Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: We casually read things all the time, but the Bible demands more than just a quick scan. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Listen, we’ve been talking about the blessing that the Word of God is in your life. But it’s not a blessing if you just get it in your head and don’t get it in your life. It becomes a blessing to you when you keep it, when you do what it says, not being just a hearer of the Word but also a doer of the Word.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, January 12.

A lot of what we read doesn’t stick with us very long. But if we truly want to experience God’s blessing we need to first understand and remember what we read in the Bible. Then we need to live according to what we hear. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss continuing in a helpful series on improving your Bible study.

Nancy: Well are you finding yourself getting into God’s Word and God’s Word getting into you? Oh how I hope and pray that during this series God has challenged your heart and you’ve been taking the challenge to get into the Word, to let God speak to you.

Spend some time each day reading God’s Word, reading it prayerfully, reading it thoughtfully, reading it systematically. And then to help you concentrate and focus and get more out of it, I hope that you’re starting to write some things down as you’re reading.

We’ve talked about a couple of different methods. And I hope that you’re trying these out.

Now we started in the last session on a method that we’re remembering with these letters: A, E, I, O, U—a method of Bible reading and Bible study. "A"—ask questions. "E"—emphasize key words and phrases. Those are the two we talked about in the last session.

And today we want to talk about I, O, and U. "I" stands for in your own words. Write a brief summary or an overview of the passage that you’re reading, whether it’s a paragraph or a chapter or a book of the Bible. Try and write in your own words a brief summary. What is this about? Include the major points.

This again will help keep you from falling asleep early in the morning, late at night, whenever it is that you’re having your time with the Lord. It will keep you more alert, more focused, and help you to get more out of the Word. In your own words write a brief summary.

You might try it this way: to paraphrase the Scripture in your own words. Take a paragraph of the Bible and write it out in your own words. Paraphrase it.

Now remember your words are not inspired. Only God’s Word is. So don’t think your words, your paraphrase is the same as God’s Word. But it’s a help to meditating and thinking about the Scripture as you’re reading about it, to write down in your own words—what does this passage say. That’s the "I"—in your own words.

And then "O"—other related Scriptures. Look for other related Scriptures. One of the things you would find if you picked up my copy of the Bible, any copy of the Bible that I have read, you’ll find that there are little Scripture references noted throughout the text in the margins, in between lines. This particular Bible I’m using has very small margins so I’ve had to write real small.

But anywhere that I’m reading I’m always asking myself, “What are other passages I’ve read in the Scripture that have something to say about this same point?”

I just opened here to Isaiah chapter 50, verse 7 that says, “But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint.” I wrote in the margin Luke 9:51.

Now I just happened to remember that that is the passage where it says that Jesus knowing He was going to die set his face like a flint to go to Jerusalem. It’s a cross reference. It’s another passage that says something similar. So I jot that reference in my Bible.

You’ll find that the more you read it, as you read the Holy Spirit will bring to mind other verses that relate to or confirm or shed further light on what you are reading.

Now there are two tools that will help you with that if you’re not real familiar with the Bible. One is a concordance. A concordance is a big book but it has every word in the Bible: grace, Jesus, even words like the.

Every word is listed. And under each of those words is a list of every place where that word appears in the Bible. So if you’re reading a verse and it’s about hope and you want to know something more about hope . . . I try to do this first without a concordance because I want to get to where I become my own concordance.

But then when I run out of ideas, I open up my concordance and I open up to the word hope, and I see in the Old Testament and the New Testament where are other places that this word was used. As you pull these verses together, you’ll find that they interconnect.

In fact, that’s one of the things I love about the Scripture is the interconnectedness of the Word of God. So as you’re reading in the book of Leviticus about blood sacrifices, the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sins, the covering of sins, and the offerings of sacrifices; then you come to the book of Hebrews in the New Testament and it’s about the same thing.

What’s the difference? There’s a cross in the middle between the two. It makes all the difference.

So Leviticus looks forward to the cross. Hebrews looks back on the cross. And in both cases you’re reading about how do I be holy? How can I have my sins forgiven? How can I be free from guilt and shame?

