by John Edmiston
Walking In the Spirit
(A Ministry of Eternity Christian Fellowship)
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 HCSB (9) But as it is written: What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and what has never come into a man's heart, is what God has prepared for those who love Him. (10) Now God has revealed them to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God.
Now which things God has revealed to us by the Spirit? Things that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man. This is Heaven's true 'extra-sensory perception'! [ The Devil's ESP is but a poor imitation] It is God's information, information that lies beyond the physical senses or even beyond our own deductive abilities. And it is information about our blessings! About what God has prepared for those who love Him. The 'deep things of God' (v.10) are His amazing and astounding blessings!
Ephesians 2:4-7 MKJV But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us (5) (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), (6) and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, (7) so that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
It seems that we are so blind to our blessedness that it needs an act of divine inspiration to reveal God's love that is freely given to us!
1 Corinthians 2:11-12 MKJV (11) For who among men knows the things of a man except the spirit of man within him? So also no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. (12) But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and the passage above tells us that He alone knows the things of God (though Jesus, being God, is also included John 16:13-15). The Holy Spirit alone is truly aware how much God loves us and cares for us and has given for us!
Only the Holy Spirit knows the amazing plans and power of God and how He will act on our behalf. Only the Holy Spirit knows the full nature of God and can reveal Him to our hearts. Only the Holy Spirit knows the fullness of our redemption and can show us what we will inherit in Christ Jesus.
Only the Holy Spirit knows the Glory and how God will receive us into that glory and transform us to be like Himself, an immortal, imperishable spiritual being full of the life of God. And only the Holy Spirit understands the full meaning of scripture, the promises, the prophecies and the covenants that are Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus!
During the Last Supper Jesus explained how the Holy Spirit would reveal all truth to the apostles:
John 16:13-15 MKJV However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He hears, He shall speak. And He will announce to you things to come. (14) He will glorify Me, for He will receive of Mine and will announce it to you. (15) All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and will announce it to you.
So we see that the Holy Spirit takes the things of Christ, which have been delivered over to Him by the Father, and He announces them to us. This includes the things to come that is blessings that the apostles had not yet entered into (such as Pentecost) and the unfolding of God's plan. All these are: the things that are freely given to us by God. (2 Corinthians 2:12 above) These are things into which angels long to look!
1 Peter 1:12 MKJV To them it was revealed that not to themselves, but to us, they ministered the things which are now reported to you by those who have preached the gospel to you in the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
No w no amount of logic or persuasive preaching on its own can convince you of how much God loves you. You will still have doubts. The human heart is like that. We are naturally guarded about things that 'seem to be too good to be true'. But when the Holy Spirit swoops down in revival power people KNOW and they know that they know that God loves them absolutely and completely. You need a download of God's love from Heaven if you are to understand such things!
Romans 5:5 MKJV And hope does not make us ashamed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us.
Only God can open your eyes to His goodness so that you truly fall in love with Him!
Ephesians 3:16-19 MKJV that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; (17) that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, (19) and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.
As the Holy Spirit goes to work in our inner man we receive power and strength to understand the love of Christ which 'passes knowledge' (Heaven's extra-sensory perception again!) and we begin to download the glory so that we are filled with all the fullness of God.
Downloads from Heaven come about when God's Spirit blesses your human spirit with the knowledge of God and of Christ and of all the good things that we will inherit. Downloads from Heaven may happen as we worship, as we study the Bible, as we discuss things with other believers or even as we look at the night stars. A divine 'Aha' moment will happen and we will understand a bit more than we did before.
Now some people make a false distinction between the Spirit and the Bible, as if a really Spirit-led person does not need the Scriptures. On the contrary even the most casual reading of the New Testament shows that Jesus and the apostles had a very high regard for Scripture ( Matthew 5:17, 2 Timothy 3:16). Now if their priority as 'the ministry of the Word and prayer' (Acts 6:4) - that should be our priority also!
Downloads from heaven occur in conjunction with studying the Bible and do not, in any way, replace or over-ride the Bible. I teach exegesis and hermeneutics and take verse-by-verse bible studies in a local bible college. I also teach on the spiritual life in these devotionals. Both go together in a balanced Christian approach to revelation.
What are these downloads from Heaven like - and how can they help you to serve the Lord? How can you get in on the flow of God's personal revelation, direction and power?
Acts 10:19-20 MKJV And while Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said to him, Behold, three men are looking for you. (20) Therefore arise and go down and go with them without doubting, for I have sent them.
