Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Death Brings Life (And Other Bedrock Truths)

Leslie Basham: When you serve do you do it with a desire for the fame of Christ’s name to be spread? Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Wherever God has us, it’s not about us. It’s not about my convenience. It’s not about my comfort. It’s not about my happiness. It’s not about my success. It’s not about my reputation. It’s all, all, all about His glory.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, December 5.

Earlier this year, Nancy celebrated her fiftieth spiritual birthday. So she’s been reflecting on the most important things she’s learned since coming to know the Lord. Yesterday, she began a series called “Fifteen Things I’ve Learned in Fifty Years.” She shared the first five bedrock truths yesterday. You can hear that program at ReviveOurHearts.com if you missed it. We’ll pick up where we left off yesterday.

Nancy: Number six: We need His Word more than we need physical food. We need His Word more than we need any other creature comfort. We cannot live without the Word of God. You’ve heard, “You are what you eat”? Well, in the spiritual realm it is certainly true. You are what you feed on, what you feast on. And so many Christians, I find, are feasting on the paltry meals of this world, and they’re malnourished because they’re not eating the Word of God.

We’ve got to get into the Word. We need the Word. We need it more than we need to eat. We cannot make it without consistent time in God’s Word. That’s our life, that’s bread, that’s water.

I learned something about water this week that I should have known but didn’t really understand. This is not a new tattoo. I ended up Monday of this week in the emergency room of our local hospital severely dehydrated with a viral infection and passed out at my house. The next thing, I’m in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. I did not have time for that this week; I can just tell you that. Then because I was dehydrated, they couldn’t get blood. So I’ve got over an hour of them trying to find a place to get blood. You need water. We need water.

We need the water of His Word. It washes us. It cleanses us. It makes our blood flow. Spiritually, how many of us are dehydrated? We’re passing out. We can’t deal with pressure. We’re weak. We’re falling apart. And people around us, they’re spiritually malnourished. They’re spiritually dehydrated. They need the water and the bread, we all do, of the Word of God.

Number seven: We need each other. There are so many things in Scripture about this: the power of encouragement, of exhortation, of accountability, the safety that’s in the multitude of counselors.

I have a group of women that I meet and pray with periodically. We call ourselves “the sisterhood.” We were on a phone call, it was actually Monday night. I had just gotten out of the hospital. We had this conference call and went around and shared what God’s doing in our lives and how we could pray for each other.

These were women who are involved in different kinds of ministry. One of the last women who has a very successful public ministry just started crying. She starts sobbing and she poured out her heart about some of the pressures her family had been under recently and what they were going through. And here’s this group of women on the phone to come around together and pray and lift her up and encourage. I’ve been there. Others on that call had been there. You’ve been there.

We need each other. We need invasive relationships in our lives. Women need it. I don’t preach to men, but I’m pretty sure men need it, too. There is such a danger of living in isolation. Even if you’re in the midst of a crowd, you can be living an isolated life. We need each other. This is one of my big take-aways from fifty years of walking with God.

Number eight: The gospel really is good news. In fact, it’s the greatest news ever. We need to hear and re-believe the gospel every day of our lives. Now, that doesn’t mean we get re-saved every day of our lives. But we need to hear it afresh, and we need to believe it afresh. And where we’ve wandered from it, we need to repent afresh.

The gospel is really good news. It’s not just a message for unbelievers to hear. We need to be reminded each day of God’s grace, His forgiveness, His power to transform our lives, His promise of eternal life, that He is a redeeming God who is making all things new, that He’s a covenant-keeping God, and a reminder that the Christian life is impossible to live.

I can’t live it. You can’t live it. I know people who read my books and listen to me on the radio. They think I live this Christian life. And I tell you, it’s not I who live but Christ who lives in me. Christ who lives in you. Jesus is the only One who ever succeeded at living this life and that’s why we need to believe the gospel every day of our lives.

Number nine: And this is at the heart of the gospel, that is that death brings life. Death brings life. Most people spend their lives avoiding death in all its different iterations. But death, the cross, is something to be embraced because as we go through death, we come out on the other side into life.

