Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

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God Is Always with Us

Dannah Gresh: Friend, have you felt like God is taking you through some hard places, maybe even some dark spaces? Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds us: you might have a lot of questions.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Then you say, “Well, what about the future? What if this happens? What if that happens? What if my life falls apart? What if I lose my job? What if my husband loses his job? What if I don’t ever get married? What if we can’t have children? What if we lose this child? What if we go bankrupt?” . . . and all the things we can think of. But you know what? Some of those things may happen. Some of those things will happen, but God is still there. He is still present. He is still alive. He is still active. He is still at work in the hearts and lives and on the behalf of His people.

Dannah: God is always good. And He is always there—even when that’s hard to believe.

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

Sometimes it’s hard to believe God is at work, especially if you go a long time without an answer to prayer. Can I encourage you with a testimony of praise. I’m out of my mind excited about something God is orchestrating in my life right now. Maybe it will encourage you.

I’ve been sensing for many years that God wants me to connect to, build bridges with a specific local congregation in my community. The reasons aren’t relevant, but the burden is big. Many times, I’ve tried to make that happen by be-friending women in that church, attending events offered in conjunction with it, and attempting to team up with individuals within their community. Why, I’ve even written to the pastor about my desire, but nothing has come of it.

A few days ago, I was burdened again, so I began to pray, “Lord, nothing I’ve tried has worked. If You’re in this, as I think You are, I need encouragement. I’m growing weary.” As I continued in prayer, the essence was this: “Lord, give me the heart of that church.”

An hour later I met a friend for lunch who told me she had a friend who wanted to meet me—the mother of a teen girl who has used my True Girl discipleship tools in her daughter’s life and who just learned we happened to live in the same town. She told my friend, “Do you know Dannah Gresh lives in this town?!” This woman had a great burden that she felt was from God to befriend me. And then, here’s where it gets really exciting, my friend told me that this woman is the adult daughter of the pastor of the church I’ve been praying to God about! Talk about giving me the heart of the church! I cannot wait to see what God does with our friendship—and I haven’t even met her . . . yet!

It takes my breath away when God answers a prayer like that.

But it also takes the air right out of me when I experience long spells of silence from God. Sometimes when I’m in the deepest places of pain, it seems like God is just not hearing my prayers. And that makes the pain . . . well, a lot heavier to carry.

We’ve all been there, right? Sometimes it seems that God is seriously delayed in His response. 

In fact, recently, I was praying about something, and had quite a different experience than the story I just shared. It just did not seem as if God was in a hurry to answer me. I was saying, "Lord, I need an answer. I need it now. Please hurry!” But the answer seemed to be no, or at least, wait! I shared my angst with Nancy while we were recording an episode of Revive Our Hearts, and here was her response.

Nancy: I can relate to that. In fact, there are a number of people Robert and I pray for each night before we go to sleep. Several of those people desperately need the Lord to intervene in their lives. There are some prodigals. There are some young people whose parents are crying themselves to sleep at night because those kids' hearts have turned away from the Lord. We have asked the Lord night after night, month after month, year after year, to draw those young people to Himself.

At the moment, there is no evidence yet that God is doing anything to turn their hearts.about this matter that is of great concern to me. Well, I shouldn't say He's not doing anything. He hasn't changed the circumstance, He hasn't changed (apparently) the person involved that I've been praying about.

But the fact is, God is always at work. One of the things I know He does, especially as I think about these prodigals and these parents who carry such a burden for these sons and daughters is, God is not just about changing those kids. God is also in the process of changing those parents and those grandparents as they take to Him the concerns on their hearts.

Elisabeth Elliot was a woman who knew a lot about prayer and about God's delays when it comes to answered prayer.

Elisabeth Elliot: I love to think about the fact that there's never a minute in the entire universe when prayer is not going up. I believe that that is not an exaggeration. Prayer is always ascending to heaven. And I find it very encouraging in my quiet time in the morning to realize that I, as a solitary woman, in a solitary room, praying on my knees, can bring my prayers into this great orchestra that God is orchestrating and I'm just one instrument in the orchestra.

