Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Rescue

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I think we’re never more like God than when we value life and seek to preserve it—when we roll up our sleeves and we get engaged in the sometimes messy work of salvaging, rescuing, redeeming those whose lives are at risk.

Leslie: It’s Friday January 19th, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. All this week we’ve heard the story of Angie. Her home growing up was filled with violence and drug abuse, and she left home at a young age and became pregnant while still a teenager.

We heard how a visit to a pregnancy care center saved Angie’s son and introduced her to Christ. Let’s join Nancy—speaking at a fundraiser for that same pregnancy care center that had such an effect on Angie.

Nancy: I don’t know if you got to see a couple nights ago that spectacular display of the Northern Lights. I was on my way—I’d just flown in from Houston, landed in the South Bend airport late the other night, and as we were driving, I said, “What are those lights in the sky?”

I mean, it was close to midnight, and the sky was so bright. I was with a couple of friends, and we actually ended up getting out of the car, parking the car by the side of the road and just looking up at this extraordinary display of the glory of God.

That picture came to mind today as I was thinking about the ministry of the Pregnancy Care Center and how we live in a world that is so dark, so filled with selfishness and violence and terror. In the midst of that dark world God has raised up people and ministries like those associated with the Pregnancy Care Center, and their demonstration of compassion and mercy shines like those Northern Lights—as a display of the glory of God in our community and in this world.

It’s appropriate that life and light should go together, for God is life, and He is light. As we read in John chapter one, He created everything that is. Nothing exists that He didn’t make. Life itself was in Him, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (verses 3-5, paraphrase).

I know there’s some days that it seems that the light is being extinguished by the darkness, but if you take the long view, and if you look at this world and its happenings from God’s point of view, we take assurance in God’s promises that the darkness can never extinguish the light.

I think the fact that you’re here tonight reflects that you have a heart for something that is uppermost on God’s heart, and that’s life. Ministries like the Pregnancy Care Center in Niles are really just one small part of a much bigger picture. It’s this thing called the great, grand, redemptive plan of God in history and in our world—the plan of God to redeem this prodigal planet.

I know for a group like this it almost goes without saying, but we should never tire of reminding ourselves that God is the author of life—that He’s the creator of life, that He’s the giver, the source of all life. He’s in the life business—creating life, sustaining life, preserving life, and through the death of His Son, Jesus, on the cross, conquering death and purchasing eternal life for all who believe in Him.

We have a redeeming God who loves to reclaim lost, broken lives and is in the process of making all things new. I think we’re never more like God than when we value life and seek to preserve it, when we roll up our sleeves and we get engaged in the sometimes messy work of salvaging, rescuing, redeeming those whose lives are at risk—those whose lives have been threatened by the ravages of sin, whether it’s their own sin or the sins of others.

Now we know we have an enemy. God has an enemy. His name is Satan, and as the sworn enemy of God, we know that Satan hates life. He’s always sought to destroy it. It’s part of his game plan.

You go back to the book of Genesis, and you recall that Satan persuaded Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, knowing that when they did, they would reap the consequence of death as God had promised. Then when Adam and Eve gave birth to two sons, Satan incited the elder of the two to murder his younger brother. Where did that come from? Satan is the author of death. He’s the thief that Jesus spoke of in John chapter ten who comes only to steal and what? Kill and destroy (verse 10).

His intent, his strategy are exactly the opposite of God’s plan because it’s in that same verse in John ten that Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life and that they might have it to the full” (NIV).

Now as a destroyer of life, Satan is definitely not into encouraging child-bearing because every child that is born has the potential to thwart Satan’s purposes by receiving God’s grace and becoming a subject of the kingdom of God. So anything that hinders or discourages women from fulfilling their God-given calling to be bearers and nurturers of life—anything that hinders or thwarts that—furthers Satan’s purposes.

Every time a child in the womb has its life snuffed out, Satan celebrates a victory for his anti-God campaign. Every time one of those young lives is spared, Satan is dealt a blow, and God’s life-giving mission is furthered.

I met a woman last week who was great with child, expecting her eleventh child. I have a couple of friends, younger women, who are currently expecting their first child. Whether it’s the eleventh or the first, each of those women and their families are eagerly anticipating the birth of their little ones.

Think how much more the Lord must take pleasure and delight in each new birth. Think how His heart must be grieved as every forty seconds, one of those lives is ended before it has the chance to see the light of day.

In the midst of a culture that actively promotes death, we have a God who is on a search and rescue mission here on planet earth. The exciting thing is that we are all called to join with Him in protecting and preserving and rescuing lives—not just the people who work at the P.C.C. All of us are called to be part of that mission—preserving and rescuing lives, including those who are the most needy, the most helpless, and often the most neglected—regardless of their gender, regardless of their age, regardless of their socio-economic status, regardless of whether they live inside or outside of the womb, regardless of what value the world may or may not place on their lives.

