Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Often we don’t seek the Lord until we’re in distress. When you've got money in the bank and the sun’s shining and your husband’s crazy about you and your kids love you and are obedient and everything’s going your way, do you find that you’re not quite as motivated or driven to your knees?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, September 11. When you say or hear today’s date, September 11, does emotion still surge up inside you remembering the events that shook the nation six years ago?

So many turned to God in earnest pray in the days after the terrorist attacks. Nancy will invite you to that same kind of intense prayer as she continues in a series called Seeking Him. She’ll begin by remembering an important event that took place 150 years ago.

Nancy: It was 150 years ago this month that the Lord came and visited this nation in an extraordinary way that many historians have referred to as the Third Great Awakening. Some would call it the Great Prayer Awakening. It began in New York City.

Over these next several weeks we’re going to be telling you more about this Great Awakening. If you’ve not heard the story, you don’t want to miss that. We’ll be devoting some time over these next weeks to trying to recreate for you some sense of what God did during those days and weeks and months in a way that impacted not only this country but also other continents as well.

This revival has been called the Great Prayer Revival. What took place 150 years ago was that people who had been seeking after wealth, after affluence . . . It was in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. People had been making money hand over fist.

All of a sudden people got desperate because there was a great financial crash, a financial panic, and now people were desperate for God. People who had not even been thinking about God all of sudden were crowding the churches, praying, seeking the Lord with all of their hearts. Do you know why? They had nowhere else to turn. They were desperate.

As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of that Great Prayer Revival of 1857 and 1858, as we commemorate that during these next weeks, our prayer is that God will set the hearts of His people in this country once again to seeking Him.

There may be just something in your own life that makes you desperate for God, something that brings you to the end of yourself and causes you to cry out and say, “Lord, I have nowhere to turn but to You. I will seek You with all of my heart."

Now as we’re introducing this series this week and talking about what it means to seek Him, I think we need to raise the question, why? Why should we seek the Lord? With all the things that demand our time and our attention, with all the things on our to-do lists, all the things in front of us, all the things screaming for our time and effort, why focus on seeking the Lord?

One good reason is that He is God. There is no one like Him. All we need is found in Him. You have Him and you have everything you need. If you find the Lord, everything else you need in your life will fall into place. He is the highest priority, the priority of our lives, to seek Him.

When we seek the Lord, we are setting our eyes and our hope on that which is eternal rather than that which is temporal. Don’t you find that in the course of everyday life, so much of our time and effort is spent focusing on things that won’t last? Things that a year or two from now or less won’t matter at all.

Now, some of those things you need to do. Your kids probably need something to eat today. They probably need clothes to wear to school. But there are some of those things that have become our preoccupation, our fixation and we become enmeshed in the things of this world and keep our eyes down here on this earth so much so that we forget all about eternity. We forget about the things that really matter.

So as we seek Him, we’re lifting our eyes up and we’re setting our focus on that which lasts. We seek Him because we realize that there is no hope apart from Him. I have no hope. You have no hope. Your church and your family have no hope. This world has no hope. This nation has no hope apart from the Lord.

As I look around and think about some of the news items in recent days in this country and in the world, I was talking with a friend the other day about just some of the tragedies going on in the world and some of the confusion and some of the headlines. We were just saying to each other, “Things are a mess. Things are desperate.”

The phrase came to mind—it’s in the old King James Version of Psalm 82, verse 5, where it says, “All the foundations of the earth are out of course.” They’re out of alignment. “All the foundations of the earth are out of course.” In the ESV, the translation I use now, it says, “They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.”

Don’t you find that to be true? Some of us years ago would have never dreamt that we would be dealing with today, things we never had thought we’d see in the headlines or hear in the news or be reading about are actually happening all around us. The foundations of the earth, the things we thought were secure, have been shaken.

There is only one unshakable, eternal reality, and that is God himself. That’s why we seek Him. We don’t have anywhere else to turn. All the other things that we’ve been seeking are not working. They are not adequate. They are not solving our issues.

