Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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An Invitation to Die

Leslie Basham: At one time Damaris Carbaugh didn’t have much appetite for the Bible, but then she discovered . . .

Damaris Carbaugh: . . . that the more you read His Word, the more you will want His Word.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts for Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

Damaris (singing):

So take whatever’s left of me;
I sacrifice it all to Thee.
Goodbye to me. 1

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And that’s a song called “Goodbye to Me” that comes from a new CD by Damaris Carbaugh. The CD is called Walk with Me, and we’re making it available to our listeners this week if you send a donation of any amount to support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. We’d be glad to send that to you. It’s a CD that’s been blessing me, and I especially enjoy it because the artist there is my dear friend, Damaris Carbaugh. Damaris is with us in the studio this week. Damaris, that song really is your testimony, isn’t it?

Damaris: Yes. In 1988 when the Lord showed me how far my heart was and invited me to basically die to what I wanted . . .

Nancy: Which was?

Damaris: I want to be rich and famous in—Jesus name, Amen.

Nancy: And part of that for you was having a career in music.

Damaris: Totally. I really thought that I would do wholesome music. I had it all worked out. It’s not going to be anything that would grieve the Lord is what I thought. I even told the Lord my wardrobe would even be something that would honor Him. I mean, it was ridiculous when I think of how we can just try to convince the Lord that what we want is what’s best.

Nancy: And it’s not necessarily that there was anything wrong with those things, but the Lord wanted your heart.

Damaris: Exactly. This is what I’m so thankful for as He showed me that He wanted me to follow His invitation. He says, “You want to follow Me? You need to deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Me. Deny yourself, die to yourself, die to what you want.” That sounds so negative until you understand that His invitation to die is for one reason, so that you might live. It makes no sense unless you know the Lord.

But His invitation to die is not a kill-joy. His invitation to die is that if you continue in what you want, it will destroy you. But if you die to what you want, you will begin to live.

Nancy: That’s just the opposite of what we naturally think is the case.

Damaris: Totally. Totally. And it really does. I never thought that dying to my dream, which was so wonderful in my mind, would bring joy. And oh my goodness! If I could just go to every person who’s struggling with giving up what they want . . .

Let me tell you something. My thing was my career. But I can almost say it could go for anything. It could be for wanting a child—you’ve been married ten years and you still don’t have a child. And having a child is wonderful. I have two children.

But I really want to say if you just say, “Lord, I give You everything I want. I die to everything I want—even the good things.” How could it not be good to have a child, or how could it not be good to get married, or how could it not be good to write a book about the Lord? And yet, the Lord hasn’t really opened up those doors. How could it? Oh, I’m telling you right now, just die to all that you want because He wants you to live. When you begin to understand that the joy that comes . . .

I have to tell you real quickly, before flying here to Michigan, we were at our prayer meeting the other night. After the prayer meeting, I spoke to a young couple that are living together. They have recently come to know the Lord. She’s expecting their second child. I mean, it’s a mess when you think of how to get it right. But this is what hit me, Nancy.

We’re in East Harlem. They’re poor. I remember looking at them and feeling such love for them, wanting so much to let the Lord just save them and make them right and start living the way God wants them to live. The thought of the fact that [in the past] I wanted to be on a stage, and I couldn’t care less about this precious couple that was now in front of me.

And I said, “Truly, the Lord wanted me to die to what I wanted.” But the joy of seeing them so want to be right with God. It cannot even compare to anything that I could have ever dreamed of. I realized God wanted me to die to my dream, because my dream was selfish.

My dream, Nancy, was only for what I wanted. But God wants me to die to my dream because He loves those two that are right there in front of me. He loves people. His invitation to die will always to be to live. In the end you live, and you bless others. Your way, it’s only death.

Nancy: Right. Right.

Damaris: Even people that don’t believe in God, Nancy, that pursue selfish ambitions, even some of these people that don’t even acknowledge God have actually been honest enough to say that when they reach their goals, there’s an emptiness there that what they were going for does not fulfill. So the Lord says, everything you want, believe Me . . . The Lord says that a man’s ways seem right to him. But what is it in the end? It’s death. It’s destruction. You don’t really realize that you’re on a one-way collision to death. And God is saying, “My way is the way to live.” But you won’t know that until you get in His Word. 

