Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Don't let the enemy steal your joy, regardless of what is going on in the world or your personal financial situation. I'm not saying pretend like nothing's going wrong or nothing's happening. The truth is, if we have Him, we are rich; we have everything we need.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, May 13.

You won't hear many economists suggest generosity or rejoicing as a way to respond to financial crisis. But generosity and rejoicing may be exactly the responses that will help you thrive through tough financial times.

We've returned this week to a series Nancy recorded in 2008 when the world was in the throes of a recession. The biblical truths Nancy outlined are timeless, so they will help us with the many challenges of 2011.

Let's join Nancy as she points us to Hope for Uncertain Times.

Nancy: I received two emails several days ago as I was preparing for this series. I received them on the same morning as part of a news services that I subscribe to. One was from a religious news service that was talking about the whole issue of what they call “food insecurity.” That's what used to be called hunger. Now they call it “food insecurity.”

It was some stats that have recently been released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture saying that food insecurity in America continued to rise last year. The '07 numbers were just recently released, and according to that study, 11.1% of U.S. households reported food insecurity or hunger. About 4% of households were severely food insecure, meaning one or more adults had to adjust their eating habits because the household lacked resources for food.

The same day I received this news update talking about the worsening economy in Pakistan, the other side of the world, and how that can be seen in the plight of children who are coming to a welfare center in Karachi. I've been in Pakistan. I've ministered there, and this particular report was very touching to my own heart.

The economic situation in Pakistan has meant that more children are being dropped off, abandoned, at this welfare center. A couple of weeks ago, that issue drew national media attention after three mothers who are members of an extended family, abandoned eight children at one time at this center.

The wife of the center's founder told journalists that it was unprecedented that eight children with living parents were brought to them, and this woman said, “The three women came together to my center. They asked me to please take their children. They could no longer feed them. The mothers were sobbing as they tried to leave the children.” There was actually a picture of this, the mothers with the children, and the children were crying, clinging to their mothers. The woman said it was heart-wrenching to watch.

It's a reminder that, as great as our needs are, in most of our cases, there are many, many who have even greater needs.

Now, as we think about the needs of others, we come to point number eight: In times of financial hardship, we need to reach out to others, to be sensitive to those around us who may have even greater needs than our own, and particularly with those who are in the Body of Christ. This is not a time just to think about our own needs, as great as they may be, but God calls us to put the needs of others ahead of our own.

Philippians 2—that's what Jesus did, and that's what He calls each of us to do. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (v. 4). How can we reach out to others at a time like this? Well, we can pray for others.

Who do you know around you who has a need financially? Who's feeling the pressure? Who's lost a job? Are you praying for them as if you were in that situation yourself?

Look for ways to encourage those who may be struggling—with a note, with an email, with a call. Say, “I'm praying for you, just want you to know that.” Then, share with one another. This is a time for us to help meet each other's material needs as the Lord has blessed us.

You see this teaching all through the Scripture. I was reading just this past week in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 15, “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor . . . you shall open your hand to him . . . As the LORD your God has blessed you, you shall give to him” (vv. 7,8,&14).

Proverbs 21, “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered” (v. 13). Then that familiar passage in James chapter 2, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled”'—I hope you get your needs met. God bless you—“without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (vv. 14-17).

We are to have the heart of Christ for those who are suffering materially and in other ways. So who do you know who is struggling to make ends meet? How could you be an instrument of God's grace in their lives? This is a time to reach out to others.

Then related to that, point number nine: This is a time to practice Christlike giving. The natural tendency in times of financial uncertainty or insecurity is to hold on to what we have and give less. I mean, that's what the accountants would say. That's how the math works, if you have less, you give less.

But I think these times of economic hardship provide for us as God's children, an incredible opportunity to demonstrate to the world the greatness and the power of God as we continue to give even when our own means are being stretched. Ask God how you can exercise faith. Most of us have not had to live or give by faith, but now may be a time when we get a chance to really exercise faith and to reflect God's generous heart in our giving at this time.

