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Entries in Nancy Leigh DeMoss (3)

Tuesday
Mar312015

Three Times to Say 'Yes"

"I’ve noticed many women, in recent years, mentioning the idea of saying 'yes' to God," says Dawn Wilson. In this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, she encourages us with three kinds of “yes” responses to the Lord, using words from three special ladies.

It all begins with the heart. First, there is:

1. The Yes of Surrender

James entreats Christians, "Submit yourselves therefore to God" (James 4:7a). In Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s Revive Our Hearts outreaches (True Woman and Revive conferences), one of the interesting facets is a focus on immediate obedience when God speaks to women through His Word or through the Holy Spirit during the messages and prayer times.

In these conferences, women receive gift bags, and in the bag is a white hankie with the words, “Yes, Lord!” embroidered in the corner. Women are encouraged to wave their “white flag” of surrender to the Lord when He speaks, showing their willingness to obey. This idea is spelled out in Nancy’s book, Surrender: The Heart God Controls.

“To call Him Lord means to say Yes—to His will, His Word and His ways,” Nancy wrote. “We cannot call Him Lord and then proceed to run our own lives. . . .

“To some, that type of surrender might seem to be bondage; but those who have bowed the knee—those who have laid down their arms and waved the white flag of surrender—know that it is the only pathway to true freedom. And with that surrender comes a host of blessings . . . I have seen this so many times in my own life that I often look back and wonder, Why did I ever resist the will of God?” (1)

In her book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, Lysa TerKeurst wrote, “You don’t need perfect circumstances to be a woman who says yes to God. . . . You simply have to surrender all that’s clamoring for attention in your heart with the answer God is longing to hear spill from your lips—‘Yes, God.” (2)

A surrendered heart is the launching pad for a surrendered life.

Then, we have to respond with:

2. The Yes of Action

James reminds us of the importance of being "doers" of the word" (James 1:22). In her book, Following God One Yes at a Time, Connie Cavanaugh wrote about “moving forward” with our yes.

“When God points you in a certain direction, say ‘yes’ with your feet. One simple, immediate, possible yes leads to another, and another, as you obey His directives and attain your dreams.

“Move forward even if it looks like the water won’t hold you (like Peter stepping out of the boat), even if you’re not sure where you’ll end up (like Abraham when he left Ur), and even if it looks like it doesn’t make sense (like Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac).

“When you move, you’ll begin to hear Him more clearly. Why? One simple reason: You have put yourself in a place you can’t make it without Him. You need Him now to pursue and realize His and your dream. This “active need” sharpens your spiritual hearing. The absolutely best place to hear from God is while you’re moving forward to achieve the dream because you are in the center of His will.” (3)

We must not take our “yes” lightly. There are times we need real wisdom to consider the best response. Paul told believers to church show discernment "so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ" (Philippians 1:9-10).

Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes, highlights the importance of saying yes to God in order to make wise decisions in the midst of our endless daily demands. I call it:

3. The Yes of Discernment

“I miss Best Yes opportunities sometimes because I simply don’t know they’re part of the equation," Lysa wrote. "I get all twisted up in making the decision to check either the Yes or No box, not realizing there is a third box that reads Best Yes.

“. . . What is a Best Yes, you ask. . . . In God’s plan, you’ve got a part to play. If you know it and believe it, you’ll live it. You’ll live your life making decisions with the Best Yes as your best filter. You’ll be a grand display of God’s Word lived out. Your undistracted love will make your faith ring true. Your wisdom will help you make decisions that will still be good tomorrow.” (4)

There are likely many other times and reasons to say “yes” to God. But do any of these three speak to you today? What will you do to respond to the Lord?

 Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Ministries, is the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices Today, LOL with God (with Pam Farrel), and Upgrade with Dawn. She is the Director of the San Diego chapter of Network of Evangelical Women in MInistry (NEWIM San Diego). Dawn is the co-author of LOL with God and contributed "The Blessing Basket" in It's a God Thing. She and her husband Bob have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.

