking the Lord, pleading with Him, appealing to Him, fervently asking that He may visit His people and our land in our day and rain down His righteousness upon us!

And, O Lord, how we pray that for such a time as this You would come and visit us, Your people. Rain down righteousness for Your glory, the expansion and the advancement of Your kingdom that all people everywhere might come to know and worship the holy Name of Jesus. It's in Your name that we pray, amen.

Leslie: That's Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth in a series called What Time Is It? Nancy has been showing us why it's such a sobering time, but also a time of great opportunity.

Some friends of Revive Our Hearts have given you an opportunity here in December. They are matching the gifts of every listener, up to a matching challenge amount of $820,000.

We're asking the Lord to provide what's needed to meet—and then exceed—this challenge. Would you help us? Would you ask Him what He would have you give, and then call 1–800–569–5959, or donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Do you ever look at world events and start to fear? Instead of responding in fear, Nancy will show you the power of seeking the Lord and calling out to Him in prayer. She'll talk about it tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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

About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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