Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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You Need Hunger

Leslie Basham: Do you feel like you’re disciplined enough to memorize Scripture? Here’s Janet Pope.

Janet Pope: What if I said to you, “You’re so disciplined in eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day. You rarely miss a day.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Most of us could say that.

Janet Pope: But you would say, “No, it’s not discipline. I’m hungry.” And so I would say to you, it’s not that you are lacking discipline. It’s that you are not hungry.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, January 7, 2015.

Yesterday we heard from a woman who has memorized fourteen books and 121 chapters of the Bible. Yet she doesn’t claim to be all that good at remembering things. Here’s Nancy to get back to that conversation.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, if you’ve missed the last couple programs of Revive Our Hearts, you’ll want to go online to ReviveOurHearts.com and go to the archives and pick up those two programs. You can read the transcript. You can listen to the audio. Or you can order a CD of the three programs we’ve had with Janet Pope. I know that you’re going to be encouraged and challenged and blessed to grow in your walk with the Lord through the means of Scripture memorization.

Janet is the author of a Moody Publishers book called, His Word in My Heart. Janet, thank you so much for being with us in the studio this week and for these conversations about what has become a huge life message for you, and that’s Scripture memorization.

Janet Pope: Well it’s my privilege, it really is, because Scripture memorization is my passion. It’s what’s changed my life.

Nancy: This is something you do as a way of life, constantly. Every day are you working on Scripture memory?

Janet: Yes. If I’m not working on something new, then I’m always reviewing. Every day I'm reviewing. I spend time in Scripture memory throughout the day, every day. I don't want to miss a day because I need to trade my thoughts for God's and see what's on His heart and not so much what is on mine.

Nancy: So what are you memorizing?

Janet: I just finished Proverbs 8, so I'll review that until I feel I get that really solidified, and then I'll go on to something else. Actually, that's on my prayer list, "Lord, where do I go next?" I really don't know.

Nancy: All the time you are reviewing one of the fourteen books.

Janet: I'm always reviewing something I have memorized.

Nancy: So what is something you've been reviewing today?

Janet: I've been reviewing Revelation. Of course, I didn't have time to do the entire thing, so I did Revelation 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. That's what I did this morning. Also, I did Proverbs 8 when I got in the shower. I turned on the water and I started going with Proverbs 8

Nancy: So if somebody has not heard the previous two programs listening to this is thinking, You must be taking two hours a day to memorize Scripture. I don’t have two hours a day.

But you’re not sitting down in a concentrated two-hour period. How are you doing it?

Janet: That’s what I found is that one of the concerns that people have about memorizing Scripture. They say, “I don’t have time.” And when I first began to memorize, I thought I didn’t have time either. So what I did was I would memorize Scripture while I did other things.

While I was folding laundry, while I was emptying the dishwasher, while I was waiting in the car, while I was driving the kids to soccer and piano lessons, things like that. So I'd be waiting in the car at the orthodontist's office, I'd have ten minutes here, thirty minutes there, five minutes here, sometimes one minute, and I could memorize Scripture at the same time while I was doing other things. I've found that women don't need one more thing to do. But we're not spending time in God's Word; we're not thriving, and we're guilt-ridden because we know we need to be in God's Word and we're not.

What I've found is Scripture memory is something we can do while we are doing other things. The best example of that is just your morning routine. You get in the shower, you blow dry your hair, you put on makeup and clothes. And that’s every day of the weekSo during that thirty to forty minute time period (it takes me forty minutes to get ready in the morning), I’m working on Scripture memory at the same time.

Nancy: Is that when you were quoting Revelation this morning, while you were getting ready?

Janet: Yes, while I was getting ready.

Nancy: What a great way to make use of that time to get your heart and your mind . . .

Janet: Yes, because you’re not doing something else. Now what I had done previously was to keep the TV on and listen to somebody else or keep the radio on. Even on Christian radio, you’re often listening to what somebody learned when they studied God’s Word. Okay, now what are you learning for yourself?

I’ve found that God has taught me His Word through Scripture memory, through doing a passage that I’m not just pulling out one truth. I’m starting to see Paul’s argument developed. When I get to a difficult passage, often the question before might be, what does that really mean? Since I’ve already spent days and days in that passage, I’m not confused about that because I’ve already seen what he said, chapter one, chapter two, chapter three.

Nancy: So you’re getting it in the context in which it was originally written.

Janet: Yes. I believe we oftentimes we memorize Scripture out of context, and then we hold onto that. When we get a disappointment that something didn’t work out, we say, “But this is what God’s Word said.” So you have to go back to yes, but that’s not what God’s Word means.

