Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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You Have a Future

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says we find hope not just by remembering the death of Jesus but by also remembering His resurrection.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: There’s more than the cross. There’s something beyond the cross. There’s the conquering of the cross. There’s the conquering of death. And that’s what we see in the life of Christ.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Quiet Place, for Monday, June 17, 2019.

Last week Nancy began a series that all of us can apply. It’s called, "Enduring Life’s Hardships." We’ll continue in this practical teaching today.

Nancy: We’ve been talking about endurance. And one of the things you need when you’re trying to endure is hope. If you lose hope, it’s going to be hard to take the next step. It’s going to be hard to press on, hard to keep going.

If you don’t think there’s going to be something ahead that’s worth pressing on for, then you just sit down and drop out of the race, which is unfortunately what a lot of people do. That’s one of the reasons a lot of people drop out of their marriage before God has a chance to show Himself—because they lose hope.

They think, There is no hope for me in this situation. That’s a reason some women go out of their home and into the workplace before it’s God’s timing for them to do that. They pay a price with their children, in some cases, because they say, “There’s no hope of our material needs being met if I don’t do something about this.”

Now, I just threw out two illustrations that need a ton of disclaimers and a lot more theological, biblical background than what I’m going to give here. But the point is, if we extricate ourselves from our circumstances when we’re in the midst of them—because we lose hope—we may end up forfeiting the grace God wanted to give us to walk through those circumstances.

We’ve been talking about principles and insights, perspectives from the book of 2 Timothy that give us hope in the midst of hardship and suffering. The person who wrote this book knew what he was talking about.

We’ve talked in these last sessions about the apostle Paul. He was a man who had been faithful to God, who had served the Lord, who had time after time paid a price to preach the gospel, and who now finds himself close to the end of his life doing what many would call languishing in the bowels of the earth in this Mamertine Prison. But he was not languishing. He was not just surviving. He was thriving by the grace of God.

He writes a letter that he sends from his prison. I don’t even know if I should call it a cell—it’s a hole in the earth—and sends it to this young pastor who’s intimidated, who’s scared, and who’s facing Nero’s forces in the world at that time.

He says, “There are things that will help you know how to endure. There will be hardship. You must endure it. And here’s how you can endure.”

We come today to the ninth of ten perspectives we’re talking about in this series. Some of you who have been here have said you couldn’t keep the numbers straight on which is which. And that’s because I didn’t always make it clear. But we do have available through ReviveOurHearts.com a list of these ten insights, these ten perspectives, and some Scriptures that go with them. So you can get that off our website.

But we come today to this principle that I think is part of enduring—remembering that no matter how difficult things may be today, I can face the future with hope. It’s this matter of the future: lifting my eyes up above my immediate circumstances and looking ahead.

You say, “I don’t know what’s ahead.” Well, there are some things you do know. Paul tells us four things in the book of 2 Timothy that we can be sure of as we look to the future. Those are the things that, though we cannot see them, we take them by faith. As we exercise faith in these aspects of future hope, we find ourselves given grace to endure.

Now, today I want to talk about two of those things we can be sure of about the future. Then, in the next session, we’ll look at the other two. Keep in mind that no matter how difficult things may be in my present circumstances, I can face the future with hope.

Here’s the first thing we can be sure of. Number one, all wrongs will be righted. There may be days when you need to counsel your heart with that truth, when it looks like those who are in the wrong are winning by a long shot.

I see some heads nodding. Some of you have been there with family members, with people in the workplace, with people in your churches. It seems so often that those who are in the wrong, those who are opposing the truth, are so powerful. They seem to be winning. But you can be assured that all wrongs will be righted.

Paul talks about this in 2 Timothy. For example, look at chapter 3, verse 8. He refers back to an Old Testament illustration: “Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men”—these men that he’s talking about now, these false teachers—“also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.”

Now, if you’re a pastor or evangelist, or a missionary as Paul was, when you have these kinds of people come around you, they don’t help the cause. But Paul didn’t let that defeat or discourage him. He goes on in verse 9 and says, “But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.”