Nancy: And did you think when you, back in ’88, finally said yes to the Lord— “I want to love You more than anything else. I want You to be my life”—did you began to realize that meant dying to your own dreams and aspirations? Did you think that meant you would never sing again? Because you were singing. You were doing jingles and commercials and back-up singing. You were making a name for yourself. Did you think music, bye-bye? That wouldn’t be a part of my life?

Damaris: That’s a very good question. I had just started attending Manhattan Grace Tabernacle, which is my church. It’s a church plant of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, but it was about thirty people. So I come back from Argentina, and our church is about thirty people. I remember thinking, Lord is this what You want for me? Like, I wanted Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall. Do You just want me to be content if all You wanted me to sing to were these thirty people in front of me?” And I’ve got to tell you, that just did not hit me as nice. I was not like, “Oh this is so lovely.”

I remember thinking, Is this it? And I felt like the Lord said, “I don’t even want you to think about doing anything until I’m enough. And I’m not enough, right?” Because the thought of just singing to that little church was depressing to me. So He said, “You see, when doing anything for Me would be wonderful, then you’re beginning to get it.”

So I realized, Nancy, that even though I knew I was wrong, I still had such a long way to go. I remember that I thought, I think I can start by just being a better wife. I thought I was a lousy wife. But I remember that I didn’t really concern myself that much with being a wife that honored my husband. I looked at my children, they were five and three, and I remember thinking, I should just love them in a better way. I adored them, but I just knew that there were things that . . .

Then the Lord said, “Get in My Word.” That I do remember very clearly. “Get in My Word. You don’t know anything. You really don’t.”

Nancy: You’d been in the church all your life.

Damaris: Exactly. 

Nancy: You’d made a profession of faith as a child. But you really didn’t have a growing, genuine relationship with Jesus Christ until this point.

Damaris: Right or even knowledge. I want to say to anyone listening. I don’t care how faithful you are to your church and even going to Bible studies, because Bible studies are wonderful.

Nancy: Or listening to a broadcast like Revive Our Hearts.

Damaris: Exactly. You might look at a verse and then analyze it and answer a couple of questions. But until you truly get into the Word of God and begin to read it . . . I told a group the other day, “This is not like any other book. This is not Moby Dick. This is not War and Peace. This is the living, active Word of God, and your job is to read it.

I don’t care if you say to me, because people say to me, "The reason I don’t read it, Damaris, is because I don’t understand it." I want to say this with all the kindness that I can muster. "I don’t care if you don’t understand it. Read those words.”

In New York City I’m shocked at how much illiteracy there is that I didn’t know there was. But all these people have CD players. So I tell them, “Until you learn to read, you can get a CD and listen to the Word of God. But if you can read, read the Bible. I don’t care if you don’t understand it. The Holy Spirit wrote the Word, gave the inspiration for these writers to write it. And the Holy Spirit in time will help you understand. The light will go on. You’ll start seeing, “Oh my goodness, is that what that verse means?” Yes. So just read it. Your job is to read it. His job is to make you understand it, and He will. He honors His Word. He loves His Word. He wants you to know Him, and there’s no other way to know Him.”

Nancy: How do you cultivate that hunger for the Word if it’s not there?

Damaris: You eat. You eat. I love to eat, Nancy. I love to eat. I’m telling you right now.

Nancy: But in physical food, the more you eat, the less hungry you are. And with spiritual food, I think it’s just the other way around that the more you eat the more you want, the more you desire.

Damaris: But you know, Nancy, you probably eat the right way. The more I eat, the more I want. I don’t know. All I know is that you have to eat something to stimulate that appetite. You just have to. And I just tell people, “Read it.”

And then tell the Lord, “Okay, I’m reading it. I’m doing this because I know it’s the right thing to do, but I got to tell You that this is not easy.” He will honor that. He will honor a cold-blooded you don’t have the emotions prayer. It doesn’t matter. “I’m reading Your Word in obedience to You because that’s what Your Word tells me to do. I will dwell in it. I will live in it.”

It says, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” which means, let it live (Col. 3:16). You’ve got to take it in. I guarantee you. I promise you that the more you read His Word, the more you will want His Word. And you might say, “It’s not working.” Then keep reading. I’m telling you right now, keep reading. Keep reading.

