Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s Pastor Bobby Moore.

Bobby Moore: The most significant things that God has done in my life have not come through preaching, but they’ve come through my personal times with God, when I’ve been alone with God and God spoke into my heart. I didn’t try to duplicate somebody else’s life or take somebody else’s verse of Scripture. I just met with God, and I connected with God.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. We’re in a special series called Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As we come to the close of this 12-week series on Seeking Him, we’re talking about the importance of having a personal devotional life, which I believe is one of the most important keys to experiencing ongoing revival in our lives.

My dad has been with the Lord for nearly 30 years now, but if you were to ask me, “What is the single most important thing that your dad passed on to you in terms of your understanding of the Christian life?” it would be the emphasis that he placed on this matter of meeting the Lord first thing in the day in a devotional time.

He practiced that. He was a great example of it, and he really encouraged us as we were growing up to make this a practice in our lives. Over the years I have made it a practice in my life, but there have been some times when I’ve found myself giving in to the busyness, the demands of the schedule, and starting to slip in terms of really setting aside that time for the Lord.

The Lord has used a number of other individuals in my life to reinforce this message that I heard from my dad as I was growing up. Today and tomorrow I want you to hear from two of the men who have really impacted my life in this matter of a devotional life.

Tomorrow we’ll be listening to a conversation I had with Dr. Henry Blackaby. Today I want to share a portion of a message by Pastor Bobby Moore.

Bobby and his wife, Joyce, have been friends of mine for many, many years. For many years Bobby was the pastor of Broadway Baptist Church in Olive Branch, Mississippi.

Over the years God has used this humble, joyful, faithful servant of the Lord to touch my life in many ways, but none of them greater than this matter of the personal devotional life. So let’s listen as Pastor Bobby Moore shares about the priority and the practice of a personal devotional life.

Bro. Bobby: I’ve had the joy of walking with God since early childhood. I’ve been blessed to have grown up in a godly home, to have received 14 years of Christian education, and to have sat under some of the best Bible teachers of our generation.

But I’ve come to believe that it is absolutely impossible for me to cultivate an intimate relationship with God or to become the person God wants me to become apart from spending time with Him daily.

Every believer must understand that they have no power on their own to maintain their spiritual life. Every believer each day needs to receive new grace from heaven through fellowship with the Lord Jesus. This cannot be obtained by hasty prayer or a superficial reading of a few verses from God’s Word.

You must take time quietly and deliberately to come into God’s presence, to feel your weaknesses, to know your needs, and to wait upon God for His Holy Spirit, in order to be renewed. Then you may rightly expect to be kept by the power of Christ throughout all the day and all its temptations.

You know, a lot of people don’t even know what the personal devotional life is. What is the personal devotional life?

First of all, it’s a time every day that I set aside to develop a deep, growing, fresh relationship with God.

Here’s the second thing God’s teaching me about my personal devotional life: It’s also a time to celebrate who God is and who I am in Christ. The personal devotional time is a time when you’re alone with God where you celebrate who God is and you worship God and you celebrate who you are in Christ.

There’s a third thing God is teaching me about the personal devotional life, and it’s this: The personal devotional life is a time when I connect and communicate with God. You know, if you stay with it, you connect with God; you commune with God in your personal devotional life.

The most significant things that God has done in my life have not come through preaching, but they’ve come through my personal times with God, when I’ve been alone with God and God spoke into my heart. I didn’t try to duplicate somebody else’s life or take somebody else’s verse of Scripture. I just met with God, and I connected with God.

Here’s another thing that God is teaching me about my personal devotional life: It’s a time to listen to God’s counsel. “Lord, what do You want me to do today? What is Your agenda for my life today?” You see, if you don’t do that, then you just branch out on your own agenda.

Here’s another thing God is teaching me about my personal devotional life: It’s a time of commitment. It’s a time of dedication, when I dedicate myself to God, when I get on the altar, when I say, “God, I’m Yours today. I give you what I am, all that I am and all that I have in a fresh way.” It’s a time of dedication.

Here’s something else: The personal devotional life is also a time when I write about, or chronicle, my relationship with God and what God’s doing in my life. I don’t know whether you keep a journal or not. For a long time I didn’t do that kind of thing.

I’ve got a lot of books in my library, but the most important books I have in my library are about 24–25 years of journals, where every day I’ve kept what God said to me and what I’ve said to God.

I go back and look at those things, and they encourage me and refresh me and give me confidence in God. I know that what God has done in the past He can do in the present. You need to do that. That’s a part of the personal devotional life, and you have to grow into that.

There’s something else God is teaching me: The personal devotional life is a time when I clothe myself with the armor of God. In Ephesians 6 you remember how Paul talked about putting on the whole armor of God. We need to take all those pieces of armor every day, and before we ever get out to face the world, we need to be properly dressed.

Ephesians 6:10-18 tells you how to dress. It tells you what to put on. Some of us need to put off some things before we put on some things. That’s in the third chapter of Colossians.