Paul knew that in the final analysis all wrongs will be righted. Those who persecute God’s servants, those who oppose God’s truths, will be brought to justice. The truth will come to light. God will handle them. Their "victory" will be short-lived. They think they’re winning, but they will not win in the long run.

Paul says that in chapter 4, verse 14, of 2 Timothy, where he talks about another opponent. These were real-life circumstances. Again, in 2 Timothy we’re not just reading a theoretical text about suffering. We’re reading this like it’s alive. I mean, Paul’s been there. He’s experienced that. He’s in the middle of it now.

And he says, “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm.” What’s Paul’s assurance? “The Lord will repay him according to his deeds.” You can be sure that all wrongs will be righted.

As I was just reviewing these notes before this session, a passage came to mind that you’re probably familiar with. But in case you’re in a situation right now where you are living with or engaged in a world with a wrongdoer who seems to be winning, let me just read you this passage. I want to wash you with the Word because this is the truth that you need to counsel your heart with.

Psalm 37—and I’m reading several verses, beginning in verse 1. “Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb” (vv. 1-2).

You say, “They seem so planted. They seem so firm.” God says, “You see how that grass is here today? You mow it over tomorrow, and it’s gone.” The sun comes out here in Little Rock, and it’s all brown here. It’s gone. That’s what’s going to happen to those evildoers. It doesn’t seem soon to you, but in the big scheme of things, it will be soon.

Down to verse 7: “Be still before the LORD”—this is while you’re in the middle of this situation—“and wait patiently for him.” Don’t manipulate. Don’t try and fix this yourself. Don’t try and deal with this person yourself. Wait patiently for the Lord. “Fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”

As I read that, I think, “How many times—emotionally, mentally—do I get bent out of shape over people who are doing wrong?” I stew; I fret. I want to fix it. I want to change it. I want other people to know this is what’s happening. God says, “Don’t fret yourself.” You know what? When you fret over their wrongdoing, you become an evildoer yourself.

You want God’s grace to deal with that situation? Then you need to make sure that when you’re responding to that evildoer, you’re not sinning. And when you fret, when you stew, when you moan and groan over that, then you become an evildoer yourself.

He goes on to say, “Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself” (v. 8). Third time—I guess God means that. “Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD . . .” (vv. 8–9). That’s your option. Wait for the Lord. “[They] shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there” (v. 10). He’s speaking of one who was so powerful.

And I tell you, we have brothers and sisters in parts of the world who are living under godless, wicked, totalitarian rulers and regimes. You think this word applies to them? I’m thinking of one country of the world that I’ve been burdened for, for many years, that has had for decades a despot ruling over that nation.

I’ve thought so often of the believers in that nation—and the unbelievers in that nation—and thought of the pain, the anguish, the heartache. I’ve thought, God, why does that man stay in there so long? And God says, “In just a little while he will be no more. You think he’s so great. You think he’s so powerful. He thinks he’s so great and powerful. He will be no more. But the meek shall inherit the land.”

You see, our world tells us that if you’re meek, you’re a loser. God’s Word says, “No.” The psalm continues, “The meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, but the LORD laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright” (vv. 11–14).

But God says, “Their sword shall enter their own heart”—they’re trying to attack you, but they’ll destroy themselves—“their bows shall be broken” (v. 15).

One thing you can be sure of as you look to the future: All wrongs will be righted, so wait for the Lord.

Now, if you’re in a situation where the law is being broken—where there is physical harm being done, or where your children are being harmed—that is not to say just sit there and wait, and let yourself be attacked, beat up, and mutilated. God has provided; this is why we need the whole counsel of Scripture.

Sometimes I’m concerned that if people listen to just one program of Revive Our Hearts, they don’t get the whole balance of the teaching of Scripture. That’s where, if you don’t know what the Scripture teaches about how to deal with those situations, you should go to your pastor. Or go to a godly woman who’s a woman of the Word and say, “Help me know biblically what to do in this situation.” God has provided means by which evildoers can be dealt with.

But in the heart, make sure that you don’t fall into sin in your responding to the evildoers that are in your life. And wait, knowing that in the long run God will deal with those evildoers.

