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Abide 6 – The Bible Is the Primary Way to Hear God  

Day 1 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2)

Introduction   What a joy to hear the voice of God! And rejoice that this is something that you can grow in throughout your life. It’s like all aspects of prayer – no one really is an expert. The reality that God is ABOVE ALL and ETERNAL and ALL KNOWING means that there is always more to learn from him.   

Or as Jeremiah declares, Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV) Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Do you have an attitude of curiosity, hunger, and a desire to keep growing? God wants to reveal his heart, his ways, and his strategies to you – not about everything, but about everything that relates to how he wants to use you. This is thrilling!  

In the midst of this excitement, it’s vital to embrace a key truth though, namely, that the Bible is the primary way to hear God. It is not accidental or random that those who read, meditate on, and study their Bibles hear God more frequently and with greater accuracy.  

How does God speak to a person through the Bible?  

God Speaks to Us Through the Bible in Two Different Ways   This will be a bit of a review from Abide 5, but is very important to fully understand.  

First: he speaks through the “logos”   Three times in the New Testament, logos is personified and applied to Jesus. For example, in, John 1:1, 14 (NIV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…. Here it is talking about Jesus!  

What you see is that God expressed himself (what a word does) through his Son, Jesus. Another passage highlights this, Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV) In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son ….  

The rest of the time logos simply means: “What God has said or has to say to you.” This is the word of God to everybody: the Bible (Genesis to Revelation); the Ten Commandments; the Sermon on the Mount; and so on.  

This “logos” is the foundation for the other way that God speaks through the Bible - through rhemas.   Second: he can give us a “rhema” – a specific word from the Bible   This is a specific message, given for a specific person, at a specific time. This is where you’re personally impacted by something in the Bible. That is, the Holy Spirit takes something from your Bible reading and, suddenly or over time, it begins to grab you in very powerful way. This can be further explained through an illustration: suppose a follower of Jesus says to a group of people, "I love you." This could be true, in a very general way. And if their spouse was sitting in that group, it would include them as well. This is a “logos” type of word. However, if that same person walks over to their spouse, leans down close and whispers, “I love you,” there will be a different reaction! Same words, but more specific.   This is what the Spirit can do when he gives you a “rhema” word in your Bible reading.  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. In what 2 ways does God speak to people through the Bible. Explain the difference.  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Read Matthew 4:1-11. Notice how Jesus takes the “logos” (Old Testament passages) and applies it to his very specific situation.

2. Can you think of a time when God used a verse or passage and applied it directly to your life personally, either immediately or over time? If yes, write this down.

3. Take your answer to the previous question and share it with someone. Being a follower of the Way includes learning to share your “God-story” with others.

4. Review John 15:5-6, Romans 12:2, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 5:8.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 11:1-19.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 2 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2) Today, and the next few days, you’ll see how receiving “rhemas” from the Bible can be incredibly valuable. In total, rhemas can be the key to six different things.  

First: rhemas are a key to understanding saving faith  

Paul says that, Romans 10:17 (ESV) … faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Now it’s time to discuss some grammar for a bit. Stick with it – this can really help you understand the need for rhemas. Don’t worry, it will be short! There is no definite article in the Greek, where it says, “the word.” Instead, it should read, “a word” of Christ. That makes all the difference in the world, because “the word” would refer to the written word, meaning that faith comes from hearing the Bible. But it says, “a word of Christ!” And that means it doesn’t HAVE to refer to the Bible!  

Second, the Greek word for “word” is again “rhema.” Therefore, when you take these two grammatical points together, you see that Paul is referring to something different than the written word of God – the Bible. Put another way, rhemas can be very important for someone to give their life to Jesus! This is what is meant by, “saving faith.”   In fact, the experience of many people proves this! There are those who give their life to Jesus as they hear preaching, or someone shares Jesus with them, or they make a commitment through a dream, or vision (e.g. many Muslims today). These are through rhemas!  

Second: rhemas are a key to getting the faith to act and obey  

God has many plans for you to serve him, to obey him and to expand his kingdom. But how do you get the confidence to take action? Again, as you read the Bible, God will highlight specific things that sparks something inside of you, giving you courage, desire, etc.  

To illustrate this, an example from church history will help:   Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a brilliant German theologian who left Germany due to the rise of the evil dictator, Adolf Hitler. Dietrich was planning to settle in New York. However, he stayed in New York for a very short time, heading back to Germany to serve his people and nation, eventually being executed for his resistance to Hitler. Now, how did Bonhoeffer get the courage to act? Well, God gave him two rhemas, from the Bible – personalizing two passages to guide him. On June 24, 1939 God spoke to him through Isaiah 28:16 The one who believes doesn’t flee. And on June 26, 1939 God spoke to him again: 2 Tim 4:21 Do your best to come here before winter.  