Sources:

(1) Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Surrender: the Heart God Controls, (Moody Publishers, 2008), pp. 161, 163.

(2) Lysa TerKeurst, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, (Harvest House, 2007), pp. 13-14)

(3) Connie Cavanaugh, Following God One Yes at a Time, (Harvest House, 2011), pp. 80-81.

(4) Lysa TerKeurst, The Best Yes, (Thomas Nelson, 2014), pp. 5-6.

Thursday
Jun122014

Ask Your Children Big-Picture Questions

As a special Father’s Day post and to help us Upgrade our parenting and/or ministry to children, I asked my friend, Nancy Leigh DeMoss of Revive Our Hearts ministry to share with us. So much of her life was shaped by the life example of her parents—especially her father. She often talks and writes about him. In 2013, Nancy wrote about a question her dad asked that helped her shape her life and ministry. *

“The scene is indelibly etched in my memory,” Nancy wrote. “I was 19 years old. My family was on a mission trip in Haiti—my parents’ (and my) favorite type of family 'vacation.'”

Reader, does this give you some insight into the type of family Nancy grew up in? This vacation is only a slice of the big picture of life and ministry her parents embraced.

Nancy continues ...

We were worshiping in a small Haitian church, sitting on hard wood benches. In the middle of the service, my dad leaned over to me and whispered,

“Honey, what are your 50-year goals?”

Now, I’ll confess I hadn’t given a lot of thought to my 50-year goals, prior to that moment. But over the next weeks, I set out to respond to his question. Of course, I didn’t know things like whether I would be married or single or what my specific ministry path would look like. But I tried to record what I wanted to be true of my life in 50 years—by the time I was 69—if the Lord was pleased to give me that many years.

Periodically I’ve gone back and reviewed the document that resulted from that exercise more than 35 years ago. It has proved to be a valuable reminder to be intentional, stay the course, and focus on the things that matter most.

While I would no doubt craft these goals a bit differently today, these are the same basic categories that I still believe are important. Even this week, in re-reading this list, I’ve been challenged to recalibrate my thinking in one particular area.

As a teen sitting in that Haitian church, 50 years seemed like an eternity away. I could not have imagined how quickly those years would pass—or how easy it would be to fritter away days, months, years—a lifetime.

Today, with less than 15 years left till I turn 69, I wish I were a whole lot further along toward these goals. I haven’t even come close to attaining all of them. But I’m confident I have grown more in these areas than I might have if it hadn’t been for my dad’s question. So for challenging me to this exercise—and for so much more—thank you, Dad!

I believe there is value in doing this kind of thinking at various points in life. And not only for yourself . . .

Don’t underestimate the potential impact of encouraging your children, grandchildren, and young friends to think through these kinds of big-picture questions.

Less than two years after I wrote these goals, on the weekend of my 21st birthday, my dad died suddenly of a heart attack.

I’m so thankful for his efforts to encourage me to live a purposeful life to the glory of God. And that he didn’t think the teen years were too young to challenge me to seek and embrace God’s vision for my future.

What questions could you ask your child, grandchild or another child you want to influence, to help shape big-picture thinking and priorities?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a mentor and "spiritual mother" to hundreds of thousands of women who have read her best-selling books and who listen to her two daily radio programs, Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him. She communicates a love for the Lord and the Word that is infectious! Nancy is the author of many books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. Learn more about her ministry and women’s revival conferences at Revive Our Hearts and True Woman.

* This post is part of an article at TrueWoman.com titled “My Dad’s Impromptu Challenge.” The article includes the goals that Nancy wrote when she was 19.

Thursday
Aug012013

Seeking More 'Seeking God' Upgrades

There’s seeking God, and then there’s Seeking God! Maybe you know what I mean.

If you ask the average Christian, “Are you seeking God?” you’ll likely get a “yes.” Most of us think we’re seeking God when we attend church, read our Bibles, pray and pursue spiritual disciplines. And we likely are.