As Peter was puzzling over his vision on the rooftop (Acts 10) he gets a 'download from Heaven' the Holy Spirit speaks to Peter in a perfectly understandable sentence full of specific, present-moment instructions that Peter was to obey.
And things can get much more complex than that, especially when visions are involved:
Acts 9:10-16 MKJV And there was a certain disciple in Damascus named Ananias. And the Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias! And he said, Behold me, Lord. (11) And the Lord said to him, Arise and go into the street which is called Straight and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus. For behold, he is praying, (12) and has seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him so that he might receive his sight. (13) And Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard from many of this man, how many evil things he has done to Your saints at Jerusalem. (14) And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your Name. (15) But the Lord said to him, Go! For this one is a chosen vessel to Me, to bear My name before nations and kings and the sons of Israel. (16) For I will show him what great things he must suffer for My name's sake.
This brief vision include everything from specific street directions to theology! It even includes a two-way dialogue between Ananias and Jesus. Again it is something Ananias was to do in the present moment in order to advance the Kingdom of God.
Another instance occurred in the church at Antioch:
Acts 13:2-3 MKJV As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, So, then, separate Barnabas and Saul to Me for the work to which I have called them. (3) Then having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they let them go.
Again the instruction is straightforward and specific, names the people to be set aside for ministry and the church put it into action straight away, releasing Barnabas and Saul after some further prayer and fasting. Implementation was not delayed say three or four years into the future!
Phillip the evangelist gets both an angel and the Holy Spirit involved in his ministry:
Acts 8:26-29 MKJV And the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Arise and go toward the south, on the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is a deserted place. (27) And he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasure and had come to Jerusalem to worship, (28) was returning. And sitting in his chariot he read Isaiah the prophet. (29) Then the Spirit said to Philip, Go near and join yourself to this chariot.
So we see that the Holy Spirit is continually involved in directing the ministry of those who are fully committed to God. This guidance tends to be clear and specific, is related to a particular situation in ministry, and is generally is to be applied sometime in the fairly immediate future. (Even the prediction of a famine by Agabus was possibly so the church could start making proper preparations).
Such guidance comes to a great variety of people including laymen like Ananias, as well as apostles, prophets and evangelists. In fact downloads from heaven are built in to the New Covenant and flow from the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel where all kinds of believers of all ages, genders and classes of society would have abundant access to revelation:
Acts 2:16-18 MKJV But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: (17) "And it shall be in the last days, says God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. (18) And in those days I will pour out My Spirit upon My slaves and My slave women, and they shall prophesy.
Missionary biographies are full of testimonies to the fact that when ordinary people commit themselves to the Kingdom of God they will receive direction at every turn. Now does anyone give directions to a lamp-post or to a telephone pole? No because we know that the telephone pole will always stay just where it is. Some people are so 'fixed' in their ways that God does not often direct them. It has been said that it is much easier to steer a ship that is moving and so God steers His saints that are already involved in ministry (great or small). We see a good example of this moving with the movers in Acts chapter 16:
Acts 16:6-10 MKJV And coming through the Phrygian and the Galatian region; and by the Holy Spirit being forbidden to speak the Word in Asia; (7) having come to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia. But the Spirit did not allow them. (8) Then passing by Mysia, they came down into Troas. (9) And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A certain man of Macedonia stood, begging him, saying, Come over into Macedonia and help us! (10) And after he saw the vision, we immediately tried to go into Macedonia, gathering that the Lord had called us in order to preach the gospel to them.
Paul's missionary band first tried to enter Asia and God said No ; they then tried Bithynia and God closed that door. Finally at Troas they get a vision of the Macedonian call. Paul, Titus and Timothy were already listening to God and were seeking the next place to minister. They were prepared to obey, so they received the heavenly vision.
There is often a sense of stretching, risk, effort or personal cost associated with such instructions. Phillip could have said Hey I am having a great ministry here in Samaria, do I have to go all that way down to Gaza just to stand in the desert? Or Peter could have said Oh no I will really be criticized if I go and speak to those Gentiles! and of course Ananias had significant reservations about going to pray for Saul the violent persecutor of the early church. But in each of these cases obedience to the Holy Spirit brought a blessing that far outweighed the risk involved.
Indeed some of these situations defied the common sense wisdom of the day and the instructions from God would have seemed 'just plain weird' to those involved. That is certainly how Peter felt after his rooftop vision and how many others have felt as they have obeyed the Lord.
The center of God's will may not be located within our comfort zone!