I know that from the emails that I read from our listeners, people who are desperate. All the books they’ve been reading and the counselors they’ve been going to and the programs they’ve been trying, they’re not working. Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the wall. He’s taken a great fall and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put Humpty back together again.

But God. He’s the God of miracles. He’s the God of resurrection. He’s the God of the impossible. That’s why we seek Him.

As we think about the headlines, you know that the best economists admit that they really don’t have long-term solutions for our failing economy. Throughout this coming year our nation’s going to be focused on the election. It is an important election. There are significant issues at stake, but I want to assure you that there is no political party, there is no president, there is no elected official, there is no law that can solve our greatest problems or meet our deepest needs. I don’t care how great they are. They cannot do what only God can do in this world.

My friend, Jerry Kirk, who is an older godly man who was a pastor for many years and now for many years has headed up the national campaign against pornography, has been in the muck and mire of dealing with this horrendous battle. He’s been there in the trenches.

I remember him saying to me a number of years ago—it just stuck with me—as we talked about this battle against pornography, which has only gotten worse with Internet pornography. He said, “Nancy, there is no hope for the moral crisis that is facing our nation apart from true revival in the Church.” There’s no hope.

That’s why he said, as an organization dealing with pornography, we are concentrating 90% of our efforts on the church. If God’s people will seek Him, then God will intervene.

I think about the threat of Islamic fascism. Militant Islamism—around the world and how that is not only on foreign territory but actually on our own soil. It’s a very real threat. We’re dealing with powerful forces of wickedness and darkness spearheaded by Satan himself in our world today on many different fronts.

I want to tell you that the strongest military machine in the world is not adequate to defend our nation or any other nation against the powers of evil. Only God can do that. That’s why we must seek Him.

In the book of 2 Chronicles in the Old Testament, beginning in chapter 14, we read the story of a king named Asa. He was the king of Judah. He was the great-grandson of Solomon. In 2 Chronicles chapters 14 through 16, there are at least eight references to seeking the Lord, seeking Him, seeking the Lord.

I want to read several verses, starting in chapter 14 of 2 Chronicles, beginning in verse 2. “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God. He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim [monuments to idols] and commanded Judah to seek the LORD.”

No more idolatry. No more seeking after pagan gods. He commanded them, "It’s time to seek the Lord." He “commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment” (2 Chronicles 2:4).

Look at verse 9, “Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots.” This is a huge threat. This is a military power that is going to mow down the nation of Judah if God doesn’t intervene.

God does intervene. Look at verse 11. “Asa cried to the Lord his God [and what did he say?] . . . ‘Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O LORD, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.’ So the LORD defeated the Ethiopians [Judah could not have done that, but the Lord could and He did.] before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.”

Now turn over to chapter 15, 2 Chronicles 15, verse 1. “The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Obed, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.’”

Ladies, those are our two options. We are either seeking the Lord or we are forsaking Him. There’s none of this middle ground of just drifting. You’re not drifting spiritually. If you are not seeking the Lord proactively, then you are forsaking the Lord. This prophet said to King Asa, the king of Judah, if you seek the Lord, He will be found by you. He will not let you down. He will not desert you. He will come through. But if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.

Verse 3, “For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.”

You notice when they sought Him? They sought Him when they were in distress. I think it’s sad but nonetheless true that often we don’t seek the Lord until we’re in distress.

When you’ve got money in the bank and the sun’s shining and your husband’s crazy about you and your kids love you and are obedient and everything’s going your way, do you find that you’re not quite as motivated or driven to your knees? It’s desperation. It’s distress.

So if you are in a place of distress, and I know that many of our listeners are . . . I get the emails. I read many of them, and I hear the heart cries, and I hear the distress, and I hear the desperation. Part of me says, “Oh, I can’t imagine how you’re handling this, and I can’t imagine what to say to you, and I feel so bad for your situation.”

