Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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What You Know and Who You Know

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says when you’re going through a hardship, there’s one thing you need to keep in mind.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Be continually remembering Jesus Christ. That’s what will enable you to endure hardship and to be faithful when you are tested.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Quiet Place, for Thursday, June 20, 2019.

Here’s Nancy in a series called, "Enduring Life’s Hardships."

Nancy: When I turned forty a number of years ago, I took some time to seek the Lord and ask Him to give me a sense of direction or burden for the next chapter of my life. There were many precious things the Lord ministered to me during that time. The one phrase that just seemed to stick in my heart—and I didn’t know why and I’m still not sure I know why—but the one phrase that just kept coming to me during those weeks where I was seeking the Lord as I turned forty was this phrase: Prepare to suffer.

Now I didn’t have any vision. I didn’t hear any audible voice saying that, but that was the thing that just seemed to be on my heart. I just sensed that the Lord was giving to me a call to learn how to endure. I wasn’t sure then what all the Lord had in mind. As I said, I’m still not sure what all that meant.

My own personal suffering in the years since then has been minimal and hardly worth mentioning, but I do know that we have many Revive Our Hearts listeners who suffer in various ways. I read a lot of those emails and hear from them. I thought perhaps the Lord just wanted me to be able to help encourage others who are suffering.

I know that in the period of these years that Christianity has come under increased attack in many parts of the world. I’m receiving regular reports about believers who are being persecuted for their faith in different countries.

Even in the United States, those who cling to the authority of Scripture as the Word of God, Christ as the Son of God, salvation through faith in Christ alone, a biblical view of morality—those who hold to those kinds of outdated notions are often the target of ridicule and are many times today being penalized in the workplace, in schools, in universities.

There are laws being passed as we speak that make it increasingly difficult for Christians to be open about their faith in the public square, so we don’t know where all this is going. I don’t know where it’s going. I’m not a prophet, but I just know that the thing that seemed to be on my heart those years ago was prepare to suffer. Learn how to endure.

Whether individually or collectively in the days ahead we know from the Scripture that there will come times of increased suffering. I’ve had a growing burden for the ministry of Revive Our Hearts as we look to these next years, as we look at what’s going on in our world. Again, we don’t know where terrorism or natural disasters will strike, but I just had a sense that we need to equip our listeners to be prepared to suffer.

That’s part of what has motivated me to do this series, and part of what’s motivating many of the things I’m teaching. I’m not meaning to be morbid or to wish trouble. I just know it’s coming. It comes into every life. It comes into our culture. It comes into our world. We will all face it in different ways, and we need to be prepared to face it.

Over these last several days, we’ve been looking at the epistle of 2 Timothy. The last letter that the apostle Paul wrote that we have in our canon of Scripture. He wrote it from a prison in Rome. We’ve described some of the circumstances that he was under. Certainly not desirable ones.

He was to be executed shortly. He knew he was at the end of his life and ministry, and he wrote this letter to Timothy, his young son in the faith, who was a pastor, a godly man, but one who was easily intimidated and easily fell prey to fear and discouragement. In essence, Paul was saying to Timothy, "Learn to suffer. Prepare to suffer. Learn to endure."

So I want to just take a few moments here and quickly review what we’ve said in this series and then just wrap it up with a few closing thoughts. Again, don’t try and jot all this down because we’ll have this available on ReviveOurHearts.com, numbered so that you can remember these points. You can print this out and you can perhaps keep these things in your Bible or somewhere near where you can refer to them as you learn to endure.

We said first that Paul told Timothy that he should expect to suffer and so should we. It is a necessary, normal part of the Christian life. We’re called to endure hardship. So the question is how do we endure hardship? Over these days we’ve talked about ten different perspectives or insights from the book of 2 Timothy that help us know how to endure hardship.

The first one was don’t forget why you are suffering. Remember there’s a purpose in suffering. Paul said I suffer for the sake of the gospel. I suffer for the sake of the elect, that is those who will believe in Christ as I continue to proclaim the gospel by my life and my words. Paul says I’m willing to suffer for their sake. He says ultimately I suffer for the glory of God, that God may be glorified. That was his purpose, his mission. Don’t forget why you’re suffering.

Then we learned this perspective, number two, that you are a prisoner of Christ, not of your circumstances or of other people. Paul said I’m a prisoner of Jesus Christ. He could have said I’m a prisoner of the Roman government, but no, he considered himself a prisoner of Christ. That is a perspective that will help you to endure.

Then we said, third, we need to keep going back to the things we know to be true, the basics, reminding ourselves of the things we’ve learned from His Word. Reminding ourselves of what it means to be saved and what it means to be called, how we got to where we are. Paul said I was called to be an apostle.

You say, "Well, I’m not an apostle. What am I called to do?" Are you a mother? Are you serving the Lord as a single woman? Are you a wife? In whatever season of life you are, what has God called you to do and to be? Keep reminding yourself that you are there by God’s appointing and God’s calling. Remember then that He will give you grace to serve Him in that calling even when it’s hard.