There’s something else God is teaching me: The personal devotional time is a time of prayer and intercession. It’s not only a time of reading God’s Word; it’s not only a time of chronicling what God is teaching you; but it’s a time of prayer and a time for intercession.

I want you to take your Bible and turn to Luke chapter 10, beginning with verse 38.

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

But Martha was cumbered about [or distracted by] much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me alone to serve? bid her therefore that she help me.

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, you are careful [anxious] and troubled about many things:

But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her (through verse 42).

I want to show you several things, and the first thing is this: I want you to see the importance of having a personal devotional life. Look at verse 42. This is Jesus talking, and He said, “One thing is needful.” Jesus didn’t say, “Serving is needful,” “Preaching is needful,” “Singing is needful,” “Giving is needful.” He said, “One thing is needful.”

What was Mary doing? Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His Word. Then when you read these verses that follow Luke chapter 10, and you read the first 13 verses of chapter 11, it’s one of the greatest sections in the Bible on prayer.

So the importance of the personal devotional life is that it is foundational to everything else. You see, whatever you are in private with God, you can never be any more than that in public. It’s so essential that you develop this personal devotional life. It’s foundational to everything else in your life as a believer.

Jesus said, “This is the one thing that’s needful. This is the one thing that’s necessary.” Please don’t ever forget that. Let the Spirit of God drive that home to your heart today. This is the most essential, foundational aspect of your Christian life. It’s the time that you spend with God alone.

Here’s the second thing about the personal devotional life. Not only its importance, but look at verse 42 again, and look at that word chosen. It says, “Mary has chosen that good part.”

Even though the personal devotional life is so essentially important, it’s a choice that you make. You see, many, many Christians make a choice not to have a personal devotional life. When you make a choice not to have a personal devotional life, you have neglected what Jesus said was the most important thing in your life.

Do you think you can go on with God if you neglect the most important thing in your life? No, you can’t.

So, not only is it important, but it’s a choice. And let me tell you, it’s a choice that you have to come back to time and time and time again until it becomes such a habit in your life that you live for moments with God in this private time. That’s what you live on. That’s what carries you through trials and temptations, crises and challenges, and everything else.

Notice something else about it. It’s not only the most important thing, it’s not only a choice that you have to make in your life, but look at the ingredients in the personal devotional life. Three things are mentioned in this passage.

The first thing you’ll notice down in verse 39. When the Bible talks about these ingredients, look at what it says. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. It’s a picture of adoration. You just get the picture: She’s sitting at Jesus’ feet. She’s humbling herself. She’s adoring the Lord Jesus Christ. She’s loving the Lord Jesus Christ. She’s worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the first ingredient.

The second ingredient is this: She sat at his feet and she heard his Word. Hearing the Word of God, reading the Word of God, personalizing the Word of God, taking the Word of God into your life is a vital ingredient in the personal devotional life.

So she worshipped, and she took God’s Word into her life. That’s so important, to personalize what God says. Not just to talk about it, but to personalize it.

Let me tell you how you personalize it. Back in the 1960s I lost my voice. I couldn’t preach. I couldn’t talk. I went to three different doctors, and all three of those doctors said to me, “More than likely you have cancer of the throat, and you need to have surgery. And we can’t promise you that when you have this surgery you’ll ever be able to talk again.” This was back in the 60s.

I can tell you, it scared me to death. The Enemy filled my life with fear. He filled me up with fear—fear that I’d never be able to speak again, fear that I couldn’t provide for my wife and my children, fear that I couldn’t preach again.

Then one day, God gave me 2 Timothy 1:7. “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

I had the surgery on my throat, and you know I’m able to speak. I learned some wonderful things through that experience of having surgery, but the main thing I learned was how to personalize the Word of God.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lived on 2 Timothy 1:7. Every time the Enemy comes with fear, every time there’s a pain in my throat, rather than panic I can say, “God, You have not given me a spirit of fear, but You’ve given me a spirit of love and of power and of a sound mind.”

I want to tell you, I’ve lived on that verse. I live on that verse every day. You ought to put it on and try it. It’ll fit you; I guarantee you. That’s personalizing the Word of God.

You see, it’s not just memorizing it; it’s personalizing it. I stake my life on what God says. “God, I need this. I’m fearful.” What did David say? “What time I am afraid, I will trust in [the Lord]” (Psalm 56:3).

So part of the personal devotional life is not just how much of the Scripture I read, but it’s personalizing God’s Word. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. She worshiped Him. She personalized His Word. She opened her heart to His Word and took it in.

The third ingredient is prayer. That’s Luke 11:1-13, and that’s a great section on prayer. That’s what comprises the personal devotional life.

Now, I want you to look at something else in that passage. Not only its importance and not only that it’s a choice and not only the ingredients, but I really want you to see the heart. The heart of the personal devotional life is found in verse 39 as well. Mary sat at His feet and she heard His Word.

You say, “Well, Brother Bobby, what is the real heart of the personal devotional life?” It’s hearing what God has to say to you. That’s the heart of the personal devotional life: hearing what God has to say to you.

