Revive Our Hearts Podcast

An Expression of Faith

Season: Crying Out

Leslie Basham: Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You're in a situation that you just can't fix. Don't you hate to be there? I mean, we want to be able to fix things. We don't mind the hardship if we can just apply a formula to it and fix it, yet God sometimes puts us in situations that we can't fix.

Leslie Basham: It's Monday, June 20th, and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

If you have kids, you can probably recognize different types of crying. One kind of crying is basically a complaint about things not going a child's way. But a different cry tells you they are truly hurt, and you run to help them. This week Nancy's going to tell us about that second kind of cry and the heavenly Father who rushes to us when we're in need. Here she is teaching a group of women.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Several of you have shared with us already this morning about the burdens that are on your heart. We asked you to share what's the greatest spiritual struggle that you've been experiencing over the last thirty days. I made a list as we were going around of some of the burdens that different ones of you expressed.

I think of one woman who said that she's learning and struggling to love a grown child whose heart she finds difficult to connect with. Then some in this room who've been in the last weeks through the loss of a mate or a parent. There are others who are wrestling with issues of raising children. A number mentioned things having to do with hormones and the season of life that maybe your hormones or your children's hormones . . . and when they both kick into high gear at the same time you've got a recipe that's a challenging one.

But there are issues and things on our hearts that are very real life situations and for some of the things we are facing there are no easy or obvious solutions. One of the things that God has been speaking to my heart about recently as I've been in the Scripture is the matter of crying out to the Lord when we're in trouble, calling upon the name of the Lord.

Several of you said that you're in a situation that you just can't fix. Don't you hate to be there? I mean, we want to be able to fix things. We don't mind the hardship if we can just apply a formula to it and fix it, yet God sometimes puts us in situations that we can't fix. We can't change them; we can't control them. What do we do then?

Well, a theme I'm seeing recurring throughout the Scripture is this theme of crying out to the Lord. I want to share with you this week some things I'm learning about crying out to the Lord as I'm reading through the Scripture. We find this theme over and over again.

Psalm 34 verse 17: "The righteous cry out and the Lord hears and He delivers them out of all their troubles." Psalm 50 verse 15, the Scripture says: "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will glorify me."

I want to take that verse as kind of the theme for this week. "Call upon me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you and you will glorify me." That's Psalm 50 verse 15. Now here's the principle, and then I want to illustrate it through several passages in the Scripture.

The principle is that when God's people are in trouble, when they're in a desperate situation, if they will cry out to the Lord, the Scripture promises that God will hear and He will deliver. Then the end result is that God will be glorified. So that's the principle. When we're in trouble and we cry out to the Lord, the Lord hears, the Lord delivers, and ultimately God is glorified.

Let's look at that principle illustrated in a number of situations in the Scripture. We go back to Exodus chapter 2. Remember that the children of Israel are in captivity in Egypt. There was a harsh Pharaoh who was trying to make life miserable for the Jews, and he did in fact do that.

Then Exodus 2 verse 23 tells us: "Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage and they cried out. And their cries came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning."

Now what the children of Israel didn't know when they were crying out, they were groaning . . . . Sometimes you don't even know what to cry out. Sometimes it's just a groaning in your spirit, and you can't even put words sometimes to that cry to the Lord. But there's a groaning out of your bondage, your troubles, your difficulty. What the children of Israel didn't know was that when they were crying out to the Lord, God was already setting in motion the circumstances that would lead to their deliverance.

Now they didn't see the deliverance for some time yet to come, but hundreds of miles away, in the desert of Midian, the Scripture says that the Lord said to Moses, "I've seen the oppression of my people. I've heard their cry. I know their sorrows, and I have come down to deliver them" (Exodus 3:7-8).

You may not be able to see how God is at work even now to bring deliverance, but God is always hearing the cries of His children. God is always at work to bring deliverance to the righteous so that ultimately God can be glorified.

When the children of Israel finally were delivered out of Egypt, they faced another test very quickly as they came to the Red Sea. There's this sea in front of them, mountain range on either side, and the Egyptian army breathing down their neck behind them. There's no way out; they're trapped.

The Scripture says in Exodus chapter 14:10: "As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord."

We know as we go on in that passage that the Lord heard their cry and supernaturally intervened to bring the deliverance. When we come in the Old Testament to the period of the judges, you read this progression. You see this principle illustrated over and over and over again. Frequently, God brought the people into a place of bondage, in this case over their sin, their idolatry, and God was chastening them.

