Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: Mary Kassian has talked to a lot of women who have regrets. She says the path leading to a wasted life is one that they go down little by little.

Mary Kassian: They’ve never gotten there in one big leap, it’s always been incremental. Sin doesn’t advance by leaps; it advances by creeps. So to be a strong woman, we need to watch for those creeps. 

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts for Friday, August 2, 2019. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is your host and she’s joined by Dannah Gresh.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Dannah, I can remember as I was growing up that my dad would talk to us often about the power of habit, the importance of habit. He would say, “Bad habits are hard to break, and good habits are hard to make, sometimes.”

Dannah Gresh: That’s true.

Nancy: He kind of drilled that into us. As we’re talking with our guest this week, we’re talking a lot about habits—both bad and good. We’re looking to the Scripture about that. I’m going to put you on the spot here. Do you have any bad habits that you’d care to talk about just at the top of the program here?

Dannah: Well Nancy, well that’s . . .

Nancy: Not to be too personal.

Dannah: Well, that is personal to ask me. Bob and I actually have noticed a bad habit that we’re sharing. We’re on our phones so much that last week I was in one room and he was in the other, and we were having a conversation by text. (laughter)

Nancy: Oh, Robert and I have never done that in our house! Not!

Dannah: We were both like, “Wait, this can’t be really great for our relationship.” Like, there’s no eye contact and touch and all this stuff that we know about. So we’re trying to fix that bad habit . . .

Nancy: . . . in order to have something good come about in your marriage.

Dannah: Right. We want to have a good habit of looking into each other’s eyes.

Nancy: Well, habits don’t have to be bad. They can be good. Actually, I’m really thankful for how in our marriage for some of Robert’s good habits. He’s orderly; he plans ahead; he “locks and loads,” we call it. Everything that he needs for his morning routine—his coffee, his quiet time—is all locked and loaded the night before. 

I’m much more random and disorganized. So some of his good habits are really exposing some of my bad habits, though he doesn’t point them out. But I can see and am challenged to adopt some of his good habits.

Dannah: I know I want to be around someone with good habits. I think, I want to be like that, talk like that, act like that. I want to make decisions like that. That’s true. So it’s a good thing that we have Mary Kassian with us this week because she can probably help us develop some good habits as women, because she’s written a new book called The Right Kind of Strong

Nancy: And the sub-title has to do with habits that she’s drawn right out of the Word of God. She’s talking about surprisingly simple habits of spiritually strong women. That’s a lot of “s’s.” There’s a lot of things to unpack, which we’re going to do. But Mary, we want to welcome you back to Revive Our Hearts. You’re no stranger to us, and we’re so glad that you’re here with Dannah and me in the studio today.

Mary: I’m glad to be here as well.

Nancy: Mary, you’ve had such a significant role in the development and growth and the unfolding of this ministry and message. In fact, I remember it was around my fortieth birthday that I read a book that you had written that helped me to understand historically where we’ve come from as women and some of the ways of thinking that have infiltrated our lives as Christians. It was out of reading that book that the concept and the burden for the True Woman Movement was birthed. Over the years we’ve dreamed together, talked together.

Dannah: Does that make Mary the midwife? I don’t know. (laughter)

Nancy: Yes, exactly

Mary: Or the grandma.

Nancy: . . . of Revive Our hearts. Just a sisterhood. This latest book that you’ve written is so cogent, powerful, well put together. It’s biblical, clear, convicting.

Dannah: Very convicting.

Nancy: What else can I say?

Dannah: I was very convicted especially as we talked about this topic of habits—good ones and bad ones. Nancy, I’m thinking that maybe there’s someone that knows whether Mary has good habits or bad habits. You know who I’m thinking of?

Nancy: Is it a he?

Dannah: It’s a he.

Nancy: Does his name start with a “B.”

Dannah: Yes, it does.

Nancy: And he has the same last name as Mary?

Dannah: Yes, and I might have him on the phone right now.

Mary: Oh no!

