Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Daily Devotions: Duty or Delight?, Part 8

Leslie Basham: You probably sing as part of your worship at church. What role does singing praises to God have in your personal devotions. It is Wednesday, January 16; and you are listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Worship is an important component in our times of prayer. Today we will get some ideas on how to incorporate worship into our daily devotional times and into our lives. We are in the middle of a series on developing a daily quiet time with God. Let's join Nancy as she continues the series, teaching before a group of women.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I have a precious little nephew named Mookie. That is not his given name; but that is what we call him, Mookie. And Mookie came to trust Jesus as his Savior when he was, I think, four years old. And when he turned five, he was going to be baptized. It was going to be on Easter Sunday morning. And my mother (whom the grandchildren know as Nanna) flew to Atlanta for the occasion, this special occasion.

She told the story, (she called me after the weekend was over) she said that as they were all getting ready for church on Sunday morning; she heard this sound coming from the bathroom down the hallway. It was little Mookie's unmistakable voice and he was singing, He Is Alive, He Is Alive. She said she went into the hallway to see what was going on and just kind of stood outside of the bathroom door and watched him while he was singing at the top of his lungs, totally oblivious to the fact that there was anybody else within earshot. I love that story because it illustrates to me one of the very important ingredients in a relationship with God.

We're talking about cultivating an intimate relationship with God through a daily devotional life. And one of the most important ingredients in that relationship is this whole matter of praise. Children, in some ways, are able to be a lot less self-conscious about praise than we are. I think about that passage in Matthew, chapter 21, where the children were the ones who waved the palm branches and sang, Hosanna to the son of David. They just did not care so much what everyone else around them thought. And as we get older, we get a little more self-conscious. But as we get into the presence of God, we want to become God-conscious. And God consciousness will cause to spring out of us--a spirit of praise and worship and adoration.

So, I will begin often my quiet time by offering praise to the Lord. But then at other times through that quiet time as I am in the Word, and I read something that evokes gratitude and praise, I will stop and thank the Lord. So praise is not just a category of my devotional time. It is not just that I praise the Lord first for "x" number of minutes, then I move onto something else. It should be interwoven throughout my entire life, but also throughout this entire time that I spend alone with the Lord.

One of the things that helps me in this matter of praise and worship is to sing to the Lord. I love to do that. I started out this morning by doing that. I almost always have with me a hymnal. Even when I travel, I take a hymnal with me. And I often sing through some of those old hymns. Some of them are so rich with theology, with praise, with doxology; and they help me in my lifting up praise and worship and adoration to the Lord.

Often we use the Psalms in this way. Over the years, I have tried to memorize many different Psalms so I can use them as an aid to help jump-start, if you will, my praise time--because there are days, as I start out my quiet time, I am not particularly feeling like praising the Lord. I do not know what to say. But then I can use the words of others, who have walked with God, to help me know how to express to the Lord what really is there in my heart.

So praise is an important ingredient. Sing to the Lord. Now this is why some of us want to have our quiet time alone--we do not necessarily want others to hear us singing. But the Lord loves for us to sing to Him. In fact, many times throughout the Psalms, we are told to "Sing to the Lord." I do not know what it is about singing; but there is something about obeying that command that releases and frees us up, I believe, to express our love and our devotion to the Lord in a way that is worthy of Him.

And then I want to make sure that I am spending time in the Word of God. As I open God's Word, I begin by praying and asking God to speak to me through His Word. I pray, "Open my eyes, that I may see wonderful things in your law" (Psalm 119:17-19). "Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart" (Psalm 119:34). "Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long" (Psalm 25:4). "That, which I see not, teach thou me. If I have done iniquity, I will do it no more"(Job 34:32).

Those are words from the Psalms. I prayed those words this morning as I opened the Word of God. And I think what happens, as I pray those words, is that I am saying, "Lord, I am listening. Would you speak? And I am agreeing with You before I even see what it is that You have to say--that whatever it is, I will respond." Because, why should God show me what is on His heart, and what is on His agenda, and what He wants to say to me if He does not know that I am committed to obey whatever it is that He says.

This Word is so precious; it is so necessary to our survival. The Scripture says that the law of the Lord is perfect, converting, transforming us all. The testimonies of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; and it talks about how the Word causes joy to come to our lives (Psalm 19:7-8 paraphrased). How in the keeping of God's Word, there is great reward.

