The King and I: Things New and Old #5
By Jane Carole Anderson on March 23, 2011
In my last post, I explained how God began to teach me to stop doing things on my own and to start trusting Him to work in answer to my prayers, especially with regard to my husband. Lest anyone misunderstand, I didn’t just go sit passively in my closet and wait for the big God-change to occur in him; rather, I started to pray and listen to God real time, day by day. As I prayed, God started to show me how capable He was. He also started to teach me about the importance of the Bible, which is the Word of God. By the way, when you see the word “word” in the Bible, it is either a translation of the Greek word logos or the Greek word rhema. Logos, in brief, means God’s thought and shows us that the entirety of the Bible contains the thought of God. Rhema, in brief, refers to an instant, or current, application of logos to our lives. In other words, rhema is a word God brings to mind that is from, or based on, logos. Through it God can communicate His thought to us about a matter in hand, most likely that about which we are praying.
Here is an example of rhema in my life: Many years ago, when my husband (who was a struggling, frustrated Christian at the time), would become angry, he would change from a calm, conservative, white collar professional into a swarthy pirate sailing under the skull and crossbones flag on the high seas and would let the vocabulary rip with the best of ‘um. I hated to hear him like this. He didn’t like his metamorphosis, either, but couldn’t seem to stop the inevitable when something went wrong.
One day when I was praying for him and his terrible “habit,” the Lord brought this verse to mind, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.” (Eph 4:29) I had the thought that whenever I heard him cut loose with his pirate verbiage, I should quote this verse. I was a little afraid to do this, because I knew it would make him angry, but I decided at the next opportunity I would give it a try. So, the next time his Captain Blackbeard persona appeared, I quoted my verse, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.” Captain Blackbeard immediately retorted, “@#!*@! Don’t preach at me!” I responded, “If you can say those things in my presence, then I can quote the Word of God in yours.”
Thus began a pattern. Every time, without exception, that I heard Blackbeard’s words, Blackbeard heard God’s words. Over a relatively short period of time, the Blackbeard persona stopped appearing. Many months later, I was with my husband in a car going somewhere when something happened and out came Blackbeard. I said nothing. He immediately turned to me and said, “Well?” I said, “Well, what?” He said, “Aren’t you going to say your verse?” I responded, “I don’t need to, you already heard it.”
Overall, from that time to the present, Blackbeard has remained in his prison cell, serving a life sentence. There have been a few times when Blackbeard has made a mad dash out of a momentarily unlocked prison door; but my husband, who immediately hears God speak to him through that verse, with a quick repentance, stops the old pirate in his tracks and throws him back into the brig.
God works with us in amazing ways in answer to our prayers. Sometimes He involves us in the answer, as in the story of Blackbeard and me. Other times He takes care of things without our involvement. (Having seen my propensity to lead on the dance floor, as previously described, I always have to be careful to wait for clear direction from Him before I do something.)
Having seen the power of God’s living Word over and over again, I have grown to love reading the Bible so I can become familiar with God’s thought, even if I don’t always understand it. Often, understanding comes when God turns what I’ve read into real-time rhema.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Heb. 4:12-13).
Praying for help or deliverance for myself or someone else doesn’t put me into a cop-out or do-nothing-at-all mode. Rather, it puts me in a watching-for-God mode. What a great way to live.
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