I recently finished reading a couple of books sent to me by my good friend Judy Pine in Orange, California. Judy and I met while working for the School of Extended Education at Chapman University. She is a “Kiwi” which means she was born in New Zealand. She highly recommended I read Tom Marshall, who is a fellow “Kiwi” and died the year after I was born. Sadly, his books are no longer in print but are available if you look for them. I was so blessed by his clear and succinct writing I wanted to share several insights that have changed the way I look at and utilize scripture.
In his book, “Foundations for a Healing Ministry,” Tom writes that God is Creator and His method of creating is by His Word. In Genesis 1:3, God says “Let there be light and there was light.” Psalm 33:6 tells us “By the Word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host.” In Hebrews 11:3, Paul reminds us that “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the Word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” This is known as creating ex nihilo – creating something from nothing. God not only created the universe by His spoken Word, but He upholds and maintains it the same way. (See Hebrews 1:3 and John 1:3.)
These are probably not new ideas to most of you reading this blog. However, let’s go a step further. Tom explains that human beings are made in God’s image and create in the same manner He does – by the spoken word. In Matthew 12:34-37, Jesus reveals that the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart. A good person brings forth good and an evil person brings forth evil. Our words have power and God will hold us accountable on the day of judgment for the words we have spoken – to either be justified or condemned.
The Bible has much to say about the Word of God, but I want to focus on two areas: faith and confession and spiritual warfare.
Faith and Confession
A big “ah ha” for me recently is the realization that the power of God’s Word cannot be fully unleashed in our lives unless we respond with both faith and confession. Faith is sincerely believing what God is saying or has said. The sincerity of our faith is the key, not the amount. God can use whatever we currently have – even faith as small as a mustard seed – to move the mountains in our lives. (Matthew 17:20)
Confession is the fuse that enables God’s power to flow through us. Speaking the Word of God in faith is consenting with our heart and lips to the Truth of what He says. Confession is an act of creation that results in God’s Word being manifested in our situation or circumstance. Tom Marshall points out that often what we receive in faith has to be spoken into existence.
Jesus summarizes the interaction of faith and confession in Mark 11:23-24 when He says “Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Paul also refers to it in 2 Corinthians 4:13: “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believe and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak,”
The important thing to remember here is that confession follows faith – it is not a substitute for it. Confession is not positive thinking, name it and claim it, or mind over matter. I have put this combination of faith plus confession to work in my own life by compiling a list of scripture that deals specifically with healing. Rather than reading passively and praying silently like I used to, I now confess the Word of God aloud on a consistent basis.
The Word of God is a powerful creative force.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us it is “alive and active” and 1 Peter 1:23 says it is “living and abiding.”
Isaiah 40:8 reminds us that God’s Word endures forever and is eternal in its power and effectiveness.
In Isaiah 55:11, God states that the Word that goes out from His mouth will not return to Him empty (or void) but always accomplish what He purposes and succeed in the thing for which He sent it.
Tom Marshall’s writing on the Word of God also provided some needed insight into current events. It helped me avoid falling into the trap of “leaning on my own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5-6) and feeling victimized. 1 John 5:4 reaffirms our victory through faith in Christ: “For everyone born of God is victorious and overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has conquered and overcome the world – our [continuing, persistent] faith [in Jesus the Son of God]. AMP
We are at war with a real enemy but do not wage war according to worldly methods. Let’s remember that the core issue in our fallen world is rebellion against God. The fundamental problem is a spiritual one that cannot be resolved by human political, economic, or legal methods.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 reminds us “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ. . .” We have been given the power of God’s Word to destroy the works of the devil.
Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Our battle is not with human beings, but with Satan and his demons.
In addition to a full set of armor, God has given us a powerful offensive weapon to fight our unseen enemy. Ephesians 6:17-18 reveals this is the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayers and supplication.”
James reminds us of the power of passionate, persistent prayer in chapter 5, verse 16 (AMP) “The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) is able to accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God – it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].
Keep on believing, keep on praying, keep on confessing, and expect to see God respond to your faith in ways that are “immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)