Nancy: Brent are you there?

Brent Kassian: Good morning.

Mary: Good morning Sweetie!

Dannah: Hey Brent, we’re talking today about the right kind of strong in women, and your wife is a strong woman isn’t she?

Brent: Yes she is. She’s very, very strong, and it starts with the strength of her character. People often ask me, “Mary’s written a lot and has traveled a lot and impacted a lot of women—I think some men along the way, too.” They kind of say, “Well how does she do that?” 

I would say that she has a heart for God and she loves Him and seeks Him. She’s very teachable, and she lets the Lord teach her and lead her. That is the core foundation of where her strength comes from.

Some of the things that have emerged from that are her ability to focus on the task at hand, a project, and to see it from start to finish. She’s very, very focused on getting the task at hand done. So that is a definite strength of hers. 

It could be a big task like writing a book or speaking at conferences or praying or ministering to somebody. It can be just some practical tasks like getting her flower beds done when time allows here. We just had the snow leave here and up here in the great white northern Canada. So we’re behind the spring schedule.

Dannah: Friend, it sounds like you like her a whole lot.

Nancy: I’ve seen them together, and I know that that’s true.

Dannah: I know that that’s true.

Brent: That is so true; I really do. One of her good friends once said that if the kids’ game (I don’t know if they are still around but they had a game called a) Barrel of Monkeys . . . They said that if it were to be named today, it would be a “Barrel of Marys.”

Dannah: So last question that I have for you Brent. We’re talking about habits this morning. Nancy just made me confess one of my bad habits behind a microphone with all my friends here. I’m not going to ask you if Mary has any bad habits, but can you name one or two simple habits that you think are really formative in being the right kind of strong woman?

Brent: One habit is to be in the Word of God. She’s in the Word of God. She reads it; she thinks about it; she meditates on it; she sings and worships to it. So I’d say that that’s one habit that is a tremendous foundational habit. Tied in with that is she seeks to hear God’s voice through the Holy Spirit—just to lead her, to apply the Word in different circumstances. 

Time and time again I see those two habits as relationships go . . . You know how relationships go. When I need a wake up call or tune up call, the Lord uses her to do that. “Why don’t you look at it this way sweetie. Maybe be a little bit more patient here with this situation.” So those are just a couple of practical, spiritual habits that I see in her day in and day out.

Dannah: Aw, that’s precious! You know what I’m thinking too? Even just there it spoke to me about the way I speak to Bob; making sure that when I’m . . . When you are confronting Brent, it sounds like in your strength you are doing it with a softness.

Nancy: Yes.

Dannah: How beautiful is that? Brent, thank you for loving this woman so much and for sharing her with us so often.

Brent: Thank you so much, and y’all have a great rest of the day.

Dannah: Y’all.

Nancy: Y’all; that’s a good southern Canadian, right?

Mary: I don’t know if he did that as well as I did the “eh.”

Nancy: Thank you Brent.

Brent: God bless.

Dannah: So Mary, yesterday we talked about identifying the simple habits of a spiritually strong woman. Today we want to turn our hearts toward that first one that is found in this passage in 2 Timothy 3:6–7. I think that we can never read the Word of God too much, so Nancy would you just refresh us as to what that passage says?

Nancy: Yes, Paul’s talking about the last days, which they lived in back in the first century. We live in today, in the big picture it’s all the last days. He talks about the godlessness, the things that come into the culture. 

People are arrogant and proud and lovers of self. It’s not the kind of character that you want to have. He says these people have an appearance that actually . . . These people could be in the church. They can look like they are really godly, but they deny the true power. They don’t have the true gospel. He says to “avoid such people.” 

So what kind of people are we supposed to avoid? Well he says, among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions. They are always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth ( vv. 6–7).

