Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

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Standing on the Promises

Dannah Gresh: The tale of two trees from Janet Pope:

Janet Pope: When I was growing up in central Florida, we lived on a lake, and we had this tree in the backyard. This cyprus tree lived right at the water’s edge, so we would go down there and just sit. It was so peaceful, watching the waves splash up against the tree.

This tree, although it was under the scorching Florida sun, was never parched, because the water was its life source.

Now, in the front yard, we had one of those massive oak trees that was covered with that thick Spanish moss they have in Florida. And every year this tree lost branches that just died and fell off because the moss was taking over. So for me, these are two vivid pictures of contrasting lives—one that’s thriving, and one that’s withering.

Dannah: Which tree are you? Thriving or withering? We’ll talk about how to be the one that’s thriving today on Revive Our Hearts Weekend.

Welcome to Revive Our Hearts Weekend. I’m Dannah Gresh. 

Everywhere I go, I’m hearing about making healthy lifestyle changes these days! People want to thrive. In fact, right now I’m taking part in a wellness challenge (and pretty much failing!). But seriously, it’s everywhere—from Keto to the Mediterranean diet, from setting reading goals, to learning new organization skills to clear the mind. It’s in my face when I open Facebook or Instagram. And how does Amazon know what health goals I’ve been talking about to my friends!?

Today, I want to talk about lifestyle changes. What is the most important change you could make so that you thrive?

If you grew up in church, you probably memorized verses in Sunday school or in Vacation Bible School. Remember John 3:16, say it with me now, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish and have eternal life." Well, there you go. You did it! You remember; well done. 

Have you continued to make memorizing God’s word a regular part of your Christian walk? I hope so, because when you meditate on God’s Word, you are like the tree that is thriving. When your mind and heart delight in His Word, then your actions will be God-centered and divinely prosperous, and you won’t wither.

Now let’s put our two thoughts together—lifestyle change and memorizing Scripture. Why isn’t that a insta post?

I want the idea of making Scripture memorization a regular part of your life–like exercise, eating well, and caring for your skin. Today, We’ll hear from a few ladies that will share how the busiest woman can memorize Scripture. 

I’ll introduce you to a woman who has memorized over fourteen books of the Bible, full stop friend! Fourteen books of the Bible—that’s more than 120 chapters! Wow, and she started by memorizing every single word in Ephesians. Well, I should let her tell the story. Here again is Janet Pope with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Janet Pope: It took me months and months—probably about six months—but I worked on it every single minute of every day and night. I found that even though I had no extra time slots in my day, I could memorize while I was doing other things. So I included Scripture memory in my morning routine—getting in the shower, blow-drying my hair, putting on makeup and clothes.

Those were times when my hands were busy but my mind was free. So I was able to memorize Scripture while I was doing the household chores—vacuuming, folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher, making school lunches, making coffee, things like that—I could memorize at the same time.

Not only was I getting to know God’s Word, but I was redeeming the time, just a minute here and a minute there. That’s really where I began.

Nancy: When you started out, did you think, I don’t know if I can do this? Did it seem really daunting at the beginning?

Janet: It did, but I thought, Okay, it is possible, and really, I’m only going to do one verse at a time. I think I was just compelled and driven at that time, and I felt that sense of shame that I really had not given God’s Word the time it needed.

The more I got into it, the more I thought, Okay, well, I can do another verse. I can do another one. I can do another one.

Nancy: Eating an elephant one bite at a time?

Janet: Right.

Nancy: How did you go about doing this? Did anyone teach you how or give you some pointers?

Janet: No, I didn’t really have a method, but I thought, I’ll make my own method. So here’s what I came up with, and of course I would suggest that people take what I’ve done and adapt it to your life.

I got those 3x5 cards that are connected with a spiral—not the ones that are scattered everywhere around your house, but they’re all connected. So I wrote out the first chapter.

Nancy: By hand.

Janet: Yes, by hand. I wrote it out and then just started one verse at a time. My method became memorizing one verse every day.