Here’s a second thing you can be sure of as you face the future. This will give you hope. Not only will all wrongs be righted, but number two, the Lord will deliver you from all evil. The Lord will deliver you from all evil in His time and in His way. That’s a hard thing to believe when you’re in the middle of the stew, when the heat is up, and you think, I’m going to get fried. I’m not going to survive this situation.

You can know. You can take it to the bank, and you can be assured that in God’s way and in God’s time, God will deliver you from all evil. The apostle Paul says in chapter 4 of 2 Timothy, verse 18, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed.”

Now, where is Paul when he’s saying this? He’s a guest of the Roman government in the Mamertine Prison. He says, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed.”

I’m going to talk in a moment about what he did and did not mean by that. But there was something that gave him confidence about the future. There’s a hope here. There’s an assurance that, in God’s time and in God’s way, the Lord would rescue him. “The Lord will . . . bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom” (v. 18). God will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom.

You think Paul felt very safe in the Mamertine Prison? I mean, in a way you’re safe. You can’t get out; nobody can get in. But you couldn’t be safe at the hands of the Roman government, not in any physical or literal sense. But he says, “The Lord will . . . bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.”

That literally is His kingdom, which is a heavenly one. God will bring me safely to his kingdom, which is a heavenly one.

You see there Paul contrasting God’s kingdom to the kingdom of man on earth, the Roman Empire, which was an evil, wicked kingdom. And he says, “But there’s another kingdom, and I’m a subject of that kingdom. God will take me safely to his heavenly, eternal kingdom.”

And then that last phrase: “To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (v. 18). That doesn’t sound like a man who’s languishing, does it? It sounds like a man who is full of hope: “The Lord will rescue me.”

Now, what does that mean? It certainly doesn’t mean that Paul expected to be released from prison. We know that, to the contrary, he knew that he was shortly going to die. He said, “I have finished. I have run the race. I have come to the end, and the time has come for me to die.” He says that in chapter 4. So he knew that he was not to be released from prison.

But he did believe that God would rescue him from spiritual attacks, from spiritual evil, that God would provide divine protection for his mind, for his heart, for his spirit, for his soul that would live forever. God would give him protection to enable him to overcome all spiritual forces of opposition.

He said in verse 17, the verse right before the one we just read in chapter 4, “The Lord stood by me and strengthened me . . . so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.”

In other words, he’s saying, “I’ve been rescued in the past from great evils, great powers, from Satan himself and his dominion in this world. And the one who has stood by me in the past, the one who delivered me from the lion’s mouth, will continue to deliver me from every evil intent of my enemies. He will deliver me from all the assaults of the evil one. He will deliver me from the power of evil.”

You see, Paul knew that the Lord would ultimately rescue him. And he looked forward to a kingdom where he would be safe forever. He knew that here and now his spirit would be safe, his heart would be safe, his mind would be safe. Even if his body were killed, he knew that ultimately he’d have a new body. And ultimately every part of him would be safe and would be preserved.

There was nothing the Roman Empire could do that was ultimately destructive of Paul. I’m thinking, just as we’re talking here . . . this isn’t in my notes, but it just came to mind. My longtime friend, Brother Josef Tson, was a pastor in Romania for many years and was imprisoned and detained multiple times by the Romanians under the Ceauşescu regime back in the 70s and 80s. At one point, they had said to him, “We’re going to kill you.”

And he said, “Go ahead. That’s all you can do to me. But I will live after that. I will live forever. I will be in God’s eternal kingdom. Besides that, my blood will be like drops of blood across this nation that will spread the faith, and there will be a movement of Christianity that will spring up across this nation, and you will have lost.”

And they said, “Go on home.” I mean, what do you to a man who’s not afraid to die? He knew that ultimately they held no power over him, that God would rescue him. And that’s the spirit that Paul has in this passage.

I read one commentator on this passage who said it this way: “A triumphant martyrdom is as true a deliverance as escape from death.” To go through the martyrdom by the grace of God, enduring all the way to the finish line, is as true a deliverance as escape from death.

