Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Nancy Talks Practical

Leslie Basham: In 2010, many Revive Our Hearts listeners have taken on a challenge.

Leslie S.: Hi, this is Leslie from New Hampshire, and I memorized 2 Peter chapter 1, by the grace of God, in January along with Revive Our Hearts, and I’m going to recite it for you now:

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle. . .

Leslie Basham: Listeners have been memorizing Scripture together each month.

.  . . grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord . . .

Leslie: To find out how to join them, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

. . . has given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him . . .

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, March 19.

Memorizing and meditating on the Bible will transform your life. But how do you get into the habit? Not long ago, Nancy gave some very practical advice on the topic. She was in Chicago for a conference and talked about God’s Word during a couple of Q & A sessions. A few of the questions you are about to hear are similar, but all of Nancy’s answers were so helpful that we were willing to risk a little bit of overlap. She discusses fear, Facebook, memorization, movies, and TV.

Let’s join this Q & A session and gain some practical wisdom on approaching the Word of God.

Woman #1: I wonder if you could talk a bit about meditation and give us some suggestions. Often we just read, and there should be ways of really allowing that to soak in and absorb.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Actually, I think you just gave a great definition of meditation on the Word of God. We’re talking about letting it soak in and absorb.

The world talks about meditation—yoga, transcendental meditation—but often the sense in which they’re using that word is just emptying yourself and letting nothing be there. We’re talking about filling yourself, your mind, your heart, your spirit, your thinking, your subconscience with the Word of God, meditating on the Word of God. God promises success and a blessing to those who meditate on His Word.

So what does that mean? I think it means to dwell on it, to ponder it. You take a diamond, a precious gem of some sort, and you hold it up. You look at it from different angles. You hold it up to the light. You look at it in different settings, against different backdrops. It can look different, depending on the context. So you take the Word of God, you take the Scripture that you’re reading, and you hold it up to the light, and you look at it from different angles.

I was meditating this morning in my time with the Lord on just the first verse of Psalm 27. I’ve been memorizing that passage and meditating on it over the past several days. Late last night, early this morning, I kind of went to bed with this, woke up thinking this way. Psalm 27, verse 1,

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

"The Lord is my light.” I meditated for just a few moments on other passages that talk about, “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). I’m not my own light. My counselor’s not my light. The Lord is my light. Then I thought about: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105, KJV). How does the Lord shine light in my darkness? He does it through His Word. So I just meditated on the light, and that was just a little bit of that.

“The Lord is my salvation.” What does that mean? It means to redeem, to rescue, to deliver. I said, “Well, that implies that I need to be delivered. That implies that we’re sinners who can’t save ourselves.” I just meditated on that.

“The Lord is my light; the Lord is my salvation; whom shall I fear?” Well, that’s a rhetorical question. The answer is, “Nobody and nothing.”

What will protect me from fear? It’s living in the light of God’s presence. “The Lord is my light.”

Listen, He’s this big huge spotlight around me. Who’s going to come mess with me? Thieves and robbers and murderers and criminals, they don’t, literal or figurative, they avoid the light. They want to work in the darkness, but as long as I walk in the light, I’m going to be surrounded by His presence.

Does that mean nothing hard will ever happen to me, nothing bad will ever happen to me? No. It doesn’t mean that. You can walk in the light and get cancer, but this life is not all there is. This is just a moment. We’re all headed toward another place, toward eternity, and in the big picture, in the big scheme of things, no one and nothing can impact my life apart from coming through God’s light and His saving grace.

Anyway, I was meditating on that verse and realizing, “This is why I don’t have to fear.” That was one verse, and I just gave you a little bit of it. Then I started writing some of that down. You want to make connections between other parts of Scripture that shed light on the verse you’re reading.

So really, to meditate is just to take time to talk about how . . . I’m a city girl, talking about something I really don’t know anything about, but you’ve heard about the cow chewing its cud? It’s digesting. And how many stomachs does the cow have? It just keeps digesting it—I see we have some farm girls around here—and it’s breaking it down. That’s what you do when you meditate on God’s Word, you break it down. You dwell on it. You focus on it. It helps, I think, to memorize it, because then you’re meditating on it as you’re saying it again and again and again.

And most importantly, you personalize it. It’s not just David who didn’t have to fear. That’s for me; put my name in that. “I don’t have to fear because the Lord is my light and my salvation.” It’s not just you getting into the Word; it’s the Word getting into you, and ultimately, what you take in spiritually and meditate on and dwell on becomes a part of you.

