Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

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Fruitful in Christ

Episode notes:

These series make up today's Revive Our Hearts Weekend program:

"El-Shaddai: The All-Sufficient One"

"The Well-Watered Woman"

"Metamorphosis of a Mom"

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Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: God is pleased when we are exceedingly fruitful. He wants us to be fruitful.

Gretch Saffles: He says that every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes.

Janet Lynn Salomon: So my life was pruned by God so that there could be more blossoms and something more beautiful than had been there before.

Dannah Gresh: Every gardener has a good set of sharp shears because they know that's what it takes to be fruitful—which is exactly what we are going to talk about today.   

Blair Linne:

Never forget! We have sweetly tasted Fruitfulness.
Regardless of our circumstances
persecutions, difficulties, and imprisonments,
we can still bear pleasant fruit despite our trying situations.

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

I’m so glad you’re here with me today. Please sit down and grab a cozy blanket—you’re gonna need it. It’s a little cold today, but I just love being outside to look at the glorious changing of this season. In our little corner of the world the leaves have all turned to bright orange, yellow, red, and sometimes brown. And they’re slowly falling to the ground. Winter isn’t far behind, is it?

At least in my neck of the woods, winter can be bleak and long. I wish I could enjoy one gorgeous snowfall and be done with it! I’m not looking forward to it. But . . . it’s in the winter that God prepares the world for the beauty of spring. 

That’s also true for our lives.

We’ve been talking through Revive Our Hearts mission this month—calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. Today we’re gonna talk about being fruitful and how God cultivates fruitfulness in our lives.

Several years ago, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth taught on one of the names of God: El-Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One. Nancy says one of the implications of this name of God is that our fruitfulness has little to do with us and a whole lot to do with Him.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: The one who enables us to be fruitful is El-Shaddai. Let me point you to a few verses in the Old Testament that make this connection. We’ve read the verse over these last few days from Genesis chapter 17:1 where God says to Abraham, “I am [El-Shaddai, the] Almighty God,” the All-Sufficient One. He goes on in verse 2 to say, “I will multiply you exceedingly.” I will make you exceeding fruitful.

It’s El-Shaddai who makes us fruitful and who multiplies our lives. Abram went from being Abram (the exalted father) to being Abraham (the father of a multitude).

God is pleased when we are exceedingly fruitful. He wants us to be fruitful.

In Genesis chapter 28 Abraham’s son, Isaac, says to his son, “May God Almighty bless you [may El-Shaddai bless you], and make you fruitful.” El-Shaddai is the one who makes us fruitful.

In Genesis chapter 35 God says to Jacob, “I am [El-Shaddai]. Be fruitful and multiply” (v. 11). El-Shaddai is the one who is the giver of fruitfulness.

Now we learn in John chapter 15, Jesus told his disciples that our Father in heaven is glorified when we as His disciples bear much fruit (see v. 8).

He wants us to be exceedingly fruitful. Our purpose in life is to bring glory to God, and how do we bring glory to God? By being fruitful, by bearing much fruit.

What kind of fruit does He want our lives to produce? We need to know what the fruit is so that we can look to El-Shaddai, our All-Sufficient One, to produce that fruit in and through us.

Well, God wants to produce in us the fruit of righteousness, of holy living. God wants to produce in us the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, peace, paaaaaaaaatience, gentleness. I don't have that in me. 

Left to myself, I will never have the fruit of gentleness. That’s why I need to draw upon His sufficiency. He’s the giver of fruitfulness. He’s the one who produces the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

The fruit He wants to produce in us is the fruit of Christ living in us and being expressed through us, the fruit of the character of Christ being formed in us, the fruit of our being a blessing to others because of the life of Christ in us, the fruit of children, natural children.

God is pleased, mothers, when you have children. But you not only want to have physical children born to you, you want those children to have a heart for God. You want them to be spiritually fruitful.

Who is the giver of fruitfulness? It’s God—El-Shaddai—who will enable you to lead your children and train them in a way that will lead them in paths of righteousness. It’s El-Shaddai in you who will be your sufficiency as you disciple those little children.

Now some of you might be single, and you don’t have physical children. But I’ll tell you what—I have spiritual children in different places all around this country. A couple of them are sitting in this room today—women who have not only influenced my life, but God has allowed me to be fruitful in their lives, to encourage them in their walk with the Lord.