What might God ask you to do? Whatever it is, courage will often be required and the faith to act. Receiving rhemas from the word can help you immensely!  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What 2 things might rhemas be useful for, according to today’s reading?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Can you think of a time in your life when God gave you very clear direction, where you really had to step out in faith? What happened? Write down this story.

2. Find someone who is as experienced in the faith as you are, or more experienced.

Ask them Life Application Question 1. It is great to hear the faith stories of others! This is how you can, “spur one another on,” as you are commanded to do in Hebrews 10:24.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 11:20-30.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 3 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2) In the previous day, you saw that rhemas, which you can receive while reading the Bible, are the key to two important things. Today, two more keys will be highlighted.  

Third: rhemas are a key to claiming God’s promises to us   Did you know that there are over 700 different promises in the Bible? Receiving a promise from God can be a powerful and significant part of one’s journey in the Way! But are all of these promises for you? Can you “claim” all of them?  

Obviously, some promises are in the category of, “logos.” They are for everyone, all the time. For example, the promise that God will never leave or forsake those who love him – you can take that promise for yourself, because it’s an eternal promise for a general group.  

There are also precise instructions and promises that were meant for a specific person at the time. You can see this in the story of Abraham and Sarah. When Sarah was 90 years old, and Abraham was 99, he announced that they were going to have a baby! God had promised this to them. This is definitely not a promise for everyone!   Then there are promises that God speaks into your spirit as you read the Bible, that are meant only for you! Here’s a story that illustrates this, from a follower of the Way:  

“When I went through a season of terrible anxiety, I had a stretch of weeks where I only slept for a few hours a night. I began to call my bed a, ‘bed of suffering’ – it was so bad. One particular Saturday I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore. I cried, and I cried out to God. Then he directed me to Psalm 127 and the verse that says, ‘and he grants sleep to those he loves.’ Then the Holy Spirit spoke into me and said, ‘tonight, that promise is for you!’ I slept 10 hours that night and even though I struggled for a few more weeks, that specific promise and night gave me so much hope, hope that I had previously lost.”  

Fourth: rhemas are a key for understanding answered prayers  

Here’s a remarkable statement from Jesus, John 15:7 (NIV) If you remain in me and my words [rhema] remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. Many treat prayer like throwing darts randomly at a dartboard – hoping something sticks! This is SO discouraging, because then you’ll rarely recognize God’s work in your life! Some even get mad at God or confused when this happens. So sad.  

But there’s a much better way! When you abide in Jesus, which includes reading the Bible, he will suddenly apply something you read to your actual life and circumstances. Then you start to pray based on what he said to you, which is his rhema TO YOU. And because it is from him directly, the prayer WILL get answered! And then you will have joy in your relationship with Jesus. This is such an incredible way to live!  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What 2 things might rhemas be useful for, according to today’s reading?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Read Psalm 23 today. Ask God – “are there any promises for my life specifically, from this passage?” Do not force anything. If God gives you a promise, great! If not, that’s totally okay!

2. Spend some time in praise – thank God for any promises that he just gave you. Either way, praise him for his willingness to speak to you!  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 12:1-14.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 4 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2) In the previous two days, it was noted that rhemas received while reading the Bible are the key to four important things. Today, one more key will be emphasized. Through this, may you marvel at God’s goodness to his children!  

Fifth: rhemas are a key to receiving guidance from God   Stories of God’s direct work in your life can be very encouraging and life-giving as you face new challenges. They are like fresh air and they inspire others. Today, a longer story from Pastor Ray Duerksen is shared, as it powerfully illustrates the impacts of rhemas, and of course, has encouraged many to persevere in their own journeys of learning to hear God’s voice. Enjoy!  

