Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Jesus said if any man hears My words and does them, he’s like “a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24).

When the storms came—which they will, count on it—they beat up against that house. Nothing could destroy it because it was built on a foundation of obedience to Christ’s Word. The foundation was already there.

You can’t build the foundation after the storms start. You build it now. We’re building it now for the future.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Wednesday, January 14.

For the last week and a half, we’ve gained a lot of practical knowledge about understanding and applying the Word of God. Nancy Leigh DeMoss offers a personal warning about what happens when you don’t get into the Word and get the Word into you.

Nancy: Some of you have heard me tell before how in my own walk with God there was a season of time when I was under a particular grueling schedule. It was out of my routine, and for a period of about 18 months, I had been going hard and fast, traveling and producing some major production.

I was serving the Lord, doing a lot of stuff for Him, but I woke up one morning and realized that I had drifted way far from the intimate relationship with the Lord that I had always desired and had experienced at other times in my life. As I examined what had happened, I realized that over that period of time, I had begun to take shortcuts in my time with the Lord.

I grew up with a strong emphasis in our home on the discipline of a daily devotional life. It was not something that was forced on us at all, but it was such a powerful example, there was such an emphasis on it, that I knew this was important.

So I wouldn’t totally neglect doing devotions, but that was pretty much what I was doing. I would find myself in what I have described as fast-food, drive-thru restaurants, which is kind of how I lived in my twenties physically.

I would have a lot of my meals driving thru fast-food restaurants, grabbing my taco and whatever and inhaling it on the way to the next meeting. That was fine in my twenties, but when I hit thirty, I found physically that I wasn’t feeling very well. I needed to change my diet and eat differently, and I began to do that.

Well, spiritually, I discovered at the end of this lengthy, busy period that I had been living in spiritual fast-food drive-thrus, just grabbing my prayer and Proverbs for the day and hoping that would be sufficient. I think I was just trying not to feel guilty for running out into the day without having connected to the Lord, but I wasn’t connecting with the Lord.

I was talking to others about connecting with the Lord. I was going through some motions of connecting with the Lord, but I wasn’t communing with Him.

You get into that pit over a period of time. You don’t get out of it in a day.

But God was so gracious, as He is, to open my eyes and my heart to see what had happened and to give me a spirit of repentance and brokenness over the way I had neglected Him in doing His work.

That reminded me so much of that passage in Luke 10:40-42, where Martha was so distracted and cumbered with many things that she was doing for the Lord but missing the Lord in the midst of it all—doing the Lord’s work and missing the Lord.

Boy, when I realized that, I confessed it to the Lord, agreed with Him, and asked Him to do a fresh work of grace in my heart. And at the time, in order to “jump start” my relationship with the Lord . . . I certainly wouldn’t say this is the only way to do this, but I felt that things were in such a state that I needed to take some more drastic measures.

I did something that I have only done on very, very few occasions in my life, and that is to make a vow to the Lord. A vow is a very serious thing scripturally. It’s better not to make one than to make one and break it [see Ecclesiastes 5:4-5].

I have vowed before the Lord to be morally pure—it’s a vow by God’s grace I intend to keep—but I don’t make many other vows. This time I did make a vow before the Lord that for a given period of time I would devote, over a certain number of days, a certain amount of time each day to the Lord.

You may hear that and say, “That sounds legalistic; that sounds too programmed.” Well, I’ll just tell you that’s what I needed at the moment. I knew that by making this vow to the Lord about that period of time, I would take that very seriously; and I did.

By God’s grace, He began a process of restoring my heart for Him—renewing my affection for Him, renewing my love for His Word. God is so sweet and good and merciful. There have been other seasons . . .

Throughout the course of a year for me, there are often times when I start back into that same spiritual fast-food restaurant mode. I think now I’m quicker to recognize it when it’s happening and not to let it go as long, because I know where it’s going to land me.

I can’t afford to come to the place where I’m functioning on my own reserves and my own resources. I don’t have enough. I don’t have enough to get me through one day without the Lord, much less days on end.

Don’t put yourself under the bondage of how and when you have to develop your devotional life. I would just say, if you’re not in a place where on a consistent basis you’re having unhurried . . . and I’m convicted even as I say this, but this is the need in my own life, to have unhurried time alone with the Lord on a consistent basis, in the Word, in prayer.