But the other part of me says, “That’s a good place to be.” I wouldn’t wish it on you. I hope you don’t wish it on me, but if it’s distress that we need to make us seek the Lord, then Lord, whatever it takes put us in the place where we will earnestly cry out and seek You. In their distress they turned to the Lord. They sought Him and He was found by them.

Verse 5, “In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands.”

Does that sound like our day? Great disturbances, terrorism. I don’t even know by the time that we actually put this program on the air what will be in the headlines, but I can tell you it’s not going to be better than it is today. There’s going to be great distress.

On the very day that this program airs in parts of the world, there will be great distress taking place—in the world and in many of the homes and hearts of our listeners. If it’s not happening to you that day, it will be at some point. The world is such that you cannot avoid it. It’s a fallen world. There’s great disturbance.

Verse 6, “They were broken in pieces. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress.”

I want to tell you, Satan may be behind a lot of what’s going on in our world today. He has forces and minions and people and kings and rulers and terrorists and other people that he uses as pawns on his chessboard, but Satan is not the ultimate power. God is sovereign. God is on his throne.

God is the one who is moving the pieces on the board. He knows what he is doing and God knows how to shake up the foundations of this world and to shake up perhaps even the foundations of your life to bring us and to bring you to the point where you will seek after Him.

The prophet goes on in verse 7, “But you, take courage! [King Asa] Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded. As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah, the son of Oded, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of the LORD that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the LORD.”

Ladies, that’s what God wants to happen when we come to times of distress in our world, in our land, in our homes, in our lives. That’s a signal. It’s a time to get rid of our idols, to cry out to the Lord, to repair the altar of the Lord that’s been broken down, to really start to pray, to lift up our hearts, to seek Him with all our hearts.

Are you ready to seek Him? Are you being pressed? Are you being pressured? Do you feel like you are in a pressure cooker? You’re in a vice. It may be your marriage. It may be your children. It may be a health issue. It may be a financial issue. It may be something in your workplace. It may be something that’s going on nationally or internationally. Distress is supposed to drive us to our knees, to seek the Lord.

So what did Asa do? Verse 9, “He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were residing with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel [the northern kingdom] when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.”

Ladies, when people see that God and His presence are on and with and in you, they will be coming and knocking on your door, calling you, emailing you, and saying how can I find the Lord with you? They’ll be wanting to seek Him together with you.

Wouldn’t it be an incredible day if the people of God and our nation were so earnestly and intensely seeking the Lord that lost people around us, people of other religions, people of false religions, idol worshipers, people who’ve been on the fringe, professing church members who don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, if they’d be calling us and saying how can I know the Lord?

He’s real. I see the evidence of Him in your life, and I want to know Him. I want to walk with Him. That’s what revival will bring about in this land and in our world.

Verse 10, “They were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. They sacrificed to the LORD on that day from the spoil that they had brought 700 oxen and 7,000 sheep. And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul.”

Ladies, it’s time for our homes, our families, our churches, our communities to gather together to seek the Lord.

On the way into the studio this morning, I talked to the Director of our ministry, Life Action Ministries, and heard about a gathering that took place last night of pastors and believers from churches in three neighboring communities in a part of western Michigan who were gathering together to seek the Lord, churches and people that have never gathered together before for anything, much less to seek the Lord, but gathering together from different denominations, different backgrounds, but with one heart and one purpose, to seek the Lord with all their heart and with all their soul.

A longing in my prayer is that in these next weeks we might see that happening in pockets all across this nation.

Don’t wait for somebody else to extend the invitation. You extend the invitation. Call somebody today and say, "Would you seek the Lord with me? Could we seek the Lord together? Let’s pray. Let’s pray for our homes. Let’s pray for our marriages. Let’s pray for our church."

Call somebody in your church. Quit complaining and griping about the pastor and the elders and the youth group. Get on your faces. Seek the Lord together, and say Lord we need You. Don’t look to the election this coming year to solve our nation's issues. Get on your face with other believers and say Lord this nation needs You.

The Republicans aren’t going to solve these issues. The Democrats aren’t going to solve these issues and neither is any other party going to solve these issues. Lord, we need You.

