Tag Archives: rhema

Exodus 5; Luke 8; Job 22; I Corinthians 9

I’ve heard it said that God’s word is rhema; that is, “It is a word that signifies the action of utterance (my emphasis),” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhema. Not superfluous, surface, or meaningless words. So I submit that neither can we listen passively; rather we should be active listeners expecting God’s word to bear fruit. It is usually easy, at least in America, to hear God’s word spoken, written, paraphrased, and even misquoted. Childhood songs like “Jesus Loves Me,” or “This Little Light of Mine,” are tunes familiar in many homes, daycare centers, and after-school programs. And though I take the words directly quoted from the Holy Bible to be true, I am not always likely to grasp the fullness or the revelation of those words because of familiarity, disassociation, or resistance.

Eliphaz lacked ears to hear God’s heart for loving one’s neighbor as he loves himself. Quoting Scripture, Eliphaz instead talked the entire time; accusing, pronouncing judgment, and mocking suffering Job, who sought to only speak truth. How often, I too have thought, “I’ve got this,” and used the Sword of the Spirit to slash away at imagined demons in the mist only to find wounded innocents in the clearing.

Jesus said in Luke 8:10, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’” I wonder how many of the over 800,000 words, reportedly printed in several versions of the Bible, (words are like seeds), have found root in my own soul’s soil. “The ones by the wayside hear, but the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts. The ones on the rock hear and receive with joy, but have no root and are tempted away. The ones among the thorns hear but the word is choked out by cares, riches, and pleasures of life. The ones who hear with a noble and good heart keep the word and bear fruit with patience (Luke 8:11-15).” Without revelation, I stumble over chapters and verses that do not seem relevant to my modern-day world. Yet, how amazing to hear someone preach on the same passage of Scripture in a way that illuminates God’s will and exponentially increases my faith.

I think my worst error in experiencing the active voice of God is resistance. I may listen to, understand, and even set out on my calling from God. Then I behave much like Moses early in his mission. God called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. Moses heard these words – “Tell Pharaoh, ‘Let My people go.’” Yet when Pharaoh did not listen to Moses, but ordered more hard labor from the Israelites, Moses complained to God, “Why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.” Just a little resistant? Not a burning bush, not having Aaron by his side, not even given miraculous powers could stop Moses from complaining. I, too, find myself questioning why I struggle in the midst of doing God’s will.

I want to be like the Apostle Paul. He writes to the Corinthians that since he received God’s calling to be a minister of the gospel, he listened to God, and with overwhelming passion, ran “with certainty.”

Lord God, You are a God of great compassion. Forgive me for listening half-heartedly, for failing to seek Your deeper truth, and for resisting Your calling. More importantly, open my ears to hear Your voice and embolden me to do Your will. In Christ’s name.

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture quoted from The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Job, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Joel; Matthew 10

…I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy.

Your old men will dream dreams,

and your young men will see visions.

In those days I will pour out my Spirit

even on servants—men and women alike. Joel 2:28-29

…don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matthew 10:19-20

12shepherdsvoice_niv500x373 Recently, I have been going to my parent’s house for small group. It isn’t a traditional small group where everyone gathers for Bible study; it is a group where people come to seek the voice of God, to quiet the soul and listen for His still, small voice.

There was a time that I believed that God didn’t speak to His people anymore, but I have come to realize that the only reason I can’t always hear what He is saying is because I’m not always listening, with my ears, my eyes, my mind, my heart. Life is SO busy, and it is very easy to get caught up in the day to day that it can be difficult to hear what God is saying to me.

Sometimes I wonder if it really is God’s voice speaking to me, sometimes I wonder, “Could it just be what I am thinking? My imagination?”

A mighty woman of God shared with me her revelation on God’s voice at the beginning of my faith journey. To paraphrase, when you answer the phone, without looking at caller ID, and it is your father, your mother, your sister, brother, friend, etc., you know who it is simply by hearing them speak. You recognized their voices and don’t need them to reveal who they are. It is the same with God. When you first meet Him, you may need introductions, but as you meet with Him more and more, it becomes easier and easier to identify God’s voice and differentiate between the many ‘voices’.