God is dealing with me in relation to that these days, taking time to be devoted to prayer. I’m on a pilgrimage. I’m on a pathway.

You are too. So don’t get discouraged if you’re not where you want to be. None of us is where we want to be, or where we should be, or where we will be by God’s grace.

Just make sure you’re on a pilgrimage. Make sure you’re headed in the direction of making this a disciplined part of your life.

I have shared with some of you that I have a friend who has recently been through a huge trauma in her marriage with a husband who has been unfaithful. Through this it surfaced that there were years of habit patterns, deeply engrained patterns of immorality in his life.

She did not know most of this, and it was actually her pastor who called me initially to tell me that this was getting ready to come out. He wanted me to be available to minister to my friend.

I have known this woman for a long time. I’ve known that since she was a teenage girl, when she first became a believer, she started in a consistent, daily devotional time with the Lord, and it has been as consistent and meaningful in her life as almost anyone I’ve known over 30 years.

I said to her pastor, “If she makes it through this time, which by God’s grace I believe she will,” (and by God’s grace she’s going to, that has been demonstrated), “it will be because she has walked with God and in His Word in such a consistent way over so many years that now when the chips are down, she’s going to have what she needs to deal with this situation.”

Now, I wasn’t implying that that was going to make it easy, and it hasn’t been easy. It’s been excruciatingly painful. But . . .

I think about my house. I’ve lived in it ten years, and I’ve seen it in the light a lot. I know where things are. I know where the walls are and where the furniture is because I’ve been in it in the light so much.

I’ve walked through it. I’ve lived in it. So if the lights go out in my house, I’m not likely to stumble through the darkness in the same way someone would who had never been in my house and didn’t know where things were, who hadn’t seen the house in the light.

The lights went out, in a way, in my friend’s life, but she had walked in the light with the Lord for so long that when her circumstances became dark, she’s been able to walk through those. Yes, with weeping; yes, with aching; yes, with turmoil and difficulty, but with a sweetness and a peace and a presence of Christ that has sustained her, because the foundation was there.

She didn’t all of a sudden have to take a crash course in getting to know God in the dark, because she’d gotten to know Him in the light, and now she’s familiar with the territory. She’s getting to know Him in a whole new way in the dark, but she didn’t have to start now.

In Matthew chapter 7, the wise man builds his life on the solid, firm foundation of not just the words of Christ but obedience to the words of Christ. Jesus said if any man hears My words and does them, he’s like “a wise man who built his house on the rock” (verse 24).

When the storms came—which they will, count on it—they beat up against that house. Nothing could destroy it because it was built on a foundation of obedience to Christ’s Word. The foundation was already there.

You can’t build the foundation after the storms start. You build it now. We’re building it now for the future.

Jesus said that as the foolish man goes through his life, he may hear the words of God, but he’s not obeying them. He’s not living out the words of Christ, and when the storms come—as they will—he will find that his house has been built on a flimsy foundation, and it will not stand. Great will be the fall of that house.

I’ve watched women over and over again deal with catastrophes and disasters and crises in their life, and fall apart—which, humanly speaking, I don’t blame them for doing. I understand their hard, hard circumstances.

But if they fall apart (and I’m not just talking about that day, but over a period of time), chances are it’s because they did not have the foundation they needed to enable them to walk through that storm. And what is the foundation?

It’s consistently coming to know Christ through His Word—knowing God—and that’s how He’s revealed Himself. We don’t have any other way to know God. There’s no mystical, magical, secret way to know God. He’s given us His Word.

It’s right there. It’s a gift. It’s a treasure. We have to seek for it, take time for it. Taking time for God’s Word means there are other things we don’t have time for.

There are a lot of books I’d love to read that I don’t have time to read. There are a lot of TV programs I would probably enjoy entertaining myself with, but I don’t have time to watch; and some of them not because there’s anything wrong with them, but if I want a foundation for my life of a relationship with God, which I want more than anything else, then it means I have to make some choices.

I was talking with a couple yesterday about the challenge of getting up in the morning to meet with the Lord, and we were saying to each other, “The thing that makes mornings the hardest is what we did the night before.” So often we’re frittering away those evening hours with non-essentials, things that don’t matter, and boy the hours just . . . where did they go?! It’s midnight, one o’clock!

