Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Perspective for a New Year

Leslie Basham: Rachel Barkey has been given a neat perspective on suffering and God’s goodness.

Rachel Barkey: The worst moments of each day are the ones right when I wake up, the moments when I’m just coming out of a deep sleep and I’m becoming aware of what time it is, what day it is. And then I remember that I’m dying.

My frustration and anger are normal. They are even right some would say. But at their root they are unbelief. They are my sinful heart saying, “I don’t believe that this is the right thing for me God. You must not know what You are doing, or if You do, You are not good.”

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, December 15.

Yesterday we began reflecting on God’s goodness throughout 2009. We began counting down the top five Revive Our Hearts' programs of 2009. We also heard from some of those who work behind the scenes to make this program possible.

We’ll continue today hearing the top two programs of 2009. These are from series that debuted over the last year generating the most positive response. We’re also continuing to hear from the staff at Revive Our Hearts. They benefit from the program just like you.

Paula Hendricks: It wasn’t until I came to Revive Our Hearts and was just able to live life alongside of the people and be impacted by the message that I began to understand that Christianity isn’t necessarily about the things that I don’t do or the things that I do, but it’s about the person that I know.

Leslie Basham: This is Paula Hendricks, a staff writer for Revive Our Hearts.

 Paula: Something that I’m incredibly passionate about and I feel like Revive Our Hearts does such a good job of is helping us to get back to what the Gospel really means and the fact that there is now no condemnation for us because we’re in Christ Jesus.

Revive Our Hearts is all about truth. That’s amazing to me because I’m a girl who is so afraid of any kind of confrontation. Nancy is very winsome, but she doesn’t make apologies for how counter-cultural God’s truth is to women today.

The reason that I think it is so important is because of the verse in John 8 where it says, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (verse 31). I have seen over the course of these four years how as women have had their minds renewed, as their understanding has changed, how that has completely transformed their lives and done so in a really positive manner.

Leslie: Paula Hendricks has been describing the bold, Bible-centered teaching you’ve come to expect on Revive Our Hearts. 

One example of that came last January. She’s in a series called Discerning Truth in a World of Deception. One of the programs from that series is number two in our countdown of the top five Revive Our Hearts' programs of 2009. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Let me mention another book. And again, I’m a little hesitant to do this because by the time we air this, there will be new ones. But I want to get you some ideas, examples, that have been recently been making their way into the church.

This one is called The Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing. If you go to Amazon.com, the description of this book reads like this:

What sets Anatomy of the Spirit apart is [the author’s] ability to blend diverse religious and spiritual beliefs into a succinct discussion of health and human anatomy. For example, when describing the seven energy fields of the human body, she fuses Christian sacraments with Hindu chakras and the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life [Kabbalah is a sect of Judaism].

That whole concept of fusing Christian concepts with Hindu concepts is what we call syncretism—attempting to unite or fuse differing systems of belief.

Christianity cannot be fused or united with any other system of belief. It is unique. It is distinctive. And this book, which did not start out in the church is now making inroads into evangelical churches, Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing.

Here’s another one I came across recently: Enneagram, which is a popular system of classifying personality types. It has to do with a circle; it has nine points on it. Some of you may be familiar with this. I wasn’t.

It’s a system that has occultic origins. Now, I know that some who use it in our evangelical churches would undoubtedly say, “But I’m not using it for occultic purposes. We’re just using it as a means of identifying personality types.”

It is clearly tied into occultic practices. It was introduced to the West by an Armenian occultist who had a strong influence on the contemporary New Age movement. His writings are “filled with descriptions of planetary influences, astral bodies, clairvoyant and telepathic experiments.”

This Enneagram system has its origins in contemporary Sufism, which is a mystical offshoot of Islam which "claims over 40 million adherents,” and is “a mix of pantheism, magic and rationalism with the belief in telepathy, teleportation, foreknowledge, transmigration of souls and a denial of a personal God.”1

Those are the roots, the foundations, the elements, aspects that underlie this teaching, which is now becoming popular in some of our church circles.

These New Age and eastern mysticism sorts of teachings often use terminology which sounds or seems biblical but is not. They will use words like God or Christ or redemption and mean something very different.

As one commentator said, “They use the same vocabulary but a different dictionary.” They use a lot of the same words but define those words differently.

I share these several examples—of which there are many, many others—just to say, there is a huge influence pervading and infiltrating our culture today, and even our evangelical culture, of New Age teachings. There’s nothing new about it at all. It really can be traced back to the Garden of Eden.

You see Christ being redefined, many christs, Jesus is not God. You see this impersonal god of the New Age, who is simply an energy force.