I have learned to pray for discernment when I am not sure of the source of what I am hearing or seeing – a good barometer is whether or not what I am perceiving is from the Lord is that it is encouraging, edifying, and exhorting and that it lines up with the things He has already told me in His Word.

Whenever I position myself to hear from God, I do, and last night was no exception. I want to share what He communicated to me, because I know that it isn’t just for me:


I see a picture of a person in a vast body of water, deep enough that there is no perceivable bottom. I know that this person has been swimming for a while because no land is nearby. The person has stopped – he or she can go no further and can’t go back. Exhausted the person is slowly treading water to conserve energy, understanding that it is only a matter of time before he or she is even able to tread water anymore. Some time has passed and the person begins flailing, a last ditch effort for survival. Out of nowhere a life-saving ring is tossed in front of the person. At first, the person doesn’t even see the floatation device in front of him or her and continues grasping at air in desperation. As I look closer at the floatation device, I see that there is a rope attached to it, but rather than the rope leading to a boat as I would expect, it reaches into the clouds and the other end can’t be seen. I am hearing the words “Life Line”. All the person has to do is realize it’s in front of him or her, ready and available to help…

”I’m here. I’m ALWAYS here – in good times and bad, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer – nothing matters but you – loving you, caring for you, providing for you – the struggles are nothing to Me – they aren’t greater than Me, they can’t defeat Me, they won’t overcome Me, they aren’t ‘too much’ for Me – I love you with and everlasting love, incomprehensible to you, but fully unconditional – reach out, reach out for the life line I’ve thrown you, grab on and hold on tight – I’ll rescue you, I’ll bring you away from the fear, away from the panic, far away from the feeling of defeat. Grab onto Me and hold on tight.

Desperation is no longer yours – you’ll no longer feel like you’re drowning; you’ll no longer be afraid because My life line is yours, grasped tightly in your hand – always there, always rescuing you – hold on tightly to Me – hold on, hold on”…

And then I saw this: CONNEXTION


Yesappa, Thank You for meeting me. Thank You for speaking to me and showing me a piece of Your heart. Allow this word to minister to Your children. Open ears to hear and eyes to see You; and give courage to share what You are speaking. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament

1 Samuel 25; 1 Chronicles 7; Acts 17

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11

When I began my journey with the Lord, rather than going deep into scripture myself, I relied heavily on the studies of the pastors in my life. I listened to their words and gained understanding through their revelations.

I had a desire to go deeper, but I wasn’t sure how and I was overwhelmed by not knowing where to start. I would try to read the Bible, but I had a difficult time understanding. The verses that I read often were just writings on a page that translated into a jumble in my brain and would more often than not lure me into sleep.

When I was in ministry school, I encountered so many amazing teachers and one in particular broke open the flood gates to my desire to search the scripture in a new and revelatory way. My homework every night during this particular class was to read the book of Galatians in a different translation. I was encouraged to read beyond the standard versions that can easily be purchased at a local Christian book store.

I grew up with the New International Version and many people I had encountered held to the belief that the King James Version was the ‘true’ Bible. At first I didn’t understand why I would need to read so many versions. It seemed like wasted time, because I figured they would all just be saying the same thing. But as I read through, I was amazed at how similar and yet how different many of the versions were. I came to realize that the value in studying the Word in different translations was found in the opening of the eyes of my heart to better understanding and a desire to delve into the meanings of the Words He spoke.

As I read one translation, if I didn’t understand something – a word, a concept, the history, etc. – I’d look to another translation to help me piece meaning together. If something differed, curiosity sent me to a Greek or Hebrew interlinear Bible and usually also to the Strong’s Concordance to help me understand the original meaning better.