We’ve talked about those women who aren’t the right kind of strong. They might think that they are strong. They may be impressive as the world values impressive or assesses it. But, in fact, he says that they are little women; They are weak. One translation says, “weak-willed, gullible.” They are not spiritually strong

Mary: They are less than what they could be because of their habits. And the first habit that we see in this passage is that they tolerated creeps. They let these false teachers creep into their households. The term is really interesting “creep.” Because to creep doesn’t meant that they just opened the door and said, “Hey, come on in.” It means that these ideas from these false teachers came in just a little bit at a time—just ever so slightly, just moved in a little bit, a little bit more, and a little bit more.

Nancy: Because these false teachers creep into the houses of these weak women and these women don’t even realize (and men too sometimes), what’s happening. Like if some robber, thief, or someone who wants to do harm to your family just barged in, broke the door down, came in yelling and screaming, you’d resist.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: You’d say, “Get out of here!” You’d call the police. You’d take action. But this here is like a subtle intrusion.

Dannah: So subtle.

Mary: You don’t even know what’s happening, and that’s why you tolerate it. I think that so many women are in the habit of letting things creep into their lives—ungodly influences, not just people, false teachers, but also things like ungodly habits or ungodly attitudes or ungodly moral stances or ungodly ideas. There are all sorts of creeps that women allow to come into their lives and into their hearts.

Nancy: So the first good habit that we need to develop is to be on the lookout for these creeps.

Mary: That’s right, to catch these creeps.

Nancy: To catch the creeps.

Dannah: You know, as I was introduced to this whole idea through you, Mary, I feel like I saw something in my life that was creeping into my spirit, into my mind, into my theology, and into my habits that really convicted me. That is this, you talk about time creeps. And time creeps can be what?

Mary: Time creeps can be just wasting time on things that are unproductive. We all need time to rest, but I think that particularly in this day and age with social media and . . .

Nancy: Wait, stop right there.

Dannah: That’s right where you got me, because how much time do you think that the average woman spends on social media?

Mary: Well, there was a study done that actually said that by the time you reach the end of your life, you will have spent a minimum of seven years solid on social media.

Nancy: I think that “minimum” is the word there. They actually have this thing on our phones now that I think every week it pops up how many hours a day you’ve spent on this. The first time that that popped up on mine, I went, “No way! That can’t be right!”

Mary: That can’t be right.

Nancy: That can’t be right! Now, I’m doing a lot of extra things like studying. Sometimes I’m reading Scripture, but a lot of times I’m letting time just get stolen from me.

Dannah: Is that helping you to be able to see how much time you’re spending on it? Does it make you more aware?

Nancy: Well, I have to do something about it.

Dannah: Yes.

Nancy: It’s making me more aware, but then I have to do something about it. I have to say, “Okay, there are some good uses for it. There are some good things I’m doing with my time on there that are productive and helpful and edifying. But that’s not the whole.” There are things that are maybe just recreational that keep your mind sharp.

Dannah: Words with Friends

Nancy: Yes, my time’s down on Words with Friends these days. But then there’s just like this endless scrolling and seeing what everyone else is doing. Maybe that’s not bad in and of itself sinful, but is it allowing attitudes to creep into my thinking like comparison or what is beautiful.

Dannah: Or just let’s talk about how snarky social media can be, let’s go there. This is a really big issue I think, and that’s how creeps are. They seem insignificant ,but I was thinking the other day. Ten years ago I got so much more done in a week, why was that? Well, ten years ago I didn’t have a phone in my hand. I didn’t have a smartphone dumbing me down.

Really, Mary, I just have to say that reading this chapter was a game changer in my life. I realized that I’d been saying, “Lord, why am I less productive? Can you show me why I’m less productive? Am I just getting older? Is my brain slowing down? Is my body slowing down?” 

Through this chapter I realized that, it’s how I manage my time. It’s how when I go to bed and when I rise in the morning, it’s how I use this phone in my hand. In just the few short weeks that I’ve been obeying the Lord and giving Him that time and being aware of the creeps, my productivity is back!

Mary: Yes.

Dannah: It’s so much fun! It’s joyful! It feels great! So put your phone down, go to bed, get up early, it’s those simple things, right?