Yet God's downloads may also be for our comfort and edification, for instance when God spoke to Paul after he was opposed in Corinth:
Acts 18:9-10 MKJV And the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, Do not be afraid, but speak, and be not silent. (10) For I am with you, and no one shall set on you to hurt you, for I have many people in this city.
Or God's instructions to Cornelius:
Acts 10:3-6 MKJV About the ninth hour of the day he saw plainly in a vision an angel of God coming to him and saying to him, Cornelius! (4) And he was gazing at him, and becoming terrified, he said, What is it, lord? And he said to him, Your prayers and your merciful deeds have come up for a memorial before God. (5) And now send men to Joppa and call for Simon, whose last name is Peter. (6) He is staying with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seaside. He will tell you what you must do.
Or the deliverance of Peter from jail;
Acts 12:6-9 MKJV . And behold! An angel of the Lord stood by, and a light shone in the building. And striking Peter's side, he raised him up, saying, Rise up quickly! And his chains fell off his hands. (8) And the angel said to him, Gird yourself and put on your sandals. And he did so. And he says to him, Throw your robe around you and follow me.
a) God the Holy Spirit can give us
specific, clear, plain language instructions
b) These generally are related to ministry situations in the immediate or near future
c) All Christians are entitled to receive them because of the New Covenant
d) However those who are already involved and obedient receive them more often
e) Obeying these instructions results in glory for God
f) There may be significant risk or discomfort involved in obeying God's instructions
g) Yet they may also be for our comfort, consolation, deliverance or blessing
Downloading Wisdom From Heaven
The Holy Spirit fills people with intelligence, wisdom and craftsmanship and can make an ordinary person possess extraordinary gifts:
Exodus 31:1-6 HCSB The LORD also spoke to Moses: (2) "Look, I have appointed by name Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. (3) I have filled him with God's Spirit, with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every craft (4) to design artistic works in gold, silver, and bronze, (5) to cut gemstones for mounting, and to carve wood for work in every craft. (6) I have also selected Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be with him. I have placed wisdom within every skilled craftsman in order to make all that I have commanded you:
Bezalel is the first person in the Bible to be called 'Spirit-filled'. Now notice the kind of wisdom here craftsmanship, designing artistic works in gold, silver and bronze, working with gemstones and fine timbers. And this wisdom was not just restricted to Bezalel it continued down the line to Oholiab and was given to 'every skilled craftsman' who would work with them on the tabernacle. This was practical wisdom and skill that was divinely imparted by God so that these men could carry out God's designs and do God's work.
The original design for the Tabernacle was given to Moses who received it directly from God:
Exodus 25:8-9,40 HCSB "They are to make a sanctuary for Me so that I may dwell among them. (9) You must make it according to all that I show you--the design of the tabernacle as well as the design of all its furnishings." . Be careful to make everything according to the model of them you have been shown on the mountain.
Hebrews tells us that the Tabernacle was a copy and a shadow of the heavenly things:
Hebrews 8:5 HCSB These serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, ... For He said, Be careful that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain.
And later on, during the construction of the Temple, God gave the design of the Temple to David who then passed it on in intricate detail to Solomon (1 Chronicles 18:11-19).
1 Chronicles 28:11-19 HCSB (11) Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the vestibule of the temple and its buildings, treasuries, upper rooms, inner rooms, and the room for the place of atonement. (12) The plans contained everything he had in mind for the courts of the LORD's house, .(David concluded) "By the LORD's hand on me, He enabled me to understand everything in writing, all the details of the plan."
God can impart wisdom about even the most practical details of life such as farming!
Isaiah 28:23-29 HCSB Listen and hear my voice. Pay attention and hear what I say. (24) Does the plowman plow every day to plant seed? Does he continuously break up and cultivate the soil? (25) When he has leveled its surface, does he not then scatter cumin and sow black cumin? He plants wheat in rows and barley in plots, with spelt as their border. (26) His God teaches him order; He instructs him. (27) Certainly black cumin is not threshed with a threshing board, and a cart wheel is not rolled over the cumin. But black cumin is beaten out with a stick, and cumin with a rod. (28) Bread grain is crushed, but is not threshed endlessly. Though the wheel of the farmer's cart rumbles, his horses do not crush it. (29) This also comes from the LORD of Hosts. He gives wonderful advice; He gives great wisdom.
So we see God teaching and instructing the farmer on how to plant, harvest and process his crops! This is the opposite of the ideas of Greek philosophy - that would not deign to involve God in such mundane matters as wheat and barley. Yet Isaiah tells us that God willingly gives the farmer wonderful advice and great wisdom! God is practical.
