19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from their destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man! – Psalm 107:19-21
The following is a story from the Facebook Page “Accepted By Grace” by Jeanette Kelley and I thought it was worth sharing here. Here is a direct link to Jeanette’s blog if you’re interested in visiting it as well. I pray this blesses you. Accepted By Grace Blog
Isaiah 65:24 :- “Before they call, I will answer.”
This is a testimony written by a doctor who worked in Africa.
One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feeding facilities.
Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.
Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). “And it is our last hot water bottle!” she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.
“All right,” I said, “put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.”
The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.
During prayer time, one ten -year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. “Please, God” she prayed, “Send us a hot water bottle today. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.”
While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, “And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?”
As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say “Amen?” I just did not believe that God could do this.
Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren’t there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!
Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas – that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.
Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the…..could it really be?
I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.
Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, “If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!”
Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, “Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?”
“Of course,” I replied!
That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator.
And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child – five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it “that afternoon.”
“Before they call, I will answer.” (Isaiah 65:24)
When you receive this, say a prayer. That’s all I ask. No strings attached. Then just send it on to whomever you want to – but do send it on.
Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let’s continue to trust in God with all our heart. What a faithful God we serve.
This is a really great story. I’ve heard countless stories like this through out my life. Stories of God’s divine providence working in ways that illustrate so clearly his omnipotence, omniscience and most of all his omnibenevolence.
What I think is really worth noting in this story though is the part where the sender of the package “heard” God and “obeyed” him.
This was a very specific prayer request. There’s no Bible verse to turn to here, no chapter and verse that applies to this situation. But the living God, the Holy Spirit spoke specifically to a person, they heard his voice, believed Him and obeyed Him and their faith was honored by the Lord.
THIS is the normal Christian life. Hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord. This is what it means to “abide” in Christ.
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema, that which is uttered by a living voice) of Christ.” – Romans 10:17
“Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” – John 18:37
“24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” – Mark 4:24-25
“26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” – John 14:26
“12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” – John 16:12-15
“20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[d] 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us[e]—eternal life.
26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” – 1 John 2:20-27
“20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” – Revelation 3:20-22
Anybody else have a story like this? Something where you know you heard the Lord speak to you and you obeyed his voice? And then he showed himself to honor your faith? Would love to hear it if so!
Grace and Peace to you in Jesus name.
I recently had this exchange with a friend on Facebook and I thought it might be worth sharing here.
“Jesus was a socialist.”
“Re: Jesus was a socialist.
Tell me more. Why do you believe that? Maybe you’re right. I don’t think you are but I’d be curious to hear why you believe that.
I assume you’re thinking of the whole “do unto others” command and the fact that his disciples shared all that they had in common with whoever had need, no?
I can see why people would look at the church in Acts (after Jesus ascended) and think that. But I don’t think there’s really much evidence to support that claim.
I would argue that Jesus is something wholly different.
He is a dictator. In the truest sense of the word. He dictates to the creation. It’s a one way communication.
He is an autocrat with only a Father that he submits to.
More accurately he is a Monarch. He’s not only a king but The King. By his own confession to Pilate at his trial (if you can call it that) he admits as much.
His rule is total, completely, without question. His commands are not optional but dictates to be followed, ultimatums to accept without question or reservation.
He also happens to be entirely benevolent. Supremely kind and undefinably gracious to his subjects.
His rule is perfect, no one has ever, at any point had anything on him. He is without question, perfect in all his ways and judgments.
But again he is a King, and he demands that all his subjects, rather the whole of creation, acknowledge him as sovereign and obey his commands or else wise perish.
The King, has rebels throughout his kingdom, he offers his subjects terms of peace. And the terms are exceedingly gracious. He calls them to repent (change their mind) of their rebellion (sin) and believe that he has already paid the just price for their lawless deeds by dying on the cross.
What’s more, he proves his dominion and ultimate power over all creation by resurrecting from the dead.
And now he patiently waits. Sending the Holy Spirit into the world to convict his subjects of their sin, to grant them repentance and belief in the good news of his atoning death.
But he doesn’t wait forever. He will return. And he will bring his recompense (repayment) with him.
I could start listing verses from scripture from Genesis to Revelation to support this if you care to see what I mean but I’m on my phone and it’s a little difficult.
Anyway, that ain’t a socialist. That’s a king.
The church is so often misunderstood to function in some worldly capacity but that’s not at all what it is. It’s not socialism, it’s not capitalism, it’s is a theocracy with Jesus Christ as absolute sovereign. His people did those things because he commanded them to. He commanded them to love one another as he had loved them. No greater love does a man have than he lay down his life for his friends. He calls us, his people, the rebels from before, his friends.