John 3:16—it’s the most well-known verse of all time, and yet I believe it’s given many people a false assurance of their salvation because they just have that one verse. They say, “Sure I believe.” But of course they’re believing in lots of things—the American flag and all sorts of good things. But what they don’t realize is that John 3:16 is right smack dab in the middle of a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus.

We don’t like people to pull out one thing from a conversation because it often gives a false meaning. And that’s what happened to John 3:16. Whereas, if you would memorize John chapter three and not just that one verse, then you would see that you must be born again. You would see that a person who believes will also have deeds that prove their belief. And the third thing that you would see in that same chapter is that those who believe have eternal life, but those who do not obey the Son of God, God’s wrath abides on them.

So if you put all that together, now all of a sudden you’re getting a more complete meaning of John 3:16. So that’s why I’d say it is one of the greatest benefits of doing passages. Plus, you don’t have to stop and say that was verse five or verse six or verse seven. I never memorize the references. I just do it one chunk at a time. If I have to go find it, I know approximately where it is.

Nancy: You can see it on your cards. You’ve got 3x5 cards you’ve written it on.

I think some of our listeners have been mesmerized by this conversation over the last few programs. They’re thinking that’s amazing that you could do that. "You, Janet Pope, must just be an exceptionally disciplined person. I don’t see how I could do that." They admire you but think, I don’t have that kind of discipline.

Janet: Well, if I might share this story. I want to share it in the most loving way that I possibly can. Recently, I was teaching a conference to a small group of women, a group of friends. They actually call themselves “The Bible Girls.” I’ve been speaking to them for the last three years.

On the final night of the conference, one of the girls said in front of the group, “My problem is, I’m just not disciplined.”

And I said, “Penny, can I say this to you in the most loving way? And I mean it with all my heart. What if I said to you, 'You’re so disciplined in eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day. You rarely miss a day.'"

Nancy: Most of us could say that.

Janet: But you would say, “No, it’s not discipline. I’m hungry.” And so I would say to you, it’s not that you are lacking discipline. It’s that you are not hungry.

And in that moment God gave her a teachable heart, and she said, “You’re right. Thank you.” And so what we all decided as a group was that our prayer would not be “God make me disciplined,” it would be “God make me hungry. Make me so hungry for God’s Word that discipline is not the issue.”

I know that’s where I was seventeen years ago. It wasn’t that I was disciplined; it’s that I was so hungry to know God’s Word that I said, “I’m going to do it somehow, some way.” I had no idea what the end of the journey would be (and of course I’m still on the journey) but I just said, “All I know is today I’m going to memorize God’s Word and the next day and the next day.” And it feeds on itself.

So now, of course, people would consider me a disciplined person. But I thrive on it. It’s my joy. I don’t memorize God’s Word because I have to. And here’s another thought, too. I would say yes it’s great when you’re evangelizing and you’ve got verses at the tip of your tongue. But don’t let that be the primary reason why you memorize Scripture. Memorize Scripture so that you can get to know God, so that you can invite God into your thoughts, so that you can commune with God throughout the day.

Of course, when you come across someone who needs something, the Holy Spirit will bring the right verse to you at the time. But don’t let that be your primary motivation for memorizing Scripture, or you really won’t get anywhere. Do it because you’re hungry for God’s Word. You need Him. You want Him.

Nancy: So this is not a duty for you. This is not a drudgery.

Janet: It is not a duty for me because who’s standing over me saying, “You have to memorize”? I hope I never stop memorizing. But I do it because it’s the joy of my heart. It’s my total joy to memorize God’s Word. I can’t wait until I get to the next passage.

Nancy: You mentioned in your book that one of the areas that was impacted when you memorized Scripture was your prayer life. How did that happen?

Janet: What I did is I had a prayer list for people, but I didn’t really know how to pray. So I just wrote down whatever the prayer request that they had asked me. Then weeks would go by, and I’d still have these old prayer requests and never knowing if they’d been answered or not. So the list would get so long I’d finally just crumple it up, throw it in the garbage, and start over the list.

Well, that’s no way to have a prayer life, but I didn’t really know any other way to have a prayer life. I wanted to be faithful. In God’s Word what we know is if we pray according to God’s will, He hears us. If we know that He hears us, we know that we have the requests that we asked Him. That’s 1 John.

So we don’t always know that it’s God’s will that this person get a job, that this person be healed from their arthritis, that this person marry this person. We don’t know. What we do know is what we should pray. “Lord, in this situation of need, I pray You would draw them close to Yourself. I pray they would see You in a depth they’ve never seen You before. I pray You would conform them to the image of Christ in this time. I pray You would build perseverance in their life.” All these things that I know from Scripture.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12 NIV).

