Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Working in the Power of the Holy Spirit, Day 2

Leslie Basham: Do you ever feel powerless to do what God is asking you to do?

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: You say, "I can't do this. This is impossible. Me, teach a Sunday school class? Me, lead a small group? I can hardly talk. I can't do this."

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds you what an angel told Mary when she was given an impossible assignment.

Nancy: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. If this is what God is calling you to do, then it will be His power, the power of the Holy Spirit.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

Most of us run around busy all day. It's so tempting to gear up and start working hard on our list without remembering where our strength comes from. Yesterday, we heard part one of a message from Nancy about doing all we do through the power of the Holy Spirit. You can hear part one at ReviveOurHearts.com. But now, let's hear some practical observations.

Nancy: Number one: We must let God speak to us before we speak His Word to others. If you start looking through this lens through Scripture, you'll see it all over the Old and New Testaments.

Ezra 7:10 tells us that "Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel." First his own study, his life, to study, to do, and then to teach.

We read in Psalm 39, "My heart became hot within me. As I mused [As I meditated, as I marinated, as I let God speak to me], the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue" (v. 3).

Too many of us are trying to speak with our tongues before we have let the fire of God's Word and God's Spirit and God's holiness burn hotly in our own hearts. How does that happen? It happens as we muse. It happens as we meditate. It happens as we wait on the Lord with this Book open before us. We're pondering, we're thinking, we're processing. We're letting it soak into our pores. And as we do, the fire burns. And then when you get up, there's fire. There's power.

It's not you. It's the Holy Spirit. You get up, and you teach with your tongue, and God does something supernatural out of the fire of your own heart to use it as kindling to light the fire in others' hearts.

John 12:41 refers back to the prophet Isaiah, the vision that Isaiah had in Isaiah 6. The vision was of the exalted Christ. "Isaiah said these things because he saw [Christ's] glory and spoke of him."

You can't speak of the glory of Christ in a way that will be compelling to others if you haven't first beheld His glory yourself. Isaiah was useless to take God's message to the nation until he had come into the temple of the Lord and seen the holy, holy, holy, exalted Christ whose train filled the temple. Not until he had a sense of wonder and awe and of his own unworthiness and then had that cleansing, searing moment at the altar where he was cleansed and filled with that vision of his own unworthiness and the power and the majesty of the crucified Christ that he sees in advance. Then he goes out, aflame, with the glory of God, and he speaks of the glory of God.

We have to let God speak to us before we speak His Word to others. We have to see Him before we can make Him seen by others.

You see this in Moses in Exodus 34 about how Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him. Then he would come out, and he would speak to the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded.

In the book of 1 Samuel chapter 3, the beginning of chapter 4, Scripture says, "The LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD" (v. 21). Then 4:1: "The word of Samuel came to all Israel."

What happened first? The Lord revealed Himself to Samuel. That's why God gave you this Book, so you could know God. The Lord revealed Himself to Samuel by His word, and then Samuel spoke the word to all of Israel. "And the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground" (3:19).

Wow! A lot of words being spoken today. A lot of classes being taught. A lot of videos being shown. A lot of radio programs, podcasts. When we started the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, I felt like there were already way too many people talking, and I had no interest in adding to the noise. So I said, "Lord, if You're in this, then I pray that You'd confirm it. And throughout this ministry, however long or short it might be, would You reveal Yourself to me by Your Word, and then would You give me grace to speak, and would You let not one word that comes from You fall to the ground?"

That's why I'm really conscious of not having wasted words. Now sometimes I do, but it's a desire that every word would count, that it would be a word that comes as I listen to the Lord, meet with Him with my open Bible, hear from Him, and then speak, and then everyone of those words takes root in someone's heart and does exactly what God sent it forth to accomplish.

Ezekiel chapter 2, let me just summarize. God brings to Ezekiel a scroll. It's an odd account. His hand is stretched out, and there's a scroll written on the front and on the back, and the messenger says to him, "Son of man. . . . Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel" (Ezek. 3:1).