Mary: When I talk to women and they’ve gotten themselves into big messes, maybe they had an affair or done something else, gotten into a relationship that is unhealthy, they’ve never gotten there in one big leap. It’s always been incremental. It’s always been a little bit at a time. 

And they end up going, “How did I get here?” Well the thing is, sin doesn’t advance by leaps, it advances by creeps—just a teeny tiny, little bit at a time. That’s how we get into trouble, when we make a habit of being inattentive and not watching for creeps. So to be a strong woman, we need to watch for those creeps.

Nancy: And just again, we mentioned one of them, the way our time can get stolen from us. But what are some of the other types of creeps? They can be people.

Mary: They can be people coming into our lives that are negative influences, that pull us away from the Word of God. It can be ideas, ideological creeps, moral creeps where we our standards start getting changed a little bit. I think of this often. I was convicted of this once in terms of, Am I tolerating watching something on TV now that I wouldn’t have watched five years ago? Or wouldn’t have watched ten years ago? 

It’s something that I am tolerating but that really is not the direction that God wants me to go toward in terms of what I’m thinking about or in keeping my mind clean and pure.

Nancy: I think that it can be attitudes too.

Mary: Yes, it can be attitudes.

Nancy: It can be things that we start to mull over in our minds, unforgiveness or resentment. Boy, you let that get a little bit of a root.

Dannah: Don’t you think that's a big attitude problem that we have now? Negativity.

Mary: Negativity and criticism. Having a critical spirit toward others. That’s what often times comes up in social media

Nancy: All of a sudden you see a marriage that is on the rocks, it’s falling apart. Well, it wasn’t falling apart when they were at the altar, so what happened? Attitudes crept in that weren’t valuing the other, weren’t respecting the other, and weren’t speaking well of the other

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: We often talk in this ministry about the 30-day husband encouragement challenge. It’s not that in and of itself that it’s like a miraculous salvation to your marriage. But what it does is kind of arrest the creeps.

Mary: That’s exactly what it does.

Dannah: It brings to mind something that I did with Bob. Ok, I love my man so much.

Nancy: Yes you do.

Dannah: I have a big crush on him, but he leaves his socks in the middle of the living room floor . . . and he has our entire marriage. We’ve had conversations about it. Years ago I just decided that I’m going to pick them up, but you know what? Every time I did it, I rolled my eyes. Nobody saw me. I didn’t make a sound. I didn’t complain to Bob. I stopped talking about his socks. I stopped complaining verbally to him. But my eyeballs and my heart were still complaining. And it was dramatically impacting how I was impacting with him. Non verbals.

Your attitude matters inside your heart—how you roll your eyes, how you look at someone. It matters and changes the way you think and feel about them.

Mary: And a strong woman needs to recognize that. It’s a habit that’s a small habit, something we do all the time, and that’s to stay alert to the creeps and shut them down when we see them. And bring what is happening to the Word of God and accept His corrective.

Dannah: So Mary, could we just look up 1 Peter 5:8–9 because it gives us some ideas, some clues on how to curtail the creeps.

Nancy: I like that “curtail the creeps.” Reign them in, get rid of them, identify them, and this passage really talks about that

Mary: It saws “be sober minded, be watchful for your advisory he devil prowls like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” That image right there, “prowling around,” you know lions don’t go in for the kill right away. They take their time. They are very patient. They circle and circle.”

Nancy: And this is the uber creep here.

Mary: That’s right. Satan himself is looking for someone to devour.

Nancy: But we’re supposed to watch out for him.

Mary: Yes, watch out for him. You have to remain alert. Here it says, “resist him.” So first it says that we need to watch for him, so remain alert, remain on guard, watch for creeps. Know that Satan is the one who comes in a little bit at a time and just breaks down your defenses, pushes against your morals, pushes against your ideas. It’s how he influenced Eve in the Garden.

Nancy: Exactly.

