Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

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Encouraging Friends

Dannah Gresh: Do you ever feel silly asking for help? Maybe you’re going through something that you haven’t experienced before, and you’re thinking, “How do I do this?” Holly Elliff reminds us to reach out. 

Holly Elliff: Sometimes we just are so desperate that we need somebody else to come along and say, “Here, let me stick this helmet on your head. Here’s your breastplate, let’s buckle this on.” And so, tiny things that just encourage our hearts and remind us to run to the Lord and not to something else, or not to just sit down in a puddle and stay there when God already has provision.

Dannah: Encouraging sisters and pointing them to the cross on this Revive Our Hearts Weekend.

Welcome to Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh. 

Ever feel downright silly as you try to do something new? And yet you still just try to act like you’ve got it under control. That was exactly what happened to me a few years ago when I decided to join the couch-to-5K group in my church. For the record, I was a whole lot more experienced with the coach than a 5K! Still, I didn’t expect learning to run to be so difficult. It felt a little embarrassing when I couldn’t keep up with the rest of the group. A week or so into the effort (I never did make it to 5K), one of the more comfortable runners did something really special. She stopped running, and she walked with me. Susanna, a young twenty-something in my church, slowed down and walked with me. And talked with me. When I told her she didn’t have to slow down for me. She said, "It’s ok to walk when others are already ready to run. That’s how I started, too." And someone slowed down to walk with me. I will always remember that kindness.

Today, I’m gonna invite you to slow down and walk with someone. Maybe literally, but if not, figuratively!

First Thessalonians 5 verse 11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, host of the daily program Revive Our Hearts, says encouragement is more than giving compliments and helping people feel good about themselves. It’s a lot more than that, and Nancy’s going to help unpack the what and why of our need to encourage each other. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Encouragement . . . this is a means of giving and receiving from one another courage—to encourage. It’s giving hope and confidence and comfort in the Lord. We’re going to talk about distinctively biblical encouragement. What does that look like? What does it mean?

Now, encouragement to our souls is like oxygen is to our brains. It’s oxygen. Encouragers are energy-giving people. And I might say, on the other hand, that discouragers suck the energy out of a group, or out of a home, or out of the church. They’re energy-draining people.

Some of you are pastors’ wives. Have you seen some discouragers in your church. You see what it does to your husband, what it does to the leaders of the church, what it does to the whole church family?

Some of you have a discourager in your family—it’s just one kid or one person in the extended family—and it’s debilitating, isn’t it? It just pulls down the whole environment, the whole atmosphere.

But when you see an encourager—they infuse grace and hope and life and comfort into the atmosphere around them.

Now, you might know somebody who seems really upbeat and optimistic, and you think, Well, they don’t need encouragement. Everyone needs encouragement. Even the apostle Paul, the great apostle Paul who founded all those churches, who wrote all those books of the Bible, who had all those revelations from God, he needed human encouragement.

Remember early in his Christian life—you read about this in Acts chapter 4—how he was facing some people who couldn’t believe that he had really been converted, and Christians weren’t sure. They were looking at him with skepticism, and they said, “Is his testimony real? This is the one who persecuted the believers.”

And God sent a man along—remember what his name was? Barnabas—to come alongside Paul and to encourage him and to encourage others about Paul. In fact, Barnabas was called “The Son of Encouragement.” That’s the name he was given.

How would you like people to think of you as “The Daughter of Encouragement, A Woman of Encouragement"? Wouldn’t that be an incredible way to be known? I’ve known some people like that. As I’ve been working on this series, I want to become a woman like that, a woman of encouragement.

Throughout his life and ministry, the apostle Paul found encouragement, he found comfort in godly relationships and friendships, in partnerships with like-minded servants of the Lord. They came together around a common goal, a common mission, a common calling.

Toward the end of his letter to the Colossians, Paul sends greetings to a handful of dear friends, including these three: Aristarchus, whom he called “my fellow prisoner;” John Mark, whom you remember was the one who earlier had deserted Paul on their first missionary trip, and he sends greetings from John Mark, one of his close friends at this point; and then a man who went by the name of Justus.

He says then in Colossians 4, verse 11, “These [these three] are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me” (NIV) There’s that word. Some translations say, “an encouragement to me.”

John Mark had not been an encouragement early on, but by now he had become an encouragement to Paul. So he needed these people around him.