You see calling man divinity. Man is the creator of the forces and is therefore God; the belief that man needs to awaken to the fact that he has powers of divinity that need to be creatively exercised.

You see the channeling of spirits, spiritual instruction and direction coming from the spirit world directly, the corruption of truth, the redefining of biblical terms.

But I want to close our time by going back to the Scripture, because that’s what is light and life and truth. If you want to be able to discern and identify and detect these types of deception, you need to be grounded in the Word of God.

As I’ve been reading and studying about these New Age movements and areas of deception, I’ve been reminded of the book of Colossians, where we read in 2:8, for example, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

That’s what the deception is: pulling us away from the truth that is in Christ. “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (verse 9).

You are not God. You are not a little God. You are not a little Christ. If you belong to Christ, Christ lives in you. But He is Christ. It is His life. He is God; you are not God.

So we believe in a faith that is distinctively Christian, that elevates Christ to the supreme throne and place in the universe and says that we are His subjects. We are not little gods.

[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death” (Colossians 1:15-22).

The cross is central to the truth of Christianity. It’s core. It’s first-level.

This New Age stuff gets away from the need for redemption or the sacrificial death of Christ, or even the sinfulness of man. But the apostle Paul says you are sinful. You were alienated. You were hostile in your mind. You were doing evil deeds. You are not some little god.

[But Christ] has now reconciled you in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister (verses 22-23).

  • That’s the truth.
  • That’s the truth that sets you free.
  • That’s the truth that redeems you.
  • That’s the truth that delivers you from your sin.
  • That’s the truth that will give you eternal life.

Leslie: That teaching originally aired this past January, and it’s program number two as we count down the top five programs of 2009.

While looking back over the past year, we’ve been getting to know some of those who work behind the scenes at Revive Our Hearts. Martin Jones is managing director of Revive Our Hearts.

Martin Jones: I feel like we’re right on the cusp of some incredible things that we don’t really know for sure yet what God is doing. I think we’re beginning to see bits and pieces as He’s letting us see that.

But what excites me is we see life change everyday. And literally, every day we see life change in multiple ways—emails, testimonies. It’s just there all the time.

Leslie: We’ve been hearing from some of those who work behind the scenes at Revive Our Hearts along with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. The staff comes to the ministry each day eager to help women get connected with God’s Word.

We’ll continue counting down the top five programs of 2009 in just a minute. But first Nancy’s here to tell you about one of those connections between a listener and God’s Word.

Nancy: When we record Revive Our Hearts, we have no way of knowing all the different situations that women may be facing when they hear the program weeks or even months down the road. But I’m so grateful for the way that God knows, and He helps women to discover that teaching just when they need to hear it.

One woman wrote to tell us about that kind of experience as she visited the archives at ReviveOurHearts.com and downloaded our series on Psalm 23. It was during that time that she found out that her father didn’t have long to live.

She wrote and said to us, “I saturated my heart in that passage. Your messages on Psalm 23 have been invaluable to me.”

It’s such a privilege to watch God use the ministry of Revive Our Hearts in ways like this. This past year the Lord has allowed us to speak to many more women as we’ve partnered with almost 200 new radio stations.

Now, of course new opportunities like this bring along additional costs. So we’re trusting God to provide the funds to be able to continue on these new stations.

Some friends of Revive Our Hearts know how valuable ministry opportunities like this are. They have a desire to see this message get into the hearts of women all across this country and around the world. That’s why they’ve pledged to match every gift that’s given to Revive Our Hearts between now and the end of this month up to $280,000.

Would you help us to meet this match and even to go far beyond it as we seek to minister to the specific needs that women will be facing in 2010?

Leslie: To help us meet and exceed that challenge, would you donate at ReviveOurHearts.com? Or you can call 1-800-569-5959.

Over the last couple of days we’ve been reflecting on God’s goodness over the last year counting down the top five Revive Our Hearts' programs of 2009. during the course of the year Nancy heard a message from a woman dying of cancer. Her hope and joy was an example to all of us, and we quickly got her message on the air.

That program generated a lot of positive response from our listeners, and it’s number one in our countdown, offering powerful perspective on facing the future with joy. Here’s Rachel Barkey.

Rachel Barkey: First Peter 3:15 says,

Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

I hope that I have done that tonight for those of you who do not yet know Jesus, and it is for my children.

Deuteronomy 6:7 says,

You shall teach them [talking about the things of God] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 

I asked that tonight be videoed so that some day Quinn and Kate would be able to watch this and to hear my heart. I have been blessed to be their mother for these years.

I have many roles, including others not mentioned here, most notably being a wife, but in all of these I have one purpose—to be like Jesus, to serve with joy. Many have asked why. Why is this happening to you, to Neil, to Quinn and Kate, to your family and friends?