But then there are times when we get more desperate, more passionate, more focused. These are like Seeking God “Upgrades” in our lives!

  • Maybe circumstances (pain, fear, confusion, a tough decision, a loss) drive us to seek Him.
  • Perhaps we arrived at a special retreat or a solitary location—a blessed place without distractions—and we have the time and opportunity to seek Him more earnestly.
  • Or maybe we suddenly, in the midst of self-seeking, feel the urgency to seek, find and know God more.

Many in this world say they are seeking God or some form of spirituality, but they are not seeking the God revealed in the Bible (Romans 3:11; John 17:3).

Once we have sought the God of the Bible to save us—and the writers at Girlfriends in God describe that seeking well—we will have many periods in our walk with God where we’re drawn back to Him in a closer, deeper way. God Himself calls us to seek Him (Psalm 27:8).

In the Old Testament, we see God calling to His people through the prophets and other godly people (see 1 Chronicles 22:19a; 28:9b; 2 Chronicles 15:2-4; Job 8:5; Isaiah 55:6-7; Amos 5:4-6a; Zephaniah 2:3). Over and over again, the Children of Israel heard these words: “Seek me and live.” … “Seek the Lord while he may be found.” … “If you seek Him, He will be found by you.” … “Set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God.”

To seek the Lord means to seek His presence.

The Jews called it seeking God’s “face,” which makes sense—to be before God’s face would indicate being in His presence.

I used to wonder about God’s presence. Aren’t we always there?

He’s omnipresent, so yes, God is always present with us. He manifests His power and provision in our lives. He’s always near to love, guide and help us. He is faithful to His children “to the end of the age,” the Bible tells us (Matthew 28:20).

But in another sense, we’re exhorted to “seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”(Psalm 105:4)

Do you know why we get that instruction? There are times when we drift away from the Lord. We are not conscious of His faithful presence. We forget how wonderful He is, the beauty of His grace, His purpose in sending Jesus, His work in our lives.

So God’s call to us is to seek Him continually. We set our mind and heart toward Him (1 Chronicles 22:19). In the New Testament, we’re told to fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Our whole focus, our attention and heart, are set on seeing and knowing God.  

Two of my favorite verses are Colossians 3:1-2: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Our thoughts center around God Himself and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), not just the splendors of heaven and glories of eternity.

Seeking God is a choice.

We have to recognize when we have wandered off or coasted spiritually and  been too busy for God; and we consciously choose to return and seek Him. He may seem hidden from us, so we seek Him as the treasure He is. We pay the price, take the effort. We "come away to a quiet place" and rest with Him (Mark 6:31a). We ask God to reveal Himself in the Word and manifest His glory in His creation and through the godly lives of others in the family of God.

Seeking Him implies there are hindrances and obstacles in the way. I’ve found that media, social media and the entertainment industry are three ways the enemy tries to dull my desire to seek God; but other things—even good, necessary things—can draw me away from seeking God when He calls. Certainly my own pride gets in the way, and I am not alone (Psalm 10:4). If I’m going to boast in anything, let it be that have sought God and know Him (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

Seeking God includes crying out to Him, even pleading for mercy (Isaiah 55:6; Job 8:5) as we draw near, recognizing His holiness.

God’s faithful promise to us is satisfaction for our seeking: “If you seek Him, He will be found by you” (1 Chronicles 28:9). Though we may find many other things in the seeking, the greatest reward will be God Himself—His sweet presence (Hebrews 11:6).

"Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!" (Psalm 105:3)

Do you have special resources to help you seek God in a deeper way? Two resources from Revive Our Hearts  I recommend are The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and the Bible Study, Seeking Him, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom.

Dawn Wilson is the founder of Heart Choices Ministries and creator of UpgradeWithDawn.com and also blogs at LOLwithGod.com. Dawn's ministry encourages, edifies and energizes women with the truth of scripture so they can better enjoy life, bless others and honor God. She lives in San Diego with her husband Bob and a rascally maltipoo named Roscoe.