That word “comfort” actually used in Colossians 4 is a little different word, but it’s similar to the other times we read about comfort or encouragement. It’s the word that looks like our English word “paregoric.”

Do you remember paregoric? There are some of you old enough to remember. I understand it’s come back in recent years, but when we were kids, this was a medicine. It was often for children if you had an upset tummy or a sore throat. It’s a soothing medicine. It soothes. It brings consolation. It helps irritations—an irritated tummy or an irritated throat. Paregoric . . . you can buy it in the stores today.

That’s very similar to the Greek word where Paul says, “these men were a comfort (an encouragement) to me (they soothed me).” Paul had a lot of things in his life that did not soothe him—like being stoned, shipwrecked, hungry, rejected, and fought against. But he said these men were paregoric to him. They soothed his sometimes upset tummy or heart or mind. They were an encouragement to him.

Listen to the entire episode "Jump Starting the Battery." This came from the series "Encouraging One Another."

Dannah: Nancy reminding us that God provides exactly what we need and sometimes that means using someone else. He used John Mark and Barnabas and many others to be Paregoric — to encourage Paul. As Nancy said, they soothed Paul’s upset stomach, his heart, his mind. 

I’m sure you’ve been on the receiving end of someone’s encouragement. Think of the last time someone encouraged you, even if it was the encouragement of a stranger. It felt good. It lifted your spirits, for a moment or two it got your mind off what might be a hard day. 

Who can you encourage today?

In a different message on encouragement Nancy shared a list of practical ways we can use words to encourage each other. I found some of those ideas to be profoundly simple. But something about the suggestions awakened my heart! She said simple things like picking up the phone to actually talk to someone make a big difference! And she reminded me how special it is to get birthday cards! She says she writes a little note expressing her prayer for the person for the next year. Sending birthday cards seems so old-fashioned, but think about it, you are beyond touched when someone sends you a card and takes time to write in it. I say, let’s bring the old-fashioned, hand-written notes and cards back! 

But I’m not anti-tech or anything! Texting is a great way to encourage people! In fact, why don’t you pull out your phone right now, open your messages, in that list of people, who’s one person that you can encourage right now. Yes, right now. I’ll wait.

Ok, while you’re tapping out that courage for a friend, I want you to know that Nancy had a whole lot more to say about encouragement and we have the whole series available at ReviveOurHearts.com. It’s titled “Encouraging One Another.” Just search for it on our site.

There is a young woman I know that has a gift of words and used them to encourage other women. Heidi Jo Fulk blogs for Revive Our Hearts.

She longs to share encouragement with other women because of what God has done in her life. You see, there were many unexpected twists and turns in Heidi Jo’s story. 

  • She survived a brain tumor 
  • Experienced the devastating loss of a child 
  • Had complications with her brain shunt while mothering her young children

But Heidi has discovered that God was always faithful in each and every event of her life. 

In 2012 she was watching some videos produced by PBS and AOL sharing stories of different kinds of women from different walks of life. As she was watching each life story unfold, she realized that there was something missing in each story. Here’s Heidi, in conversation with Nancy and me.

Heidi Jo Fulk: As I started to watch some of those videos, I saw some that were really powerful stories, but some that were not proclaiming the truth of what I was learning in God’s Word about who He says women are, and what He says His purposes are for the world.

I was seeing a lot of other different things, and I was getting fired up about it! And because of that, and because I had been introduced to Revive Our Hearts by one of my really dear friends, I got on the Revive Our Hearts website on one of those days. I clicked from those videos right over to the Revive Our Hearts website. 

Nancy: Because you felt you were seeing the world’s view, not the biblical view, of what it means to be a woman who makes a difference.

Heidi Jo: Absolutely! Yes! At that time I think because you saw those women joining together to carry out that message, their own message of what their view of womanhood was, I think in that moment I desired other women to come around me. 

And I wanted to come around other women who were desiring to show the story of women through the pattern that God has set for us in His Word and through His Spirit.

Dannah: You sound just a little fired-up, Heidi Jo! 

Heidi Jo: I was fired-up!

Nancy: You know, this is the very early vision of Revive Our Hearts, even before you connected. The passion in my heart was, what could God do if women who love Him and love His Word and are committed to walking it out, if they would band together to show a different worldview, a different paradigm, of womanhood? So God was doing something similar in your heart to what He had done in mine as this ministry was starting. 