As I have continued to study this way, God has become more and more real to me; His Rhema Word bringing life to the dry bones of my soul. My mind has expanded to better recognize and understand and every time I open the scriptures He reveals more of His truth, His promises, His revelations to my heart.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your Word, Your Truth. Thank You for giving me scripture to chew on like meat so that I can grow and learn as I search for You and as I search for understanding of truth. Open my eyes, open my mind, open my heart to the revelations You’ve prepared for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Acts, New Testament, Old Testament

Jeremiah 49-50; Hebrews 5

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:12-14

These verses first stood out to me when I was involved in the House of Prayer. I had the opportunity to receive training from various teachers who had spent unbelievable amounts of time in the Word. And, these verses were a huge part of why I started writing for 66Books.

I was in my first year of motherhood, exhausted as most mothers are. I was new to the struggle of balancing life duties with my desire to spend huge amounts of time in the prayer closet. My daughter didn’t understand (and still doesn’t) that I needed to have time alone, time with God. And, though I incorporated God as best that I could into my day-to-day life, I was feeling dry and empty.

One day in desperation, at the end of my rope, completely burned out, I prayed and asked God to show me what to do, to show me a solution. I wanted something that would help me get back into the Word the way I had been in years past. I wanted someone to help hold me accountable to setting time aside to delve deeper than my simple (yet effective) “Help me Holy Ghost” prayers.

Less than a week later, I got a random email from a woman who I didn’t know, but who has become one of my dearest friends, asking me if I would consider contributing to the 66Books blog. The moment I read the email, I knew that it was a direct answer to prayer, and I stepped into this amazing journey of exploration into the world of ‘solid food’.

I’ve probably read the whole Bible 15-20 times throughout my life. I was raised in a Christian home, went to Christian school for my early and middle education, attended church and youth group as a teen, and then when I really started following Christ, I went to ministry school and began getting involved in missions. Much of those readings could have been considered ‘milk’; just surface readings to get the work done, to memorize the Bible verse so I’d pass a test, or racing with friends to see who could get the most read the fastest.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with reading the Word as straight forward ‘logos’, just the reading the words as they are written, as a story and as a biographical work. Sometimes I need it to be easy (especially when reading the Mosaic law in the Old Testament); I just need to drink it in, like a baby drinks milk to be sustained.

But something has changed in me, and even as I am reading, I am ever looking out for that ‘rhema’ Word, a word or a phrase or a group of verses that resonates, that seems like it was spoken just for me in that moment. When it pops out, highlighted on the page, I know that is where God is leading me to dig and explore; and there is where I start to chew on the solid food, the meat of the Word.

What I have begun to learn on this journey of gnawing on solid food, is that there is so much more for me, so much hidden in the Word that is specific and relevant to my life, to my struggles, to my personal walk. There are nuggets of wisdom buried like treasure in everything that has been written, in the choice of words (even those words that may not have been translated in the best way), just like the parables were bites of concealed knowledge understood by those who pressed in and were enlightened.

I have learned that when I read the Bible at face value, I am nourished; but when I chew on the meat of the Word, I feast. My mind and my heart are opened in new ways to God’s grace, God’s mercy, and God’s love; and, I am overflowing with His goodness and filled by His faithfulness.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Hebrews, Jeremiah, New Testament, Old Testament

2 Chronicles 10; Revelation 1; Zephaniah 2; Luke 24

Then starting with what Moses and all the prophets had said about him, Jesus began to explain everything that had been written about himself in the Scriptures…

He said to them, “Remember when I was with you before? I said that everything written about me must happen—everything in the law of Moses, the books of the prophets, and the Psalms.”

Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He said to them, “It is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that a change of hearts and lives and forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all nations, starting at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:27; 44-48 (NCV)

Since I truly gave my heart to the Lord and began following Him, I have sought out authentic understanding of the scriptures. As I read, I’ve had questions, often generated by conflicts in teachings I have heard over the years.

I’ve heard many versions of the gospel from many different teachers. I have heard some teachings which have resonated with the Spirit inside me and some that have made my toes curl. Some teachers sought to control, while others preached freedom in Christ. Some taught hell fire and brim stone doctrine, full of sin and suffering. Some taught circumcision of heart flesh, co-crucified/co-heir identity, and sin-saturated grave clothes left behind in the tomb.

