Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Rhema word

No, this isn't a blog post about NZ's Christian radio station! Today I am focusing on the Rhema word of God. To start with - we shall examine the different forms the word of God comes in. There's the Logos word of God (a Greek word which has many meanings but is often interpreted as the written word of God) and the Rhema word (another Greek word which literally means  an "utterance" or "thing said").

In modern day Christianity, the Rhema word is used to describe the "spoken word of God" where as the Logos is used to describe the written word - being the Bible. It's important that we realize as believers that although God still speaks to us through His written word - He also speaks to us directly through the Holy Spirit. Though the Bible is the Word of God, just because the Bible begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation doesn't mean that this is all God has to say to us - although sometimes God uses His already written word to speak into our circumstances (e.g. God Rhema'd a scripture to me the other day). There are also times when God gives us specific instructions relating to circumstances in our lives that require Him to speak to us directly. He can do this through many different forms - through other people speaking to us, through the writings of others, and often through a still, small voice that speaks directly to our own hearts.

One thing I've learned throughout my Christian walk is that there is literally nothing more important when it comes to direction for one's life than the Rhema word of God. I remember at the end of 2006 when I was on holiday in Melbourne, Australia. I'd just finished my second year of Bible College and I was seeking direction for my life from that point onwards. I set aside a lot of time during my trip to ask God what it was He wanted me to do. Finally, He answered - through that still, small voice in my heart. "I want you in ministry" He said. So I asked Him where He wanted me to go - and at that moment I received an email from a new friend I'd just made who lived in the United States. Her email read - "Perhaps your missionary work will bring you to California someday". Those words just jumped off the page and hit me - and all of a sudden I knew where I was going. Once I got back to NZ I announced that I felt God was calling me to California.

The friend I had made was someone I'd met off the internet (and is still a very good friend today I might add!) We arranged that I could come over in May and live in the family caravan. To say I had my share of skeptics about this arrangement, would have been an understatement. I had several people tell me that what I was doing was incredibly stupid - that I was traveling to the other side of the world to stay with a family I didn't really know at all for quite a long period of time (My tourist visa was for 3 months) and I had nothing else to go on except "I feel God has told me to go". I had a job working as a furniture salesman which helped me save for my airfares and I even took a second job washing dishes in the evening to help fund the trip which lead to some very long hours and a very tired Graham, but it was all worth it!

Eventually people began to realize that I had my heart set on going, and that I wasn't going to take no for an answer, nor would I listen to people telling me what I was doing was stupid. Was this pride, stubbornness and arrogance? Without the clear and distinct Rhema word I received, it probably would have been. But because God had clearly spoken to me - it was nothing more than me believing in the Word of God and trusting that He wanted me to go to the USA for 3 months, and that he'd provided me a contact over there who was willing to put me up. I knew that I was doing the right thing, and no one could tell me otherwise. Eventually the time came to fly out to the USA. I ended up being at the place I had organized for only a month before things changed for the family and I had to find another place - with another host family from the church who gladly put me up (and are still great friends to this day!) Both places I stayed at were a huge blessing, I was able to branch out and meet many new people, help out in the music team at church and even got to do a bit of out of state traveling. I was also able to volunteer at a Christian Camping ground just outside of Los Angeles. It was the greatest 3 months of my life and I bid a very sad goodbye to the amazing friends I made over there who told me they were sure they'd see me again, as I'd be back one day.

When I got back to New Zealand, within two weeks I had a well paying job at a solid, reliable company up in Auckland and as a result my finances began to rise again after becoming rather depleted during my 3 months overseas. People were amazed at not only how brilliantly the trip worked out but that I came back immediately to a good job. My answer was the same - it worked out because God called me to go.

Romans 10:17 states that "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". I remember when I was at Bible College and I had this vision that remained with me for many years. I saw a vision of a man in a completely darkened universe standing on a flat, circular platform that was suspended in space. There were others behind him where he'd been before. He remained still - with nothing whatsoever in front of him - until the Word of God clearly spoke to him and said "jump". He jumped - seemingly into nothing - and then after a very brief sensation of falling, another platform materialized out of nowhere and he landed safely on his feet.  The important point to realize is that the man jumped when God said to. Had the man jumped forwards before God had said anything, I doubt that the platform would have appeared seeing as it wasn't God who called him to jump - so he would have fallen to his death.

This vision - and the experience of going to the USA later on - both communicated to me that even if you don't see anything to land on in front of you, if God has called you to jump - then you jump. He knows what He's doing and even if the answer isn't what you may expect, you've still done the right thing by obeying God. The danger comes when we jump into things without God's consent. If that man had fallen to his death and arrived in heaven, demanding to know why another platform hadn't appeared - I can pretty much guarantee God would have said to him - "Did I tell you to jump that last time?" If the guy was honest, he could only answer no. So he didn't really have anyone else to blame except himself as he ran ahead of God.

The most challenging part is learning to trust and believe that we hear the voice of God. There are counterfeits that can come and imitate what God is saying. These voices can sound a lot like God but at the end of the day, there always seems to be something about them that just doesn't quite sit right. John 10:27 says "My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow me." I've found for me that God's voice seems to come from a place that somehow, within the very core of your being, you just know that it hasn't come from you. It doesn't speak to my mind, but to my spirit, and I just know that it's right. Having a mind as busy as mine, it can often feel like a 4 lane highway, full of traffic racing along as fast as possible. I've found for me that one word from God causes all of that traffic to immediately come to a complete standstill. If this doesn't seem to happen, there's a good chance what I'm hearing isn't right and I find that if I'm not sure about what I've heard, it often means I'm wrong and those words fade away after a while. The bible also clearly states that "Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying 'This is the way - walk in it.'"

In conclusion, learn to hear the voice of God for yourself by asking Him to speak to you. And if He's spoken to you and tells you to do something, and you know in your heart of hearts that its Him - as I did with going to California - do as He's told you to. You'll please God and increase your faith.

Take care.

1 comment:

  1. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!