Revive Our Hearts Podcast

During Temptation

Season: Crying Out

Leslie Basham: Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Who do you call when you need help? Who do you turn to first? Is it a counselor? Is it your husband? Is it your parents? Is it a best friend? There's nothing wrong with those people who can have a real ministry of grace in our lives, but what becomes wrong is if we're turning to those people instead of turning to the Lord

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, June 22nd.

When you're tempted to sin, where do you turn first? To your willpower, a godly friend? Well, today Nancy will tell us the best first response. She's in a series called Crying Out.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We're talking this week about the principle of crying out to the Lord, and we've seen that in the Scripture over and over again. We're told that when God's people are in trouble, if they'll cry out to Him, that God will hear them. God will deliver them and the ultimate end result will be that God will receive greater glory.

I don't know about you, but I hate to be in circumstances that I can't control. I want to be able to fix everything. I want to be able to solve every problem. I want to be able to find my way out. And yet God delights in placing me, and I think He does with you too, in circumstances that we can't change; we can't fix, and we have to cry out to Him for help.

Then the father heart of God loves to come to the scene of our need. Let me ask you to turn in your Bible to Psalm 55. I want us to look today at another illustration of crying out to the Lord. This passage gives us some additional principles about how to cry out to the Lord. This is a psalm of David and his friends, his former friends who have turned against him.

He begins in verse 4 by telling how he's feeling in the circumstance. He says: "My heart is severely pained within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me and horror has overwhelmed me."

You see the pain, the fear, the depression, the oppression. Then David expresses what we have all felt and that is the drive to escape from it all--just to medicate the pain or mask the pain or anesthetize it or get out of this life. Sometimes even women in this room have experienced suicidal thoughts at these times.

David has something like that perhaps in mind when he says in verse 6: "So I said, 'Oh that I had wings like a dove. I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed I would wander far off and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.'"

I want out. I want out of this situation, and yet some of you are married to the situation. Some of those situations are thirteen-years-old and living in your home, and you can't really just get out. Now there are women today who are doing that, but you have a heart for God. You're not going to leave those children no matter how troublesome they may be. If you're committed to God's way in your marriage, you're not going to leave that marriage.

So what do you do? You want out; you're desperate. But David tells us in verse 16: "As for me, I will call upon God."

I will call upon God. When should we cry out to the Lord? David cried out when he was in trouble in his relationships. There are so many different kinds of trouble and any kind of trouble is a good time to cry out to the Lord.

When we're in danger, when we're facing possible circumstances Psalm 18 verse 6 says: "In my distress I called upon the Lord." Psalm 118 verse 5: "I called on the Lord in distress."

Again I'm encouraging you as you read through the Scripture to make a note of these places where the writers talk about calling upon the Lord. You'll notice that in many cases it's when they're in distress.

We need to call upon Him when we're tempted. I remember not too long ago, one of the issues that's been a huge battle in my life is the love of food. I remember--this just happened a few weeks ago--I was not hungry, and I had a drive, a desire to eat. I didn't need to eat, to eat things I shouldn't have been eating. The battle is raging. I'm knowing I don't need this. It's not the right time for me to eat.

Now food's not sinful in and of itself, but at that moment for me to eat would have been sinful. Now I felt out of control. I could not manage this temptation, and I've been thinking about this thing of crying out to the Lord. So I just stopped there--and if you do this where anybody else can hear or see you're going to feel a little foolish--but I just stopped and brought God into my temptation.

He's there anyway, but I acknowledged His presence, and I said aloud something like this, "Lord I cannot handle this temptation if You don't come to my rescue now. I can't be faithful here. I don't have the strength not to yield to what would be for me sin at this moment. Please help me."

I just cried out to the Lord. In stopping to verbalize my need, God did what He always does when we humble ourselves. He gave me grace to say "no" to my flesh and to say "yes" to His spirit, to be obedient. God's grace is what gives us the supernatural desire and ability to obey God. When we're tempted we need to cry out to the Lord and bring Him into that temptation with us.

We cry out to the Lord when we need guidance. I have a study where I prepare for Revive Our Hearts, and I'm working on some other projects: books, etc. I can't tell you how many times, day after day, week after week, I get in a situation where I cannot figure out how to put a message together. I don't know what to teach on. We have radio recordings coming up, and I don't have direction. I sit in that quiet-time chair in that study helpless, and I cry out to the Lord.

I'm learning to do it aloud, to do it verbally. To say, "Lord, I need You. I cannot do this. I don't have in me what is needed to fulfill this ministry You've called me to." So I cry out to the Lord. There have been times in that study where I have found myself at moments desperately lonely.