The Scripture talks frequently about our responsibility, the responsibility we all have as the people of God, when it comes to rescuing those who are perishing. Proverbs chapter 24, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death. Hold back those who are slipping to the slaughter. And if you say, ‘behold, we did not know this,’” it goes on to say, “ignorance is no excuse.” “Does not He who weighs the heart perceive it?” (verses 11-12, ESV).

I think that’s saying God knows your heart, and He knows that you should have known. We should know what matters to God, and we should know when God’s ways are being violated, and we should care. We should do what God enables and calls us to do to have a part in rescuing those who are slipping to the slaughter.

“Does not He who keeps watch over your soul know it?” (verse 12). I was thinking about that word picture today. God keeps watch over our souls. Should we not keep watch over others’ souls that are precious to God? Will He not requite man according to his work?

Psalm 82 says it this way, “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (verse 4). Now there’s a physical type of rescue involved there, and where needed we need to be rescuing lives physically. But the ultimate goal is that their lives, their souls, will be spared from eternal destruction.

I love that old hymn, that old gospel song:

Rescue the perishing; care for the dying.
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave.
Weep o’er the erring one; lift up the fallen.
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

Tho’ they are slighting Him, still He is waiting;
Waiting the penitent child to receive.
Plead with them earnestly; plead with them gently.
He will forgive if they only believe.  

Then I especially love that third stanza which so relates to many of the women who are being ministered to—women who find themselves with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. It says:

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore.
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Cords that are broken will vibrate once more.

 Rescue the perishing; duty demands it.
Strength for your labor the Lord will provide.
Back to the narrow way patiently win them,
Tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died.  

Rescue the perishing; care for the dying.
Jesus is merciful; Jesus will save! 1

So what are you doing to preserve life—to rescue the perishing, to rescue lives—particularly the life of the unborn? Now I know there are some in this room who are doing it through bearing and nurturing children for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. You’re training those children to love and serve the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. That’s pro-life.

There are others who are involved in working for legislation that protects the unborn. Some of you are involved in teaching young people the importance of sexual chastity before marriage and sexual faithfulness in marriage—abstinence programs we’ve heard about tonight—and then other areas such as adoption and foster services and post-abortion ministry and counseling and care for post-abortive women.

I hope that all in this room are involved in some way and praying for those involved in other aspects of the pro-life work in this country. We need mothers. We need adoptive parents. We need counselors, and we need those who, one-on-one and in small settings will encourage the Angies who find themselves carrying a child that is unplanned.

Many years ago there was another young girl who faced an unplanned pregnancy. I came across a poem recently that describes the dilemma she faced. As I think of Mary of Nazareth—what a beautiful example of a woman who demonstrated faith by her willingness to bear an unplanned child—not in her timing, but in God’s perfect timing!

There’s no indication that Mary had any hesitation or reservation when the angel said to her, “You will bear a child.” Her response was simply, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:31 & 34). 

She was saying in effect, “You are my Lord. I am your servant. My body is yours. I accept any inconvenience, any hardship this will mean for me. All that matters to me is fulfilling the purpose for which You created me. I gladly surrender myself to be used as You will.”

Now, preserving life, rescuing the perishing, can be costly. It involves sacrifice. There are some that we look back on who have even been called and willing to risk their own lives in order to preserve others’ lives.

Today we consider those people heroes. I think of some of those biblical heroes—Obadiah, who risked his life to save the prophets of God from the wrath of wicked Queen Jezebel. I think of Rahab who risked her life to spare the lives of the two Hebrew spies.

Then, of course, one of our great heroines of the faith, Esther, who risked her life so that the lives of the Jewish people, through whom would come Christ, the Messiah, so those lives could be spared. She knew this was at great cost to herself, but what was her heart attitude? “If I perish, I perish.” I have to do what God requires of me in order to preserve and protect and rescue the perishing.

Others throughout history—the Corrie ten Boom family, who risked their lives to save the lives of Jews there in Germany. Then the ultimate sacrifice of a life as the Lord Jesus Himself went to Calvary and laid down His life so that the perishing of the world could be rescued. Where would we be tonight if Jesus had not been willing to lay down His life, to make that ultimate sacrifice, to preserve and spare and redeem human life?

The question to each of us tonight is, “What are you willing to sacrifice? What are you willing to risk in order to preserve and reclaim lives, in order to rescue the perishing? There are so many different ways we can do that. I want to encourage you, if you’re not already, to begin praying for the ministry of the Pregnancy Care Center. It’s the least we can do, and it may be the most that we can do.