I did jingles for many years, Nancy. I tell people, “Jingles are made because they work.” They have proven it. They do studies. McDonalds makes jingles all the time, and you think, Do they really have to? Yes, if you don’t listen to their jingle, you might go to Burger King. But they work. That’s why during the Super Bowl game they pay millions of dollars to get their little product advertised.

So I tell people, “You want to hear my new jingle? Read your Bible. His Word will do what He wants His Word to do. It will accomplish its purpose. Just let it get in there. It will.”

He changed my heart. He showed me that I loved myself more than anyone else. I did not love Him. His Word showed me that. I had a real jealousy problem in the early years of my marriage. When I went to see a counselor, she let me talk. I told her all that I was feeling. And when I was done, she said, “Are you done, Damaris?” Because I really talk a lot. You can tell.

And she said, “Well, Damaris,” very kindly she said this. But I was shocked when she said, “I rebuke you with the love of the Lord, I rebuke you. I want to tell you that you are obviously not in the Word of God because your thoughts would not go where they go.”

And that’s the truth. There are times, Nancy, when I speak with people, I will say, “It is obvious she’s not in the Word of God because if she were in the Word of God, that would not just came out of her mouth.”

Nancy: Because the Word renews our minds and then our emotions and our hearts.

Damaris: And you start thinking biblically.

Nancy: Right. 

Damaris: You don’t say certain things. There’s a very worldly way of thinking that I sometimes hear people that go to church and call themselves Christians say. They say things that I want to say, “Oooo, you would not say that if you knew the Word of God.”

It says, “Let nothing unwholesome come out of your mouth, but only that which is helpful for the building up of others” (Eph. 4:29 paraphrased). If it’s not wholesome, if it’s critical, if it’s just mean-spirited, you wouldn’t talk like that. There are people that are mean—Christians that will just say mean things. And I just want to say, if you were in the Word of God, it would convict you. You would know that that was mean. You can’t say that. That’s not helpful. That’s critical. That’s mean-spirited.

Nancy: Go back to this jealousy issue you had. When the counselor told you that, did it drive you to the Word?

Damaris: She said, “I want you and your husband to start reading the Word together,” which we were not. She says, “I’m not telling you how much.” She goes, “You’ll determine that. And I don’t care where. I don’t care if you start in Genesis. I don’t care what book you decide. But you’re going to read the Word together, and when you’re done, Rod will pray.” And she says, “And something’s going to happen as you read His Word and as you close in prayer. God will start.”

And that saved our marriage. The Word of God really started to break me. And we did start in Genesis, by the way. I remember sobbing like a baby—not like I hadn’t read the story before but sobbing reading the story of Joseph. It’s the best movie you’ll ever see. You’re just going to have to get into Genesis and read these incredible stories.

I realized God’s Word also softens that hard heart. It does. It shows you His beauty. I started to understand that His holiness is beautiful. How do I know that? The Word says it. “Worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness.” The word “holy” wasn’t ever beautiful to me until I got in His Word and realized that to be holy is a beautiful thing.

I want to be a holy woman of God. Why? Because that’s what God’s Word says I should be. “Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” You know, those beautiful things in His Word that we have to know and we have to live in. So I thank the Lord for His Word, and I encourage you to read your Bible, and let it speak to your heart.

Nancy: This is something that has been a growing thing for you. I know just in the last few years you felt the need to pick up the pace and get even greater mega-doses of the Word into your system. In fact, in one recent year you felt prompted to read the Bible through three times in one year. Now, I did the math. That’s about ten chapters a day. That’s a lot.

Damaris: Yes. In 2011, I was finishing the year. My husband and I now for over ten years, we don’t remember when we started, but we read through the Bible every year. At the end of 2011, I just felt sweetly, the Lord in my heart kind of saying, “I don’t think once is enough.”

And I remember saying, “It’s not? I thought that was a big deal.” Anyway, I said to the Lord, “I’m going to attempt to do it three times.”

And my husband being so savvy with a spreadsheet made me a little sheet where I could check off how many pages  I read. I finished it the first time April 30, the second time August 30, and the third time December 30. And in the middle of 2012, that’s the year that I read it three times, certain things happened that I realized the Word of God sustained me.

I felt carried in a way because I know myself. You know, there are people that are strong. My sister, Debbie, she’s been through a lot and has suffered greatly. I find her an emotionally strong person. I am not. Certain things happened to me in 2012 where I said, “Oh my goodness.”