I don’t know, some of you don’t ever see that time of night, but I do—often—and then morning just seems impossible. How much better if I could be careful with what I’m doing with my time in the evenings, not needlessly expending time on things that don’t have any significance for eternity.

I think television has been one of the huge killers of intimacy with God. We’re thinking, “There’s nothing so harmful about this.”

Well, the harmful thing is the next morning when you can’t get yourself out of bed because you’re exhausted, so you’re having to roll out of bed and hurry to work, or hurry to get your children off to school or whatever—hurry because you didn’t think ahead, “Lord, I want to plan to have this meeting with You.”

It’s not easy. I blow it a lot of days and have to find myself with my day half spent, thinking, “I have not really connected with the Lord yet today.”

So do it now. Do it as God brings it to heart. Get up and keep going.

Proverbs 24:16 says the righteous man falls down seven times and gets up again each time. Sometimes I think that’s seven times in a day or a week, but God has now given you a new challenge:

Get up, wherever you are in your walk with the Lord, and take the next step. Do it, and you’ll be sowing seeds that will reap a harvest down the road that you cannot perhaps imagine right now.

Leslie: Your Bible is a rich resource. If you drift away from it, you encounter a lot of problems.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been urging you to take action—open God’s Word and apply it to your life. In a sense, it’s easy—just take the step of reading.

But there are a lot of different approaches to understanding it. There are a lot of strategies for being consistent.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss describes these in a book called A Place of Quiet Rest. Your Bible reading won’t be the same after you take the advice in this book.

Today is the last day to get a copy when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Ask for A Place of Quiet Rest when you call with your donation. The number is 800-569-5959, or donate online at ReviveOurHeartsRadio.com.

We’ve been hearing from some members of our audience this week on how the Bible has affected them.

Woman 1: I’ve had quiet times for quite some time in my life, and a lot of times they were dry and boring, and sometimes I find it still happens. I go to God’s Word, and I’ll read it just because I know the discipline of it is good, and He’ll use it later in my life.

But memorizing God’s Word has transformed my prayer life, and it’s overflowed into my quiet times as I journal. The way it started was, we were living overseas for quite a few years, and I was missing my mother terribly.

She was memorizing a certain psalm (I think it was Psalm 92 or 91), and I thought, “I’m going to memorize it too. Because I know she’s doing it, I’m going to do it.” That was kind of my link with my mother.

So I memorized this psalm, and then over the years, I probably forgot it. We moved back to the States, and I started walking just for the discipline of walking. As I was walking, it was a great time to talk to the Lord alone.

We lived in the country, so I would just talk away. I said, “I’m really mad. I forgot that psalm that I memorized so beautifully.” So I wrote it on a 3x5 card, and I started memorizing as I walked.

Then I thought, “That’s great. It’s like a poem. I’m going to memorize another one that I really love.”

So now, over the years, I’ve got quite a selection of psalms. I put them on 3x5 cards, and other parts of Scripture too. It gets me out walking. I don’t want to lose what I have memorized, so I take those cards with me, and I’ll walk and memorize those psalms.

But what started happening that was the big surprise is, as I am repeating and memorizing them, I’m starting to pray them. In the middle of it, it’s not just memorizing. It will start overflowing into praying it for my children, for my husband, for me—a lot for me—and it’s just been a surprise; it’s been a delight.

So, not only does it motivate me to get out and exercise and walk, but I am motivated to continue to memorize Scripture because of what it does. There’s something almost magical about praying, talking God’s Word back to Him.

There are so many promises, so many; it’s just a delight. And then in the quiet time it rolls over as I journal.

Like Nancy said the day before (I think either you said it or it was in one of your books), if you memorize Scripture and then you’re reading Scripture, all that other Scripture comes back to that one point that you’re reading about. Ten other verses coincide with that very thought, and it just enriches my quiet time.

So that has really enriched my quiet time and made it kind of new every day because of memorizing God’s Word.

Woman 2: In my life, I used to have a disciplined, good time; I did a lot of journaling and reading, and I had a great time. Then I had a family, and all these things, like you said, Nancy, you know them, but you don’t do them.