"Eat this scroll." What does that mean? Well, as Ezekiel the prophet, anointed by God, consecrated for God's purposes, as he received and internalized God's message, symbolized in the "eating of the scroll," the Word of God, he was taking it into his own life so that it became a living, breathing, burning passion, fire within his own soul. And then he went and spoke to the people of Israel.

I am so tired of giving and listening to passionless messages where the speaker, myself so often, has not been at the fire of God's presence. We're just talking, and nobody's life is being changed, and God's not visiting us with His manifest presence. Could it be that one of the reasons is we're not seeking God for the divine anointing of our lives?

He said, "Son of man, eat the scroll. Go, speak to the house of Israel. All My words that I shall speak to you, receive in your heart and hear with your ears, and then go and speak to your people" (vv. 3, 10–11, paraphrased).

You'll never speak words with power to others that you haven't heard first God speak to your own heart. It takes time. There are no shortcuts. It takes waiting. It takes solitude.

Remember John the Baptist, who was in the wilderness listening to God until the day of his appearing to Israel? And once he went out, he was a man on fire and people came to watch him burn. They'll come and watch you burn when you get set aflame with the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord Jesus Himself said in John 8, "I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me" (v. 28).

I listen. I learn from my Father. And then I speak of what I have seen with my Father.

The apostle John in 1 John 1 says, concerning the Word of Life, "That which we have seen and heard, we proclaim also to you."

We have to let God speak to us before we speak about Him to others. Proclaim that which you have seen, heard, and experienced for yourself, and it will be alive in others.

I don't have it in this Bible, but for many years in the back of my Bible I had written out all stanzas to an old hymn of Frances Ridley Havergal. And before I would go speak, almost every time, I would get on my knees and sing this hymn. Let me just read to you a portion of it.

Lord, speak to me, that I may speak
In living echoes of Thy tone;
O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart
And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.

That's our prayer: "Lord, speak to me so that when I speak, people will know that they are hearing from You."

Number two: As we prepare our lives for anointed ministry, our lives must incarnate, or illustrate, what we proclaim to others. And again this is a principle you see throughout the Scripture.

Notably, in John 1 where we read that the Word became . . . what? Flesh. That's what incarnate means-in the flesh. The Word, the Word of God, the logos took on flesh—not just something mysterious, a theory up there, out there somewhere. The Word came in a physical, human body and took up residence among us, tabernacled among us, dwelt among us. Jesus, the living Word of God, put on flesh so we could read and know and hear and see and live with the Word of God.

And the Word must be incarnated in us, fleshed out in our lives, before we can effectively proclaim it to others in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The apostle Paul . . . I quoted him earlier from 1 Thessalonians 1, where he says our gospel didn't come just in Word, but in power and the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. He goes on to say, "You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord" (vv. 5–6).

First Thessalonians 2:10: "You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers."

Paul is saying, "We didn't just tell you the Word of God. Here's what part of the power was: We illustrated it in our lives. We didn't teach you one thing and then live another thing."

I've been in ministry long enough to see a lot of people who are . . . well, maybe not a lot, but a number . . . who are one thing on the platform and then a whole different persona off the platform. I'm going, "What's this?"

Well, what's this about me? How often is my own life a different person on the platform than off?

And Paul says, "There was no difference. You saw day and light as we lived among you what we were like, and you became imitators of us as we are imitators of the Lord."

And so I ask this question: If the people that I teach, if they imitate not just what I tell them to do, but what they see in my life, will they be imitators of God? What will their lives be like?

There's a very searching verse in Luke 6:40. I kind of wish it wasn't there, but it is. It says (Jesus says this), "Everyone when he is fully trained . . ." That's what we're trying to do—women teaching women. Right? Well, when we've done our job, "everyone, when he is fully trained will be like his teacher." It doesn't say he'll know what his teacher knows. It says he'll be like what his teacher is.

So the question is does your life off the platform support or contradict what you teach? You see, if the truth hasn't first changed us, it's not likely to change anyone else when we speak it.