My daughter confessed something to me that shook me to the core. I remember when she said it to me I looked at her and I actually said, “I can’t believe I’m actually standing right now” because normally I’d be on the floor. I’d pass out. I’d need the smelling salts or something. Oh my goodness.

And then my son got married. We missed the wedding because we were in ministry in Cuba and his future mother-in-law was dying. The strength that I felt the Lord gave me to be okay with that, to be okay with missing the wedding. Truly the Lord is so true. In Psalm 119 there are so many places where it says, “His Word revives. His Word strengthens. His Word encourages. His Word. His Word does it.” And so I just knew. I said, “Lord, it wasn’t just an exercise in reading more. You knew that I would need special strength, added strength that only Your Word could give me.”

I think from now on, unless the Lord tells me more, because three times was a lot. But I will from now on at least read it twice every year. It’s just wonderful, and I just love Him more because I read Him more.

Nancy: I can’t get around you, Damaris, without wanting more of Christ and His Word and loving Him more and wanting to pursue Him more. I think a lot of our listeners just hearing this conversation today have some of that same sense. I’m sitting here thinking this may be a good time to extend once more a thirty-day challenge we’ve given many times on this program. But some have never done it.

And the thirty-day challenge is similar to what that counselor said to you all those years ago. It’s just this. Every day for the next thirty days purpose to spend some time alone with God in His Word. Open the Scripture. Open it somewhere. Pick a place and just start reading. I’m not saying what time of day or how long it needs to be or how much you need to read. Just get into the Word and let the Word start to get into you.

And I think if you do that, that thirty days from now you won’t want to stop. You’ll want to continue making this a growing habit and pattern in your life.

So many times we see somebody like a Damaris Carbaugh who seems to really love Jesus and we think, I want what she has. Well, the fact is, you can have what she has because what she has is coming to her daily through the Word and the Spirit of God into her life. You can have that same Word, that same Spirit, Christ and His Word dwelling richly in you.

So write and let us know that you are taking this challenge. You can go to the comment blog at the end of the transcript for today’s program and say, “I’m taking that thirty-day challenge.” And others who see that, I think, will stop and pray for you and want to encourage you in that journey.

Then we have this wonderful new CD of Damaris Carbaugh available through our resource center. It’s called Walk with Me. You heard a little bit of one song at the top of today’s program. We want to make that CD available to you from the heart of this woman of the Word as she ministers through music. We’ll be glad to send it to you as our way of saying "thank you" when you make a donation of any amount to help support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts.

The ministry is primed to get women into the Word and the Word into women. So you can be a part of this ministry expanding and multiplying into the lives of other women.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. To get the CD Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been telling us about, visit ReviveOurHearts.com and make your donation of any size, or call 1–800–569–5959 and ask for the CD Walk with Me by Damaris Carbaugh. We’ll be making this offer today and tomorrow. So let us hear from you soon.

Your donation makes a big difference in helping us bring you the podcast each weekday. And that makes a big difference to a lot of people. Here’s Nancy to explain.

Nancy: A few months ago a listener wrote and said, “Nancy, you don’t know it, but you are my best friend. I’m constantly grateful for you.”

Well, I can understand that when you listen to a program like Revive Our Hearts each week. You really do look forward to hearing it like you’re visiting friends. And we’re able to be on the air each weekday and to be a friend to women around the world thanks to listeners like you who support this ministry financially.

So if you look forward to hearing Revive Our Hearts each day, would you ask the Lord how you could help support the ministry here during the month of May? This is an important month as we’ve been sharing with you over the last few weeks, as we prepare to enter summer months when donations often drop off a bit. We’ve been asking the Lord to provide $435,000 or more during this month. Meeting that goal and especially exceeding that goal will do more than just help us to prepare for summer, it will also help us end our fiscal year on target and keep our current outreaches going strong.

So, thanks for being my friend. And thanks for asking the Lord how He would want you to give at this important time.

Leslie: You can make your donation by calling 1–800–569–5959 or visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can send your gift through the mail to P.O. Box 2000, Niles, MI 49120.

Well, believers in Jesus are called to follow His lead, pick up their cross, and die to themselves. What does that look like day by day? Damaris Carbaugh describes what it’s like to die to yourself. That’s 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. 

1 "Goodbye To Me." Walk With Me. Damaris Carbaugh. Damaris Music, 2013.

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About the Teacher

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 for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.