But there's a hymn that I love that Jim Elliot and I used to sing often at sunset when we were living in the jungle. It tells about this whole concept of prayer being all over the world.

As o'er each continent and island the dawn brings on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent nor die the strains of praise away.

We thank thee that thy church unsleeping as earth rolls onward into light
Through all the world her watch is keeping and rests not now by day or night.

("The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended" by John Ellerton)

So no matter how feeble and foolish and stuttering my prayers may be to God, I believe that they are carried up to God as the Book of Revelation tells us "from the angel with the censer and the golden altar" (Rev. 8:3). God knows what to do with those prayers.

Some of you, I'm sure, are familiar with the lovely little story that Amy Carmichael told to her little Indian children about when she was a little girl at the age of three. She was told that God answers prayer. Since she believed everything that grownups told her, she figured that this was something that she should test. Does God really answer prayer?

There was one thing that she wanted more than anything else in the world, which was blue eyes. She had brown eyes.

So she got down by her bed before she went to sleep that night and she prayed that God would change those brown eyes into blue ones. She went to sleep confident that in the morning her eyes would be blue.

She woke up in the morning, jumped out of bed, pushed a chair over to where she could climb up to look at a mirror and looked into the mirror at the same old brown eyes.

She said to her children years and years later, "I don't remember whether it was an adult who said this to me or whether it was really God Himself who spoke these words to me, but somebody said, 'Isn't no an answer?'" Very often God's answer is "no," isn't it, to our prayers? And so that was a very great lesson for her, of course.

Little could she have imagined at that time that there would be occasions in India many years later, as a missionary, when it would be essential that she be taken for an Indian or she might have been killed. So her very life depended on the fact that she had very dark hair and very dark eyes. God does know what He's doing, doesn't He?

I heard the great missionary to China, who had been a London parlor maid. Her name was Gladys Aylward, and she told us in the 1960s shortly before she died how Jehovah God had sent her to China. She found herself standing on the wharf in China looking around on all the people to whom Jehovah God had sent her. And she said, "I thought about the fact that when I was growing up, I had two great sorrows. One, when all my friends were still growing, I stopped. And the other, when all my friends had beautiful golden hair, mine was black."

So she said, "I stood on the wharf and I looked around at all the people to whom Jehovah God had sent me, and every single one of them had black hair and every single one of them had stopped growing when I did. And I said, 'Lord God, You know what You are doing!'"

He does know what He is doing. He knows exactly what He's doing and He doesn't overlook the most pitiful prayer of the tiniest child.

This excerpt came from the program "Understanding Prayer." Listen to the full message by Elisabeth in the series "Leaving Self Behind, by Elisabeth Elliot."

Dannah: He knows what He is doing. He doesn’t overlook the most pitiful prayer of the tiniest child, and He won’t overlook your prayer. No matter what you’re asking God to help you with right now, from a grieving heart to understanding the color of the eyes he gave you to begging him to bring a prodigal home . . . God hears.

Speaking of praying for prodigals, I invite you to join with me and thousands of others as we ask God to bring them back to His heart this week. June 2 is The Worldwide Day of Prayer for the Prodigal. Could you just pull out your phone and set an alarm on that day to pray.

The term "prodigal" has become synonymous with someone who behaves recklessly, damaging their relationship with family and friends. In the story of the Prodigal Son in the Bible, we see the son taking his inheritance and leaving and later returning. 

Ya know, I’m deeply burdened for this issue, and recently became even more motivated to pray. I want to sound the alarm here—22 percent of young people are considered prodigals. And that number of has doubled in the last ten years, and is projected to double in the next ten years. There is concern that the pandemic will accelerate the issue here. This is a big issue, and we need to be motivated to pray.

I bet you know someone whose heart is breaking over this issue: a mom whose daughter is far from the Lord, or a grandmother who is praying for her grandchildren. Might you call them? Pray with them on June 2. I think it would mean a lot, I’m sure.

And if you’re the one praying for a prodigal, you can become a member of the prayer community at PrayerforProdigals.com. It’s a password secured online community you can join and confidentially share your pain . . . and your prayers.