Verse 15, “All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire.” I love that phrase. Lord, all we long for, all we desire is You. They “sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the LORD gave them rest all around.”

Does that sound like something you’d like to have? Peace. Peace in your home. Peace in this world. It comes as we seek the Lord and then the Lord gives rest. So I want to encourage us again as we launch into this 12-week series on Seeking Him to turn to God, to give your attention to Him, to seek Him earnestly, to pray for revival, pray for our churches.

We have a lot of good churches today, but a lot of those good churches are more or less going through the motions. Business as usual. Where’s the fire of God? Where’s the presence of God? Where’s the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God on our pastors as they’re preaching the Word.

You say, “Yes, I wish my pastor were more anointed.” How much have you prayed for that? How much have you been asking God to anoint? Have you been seeking the Lord or just saying pastor come and feed me and fill me? Don’t seek your pastor. Seek the Lord. Seek the Lord for your pastor.

You say, "My husband, he’s not a spiritual leader." How much time have you spent on your knees asking God to draw and win and woo and transform your husband’s heart? Seek the Lord.

Hosea 10, verse 12, says, “It is time to seek the LORD.” What time is it? It’s time to seek the Lord. It may be time for some other things in your life, but I want to tell you it’s time to seek the Lord. How long do we seek Him? Until He comes. Until He comes and rains righteousness on you.

Can you just picture it? O Lord, we’ve had mercy drops falling around us, but Lord for the showers we plead. Until He comes and rains righteousness on you.

Again, let me just remind you that starting this Saturday morning, we’ll have 12 national prayer meetings for revival–one each Saturday morning for the next 12 weeks seeking the Lord together. I don’t know what you usually do on Saturday mornings, but I want to tell you it’s time to seek the Lord.

I want to encourage you to participate in that prayer meeting. You can do it by listening on different stations across the nation that will be airing the prayer meetings live. You can do it on the Internet. If you go to ReviveOurHearts.com, we’ll tell you how you can connect to that national prayer meeting for revival.

I want to encourage you to set aside that hour on Saturday morning to seek the Lord yourself. Perhaps gather others around you and then do it with people, Lord willing, thousands of people from across this nation who will be seeking the Lord together on Saturday mornings. Not just on Saturday mornings, but throughout the day, throughout the night, in these weeks ahead.

Leslie: Gathering Christian leaders to pray for revival using the phone and Internet. This is a bold, forward-thinking idea. Don’t miss your chance to participate. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com and look up information on how you can listen to the national prayer meetings for revival.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been inviting you to join thousands of other listeners in seeking the Lord more deeply over the next 12 weeks. The national prayer meetings for revival is one way.

Another is to go through the workbook Nancy wrote with Tim Grissom called Seeking Him. People have come away from this study feeling great freedom, a new sense of passion for the Lord, and a new perspective of what it means to live for Him.

Would you hit pause? Pause the to-do list, the constant scrambling, the noisy track of life. Take just a few minutes right now and consider taking this journey. When you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts, we’ll send you the Seeking Him workbook along with a booklet called Preparing for Revival.

Again, ask for the booklet and Nancy’s workbook, Seeking Him, when you call with your donation: 1-800-569-5959. Or donate and order at ReviveOurHearts.com.

To seek more of God means you have to invest time and energy. Is it really worth it? Nancy picks up that question tomorrow. Now she’s back to pray with us.

Nancy: O Lord, again we cry out to You and say we need You. We long for You and Lord we would seek You with all our desire. Thank You for Your promise that when we seek, we will find.

Lord, I pray for listeners who are desperate, who are needy. They’re heavy-hearted. Maybe they’ve given up hope. I pray, Lord, that You will rekindle that flame of hope in their hearts and that promise that even if You have a million-man army coming against You, that army is no match for You, O Lord, if we will turn and seek You with all our hearts.

We cry out to You and say, Lord, come and visit. Come and meet with us. Come and revive our hearts for Jesus’ sake we pray it, amen.

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

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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