In the beginning of my journey into the Bible, I didn’t fully understand the importance of the Old Testament, a telling of the history of Israel. And then slowly those passages were opened up to me. The pages became relevant and personal. The stories became real to me, not simply words on ‘papyrus’ anymore. I was shown the significance of each story, of each man and woman’s journey, the role they played in the big picture. The foretelling of Christ hidden within those pages, hidden in plain sight, was revealed to me. I was given eyes to see and ears to hear and I have come to love the Old Testament as much as the New.

Come to the Lord, all you who are not proud,

who obey his laws.

Do what is right. Learn to be humble.

Maybe you will escape

on the day the Lord shows his anger. Zephaniah 2:3 (NCV)

Two years ago, as the new mom of a 10 month old and living on the mission field, I was searching for a way to get deeper in the Word despite the busyness of life, of motherhood and ministry. I prayed for something, anything to help me stick to my plan. I needed encouragement; I needed accountability. Less than two days passed and God answered my prayer with an email from Courtney (66Books365), a friend of a friend who I had never met before, inviting me to become a part of the 66Books community. I was astonished by the timeliness and the answer to my prayer. And, I continue to be in awe of our ensuing friendship.

Blessed is the one who reads the words of God’s message, and blessed are the people who hear this message and do what is written in it. The time is near when all of this will happen. Revelation 1:3 (NCV)

As I read the Bible as a part of this book club, I am blessed beyond measure.

I have come across verses that I have read many times before that didn’t mean much to me in the past, but that resonate for such a time as this. These passages have become significant to my current situation and circumstances and offer new wisdom, re-enforcing my godly identity. Sometimes, what I read is God’s way of preparing me for what I am about to experience, His way of giving me new tools to use in the future, even as early as later in my day.

As I read, I gain new insight and understanding of areas of my walk with Christ that were a mystery to me before. I am given revelation about my struggles and the solutions to those issues. I am given real life examples to follow, mentors to help me through, and a Comforter to walk alongside me. And, in turn, God is using me to teach and impart what I am learning to others, both on and off the foreign mission field.

The Bible is encouraging and inspiring. It is transforming and life-changing. It has increased my faith and my reliance on Christ. It has become the sword I use to deflect the darts of the enemy. God’s Word has become my life-giving, daily bread.

Yesappa, Thank You for blessing me with Your Word. Thank You for making Your Word rhema for my life, my daily bread. Thank You for revealing Your love, Your grace, Your wisdom to me. Continue to open my eyes and ears to receive and to understand Your scriptures; continue to explain to me all that has been written about You. Help me humble myself so that I may truly hear and obey Your message. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation

Jeremiah 33, 21; Hebrews 9

Jeremiah 21: 8 “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.”

Jeremiah 33:6 “Behold, I will bring it [this city] health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.”

Hebrews 9:11 “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come…”

Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.”

Isn’t it amazing that God speaks to us in dire situations with words of protection, promises of healing, and the gift of salvation?  Such are these powerful words that can speak life to a nation and eternal salvation to a soul.  I am often walking with my head down, thoughts tangled up with worries and serious business. Talking with God and reading His word are activities that sometimes decrease as I listen to the ramblings of my mind, trying to sort out what my next decision should be or processing the fallout of my kneejerk reactions.  Yet, here in these Scriptures we have the Lord of the universe speaking powerful words of irreversible truth.  There is no arguing with Him.  There can be no decision that outsmarts Him.  There is no mercy, healing, or judgment that will stand up to His.  What puny attempts we make to think we can take control!  And why would we try, we who know Him?  Aren’t His promises to do good to us, enough?  We are offered life, healing, peace, truth, good things, and most of all – redemption.  Let us say, “Quiet down, troubled heart.  Lift up your head and surrender to Christ who has the words of life; for we are the object of His great love.”

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Hebrews, Jeremiah, New Testament, Old Testament