You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts Weekend. I’m Dannah Gresh. Something that helps me when I feel like God isn’t hearing my prayers is to simply recite Scripture that reminds me He cares. A favorite passage of mine—and, well, actually for many of us—is Psalm 23. Can I read that over you right now?

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
   He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
   He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
   for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
   I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
   your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
   in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
   forever.

Hmm . . . that sounds good, doesn't it? Of course, it doesn't always erase the questions and doubts and confusions. You can still think, Well, what if this happens? What if that happens? We are masters at imagining the worst outcome possible sometimes, aren’t we!? That becomes especially pronounced when we forget that God is good and that His goodness follows us . . . right beside His mercy!

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth taught on Psalm 23 once, and I'd like you to hear what she had to say about God's goodness. Here's Nancy.

Nancy: Is there ever a moment when the Lord is not there? Is there ever a moment when He’s not at work? Is there ever a moment when He’s not active on behalf of His people?

It says to me, you’d better make sure you’re one of His sheep, because if you are, you never have to walk through a moment of this life on your own.

Then you say, “Well, what about the future? What if this happens? What if that happens? What if my life falls apart? What if I lose my job? What if my husband loses his job? What if I don’t ever get married? What if we can’t have children? What if we lose this child? What if we go bankrupt?” and all the things we can think of.

But you know what? Some of those things may happen. Some of those things will happen, but God is still there. He is still present. He is still alive. He is still active. He is still at work in the hearts and lives and on the behalf of His people.

Verse 6 tells us what we can anticipate. Yes, we can anticipate problems from here until heaven, and some very serious ones. I don’t mean to make light of them, but I’m saying there’s a reality that is greater than any problems you may face between now and the time you see the Lord.

What’s the promise? “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” No matter what else happens, one thing I know for sure. In fact, some of your translations will have a marginal note there: “Only goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

There’s a confidence there. There’s assurance. There’s no doubt. There’s no insecurity. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” The goodness of God.

And you see that in contrast to the evil we saw earlier in this psalm. “I will fear no evil.” There is evil in this world, but I don’t fear it because God’s goodness, which overcomes all evil, follows me all the days of my life.

Goodness and mercy are like a pair of bodyguards, always attending me, always following me, always on my heels; always the goodness of God in spite of the presence of evil.

We also see the goodness of God in contrast with the enemies. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” But here is God pursuing us. There are enemies pursuing with the intent to harm and to destroy, but there’s God’s goodness and God’s mercy pursuing or following all the way.

I was looking last night in John MacArthur’s topical study Bible. He says that the goodness of God is declared in the Scripture to be great, rich, abundant, satisfying, enduring, and universal. That’s what’s following me all the days of my life—that goodness of God.

Because of His goodness and His mercy following me, my past is covered. His mercy—that’s God’s covenant-keeping love, His steadfast love, His mercy that forgives all my iniquities, puts them behind me, remembers them against me no more. Hallelujah!

God’s goodness and His mercy cover my past. It means my present is secure. I’m cared for, followed by God’s mercy and goodness.

It means my future is secure. I will always be cared for by God’s goodness and mercy. There’s no need to worry, to fret, to stay awake at night, or to obsess about the future. Don’t go there, because the only thing you know for sure about the future is that God’s goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life.

Don’t borrow trouble. You don’t know that that’s going to happen. What you do know is that God’s goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life.

That word "follow" would probably be better translated “pursue.” His goodness and His mercy will "pursue" me all the days of my life.

So David is saying, as a shepherd king here, “God’s covenant love has been with me when all was going well, when I was in green pastures and by still waters. God’s covenant love and goodness were with me when I walked through the valley of deepest darkness. So I know, looking at that past track record, as I look to the future I know surely that His unfailing love will follow me all the days of my life.”

God is good when we are not. God is merciful when we have sinned. We know that all the days of our lives we will not be good, we will not be faithful. But God will always be good. He will always be faithful.

Listen to the full message, "Goodness and Mercy." This program is part of the series, "The Lord Is My Shepherd (Psalm 23)."