So I cross reference these passages to each other, other related Scriptures.

Now I said a concordance was one tool. There’s another one that’s very helpful. It’s called The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. And this is a tool that goes through the Bible and next to each verse, next to each reference, it gives you other references that have something to do with the theme of that verse.

So as you’re reading in Psalm 40 and you wonder, “Is there any other place in the Bible that talks about this same thing I’m reading about in Psalm 40?” If you open to The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, you’ll find there are other references.

So look for other related Scriptures. "A"—ask questions, "E"—emphasize key words and phrases, "I"—state it in your own words, "O"—look for other related Scriptures. And then here’s the "U"use whatever you’ve read in the Scripture, use it in application to yourself. Use it—application.

Here’s where we ask the question: “So what? What am I supposed to do about what I just read? So what?”

We’ve been looking during this series at Psalm 119. Let me ask you to open again to that passage, Psalm 119. I just want you to see how this theme of applying the Word of God runs all through this one particular chapter even as it does through the whole Word of God.

Psalm 119. Look first at verse 32. “I will run in the way of your commandments.” Lord, whatever You say I will run to do it. I will hasten to obey Your Word.

Verse 33: “Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.” Now here’s an exercise for you. Talking about emphasizing repeated words. Go through Psalm 119 and circle every time the word keep appears. “I will keep your word.”

Let me show you several of them. Verse 34: “Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.”

Verse 44: “I will keep your law continually, forever and ever.”

Verse 56: “This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts.”

Listen, we’ve been talking about the blessing that the Word of God is in your life. But it’s not a blessing if you just get it in your head and don’t get it in your life. It becomes a blessing to you when you keep it, when you do what it says, not being just a hearer of the Word but also a doer of the Word.

Verse 57: I just want you to see the emphasis here. “The Lord is my portion; I promise to keep your words.”

Verse 60: “I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.”

Verse 67: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.”

Verse 101: “I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.”

Verse 112: “I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end.”

And that phrase struck me as I was reading Psalm 119 today. Oh Lord, I want to obey Your Word not just today, but forever. All the way to the finish line I want to keep Your Word, keep Your laws.

Verse 129: “Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.”

Verse 145: “With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord! I will keep your statutes.”

And verse 167: “My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.”

Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15, NKJV). Use God’s Word in application. Don’t just get it into your head. Don’t just get facts and figures and dates and outlines and notes and quotes from the Word of God.

Listen, you can memorize the whole Word of God and never have it change your life. Now I think that would be hard to do because the Word of God is so powerful. It will change your life. But it has to change your life. It’s meant to transform us.

God didn’t just intend that we should get into the Word. He intended that the Word get into us.

One of the biggest burdens I have for women today is that as we have the advantage of so many Bible study groups and classes and methods and courses that we can take. We can take them on the Internet. We can take them by video and audio tape. We can take them in our churches. We have lots of opportunities to study the Word of God.

But there are far more women studying the Word of God today in our churches than there are keeping the Word of God. And there is a world of difference.

Now we’ve got to study. We should study. And I hope that you’re involved in some sort of study group. I hope that you listen to Revive Our Hearts and that it’s helping you to study the Word of God.

But after you study it, after you read it, after you meditate on it, after you memorize it, you’ve got to do it.

So write down some applications.

  • What does this passage say to me?
  • What does God want me to do as a result of what I just read?

Now I think this point is so important that I’m going to continue in the next session to talk some more about how to practically apply the Word of God to our lives and why that is so important.

But I want to encourage you even between now and tomorrow as you’re reading the Word of God be asking this question and jotting down your answers. What should I do about what I just read? What is the practical application of this passage to my life?

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with the second half of today’s program. If you follow her counsel and apply God’s Word every day, imagine the changes you’ll see in your life. Nancy has been offering many helpful approaches to the Bible during our current series Getting into the Word and Getting the Word into You.

If you act on the teaching we’ve heard in this series, your Bible reading could be transformed in 2009. To read the transcripts, stream the audio or order the CD, visit ReviveOurHeartsRadio.com. I hope you’ll take advantage of these resources if you’ve missed any of the programs. Now let’s continue on this important topic.