Jesus ain’t no socialist friend. He is a really, really, really good King.”
9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. – 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
I see the news of abortionist Ulrich George Klopfer keeping the remains of thousands of aborted babies in his home as some sort of trophies and I can’t seem to think anything but to plead to Jesus Christ for mercy.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:1-5
When we use or hear the term “the Word of God” spoken what do we understand that to mean? Typically, when someone mentions the “Word of God” they are making a reference to the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. But is that what John was referencing in the first chapter of his gospel? In a word, no.
It’s plain to even a casual reader and it’s orthodoxy to understand “The Word of God” John references in the above text is not the Bible, but Jesus. (See John 1:14-17)
So then is it wrong to call the Bible the “word of God”? Or is Jesus the Bible? Or is the Bible God? Well, no, to all three questions. The Bible is the “word of God”, Jesus is not the Bible nor is the Bible God but both are the “word” of God.
Confused? That’s okay, you’re in good company.
So what is the “Word of God”, what is it not and how do we know one from the other? To understand what the “Word of God” is we’re going to need to really clearly define some things and have a talk about semantics.
Semantics is simply a study of languages, words, and what those words mean. But before we can talk about the meaning of some of these word we first need to understand the differences between the words we read in our English Bibles and the Bible (the New Testament at least) as it was written in its original language, Greek.
Before we do that though, I want you to take a minute, stop reading and pray. Talk to the Lord. Ask him to speak to you, ask him to reveal to you the truth of what may or may not be said in this article. Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate your understanding so that by the Spirit you may receive understanding in spiritual things. Remember, “the flesh is no help at all.” If you go at this spiritual subject as an intellectual endeavor, a pursuit of the flesh, I suspect you will greatly struggle with it. However, if the Holy Spirit leads you I believe He will lead you and teach you perfectly, in perfect accordance with the Scriptures, that you might have the mind of Christ and know truth from error. So take a minute and pray. Really, just stop, and talk to the Lord for a bit and then we’ll pick this up again.
Great, so now that we’ve talked to the Lord and asked him to teach us, I believe he will, I hope you do too. So back to Greek and English.
Look, I’m not a Greek scholar or even an English one, but I don’t need to be to understand and explain some of the things I’m going to share here.
If you’ve ever studied a foreign language from your own native tongue what you’ll quickly realize is that while most words have a perfect translation in another language, meaning a word for word match, there are many words or expressions that simply don’t have a perfect translation, there’s not a match across the languages of what the word is attempting to describe.
For instance, “blue” in English is “azul” in Spanish. They mean the exact same thing. They mean a very specific color and there is no disagreement between the two words.
On the contrary there are words in Spanish that tend to have more nuance than their translation in English. Consider “Te amo” and “Te querio”. Both translate into English as “I love you” and while they do mean this, they actually have very specific nuances that if the two words were used inappropriately, the hearer might get the wrong idea. “Te querio” is more casual and typically used for friends and family while “Te amo” is more serious and romantic and typically intended for one’s spouse or romantic interest.
Even within the same language words can have very different meanings. In English, “football” means a particular sport in England where players use their feet to kick a round ball into a net to score points and a totally different thing in America where players throw an oblong ball and catch and run with it across a goal line in order to score points.
So the point is, words have meaning. And sometimes that meaning is “lost in translation”. So it is with the word “word” in English Bibles. The English word “word” simply isn’t sufficient to explain the nuance between the Greek words “logos” or “rhema” for which the English word “word” is used in English Bibles.
So when a person refers to the Bible, they’re referring to the Holy Scriptures. Well the Greeks had a word for the the “Scriptures” or the “Holy Writ” as it’s sometimes called. And the Greek word they used was “graphe”, which is the same Greek word we get the English words “write” or “written” from. “Graphe” in the Greek means a “a document, the Holy writ, Scripture”. And that’s all that it means. That’s the words plain meaning and it doesn’t have another meaning.
Most English Bible readers have no knowledge of the Greek word “graphe”. And did you know that the Greek word “graphe” is never (not once) translated into the English word “word” in any Bible? Ever. The “graphe” in Greek is always translated into English Bibles as the “Scriptures”. Take a look for yourself here.
So when we call the Bible the “word” we do something that not even the Bible itself does! The Bible never refers to itself as the “word” but always as the “scriptures” (the “graphe”).