What enables us to produce fruit in the lives of others? It’s El-Shaddai! He is my sufficiency. He is the one who produces that fruit in us.

You see, God did not intend that you and I, as His children, as His daughters should just exist on this planet or that we should just survive, that we should just cope with everyday life. God wants to make us exceedingly fruitful.

I just want to believe God for that in my own life. I want to have the kind of faith that Abraham had at age ninety-nine when there was no sign of God’s promise being fulfilled that he would be the father of a multitude, yet the Scripture says that he believed God (see Rom. 4:30).

He believed El-Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One. I love God. I want to glorify Him with my life. I want to bear much fruit for His glory, but I don’t have the capacity to bear fruit on my own. You don’t either.

We just have these natural barren selves apart from God. That’s why Jesus said, “It’s crucial that you abide in me and that I abide in you, that you stay connected to that vine” (see John 15:1-18).

That nursing infant is never going to get milk from that mother unless the infant draws close and is connected to the mother. There’s a union; there’s a oneness that enables that mother to pour herself out into that infant. As we abide in Christ and His Word abides in us, God pours His sufficiency into us so we cannot just exist here but actually be fruitful.

Listen to the entire program, "His Grace Is Sufficient." This comes from the series, "El-Shaddai: The All-Sufficient One."

Dannah: I love that word picture that Nancy just shared. The nursing infant and the mother. The infant has to come close and connect. And that is how we are to be with Christ. Abide in Him, my friend.

To hear more from Nancy on the El-Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One, and grow in your understanding of a God that is sufficient enough to meet all your needs, go to our website. ReviveOurHearts.com/weekend.

You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh, and we’re talking about fruitfulness. Thanks for sitting with me on this cold fall day.

There is something that God uses to bring forth fruit in our lives. It’s something that isn't easy. 

I want to share with you a passage of God’s Word that talks about bearing fruit. It’s from the New Testament. John 15:1–4.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. 

Gretchen Saffles is an author and blogger and she shared with Nancy and myself how it is that God causes His children to grow fruit. It’s pruning. Gretchen says that abiding in Christ actually begins with accepting God's pruning. 

Gretchen Saffles: This is what Jesus opens up the passage with. In the very second verse He says that every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes. Why? So that it will bear more fruit. Now, the more I’ve gardened, the more I’ve realized that pruning is essential for a plant to grow.

We have a rosebush outside of our house that, if it is not pruned, it will not grow. Every year during winter we prune it back. We cut it way far down, to the point where I think, “Is this plant really going to survive? Is it really going to thrive?” But, come springtime, it grows! And the amount of flowers that it produces is amazing!

But the first year that we moved into our house. We didn’t know we were supposed to prune it, and that year it barely produced any roses. It was kind of scraggly looking, and I really thought, Maybe this plant is not healthy, and we need to just take it away.

But a wise gardener came in and told me, “It’s because you never pruned the plant!” And the more we prune it, the more flowers it produces!

Dannah: Nancy, I don’t think the Lord has a pair of pruning shears up there for Dannah Gresh, so what does that look like in our Christian walk? What does pruning look like?

Nancy: I’m thinking about that as Gretchen is sharing: What is that in our lives? It can be God taking away things that we think are important to us or that we think make us beautiful or make us attractive. I mean, that whole pruning process actually makes something look kind of rundown and ugly and weak.

It may be pain; it may be suffering; it may be a year of health issues. I think the pandemic over the last year or so has been a pruning for a lot of us. Things we thought we needed, things we thought we couldn’t live without, things we thought we couldn’t do without have been taken from us. I mean, what do you do without restaurants to go to (in many of our states)?

What do you do without being able to send your kids to school? That was true for many people, still is for some. What do you do when the things you think you do so well, you find that you’re weak or you don’t have the same kind of strength or the same kinds of abilities or they’re just not good enough? 

What about when God shows us sins or material values or temporal values? It could be anything that keeps us from being more fruitful. God is going to, at times, prune back. Sometimes He’s done this with our ministry.

But one of our wise board members said, “God prunes us, and He prunes our ministries, and He prunes our families. He prunes us for greater growth . . . not because He’s mad at us, but because He wants us to be even more fruitful.”

Listen to the entire program, "How to A-B-I-D-E in Christ." This comes from the series, "The Well-Watered Woman."

