Back when Barb and I were teenagers eager to be used of the Lord in ministry, but destined for the university where my parents had gone and where her brother and sister had gone. This did not seem to fit the larger picture of the Lord’s call on our lives. But, lacking any direct word from the Lord otherwise, I did what was right in the natural and headed for college. Barb was a year behind me in high school, so she finished up her senior year while I was a freshman about 2 1/2 hours away, then started university the next year while I was starting my second year of college.
I lived in a fraternity and she was rooming with her best friend in a dormitory, but we met together a couple nights each week and prayed about what we were to do. We were in university for our parent’s but our hearts were for ministry, and seeking the Lord for direction, for some word about our future. One night in September of 1977, a month after Barb had arrived on campus for her freshman year at the university, we met for prayer in my room in the fraternity house.
She was kneeling on the floor worshipping and I was seated worshipping, and suddenly we each had words from the Lord. She was suddenly in the Spirit and standing before the Lord on a mountain, looking at Him. He put His hands on her shoulders and gently turned her around to view the vast prairie stretching out before the mountains on which she and He were standing. The prairie was covered with a vast field of golden heads of wheat, and when she looked at each head of grain she saw each was a human face, and the Lord told her we were called to the end time harvest.
At the same time this was going on, the Lord was talking to me about our future. He said He would send us to Boulder, Colorado, and that my dad was going to cut off funding for school at the winter break, and to spend time fasting and prayer for He would teach me about healing during that time until the timing was complete, and then He would send me out. He also said, “You may be married about a year from now.” That part I kept from Barb, but the rest we shared with each other.
We wanted with all our hearts to quit university and start ‘ministry’ whatever that might be in the midst of the charismatic renewal of the 1970′s. But we weren’t going to make such a monumental decision without a word from the Lord first.
Faith versus presumption
There are 2 Greek words concerning us today about the word, ‘word’. One is logos, and means the whole counsel of God. It is used of Jesus in John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Logos is the Genesis through The Revelation counsel of God and the Person of the Word of the Lord.
The other word is rhema, which comes out of the logos to be a specific word to a person. That rhema can come in various forms; vision, word, quickening, witness, something perceived or discerned in one’s spirit, and so on, all used to convey the truth that God has communicated something specific to a person out of the logos. A rhema is a specific word to a person from God to you, even if that word is peace, or a witness, or even a heavy feeling in your spirit conveying ‘don’t do this’.
It is rhema in Romans 10:17 when Paul wrote “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word (rhema) of God.” Faith does not come by reading the logos, nor picking and choosing a verse to stand on. Faith comes when God communicates something specific, a rhema, from Him to you. Within rhema there is peace, provision, faith, grace, and so much more – if He communicates to you then all you need to fulfill the word, to accomplish that task, is open to you for the asking.
Jesus in John 15:7: “If you abide in me and my (rhema) words abide in you, then you may ask what you will and it will be done for you.” What the disciples heard from the Greek is this: “If you stay in me and the specific words I’ve spoken to you stay in you, you may ask anything you want according to those words and it will be done for you.”
Here is where we’ve missed it
Many read this verse not understanding the Greek, leading them to conclude if they just abide in the Lord enough, if they just learn enough, if they just walk in enough purity enough, then anything they ask will be done – but that is NOT what Jesus said. He said if you abide in a specific word from Him or the Father to you, then you can ask anything (according to that specific word) and it will be done for you.
Consider Noah who received a rhema word the earth would flood and he needed to build the ark. Within that word as he abided in it, stayed in it, was all he needed, and anything he needed to fulfill the word was his for the asking – he needed time, materials, and so on to accomplish the word – and it was his.
The same is true of Abraham who was called to be a father of nations, so he and Sarah were given the ability to conceive and be delivered of a baby boy. Moses was called to deliver Israel, so he was given the signs and wonders required to do the job, Joshua who received a word about taking Jericho, and on it goes. Each person of faith was in faith because they responded to a rhema word God had given them. They didn’t just pick a verse or decide on their own to be ‘in faith’. They responded to a specific word.
If you will examine your life you will see anything you had a direct word from the Lord on, flowed and was very peaceful. That is how a rhema works, that is what faith feels like – peace and rest. That is what Barb and I received that September evening in 1977, and it all came to pass and is in process of coming to pass even now.
We have never made a major decision in life without having first received a rhema from the Father or Lord. The 1 time I did it nearly cost my wife her life. Hard lesson to learn, but it was learned.
Call to remembrance former words, revelations, things sensed in your spirit
At the start of this series I mentioned 2 examples of people who ‘stood’ on specific words to them: Paul and Barnabus who said a verse in Isaiah originally about the Messiah was lifted by the Lord from Isaiah’s prophecy about Messiah and told by Him that verse was also for them, and Peter who was told in the 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection that when he would be old he would be crucified for his faith.
Neither of them received those words right at the moment of intense need – they had received those words years earlier. Most often we get into a situation and then we go to the Lord for a ‘word’. The practice of Peter and Paul above though was to ‘stand’ on words from years earlier, earlier revelation about their lives, not on something given by the Lord right in the middle of intense moments. Praise the Lord for those, but these examples were of those who pulled on words earlier in their lives, revelation that was still stirring in their spirits, on which to ‘stand’.
I’ve had a Bible since 1978 that I’ve had rebound 2x, and even now has duct tape on the spine because it is falling apart. But within those pages are highlighted verses, notes, and dates next to some verses marking the time a verse was quickened to me, jumped out at me, provided some revelation or promise. When I stand on the Word for healing for myself, I do so not on a current revelation, but on revelation received January through March of 1978 when the Lord had told me at university that my dad would cut off funding for school and to spend time fasting and praying and He would teach me about healing…he did, I did, and then He did. I stir up past revelation by remembering it, going over those same passages, in my mind going back to that time and once again feeling the rush of excitement in my spirit.
Peter said in I Peter 1:23 we are born again of incorruptible seed, meaning it never deteriorates, never decreases in power or relevance. That seed is a rhema word to us about who Jesus is, and our response was faith in Him and the giving of our lives for Him, and we continue to walk in that seed to this day.
That seed, that word, is incorruptible. So if you received revelation as I did in 1978 about healing, and then need that healing power of God in 2017, go back as Paul and Barnabus and Peter did to words years earlier, and renew your time in them, recall that rush of revelation, stir yourself up in that incorruptible seed in you – it is still a living Word and able to be used of God to you in your current situation.
So many spend time looking for a current ‘Word’ they neglect all their notes written and memories gained from revelation years earlier. KNOW what the Lord has spoken to you in years past. Hold on to them, they are incorruptible revelations, just as full of power now as they were then. You don’t need to pick and choose a verse to stand on, you can go back to the living revelation from years past, or if needed, do spend time in worship for something current…but either way, learn to walk with Him thereby living in revelation for your life.
New subject next week, until then, blessings,