We think of Jesus, 2 Corinthians chapter 8, verse 9, “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” 

When we give out of our need, we're reflecting the heart of Christ. By the way, this whole concept of giving, of financial stewardship, is one that is virtually unknown to the younger generation of believers today. Those of us who are older believers, we need to be demonstrating this and teaching it and passing on to this younger generation how to give God's way.

I read a stat recently that said people who give money to charitable causes are 43% more likely to say that they are "very happy" than non-givers. And givers are 25% more likely than non-givers to say their health is "excellent or very good."

Now, what does all that mean? Giving is good for your health, and it is good for your emotional wellbeing. People who give are happier, and their health is better, or they think it is, than people who don't give. When I read that stat, it reminded me of a passage I love in 2 Corinthians chapter 8.

It's almost hard to believe this account. If it weren't in God's Word, we'd say, “How could this be?” But in the opening verses of 2 Corinthians 8, Paul says to the Corinthians,

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, [he's talking about these churches in Macedonia. They had a severe test of affliction, and in the midst of that affliction] their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part (vv. 1-2).

Now, I'll just tell you, accountants don't get that equation. It doesn't make sense. You can't do the math and get that one. You're scratching your head.

You read they've got a severe test of affliction. They've got extreme poverty, and with it, they have an abundance of joy. They overflow in a wealth of generosity. How does that work? It's the grace of God.

He said it was the grace of God that was given to these churches, and look at verse 3, which tells how they gave.

They gave according to their means. [Paul says,] I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord.

Nobody coerced them. Nobody begged them. Nobody said, “You have to give.” They gave what they had to give, and they gave “beyond their means.”

How do you give beyond your means? I don't know, but I'd like to find out. I'd like to be able to have it said of me that God's grace was so rich in my life that I was able to abound, to overflow in generosity, and to give even beyond my means.

Verse 4 says they, “begged us earnestly.” These people who were going through a severe test of affliction and extreme poverty, they "begged us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints." They said, “Please, Paul, don't leave us out in the offering. I know we're poverty stricken, but we want to have a part in this offering.” What a great picture that is of God's grace!

We all remember when Hurricane Katrina came through, and Louisiana was one of the states that was particularly hard hit. During that time, the Louisiana Baptist Convention officials received an envelope, and in it was found cash totaling $854. The offering was from a group of 20 men who live in Sumatra, Indonesia, which 8 months earlier had been devastated by the tsunami that swept through that part of the world.

During the tsunami disaster, these 20 men had experienced the help of Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers from the United States. When Katrina came through eight months later, these Indonesian men remembered how those particular Americans had helped them and reached out to their needs. When they heard about the hurricane, they wanted to help as they had been helped.

So they reached into their own pockets, these Indonesian men, to send $854 in offering to the state of Louisiana. They gave the offering to a humanitarian consultant who was in Sumantra to check out the progress of the relief efforts there.

So here were these brothers in Indonesia who had lost everything, but eight months later saw some others in need and said, "We want to give to meet that need."

That's kind of what you see in 2 Corinthians chapter 8 with the churches in Macedonia. Out of their affliction and their extreme poverty, they had an abundance of joy, and they overflowed in a wealth of generosity.

You say, "$854. That's not much considering the billions of dollars needed,” I guess it was, to the Katrina relief efforts. But you know, God has a way of taking loaves and fishes and multiplying them to feed a multitude.

As I think about some of the people who support this ministry and people living on a limited income, people who've been hurt—I'm thinking of those who are unemployed, one that I heard from just recently. Yet they are giving substantially out of their need, out of their lack. It takes my breath away. Part of me says, “You can't receive this gift! Send it back to them!”

But in my own life, I know that God uses giving, sacrificial, faith giving, as a means of sanctification and maturing me and developing my own faith and conforming me to the image of Christ. So I thank the Lord for those who say, “We want to be spiritually rich, and we want to help others be spiritually rich, even if that means that we have less physically or materially ourselves.”