You know you’re not doing them, but you’re still not doing them. Just chasing your tail like the dog does, is what I feel like.

So I’m encouraged. I am. I’m going to do some of those practical things I know—little steps, just little nuggets—and try to get back on top of the situation; and only the Lord can get me there. I appreciate this testimony.

Nancy: Do you have somebody that would be a good accountability partner? The enemy is so good at taking the seed that has been sown and then stealing it away. By the time you’ve been gone from here for two hours, you’ll be back in the busyness and clutter and the demands and distractions.

Now that you’ve heard and God has spoken to you, it’s even more important that you respond as God is impressing your heart. So if you share it with someone who will help hold you accountable and pray for you and encourage you as you take steps . . . and they don’t have to be big huge steps; just one step at a time back toward that.

You know that a disciplined quiet-time life for you as a wife and a mom in this season of life may look different than it did when you were single, or some years from now when you’re an empty-nester. There are seasons of life, and that’s okay; but you want to make sure that in every season of life, you’re getting intake of the Word into your system on a consistent basis.

The cleaning will still be there to be done, but how much better to do it with a clean heart and to be able to tackle those things with the wisdom and joy and perspective and enabling that God gives as we acknowledge our dependence on Him, saying, “Lord, I can’t make it through this day without You.”

Some of you have heard me say this before. I feel that sometimes when I race into my day, as I am almost always tempted to do—there’s always email, there are always piles, there are always deadlines to meet, and I’m often tempted to just hit it hard without having stopped to meet with the Lord—I sense sometimes as if God is saying, “You want to handle this day on your own? Go ahead. Try.”

And, of course, I can do a lot of things. But as Jesus said, “without Me you can do nothing” that is of eternal or spiritual significance (John 15:5).

So really, when we stop to take that time, to ignore whatever else is going on around us and carve out that time to meet with the Lord, we are humbling ourselves and saying, “Lord, I can’t live this life without You. I need You.”

And what does God do when we humble ourselves? He pours grace into the humble [see James 4:6].

What is God’s grace? It’s all the supernatural, infinite resources of God at your disposal—the desire to obey God, the power to obey God.

It’s God who is at work within you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure [see Philippians 2:13]. That’s God’s grace.

You need God’s grace—I need God’s grace—to live this day. Whatever your season of life, whatever the demands, whatever the hardships, the struggles, the pressures, the burdens, we need God’s grace.

And His grace is sufficient. The problem is, we’re not drawing on it. We’ve got this huge resource available, yet with our puny, measly resources, we’re trying to live this life on our own, to manage on our own.

We’re like these poverty-stricken beggars, eking out an existence, when God has available for us this incredible treasure store. All His riches in Christ Jesus are available to us, and we’re living like paupers, struggling, striving, knocking ourselves out to live this life.

God says, “I want to pour all My resources into you, but get into the place where the fountain is. Drink from it. Drink deeply, and find My grace to meet you at your point of need.”

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

You will face a lot of challenges in 2009. You will face a lot of opportunities, and Nancy has been pointing you to the one Source that will help you make the most of this New Year. Why is this so important to you, Nancy?

Nancy: I really believe that if our listeners can get into God’s Word for themselves, they’re going to have the resources they need for any situation they could be facing, no matter how difficult it is. We get a lot of letters here at Revive Our Hearts from women who are finding themselves in desperate, really difficult situations.

We do what we can to offer words of biblical encouragement and to point them to leaders in their church who can give godly counsel, but I’m very aware that a lot of these questions and issues do not have simple answers. They’re complex issues, and sometimes all we can say is, “You need to get in the Word and on your knees and let God show you what to do.”

That’s why I wrote the book called A Place of Quiet Rest. It’s a book on how to get into God’s Word and get God’s Word into you. It’s a practical tool on how to find intimacy with God through a daily devotional life—what I believe is one of the most vital practices of any Christian’s life.

I’d like for you to have a copy of this book, A Place of Quiet Rest, and we’ll be glad to send it to you when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Today is the last day of this series and the last day we’ll be making this offer, so donate by phone by calling 800-569-5959, or you can donate online at ReviveOurHeartsRadio.com.

Leslie: Thank you, Nancy.

John Piper says he doesn’t like wimpy women or wimpy theology. Find out what he means tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

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

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