I know that sounds overwhelming, like how could you do a verse a day? But by doing a verse a day, it forces you to come back like twenty-five times during the day. If you just did one verse a week, that doesn’t force you to meditate on God’s Word throughout the day.

So by pushing myself to do a verse a day, I had to think about it in the morning when I was doing my chores and then at lunch time and then in the afternoon and then when I was cooking dinner and then at nighttime.

This little 3x5 spiral sits right up on my counter. I take it everywhere with me, including ironing and vacuuming. I put it in my car with me everywhere I went, and that became my method.

Nancy: Were you saying the verse out loud?

Janet: Saying it out loud. Of course, my kids were like, “Okay, Mom’s reciting Scripture,” but they didn’t care. In fact, it really became one of those things like, “Well, that’s what Mom does. She memorizes the Bible.”

Nancy: Well, that’s probably a way you were getting Scripture into them, too.

Janet: Oh, it was huge! Without requiring them to learn Scripture, I just was speaking Scripture throughout the day.

Nancy: They were learning it. So you started with Ephesians chapter 1, verse 1.

Janet: Then the next day I did verse 2 and the next day verse 3, and then after I finished the chapter (most chapters, I don’t know why, are twenty or twenty-one verses) I’d just review for about a week or ten days till I felt like I had it solidified, and then I’d go on to the next chapter.

When I finished Ephesians, I was like, “Whoa, I’ve done this! It’s amazing!”

I think the best way is to start with something really, really small. For example, I would say, start with Psalm 1.

It’s six verses, and it’s so motivational because it talks about the man who is blessed because he is planted by streams of water. He’s meditating on God’s Word day and night, and what’s so great is that Psalm 1 only takes one minute to review.

When you’re very first memorizing Scripture, you haven’t found a five-minute block during your day, but you’re thinking, Okay, but I’ve got one minute. So you find several one-minute pockets throughout your day when you’re doing something. Your hands are busy, and your mind is free.

So I would say, start with Psalm 1. If you already have Psalm 1, then do like another short psalm, like Psalm 121.

Nancy: Can you say Psalm 1 for us?

Janet: Yes. Let’s see:

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Nancy: Six verses; one minute.

Janet: Less than one minute! You just find those little pockets throughout your day when you’re doing something else—when you’re driving, when you’re waiting at the orthodontist.

Think about how many times we have to wait. We’re waiting at the drive-through at the bank. We’re waiting at the drive-through at McDonalds. We’re waiting at soccer practice. We’re waiting and waiting, and we have those little one-minute periods of time where we can work on Scripture memory at the same time we’re doing something else.

Most of us do our hair the same way every single day, so do you really have to be thinking? Just work on Scripture memory at the same time.

You’re putting on your makeup the same way every day. You’re making toast. You’re making coffee. Incorporate it with something else you’re already doing.

Listen to the entire episode "How Busy People Can Memorize Scripture." This comes from the series "His Word in My Heart, with Janet Pope."

Dannah: What a good challenge. Janet says the goal in memorizing is not just to memorize more and more verses, but to know Jesus more. And you can’t know him without spending time with Him—reading His words, meditating on them, and memorizing them.

Do you remember the story of two trees we heard at the beginning of our time together? Which will you be: the thriving tree? Or the withering tree? 

Spending time in His Word, soaking in His promises, that’s what's gonna make you thrive.

You can learn more from Janet Pope about how to memorize Scripture. She is the author of His Word in My heart: Memorizing Scripture for a Closer Walk with God, and we have that in our resource center at ReviveOurHearts.com.

You know, Janet actually claims to have a poor memory. I know a lot of people who use that excuse not to memorize. In fact, I’m one of them! I’ve got to be honest with you, I struggle with memorizing. I love spending time with God, reading His Word, talking to Him. But memorizing is difficult, even with 3x5 cards. So don’t lose heart if this is true for you. And I hope we will walk away from our time together today challenged because, remember: lifestyle change!

