When all of creation started, it was with the simple statement of “Let there be…” and each time God spoke, it came into being, and God saw that it was good. When life began, it began with the Word of God.
All Scripture is inspired by God
and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction,
for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate,
equipped for every good work.
(2 Tim. 3:16–17 NASB)
I don’t know how old I was when I first heard the saying, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. I don’t know who came up with that saying, but it is absurd because words can hurt every bit as much as a physical stone. We may not see the evidence of it immediately, but the pain is there just the same. The difference is that when something physically hurts us, it is on the outside; but words that are spoken to us go inside, where they take root and grow. Afterward, they will either build us up or tear us down. For such a small part of our body, the mouth has the power to cause life or death! It is interesting that God gave us multiple fingers and toes, two feet, two legs, two hands, two arms, two eyes, two ears, and even two openings in our nose, but He only gave us one mouth!
Read what James said, referring to the tongue:
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water (James 3:3–12 NIV).
Our words have power and every word we speak is heard by God. So many people (Christians included) tear each other down daily in the guise of jesting. But God takes what we say to each other very seriously. Jesus said, “a tree is known by its fruit,” and what is in our hearts spills forth from the mouth. If you ever really want to know a person’s heart, pay close attention to how they speak. Listen to what Jesus said about it, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:33–37 ESV).
Did you catch that? Someday, we will have to give an account for every careless word we have spoken! Jesus didn’t mean just a select group. We, too, will have to face the words we spoke to our loved ones! And we will have to deal with the words we spoke about other people. In light of that, how does our humor look now? I don’t know about you, but there are words I wish I could take back. There are times I wish I had washed my mouth instead of letting certain words out.
Not long ago I sat on my knees and called back things I wished I had not said earlier in life. I rebuked the damage my careless words may have caused, when I spouted off without thinking. And I faced God in prayer for the tearing down I had done instead of building up as I could have. The reason being is that God showed me the power of words. I started noticing a while back that when I was in sincere prayer, the very words I used would come back to me. I started seeing the exact phrase I used in prayer to God repeated to me soon after through devotionals, conversations, and in the Bible! Now don’t get me wrong; I am always sincere when I pray, but I started noticing a difference in certain times when I prayed. There have been times when I could feel the very presence of God in a mighty way, and it affected the way I prayed. Also at times, the word that I had on my mind and was about to say was not the word I used. Later on, that very word would be everywhere I turned. This has made me more mindful of my words.
When it comes to God’s Word it is even more so! When He speaks, it is done! One of the first verses I started standing on was Psalm 33:4–9 from the NCV Bible, “God’s word is true, and everything He does is right. He loves what is right and fair; the LORD’S love fills the earth. The sky was made at the LORD’S command. By the breath from His mouth, He made all the stars. He gathered the water of the sea into a heap. He made the great ocean stay in its place. All the earth should worship the LORD; the whole world should fear Him. He spoke, and it happened. He commanded, and it appeared.”
Shortly after discovering this jewel of God’s Word, verse after verse about God speaking and the sound of His voice started lighting up to me in the most powerful way. I started becoming fixated on certain passages that spoke about “God speaking.” They became a beacon of hope for me. Then one day I was reading John 20 and something just floored me. It said Jesus breathed on them. “And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (Verses 20–22 NASB).
Can you imagine the very breath of life softly breathing on you? I think about a gentle breeze when I am sitting outside in the evenings during the summer and how refreshing it feels. Or in the early fall when the softest wind hits my face. Or the early spring mornings when I take my kids to school, how the air feels. Could this be God breathing on me?
So often when Jesus was here on earth people came to him with others who were sick, and He spoke to them and they were healed. At times the sick person wasn’t even present, someone came on their behalf, but Jesus said the word and again, the sick and dying were okay! Jesus SPOKE to them. There were a few times He healed with His hands, but not many—His words were enough. His word gave life—and even brought instant death. (Do you remember what happened to the fig tree?)
In the first Book of Genesis, it says that God made many different kinds of animals, but when it came to people, He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (see Gen. 1:26 NASB). God wasn’t talking to Himself, He was referring to Jesus. We are made of spirit, because God is of Spirit. When He speaks to us, it is from His Holy Spirit to our spirit. It is from inside of us. Sometimes when He speaks, we will have a quickening in our spirit because our spirit has recognized Him. At times, it is with the softest whisper, deep down and we will miss it if we don’t take time to listen. Other times, His Spirit can be so in tune with our spirit that when He speaks, it is perfectly clear—and so loud and resounding that we wonder how no one else heard it.
The Holy Spirit speaks directly to our human spirit as it takes “spirit to communicate with Spirit.” This is what Jesus was explaining to the woman at the well. My friend, if you have ever wondered if you, as an individual, could ever matter to Jesus, take a lesson from this woman. It was no accident that Jesus happened to come upon her. He went out of His way to find her, then sat down and waited at the very spot where He knew she would be. Though Jesus was a stranger to her, she was no stranger to Him. Jesus fed her spiritually and gave her the grace and acceptance that she was so hungry for, and it changed her life (and that of her whole village—imagine that!). Read part of this amazing story with me:
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman an-swered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ). When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He” (John 4:7–26 ESV).