Dannah: As Nancy said, pruning can leave you looking ugly and weak. It may involve pain, suffering, it could be your health, your job, your ministry, things you didn’t think you could live without.

Part of this pruning process takes surrender on our part to say, “Yes, Lord, you do what you must do to make me fruitful for You.”

There is a former champion figure skater that went through the metamorphosis of the pruning process. God used Janet Lynn Salomon’s talent and profession in her pruning process. Here’s Janet sharing with Nancy how God brought forth fruitfulness in her life. 

Janet Salomon: I retired from the Ice Follies prematurely because I developed exercise-induced asthma. Then I got married and had three small children.

Then I went back to my career because my husband thought that it had been taken away from me prematurely. Diet and exercise and allergy discovery helped my asthma to clear up, so I did go back to skating. I think our sons were probably four and two-and-a-half. The twins were two-and-a-half. So I had three children within less than two years.

Nancy: Three boys! My mother had four girls and three boys. She said, "There's no comparison in the energy level required with boys!" You had these three young boys, one set of twins. And with your husband's encouragement you went back.

Janet: I went back; my career revived. It took a lot of hard work, but my career revived, and I was very successful in going back and really had wonderful opportunities. But in the process of all of that, I had a marriage and children. I thought that I was balancing everything just fine. I really thought that my priorities were very clear that my family came first.

As a matter of fact, there was an interview that I did for PM Magazine. In that interview I said, "If I ever have to give up my skating for my family, I will." But when I said that, I had no idea that God would make me put my money where my mouth was.

Nancy: That He was actually going to ask you to do that.

Janet: Well, just situations that came up that He brought into my life would place a decision before me. At that time, in my heart I felt like it was a choice between "the way of life and the way of death." And by His grace, I chose "the way of life."

Nancy: Now tell us a little bit about this choice, and we're going to hear more about that in the next program. But just give us a taste of that choice that you faced at that time.

Janet: Well, my husband had a wonderful opportunity to do something that he had always wanted to do. He would have to go away for three-and-a-half months, away from our family to be able to pursue this opportunity.

Well, the choice was, was I going to continue the opportunities that I had and leave my children at home with no parent there, with some sort of babysitter, or was I going to be supportive of my husband in the talents and gifts that God had given to him.

Nancy: Because the opportunities you had were taking you in travel around the world as you were skating.

Janet: I was traveling around the world. One year I was out of the country eleven times.

I had just wonderful opportunities coming up, actually things that I had only dreamed about in my life—skating at the Metropolitan Opera and the Kennedy Center which were once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. I had to choose—I didn't have to choose, but I chose that by God's grace, rather ungracefully on my part, that it was not the right way to go.

Nancy: We’re going to talk more about that choice and some of the struggles that you had as God brought you back into your home full time, and then He gave you more of a heart for your home than you'd ever had previously. A heart you at the time probably didn't even realize needed to be further developed.

Janet, one of the things that struck me in just this little bit of time I've had to get to know you is that you made that choice to come back to your home and to leave a lucrative career and some incredible opportunities not because your emotions necessarily were telling you that was the right thing to do, but out of obedience to God.

You felt this was what God wanted you to do. You've shared with me that it wasn't easy then. It's not always been easy since, but you are so thankful that you have followed God's will and God's direction in your life.

You said something to me a little while ago, just before we came into the studio. You said, "I have such a sense that I'm in the center of God's will."

There's a joy and a sweetness and a freedom that I see in your face, see in your eyes and sense in your spirit because of making what is sometimes a tough choice to really obey the Lord.

Janet, I’ve read some of the things you’ve written about this journey. You said that while you were having this career and had these children at home, at times you felt fractured. That’s a word I’ve seen you use. What do you mean by that?

Janet: Well, as I said in an interview at my comeback performance, actually I said, "When I am skating, I feel like I should be at home. And when I am at home, I feel like I should be skating."

I felt like someone else owned part of my time when I was working, and I couldn't give my children the full attention that they really needed. As a matter of fact, I don't really know that I knew my children all that well when I was skating. So that "fractured" feeling was I wanted to be here but I wanted to be there, and I wanted to do it all well. And I thought, I'm doing it all well. Well, I found out that I really wasn't doing it all that well.

Nancy: You said something, "My life at home was shallow, but I didn't know it."

Janet: Yes, it was very shallow. And no, I didn't know how shallow it had become. When I got married and had children, my life had not been geared to the home.