If the truth hasn't first changed us, it's not likely to change anyone else when we speak it.

We pray, "Lord, start the work in me."

Oswald Chambers said it this way:

The message must be part of ourselves. Our lives must be the sacrament of our message. Before God's message can liberate other souls, the liberation must be real in you.

E. M. Bounds said it this way:

The power of preaching or teaching must always be backed by a Christ-like life. The preacher's every act must be a sermon. His life the Bible illustrated. His holiness, pure, the whitest flame. The life he lives must be the life of heaven on earth.

Now as Jen reminded us a few moments ago, who is equal to these things? I'm just maybe scaring us all and saying, "Well, I better never teach." (laughter) That's not the conclusion. The conclusion is, "Lord, I need You." Preparation—an anointed life. Don't skip by that as you prepare to teach the Word of God to others.

I've known women over the years who are masterful communicators. They're in demand. They're popular speakers. People come and fill rooms to hear them speak. But then you start talking to them about their marriage, about their home, about their personal walk with God. Sometimes their home is in shambles, literally, or their relationships are, while they're up teaching others the things of God. And I'm saying, "There is something wrong with this picture."

There's something wrong with that picture when it's true in my life. That I've got some great big message to proclaim here, but then in my relationships in the office, with my family, with my closest friends, there's not the fruit of the Spirit. When I'm challenging you to live a Spirit-filled life and a prayerful life and an anointed life, but off the platform my life is ho-hum and ordinary and not evidencing the power and the fruit of the Spirit, something doesn't add up.

So I come, and I say, "Oh, Lord." I'm saying to you I'm not all those things I'm calling us to be, but by God's grace, I'm headed that direction. I'm committed to be. I'm willing to be transparent to say where it's not working in my life but this is where, by God's grace, He's changing me and making me the kind of woman He wants me to be.

And I want to say to you, as Paul said, "Be imitators of me as I am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1), knowing that everyone, when he's been fully trained, will be like his teacher."

Oh, Lord, I pray that people who listen to me will go further than I have gone. But I can't count on that. I want to live the kind of life that compels people to follow Jesus as they see me doing that.

Well, let me just start a little bit into this matter of powerful presentation—anointed lips. I want to make just two points here, and then we'll take a break.

To have anointed lips, cultivate and communicate a sense of reverential awe for the Word of God—awe for the Word of God.

In Isaiah 66:2, God says, "This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word."

I want to say, I do think there is a place, an appropriate place for humor, in communicating truth, in teaching others, in teaching your children, discipling, speaking up here. But it can be a dangerous thing because I've seen far too many people in the pulpit, on the platform, in teaching settings, make light of serious truths from God's Word. I think we need to be really, really careful that we don't make light of these rich, powerful, amazing, awesome truths, that we stand under the Word of God in awe of this Book.

It's an awesome privilege and a responsibility to handle the Word of God. Never handle it lightly. Never treat it as a trivial thing.

Augustine said, "When the Bible speaks, God speaks."

That's why when I'm teaching through a text and I read the passage, I will almost always say, "Could we stand together for the reading of the Word as we give honor to the Word of God?" Because what this Book says is what is powerful. I'm going to shed light on it. I'm going to help you understand it as God's been doing that for me, but I want you to know that it's not my words. It's this Word that will change your life. It's awesome. So cultivate that sense of reverence and awe for the Word of God.

And don't expect others to be any more deeply stirred by the truth than you've been stirred by it. If this truth you're teaching hasn't stirred you, if it hasn't done something to burn a fire in you, then why would anybody else get excited about it? Why would anybody else say, "Yes! That's what I want!" if they're not seeing that warmth of heart toward God's Word in you?

So reverence and awe for God's Word.

And then number two, this is where I want to close. Consciously seek and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. (This is really the thread of this whole concept.) Cry out to God for what I call fresh oil—fresh oil.

