Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Biblical Response to America's Tragedy, Part 5

Leslie Basham: In the last few weeks, our country has gained a new appreciation for rescue workers who risk their lives to save others every day. It's Friday, October 5th, and you are listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Maybe you've been observing the efforts of rescue workers in New York and Washington, D.C. Do you realize that every believer in Jesus Christ has been called to a type of rescue work? Let's join Nancy Leigh DeMoss as she speaks to a small group of women about how we can respond to the recent tragic events.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I received an e-mail last week from a woman friend who, like many of us, is trying to process the events of the last few weeks. She said (and I think she speaks for many of us), "I feel at a loss for what a homemaker and a mother of four children can do. It seems that Jesus' return is drawing near, so what am I to be doing in the meantime? I feel I need to step out of my comfort zone--but where and how?"

What can we do? I've been asking myself that question. You've been asking that question. I want to make several suggestions today about what we can do that can really make a difference.

Number one, I think it's so important that we weep with those who weep--that we enter into the suffering and the hurts and the wounds of those who have lost loved ones, those who've suffered incredible loss in this tragedy. Who more than those who belong to Christ should be able to demonstrate the merciful, the compassionate, the tender heart of God? As I've been reading some of the Gospels over the last few weeks, I've been caught by the tender, compassionate heart of Christ, who from His innermost being was troubled with the life circumstances some of His friends found themselves in.

Then, it's important that we refuse to give in to fear, that we demonstrate the reality of God's peace in the midst of this turmoil. We do live in a fragile, fallen, broken world--where there is no ultimate security apart from trusting in Christ. Not even the godly are immune from suffering. So it's a time for us to demonstrate to the world that there's a peace that passes all understanding that we can have in the midst of troubled, tumultuous times. We need to demonstrate that peace.

And then this is a time for us to do a little heart check--maybe a big heart check. You know that intense security measures are now in place in our airports, and many of us have experienced what it's like to have those big machines take our baggage and purses, our handbags, and everything that we have--and take them through that machine where an X ray looks and penetrates and shows what's inside. Then we walk through that passageway, that machine, where they look inside us and see if we have any weapons, anything that might be dangerous. I wonder if God is not giving each of us an opportunity to walk through His heavenly X ray equipment--and to say there are things about us that are more deadly and more dangerous than terrorist knives. There are things in our hearts that God wants to expose, to bring to the light. He wants to show us issues and needs in our own lives.

See, the danger at a time like this is that we would just point the finger at others and say they have done all the evil. But I think in times like this, God wants us to examine our own hearts--to say, "Lord, I'll walk through that X ray machine myself and let You search and examine my own heart"--to make sure that I'm right with God, that I'm ready to face God, that I have been saved from my sin through repentance and faith in Christ; and then, for those of us who have assurance that we are eternally saved and right with God, to make sure that our conscience is clear, that we're right with every person.

I went to church last Sunday, and as I was getting ready to leave and spending some time with the Lord, a picture came to mind of another woman in my church who I had come to understand had something against me. There had been a misunderstanding between us, and my heart had been justifying and feeling that I didn't do anything wrong in this. I had gone through all the defending myself and justifying. But as I was getting ready to go to church, that verse came to mind from Matthew 5 where Jesus said if you 're getting ready to give a gift at the altar and you remember that somebody has something against you, leave your gift there at the altar and go first and be reconciled to your brother.

And as I went to church last Sunday, I had to go and find that woman and say, "Could we go talk?" We ended up spending the whole service in a little side room, opening up our hearts to each other and saying, "I want to be right with you."

You see, I knew I was coming here to teach this week. I knew that I would be offering up a sacrifice to the Lord. I knew that when I went to church I was going to offer God myself and my offerings, and I knew that it was absolutely essential that I not only be right with God but that I be right with every person to the best of my ability, that my conscience be clear.

And then the call to pray--to pray, of course, for the victims, for those lives who will never be the same as a result of the loss they've experienced over these weeks; not only the victims, but I believe we have a call, according to God's Word, to pray for the perpetrators, to pray for those who've done this evil. God's Word says that we are to pray for those who despitefully use and persecute us--that their hearts would be turned to Christ. I think about how God turned a man named Saul of Tarsus, when he was out persecuting and killing believers. But God stopped him there on the road to Damascus. He encountered God in a life-changing way and his life was changed. He became the great apostle Paul. We have much of the Word of God today because of the transformation that took place in that man's life. Don't think that could not happen to Osama Bin Laden. We need to pray for him. We need to pray for wicked rulers as well as righteous rulers in this world--that God will have His way in their lives.