Seeds Family Worship Song:

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
But the words of love stand forever.
The words of love stand forever.
The words of love, the words of love,
The words of love stand forever.

All men are like grass and their glory is like
The flowers of the field.
The field, the grass withers, and the flowers fall.
But the words of love stand forever
The words of love stand forever.
The words of love, the words of love stand forever. 1

Dannah: You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh. Today we are chatting about hiding God’s Word in our hearts. Some people find it helpful to memorize Scripture with someone else, and that is true for Veronica Copenhaver as well. Veronica's sister Jenna came to live with her for three months. During that time, these sisters enjoyed spurring each other on to make healthy choices.

Veronica: We had water drinking challenges, and we have workout challenges. We have a good competitive edge together.

Dannah: Then, Veronica was listening to Revive Our Hearts. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth challenged listeners to memorize the book of Philippians. Veronica asked Jenna to join the challenge.

Veronica: So I said, "Let's do Philippians. Nancy said Philippians, so we'll just go with that."

She said, "Great." So we started the next day. There was no hesitation. We have continued to stay with each other. We'll text and say, "Hey, I need another day on this verse. Or, I didn't get it, can you wait for me?" It's good accountability to keep us on track because there are times I'm ready to quit. You get to a part where you are thinking, I'm just not getting it. It's not sticking. It's so nice. God is so good. If she's getting it, I'm not. And when I'm getting it, she's not. So we can keep each other going saying, "No, you can't quit. Come on! Here's what I did."

She lives in Tennessee and I live in Alaska. It's over texting and email and phone calls that we figure it out. 

We'll take times and go, "Are you done? Let's take a little break for a season and review and make sure we have it." I don't want to lose it. We both did 1 Peter together, and then we didn't practice very well, and we both lost 1 Peter.

Nancy: I've had that happen. But I would say that even then, the process of meditating and memorizing it, while you are doing that, God is doing a good work in your heart. So all the much better if you can keep it. I've memorized a lot of Scripture. I haven't retained most of it. If I could go back and do my life again, reviewing Scripture memory is one thing I would make a bigger deal out of. It sounds like you've really done that.

As I hear you talk about it, you and your sister Jenna and the accountability, it sounds likes that verse in Hebrews that says we're to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. We need each other all the more as we see the day approaching because the enemy tends to get us side-tracked, distracted, giving up, throwing in the towel, forgetting what's really important. But if you have somebody that you are doing it with—it may be a mate, it may be a child, it may be a friend or a sister—you hold each other up and keep each other going in the race. It's just another illustration of how we need each other. It might be a walking partner. But you'll do more together. Two are better than one; they have a good reward for their labor, Ecclesiates tells us that. So you and your sister are practicing that. There may be other areas in your life where it is somebody else who provides that for you.

Would you have thought that you could have done this?

Veronica: No. I teach Bible studies at our church, and I tell women all the time . . . the challenge is to memorize. Go for a verse. Go for a paragraph. If you think you can do that, go for a chapter. It's addicting. At our women's retreat I've done a workshop on memorization. It's all because of Janet Pope's book. When your hands are busy but your mind is free, I've just taken that and run with it. With having three kids, and I home school, how I find the time is washing dishes, folding clothes, getting ready in the morning. It's grown out of my morning routine. It has to incorporate more now to incorporate that many books now takes time.

Nancy: Janet has been a guest on Revive Our Hearts. She challenged our listeners to memorize whole books of the Bible. We're offered her book, His Word in My Heart, in fact, it's available in our resource center. So if you go to ReviveOurHearts.com, you can get a copy of it.

It sounds like it's not as complicated or daunting as you might think. It is little by little, one day at a time, one verse at a time, and filling in those cracks and crevices that otherwise become like wasted time or lost time.

What kind of impact do you see the Scripture memory making in your life?