My friend, I don’t know about you, but it gives me hope in knowing that if Jesus would go out of His way for her, then He will for me (and you) too. We do not have to hide our shame from Jesus. He offers a hand to pull us back up. For He knows our heart. And as “deep calls to deep” His Spirit calls to our spirit, and He helps to create in us a “Worshiper’s Heart.”
In John 1:1 it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (ESV). Through Christ we are joined with God’s Spirit—and He can talk to us in so many ways! When He speaks a word over us, it gives life. Sometimes we just have to wait to see its birth. Rest assured that when God speaks to us, it is not to hear the sound of His own voice. He is the LIVING GOD and so is every WORD He speaks to us and over us. We only have to turn a listening ear and a willing heart towards Him to receive it.
You might be wondering about how to “receive” or “hear” His word. The awesome thing is that God is ready to speak to us, but we need to ask Him to open our “spiritual ears.” When God speaks a direct word to our spirit, it is called rhema (what we hear) and then He goes about confirming His word through His written Word (what we read is called logos), and if need be, will back this up by again confirming His message in different ways.
For instance, the day after my birthday last year, I woke up with a horrible headache. I had been fighting a head cold and was not feeling well at all the day before, but I had several things I needed to do, so instead of resting I pushed myself until I could lay down that night. (I should mention that at the same time my car broke down!) So the next morning I simply laid there quietly praying for strength and trying not to be too upset about the car. Because my head was hurting so bad, I was lying there in a still moment, and ever so softly in my heart, I heard, “My cup runneth over.” Now I knew this was from Psalms 23—I even knew it was from the Old King James Version, which made me smile because that is not a version of the Bible I read very often, so the fact that Psalm 23:5 would come to me in this wording was very surprising.
I continued to lay there for a while, and then I got up to get some hot tea. When I finally sat down to read my Bible, I turned on the computer to see what the verses of the day were from the Bible study software I was using. I clicked on the date, and waited for a moment while it cycled up—and there on my screen was “My cup runneth over” as the leading verse! Instead of what I had planned to do, I went and got my KJV Bible and opened it to Psalms 23, and felt refreshed by reading it. God knew exactly what I needed. Since I don’t read that version often, it allowed God to renew this Psalm in me, but also to point out something I needed to hear: that in the presence of my enemies, He has prepared a table for me. He has anointed my head with oil, and my cup runneth over.
You see, a lot of well-meaning people in my life had not been supportive of my laying everything down just to study while I prepared for the ministry I felt God was calling me to. They were not totally against me, they just had different thoughts and wanted me to go their way, instead of the way I felt I was being called to go. I know that ultimately they cared for me, and were just worried. However, my faith was really tested in this, because sometimes it’s very hard to go against the current, especially when you have to go it alone for a season. You see, I knew what God showed me, but a lot of it had not yet come to fruition for others to see, and it took a while (a lot longer than I ever thought it would), so it caused some challenges. By God speaking this verse to me, it was like He was showing me that He had prepared things for me, and I would see blessing from this that others will see as well (when the time is right). I am NOT calling these people my enemies by any means; it is just that what I believe God was showing me was that—what He prepared for me—eventually others around would witness too.
God’s Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit that morning, and then confirmed it in my daily reading. For me, it was truly a God encounter, and one I might have missed had I not been lying there being still, just listening. Then, to let me know that I had not imagined it (and that YES, it was Him), over the next several days, this same verse came up three more times! It was on a card that was emailed to me, it was posted on Facebook by a friend of mine, and it was a study verse later that weekend in a devotional study I read. None of those things could have just happened. God spoke to my heart (as a rhema Word), and then confirmed, “This is of Me.” And I have held to it ever since.
- On a side note: Rhema is a Greek word that literally means “an utterance” or “a thing said.” It is the revealed Word of God as an utterance from God, to the heart through His Holy Spirit. Rhema refers to “a Word that is spoken,” such as when the Holy Spirit delivers a specific message to hear (see Romans 10:8 & 17; 1 Peter 1:25; and Matthew 4:4). **Rhema means individually, collectively, or specifically. A few Scriptural examples are: Luke 1:38, Luke 3:2, Luke 5:5, Ephesians 5:26 and Acts 11:6. In other words, it means a specific (and direct) personal Word from God regarding the situation we are going through (or direction we are seeking), or prayers we are lifting up to Him.
God’s Spirit talks to our spirit, and as He does so, oftentimes there will be a “quickening” in our spirit. Just as the babe in Elizabeth’s body “leaped” at the sound of Mary’s voice (see Luke 1:41), our spirit will leap in recognition of His Spirit when He speaks to us. The quickening is our spirit “Leaping at the sound of His Voice.” For instance, say you are praying about something (or seeking God for specific guidance in the direction to go), and then later you are listening to a sermon and something the pastor says makes your insides leap! Or say you are visiting with someone and all of the sudden, something they say just pricks your ear (and they may not have even realized what they said), but you know it was a message from God. Or maybe you are in the car and the radio is on but you’re not really listening to it, and suddenly a worship song gets your attention and certain words ignite in you. Perhaps when you are reading your Bible, and all of the sudden a verse you have seen many times suddenly takes life, and is illuminated on the page you are reading. My friend, it is very probable that God just spoke to you! Why do I say this? Because, His Word promises that when we call to Him, He will answer us. But sometimes it won’t be as we are praying, but as we go about our day—suddenly we will find His handprints (or His voice) everywhere!