Now, I’ll say this conversely, if you’re meditating on things that are not consistent with the Word of God, you’re going to be taking that in and becoming like that. If you’re spending most of your time reading romance novels or women’s magazines or fashion magazines or watching movies that portray the world’s values and ways of thinking, you’re meditating on those things.

And by the way, when you meditate on it, don’t just meditate on God’s Word in your quiet time, take it with you into the day and be quoting it again and again. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold [the refuge of my life]; of whom shall I be afraid?” Make it a part of your life.

I think it was said of John Bunyon, he was so filled with the Bible with meditating on God’s Word (the man who wrote Pilgrim’s Progress) that they said if you pricked him, his blood was "bibling." What would come out was the Word of God.

That’s when you meditate on God’s Word, when they prick you, or when they jar you, or when life’s circumstances annoy you or frustrate you or scare you, what’s going to come out is going to be what you’ve been putting in all along, meditating on.

Okay, does that help? Some encouragement there on meditation? Okay, we have a couple hands over here. One of you gals?

Woman #2: What are some of the key things that you have found that helped you in that discipline for meditating on Scripture and when you memorize? Like, how much a day, or those kinds of things, the disciplines that have helped you?

Nancy: I wish I had some great profound, secrets to share with you all about all that, but what I do is almost embarrassingly simple, which also means that should encourage you because anybody can do it. People say, “I wish I could get out of the Word what you get out of it.” And I say, “You can.” You’ve got to spend time at it, and I do spend time at it, but I just try on a consistent basis just to be in the Word.

Let me say, a head start is growing up in a home where you were exposed to the Scripture and strong Bible teaching from childhood on. So those of you who are moms with little ones, that’s just such a huge role you’re playing right now. In our home, in the Christian school I went through, in the church growing up under strong expositional Bible preaching as a child. All those things played such a huge role in my life.

Some of you didn’t come to know the Lord or get into the Word until later. You’re making up for lost time, but you can do that, too. You get into the Word. You read it. I said in the message this morning that the biggest reason people don’t get a lot out of the Word is because they don’t read it. I really try and get mega doses of the Word into my life.

Now, to do that, I’ve done that in different ways over the years. Some years I’ll read through the Bible twice in the year, which is a pretty . . . that’s a pace. That’s about seven chapters a day. Now, you can do that. There are those who I know about right now who are reading through the Bible in ninety days. That’s really a trick. Sometimes I find it really helpful to get the whole view of Scripture by going more quickly through it. I have tried to go through the Bible many, many times.

But then there are years when I will just slow down the pace and take a more concentrated view of smaller passages or smaller books, or just go more slowly because I want to meditate more carefully on passages.

I find I need both in my life. I want the overview; I want the whole counsel of God, but then sometimes . . . I spent this last week in Psalm 27. I’ve been reading in some other places, but I’ve been focusing on that passage. I’m giving more attention to it.

To me, the secret is: There are some other things in life you say “No” to. There’s some other things you just don’t have time for.

I signed up on Facebook not too long ago. I wanted to see what this phenomenon was all about, and I am just astounded at the amount of time that can—not doing anything bad on it, although that is another issue that is affecting a lot of marriages, that is a whole other subject—but I find just in terms of the time you can spend keeping up on things that are fun to know, nice to know, but not have to know.

You only have so many hours in a day. Your brain can only hold so many pieces of information. So I have to make choices. You have to make choices. “What am I going to put into that brain with the time I have, and what am I going to read? What am I going to watch? What am I going to listen to?”

If you want to be a woman of God’s Word, you’re going to have to spend time in God’s Word. In different seasons of life, you may not have a lot of discretionary time. Then you have to be really careful about what you’re doing with the little bit of time you do have.

I’m blessed to have the responsibility of teaching the Word, and that forces me to get into the Word. Everybody ought to want to be in the Word if you want to be becoming like Christ, but that means that there’s some things that I don’t have time for.

There are some magazines I don’t have time to read that I would otherwise enjoy, some TV programs—I basically don’t watch television—but there are some movies that I would enjoy. I do sometimes watch videos, and I will just curl up with a good novel and take a day. Thankfully, I read quickly, so I can get through material like that quickly. I’m not saying I don’t read anything other than the Bible, but I do spend a lot of time, and not as much as I want or wish or could, but I know that all the time I do spend in the Word is so richly rewarded.

It’s not what you get in one day or one month or even one year. It’s what you get day in, day out, precept upon precept, line upon line, through the course of years.