Some people are much wiser than others. They are 'on the ball', they make the right decisions, they have a 'right spirit' or an 'excellent spirit' within them and they are full of good sense possessing a balanced perception of life. This is why Joseph and Daniel and Nehemiah and Ezra and Esther and many others rose to positions of power and influence. They were given wisdom from God. They got downloads of wisdom from Heaven.
How do we receive such valuable wisdom and insight to help us in our daily life? Like everything else in the New Covenant, wisdom is a free gift of God, given by grace in response to faith:
James 1:5 HCSB Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.
James 3:17 HCSB But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy.
God wants you to ask Him for wisdom. He wants to fill you with wisdom and knowledge in every area of your life - both spiritual wisdom and practical wisdom. He can:
a) Give you a vision of a divine pattern or way of doing things as He did with Moses
b) Fill you with skill in your
work as God did with Bezalel and the craftsmen
c) Help you to figure out the right approach to different things as God did with the farmer
d) Give you grace and inspiration to design something e.g. David & the Temple
e) Give you wisdom in administration as God gave Daniel, Joseph and Nehemiah
f) Impart a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ (Ephesians 1:17)
Wisdom can also include knowing the times and seasons, discernment in relationships, skill in speech and anointing for ministry. God can download these things into your spirit just as He did for Solomon when Solomon prayed for wisdom.
1 Kings 3:11-12 HCSB So God said to him, "Because you have requested this and did not ask for long life or riches for yourself, or the death of your enemies, but you asked discernment for yourself to understand justice, (12) I will therefore do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has never been anyone like you before and never will be again.
1 Kings 4:29-30 HCSB God gave Solomon wisdom, very great insight, and understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore. (30) Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, greater than all the wisdom of Egypt.
God can download wisdom from Heaven into your spirit and into your mind and heart to face every situation in life from how to handle your children to how to design a circuit board. God is interested in every aspect of your life and wants to help you to succeed in your every endeavor. This includes ministry but is not restricted to ministry. If you abide in Christ the Holy Spirit will open and anoint your mind and teach you about all things:
1 John 2:27 HCSB The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don't need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him.
Practical Application: Write down three areas where you need wisdom in life and then pray for God to give you this wisdom according to His gracious promise in James 1:5.
Downloading the Supernatural Gift Of Knowledge
This morning I was driving back from dropping my wife off at the train station when the Lord told me to stop at a certain cafe and order a plate of bacon and eggs and hash browns. I hesitated to do this as I had only $5 in my wallet and this cafe was not particularly cheap. Anyway I went to the cafe and found there was a Friday breakfast special bacon, eggs and hash browns for $3 - so I even got a cup of coffee thrown in as well! (And the special only applied to the bacon, eggs and hash browns!!)
Now that is not very earth-shattering. No revival, no one came to the Lord, no big deal. However that is precisely why I am sharing it! God is also concerned with the small things and even knows when I need a delicious breakfast. Now I did not get that idea 'on my own' in fact I resisted the idea. I had no human knowledge of the 'special'. It was a small chunk of supernatural knowledge a mini-sized heavenly download.
On a more significant level God can give divine information to solve very urgent problems such as the bitter waters of Marah:
Exodus 15:22-25 MKJV And Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. (23) And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, because it was bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. (24) And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? (25) And he cried to Jehovah. And Jehovah showed him a tree. And when he had cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a decree and a law for them, and there He tested them.
Now God supernaturally imparted knowledge about a certain tree that would cure the bitter waters: And he cried to Jehovah. And Jehovah showed him a tree. And when he had cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.
God can put His ideas in our brains. And if the idea is from God it will work, it will fix the problem, and it will sweeten the bitter waters.
God can tell you what doctor to go to for healing, what medicine or herb to drink, what stocks to buy or even how to fix your computer (this has happened to me more than once).
God can also tell you which person to witness to, or what to do next in your ministry or what is going on in the heart and life of a person that you are counseling. People may then say 'how could you have known that!' . That is the supernatural gift of knowledge.