The fact is, we’re all going to die unless the Rapture comes first. And so death becomes the translation, the transferal into the new dominion, the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Paul says, in effect, “I’m about to be executed. But that will be my entrance into a better place.” According to the historians, Paul was beheaded shortly after writing these words: “The Lord will rescue me.”

He got beheaded. It didn’t look like the Lord rescued him. It looked like Nero won. But to the contrary, Paul’s death turned into a great victory, not only for himself, as he was in the presence of the Lord, but for millions of believers yet to come—for us today, reading this passage and being encouraged in our faith. Our faith and our faithfulness is being fueled by his example of endurance.

You think Nero won? Who’s reading his writings today? Who’s being helped or encouraged or strengthened by him? His kingdom is long gone. The kingdom of God prevails. And we see that in a man who was willing to lay down his life and say, “The Lord will rescue me. There is hope. I will be brought safely into His heavenly kingdom.”

Talk about apparent defeats. Look at the cross. Notice that God did not deliver His Son from the cross. That was what everybody else said to Jesus. “Deliver yourself. Save yourself.” But Jesus said, “No. I’m going through it.”

And God, as much as He loved His only begotten Son, did not rescue His Son from the cross. He took him through it. He gave His Son the ability to endure the cross and then raised Him from the dead.

There’s more than the cross. There’s something beyond the cross. There’s the conquering of the cross. There’s a conquering of death. And that’s what we see in the life of Christ.

I mentioned earlier in this series about a dear friend who has just been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Very shortly, unless God intervenes and chooses differently, she will be a prisoner in her own body. There are those who are praying earnestly for God to miraculously intervene and heal her. And God may.

But God may not choose to heal her. And of those of us who love her and are praying for her, we have this confidence, and she has this confidence: that one way or another God will deliver her. God will deliver her in this life from the evil deeds of bitterness, of anger, of fear. But she knows, and we know also, that ultimately she will have complete, total deliverance.

I think in some of those situations God has been more glorified than if there had been this miraculous healing. He will walk with you through it, as He did with those three Hebrew young men in the fiery furnace. They didn’t go through that alone. They went through it, but they came out.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5 NKJV). “Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18, NIV). God is using this pain—this circumstance, this hardship, this suffering—to fit us, to equip us, to prepare us for glory.

He will bring you through it. You can know you will be rescued. Satan will not win. And when you’re in the middle of it and it looks like Satan is winning, lift your head up. Look upward and remember what Paul said: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed.”

Affirm the truth. Affirm the promises of God. Counsel your own heart. Tell others as Paul did to Timothy. It’ll strengthen your faith as you express faith and you say, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.”

To Him be the glory forever and ever. And all God’s people said, "Amen."

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been giving hope to women in bleak seasons of life. There is an incredible future ahead if you trust in God. Today’s program is part of a series that we all can apply to life. It’s called, "Enduring Life’s Hardships."

If this series is really resonating with you, we recommend the book, Suffering Is Never for Nothing by Elisabeth Elliot. We’ve been talking about it all this month. We’d love to send you a copy of this helpful new resource. It’s our way of saying "thanks" when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size.

Make your donation at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. If you endure through suffering, there will be a great reward.

Nancy: No athelete gets to the finish line without a lot rigor and hardship and effort and paying a price and blood, sweat, and tears. That's what it takes to be a champion. That's what it takes to run faithfully all the way to the finish line.

Do expect now what God is reserving for later. That's what gets us discouraged. We want now, the outcome of our faith. We want to have now the reward of our faithfulness. But God says, "Wait, wait. Be faithful, and then you'll get the reward. If we endure, we will also reign with Him.

We want to reign; we want to endure; we want to get the crown without going through the race. But you can't get the title, you can't get the pennant, you can't get the medal, you can't get the crown until you've run the race.

Run the race! It's at the finish line . . . Can you imagine those Olympic champions, runners, stopping halfway around the track and saying, "I want my gold medal now"? Yeah, wouldn't we all! "I'm tired. I want my medal now." You've got to be faithful. The reward comes down the road. Don't expect now what God is reserving for you later.

Leslie: Hear about it tomorrow when Nancy picks up the series "Enduring Life’s Hardships" on the next Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to remember Jesus' work on the cross. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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

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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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