But does that mean the Bible isn’t the “word of God”? Well, no. The Bible is absolutely the “word of God” but what we mean when we say that is that the Bible is a collection of writings that God himself spoke/wrote through human authors by divine inspiration. (2 Peter 1:20-21) So the Bible is certainly the “word of God”, it’s absolutely God’s words that he spoke and that he had his servants write, perfectly I might add, as his own personal testimony concerning himself and his creation. So the Bible can be correctly understood to be the word of God. It’s God’s own testimony, that’s why we call it the Old Testament and the New Testament. God, in his own words, is testifying here and his testimony is true, it is holy and it should be believed by anyone who would read it.
So what am I getting at? Well my point is this. There is still much confusion when most Christians use the term “the word of God.” Most of the time they’re using it to refer to the Bible when they really should be using it to refer to something else, namely, Jesus Christ or the indwelling voice of the Holy Spirit.
In short, what I’m saying is that the “Logos”, the “rhema” and the “graphe” are different words and they have very different meanings and because of the limitations of the English language we have really departed from a correct understanding of what’s being said in the Bible about both the Bible and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and these misunderstanding have incredibly important implications in the life and practice of any who would love and follow Jesus Christ as a disciple.
You’ll notice that whenever I write on this blog I try to use very specific language or words when referring to a particular thing. I rarely use the word Bible and most often refer to it as the Bible itself does as the “Scriptures”. My hope is to avoid this confusion that so much of Christendom has entered about this subject.
Personally I think it would be beneficial if Bible translators would simply stop using the English word “word” for the Greek words “logos” and “rhema” because even those two word have different nuances. So going forward I’ll simple refer to the “logos” as the logos and the “rhema” as the rhema and the “graphe” as the scriptures.
Below are the definitions of these three words according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. As you’ll see for yourself, the three words each have different meanings, that’s why there’s three of them! Ha!
“Logos” – Strong’s Word G3056 – “λόγος lógos, log’-os; from G3004; something said (including the thought); by implication, a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension, a computation; specially, (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ):—account, cause, communication, × concerning, doctrine, fame, × have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say(-ing), shew, × speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move me, tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work.
While the “logos” is an incredibly deep word with multiple entendre it can be best understood to mean “the Divine Expression” or God expressed as he’s chosen to reveal himself to his creation. Simply, the person, God the Son, Jesus Christ.
“Rhema” – Strong’s Word G4483 – ῥῆμα rhēma, hray’-mah; from G4483; an utterance (individually, collectively or specially),; by implication, a matter or topic (especially of narration, command or dispute); with a negative naught whatever:—+ evil, + nothing, saying, word.
Likewise, “rhema” is a word with deep meaning but it can more simply be understood to mean “an utterance, that which is uttered by a living voice“.
Finally, we see the Greek word “graphe” means “scripture” in English. So the Bible. So the word the Bible uses for the Bible is “graphe” and that word is never transliterated as the English word “word” in any English Bible. Ever. The “graphe” is always, correctly I would say, translated as the “scripture”.
In summary, the “logos” is the Divine Expression, Jesus Christ, the “rhema” is a thing uttered by a living voice (typically used in reference to the Holy Spirit speaking) and the “graphe” is the Holy Scripture, ie the Bible.
Now, why does all this matter? Why are these semantics significant? As I said above, because of this confusion most Christians unknowingly err when they use the term “the Word of God” and apply it to the Bible and not Jesus Christ or the utterance of the Holy Spirit and this is a very serious problem as it manifests itself in a whole host of problems in the life and practice of most believers.
My concern here is not semantics but rather the reality that so many Christians have unknowingly replaced the living Word (logos) of God, Jesus Christ, with his testimony the Holy Scriptures/Bible (graphe) and this is a tragedy.
We’ve replaced the living God with his letter. The man with his testimony. And so, instead of truly abiding in Jesus, the living Word of God, we are looking for the life only He can provide in a dead letter, the Holy Scriptures.
3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our[a] hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.[b]
4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. – 2 Corinthians 3:1-6
We’ve become like the Jews who sought to kill Jesus in John, chapter 5.
39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. – John 5:39-40
The life of Christ can’t be found in the Scriptures apart from the illumination of the Holy Spirit. We MUST head his voice (rhema) to have his life (logos), then and only then, will the Bible (graphe) benefit us in any real way.
Come back for Part 2 of “The Word of God, Part 2” as I hope to go into some examples of how all of this applies in the way many of us read and understand the Scriptures and therefore live out our faith in Christ.
Grace and peace to you in Jesus name.
Stop what you’re doing.
Walk outdoors and take a look around. See the trees, the birds, the flora and fauna that’s all around you.
Let your eye rest on the first thing that captures your gaze. Meditate on that and then… listen.
Hear the still small voice of the Lord.
He speaks and he grants ears to hear his Word.
Do you hear Him? What hath the Lord said to you today?