Paul received revelation from God about what to do during the storm and the subsequent shipwreck:
Acts 27:21-26 ISV After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood among them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me and not have sailed from Crete. You would have avoided this hardship and damage. (22) But now I urge you to have courage because there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. (23) For just last night an angel of God, to whom I belong and whom I serve, stood by me (24) and said, 'Stop being afraid, Paul! You must stand before the emperor. Indeed, God has given you all who are sailing with you.' (25) So have courage, men, for I trust God that it will turn out just as he told me. (26) However, we will have to run aground on some island."
and a few verses later on Paul directs the ship's crew:
Acts 27:30-36 ISV Now the sailors were trying to escape from the ship. They had lowered the lifeboat into the sea and pretended that they were going to lay out the anchors from the bow. (31) Paul told the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men remain in the ship, you cannot be saved." (32) Then the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and set it adrift. (33) Right up to daybreak Paul kept urging all of them to eat something, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day that you have been waiting and going without food, having eaten nothing. (34) So I urge you to eat something, for it will help you survive, since none of you will lose a hair from his head." (35) After he said this, he took some bread, thanked God in front of everyone, broke it, and began to eat. (36) All of them were encouraged and had something to eat.
God was turning Paul's situation around through supernaturally given knowledge. Instead of being a prisoner Paul was now the leader and commander. People were listening to Paul because he had information from God, and this information was proving to be highly accurate.
An extraordinary example of supernaturally given knowledge is in Daniel chapter 2. King Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream and had asked not just for an interpretation but for the astrologers to tell the King the dream itself with no prior hints or information. The Chaldean astrologers were terrified as King Nebuchadnezzar was threatening to kill them all. They told the King that this was an impossibility, indeed that no one could know what the king had dreamed! But Daniel and his three companions went to prayer and received an answer from God that solved the problem:
Daniel 2:19-23 MKJV Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. And Daniel blessed the God of Heaven. (20) Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. (21) And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. (22) He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. (23) I thank You, and praise You, O God of my fathers, who has given me wisdom and might, and have made known to me now what we asked of You. For You have now made known to us the king's matter.
Daniel knew God as One who reveals the deep and secret things and who knew even what was in darkness. God is a giver of wisdom, might and understanding. And God can give us knowledge that is completely inaccessible to normal human reason (such as knowledge of what someone has just dreamed).
Later on Daniel would go on to say that such revelation belongs to God alone and did not flow from any wisdom that might be in Daniel:
Daniel 2:27-30 MKJV Daniel answered before the king and said, The secret which the king has demanded cannot be shown to the king by the wise men, the conjurers, the horoscopists, or the fortune-tellers. (28) But there is a God in Heaven who reveals secrets and makes known to King Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.... But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living man, but so that the meaning might be known to the king, and that you might know the thoughts of your heart.
God reveals things to us not so that we might be prideful but so that we might serve God better: so that the meaning might be known to the king, and that you might know the thoughts of your heart.
God can reveal anything at all to you from how to fix a diesel generator on the mission field to how to preach a sermon next Sunday. As we saw with the farmer in Isaiah 28:23-29 God can even give knowledge about wheat and barley and dill and cummin!
This can include complex topics such as languages. I once had a teaching visit of a few months to a remote tribal area in Papua New Guinea. The local language was highly complex with 14 verb tenses yet in a few weeks I had grasped enough to be able to prepare my lectures and do handouts and outlines for the book of Isaiah. Now it was God who downloaded those language skills into me! It was His wisdom and not mine!
When you pray like Daniel and his three friends then God will give you a heavenly download of knowledge that will solve the problem. When you cry out like Moses by the waters of Marah then God will pint out the solution that sweetens the bitter waters. And when you stand for God in the midst of the storm like Paul did then you will be taken from captive to commander through the specific information about the situation that God will impart to you.
Please believe that God can give you the knowledge that you require and diligently and prayerfully seek Him for it!
Different Types of Heavenly Downloads
There are at least four kinds of downloads from Heaven that I can detect in Scripture:
1. Downloads that change the way we think at a deep level such as those that give us a much greater awareness of God's love or which give us a far deeper knowledge of Christ. Paul often prays for this kind of wisdom to be given to the early Christian churches (Ephesians 1:17-19; Philippians 1:9; Colossians 1:9,10)
2. Downloads that impart specific wisdom and skill such as building the Tabernacle or the wisdom given to Solomon about justice and various kinds of other matters
3. Downloads which impart knowledge that solves immediate problems: such as God telling Daniel what Nebuchadnezzar 's dream was, or pointing out a tree to Moses that would turn the bitter waters sweet.
4. Prophetic downloads of the rhema word of God that expose the hearts and minds of people or which reveal the plans and purposes of God. (We will examine this in more detail in the next study)
All of these types of downloads are given by the one Holy Spirit, for the glory of God, for the edification of the saints, and for the building up of the Church.