Dannah: What did you do that day when you came to the Revive Our Hearts website?

Heidi Jo: I found a place where I could leave a comment. I said that I would love to hear Nancy’s reaction to the makers of these kinds of videos that I was watching. But I didn’t want to leave it there. I also said, “I am a woman who is loving my children and loving my husband and teaching other women the Bible, and I am trying to display God in every facet of my life!”

About two weeks later I got an email from Erin Davis that said, “Heidi, we just saw your comment and we’re wondering if you would like to write a blog post about this maker’s documentary for the True Woman blog?”

And that began my now-many-year involvement in writing for the Revive Our Hearts blogs, for the True Woman blog and for the Leader Connection blog.

Nancy: I’ve seen your writings on the True Woman blog [now called the Revive Our Hearts blog] and have appreciated your writing. But I didn’t realize that the entryway for you was feeling the passion and the mission that God has given us to see a new generation of women—an army of women—raised up who will say, “This is God’s way. This is God’s Word, and we’re committed to live our lives to be the right kind of strong!” 

Heidi Jo: Yes! I think that is one of the most compelling and beautiful parts of Revive Hearts, is that I can be part of this mission and this way of proclaiming God’s truth with other women while I am still at home being a mom, while I am teaching in my own church.

We can still come together in this ministry and fuel each other and equip each other and sharpen each other to live that out in our own families, in our own neighborhoods, in our churches. And I think that is just an amazing part of what is happening at Revive Our Hearts. 

Nancy: So have you found sisterhood and camaraderie. I know you didn’t move here to Michigan to be part of our team, you didn’t join our staff, but it sounds like you’ve connected with some women who have really encouraged you—and you’ve encouraged them—in this mission.

Heidi Jo: Oh, absolutely! And that has often been a way that I was fueled in my own personal ways that I’m ministering, again, in my home and my church, to have that outside place where I was getting perspective from women. Again, like you’re saying, it wasn’t a woman in my church or in my neighborhood, but it was still that very real contact of interacting with the blog managers and then with the readers on the Revive Our Hearts blog. As I’m striving to write to convey a message that, again, I want to drive women to go to Jesus for themselves and find out His truth for themselves. 

Dannah: Heidi Jo Fulk has encouraged countless women in their walks with God by sharing her story. If you haven't already, please go to our website to read some of Heidi Jo’s encouraging words on our blog.

If you’d like to hear all the details of Heidi Jo’s incredible journey, we have that at ReviveOurHearts.com. On our home page scroll down to the section that shares all our programs and podcasts, click on Revive Our Hearts Weekend, and there you’ll find a link to Heidi Jo’s story.

Listen to the entire episode, "Encouraging One Another with Your Story." This came from the series, "Trusting God When Your Health Takes a Turn."

Heidi Jo is living out 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 11, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." She does that by encouraging women through her gift of writing. There are many ways to be an encouragement to those around you.

If you are someone who has been leading other women, influencing them, pouring yourself out, as Heidi Jo has, maybe you need to be encouraged. I want to encourage you to connect with one of our Ambassadors at Revive Our Hearts, they can give you ideas on how to connect with other women, how to start a Bible study, or just visit with you and pray. Why, just a few weeks ago, two of the ROH Ambassadors from Pennsylvania stopped by my offices and prayed with me. It was really . . . well, encouraging!

I’m Dannah Gresh with Revive Our Hearts Weekend. Thanks for joining me. Today we’re talking about encouragement. I want to share some encouragement that came to Revive Our Hearts recently. 

I listen to Revive Our Hearts podcast regularly. I’ve had the privilege to share with three sisters lately, and help them download the Revive Our Hearts podcast onto their phone so they can be blessed. 

She said one of those sisters was her pastor’s wife, who played Revive Our Hearts during Sunday school a couple of weeks ago. 

You know, it’s so great to hear how we encouraged one person and through her, more women were encouraged. In other words, encouragement multiplies!

We also heard from a stay-at-home mom whose last child was graduating from highschool, and this mom was looking forward to getting back into the working world. That dream was dashed when her husband was struck with a rapid-onset neurological disease that left him requiring all-day care. She told us,

I spent countless hours alone in the night, grove long distances to the next appointment, lifting heavy wheelchairs in and out of the car,  fighting with insurance companies to cover astronomical bills for ‘no diagnosis.’