Then we said, number four, keep doing whatever God has called you to do regardless of how hard it is or how much opposition you may face. Now when I say what God has called you to do, do you want to know what that is? Go to His Word. His Word tells you. He has called you to rejoice always, to be joyful in tribulation. His Word has called you to wait on the Lord rather than fretting over evildoers.

Whatever God has called you to do, do it no matter how hard it is or how much opposition you face. Stay the course. Keep doing what God has given you to do. When you can’t see what lies ahead, you don’t know how you’ll get out of this, you don’t know how it will be overcome, keep doing whatever God has called you to do.

Then, number five, trust God to deal with those who oppose the truth. You may have one of those in your university. You may have one of those in a high school classroom. You may have one of those people that you’re living with at home.

Trust God to deal with those who oppose the truth. That means don’t take matters into your hands. Pray and ask God to bring your opponents to repentance and keep remembering who the real opponent is. He’s the devil who has taken captive those who have listened to his lies. Trust God to deal with them.

Then, number six, remember times in the past when the Lord has delivered or rescued you. Remember times in the past what He has done that will give you hope and courage today.

Then, number seven, remember the resources God has given you to deal with hardship and use those resources. The grace of God, the gift of God, the power of God, the spirit of God, and the Word of God.

Then, number eight, remember that you’re not alone. You may feel alone. Everyone that you trusted or looked to help and support you may have left you or deserted you or moved away or died or whatever. You may feel that you’re alone, but remember you’re not alone.

You have two things. First of all, you have the presence of Christ. The psalmist says if my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up. You have Christ. He walks with you. He’s promised to be with you always. The presence of Christ should encourage you and help you to endure.

We also are part of a body of Christ and God has given other believers to help encourage us, to help us endure. So we talked about how we need to pray for each other, to remember others who are suffering, to stay connected with like-minded people to the extent that we can, to let others minister to us. Remember the people that God has brought into your life in the past who have encouraged you. Thank God for those people even if they aren’t there right now.

Develop godly heroes, faithful men and women of God that you can look at their life and the outcome of their faith and you can follow their faith as they have followed Christ. Learn from those who’ve gone before you, those who are older in their faith and then remember that you have a responsibility to pass on that baton of faith to those who are coming behind you. Remember you’re not alone.

Then, number nine, no matter how difficult things are today know that you can face the future with hope. We said there are four things you can be sure of about the future. First, all wrongs will be righted. Those who oppose the truth will be brought to justice. God will handle them. Any seeming victory they may have is only appearance of a victory, and it will be short-lived.

Then remember that the Lord will rescue you from all trouble. He will. He’s promised. You can be sure of that in the future. In His way and in His time He will deliver you.

Then remember about the future that all your suffering, all your efforts, all your labors, your faithfulness under fire will be rewarded in that day, the day when we receive rewards for faithfulness, when we stand before the Lord and He says, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21). Remember that your sufferings will be rewarded. “Weeping may endure for a night,” Psalm 30:5 says, “but joy comes in the morning.”

Then remember that you will give an account and guard the deposit that has been entrusted to you as you prepare to face Christ and give account. Remember that you can face the future with hope.

Then, number ten, we said remember Jesus Christ. Remember Jesus Christ risen from the dead or as the sense of the sentence is there, be continually remembering Jesus Christ. That’s what will enable you to endure hardship and to be faithful when you are tested.

I’ve been talking recently with a friend. You’ve heard her on Revive Our Hearts before. Her name is Kim Wagner. When Kim sends me emails, she often will sign those emails with Hebrews 12:1–4. Looking unto Jesus, seeing how He endured. Consider Him. It will help you endure.

I just asked Kim since she’s with us here today in the studio if she would take a few minutes and just share out of her life one illustration. Many others of you could give illustrations as well. How she has found that looking unto Jesus, remembering Jesus Christ, has helped her to be faithful and to endure.

Kim Wagner: Several years ago I claimed Hebrews 12:1–4, that passage, as my life verse. This passage came to mean so much to me at a time in my life that I felt like I was engulfed in my own pain and difficulty, but now as I look back, that was not true suffering. It’s miniscule in comparison to what true suffering is.

I was a young mother of two preschool children. My husband had been a respected pastor and successful in the world’s terms or in the evangelical world’s terms. Through the typical struggles and difficulty of ministry, he suddenly resigned his pastorate and we were left without income or without knowing what our future held.

It was very difficult for me because I had been called to ministry as a young girl, and I loved being a pastor’s wife. I couldn’t see into the future what was going to become of us. My husband, in order to have income, took a job at a local trucking company. So he went from being a well-respected pastor at a thriving church to being an eighteen-wheel, over-the-road truck driver, which was quite a contrast in vocation that would keep him out on the road several weeks at a time many times.

I felt very lonely and isolated. I no longer had my church family for support, and I felt very alone with just my two young children. Eventually because of the change in our financial condition, my uncle graciously offered for us to move into a place that he had that had been a diesel mechanic’s shop and had been abandoned for several years. He said we could live there rent-free for just doing some repairs on the property.

I’ll never forget the first day I walked into that shop and I saw the holes in the walls and obvious signs of rodents, and we found a few dead animals. We weren’t sure what they were. As I walked around, I kept saying, "I can’t do this. I cannot do this." (To myself.)