There are some of you in this room who are in circumstances with the loss of a mate, or as a single mom you find yourself so desperately lonely. That's a time to cry out to the Lord. Say, "Lord I need You. I can't handle this pressure. I can't handle this situation. I cry out to You. Please come and deliver me in Your way."

Now, God may not change the circumstance. He certainly may not change it immediately, but He will change you in the midst of that circumstance. He will come and meet with you and give you grace if necessary to walk through that fiery furnace and to come out unscathed so that you can glorify God.

We can cry out on behalf of others. I was on the phone last night with a woman who has been crying out to the Lord for some desperate situations in her family. She said, "I think I've worn out two Bibles praying for the salvation, claiming promises, crying out to the Lord, looking for promises." She was praying for the salvation of her parents who were in another religion. Shortly before her parents died, as I understand the story, after years of crying out to the Lord, her parents came to know Christ.

She's now in another situation with her immediate family. It's a very difficult situation that she's crying out to the Lord as a mother, as a grandmother on behalf of a daughter and some grandchildren who are in a very difficult situation. She's crying out on behalf of others as we often read of people doing in the Scripture.

David says in verse 16: "As for me I will call upon God." Rather than running, rather than escaping, I lift my voice, my eyes, my heart upward and call upon God. Verse 16 goes on to say: ". . . and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice."

Those two verses, verses 16 and 17 of Psalm 55, would be two great verses to memorize. They give us a lot of insight into what it means to cry out to the Lord. Let me just make several observations.

First of all, David says, "I'll cry out to God; I'll call upon God." Our natural tendency is to call on others first. I remember one day not too long ago sitting in my study, and I was just lonely and frustrated with the tasks that were ahead of me. My natural tendency was to pick up the telephone, call someone who could come to my rescue.

Well, God just prompted my heart in that moment, not that it's always wrong to call someone for encouragement, but God prompted my heart, "Cry out to me. Let me come and minister to you the grace that you need right now."

Cry out to the Lord. Over and over again in Scripture we read this: "Oh Lord my God I cried out to You" (Psalm 30:2). Psalm 142:5: "I cried out to You oh Lord. I said, 'You are my refuge.'"

Who do you call when you need help? Who do you turn to? Who do you turn to first? Is it a counselor? Is it your husband? Is it your parents? Is it a best friend? There's nothing wrong with those people who can have a real ministry of grace in our lives, but what becomes wrong is if we're turning to those people instead of turning to the Lord. I want to learn to make the Lord my first resort, not my last.

I love that old gospel song that says:

I must tell Jesus all of my trials.
I cannot bear these burdens alone.
In my distress He kindly will help me.
He ever loves and cares for His own.

(And I've sung that chorus so many times, but . . .)

I must tell Jesus. I must tell Jesus.
I cannot bear my burdens alone.
I must tell Jesus. I must tell Jesus.
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.*

And so we learn from this passage to cry out to the Lord, and we learn to cry out persistently, to keep crying out. "Evening and morning and at noon," the psalmist says, "I will pray and cry aloud."

Over and over again we read this in the Psalms. Psalm 86:3: "Be merciful to me O Lord for I cry to You all day long." Psalm 88:13: "I've cried out day and night before You."

God doesn't always deliver us immediately. One of the reasons is: He wants us to keep crying out to Him. If He just fixed the circumstance immediately, we would likely stop crying out to Him. God wants us to cultivate that humble heart that is always crying out to Him.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss explaining why crying out to the Lord needs to be a daily lifestyle. Today's program is part of a series called Crying Out. Maybe you'll want to review this material in six months to make sure you're still crying out to the Lord on a daily basis.

The best way to have the material whenever you need it is to order a copy on CD. You can get it by calling us at 1-800-569-5959. You can also order online at ReviveOurHearts.com. While you're there, you can also read a transcript of today's program or stream the audio while you're doing other work on the computer. Again, the address is ReviveOurHearts.com

When we're in trouble, not only can we cry out to the Lord for help, we can also cry out in thanksgiving. We'll hear about that tomorrow. To wrap up our time, here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: To cry out to the Lord is not just a one-time response. It needs to become a way of life. Evening, morning, and at noon, all day, every day, in every circumstance and situation of life; learning to make it our intuitive, instinctive response to cry out to the Lord.

Your little children know how to do that. A baby knows how to do that, a baby that can't help himself. As the children of our heavenly Father, we want to have the heart of that baby, the helplessness of that baby, and to say Lord, "I'm crying out to You day and night knowing that you are hearing, and that in Your way and in Your time, You will come to my rescue.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life ActionMinistries, Back to the Bible and FamilyLife Today.

* I Must Tell Jesus. Elisha A. Hoffman.

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

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