Mary heard what God said to her—not what God said to Martha or what God said to Lazarus, but what God said to her, and that’s the heart of the personal devotional life. “God, I want You to speak to me.”

But look at verse 42. “One thing is needful . . . Mary has chosen that good part,” and look at this last phrase: “which shall not be taken away from her.”

What you get in your personal devotional life can never be taken away from you. What God does for you personally in your time alone with Him can never be stolen from your life. A lot of other things can be taken away from your life, but the time you spend with God when you personalize the Word of God in your life, you never lose the value of that.

I’ll tell you, that’s a great promise to me. This can never be taken away from you. Never. That just re-emphasizes the importance of the personal devotional life.

Now, I want to give you just two or three other values of the personal devotional life. The personal devotional life is essential to your spiritual growth. You cannot be a growing Christian by just coming to hear me preach. You can’t do it. I don’t care who you go hear preach.

But I’m here to tell you, your personal devotional life is where you are going to grow spiritually. It’s where you’re going to get some muscle into your life spiritually so you can grow and stand as a Christian.

Listen to what God is saying. In 2 Peter 3:18 He said, “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” In 1 Peter 2:2 He said, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.”

When Paul was speaking to those elders over there in Athens, he said, “Now . . . I commend you God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among those that are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).

I want you to hear me clearly. You cannot be a growing Christian if you neglect your personal devotional life. That’s where you’re going to grow. Our churches are full of baby Christians who have never grown because they don’t have any personal time with God. They just don’t have it.

Listen to what Jesus said: “You are clean through the word that I speak to you” (John 15:3, paraphrase). Listen to what He said in Ephesians chapter 5. He said, “Husbands, I want you to love your wives like Christ loved the church,” and then He said, “I want you to not only love them like that, but I want you to wash them with the water of the word” (verses 25-28).

So what happens is this: When we get into the Word of God, it becomes a cleansing source in our lives. And the more we get in our minds and our hearts and our lives, the more the cleansing process takes place.

If you neglect the Word of God, you’re not going to be clean in your thought life, and it’s not going to be long before what’s in your thought life is going to come in actuality in your life. The personal devotional life is essential to spiritual cleansing.

Back in the 60s I went over to the First Evangelical Church in Tennessee to hear Steven Olford preach. That morning he preached on what he calls “the quiet time.” When he preached on the quiet time—they don’t normally give an invitation at that church, but he didn’t know that, and he gave an invitation that morning.

I was a real good Baptist—I came and I sat in the back. When the invitation was given, God just smote my heart because I didn’t have a personal devotional life. I was a preacher. I was a soul winner. I was a tither. I was a Christian husband and daddy, and I was living a clean life. But I didn’t have a personal devotional life.

When he gave that invitation, I came forward. Dr. Olford took me over to the side for about 30 minutes. He took me off into a little room and showed me how he had his personal devotional life.

Since I was 19 years old when I got saved, I never had anybody do that. I had been through college and seminary, had a lot of degrees attached to my name, but I had no personal devotional life.

I want to tell you, apart from being saved and apart from God leading me to my wife, I think that day was one of the most significant days in my life, when I made a commitment to say, “God, I’m going to meet You every morning.”

Nancy: I don’t think I’ll ever forget the day that I first heard Pastor Bobby Moore preach the message you just heard. It was many years ago, in the month of August, and all the staff of our ministry had gathered together for our annual staff Revival Week.

At that time I had been involved in a major production for the previous 18 months. My schedule had been crazy. I had been traveling. I’d had constant deadlines. And I had begun taking shortcuts in my personal devotional life and in my walk with the Lord.

As I heard Pastor Moore preach this message that day, my heart was smitten. I came under deep conviction. God met me and called me to a place of repentance and returning to my first love for Jesus Christ.

I knew that I needed to make some huge changes in my schedule, that I needed to start carving out time first thing in the day to meet with the Lord no matter what else I had to do that day.

I thank God so much for His mercy and His grace, and I thank the Lord for using Pastor Bobby Moore and this message to help bring about a fresh revival and restoration in my own heart.

I don’t know where you are in relation to a personal devotional life, but I want to give to you the challenge I’ve given to many, many women over the years, and that is a 30-day challenge: that every day for the next 30 days you will take some time to spend alone with the Lord in the Word and in prayer.

I’m not saying how long it has to be. I’m not saying it has to be in the morning or it has to be at night. I’d urge you to consider starting your day that way. But would you just make this commitment, that every day for the next 30 days you will take some time alone with the Lord in His Word and in prayer?

And then would you go to ReviveOurHearts.com and email us and tell us, “I’m taking that 30-day challenge every day for the next 30 days”? I believe that if you will, a month from now you’ll be wanting to continue in that habit as you realize how crucial it is to ongoing revival and to your personal ongoing love relationship with Jesus Christ.

Make that commitment, then go to our website and send us an email and let us know that you’re taking that challenge.

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

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