Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Daily Devotions: Duty or Delight?, Part 9

Leslie Basham: If we do not eat right, we'll soon notice the effects in the way we feel. What happens if we do not feed our spirit correctly? Today is Thursday, January 17; and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

How is your appetite for the Word of God? Is it something you have to have every day? Or is it something you occasionally sample? Today we will hear how we can develop an appetite for the things that will truly satisfy. Let's join Nancy as she teaches a group of women. (This is) a continuing series called "Daily Devotions: Duty or Delight?"

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: When I was in my twenties, I developed a very bad habit of living in fast-food restaurants. In fact, I was traveling a lot during those years; and I would often just not even go into the fast-food restaurants. I would just go through the drive-thru, order whatever it was to go, and then inhale it, (I hate to admit) en route to my next meeting or appointment. And, you know, it never really bothered me. I kind of liked fast food--until I turned thirty.

And as I got into my thirties, I realized that I was really not feeling well--that I had some physical malnourishment that was beginning to show effects. And I realized I had to change my diet, that I was not getting a well-balanced diet. I was not getting the proper kind of nutrition. Now I do not want you to get any wrong ideas, I did not go way off on this thing; but I did start eating (what I called) real food more often than fast food. And what a difference it made.

What I experienced at a physical level during those years is a picture of what I have experienced at some points in my spiritual walk with God. In fact, I remember a period of time, sometime ago, when I was very busy for a long period of time, several months.

I was involved in producing a national television production, and I was traveling a lot. I never intended to lose connection with the Lord, but I found myself living in spiritual fast-food drive-thrus.

You know what I mean by that? I found myself, not all at once; but as I looked back on it, I realized that what I had done was (I had) developed a spiritual habit that was not good for my spiritual health. And I did not realize the toll this had taken on my spirit until I looked back and realized that I was spiritually malnourished.

What had happened in my life during that time was a slow leak. And I woke up one morning and realized that I did not have the intimate love relationship with the Lord that I had enjoyed at times in the past. And God showed me that the difference was that I wasn't taking time to eat right--to get unhurried time alone with the Lord.

I am so thankful that God showed me that (before it was too late). And that I had the opportunity to say "Lord, I am so sorry; I repent that I have been hurrying You." The consequence I had experienced (was) my inability to respond to pressure--I found myself just being short-tempered, not able to handle the responsibilities and demands. And I realized that so much of that (the ability to respond to pressure) I had lost--because I was not cultivating that relationship with the Lord. I committed to the Lord, that this was again going to become the number one priority of my day. And I had to come to the point of saying "Lord, if I do not get anything else done in my day, I will get time with You."

Now, the rebuilding did not happen overnight; but in a process of time, God began to rebuild my spirit, to restore my soul. And I found myself, at times, still tempted to go back to that same fast-food spiritual restaurant.

But I knew that if I was going to walk with the Lord over the long haul, that I had to make a habit of putting God first in the day. Now I don't want you to be under any misconceptions. This is not like something that I made a decision to do a long time ago and now it is always easy.

In fact, more days than not, it is hard. That is the rule for me, that it is tough. You say, "Why should it be so tough, you have been doing this now for almost forty years?" I think it is tough because there is an enemy who knows that if he can get us here,(our quiet time) he can make us virtually useless in every other area of our lives.

He doesn't care if we know a lot of things about God as long as we do not know God.

And I believe he just works overtime in our lives to steal from us, this quiet time alone with the Lord. I've seen this make such a difference in many other people's lives as well.

I think of one dear pastor's wife, who came to me sometime ago; and I hadn't seen her for a long while. I said, "Linda how are you doing?" She looked like she had been doing fine. But as she began to unburden her heart, (and she has told this story publicly or I would not tell it with her name) she began to cry and to express to me what was really going on inside her heart. There were issues in her marriage, there were issues with her children and mostly there were issues in her relationship with the Lord that were not getting dealt with.

I said, "Linda, tell me what you do first thing in the morning." Now here is a woman, who at one time in the past had known the blessings of having a consistent devotional life.

But I said, "Tell me what you do when you get up in the morning."

She said, "Well, I get a cup of coffee, I get the newspaper, and I sit down and read it."

I said, "Linda, I want to give you a 30-day challenge. Every day for the next 30 days, would you commit to this. If you have to get your cup of coffee, do that; but before you pick up the newspaper, would you pick up the Word of God and say, 'Lord would you please show me something of your heart and your ways before I start this day.' I said, "I am not telling you how long it has to be, but would you just start your day with getting some time alone with the Lord, quiet time in the Word and in prayer."

