(My wife, Liz, is a guest blogger today. Enjoy!)
There are aspects of the Christmas season that drive me a bit crazy! The long lines, the guessing game I feel unconfident playing of making gift-giving thoughtful, and how to plan Christmas events in a way that “makes the season bright.” Not to mention the fact that our asymmetrical living Christmas tree (that we cut down) has fallen over twice on its face! And our puppy ate at least ten downed ornaments, mistaking them for chew toys.
But, it’s still a wonderful life, especially because the Apostle John defines Christmas this way, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) In the midst of traditional Christmas hang-ups and distractions, what does this mean?
John’s Gospel describes Jesus as “the Word.” (John 1:1) In the first verse of John’s first epistle, he again refers to Jesus as “the Word of life.” (1 John 1:1) If Jesus was “Word” from heaven sent to earth, and He promised “to never leave us nor forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5), then He is still speaking, and YOU ARE MEANT TO HEAR HIM. He is the Word that speaks! Every speaker needs a receiver.
A good friend gave me a mug for my birthday with the words, “Jesus and Coffee” stamped on it. I wish I didn’t like coffee so much, but the words on the mug say it all about how Steve and I start our day. At about 5 am, he rises in darkness and makes us his amazing French press coffee (4 scoops of beans,15 seconds in the grinder, and 4 minutes soaking in the steamy water); and we open the day listening to and talking with God, “The Word.”
Logos and Rhema
In the New Testament, there are two Greek words that translate into English as “word.” One is Logos*, which means God’s written word spoken in the past, the Biblical text. The other is Rhema*, which means, the Word of God speaking to us personally and presently; it is the word God impresses upon us in a timely way–the living Word from the written Word, highlighted in our hearts.
William Edwy Vine’s An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words explains that Rhema is “the individual Scripture which the Spirit brings to our remembrance for use in time of need, a prerequisite being the regular storing of the mind with Scripture.”
In other words, you cannot have the Rhema word without the Logos word. We need to take time in the Logos word in order to hear and recognize the instructional, life-giving Rhema word our gracious Lord speaks to us–the same way that a Good Shepherd would faithfully guide a vulnerable and confused sheep.
Someone wisely described Logos as “a well of water, while Rhema is a bowl of water from that well.”
Rhema Rising out of Logos
The other day, I got a Rhema word from the Lord. I was especially troubled about some situations in my personal life and in our nation. I was doing some housework and with great clarity, I heard this phrase pop into my head, seemingly out of nowhere–a Bible verse I already knew, “This kind does not come out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21, Mark 9:29) When Jesus said, “this kind,” He was referring to a demon in these verses.
AHA! All of a sudden, the Lord told me by that phrase that the scenarios which were making me feel vulnerable and confused were demonic, and prayer and fasting would be the only resolution. WOW! While I know how challenging fasting and prayer can be, Jesus also assured me of sweet victory through my compliance with His personal Rhema message. I immediately began a fast with a new, appropriate plan of prayer.
In the hustle-bustle of the Christmas season with more shopping trips to carry out, more hospitality to prep for, more events to show up at, Steve and I want to encourage you to take silent, unhurried time each day to get into the Word, your Bible, even if it’s at 5 am!! You don’t want to miss out on hearing the “WORD.” After all, the WORD is the reason for the season.
Have a Word-filled Christmas,
*Some verses using the word, LOGOS: Matthew 7:24, Mark 4:14, Luke 5:1, John 18:32, Acts 6:1.
*Some verses using the word, RHEMA: Mark 14:7, Luke 3:2, John 14:16, Acts 11:14, John 6:63, Romans 10:17.