I really believe that this time of financial crisis is a time for us to step out in faith and to continue giving to the Lord and if possible, to say, “Lord, could I even give more?” You say, “Where do you get this crazy idea?” Let me tell you.

I watched my dad, Art DeMoss, have that philosophy during a period of time when I was a sophomore in high school (so this is many years ago) when his business, which up until that point had been extremely successful, during a course of a year, his business faced enormous challenges and financial reverses. In that time when he was losing money hand over fist that previously he had made very easily, I watched him be as content, as trusting in the goodness and the sovereignty of God as he had been when the business was flourishing. I watched as he felt led, not only to maintain his giving commitments, but believe it or not, to increase them.

My mother has told the story of how he would say to her, "I know we've tightened the belt and we've cut back, but let's see if we can cut back some more so that in this time we can give more because there are others who have needs."

Why did he do that? Why did he think that way? Why did he baffle the accountants with that kind of thinking? Because he felt that this was an opportunity to really demonstrate the greatness and the power of God. What he would say is, "Most of us do our giving based on what we think we can afford to give." But rather, he said, "We should be giving based on how big and great we believe God really is."

I've had to wrestle through some of these things on a personal level. If I could just be really transparent for a moment, God has met my needs. He's been very gracious, but as a single woman, I find myself sometimes wanting to give in to fears, thinking there's no way to know the future. When I'm an old lady, how will those needs be met?

At times, I've been tempted to cut back on some of my personal giving. The Lord has challenged me to continue giving every time He prompts my heart, not because a ministry begs for it or not because I'm coerced in any way, but as the Lord prompts my heart. I've been challenged to keep saying, “Yes, Lord, I'm willing to do that,” and to trust that He's going to meet my needs now and down the road.

I say that not in any way to make you feel sorry for me, just to say, I think this is an opportunity for us together to show the world that God can meet our needs, and He can enable us to be faithful in giving as Christ has given to us.

There's no way we can predict what's going to happen to the economy or to our personal finances, but there are a few things we do know:

  • We do know that we're not to be anxious about anything.
  • We know that He has promised to meet our needs. 
  • We know that we are to be givers.

I would rather cast my lot with God and do what I know I'm supposed to do and trust Him with the outcome than to fret, tighten up, try to fix everything, or shoulder the responsibility for the outcome myself. So ask yourself, "Does my giving reflect the generous, giving heart of Christ?" How might God want you to grow in the grace of giving during this economically hard-hit season?

Then finally, number ten: If you want to survive and thrive in an economic crisis, rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice in the Lord. Don't let the enemy steal your joy, regardless of what is going on in the world or in your personal financial situation.

I mentioned a moment ago that I've been reading in the book of Deuteronomy. Last week I came to chapter 12, and I was just so gripped by the—I think there are three, maybe four—references in that chapter that say essentially this, “You shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all that you undertake.”

You know what the context is for that exhortation? When you're bringing your sacrifices and offerings, have a happy heart. “You shall rejoice before the Lord in all that you undertake.”

A number of years ago, one of the staff in our ministry shared how his wife's parents had a fire in their house. Mark wrote to tell us about the outcome, and it affected Mark and Amy, the couple in our ministry. He said,

The garage was destroyed, along with her dad's '41 Chevy that he spent three years rebuilding. Also, lost were all the remaining wedding gifts we had stored away in the attic until we finally got a home—china, dishes, home decorations and appliances.

Amy has taken it all in stride, despite losing some sentimental things like our wedding registry book and other wedding items, but interestingly, the one thing we did not lose that was stored, was Amy's wedding gown. We gave it away last year to a national, Indian missionary we know for his wedding.