I don't know how many times over the years—many—I've had this conversation with the Lord. It is similar to the one that Mary of Nazareth had with the angel in Luke 1. Now the details are different, but a similar exchange. Remember how the angel came and said, "You're going to be carrying in your womb the Son of God"?

And Mary goes (a fourteen-year-old girl here maybe, a young teenager), "How can this be? I've never known a man. It's impossible."

I've said this to the Lord so many times. When He asked me to start Revive Our Hearts radio, when the call came to do the True Woman Conferences, these Revive Conferences. And I go, "Lord, this is impossible. I can't do this. How can I?"

And the angel said to Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you" (Luke 1:35).

How many times God has reminded me of that as I've been in this whole exchange about all the things I can't do. I feel so weak, so poor, so needy. People think I'm confident. I am the furthest thing from confident. My picture is next to the dictionary, next to the word insecure, inadequate. I feel it so strongly. But "the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High God will overshadow you."

Listen, that verse isn't just for Mary. That verse isn't just for me. That verse is for you, for whatever God has called you to do, to be. And it may not just be in teaching. It may be in loving a husband who doesn't know Jesus. It may be in knowing how to love a prodigal child.

You say, "I can't do this. This is impossible. Me, teach a Sunday school class? Me, lead a small group? I can hardly talk. I can't do this." The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. If this is what God is calling you to do, then it will be His power, the power of the Holy Spirit.

And don't you love Mary's response? Luke 1:38, my life verse, "Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord. May it be to me as You have said."

What is she saying? "Yes, Lord. I'm willing. I'm available. I'm empty. I'm weak. I've nothing to offer." I get this really insecure sense when we have two-day conferences. I think, What if nobody comes back the second day? (laughter) Because I feel how empty I am. I can hardly get my own heart filled. What do I have to offer these women?

I'm not being self-deprecating. I'm just telling you this is what I wrestle with in my hotel room. And you do, too. Right? We're in this together. But the purpose is that people will see that the power is not of us, it's of God. And they will experience the reality of His presence in a way that would not be otherwise possible.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, you know the name, amazing preacher, the prince of preachers. I wish I could talk about Jesus the way Spurgeon did. Oh, my goodness. Wow! But it's amazing as you read his sermons, how often he says to the congregation, "I need the Holy Spirit to come."

Let me just read a couple of those to you. He says . . . these are in the middle of sermons.

Oh Spirit of the Living God, win an entrance for the blessed Christ this morning.

In another message he said,

Beloved, I speak but too coldly upon a theme which ought to stir my soul first and yours afterwards. Spirit of the Living God, come like a quickening wind from heaven, and let the sparks of our love grow into a mighty furnace flame, just now, if it may so please Thee.

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

In another sermon he said,

Oh for a blessing from the Holy Spirit all the sermon through.

What was he doing? He was acknowledging his nothingness, and his need for the Holy Spirit to come upon him. The Holy Spirit's already in him, but he's saying, "Fill me. Anoint me. Give me fresh oil for this moment, for this message, for this task. And, Lord, do in the hearts of people what I cannot do, but You can do by the power of Your Word and the power of Your blessed Holy Spirit."

So as you prepare, pray, and I'm saying prepare for whatever God's given you to do. It doesn't have to be some great big task. You're preparing to homeschool your kids in Algebra. You're preparing to do whatever God has given you to do in your local church, in your community. Pray for the Holy Spirit to first stir your own heart, to fill you with His Spirit.

And then pray that He would prepare the soil of hearts that are listening, those you're responsible to serve, that He would open their eyes, that He would give them understanding, that He would pierce their hearts with the application, that He would bend their wills, that He would grant the gift of repentance and the gift of faith, that He would preserve and protect the seed that is sown in the hearts of people, and that He would by His grace and the power of His Spirit cause that Word that's been communicated to sprout and bring forth a great harvest of righteousness for His glory and the advancement of His kingdom.

And you say, "Lord, it's all about You. Do it. Come. Holy Spirit, You are welcome in this place. Come fill me. Anoint me. Give me fresh oil. And anoint the ears of the hearers. And do in them and through them something that cannot be explained except by You."