Dannah: I love that: God is good when we are not. His goodness and His mercy will pursue me all the days of my life. Oh friend, if you’re struggling right now, remember and cling to that promise: His goodness and His mercy will pursue you all the days of your life.

If you need some evidence of that goodness chasing someone down, I have a story you simply have to hear. It’ll refresh your heart, make you want to pray, help you believe the prayers you’ve been praying are being answered, even if you’ve been praying them for a very long time and see no evidence that God is at work. I think I’ll let the man who saw this one unfold tell it. 

Sammy Tippit knows about being on his knees and crying out to God and then having to wait patiently for an answer. Sammy travels around the world sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. And sometimes he has to wait and wait and wait for God to answer. But because of his patience, He’s seen God answer request after request.

Over thirty-five years ago, Sammy and his team were in a little town called Gallots in Romania. He was not prepared for how God would answer their prayers in that sweet place. Here’s Sammy Tippit.

Sammy Tippit: At Gallots there is a river. We went to the riverbed every night. Right next to the river. You could look across and could see the former Soviet Union. We would pray, “O God, pour out Your Spirit there. Send revival there. Lord, let Your kingdom come.” And we would weep.

When I say “we,” it would be a group of Americans and Romanians together. We would go down there, and we would pray. We would seek the face of God, and we’d say, “God, let Your kingdom be extended. Oh God, don’t let what You're doing stop here. Lord, we pray in the name of Jesus that it would go in the former Soviet Union.”

We did this for eight years. Probably the greatest thing that we did was when we went across those mountains. No one else had ever gone across those mountains.

Finally, my friend Titus said to me, “Sammy, instead of an American singing group, we need to bring a Romanian singing group.”

I said, “Titus, would that be dangerous for those young people?”

He said, “Yes. They may lose their education. They may go to jail. But that’s a part of the cost.”

We brought a young people’s singing group. In order to be in the singing group, you had to memorize 1 John, 1 Peter, and the book of James. They would stand, sing a song, quote a chapter; sing a song, quote a chapter; sing a song, quote a chapter; sing a song, quote a chapter. Those young people were so on fire for Jesus.

In 1988 when I was arrested and put out of the country, they told me you’d never be allowed back in the country. What they didn’t know was that God is on His throne. In December of 1989, an evangelical pastor in Timisoara was to be arrested. When the Securitate came, Christians came and they made a circle around his home to try to protect him from being arrested.

They joined arm in arm, and the Securitate, the secret police, came in and they began to fire into innocent men, women, and children. And when the blood of the martyrs began to flow into the streets of Timisoara, there was the release of God’s glory among the people of God.

More than 200,000 people gathered in the main square of Timisoara. Peter Dugalescu, pastor of the First Baptist Church stood. They were gathered to protest. These were not Christians. These were atheists—people who had been taught all of their lives, “There is no God” from kindergarten to post-graduate university level. They gathered to protest the slaughter of these innocent men, women, and children.

Peter Duglascu stood and he began to preach. As he began to preach, there was a release of God’s Spirit and 200,000 people began to shout, “Existe un Dumnezeu! Existe un Dumnezeu! Existe un Dumnezeu!” Which translated means “There is a God. There is a God. There is a God.”

This spread to every major metropolitan center in the nation. Romanian friends contacted me and said, “Sammy, that for which we have been praying is finally happened. You must return right now.”

I left everything I was doing. I was actually speaking, I think, at Precept Ministries at the time. I left Precepts and got on a plane and flew to Vienna, Austria. Friends picked me up in Vienna. We drove to the border where they had said, “You will never be allowed back in this country again.”

We pulled up to that border crossing, and the first question always asked at the border was, “Do you have Bibles?” If you had Bibles, you were in trouble. We pulled up. I’ll never forget that night. I have a picture of it in my office. I’ll never forget that night. Soldiers came out. The snow was coming down. It was cold. Everyone was trying to leave the country. A revolution was in progress. We were the only ones going in.