- Another way to receive a rhema Word, is while we are praying, when a Scripture rises up in us from our heart—we are praying and deep inside a verse is impressed upon our hearts. That is the Holy Spirit “bringing to remembrance” a Word from God. His Holy Spirit has just given you a Word to pray over out loud as the “Sword of Truth.”
The other day, after I had been praying over something that had really been bothering me, I was walking into my bedroom and from the depths of my heart, suddenly impressed upon me was, “Cast thy burdens upon Me, and I will sustain you.” I smiled because I knew this was a verse from the Psalms, but I continued to walk into my room and make the bed, then I proceeded to clean the house. The next morning this verse showed up as a “Promise of the Day” from a 365 Day Promise devotional that is emailed to me. So I knew God had given me a verse to stand on. However, a few days later, in a weekend study devotional I follow, it was the whole study! In fact, the pastor went on to give specific direction on HOW to “cast our burdens on the Lord.” He suggested that we write it down on paper, pray over it, and then throw it away as a symbolic gesture of giving it to God and letting it go. You see, if we are truly giving it to God, then it is not our burden to carry any more.
- There is much truth to the fact that sometimes His voice will be that that “still small voice” deep within us, and if we don’t take the time to BE STILL and listen, we will miss it. But, sometimes His voice can be so strong, that is seems to vibrate and resound in us—like the sound of a roaring thunder—and it shakes us to the very core, and then we wonder why no one else around us heard it.
- Other times it can be more of an impression in our hearts, like something soft and refreshing that bubbles up from within, and then later the same message will come from other sources.
- Occasionally, it can feel like something heavy that is being weighted down on us, as His presence is so close, that it brings our head down in total submission and we just “feel the weight of His presence” as He brings awareness and a message to us. Sometimes this can be one word pressing down on us, and at other times it can be a phrase (or a portion of a song) that wraps around and ministers to us.
The word logos refers to the total inspired written Word of God (and can also be related to Jesus, who is the living Word). God is also very faithful in confirming His message. He desires us to hear Him and to understand His will for us. When we seek Him with a true desire to find and to know Him, He will make His Word clear to us. His Holy Spirit will help to bring His Words to mind in order to have an understanding of what He is about to witness to us in light of the circumstances we face. Sometimes when we are listening with a deep desire to hear His voice, when He is ready, His Spirit will speak so clearly to us it is as if two friends are sitting together visiting.
Remember that Jesus said in John 14, “He and God would come and make their home in us.” Jesus said God would send His Holy Spirit to help us. My friend, this is God’s Holy Spirit—the Father and Son together. They will not be separated, and they come together as the Holy Spirit to those of us who have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. It is the Holy Spirit who brings to mind the Word of God and brings a check in our Spirit when something isn’t quite right. It is the Holy Spirit who brings conviction to our hearts when God is taking us to task for something we have done wrong. It is the Holy Spirit who teaches us, and helps us to understand God’s Word when we read the Bible. It is the Holy Spirit who works out God’s peace in us when we are following in His will. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us to pray when we are at a loss for words and don’t know how. And it is His Spirit who takes our deepest sobs (and the cries of our hearts) and lifts them up into words that God hears and understands.
When Jesus ascended to heaven, He did not leave us to fend for ourselves; God did not forget His promise to us. THEY came to make their home in us, so that we could know the will of God, so that we could follow as God leads us on the pathway He designed for each of us, and so that we could simply KNOW God Himself—the one who calls us and draws us to Him and calls us His own.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you (John 14:16–18 NKJV).
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him (John 14:23 NKJV).
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 things that I said to you (John 14:26 NKJV).
♥ My friend, God’s Word is alive, are you allowing Him to seed it into you? Are you letting His Word be cultivated until it blossoms into fruit? The only way to do this is by first spending time in His Word, but it is time well spent! And it will change your life! I pray that you will start today—happy reading!
♥ Praying In Faith:
Father God, I come before You with thanksgiving, and a deep appreciation for the time You have given us to visit. Lord, I lift this reader up to You, and ask that You would search them. Lord, I pray that You will remove all the things that might hinder them from coming to know You. Lord, I pray that Your Word will be sown into them so deeply that no trial, difficulty, or storm can move them from their faith and that the enemy will not be able to steal Your Word from them. Lord, I also pray that You would open their eyes to see You, minds to perceive You, ears to hear You, and hearts to know You.
Lord, I pray that they will grow daily in Your Word, and that through them, others will see Your glory and come to know You. Lord, may they come face-to-face with You and may they come to hear Jesus knocking on the door of their heart. Lord, may they invite Him in and may the two of You make Your home in them through Your Holy Spirit.
In Jesus’ Name,