Story of move to Woodstock, Ontario (1984)   We had started a church in Woodstock on March 18, 1984. At the same time, I was finishing up Bible College in Kitchener, Ontario, where we were also living. In May I was praying, asking the Lord if/when we should move to Woodstock. Immediately I received a clear rhema word in my spirit: “Do it!” I got up, walked over to the landlord next door, and gave notice to vacate by the end of June. Within 24 hours the landlord had already signed a lease with the next renter for July 1st. Only problem – we didn’t have a place in Woodstock yet because the vacancy rate was zero! An agent showed us a house that could be rented from Rev. and Mrs. Allen, who were being reassigned to a church in Windsor, but who wanted to keep their house for future retirement. The Allens agreed to rent the house to us, but we couldn’t have the house until Sept 1st! Problem: A family of 6, out of a house on July 1st, with no house to move into until Sept 1st! Still, we were confident that God had led us to move and so we weren’t worried at that point.   The days went by, and all the while God was encouraging Fran and I in our devotions. In fact, on June 20th with only 10 days to go (and nowhere to go!), Fran got an amazing rhema: Jeremiah 10:17-18 (KJV) Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitants of the fortress. For thus saith the Lord, ‘Behold I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once.’ Fran and I danced in the kitchen because we were certain it meant God would move the Allens out of their home in the next 10 days, a full two months earlier than what they had said! On my Sunday-morning prayer walk in Kitchener, with only 7 days left, the Spirit told me that I was to share with our little church what I believed he had promised us. I finally agreed. On Monday the little church fasted and prayed. And every day we waited for the Allens to call.   Finally, Saturday, June 30th (moving day) came. Everything was packed and ready to go. We waited for the call from the Allens to tell us they were moving out, but they didn’t call. Finally, I called them, and he cheerfully told me they were going on vacation. When they returned, they planned to slowly pack up so we could move in on Sept 1st! I couldn’t believe it! I hung up the phone in disbelief! Had God failed us? Had we misread his voice? What about his reputation and ours? So many people knew what we were doing now!   But that wasn’t our only problem that day. The truck that was supposed to move us hadn’t arrived, and now a moving van had pulled up with the possessions of the people moving in. The people were very angry that we weren’t moved out. We despaired and sank to our knees, crying out to God. Then we got up and I began to call around to find out where our crew of movers were. They were in Pickering, on the other side of Toronto, moving his in-laws instead. It was now Saturday afternoon of the long weekend - the busiest moving day in Canada! And all the trucks were rented out long before. What would we do? At 5 pm Fran called one of the truck rental companies in desperation. A man answered her enquiry: “Lady you’re in luck. I don’t think the person who was going to rent the truck has the money. But you have to come and get it immediately because we’re closing for the long weekend.” We were SO excited to have a truck …   Only problem: we had no one to help us load; we had nowhere to go; and it was almost supper time by now. And I was supposed to preach the next day in Woodstock. So, I backed up and began to load the truck by myself - Fran had 4 kids to look after, 5 and under. I hadn’t been loading long when the neighbor noticed and came out with his brother-in-law who had been a professional mover at one time. They offered to help. Then a few other people, prompted by the Spirit, came by and we had all the help we needed. At 5:30 pm we began loading and by 7:30 pm we were loaded.   I will never forget Fran standing on the truck step looking at me and with her eyes asking: “What do we do next?” I looked at her and said, “All we own is in the 22 feet behind us. We can’t go back because they’re moving in. So, the only way we can go is forward.” And so, we set off for Woodstock, me driving the truck; Fran and the kids in our little Honda Civic following behind; with no idea where we’d stay for the night. For two nights we rented a motel room at $65 per night, and then I’d pick up a big bag of day-old donuts in the morning for breakfast. For noon and supper, we were asked out. Sunday evening a friend said, “Check out the place next to me. I think the lady moved out.”   So what, I thought? With a 0% vacancy rate, surely someone had already signed a lease earlier. But my friend called the landlord, who was just leaving for a fishing trip and was in a hurry. The landlord explained that the woman who had been living there for four years had suddenly moved out on Saturday, without any notice! So, he was happy to rent it out to us for two months, giving him time to get other renters. When we arrived with the truck, the former tenant had returned to clean the rental. I asked her why she had moved. She had lived there for 4 years with her son and was getting remarried in one month. You’d think she would simply stay one more month and then move in with her new husband. But no. She said, “Last Tuesday (remember, we fasted on Monday) I suddenly had an idea to move in with my girlfriend for one month until the wedding, and then move in with my husband.” Now why would anyone do such a thing?! It makes no sense! Until the Holy Spirit powerfully reminded me of the verse: “Gather up your wares, for I will fling the inhabitants out of the land!” I stood there stunned!   Now you can’t just pack up your house, get into a moving truck, drive into any city you like, and expect that God will provide a house for you, a job and money to survive, based on those verses! And come to think of it, neither can I!

That was one personalized word for Fran and I at ONE specific time for ONE specific purpose! Jesus promised such guidance: John 16:13 (NIV) But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears...  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What is something that a rhema is useful for, according to today’s reading?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. What is a really big answer to prayer that you would like to receive? Ask God to speak to you about his will on this matter. Write it down in your journal and make this a consistent prayer request now!

2. Review John 15:5-6, Romans 12:2, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 5:8.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 12:15-21.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 5 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2) You can skip ahead to the Life Application section for today.  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7) You can skip ahead to the Life Application section for today.  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. If you have not memorized what each letter of SMORP means, take some time to do so today. You can find it in Abide 1, Day 4.

2. Read Psalm 103:2-4

a. Let God speak to you through the Bible, about anything he wishes.

b. Read these three verses carefully (reflect and meditate). Ask the Lord in prayer to reveal something out of the Message and Obedience parts of SMORP.

c. Remember: Anything worth doing is worth learning! It will take practice!

d. You didn’t learn to walk, talk, ride a bike, swim, read or drive a car on your first try!

e. It took much practice! And so will this!  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 12:22-50.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 6 Obedience 1. Here are a few attributes of God – he is a Rock, Faithful, Compassionate, and Almighty. Spend some time in prayer, asking him how these specifically apply to your life right now.    


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