Jesus’ death for us purchased for us eternal life. And through our death with Him we enter into His abundant life. As we’re willing to lay down our lives and die on behalf of others, they are able to experience the life of Christ. Jesus said, “You hold onto your life, you will lose it. You let it go, and you will gain it back. You will have true life.”

I love this quote by Ugo Bassi and I’m just blanking as to when he lived but it was a long time ago. He said, “Measure thy life by loss and not by gain; not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth. For love’s strength standeth in love’s sacrifice, and he that suffereth most has most to give.”

Some of you in this room have so much to give out of your life because you’ve been willing to lay down your life, to embrace the cross, to say “Yes, Lord” to whatever His script has been for your life. As a result, there’s a fragrance. There’s a radiance. There’s a beauty. There’s a power.

I want to be around you, and I want to know the Jesus that shines through so many of your lives. That’s because death brings life. It's not something to be feared. But let it down. Let it go. The seed goes into the ground and dies. It brings forth much fruit for His glory.

Number ten: You can never go wrong on the pathway of humility. So much we could say about that. God stiff-arms the proud. To have a humble heart is to have a teachable spirit, to always be learning from others. The opposite of humility, that pride, keeps us from being able to have that genuine fellowship with God. You can never go wrong in marriage, in life, in church life.

“Only by pride comes contention.” I wish that verse wasn’t in the Bible, but it is. “Where there is contention there is pride.” And so you can never go wrong by being the one to race to the cross. See if you can get there first. Humble yourself. I’m learning that in relationships, in ministry.

Number eleven: The greatest freedom is found in slavery to Jesus Christ. The heart that says, “Yes, Lord. I’m signing here on the bottom line before I know what is in the contract. My life is yours. Take my life, Lord, and let it be consecrated, Lord to Thee. You fill in the details, Lord. Whatever it is, I say ‘Yes, Lord’.”

I had a conversation coming down here on the plane on Wednesday with a young, Harvard grad who's now in business school at UVA. She came to know the Lord out of an non-believing family as a teenager, thirteen-year-old, reading the King James Version of the Bible. She got saved. And she’s walking with the Lord and seeking to please Him, but she’s not had a lot of people to nurture her in her faith.

We were talking the whole two-and-a-half hours down here. She’s just given up a relationship that she knew was not what God had for her. It was just a week ago, and she’s still in a hard place with that. Just to be able to talk to her about the freedom. “I’m an old lady talking to you at twenty-five years of age. I want to tell you,” I said her name, “the greatest freedom is found through saying 'Yes, Lord.' Whatever that means, whatever that looks like, at any age, in any season of life. We’re all slaves. The question is to what and to whom.”

And the privilege of being slaves of Jesus Christ. There is no master like Him. That’s where we find our greatest freedom and joy.

Number twelve: We’ve been blessed to be a blessing. Not blessed just so we can enjoy God’s blessings ourselves, though there’s nothing wrong with that, but blessed in order to be a conduit of blessing to others. God has put us here for a purpose, and that purpose is not to fritter our lives away, to accumulate things left and right or just to survive or to be fulfilled. None of those things are a worthy life purpose. Our purpose in life is to let God flow His blessings through us to others, to leave a legacy of godliness, to invest in other’s lives.

This young grad school student said to me the other day, “Where are the older women who will mentor and nurture young women in their faith—women like me?” I don’t know. Where are they? Where am I? What am I spending my life, my time, my resources on? I’ve been blessed to be a blessing.

Number thirteen: You can’t out-give God. This is something my dad, and my mom because she was married to my dad, believed and practiced with all their hearts. If there’s a spiritual gift of giving, my dad had it, and my mom went right along with it. You can’t out-give God, treasure, time, talent, our lives. Proverbs 11:24 says, “One gives freely it grows all the richer. Another withholds what he should give and only suffers want.” That’s divine math. That’s the paradox of God’s perspective on giving.

I’m absolutely convinced that when we get to heaven there will not be anyone of all the saints through all of the ages who will ever say, “There’s something that I gave that I regret giving.” I do believe that every one of us, even the most generous-hearted people will say, “In light of what Jesus did for me to get me here for all eternity, I wish I had given Him more.” I’m convinced. So why not do the giving now and be able then to enter into those eternal habitations free from the stuff and the things that hung onto us. You can’t out-give God.