I had skated since age two-and-a-half, and I'd traveled all over the world. My life was literally and figuratively out of the home. It was somewhere else. The only thing I knew how to do was make German chocolate cake and skate. That’s it. So I had to start from the beginning. Having children and I never babysat, I’d never been around small children at all, so I had to start from the very beginning.

I realized that God is in those little things, and He can take us from wherever we are, and He can help us to grow in the area of making a home. Even if you're working, or you have to work, or you're at a place right now saying, "I'd like to get there, but I'm not there yet," God can start moving us in that direction.

The other thing I would just like to say for women who find that they absolutely have to work, that your children, I think, know whether what you're doing outside of your home is for their benefit or if it's for your benefit.

I think that message comes loud and clear.

Nancy: It was as you came back into your home to be a full-time wife and mom that God really gave you a heart for your home.

Janet: My heart definitely came home after I came home. My heart was not at home at first. But as I came home and my heart came home, I found that our family started growing in new and wonderful ways.

Nancy: Did some of your friends think you were nuts when you made this decision?

Janet:  I didn't ask them. I just kind of disappeared from the skating world.

Nancy: You just knew that was what you were supposed to do.

Janet: I knew that I had to do this. In my heart, I knew. Like I said, it was the way of life that I had chosen. It was something that was going to work, and I knew that God wouldn't have asked me to do it if He wasn't going to provide a way to do it.

Nancy: Now, this was a huge change in lifestyle for you. Obviously financially, it was a change in lifestyle. You'd had this lucrative career. You mentioned that for this position your husband was taking, he was also taking a pay cut at the same time.

Janet: A very large pay cut.

Nancy: So, financially it was a lifestyle change—time-wise, priorities, it was a lifestyle change. What was that transition like?

Janet: Well, it was painful, but I want to relate it to the pruning of a rose. I did a speech a number of years ago, and as I was preparing for it, everywhere I went I started seeing roses as I was praying about it. So I looked up a rose in a book.

I went to get a gardening book, and it talked about the pruning of a rose and how when you cut down the rosebush to almost nothing, the roses will come up more beautiful than they've ever been before. So my life was pruned by God so that there could be more blossoms and something more beautiful than had been there before.

Nancy: And that pruning can be painful.

Janet: It can be painful. But the good thing about that kind of pain is you know that it's done in love so that something else good is going to come from it.

Listen to the entire program, "Making Tough Choices." This comes from the series, "Metamorphosis of a Mom."

Dannah: Maybe today’s a good day to meditate on Galatians 5:22–23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." That is the something else Janet Lynn was talking about, that something good is going to come from the pruning. That was Janet Lynn Salomon talking with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Janet's a decorated Olympian who was a figure skater in the late 1960s.

If God is doing something in your life right now, allow Him. His pruning may be painful, but the end result is a rose that will bloom for Him. 

Revive Our Hearts wants to help you keep your eyes on Jesus as we head into the Advent season, which by the way can you believe that Christmas is just nine weeks away. Have you started your shopping? Me neither. We have a displayable 31-day Advent card set. This card set is a companion to Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s devotional The First Songs of Christmas.

This Advent card set is yours this month with a gift of any amount. Please give your gift today. Go to ReviveOurHearts.com/weekend, or call 1–800–569–5959. Make sure you ask for the Advent card set and be reminded throughout the day to fix your eyes on Jesus.

And please know that your gift is helping us to call women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ around the world. Thank you. We can’t say that enough, "thank you." 

Do you ever long for rest? For true rest? You feel like the week had so much on the calendar and so many expectations and your body and your brain is just exhausted. Next week, we’re gonna talk about true rest and how to find the lasting kind.

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 calling women to freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ

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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

Gretchen Saffles

Gretchen Saffles

Gretchen Saffles is the founder of the global online women's ministry Well-Watered Women, the creator of the Give Me Jesus quiet time journal, and a passionate writer who longs to see women grasp the fullness of the gospel in everyday life.  As she shares from her life experiences, Gretchen writes with authenticity and boldness, encouraging women to seek Christ right where they are and live in his abundance. Gretchen lives in Atlanta with her husband and their two sons and loves going on adventures with her family, traveling to new places, daydreaming of wildflower fields, cooking tasty meals, baking chocolate chip cookies, painting, reading good books, and teaching women to know and love Jesus.