It took her a little while to be willing to make that commitment because, at that point, she had lost a lot of spiritual appetite. You know that in the physical realm if you get hungry and you eat physical food, then you are not hungry anymore. But in the spiritual realm, if you go without food for a long period of time, without the Word of God, you lose your appetite. So how do you get that appetite back? You pick up the Word of God, and you say, "Lord, it has been a while since we have been together; but would you speak to me." And the more you get into the Word and the presence of God, the more your appetite grows.

Well, she finally made that commitment, that for the next 30 days she would spend some time alone with the Lord, in the Word and in prayer everyday.

I called her during that time and then checked up with her at the end of those 30 days; and I said, "Linda, how are you doing, how is it going?"

She said to me, "I have been revived".

Now, I will tell you her circumstances had not changed. But she was a new person. In fact, she wrote me sometime afterward as she began to develop this habit; and she said, "I started with 10 to 15 minutes. Now I could spend 2 hours and never look up if the phone didn't ring or the house didn't need to be cleaned. By God's grace, I can say my quiet time is now the top priority of my day. Prayer is a delight and a privilege. I have a hunger and a thirst for His Word like never before. And the sweet intimacy with the Lord, that she had once experienced in the past, she said, "It is now real and precious once again."

You have perhaps heard this poem, but it speaks to me afresh each time I hear it. The writer says:

"I got up early one morning
and I rushed right into the day.
I had so much to accomplish,
I didn't have time to pray.
The problems just tumbled about me
Why doesn't God help me, I wondered?
And He answered, "You didn't ask."

I woke up early this morning
and I paused before entering the day.
I had so much to accomplish
that I just had to take time to pray.
I met God in the morning
when the day was at its best.
And His presence was like the sunrise,
like a glory in my breast.

All day long His presence lingered.
All day long He stayed with me.
And we sailed in perfect calmness
over every troubled sea.
Other lives are blown and battered.
Other lives are sore distressed.
But the winds that seemed to drive them
bring me to peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings,
with a keen remorse of mind,
when I too had loosed the moorings
with His presence left behind.
So I think I know the secret learned
from many a troubled day,
you must seek God in the morning
if you want Him throughout the day.

 

 

As we bring this series to a close, I want to give you the same challenge that I gave to my friend, Linda. If this has not been a part of your consistent habit would you be willing to take a 30-day challenge? (Would you be willing) To say every day for the next 30 days, "If God will remind me and by His grace, I will spend some time alone with the Lord every day, in the Word and in prayer." I'm not even saying what time it has to be. It may be that you start, and you make it in the middle of the day or the end of the day.

I'm just saying, "Would you get started? (Would you say) That you'll spend some time with the Word open saying, 'Lord speak to me.'" You don't have to read long chapters, maybe just a paragraph. Read far enough to let the Lord penetrate and pierce your heart and give you a word from His heart to yours. Would you be willing to make that 30-day commitment before the Lord?

I don't know exactly what God will do in your life during those days. I can't promise that there will be any change in your external circumstances. But I do believe that there will be a transformation that will begin to take place within your own heart as you set aside this time to cultivate an intimate love relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss teaching us how to develop an appetite for the Word of God. She'll be back to wrap things up, but first let me remind you that Nancy has given (us) a 30-day challenge. If you're not in the habit of spending time daily with God, we're asking you to try spending some time in prayer and Bible study every day for 30 days. Now maybe you're up for the challenge, but you don't know where to start.

Nancy has a new book called A 30-Day Walk With God in the Psalms. It will take you through one Psalm every day during your challenge. The book offers questions to help you dig deeper into the text and make applications for your own life. And it gives suggestions on how you can pray based on what you've read. Why don't you give us a call and ask about A 30-Day Walk With God In The Psalms. It is available for a suggested donation of $15. And our number is 1-800-569-5959 or visit our Web site http://www.ReviveOurHearts.com.

If you have decided to take Nancy's 30-day challenge, we'd like to hear about it. As you progress, let us know how it is going. Send your letter to Revive Our Hearts. Tell us what you've learned and what results you've seen in your life.

Tomorrow we'll hear how the Word of God is making an impact on women who have taken Nancy's 30-day challenge. We hope you can join us. Now here's Nancy to pray with us.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Father, thank You for your invitation to spend time with You. Thank You for always being there and always welcoming us to come into Your presence. And I think as the hymn writer said, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not take it to the Lord in prayer. How much You want to be in us, and mean to us, and be through us if we would just cultivate that habit, that discipline, of letting You be first in our day.

So, Lord, I pray for each of these women; particularly, those who have never had a habit like this--that You'll give them the courage to say, "Yes, for the next 30 days, I'm willing to take that challenge, to spend some time alone with the Lord every day in the Word and in prayer." Would You meet with them in that time? Would You encourage them? Let them know of Your love. And begin in each heart a habit, a discipline, a practice that they will never want to stop for the rest of their lives. 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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