She said she reached for every message from Revive Our Hearts to give her hope, encouragement, strength, peace, and guidance. She wrote,

Every day is a long journey, but it’s because of Revive Our Hearts, as well as hearing of Nancy’s own journey as Robert faced bouts with cancer that I was able to get through every day, every hour, every minute, and every second.

Through His Word, He showed me that His strength would enable me, if I just desired to be, above all else, a loving servant to my husband. Then I could be selfless, gracious, and generous. God’s arm of provision has never been too short to provide for us, and that is still true today.

God used those women to encourage our team at Revive Our Hearts. As Nancy said: encouragement to our souls is like oxygen to our brains. Encouragers infuse grace and hope and life and comfort into the atmosphere around them.

Nancy talked with Holly Elliff, she’s a wife, mom, pastor’s wife and good friend of Revive Our Hearts, about how we can use our struggles to encourage others. Holly shared how she has been on the giving (and receiving) end of grace and encouragement from sisters—her sisters in Christ. Here’s Holly.

Holly Elliff: Well, I love that the Lord speaks to us personally through His Word, that He pours out on us what we need. But He also uses “people with flesh on” (laughing) to come around us and just encourage our hearts.

Yesterday, I met with one of our staff wives at Summit who is a young pastor’s wife now because we’ve opened some other campuses. She said, “I just need to ask somebody who has already done this: How do I do this? Because I feel inadequate and, like, I don’t know what I’m doing. And I feel silly sometimes because I haven’t had these life experiences yet.”

Nancy: And that’s where you were at one time, having those very same questions and thoughts!

Holly: It’s exactly where I was! It was so neat to be able to sit with her and just encourage her heart in the fact that, if she will just follow the Lord, listen to Him, lean into Him, that He will provide everything she needs for life and godliness. And that is a massive promise! 

Nancy: Yes.

Holly: Sometimes God does that as He just speaks to our spirit when we’re quiet. God does that sometimes in the midst of crazy circumstances where we turn to Him, and He says, “It’s okay. We’re going to get through this.” God uses other people in our lives—other women who come alongside and lift our arms and encourage our hearts in the midst and remind us the truth.

Nancy: Yes.

Holly: When my kids were little, I had some that could dress themselves totally and were more independent. I had some that wanted me to sit down on the floor, put them in my lap, put their socks on, put their shoes on, fix their hair. And so God sometimes brings other people around who just remind us of that truth.

I think of God telling us that He provides armor for us that protects us. Sometimes we just are so desperate that we need somebody else to come along and say, “Here, let me stick this helmet on your head. Here’s your breastplate, let’s buckle this on.” And so, tiny things that just encourage our hearts and remind us to run to the Lord and not to something else, or not to just sit down in a puddle and stay there when God already has provision.

Nancy: Yes. What I love about the way that that life-to-life ministry happens, the conversation you had yesterday with that young pastor’s wife, is you’re not saying, “Look at me. I’m the solution to your problems.”

Holly: Right.

Nancy: At a moment when she’s fearful or doesn’t have perspective, you’re helping to lift her eyes up to see Christ and His Word and His promises. You’re just helping her fix her attention on the right place. You’re not pointing her to yourself, you’re pointing her to Christ.

Holly: Right.

Nancy: And these relationships—older women/younger women—can become unhealthy. Friendships, sisterhood, all of this can be unhealthy if we think, That person is the solution to my problems, or If I just had somebody who would love me more or encourage me more.

Holly: Right.

Nancy: No. It’s not the other person that’s the solution to my problems. I’m not the solution to their problems. What we do is mutually help each other press into Christ and His grace. That’s really what this Christ mentoring, discipling, sisterhood, those things, are about.

Holly: That’s exactly right. I think part of the perspective that comes with living a little longer is that, as you look back over the context of your life, and over and over and over you see God providing . . . You see God acknowledging your need and giving you everything you need. As you look back and remember those moments, it does teach you then to turn more quickly to the Lord for provision.

Then it gives you a little bit of a platform to say to that younger woman, “I’ve been where you are, and I know what that feels like. I’m not there today, but I’ve been there, and I know how hard that is.”

Nancy: Yes.