Nancy: Lon Solomon is a pastor in McLean, Virginia, the McLean Bible Church. I’ve listened to a number of his tapes. Every one I’ve heard, first he exposits the passage that he’s preaching on that day, and then about two-thirds of the way through his message he will say, “And that’s the what. Now what’s the so what?”

So what? We always have to get to the so what as we read and study the Word of God asking questions like:

  • Does this passage have any promises that I should I claim?
  • Are there some commands here that I need to be obeying?
  • Is there an example in this passage that I should follow?
  • Is there an example I should avoid?

I was reading just recently—I believe it’s in the book of 2 Kings (chapter 14)—the story of King Amaziah. It says he did not listen to the Word of the Lord. We see the consequences in this man’s life because he would not listen to the Lord. That’s an example to avoid.

I want to listen to God and not to fail to listen to Him.

  • Are there in this passage any sins to avoid?
  • Are there any sins that I need to confess as I read this passage?
  • Are there exhortations that I need to follow through on?
  • Is there something I need to believe, something that God has revealed about Himself that I need to trust?

We know so much that doesn’t affect the way that we live. That’s because it’s not moved from our head down into our heart. Once it gets into the heart it will affect the way that we live.

And for those of use who have so much access to the Word of God, we hear so much of the Word, we’re in churches where we’re hearing the Word preached, where we’re in Bible studies, we have Christian radio, Christian television. One of the dangers is that we would hear more than what we’re doing.

I think often of that passage in Ezekiel chapter 33 which God used to describe the Jewish people in the Old Testament era. But I think it’s a very appropriate description of many of us as evangelicals today.

God said to Ezekiel in chapter 33, “[The people] come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own game” (verse 31, NKJV).

They’re saying, “I love you. I’m committed to you. I’m committed to serving and sacrificing.” But in their hearts what they really want is what will benefit them. They’re not doing what they say.

Verse 32: “Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument” (NKJV). Wasn’t that a lovely message? Wasn’t that a great message?

But God says, “They hear your words, but they do not do them” (verse 32, NKJV).

We have some great preachers in our country today. We can be sometimes entertained or stirred or blessed by that teaching and that preaching but then leave and mouth all the right things but not do what we heard.

That’s why James says, “Don’t be a neglectful hearer of the Word. Don’t merely listen to the Word. If you do you will deceive yourself” (1:22, paraphrased).

Here’s how you deceive yourself: you think, “Because I know it; therefore, it’s true in my life,” when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.

So James says, “Don’t just hear it. Do what it says. Do what it says.”

So as you read the Scripture, as you meditate on it, always be asking:

  • How does this truth apply to my life?
  • How does it apply to my situation?
  • In view of what I’ve just read, what needs to change in my life?
  • What practical steps can I take to apply this truth to my life?

I want to suggest that everything we read in God’s Word calls for some sort of response—everything. It may be to exercise faith in God’s promises or His character, to humble ourselves, to acknowledge our need, to confess a sin, to turn from a wrong way of thinking.

It may be to worship and adore the God who has revealed Himself in the Scripture, to forgive someone who has wronged us, or go and seek forgiveness from someone we’ve wronged.

I’m amazed at how many people sit in church week after week with unreconciled differences between them and someone sitting in the same church. They know the Scripture says, “If your brother has something against you, go to him and be reconciled” (Matthew 5:23–24, paraphrased).

They know the Scripture that says, “If your brother has sinned against you go to him.” And yet they don’t do it. They know it but they don’t do it.

You know it’s better off, I think, not to ever have been exposed to the truth at all than to have heard it over and over again as many of us have and not be obeying it. Every time I’m exposed to the Word of God my accountability level before God goes up a notch.

I’m accountable for what I’ve heard. And my judgment will be greater if I have not obeyed what I’ve heard.

You know the truth. Are you obeying it? There are some who have been listening to this program Revive Our Hearts for weeks or months or maybe even years. You’ve heard truths over and over and over again. You’ve heard me say things, and you’ve nodded in assent. You’ve said, “Yes, I agree. I like this program. I like what you’re saying. It’s so true.”