So by praying that, I don’t know if this person’s going to be healed. I don’t know if they’re going to get the answer. What I know is it’s always God’s will that they persevere. And when they persevere under trial, they are blessed because God calls them blessed. So it totally changes your prayer life.

"Lord. I pray that in everything my life will honor You, that I will live a life of surrender to You, that I will see You in a new way, in a fresh way, and that I would honor You with my life."

These are what I pray for my friends and my family, my children. I don’t know who they’re going to marry—my daughter just got married. I pray for my son, “Lord prepare him to be the man You want him to be for who You’re preparing out there.” Well, I know that’s God’s will.

So all of a sudden the confidence level is huge because I’m not just praying, “Lord, could he marry this one person?” I’m praying, “Lord, prepare him to be the man. Prepare her. Bring them together.”

So when you are praying Scripture, then you’re praying with confidence. You know it’s God’s will, and you know God will answer. That totally revolutionized my prayer life. I don’t want to waste my time begging God for something that may not be His will. I’m going to concentrate on one that I know is His will and pray that.

Nancy: Now, the input of the Word into your life has also made a difference in your own personal obedience. You share how the Word has convicted you as you’ve been memorizing it. It’s pointed out issues in your life. Of course, we know all Scripture is God-breathed. It’s profitable for teaching us, for rebuking us, showing us when we’re off the track, correcting us, and training us in righteousness (see 2 Tim. 3:16).

How have you seen the Word make that kind of change in your life?

Janet: Unfortunately, people do ask me, “Has it made you sin less?” Well, I don’t know that I could say now I sin less. But what I know is that when I do sin, God convicts me right away and I know. I can’t go through my day reciting Scripture, going through my verses and know that I have sin in my life. The Holy Spirit immediately just puts His finger on it.

So I just come to God, confess it, because otherwise I’m just going to sit at my desk and I can’t read my Bible, I can’t review my Scriptures. I can’t study because I know I have sin in my life. I don’t want to waste my time. So it brings me back to God quicker when I do get off the path.

Yes, I do yell at my husband on occasion. But not only does God convict of specific sin, He also shows me areas in my life that I need refining. Just as you were talking about 2 Timothy and God’s Word is good for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. That’s one of the things that I have seen is that God is using His Word to train me in righteousness.

He wants me to be righteous. I’ve been declared righteous, but He also wants me to live righteously. That’s what God’s Word does to me. He convicts me of specific sin but also shows me areas that I really need to work on. And that’s when I make it a matter of prayer. Lord help me. This is an area I really need to work on, and I always have new areas to work on.

Nancy: You do and I do and all our listeners do. I think we’re so prone to in this culture to look to other means and sources to get the help that we need, to get the instruction that we need. But we have in our hands the Word of God that is sufficient. It is bread. It is life. It is water. It is health. It is strength. It is grace that is mediated to us through God’s Word.

I think so often we’re missing out on what could be the greatest means of transformation in our lives by looking to sources other than God’s Word. That’s true in the area also of encouragement in times of trials. I know you’ve got some health challenges right now. You are a little older than I am, so you’ve lived long enough to know that life has trials and ups and downs. You’ve been through some changes and difficulties, going through some now. How does God use His Word to encourage and strengthen your heart when you’re going through those rough patches?

Janet: Well, one of the verses that I would come back to—I would say it’s really my life verse—is “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV). Everything we need for life and godliness! Everything! And just to even come to grips with that word everything—everything we need for life and godliness. So that includes all the trials, everything that we need to be a godly person, every new situation. God’s Word equips us for everything we need for life and godliness.

So when something new comes along, a new trial that perhaps you’ve never had before . . . I really have lived a very healthy life, so recently I’ve had some health challenges that really hit me kind of broadside. I really was kind of surprised.

Nancy: And you’re not saying this, but you told me before we started recording that there’s chronic pain involved here that looks like it’s not going to go away.

Janet: Well, at this point. I’ve been to six doctors so far. So right now I am living with pain that never goes away. I never would have chosen that for myself. I never saw myself in that category. But that’s where I am right now, yet God’s Word is still true. Nothing has changed on God’s side. It’s only what’s changed in me. And yet God’s Word is still true. His promises are still true. His future for me has not changed. God will accomplish His purpose for me. Every purpose that He ever had for me will still be accomplished.

So those are the fears when something comes along. We think, Oh no. What about my future? My future will not change. What I need to do is walk daily with God, eyes on Him, one foot in front of the other. Don’t look to tomorrow. Tomorrow has enough worries of its own. Just see God today. Walk with Him today. That’s all I can say is today I’m walking with God.