Holly: So it’s not that you diminish their need—because the need is real. But it’s that you understand their need, and you also understand that on the other end of that see-saw is the provision of God. Even in the midst of their difficulty and their need, if they will get that see-saw level . . . This is what I said to our staff gal yesterday, “Here’s your need, but here’s the provision of God.”

What we need in our life is to be balanced, then between our need and the fact that God has provision.

Nancy: You can’t see Holly, but right now she’s holding up a left hand and a right hand. One hand is the need; the other end is the provision—which is always equal to the need.

Holly: Yes.

Nancy: So as the need gets greater, the provision gets greater.

Holly: I love in Psalms that God talks so much about keeping us on level ground. Someday I’ll do a series on “The Path.” There’s so much in Scripture about God leveling the ground, bringing down the high places, bringing up the low places. And so, even if our life circumstances are absolutely chaotic, God is the same in the midst of that. If we can just get where we are level in our thinking, even if our circumstances are crazy. The fact that God has provision for my need as the leveler in my life, that’s what keeps me sane. 

So it’s nothing that I do other than running to the right source to get what I need.

Nancy: As I’m hearing you talk about this pilgrimage you’ve been on: as a younger woman experiencing God’s provision and His grace and now as an older woman, still experiencing that but able to use your past experience to be a means of grace in younger women’s lives. This is a progression that should always be happening in our lives.

I think it speaks to both younger and older women. It says to the younger woman, “Whatever you’re going through right now, two things are true: One, God is there and He has provision for you for your current circumstance. But that’s not the end of the story. There will come a day when God wants to use you to be a means of encouragement and grace in someone else’s life who is going through what you can now relate to. So this experience is not just for you. It’s also for the benefit and the blessing to be invested into some other woman’s life at some point. Don’t keep this for yourself. God wants to use every experience you’ve had to be a means of blessing to others.”

Listen to the entire episode, "How Your Struggle Can Encourage Others." This came from the series, "Teaching What Is Wise."

Dannah: Isn’t it amazing, and humbling, how God uses every piece of our story to glorify Him. Holly Elliff has been a great encouragement for me time and time again. She truly does allow God to use her in every experience to be a blessing to others. I remember once when I was going through a difficult time and we were at an event together . . . she noticed. She saw me. More importantly, she saw my heart. With all the elegant grace in the world, Holly walked over to me, looked into my eyes and said something like, “I know this day is difficult, but you’re a strong woman of God. Look into my eyes. You can do this day!”

Oh, how I needed that! Isn’t it funny how the word "courage" is embedded into the word encourage? That’s what Holly loaned me that day—courage. The next time you see someone struggling, don’t be afraid to be like Holly. Walk right into that woman’s weakness with some courage!

Are you thinking of ways you can encourage others now? I hope you are. Pray about it. God will show you.

Revive Our Hearts is listener supported. Here are just a few things that happen because of generous givers to Revive Our Hearts.

  • You help us further the mission.
  • You fund our radio programs and podcast family.
  • You reach women around the world.

You are invaluable to us, a part of the team. As a thank you for your gift this month we are sending you a booklet by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, A Deeper Kind of Kindness. A Deeper Kind of Kindness is yours for a gift of any amount.  on’t you give a gift today? It’s simple and easy to give.

Go to ReviveOurHearts.com and click the donate button on the upper right side. Or you can call 1–800–569–5959, And remember to request your copy of A Deeper Kind of Kindness when you give your gift of any amount.

It’s been reported that the pandemic has created a loneliness epidemic. Next week, we’ll unpack loneliness and I’ll share how the friendship of God will help you through those times when you feel alone.

Thanks for listening today. Thanks to our team: Phil Krause, Dylan Weibel, Rebekah Krause, Justin Converse, Michelle Hill, and for Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh

Revive Our Hearts Weekend is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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

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About the Teacher

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 for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

About the Host

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

About the Guests

Holly Elliff

Holly Elliff

Holly has been married to her high school sweetheart for nearly fifty years. She has been a pastor's wife since she was twenty, has eight married children and twenty-two grandkids that are fourteen and under (and counting). Her life experiences have enabled her to share with women of all ages the reality of God’s sufficient grace for every step of their journey.

Heidi Jo Fulk

Heidi Jo Fulk

Heidi Jo desires to know and live God’s Word, then teach and challenge other women to do the same. Heidi and her husband, Dan, live in Michigan with their four children and she leads women's ministries at her church.