Number fourteen: Time is short, eternity is long, and Jesus is coming. This is a way of thinking that was drilled into the lives of my siblings and me by our dad over the course of twenty-one years. He died on the weekend of my twenty-first birthday. This concept and so many of these are his legacy to me.

I have here a little paper weight that was his that I now have in my study. And by the way, we have a little display over here of some memorabilia from my years of walking with the Lord and some pictures and things that are meaningful to me that maybe you will enjoy. Feel free to browse over there. But this says that little verse you’re familiar with, “Only one life 'twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” And then that verse from Philippians 1, “For to me to live is Christ.”

And then you might wonder what this slinky toy is doing over on that table. But that was an important part in our growing up, too. I thought about it when I thought about this principle.

My dad happened to know the man who invented the slinky toy. His name was Dick James. He was a young engineer, and he invented this thing that’s now everybody knows what it is. But nobody knew what it was back then. When he did it, it propelled him to overnight fame and fortune. Here’s a man who had been searching for happiness and all of a sudden he had all of this money. He could travel the world. He could do anything he wanted, and he still was empty. And that set him on a pursuit that ultimately led him to faith in Christ.

Well, this man, when he got saved, really got saved. You may have read other things about him in other places. Don’t believe everything you read. You probably will not get the whole story in the secular versions of this. But he, long story short, decided to become a missionary to South America. I forget actually which country. He basically gave away everything he had.

An uncle died and left him an inheritance, and he gave that away. He just decided he was going to go down there and serve by faith. He didn’t want to depend on anything or anyone but the Lord. My dad would remind us, “Now, God doesn’t call everybody to do this.” But in Dick James case, that was what he sensed God calling. He did, and he went and spent the rest of his life as a missionary in a South American country.

He did confess when he went down that he had held out on God in one regard. He took with him the original die of the slinky toy. He figured if God perchance would let him down, that he could start making slinky toys down there and open up whole new markets. Well, then he wrote and he shared the incredible joy that he experienced the day that he took that die, and he went to the Pacific Ocean, and he threw it in the ocean and said he was such a free man.

My dad had a letter. I didn’t think to bring it with me tonight, but a letter from Dick James that he wrote to his friends including my dad and just shared the incredible joy and freedom that he experienced living in this poverty-stricken, third-world part of the country but being just totally free to love and serve Jesus.

Time is short, eternity is long, and Jesus is coming. That means that we want to make choices now that we won’t regret in eternity. We want to be asking ourselves, “Is what I’m living for worth dying for? Does it have eternal value?” We want to keep our eyes on the finish line. That’s what gives us staying power in the race.

I’m one who often flags in the race. I often want to throw in the towel. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mentally resigned from various aspects of life in ministry. Now, thank God because I stay in accountable relationships and by God’s grace, He keeps me in there. But it’s as you keep your eyes on Christ, as you keep your eyes on the finish line, as you remember that this life is short and eternity is forever and Jesus is coming. That’s what gives us the courage and the grace to press on and to remember that whatever labor we offer up for Him now will be rewarded. He is worthy of anything and everything that we might be asked to offer up for His sake.

Well, number fifteen: It’s not about me. It’s all about Him. That’s kind of where we started tonight. Romans 11:33: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” The goal of our lives is that all the earth would be covered with the glory of the Lord, that the fame of His name would spread, and that’s worth saying “no” to our flesh.

I’m not just talking to people in vocational ministry. I’m saying all of us. These are principles that are true for all of us wherever you serve the Lord, in your business, in your home, with those little ones, with those grandchildren, in that caregiving role, wherever God has us. It’s not about us. It’s not about our convenience. It’s not about my comfort. It’s not about my happiness. It’s not about my success. It’s not about my reputation. It’s all, all, all about His glory.

Each time you come in the front door of our National Ministry Center in Southwestern Michigan, you pass a fountain in a brick enclosure that has a big globe of the world sitting up on top of that fountain. And in the seasons when we have thaws there in Michigan, which is not all that often, the fountain goes over the globe on every side.