It’s like, you watch your kids and you realize all of a sudden their pants are something like three inches too short, and you say, “When did they grow?” It didn’t happen overnight, but you sometimes just notice it.

Spiritual growth doesn’t happen overnight. Knowing God’s Word, there are no shortcuts, no quick fixes to that, but you’ll notice over a period of time that you are growing and that it’s been God’s Word that has had that influence in your life.

Darby: My name is Darby. I have a question. I don’t know exactly how to word it, but, as a Christian woman, how do we balance the idea of having fun and having a good time with your friends and family, watching movies, going to concerts, and then also being involved in ministry, being God-centered, making sure that you’re really saturated in godliness?

Nancy: You’re asking a question that a lot more people should be asking. I wish a lot more people were asking that question. So, Darby, thanks for asking it. Let me just say that if you are a follower of Christ, it is God’s intent that you and I should be God-centered in everything we do, everything. All of life is His. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (1 Corinthians 10:26). He created this world to be a joyful and full and rich and abundant and blessed place.

You read Genesis chapters 1 and 2, and that’s what it was supposed to be like. That’s what it was like, and that’s what God intended. What’s the word that keeps appearing? “It was good.” And He blessed them. You have life, you have blessing, you have goodness, you have joy, you have fun, so to speak. I think that first marriage was incredible, passionate, joyful, fun, enjoying of God, but never separate from God, always enjoying it with Him. Our truest enjoyment is always found as we do it with Christ at the center of it.

The world has given us this false dichotomy that you can be a Christian and do Christian stuff, and then you can have a good time, but you can’t do both at the same time. I’m saying, “No. Nobody really has a good time like the person whose life is centered in Christ.”

So, “whether you eat or drink [or play, or friends, or Facebook], or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). We need to be asking ourselves, “Is this something I can do in the presence of God, with God, in company with Him, and in a way that brings glory to Him?” If so, then enjoy it.

"He gives us richly all things to enjoy,” 1 Timothy 6:17 tells us. But don’t let those things own you. That passage is in the context of wealth. If you have money, use it to be a blessing to other people. That’s fun. That’s joyful.

We need to redefine joy. Joy is doing what God made us to do. It’s doing it with Him and in His presence. If you can’t do it in a God-centered or Christ-centered way, then you don’t want it; you don’t need it. Ultimately, it’s not going to be for your greatest good and blessing.

I think I hear what Darby is saying: “Does life always have to be serious for the committed follower of Christ?” I guess it depends on what you mean by that. Yes, serious in the sense that we’re always followers of Christ. We’re always Christians. We’re always seeking to glorify God.

But does that mean somber? Not on your life. Joy ought to be a trade mark, a characteristic of us as Christians and as Christian women. Psalm 113, “He makes her to be a joyful mother of children”—not just gritting your teeth, grinning and bearing it, surviving. He wants you to be a joyful mother of children.

Now, I know there are sad times, and there are seasons for laughter and seasons for not. That’s another passage in Ecclesiastes, “There’s a time for everything. A time to cry; a time to laugh; a time to be born; a time to die” (3:1-2, paraphrased).

Ask God to help you do things in the right season. “He makes everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us.

So don’t hold on to the things like the world does. Don’t let them hold on to you. I do think we need a message within Christianity today that we have become so in pursuit of the world and worldly pleasures that we are stuffing ourselves with things that cannot truly satisfy. 

We’re also bringing the world wholesale into the church and things that the world considers pleasures, we are taking pleasure in, but they are things that are really deadening to the soul. They are defiling of the Spirit. So, if it’s not holy, then it can’t be truly a source of joy and pleasure.

Psalm 16, “At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (verse 16, paraphrased).  Enjoy the Lord, and if something can’t be done with Him, then it really isn’t something to be enjoyed; it’s not something ultimately you really can enjoy.

Samantha: My name is Samantha. I heard you say before that you memorized Revelation. I’m in the process of memorizing Romans. Do you have any suggestions?

Nancy: Somebody asked me about that in the last session. I’ll say to you what I said to her: There are no shortcuts. I had also memorized the book of Romans years ago. I can’t quote either of them for you, and that’s one of the things I said. If you want to memorize so you keep it, then review is really, really, really, really important. You just keep coming back to it. I have not, and I would not encourage you to follow my example when it comes to the matter of review.

I memorize probably more easily than some but not as easily as others. It’s not like it just comes to me like that. I do have to work at it. I work hard at it, and the older I get, the harder I have to work at it. I just find it’s worth it. I memorize one verse at a time. So whether it’s three verses or three chapters or thirty chapters, you do it one verse at a time, one word at a time, one phrase at a time.