The question is, “Are you doing what you’ve heard?” Are you becoming more of a woman as a result of what you’ve heard? Are you forgiving? Are you loving your enemies? Are you praying for those who mistreat you? Are you speaking only words that build others up and minister to them?

Do you reverence your husband? I mean, today where are you in terms of applying the truth of God’s Word to your own heart?

Scripture says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything” (Philippians 4:6, NLT). And I think how often knowing that truth, teaching it to others, I sit in my study and fret when God’s Word says, “Don’t worry about anything.”

Or I think of a set of circumstances in my life and I get stressed out about it. God’s Word says, “Don’t worry about anything.” I know the truth. Am I obeying it?

You know the truth. Are you obeying it?

As I’ve said before, I want to just say again here, so many of us as women who are in Bible studies, we can teach the Bible to others, and yet we’re not doing what it says. The Word of God will never be all it was intended to be and all it can be in your life until you stop just knowing the truth and you say, “Lord, I surrender to the truth. By Your grace I will obey whatever You say to me through Your Word.”

I’d like to pray the words of Charles Spurgeon in a prayer that he prayed 150 years ago. He said,

Lord, may Thy Word be the supreme ruler of our being. May we give ourselves up to its sacred law to be obedient to its every hint, wishing in all things, even in the least, to do the will of God from the heart and having every thought brought into captivity to the mind of the Spirit of God. Bless Thy people; bless them in this way by saturating them with the Word of Thy truth.1

Amen.

Leslie: Change can be very difficult. But often change is required when you compare God’s Word with your life. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing us how true change should happen while reading the Bible.

Being consistent in the Bible is something everyone needs and everyone struggles with. Nancy, you’ve written about your own challenges in connecting with God’s Word.

Nancy: I’ve come to believe that this matter of a daily devotional life is so important, and the devil knows it is, that he will do anything he can to keep us from getting this time. So I’ll confess this is a battle for me.

Many, many days I’d rather get a little extra sleep or I just find myself tempted to run into my day without getting that time with the Lord. And then when I do get into that time I find . . . you know, do you ever experience this wandering mind? You can’t concentrate.

I get into my quiet time chair and sometimes my mind is going a thousand different directions. I get this new burden for house cleaning while I’m trying to concentrate on the Word and my time with the Lord.

But I’ve found that this is a battle really worth fighting. In this book, A Place of Quiet Rest, I tried to address some of the issues that I’ve faced and that I know other women face. We surveyed a lot of women and said, “What do you struggle with in your personal devotional life?”

There’s a whole chapter in this book that just addresses the obstacles to a meaningful devotional time.

  • I’m too busy.
  • How do you deal with interruptions and distractions?
  • What if you have young children running around? And we interviewed some moms to respond to that.
  • What do you do with dry spells, when it just doesn’t seem you’re getting anything out of the Word? It seems like you’re trudging through just real difficult territory there. Or God seems so far away when I pray. Or I just don’t have the desire.

In relation to each of these and other obstacles we talk about some practical ways to get over them so that we can win the battle, can have a time with the Lord that’s not just checking something off our to-do list, not just having devotions, but having true devotion.

If you don’t have already a consistent devotional habit, I believe there’s nothing more important that you could do this year than making that a habit starting now.

If you don’t already have a consistent devotional life or perhaps you’re struggling in your devotional time finding it’s just not real meaningful these days, I want to encourage you to get a copy of this book, A Place of Quiet Rest. I believe God will use it as a practical tool to help you in cultivating this very, very important habit.

Leslie: We would like to send you A Place of Quiet Rest so you can learn some of these strategies for consistently getting more out of the Bible.

When you make a donation of any amount we’ll send the book to you as our way of saying thanks. Just donate at ReviveOurHeartsRadio.com, or call and ask for A Place of Quiet Rest when you donate by phone. Dial 1-800-569-5959.

The more you eat, the less hungry you get, right? Well, the Bible is just the opposite. The more you read the more hungry you become. We’ll talk about that tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

1Charles H. Spurgeon. Quoting Spurgeon. Baker, 1993, 117.

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

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About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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