Because they are from the same source they must all work together. It is not a matter of picking and choosing which kind of wisdom that you prefer. You must ask, seek and knock , in prayer, for the wisdom you need for the work that you are called to do.
Now some may feel that they have sufficient wisdom. Perhaps you have a M. Div. Or even a Ph.D. - and praise the Lord that you do! But that will not show you the answers to many of the situations that you will encounter in life. You may have to deal with a suicidal person, or with a demon or with some very complex ministry situation. When you get the feeling that you are 'swamped' and 'in over your head' and unable to cope, then you should cry out to the Lord for a heavenly download of wisdom that will turn everything around.
The first way that God may turn everything around is by changing you! In particular God may change your beliefs and perspective on things, renewing your mind so that you see situations through His eyes and with His love, grace and eternal patience. Most crises either disappear or become much smaller when viewed from the Lord's perspective. We learn that He is faithful and that His grace will be sufficient for us, even in our extreme weakness:
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 MKJV (9) And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may overshadow me.
The second way that God may change everything around is by giving you a new skill. By downloading something into your system that you can use over and over again. You may be a naturally shy person but God may turn you into a great preacher, or you may be unlearned but God may open up the Scriptures to you so that you 'have the Bible in your blood'.
The third way that God may change everything is by giving you specific, immediate knowledge that defies explanation but which solves the problem at hand. You may know what someone is thinking, or where they need healing, or what the desires of their heart are, or God may give you a piece of knowledge 'out of the blue' on how to fix something. You may 'just know' that someone is dangerous or you may be able to repair a marriage by suddenly knowing where the real problem lies.
Fourthly God may allow you to speak a prophetic word into a situation. God may give you the gift of New Testament prophecy for the building up of the church. This is the ability to speak His 'rhema word' into specific life and ministry situations. The 'rhema word' is a s spoken word, utterance, or saying that is given by God the Holy Spirit. Rhema is used 40 times in the New Testament:
It is referred to by Jesus during the Temptation in the Wilderness:
Matthew 4:4 MKJV But He answered and said, It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word (rhema) that proceeds out of the mouth of God."
Rhema includes the words that Christ spoke during His ministry:
John 3:34 MKJV For He whom God has sent speaks the Words (rhemata) of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.
Luke 7:1 MKJV And when He had ended all His words (rhemata) in the ears of the people, He entered into Capernaum.
and to the words spoke by the angels to the shepherds at Jesus' birth:
Luke 2:17-19 MKJV And seeing, they publicly told about the word spoken to them concerning this Child. (18) And all those who heard marveled about the things spoken to them by the shepherds. (19) But Mary kept all these sayings, meditating in her heart.
And the rhema word brings eternal life:
John 6:63-68 MKJV It is the Spirit that makes alive, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life. ... Then Jesus said to the Twelve, Do you also wish to go away? (68) Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the Words of eternal life.
The rhema word can only be perceived by the spiritually receptive:
John 8:47 MKJV He who is of God hears God's Words. Therefore you do not hear them because you are not of God.
And listening to and abiding in God's rhema word opens up possibilities in prayer:
John 15:7 MKJV If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.
Peter and the apostles then went and preached the rhema word that brought life:
Acts 5:19-20 MKJV But the angel of the Lord opened the prison doors by night and brought them out, and said, (20) Go! Stand and speak all the words of this Life to the people in the temple.
The 'rhema word' (when used in its theological sense which is the vast majority of the time) is the word that strikes home, the word that brings eternal life, the preached word of power and transformation. It is the anointed word of God, like the words that fell from the lips of Jesus and the apostles. It is the special word of spiritual wisdom that is downloaded directly from heaven.
BRIEF ADDENDUM FOR THOSE WHO LIKE GREEK
The very general word for Word or saying is logos. Logos (and its direct derivatives) are used around 302 times in the Greek New Testament. Logos is employed for all sorts of purposes. It can mean Christ as the eternal word of God, or it can mean a saying or teaching of Scripture. Logos can also refer to a spoken reply of Jesus or a statement by one of the bible characters. Logos is the all-inclusive umbrella term for communication and can even include some 'rhema words'. Thus rhema is a distinct sub-set of logos.
The written Scriptures are generally referred to by the terms gramma (as in letter writing) or graphe (specifically Scriptures) these words are used some 66 times in the New Testament - of which 52 refer to the Bible or portions thereof.
There is also considerable overlap and interaction since Jesus is the logos and the Bible speaks of Christ and Christ speaks the rhema word into situations and the rhema words of Christ when written down in the gospels became the Bible and so on.
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