Contributed by Sally Jo Hansen Bowen
You can read more from Sally on her blog at TheTempleLife.com
The Word Transforms Lives
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them—Ephesians
Jesus is The Word. The gift of salvation is multifaceted, and when we read the Word, we get in touch with the magnitude of the Living God and our salvation. The Word is not one-dimensional. In fact, it is eternal. It is an eternal promise of LIFE. It is an eternal promise of God’s plans, his “workmanship” in us to be all that He envisioned for us starting before time and forever. When we read the Word, we receive revelation on the nature of God, and transformation of our soul from “glory to glory.” Salvation embraces Life beyond comprehension, but I am listing a few names of God that illustrate some of His multidimensional aspects through the endless meanings of His name from www.Bible.org:
“JEHOVAH – JIREH: THE LORD WHO PROVIDES:
The Revelation of the Name Jehovah-Jireh, Genesis 22:12-14. The meaning of this name is The Lord Who Provides. The name is, literally, The Lord Who Sees, or The Lord Who Will See To It. This is what we long for when we have a need that is personal and special; One who will see to our needs and provide for us. This is what Jehovah-Jireh means; the Lord Who will see to it that my every need is met. One who knows my need because He sees. One who is able to meet my need in just the right time as He did for Abraham, and One Who can meet it fully. (For Abraham, it was the ram caught in the thicket that was offered in Isaac’s place.) For us it is whatever we need.”
The fulfillment of the scriptures is found in our personal relationship with a loving God in Jesus Christ, who is the “Bread of Life.” Jesus speaks about the love of God in the Sermon on the Mount in terms of His provision for us (Mathew 5:7.) We hear from God through reading His Word.
“JEHOVAH – RAPHA: THE LORD WHO HEALS
The tree made the difference in the taste of the bitter waters in the wilderness. (Exodus 15). When we think of the many bitter experiences of life, what tree has made a difference? Surely in the light of Calvary, the “tree makes a difference;” in the cross of Jesus Christ. The bitterness of life can become sweet. Exodus 15:26 give us the revelation of the name. God says in the last part of the verse, “…I the Lord Am Your Healer.” Literally, I am Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord Who makes bitter things sweet.
The name Jehovah-Rapha is a name that speaks to us and our need today. We live in a stressful world and society. Every day new problems confront us and we bend under the load of seemingly unsolvable problems. How can Jehovah-Rapha bring healing to a sick world?”
The fulfillment of the scriptures is found in the stripes of Jesus Christ by which/whom we are healed. (Isaiah 53) Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy. When we think of the bitterness of loss, abuse, sickness, and emotional pain, these are areas in our lives Jesus came to heal. Bitterness also comes in the form of unforgivness—when we refuse to forgive the wrongs done to us our soul is bitter. This reflects in everything we do–a bitter root goes deep and infects our lives and our capacity to love. We find the sweetness of the Lord in the Word. “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)
“JEHOVAH Â€“NISSI: THE LORD OUR BANNER
The Revelation of the Name Jehovah-Nissi; The Lord Our Banner, Exodus 17:15-16. This name has to do with warfare. In this instance, the warfare involved God’s very own. Our Father is willing to wage warfare on our behalf. One area of great battle has to do with our carnal nature. Many of the things we struggle with have to do with our sinful nature. However, God has made an escape through the power of His Holy Spirit.”
The fulfillment of the scriptures is found in the armor of God who is Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 6:) The helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, girding our loins with truth, shedding our feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, taking up the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit. The sword of the spirit is the Word of God. When we allow scripture into our prayers, meditation, and spiritual Warfare like Jesus did while tempted in the desert, we defeat the enemy. The Gospel of Peace is the Word. Salvation is found in Jesus who is the Word. The shield of faith is Faith in what the Word says.
I have been praying Psalm 91 over my family for years. Personalizing scripture by putting a name of someone in the verse—is powerful also.
This is my testimony regarding the Word of God. Following the encounter I experienced with Jesus, (Our Identity in Christ) the first book of the Bible I read was Ephesians. I have no idea why I read that book first, but it was what God directed me to because He knew it would impact me more than anything—and seal what He had just done in my heart.
When I read Ephesians, I embraced my place in the household of God as an adopted child. I embraced the Father’s love in my spirit—but it took many years to call God, “Abba Father.” I embraced the fact that God is beyond our comprehension—there is a mystery that we do not recognize regarding God. God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure (Ephesians 1:9). Wow. I had been seeking God for so long and now I finally understood. The second book I read in the Word was the Gospel of John. These books were so foundational in the way God worked out my identity in Christ. From there, He led me to read the Word from beginning to end recognizing how Jesus comes into the scriptures in symbolic and prophetic ways.
I read the Word the second time through in the Amplified Translation of the Word. This led me to study Hebrew and the culture of Israel in light of the fact that Jesus was a Jew—more specifically—Jesus is a Jew and so are we in terms of being ingrafted in the vine of Israel.
But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree–some of the people of Israel–have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree (Romans 17:11)
Bottom line: we are “new creatures” as members of the household of God. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus ( Galatians 3:28).
I have not memorized much scripture except in putting many psalms to music. But the thing is, based on all the dysfunction and false beliefs in my life; I was very confused about what was true—what was real—and how to trust. Reading the Word has deprogramed my conditioned belief system.
What I really want to share is how the Lord has spoken to me through His Word. The Word is living and has the capacity to create something within our being. This is how we are transformed. But what I wish to focus on is the fact that as believers, sometimes we don’t take the time to consult, meditate, or listen to the Word. We often attend Church, believing that this pleases God in the assembling together and it is but—often we go to church to “get” something. Let me tell you something. If this is your motivation—you will not find what you are looking for.
God wishes to fill you with Himself to overflowing. He wishes to reveal Himself in the Word of God. He wishes to transform you into the image of Christ—from Glory to Glory. He will transform you into the image of Christ while at the same time creating the original vision He has for your life.
Read the Word. Reading the Word will lead you into the Promised Land of the abundance, provision, joy, peace, wisdom, revelation, forgiveness, love, and acceptance, to be like Jesus read the Word—delight in it.
Note: I would like to suggest reading Psalm 119. Pray beforehand and ask God to work in your spirit what it means. Read it until you understand what it is speaking about.