Sometimes that's the way we end up in our difficult circumstances, not always, but sometimes it's the result of wrong choices we've made. Some of your children are facing difficult circumstances because of wrong choices that they have made. Don't try and rescue your children from a cross that God is setting up to bring them to the end of themselves. You want, as a mother, to rescue them, but God wants your children to learn to cry out to Him so that they can see His deliverance as well.

So over and over again in the book of Judges we read when the children of Israel, in bondage because of their sin, cried out to the Lord . . . . What did God do? He raised up a deliverer. Not just once, but ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen times a merciful and gracious God over and over again delivered His people.

I think of situations in the Old Testament where the children of Israel were in a battle. 1 Chronicles 5 verse 20 tells about one of those occasions. And it says: "The Israelites were helped in fighting their enemy, and God handed the Hagrites"--that was enemy power--"and all their allies over to them."

Why? Because they cried out to Him during the battle. What did God do? He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him. You see, crying out to the Lord is an expression of faith. It's a cry of desperation, but it's an expression of faith that God is hearing, and God can do something about my need.

It's not just in a corporate sense that the Jews cried out to God, but there were individual cases. I think of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles chapter 18 when he was in battle against the Assyrians.

The Scripture says: "When the captain of the Assyrians saw Jehoshophat they surrounded him to attack him. But Jehoshophat cried out and the Lord helped him, and God diverted them from him" (verse 31)./p>

I wonder how many times you and I don't see God intervene supernaturally because we just haven't stopped to cry out to Him. We cry for help to everyone else but not crying out to God. Over and over again, 2 Chronicles chapter 32, King Sennacherib and the Assyrians came against the nation of Judah.

The Scripture says King Hezekiah, king of Judah, and the prophet Isaiah prayed and cried out to heaven. "Then the Lord sent an angel, who cut down every mighty man, leader and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria" (verse 21).

You say, that's in the Old Testament. God doesn't do things like that today. You know why I think we don't see God do more things like that today? It is because we don't ask. We don't cry out to the Lord for deliverance.

You remember in Matthew chapter 14 when Peter stepped out of that boat to walk toward Jesus on that stormy sea, he was walking on the water toward Jesus. But verse 30 of Matthew 14 tells us: "When he saw that the wind was boisterous he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out saying, 'Lord save me!' And immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him."

So as we look at these passages, and I hope as you're reading through the Scripture, you'll keep your eyes open for what I'm seeing all over the Scripture, and that is instances where people or nations cried out to the Lord and how God heard their cry and answered.

Because the Scripture says: "Call upon me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you and you will glorify me" (Psalm 50:15).

So as we read those passages, I'm reminded first of all that God doesn't change. The God of the Old Testament is our God. The God of King Jehoshaphat, the God of Peter, the God of the children of Israel in Egypt is my God. He doesn't change. When we cry out to the Lord, and only then perhaps, will we see what God can do on our behalf.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss reminding us that when we face a problem, the first thing we need to do is cry out to God for help. It's so easy to call everybody else and approach prayer as an afterthought.

From the beginning of Revive Our Hearts we've cried out to the Lord asking Him to make our words effective. Nancy's here to give us a report on one of the ways He's answered that prayer.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: This week I received a fresh batch of letters from Revive Our Hearts listeners. I always enjoy reading those letters, but as I read through these particular ones, I was especially touched by how many of the letters were from prisoners. It's so moving to see how God is using this ministry to reach into prisons and jails across this country to touch and transform lives of inmates.

Many of them have shared with us how they've come to know Christ and how they're being discipled in their faith and how they want to serve Him. They're asking us for help and for input and for resources for their spiritual lives. I'm so thankful that the Lord has made it possible for us to reach not only into homes and workplaces and cars, but also into prison cells with the message of salvation and grace through Jesus Christ.

In many cases we're able to send special resources to these inmates as they request them. You know all that is made possible because of the prayers and the financial support of God's people who believe in this ministry, they believe in this message, and they want to see it reach into every sphere of American life.

You just never know who may be reached, who may be touched, what life, what family, what person's whole future may be transformed as a result of your investment.

Leslie Basham: If you've never made a donation to Revive Our Hearts it would help us to hear from you now. The end of this month marks the end of our fiscal year when we close up the books and evaluate plans for the future.

Your gift can help us finish the year strong and have an idea of the types of ministry we'll be able to do in coming months. You can donate by calling 1-800-569-5959. You can also donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com or send a check to Revive Our Hearts, Box 82500, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501.

A fire engine usually doesn't race to a crisis unless someone calls for it. That illustrates something about God's help and we'll discuss it tomorrow. Please be here for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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