I know in our ministry, I depend heavily on the prayers of God’s people, and there are many in this room who pray for me, who pray for my ministry. There are days that I know I would not be upright against the assaults of the enemy if there were not praying people surrounding me, lifting up my arms. The Pregnancy Care Center needs that same kind of prayer support.

Don’t minimize the importance of your prayers. Ultimately the battle for the lives of these women and their children is not going to be won or lost in the White House or in the halls of Congress. Ultimately it’s going to be won or lost in the house of God and in the halls of our homes as we commit ourselves to pray, to lift up this ministry and others like it in prayer.

Then there are many that God may want to commit time. Then there’s the financial need of the ministry. Most of us are not people of great means, but compared to most of the world, we really are.

My dad was a business man who loved to give to the Lord. My mother has talked about times when the business was doing poorly, and it was really stretched and strapped. My dad would come home and say, “We need to tighten the belt more so we can give more in our time of need.”

I grew up in that environment and grew up learning to love to give, but I’ve learned along the way that giving is one key means to our spiritual growth. I find there’s so many spiritual issues that get dealt with in my life by giving—selfishness, pride, temporal values. Our lives and minds get so clouded with the world—so distracted by the world, and I find that learning to give hilariously, as the Scripture says, learning to give generously, is a means of spiritual growth in the graces of Christlikeness, who became poor for our sakes so that we through His poverty might be made rich.

Again I would say we’re never more like Jesus than when we’re giving. Those of you who have children and grandchildren—the way you give will have an impact on their lives.

Now as I close, let me just make this note. It’s not enough to have physical life. The Scripture says that we need to be re-born. We need to become, not just children of flesh and blood of our earthly parents, but children of God.

The same One who gives physical life is also the One who gives spiritual life, not just to the clients of the Pregnancy Care Center, but for each person in this room. In the providence of God, you have been born. You’ve been given a chance to live, but each of us will one day die and face the eternal judgment of God for our sins if we have not received spiritual life. That’s what the Bible calls being born again, through repenting of our sins and placing our faith in Jesus Christ.

John one puts it this way, “To all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (verse 12, NLT). They are re-born. This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan. This re-birth comes from God.

Then Jesus said to that seeker, Nicodemus, the wealthy leader of the Jews who came to Jesus by night, seeking for an explanation to the mysteries of life, and Jesus spoke with this man about being re-born. He said, “Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven” (John 3:6, NLT).

I wonder if there may not be some in this room tonight—you love the ministry of rescuing the perishing through the Pregnancy Care Center. You have a heart for life. Maybe you’ve been supportive of this work. That’s great, but wouldn’t it be a tragedy if you were financially or with your time and effort supporting a ministry like this that’s giving physical life to un-born children, yet in the womb, and yet you would miss out on the gift of God in wanting to give you eternal, spiritual life?

So I ask you tonight, have you been re-born? If not, could I suggest that’s why God brought you here tonight, so that you could have the opportunity—perhaps hearing for the first time the good news of Jesus Christ?

Perhaps you’ve been in church all your life—heard it many times, but tonight the Holy Spirit of God has opened your eyes, opened your heart, and right there in your seat, you can say, “Lord Jesus, I believe. I trust You. I receive You. You took my death that I deserve for my sin so that I could have eternal life. I receive You. I receive that life right now.”

Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful ministry of the Pregnancy Care Center. Thank you for these who care for the least of these, who extend the helping, loving, compassionate, giving, serving hands and heart of Jesus, to those who find themselves in these unplanned or unwanted pregnancies.

Lord, we pray together, asking for Your blessing, Your hand, Your anointing, Your favor to be on this ministry and others like it across this country. Thank You for these who serve You so faithfully. Would You encourage them? Help them to know that their labors are not in vain in the Lord.

Lord, would You show each of us what part You would want us to have? May none of us sit here at an evening like this, and just be spectators, but may each of us say, “Yes, Lord,” to whatever it is that You’re calling us to do—to be willing to risk and lay down our lives in order to rescue the perishing as You have given everything to rescue us when we were without hope and perishing.

We love you, and we give you thanks for the privilege of serving with You in this way. In Jesus’ holy name we pray, amen.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss in a series called Rescue the Perishing. I hope you’ll take some time to pray about how you can get involved in promoting life. You can find a link on our website to tell you how to get involved with the pregnancy care center in your community. The web address is ReviveOurHearts.com.

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It will help you follow a plan and know what to read. Ask for the Bible at no cost to you when you call 1-800-569-5959, or you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com and check the box that tells us you’d like the free Bible.

Starting on Monday, find out why those needing to experience revival are kind of like captives, waiting for a rescue. Join us next week for Revive Our Hearts.

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

1Fanny Crosby. Rescue the Perishing.

 

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