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth will be right back. Isn't it exciting to think about what God could do through you when you're leaning on His power?

Any ministry we do here on Revive Our Hearts comes as a result of God drawing women to Himself. If he uses this ministry in the process, it's all by His power and His grace. Nancy's here with that kind of a story.

Nancy: You're so right, Leslie, that we can't take any credit for what it is that God has done and is doing in through this ministry. And as Revive Our Hearts is getting ready to turn fifteen this September, can you believe that? It's a special joy to see how God has used the ministry over the years in discipling women many of whom started listening when they were in one season of life and are now in a different but still being discipled and nurtured in their faith.

I was especially encouraged by story I heard just recently about some women in an inner city church on the east coast who have been listening and growing with this ministry over the last decade and a half. And we got a note from the women's ministry leader in this church. I want to share it with you. It's a little bit long but it's really worth listening to and I hope you'll be as encouraged by it as I was when I read it. She said:

As a relatively newly married woman with new baby and one on the way, I turned the radio on one day to listen to "my mom in the faith" Elisabeth Elliot and her show, Gateway to Joy. 

Many of our listeners will remember that wonderful program that Elisabeth did for many years. Then this woman said,

I soon realized something was different. There was a fiery young woman on the radio sharing about her vision and passion for women to live in freedom and joy in the Lord in the sphere of their homes and churches. 

And what she was hearing was the first days of Revive Our Hearts which was the successor program to Elisabeth Elliot's Gateway to Joy. This woman says,

I listened excitedly! Other girls from church were also tuning in and we would get together and share how God's Word was doing surgery in our hearts. That was the beginning of a "Revive Our Hearts fire" being started at our church, Calvary Chapel Breath of Life.

Before long we were building our new Women's ministry using resources like Seeking Him, the "How's Your Love Life" series and many others. We did a book club at Border's bookstore where there was standing room only (they ran out of chairs!) using Lies Women Believe. And many of us, years later, boarded a plane together to attend the very first True Woman Conference in Schaumburg, Illinois!

Over the years our small church has seen phenomenal growth in the lives and hearts of many young women as we shared the truths and invited women to listen to Revive Our Hearts. Our church has used these resources to raise up a network of godly moms, sisters and wives.

Because most in our church were first generation Christians (many of us who grew up in the inner city) these were new truths to us. This tier of godly women are now discipling new Christian women in the same way. We know it is a marvelous work of the Lord as the fruit is remaining. Thank you Nancy and Revive Our Hearts for allowing God to use you!

Wow! I'm so grateful for those who have supported Revive Our Hearts so that this kind of story can be told over and over again as women have been being discipled in their faith over the past fifteen years.

And I'm excited about the next fifteen years and the years beyond that as well. Now, I don't know what my role will be in all of that, but I'm confident that there will continue to be new women being raised up—younger women becoming older women in the faith and passing on this message, this baton to the next generation. And I'm asking the Lord to tell countless more stories just like this one.

And you can be a part of these kinds of stories. That's because Revive Our Hearts depends on the prayer support and financial support from our listeners to continue teaching women day by day.

We especially need to hear from you here during the month of May. That's the close of our fiscal year, which means it's when we wrap up the books and set the budget for the next twelve months of ministry. We really need to hear from you now.

When you support the ministry with a gift of any size this month, we want to say thanks by sending you a CD that has really ministered to my husband and me. It's called Love Divine, and it's beautiful hymn arrangements by pianist Jan Mulder. We love playing this CD in our home, and I'd love for you to have a copy in your home as well.

So would you ask the Lord how He would want you to be involved in helping to support this ministry as we continue calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

Leslie: To support Revive Our Hearts, call us at 1–800–569–5959 or visit ReviveOurHearts.com. We can send one CD per household for your donation of any size.

Can you imagine meeting God in eternity and introducing Him to all the women you've led to Christ and discipled? Nancy will help you explore that idea tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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