  • You just say it over and over and over again.
  • You mull it over.
  • You look at it from every different direction and angle and put it in the light and hold it up to the light and say, “Okay, what does this word mean?”
  • Mostly, you just keep reciting it.

I would direct you to a series we had recently on Revive Our Hearts with a guest named Nancy Epperson. If you go to our website, you can get the audio or the transcript for that. It will really encourage you in relation to Scripture memory. This lady has been memorizing Scripture since she was 14, and she’s now, I think, in her late sixties. It is so much a part of her life. It was really a joy to hear.

And then a book I highly recommend on memorizing longer portions is called, His Word in My Heart by Janet Pope. I believe that’s a Moody Publisher’s book. It makes it so simple. I’ve interviewed Janet, and we’re actually going to be airing that interview later this year, on how you memorize whole books of the Bible. So look for that, but this book will be really helpful to you.

She started as a young mom memorizing Scripture and realized she didn’t have hours a day to give to this. So she would do it one verse a day and build it up so she was reviewing those verses one chapter a month. She has memorized many books of the Bible over the years and can still quote them because she has a great system of review. She just does it while she’s waiting at a doctor’s office, while she’s waiting to pick up a kid at school. She does it in the cracks of her life, and by doing a little bit at a time, daily, for the last 15 or 18 years, she has memorized many books of the Bible.

That’s a way I would recommend, and a resource I would really recommend. But ultimately, it’s really not so much how you do it. There’s a group that just asked if I would do an interview for a magazine on how I study the Bible. They’ve interviewed all of these amazing Bible teachers, and I said to our staff who were asking if I wanted to do this interview, “I don’t have anything really impressive to say.”

I’ve not been to seminary. I don’t know Greek and Hebrew. There are a few tools that I have found very helpful, and I use those. I use some reference works, but a lot of it is just getting into the text and mulling over it until it becomes a part of your life, and then saying, “Okay, how could this be a blessing to someone else?”

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been answering some questions from a group of women about God’s Word, and she’ll be right back.

You can find the resources that Nancy just recommended at ReviveOurHearts.com. Check out the book by Janet Pope, His Word in My Heart. When you read this book, you’ll be inspired to keep memorizing, and you’ll continue getting helpful tips on how to do it.

Today, when you make a donation of any amount, we’ll send you His Word in My Heart, and you’ll also receive a booklet called “Up Close and Personal, a Conversation with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.”

How does Nancy decide what to teach? What are the greatest temptations she faces? How can you pray for her? You’ll read the answers in this booklet. Ask for the book, His Word in My Heart along with the booklet “Up Close and Personal” when you call 1-800-569-5959.

Again, both resources are yours when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. The number is 1-800-569-5959 or take advantage of this offer at ReviveOurHearts.com.

As you’re exploring the value of memorizing God’s Word, would you consider memorizing with us? Nancy’s here to tell you how.

Nancy: It’s been such a joy to see how many of our listeners are picking up the Revive Our Hearts’ challenge to memorize Scripture on a monthly basis throughout 2010. I got a letter from a friend in one of our ministry partners this past week, and she said to me, “I’ve already memorized Psalm 27, Psalm 103, and Romans 12.” Here’s what I found so encouraging: She said, “The Word is transforming my life.”

Now, I happen to know this woman, and she is smack dab in the midst of some hugely challenging issues in relation to her health and her marriage. Her life is very difficult right now. That’s why I was so blessed to see that the Word is renewing her mind and giving her a different perspective, giving her hope in the midst of these challenging circumstances.

I don’t know what you’re facing right now, but I do know that in every season of life, the intake of the Word of God into our hearts and minds and lives is absolutely critical. So if you have not already joined the Revive Our Hearts’ Monthly Scripture Memory Plan, I want to encourage you to do that. Just go to ReviveOurHearts.com, and you can download the verses that we’re memorizing that month.

Be sure to sign up for the Revive Our Hearts’  Daily Connection. That’s an email that will remind you of the passages we’re memorizing and encourage you as you keep on memorizing. I know that you’re going to be greatly blessed as you take up this challenge to begin memorizing Scripture on a regular basis.

Leslie: So many young women are unhappy with their appearance. They’re hit with messages that tell them they’re supposed to have a certain look. To achieve that look, many engage in destructive behaviors. Find out how to change the situation, next week. We’ll be back on Monday for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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

 

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