On each side of that fountain we have verses from the Scripture such as the ones that remind us that the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. And when I walk past that fountain and into our building, I often find myself praying or just being reminded, that’s our vision. That’s what we’re here for. That’s the goal: “That every knee would bow . . . every tongue would confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10–11).

So in our struggles, in our trials, in our difficulties, in our challenges, in our perplexities, yes, we have those, but they sanctify, right? I’m not being glib about that. I know that there are people here with great heaviness of heart. But there’s purpose to the suffering. There’s purpose in offering it up. There’s purpose to the labors wherever you’re serving the Lord. And the purpose is that the glory of the Lord would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

And O Lord, how I thank You for the sweet recollections, memories of now fifty years—it doesn’t seem like that—of being known by You and knowing You and being set apart to belong to You. Thank You, thank You, Lord. Thank You for seeing the blood of the slain Lamb shed for my sin and passing over. Thank You that I will never experience Your wrath. We’ve been saved from the wrath of God.

And thank You that You’ve saved us for something and Someone bigger and greater and grander than ourselves. His name is Jesus. And so we love Him. We love You. And we pray, Lord, that these things that I’ve said, that I wrestle with, I grapple with, I often fail to believe, oh root them deeply in our hearts and remind us who it’s all for, what it’s all for. And may Your kingdom come and Your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She’s been sharing fifteen things she’s learned in fifty years of walking with God. If you missed any of the list of fifteen things, you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com and read the transcript from yesterday and today’s program.

Nancy celebrated her fiftieth spiritual birthday earlier this year. That milestone got her thinking about today’s topic. She’s here to tell you about another marker from 2013.

Nancy: The end of the year is a good time to look back and to thank God for all that He’s done. One real highlight for me this year was the Revive Tour this past spring. I met so many listeners in eight different regions across the country. It was such a blessing to hear what God is doing in their lives. We met one listener in the Indianapolis area, and the Lord has been teaching her how to display Christ-like forgiveness as she has been walking through some major challenges.

Indianapolis Woman: I had discovered that my husband had been unfaithful, and it wasn’t the first time. And so I was struggling with a lot of bitterness and unforgiveness and fear. And in counseling was given the book Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. In reading through the book, I thought it was going to help me change my husband, and instead, I realized how many seeds of unforgiveness were in my own heart.

I went through the process of listing the things that were done wrong to me. And most of the responses that I discovered about myself were based on my past and not based on what Christ says about how I should respond. Probably of the biggest piece for me was that I was not keeping him in prison. I was keeping me in prison.

I actually, through the book, not only went to my husband and asked forgiveness for disrespect and just expectations that were unrealistic. God showed me it was more important to think about his soul than it was to think about my happiness. And that changed how I responded to him. When I didn’t want to forgive him, I did because of what Jesus forgave me for. God really showed me what I’ve been forgiven for, and I can’t throw a stone at him.

And so the boundaries were really different. He kind of expected them to be tough, and I just allowed God to show him where they needed to fall. His heart changed because I wasn’t being demanding; instead, I was being loving. So that led him to want to be that kind of person and make those decisions.

Nancy: I love hearing stories like that. God has allowed this ministry to release books and to host events and produce radio programs. But ultimately, it’s up to the Lord to use these resources to help women discover freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. I’m so thankful for the many listeners who make these outreaches possible by supporting the ministry financially.

And let me share with you that right now, when you make a gift of any amount, it will be doubled by some generous friends of the ministry. They’ve agreed to match each gift between now and the end of the month up to $530,000. So if the Lord has used this ministry in a meaningful way in your life, would you pray about helping us to meet this challenge?

In fact, we’re asking God to provide not only the full amount of the challenge but to go far beyond that. So please, would you ask the Lord what He might want you to give as we continue calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ?

To make a donation by phone, you can give us a call at 1–800–569–5959. You can also visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can mail your gift to this address: Revive Our Hearts, P.O. Box 2000, Niles, MI 49120.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. Well tomorrow, hear from a woman who found freedom while behind bars. Stacey Smith came to know the Lord while in prison. And now she’s pouring out her life on behalf of others who need to find true freedom. Hear from Stacey next time on Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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

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