We need to pray for those who've been blinded by religions that are false religions--because all religion apart from Christ is deadly. It's not just an innocent religion apart from Christ. It's deadly. We need to pray for billions of people in our world today who have been blinded by religious activity and religious beliefs that are contrary to the truth. We need to pray that God would use these events to turn the hearts of people who may have been more sensitized by what has been happening and perhaps more open to matters of eternity.

We need to pray for our nation. We've seen it; we've sung it; we've prayed it: "God bless America." But the question is why? Why should He? Perhaps we should be praying, "God, have mercy on America. And God, do something in us as a nation that would give You a reason to be able to bless us." God tells us what kind of nation is blessed: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD"--not just any God, but God the Lord. So we need to pray that God will have mercy on our country.

Then I believe this is a time perhaps as never before to appeal to our friends and loved ones and coworkers to prepare to meet God, to prepare for eternity.

I was deeply moved by one CBS reporter that I heard talking to Dan Rather on the morning of September 11th. She was still visibly shaken, because she had run out of one of those collapsing buildings. Here she was now, sitting on camera next to Dan Rather. She was out of breath; she was just on the brink of tears. You could see she was very, very shaken. And she was thanking publicly those rescuers who had helped to get her out of that building. Here's what she said when she spoke about one. She said, "He threw me into a building, threw his body against me and covered me from the falling debris."

Then she said, "There was a police officer who grabbed my hand and led me through that falling building, and another firefighter who gave me his mask so that I could breathe." She is a woman who will be forever indebted to those search and rescue workers, forever grateful. Where would she be today? See, that's what had shaken her. She knew where she'd be if it hadn't been for those who were willing to make these valiant, courageous rescue attempts.

I wonder if there is someone who is collapsing under the weight and guilt of their sin--someone in my family, someone in yours; someone in my place of work, someone in yours; someone in my neighborhood, someone in your neighborhood. I have neighbors who don't know the Lord, and I'm praying, "Oh God, show me how to reach out." It's not easy, because in this case, most of those people who need to be rescued don't realize that they need to be rescued. They're not looking for help. Nonetheless, isn't this a time for us to give them our mask so they can breathe, to say "We have a lifeline," to take them by the hand and say "I'm going to lead you out of this burning building. I'm going to risk what you think of me because I know there's judgment coming. And I'm going to plead with you to flee from the wrath to come."

What an opportunity, because, you see, the Gospel is still the Good News. The Gospel is what our world needs to hear, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May we not fail in this moment to be the people of God, doing the work of God, and seeing the kingdom of God established in the hearts of His people.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss reminding us that as believers in Christ, we're all involved in a search and rescue operation. Nancy will be right back to recap the things we can do in response to recent tragic events.

Now maybe you want to be involved in the search and rescue operations that Nancy just talked about but don't know how to begin. We're making a tool available that you can use to share your faith with others. It's a book called Right With God, by John Blanchard. It explains what it means to put your faith in Jesus Christ and walk in an ongoing relationship with Him.

Why don't you get a copy, review it and share it with someone who needs to hear its message. We have the book Right With God available for a suggested donation of $5, and you can order it on our Web site, ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also call 1-800-569-5959. When you call, you can also order a tape of today's program. It's part of the series A Biblical Response to America's Tragedy, available for a suggested donation of $5.

We hope you can join us again on Monday when Nancy helps us gain a better understanding of what it means for God to revive His Church. Now again, here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: My friend said, "It seems that Jesus' return is drawing near; what am I to be doing in the meantime?" I would just ask you, "Is God speaking to your heart about one or more of these in particular?" Do you need to weep with those who weep? I'm asking God to give me a more tender, compassionate heart. Do you need to demonstrate the freedom from fear, the peace of God in the midst of turmoil? Do you need to examine your own heart, or let God examine it? Make sure that you're right with God, that your conscience is clear with every person that you know. Perhaps you need to be evaluating your priorities.

Are the things you're living for really worth dying for? All of us need to pray as God directs, to lay hold of God and say, "Oh Lord, we have no hope but in You. We have nowhere to turn but to You. But we do turn to You and we believe You to have Your way and Your will in this time of national crisis." Then if there's someone that you need to reach out to, say, "Here's my hand. Here's my heart. I want to help you. I want to help you spiritually prepare to meet God, and I'm willing to risk what you think. I'm willing to risk your rejection in order to show you how you can get out, how you can flee from the wrath of God."

Leslie Basham:  

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