I don't ask why because I know the answer, and here it is. We live in a sinful world. Bad things happen, but it was not supposed to be this way, and it will not always be this way.

God has a plan. He has made a way for sinful people, you and me, to be with Him in a perfect world. The way is Jesus.

  • Acknowledge that you have sinned and that you have a serious problem before you in light of a God who is perfect and just.
  • Recognize that there is nothing you can do to save yourself.
  • Trust that Jesus, who died to pay the penalty for your sin, has risen from the dead and given you His righteousness.

This is the way to know God ,and someday be free from this world of disease and pain.

Second Peter 3:9 says this,

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

So God is being patient, patient so that everyone has the opportunity to repent and to make things right with Him. That is why there is evil and suffering in the world, because when He does return to bring judgment, there will be no second chances.

I am dying, but so are you. Neither of us knows if he will even see tomorrow, and perhaps the reason that I am suffering now, the reason that God is waiting to bring judgment against all the evil in this world, is because He's waiting for you, for you to acknowledge your sin and to turn to Him for forgiveness. Maybe you are the one we are waiting for.

Jesus suffered. God did not spare Him. Why would He spare me if my suffering would result in good for you? If my suffering is the means that God would use to bring even one person to Himself, it is an honor for me to suffer.

Does that seem strange? I suppose it does, but really, it is the only way that all of this makes any sense at all. A God who sees my suffering but is unable, or worse, unwilling to spare me? A God who sees my suffering but allows it with no greater purpose or hope? My God is able to save me and He will, but save me from what? From a life without Him.

There is a place where there is nothing good, not even a gentle rain or a child's laugh. It is a place where everything that we despise about this world, the evil, the injustice, is the rule with no exceptions.

Hell is a physical place where God is not. Instead, He will bring me to a perfect world where He is, Heaven, where life is full of wonder, adventure, and joy, everything good, for all eternity. My God is able to save me, and He will. This suffering is temporary, and the life I will live in eternity will make all this seem light and momentary.

As one speaker explained, “God allows in His wisdom that which He could easily prevent by His power.”

I chose the title of this talk, Death Is not Dying: A Faith that Saves. The first part came from one of my favorite preachers and authors, Charles Spurgeon, and the second came from another of my favorite teachers, our Pastor at Westside, Norm Funk, when he recently posed the question from James 2:14, “Can that faith save?” He pointed out the most important word in that verse is the word, that.

Can that faith save? We all have faith in something, but not all faiths save. The faith I have saves, so when I say that death is not dying, the part of me that will die is only a shell.

The next few weeks or months will not be pretty. Bone cancer is intensely, intensely painful, and I am already bedridden for almost the entire day, taking three, sometimes four different medications to control the pain.

Liver cancer causes intense nausea. Last Saturday I woke up, and I instantly had to run to the washroom to throw up. I did not stop throwing up all day, and just last week when we learned that the cancer has spread to my skull, it made sense because it has started affecting the nerves in my face.

I have not felt hungry in more than two months. Any food I do eat is forced down, but it will not always be this way. Soon I will become too weak or in too much pain to get out of bed at all. It will become harder and harder to eat and drink. My body and the cancer will fight over the few calories that I do consume. Eventually, the cancer will win, and I will starve to death.

That is the most likely scenario. I have lived a seemingly picture-perfect life from the outside looking in. In truth, I have been very blessed, but in my life there have been many difficult things that the Lord has allowed.

I have known the shame of being sexually abused. I have made poor decisions in relationships and have hurt others and have been hurt as a result of them. I have known the searing pain of loss with the death of a loved one. I have been diagnosed with cancer twice now, and this second time, barring a miracle, will end my life before I reach my 38th birthday.

In His providence, God has used the tough things in my life to draw me closer to Him, to show me His great love, and to teach me many things. I have learned that I am not perfect, and I have the scars to prove it, 13 of them. They serve as a physical reminder of a spiritual reality that I can never be perfect on my own. I need a savior.

I have learned that the greatest evidence of God's love is seen when I stand at the foot of the cross. He took my shame upon Himself and rescued me.

Leslie Basham: That’s Rachel Barkey. That message aired on Revive Our Hearts in June. Not long after that Rachel went to be with the Lord. We’re thankful to have been able to share her valuable perspective with listeners and learn from Rachel’s courageous example.

I hope you’ll listen to the longer version of Rachel’s message. You can hear the original series with Rachel in June, and that’s at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, what does the Church need? Many people are trying to answer that question. Nancy will open the Bible and see what Jesus says about His Church. That’s tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

1 The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment. Tim Challies.

 

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