Mary: It wasn’t an all out open attack. It was just very subtle, very gradual, very incremental. So first we watch for him. Resist him firm in your faith. I think that we have just some really clear instructions here. First of all, it says to be sober minded, in other words, take this seriously. I think that a lot of women don’t take the threat of creeps seriously. “Well it’s just a casual conversation. I’m just text messaging the guy.” “It’s just a lunch that we’re having together; it’s no big deal.”

Dannah: “It’s just TV,” or “It’s just one bad word in this show.”

Mary: “Everybody’s watching this.”

Dannah: “Everybody says it.”

Mary: “What’s the big deal?” “I’m strong enough to handle it.”

Nancy: “I’m just relaxing” with the endless scrolling through social media. What could be wrong with that?

Mary: Exactly, what could be wrong with that? There’s nothing wrong with this, nothing bad with this, and really it’s not a big deal; it’s a little deal. But you have to be sober minded and take those little things seriously. Sober minded means to be serious about something, and I think that it means being serious about the way that Satan creeps into your life. Serious about his strategy, because his prime strategy is to advance slowly. He’s got a lot so time; he’s patient.

Nancy: But he intends to take you out.

Mary: He intends to keep you down and to take you out. And he’s relentless. He just comes at you all the time.

Nancy: Then we look back on our lives that have fallen apart, and it’s a wreck, and we’re overwhelmed and depressed, and relationships are falling apart. We’re thinking, How did this happen? Well, we weren’t sober minded about the intrusion of these creeps into our lives.

Mary: Yes, we weren’t sober minded; we didn’t take it seriously. Then it says “be watchful.” One of the words that is really interesting back in our passage in 2 Timothy is that they crept into households. I think that as women we need to be watchful not only for ourselves but for the things that are creeping into our homes. 

We need to resist. The next word in this passage says “resist him.” We need to resist what’s going on. We need to resist the advances of that creep. Maybe we need to put in some Internet filters. Sometimes we need to say, “No, this is a TV program that is not going to be in my home. This is a video game that I’m not going to allow my children to interact with.”

Nancy: And the creeps that we don’t resist, we’re ultimately going to get run over by.

Mary: That’s right.

Dannah: Yes.

Nancy: They’re going to control us, or the people that we love.

Mary: Because they’ll keep advancing, because that’s the nature of creeps. And the thing with creeps is that they cause ungodliness. There’s a whole list in 2 Timothy chapter 3 of ungodliness in the last times. Creeps pull us to be less focused on God, more focused on ourselves. Our ideas begin to change; our hearts begin to change; our attitudes begin to change. The creep ultimately wants to pull us away from the Lord.

Nancy: Well, we’re going to keep talking about some of these habits that are so destructive and the surprisingly simple habits that help us to be spiritually strong women. But I think that this first one is a lot to chew on.

Mary: Yes.

Nancy: Dannah, you’ve shared transparently. Mary and I could both identify things that are in our own lives that we too easily creep in. So my question for you is, Are there any creeps, attitudes, values, entertainment, people, that have an unhealthy influence that you have allowed to worm their way into your life? Are you sober minded about it? Are you resisting the enemy? Or are you just letting him run you over?

Dannah: That’s right. If you’re feeling like there are maybe some creeps and you’d like some help with that, we’d like to provide that by sending you a copy of Mary’s newest book, The Right Kind of Strong: Surprisingly Simple Habits of a Spiritually Strong Woman

We’re going to send it to you as our way of saying “thank you” when you make a donation to Revive Our Hearts of any amount this month. You can send that in by going to ReviveOurHearts.com and making your donation there. Be sure to ask for a copy of Mary’s book, or call 1–800–569–5959.

Nancy: Do you ever find yourself on the other side of a decision and thinking, What was I thinking? How could I have done that? Well, tomorrow Mary’s going to share the secret to never experiencing that again. Join us as we explore the second of seven surprisingly simple habits of spiritually strong women. Be sure and be back with us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you develop godly strength. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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