Nancy: Talking about the future, your husband writes on financial issues; that’s his specialty area. We were talking on a break here a little bit ago about how there’s not much good news on the economic front these days. Then both of us having recently memorized the book of Revelation, we looked at each other and said, “But there’s good news coming. We know the story. We know the end of the story.”

It’s having this Scripture in your heart that helps you to recalibrate and to know that you don’t get your sense of well being from the news. You don’t get it from what is going on around you or from your circumstances or from your health. You look at what God’s Word says. And we look at that incredible cosmic conflict in the book of Revelation, and we see the power of Satan and his attempts to dethrone God.

But then we get to chapter 19, and we see that man on the white horse who is coming with the armies of heaven. And we see the new Jerusalem, the new heaven, the new earth where there is no more pain, no more death, no more sorrow, no more tears. And I find in my life that that’s what enables me to press into the unknowns, the uncertainties, the pain.

Janet: Because there are no unknowns with God.

Nancy: Right.

Janet: We cannot change the future. "He works all things together in conformity with the purpose of His will" (Eph. 1:11 NIV). Everything God is working together. And for the children of God, we’re the only ones who have the good news that everything in our lives will work out for good. People who don’t know God, that’s not a promise for them. The promise is for those who know Christ, those who have been called.

Nancy: And yet, Janet, I know and you do as well, a lot of Christians, a lot of Christian women, who live their lives without peace, without joy, frazzled, frantic, overwhelmed, stressed out. We all have those moments and those days. But I know a lot of Christian women who are chronically living that way. What I see in you is someone who over a period of years has set your mind to internalize the Word of God. And a result is your heart, your mind, is tethered to God’s Word.

And there’s a confidence. There’s a peace. There’s a joy. It’s not a trouble-free life because you are with this chronic pain right now, and there’s no way around it at the moment. Yet your heart is grounded in truths that are eternal, that do not change, and there’s a joy that nothing can take away.

As I listen to you and I hear that and I sense that in you, that’s what I wish for every one of our listeners. That’s why I’m so thankful that not only have you memorized God’s Word and hidden it in your heart, but that you’ve written this book telling about your journey and giving practical how-to’s, practical handles. If you read this book, His Word in My Heart, you actually walk the reader through how to do this. By the time you read this book, you could have memorized the book of Titus while you’re reading Janet Pope’s book, His Word in My Heart.

So thank you for living this out. But thank you for sharing it with us in this book in a way that I know many of our listeners are going to want to get started.

And don’t get overwhelmed by the fact that you could never memorize fourteen books of the Bible as Janet has. How many chapters? One hundred and twenty-some chapters. You don’t start there. You start by doing one short one and then another one, a verse a day, memorizing, reviewing. And Janet gives a lot of practical tips and hints for how to do that. She has done it, I’m learning to do that, and you can do it as well.

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with Janet Pope. But first, let me encourage you to follow up on today’s program and work at memorizing God’s Word for yourself. 

We’d like to help by sending you the Scripture memory pack. You’ll get a set of fifteen cards, each with a different Scripture about Jesus. The nice thing about these printed cards is you can take them wherever you go, around the house or outside your home.  

One reason we chose to focus on Scriptures about Jesus is that Nancy memorized a series of passages on Christ last year. We wanted you to enjoy that same experience. 

Nancy at True Woman '14:

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised . . ."

Leslie: We’d like to send you the DVD of that recitation and the Scripture memory pack when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. We’ll send one per household this week. 

Ask for the DVD and Scripture memory pack when you call with your gift of any amount. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com

Tomorrow, we’ll hear from a woman who continued to sing and worship the Lord even as cancer was taking her life. It’s a great example of how to have joy in any circumstance. Please join us again tomorrow. Now let’s get back to Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Janet Pope.

Nancy: Janet, I wonder if you would just close our program by quoting—as you said they’re all your favorites—but one of my favorites and yours as well, 2 Timothy chapter 4, the last chapter. And you said as we were talking about this earlier that the end of this chapter has all those names, all those greetings. And some people just kind of skip over those passages. But I say I love them all because they’re all profitable. They all say something about God’s heart to us.

Here’s a passage that deals with the area of suffering. It deals with end of life issues as the apostle Paul knows that his life here on earth is coming to a close. It deals with God’s perspective on a number of things including human relationships as those greetings come out. And then this passage ends with a benediction.

If you would quote that chapter for us, I’d like to leave that as a gift to our listeners to wash them with the water of the Word. 2 Timothy chapter 4.

Janet:

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.

Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers.

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

(2 Tim. 4 NIV)

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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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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