Veronica: It changes my attitude. When my youngest was born, I had high blood pressure, and we were trying to figure out what was going on. In the middle of the night when I would be up nursing, I would go into deep depression and would convince myself that I was going to die the next morning. In the middle of the night your thoughts go crazy. I could feel myself sinking into that depression, and I thought, I'm not doing this. It's dark. Everyone's sleeping. I thought, Okay, I'll just practice Philippians. I didn't even get through chapter one, and I felt lighter. I felt joyful again.

I thought, I have no clue that I'm dying. And here I am six years later, and I'm totally fine. It was just hormones and all that. So it helped that.

I've also told the story of my husband. He left me one time to take the kids out when I had a newborn. He left the kitchen kind of messy. He was leaving with the kids, so I could clean the house, but he made a huge mess before he left. I was a little frustrated. The fish were apparently biting at that moment, and breakfast dishes just needed to be left.

I sat there and went through all my options: I can be mad. I can yell at him when he comes home. I can leave the dishes for him to clean. I finally thought, I'll just clean up the kitchen. I'm not going to be happy about it, but I'll practice Philippians while I'm doing it. I got to 1:23, and I was like, "Oh, I'm fine. Who cares. He's out taking care of the kids. I needed that break."

So there are times when I struggle with anger and frustration, and I'll do my verses, and it gets me out of my bad attitude.

Dannah: Isn’t it exciting what God will do when we hide His Word in our hearts? I don't know about you, but I'm encouraged to hear Veronica and Jenna’s story. They were there for each other and supported each other with learning God’s Word. As I mentioned before, that can be a key component to this lifestyle change: accountability.

So how about grabbing a friend for a walk. Start memorizing together. Hey, remember our conversation on friendship last week? Memorizing God’s Word with someone else can be the perfect way to build a friendship or to forge a stronger one. I’ve even heard of two women who would meet for five minutes before the Sunday service at church to recite their verses. That’s all you need. You get a better friendship and you get Jesus deeper in your heart. What more could you ask for?

Our own Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has a passion for learning God’s Word. In fact, I'm remembering a time when she was turning fifty. She decided to set a special goal—to memorize the book of Revelation. Listen, this woman models what she teaches! And she loves the Word of God dearly. Nancy says there is a benefit to memorizing and knowing God’s Word well. 

Nancy: 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” (v. 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.

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.”

Listen to the entire episode "Shortcuts." This was part of the series "Getting Into the Word and the Word Into You."

Dannah: Ah, thank you Nancy for reminding us to drink deeply from the fountain. I sure needed that today.

Remember the tree that Janet was talking about at the beginning of our time? There are many passages in the Bible that talk about trees. Here is one of my favorites. 

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
   whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
   that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
   for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
   for it does not cease to bear fruit. 
(Jer. 17:7–8)

Friend, I want you to yield fruit. All of us at Revive Our Hearts want you to thrive. We want to help you live a life basking in the sunshine and drinking from the water of life. 

Did our conversation today prick your conscience? You want to memorize the Word and you don’t know where to start? Maybe consider starting with the promises of God. We have a small booklet to help you do just that, memorize the promises of God. The booklet is titled 50 Promises to Live By. And we’ll send you a copy for a donation of any amount this month to support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. To make your donation go to ReviveOurHearts.com and click the donate button up at the top of the page, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. 

Next Sunday is Father’s Day, and as we celebrate dads, Mary Kassian will help us understand how we can embrace God as a father, even if you have had a difficult relationship with yours. Celebrate dads with us on the next Revive Our Hearts Weekend.

Thanks for listening today. And thanks to our production team. Phil Krause our recording engineer enjoys putting verses to music to help his kids and him memorize. Rebekah Krause, his daughter, is also an editor and once memorized Psalm 119 for $100. Mastering engineer is Justin Converse and producer is Michelle Hill and audio technician is Dylan Wiebel.

You’ve been listening to Revive Our Hearts Weekend. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Revive Our Hearts Weekend is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

“The Word of the Lord (1 Peter 1:24–25).” Seeds of Faith. © 2004 Seeds Family Worship.

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