But as we began to move in and I tried to scrub the walls and the floors, there seemed to be just growing mounds of dirt and mud the more I scrubbed. The children called the house the flea house because it was so infested with fleas. We were never able to get rid of all the fleas. It seemed like a very, to me, dark time, a time that I just could not endure through the loneliness of him being gone with my two children alone in a very uncomfortable environment—a great change in my life.

Now as I look back, that season of suffering was not true suffering, but it was a time that God was using in my life to teach me important principles that I am still using today. The most precious thing He brought to me was when He taught me from this Hebrews 12 passage to fix my eyes on Jesus. Jesus became my companion. He became my safe place. He became my guardian, my husband.

He met with me there in the flea house in such a precious and meaningful and real way. He taught me that if I will fix my eyes on Him, I’m able to endure and walk through it. It’s not just fixing my eyes on Him, it’s looking at what He has done and His suffering that for the joy of purchasing me—of purchasing His elect—He endured the cross.

Then in verse four, He taught me to remind myself—and I have to repeat this to myself often—I have not shed blood. I have not shed blood in resisting against sin. I know that there are others that have. So as I look at their lives also, it encourages me. But I know I have not shed blood.

So today as I still go through different challenges, and this year has been a challenging year for me, it has been so good to be reminded of that over and over. I have not shed blood. The Lord Jesus is so faithful. He has been so faithful to walk me through every season that has called for endurance. But the endurance and the suffering pales in comparison to Him and my relationship with Him.

The desire that He placed in my heart there in that flea house was Numbers 14:21: “That I might be a part of filling the whole earth with His glory.” As I told Him there in the flea house and repeat to Him today, I would rather live in a flea house meeting with You and being right with You than to live in a palace on earth because there is no greater joy than meeting with Him and being in His presence. I desire to glorify Him in whatever place He puts me.

Nancy: Thank you, Kim, for a perspective that will help you endure. Remember Jesus Christ. That’s the perspective that’s enabling our brothers and sisters around the world to endure persecution for their faith today.

I got a report yesterday from Pakistan about a twenty-four-year-old woman who converted from Islam to Christianity and as a result was attacked by her own family, was raped. She and her husband and two young daughters have fled from their home in Karachi and are now in hiding with fear of being discovered. She told a reporter that returning to Islam is not an option. You know why? She said we’ve fallen in love with Jesus, so how could we betray Him. She is remembering Jesus Christ.

That’s what enabled the apostle Paul and countless other first-century believers to endure when they were being maligned, when they were thrown to the lions for proclaiming that Jesus is Lord. What did they do? They remembered Jesus Christ.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been giving you important perspective on your suffering today.  Remember Jesus and His suffering.

Earlier in the program we heard from Kim Wagner, a long-time friend of Revive Our Hearts. Kim writes for the True Woman blog, and often shares out of her personal journey with suffering. In 2015, Her husband was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease. But throughout this difficult season, Kim has fought to not lose heart but to rely on God’s mercy and grace to meet each day’s needs. Kim reminds us of this gospel hope in a recent blog post. She says,

Jesus is the Lamb of God who laid down His life to deliver us from the mess we made and reverse the effects of the Fall. When we receive what He has done, we have the solid foundation of the living hope He secured for us. As we function in life and consistently walk in that hope, it shapes our reactions to adversity and our interactions with others. That living hope shapes us into living examples of His grace, filling the earth with His glory.

You can read more from Kim Wagner on the True Woman blog. We’ll link to her post in the transcript of today’s program. Just go to ReviveOurHearts.com. You can sign up to have this kind of encouragement from the True Woman blog sent directly to your inbox every morning. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com and look for the subscribe button at the bottom of the page.

We count it a privilege to provide fresh new resources, like this podcast or our three daily blogs, at no charge to you. We’re able to do this through the financial support of our listeners. These individuals choose to give generously and sacrificially to keep this ministry going. If the Lord lays it on your heart today to support this ministry, we’ll send you a new book by Elisabeth Elliot as our way of saying “thanks.” 

It’s called Suffering Is Never for Nothing, and it will help give you a biblical perspective on suffering. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com to make a gift of any size and get your copy of Elisabeth Elliot’s book on suffering, or ask for it when you call us at 1–800–569–5959. 

One of life’s greatest hardships is watching our children suffer. Tomorrow hear from a couple that went through that and endured for God’s glory. Now, Nancy’s back to pray.

Nancy: Forgive me, Lord, for how often I forget Jesus and how often I’m more conscious of my pressures and problems and issues and challenges than I am of Christ. It’s been a sweet thing in these moments to just counsel my own heart and to remember Jesus Christ. Hallelujah, what a Savior.

Thank You, Lord, that our suffering is not meaningless, that it’s not empty, that it’s not in vain. Thank You that because the apostle Paul was willing to suffer, to endure hardship there in that Mamertine Prison, today, 2,000 years later, our hearts are being strengthened and encouraged and helped to endure. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for what You endured and for the grace that You give me and each of us to endure as we continue to remember You. I give You thanks in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is helping you find hope in Jesus. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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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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