A soldier said, “Get out of the car.” We got out of the car, and they asked this question, “Are you Christians?” My heart began to beat and I said, “Yes, sir. We’re Christians.” I will never forget what happened next. That soldier threw his arms open wide and said, “Welcome to the new Romania.” (Applause)

On the very spot where they told me, “You will never be allowed back in this country.” On that very spot we knelt and gave glory and honor and praise to Jesus Christ. We went in. What I can tell you is that for the next five years the evangelistic harvest was absolutely incredible—absolutely incredible.

In fact, they said to me, “Sammy, as soon as it warms up, you must come back, and we must hold an evangelistic crusade in the football stadiums here in Romania.” One week before their first elections, I went to Romania and for the first time in the history of the nation, I stood in a football stadium to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Right before I preached, my interpreter turned to me and said, “Sammy, do you know what today is?”

I said, “What’s today?”

He said, “Today is the day that God has answered the prayer that our pastor taught us to pray years ago, that we would stand in the great stadiums and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

I fell on my face on that platform and said, “Oh God!”

Preached. We went to every city, major city in Romania and held stadium crusades following that.

Listen to the full program, "A Revived Church on the Move." This is part of the series, "Revival That Leads to Evangelism, by Tippet."

Dannah: Only God. Only God. We serve a mighty and powerful God. He can bring the prodigal home, and He can save the lost souls in Romania. 

I hope you were encouraged by what you heard today and reminded of the truth that God hears our prayers. He is good, and He is always at work! So press into your prayers.

This weekend, I’m praying specifically for two things, and I want to boldly ask you to join me.

First, did you know that the flag ship program of Revive Our Hearts with teaching from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is heard all over the world—from South Africa to South America, from France to Iran. Women are being called to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ through this ministry. This is so exciting. Thank you for being a part of it, for listening to us, for sharing our joy, and for giving.

Well, on to that prayer request: this is the last weekend of May. Monday we are closing the books on our financial year. At the beginning of the month, we had a need to raise $750,000 to keep bringing biblical content to women around the globe. Will you pray with me that we make it! And if you feel led as you pray, you might consider making a gift of any amount to help us cross this important finish line? We need to hear from you this weekend. 

If you’d like to give, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also see the progress bar to see how far we have to go in these last few hours. Or, you can call us at 1–800–569–5959 to make your donation today. But please, be sure to pray this weekend!

Another thing I’m praying for this weekend is comfort for those families whose sacrifice for our country has been great. Monday we’ll observe Memorial Day. Let’s not forget to remember. Men and women have served and sacrificed so that you and I can live in a free nation. This weekend we honor those men and women. I’d also like to encourage you to pray for the family members they've left behind. And if you are part of a family who sent your loved ones off to war . . . and never had the chance to welcome them home. . . thank you.  

I wish I could hug you and tell you that while I look into your eyes. I’m praying for you.

Next week, we’ll talk about friendships. They’re important, they’re needed and at times they are messy . . . but always worth it. Practical tips and advice, but most importantly what God has to say about being a friend on the next Revive Our Hearts Weekend.

Thanks for listening today. 

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

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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

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About the Teachers

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.

Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth Elliot

The late Elliot (1926-2015) was a prolific Christian author and speaker whose first husband, Jim Elliot (1927–1956), was one of five missionaries killed as they sought to make contact with the Waodani Indians (an unreached people in Ecuador known for their violence). Soon after, Elisabeth and her then two-year-old daughter Valerie moved among the same people, spending two years sharing the Gospel with and befriending those who killed her husband.

After her return to the U.S., Elisabeth began a speaking and writing ministry, writing over twenty-five books and eventually becoming the first female bestselling Christian author and one of the most influential Christians of the twentieth century.

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.

Sammy Tippit

Sammy Tippit

Sammy Tippit is a revivalist/evangelist who has pioneered unique evangelistic efforts for more than fifty years. He’s preached in some of the world’s largest stadiums, in war zones in Africa, and in the middle of the revolution in Romania. He recently proclaimed the gospel to more than fifteen million people by using social media. He is the author of seventeen books. He has been married to Debara “Tex” Tippit for fifty-two years. They live in San Antonio, Texas and have two children and five grandchildren.