They gave it to this man for his wife to use for his wedding, so the one thing they'd given away was the one thing they didn't lose. He says,

It's a reminder that only what is given truly lasts. [And then, speaking of rejoicing in the Lord, he says,] We laughed this weekend that our net worth seems to get smaller all the time, yet I don't know if I've ever felt more blessed with what I have.

That reminds me of that great hymn at the end of Habakkuk chapter 3.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the trees, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation (vv. 17-18).

  • Are you manifesting the joy of the Lord to those around you, especially as it relates to this whole economic crisis?
  • Are people seeing the joy of Christ in your countenance, in your spirit, in your words?

I'm not saying pretend like nothing is going wrong or nothing's difficult or nothing's happening. It is difficult, and these are hard times for many, many people.

We're all affected by this crisis, directly or indirectly, but the truth is that if we have Him, we are rich. We have everything we need.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing you how to maintain hope in uncertain times. She recorded that message in 2008. That's when a world-wide recession was shaking the foundations many people had built their lives on.

We wanted to return to this series because we still face incredible challenges, as a world and as individuals. I hope you’ll make the points you’ve heard in this series personal. To help you, we’d like to send you a CD that will point you to the truths of God’s Word.

It’s our way of saying thanks when you make a contribution of any size to Revive Our Hearts. We’ll also include a pamphlet based on Nancy’s teaching. Just like the message we just heard, it’s called, Hope for Uncertain Times.

Nancy’s here to tell you more.

Nancy: When that message was first recorded in 2008, as you may recall, the economy worldwide was in a major tailspin. That meant that ministries like ours were facing some serious challenges. I’m so thankful as I look back at the way that listeners stood with us during that time and gave generously. Then once again in 2010, Revive Our Hearts faced the most significant financial challenge of our history. Once again, God so graciously met that need through the gifts of our listeners at the end of 2010. And how thankful I am for each of our listeners who partnered with us at that critical time.

We are now at the end of another fiscal year. We close this year's books at the end of May and prayerfully evaluate the level of ministry we can undertake in the year ahead. This is always an important time of year for us, and so this month we’re asking God to provide $350,000.

Your support at this time will help us in a number of significant ways. For one, right now Revive Our Hearts is being edited and produced in a converted chair closet, but we are very close to finishing out some new studio space that we really need.

And then as you may have heard recently, we have moved into some Spanish language broadcasting and are praying about some opportunities to ramp up that ministry in a way that would reach many more women.

Meeting this $350,000 goal this month of May will significantly affect how we will move forward in some of those undertakings. Would you ask God what role He’d have you play in supporting the ministry of Revive Our Hearts?

Some really dear friends of this ministry know how important this time of year is, and they’ve offered to match the gifts of each new financial supporter this month, up to a challenge amount of $60,000. Our team is praying that we will not only meet this amount but far surpass it. If you’ve never given to Revive Our Hearts before, now would be a great time to start.

And whether you’ve given before or not, we’ll say thank you for your contribution by sending the CD, Hidden in My Heart. This collection of Scripture passages set to beautiful music has quieted my own soul so many times in recent months in the midst of some turbulent waters. That is because as I listen over and over again to these songs, it keeps pointing me back to the promises of God's Word and encourages me to anchor my heart on those promises

Song from CD:

Rest quietly.
Rest in His loving arms.
For He is watching over you,
Ever faithful, ever true.
So be still my soul.
Be still and know
That He is God. 

I just love these songs. They have become familiar to me and have ministered deeply to my own heart. That's why we're making this, admittedly, unusual offer of a lullaby CD to our listeners this month.

When you send your gift of any amount to Revive Our Hearts this month, we’ll send you that CD, Hidden in My Heart along with a pamphlet that accompanies this week’s series called, Hope for Uncertain Times. Ask for the CD and the pamphlet when you call with your gift. The number to call is 1-800-569-5959, or visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie: Do you know you can cover up your skin and still be immodest? Nancy will show you how to develop the beauty of a modest heart, starting Monday. Learn to be modest inside and out, next time on Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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

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