So, I would encourage you to make sure that a part of your daily time with the Lord is reading this Book. So many people say, "It is hard for me to get stuff out of the Word of God." I think one of the biggest reasons we do not get a lot out of God's Word is because we do not read it enough. I have tried to make it a practice over recent years to get into my system, what I call "megadoses" of the Word of God.

I read once that George Mueller, who was a very busy man, (busy running all those orphanages and praying in all those funds for the orphans in England back in the last century) that he read through the Bible four or five times every year. Now the man prayed a lot, too. I cannot imagine how he did that.

I heard just the other day that there was a church that was dedicating a new building by having church members come and read the Bible out loud, in 30-minute increments. And they planned to read cover to cover through the Bible in, I think, it was just three or four days. Now that was 24 hours around the clock. And I said to myself as I heard that, It doesn't take long really to read through the whole Bible.

Now I do not want to read just to cover a lot of territory, I want to read to find God in here. And as I am reading, I want to say; "What does this passage say, what does it mean, what does God intend for it to mean; and then, how does it apply to my life, and what does God want me to do about what I have just read?" And remember as you get into the Word of God, that the whole point of this Book is to point you to Jesus. If you get through this Book, but you do not get to Him, you have missed the whole point.

In fact, from cover to cover, there is a portrait of Jesus if you will look for it carefully, hidden in the words of every page--even in some of those tougher-to-read Old Testament passages that seem to go on and on. Ask God to show you Himself as you read--even in those difficult passages. Read the Word, study it, memorize it, mediate on it. And most importantly, then go from your place, your quiet time, not to be a forgetful hearer but a doer of the Word that you have read. Then having received from God His Word, respond back to Him--in praise as we have said, in thanksgiving, and then in prayer--even turning the Word to prayer.

Now I will tell you that prayer is for me the most difficult part of my quiet time. Some people struggle more with the area of getting into the Word. I love to study the Word. But when I get to prayer, I find my mind wondering in so many different directions. And that's why it helps me to pray with an open Bible, or often to use the words of Scripture as a basis to pray back to God His Word. And so, I pray it back to God, I thank God for it, I ask Him to make it a reality in my life--to fill me with His Word so that as, I believe it was Spurgeon who said that we should be so filled with the Word of God--that when somebody pricks us, the blood that comes out is Bibling. It is the ways and the Word of God.

Prayer and praise become our response in this two-way dialogue with the Lord--having heard His Word, having received it, saying, "Yes Lord, I hear it and now this is how I respond to You." Now, you do not need to worry about the Word and praise and prayer being segments of your quiet time, we are talking about relationship here, fellowship. Ask God to show you how to weave each of those ingredients into your time with Him. You want to be sure you're getting some of each of those. There are days that I will spend more time in the Word and less in prayer, but I want to make sure that I am getting a balance of each of those ingredients in my quiet time with the Lord.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss showing us how knowing the Bible affects our prayer life. She will be back to pray with us in just a minute, but let me tell you about a tool we designed to help get the Word of God into your mind. It is a CD called "Psalms From the Heart," and hear is a short sample;

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Psalm 19, "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech; and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words whose voice is not heard; Their measuring line goes out to all the earth and their words to the end of the world. In them, he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber."

Leslie Basham: As you can hear, "Psalms From the Heart" features Nancy reading some of her favorite Psalms set to a worshipful, musical backdrop. If you're not in the habit of memorizing scripture, this would be a great tool to help you start. Psalms From the Heart is available on CD for a suggested donation of $12, and $10 for the cassette. And for a suggested donation of $15 you can get a new book from Nancy called A 30-Day Walk With God in the Psalms.

If listening to today's program has inspired you to spend more time in the Word of God, going through this book will help you get started. During this series, Nancy is challenging you to spend time in God's Word, every day, for 30 days. And this book will show you how.

You can order or find more information on our Web site ReviveOurHearts.com, or by calling 1-800-569-5959. If today's program has been an encouragement to you, would you consider supporting the ministry of Revive Our Hearts? You can send your donation to Revive Our Hearts.

Now we have all visited fast-food restaurants. Did you realize that we could develop a fast-food mentality when it comes to our personal devotions? We will find out more tomorrow, we hope you can be here. To close today's time in prayer, here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Thank you, Lord, for making available to us Your Word. And I pray that we will be women who will seek to know You through your Word. And then as we see Your heart, as we experience Your ways--I pray that we will respond to You, in prayer, in praise, in thanksgiving, in love, and adoration, that we might be cultivating this intimate love relationship with You through this daily devotional time. I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

Leslie Basham: 

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

 

 

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