"...Art Thomas takes us on a journey toward plumb-line truth in the relevant and timely releasing of Father's "Words of Knowledge." There is no greater teacher than experience; and through biblically aligned experience, Art delivers a tremendous work that both teaches and empowers."
Founder of Converging Zone Network and
Visionary Advancement Strategies
Foreword by John Loren Sandford:
At last, an entire book teaching us what the gift of a word of knowledge really is—and in a balanced, thoroughly biblical, and theologically accurate way.
When I was filled with the Holy Spirit in 1958, few in old-line churches had received the Lord, much less having been filled with His Holy Spirit. It seemed nobody knew anything. The spiritual landscape was barren. We had to stumble into everything we now know by trial and error, repenting and trying again.
Since then, in only a little over fifty years, the Lord has resurrected the sleeping giant of the Church (as in Ezekiel 37:1-10); and the waters of revelation that were then only a trickle have risen until it’s wading and swimming time in order to keep up with the flow of what God is doing (Ezekiel 47:5). It is amazing how many varied, wise, and knowledgeable ministries God has raised up and what a multitude of books have come pouring out on nearly every topic since that time. But over the years, in all those essays, what has been missing (at least to my knowledge) is that none yet has written something well done and sensible specifically on the subject of the word of knowledge. Therefore, readers will find in Art Thomas’ book, The Word of Knowledge in Action, a great blessing. This book fills a gap in how to understand and employ this very wonderful spiritual gift.
Art Thomas begins with a concise and clear definition of what the gift of a word of knowledge really is—a momentary revelation of what is on the mind of our Lord Jesus Christ. Words of knowledge are simply the Holy Spirit revealing to us the thoughts of Christ that He wants us to know in any situation. The word is “momentary” because ordinarily, words of knowledge are not about the sweep of history but simply whatever is happening and needful to know in that given moment.
This definition removes the gift from our own possibly psychic strivings and places words of revelation solely within the present will of God. It makes clear that true words of knowledge are His enterprise, solely for His purposes. They are given by Him—not enacted by our own natural abilities. To me this comes as a breath of fresh air and a mighty relief since I have wrestled many times with the sad fruits of supposed words from Christians trying to serve God but being caught up in their own often fleshly strivings. Words of knowledge ought to emanate from Christians at rest in the love of God for them and proceed through them to others. Thomas rightly insists that words of knowledge are our Lord’s love, expressed through Christians who can hear and will respond.
He states again and again that it is one thing to receive a word of knowledge and another to know what to do with it. Being ourselves pioneers in the prophetic gift, Paula and I have had to regularly teach that if you receive something from God, that’s only part of the task. The greater responsibility is now on you to find out what to do with whatever He has given. Should you say it, remain still and ponder, or respond with intercession? How, when, and in what circumstance should you present what God has given? Art addresses these questions and more, carefully teaching how and when words of knowledge can be given in helpful rather than harmful ways. How valuable that is!
Much of the teaching is delightfully conveyed by stories and testimonies. Teachings in logical words come mainly through our left brain and do some good; but when stories and testimonies come, they move through the right brain into the heart, bringing healing or whatever good the Lord intends. Readers will find themselves quickened in faith and emboldened to risk trying their wings (and gently convicted by the question, “Why haven’t I been doing this enough myself?”).
Some have made the mistake of demanding that prophetic words and words of knowledge be expressed succinctly and with word-for-word accuracy, otherwise being considered false words. These critics have not understood the way of our Lord. The Holy Spirit can speak directly, succinctly, and accurately; but I think most often He chooses to speak through parables or by “dark speech.” Psalm 78:2 says, “I will open my mouth in a parable, I will utter dark sayings of old” (NKJV). There came a time when Jesus refused to teach except by parables.
Why “dark speech?” Why not clearly? For many reasons, but perhaps the most important is that He wants us to ponder. In the meditating, we will be drawn closer to Him, which is what He wants. Having to puzzle quickens our realization that Kingdom-living is purposefully an introduction into mystery, into a world where we can’t depend on our own knowledge and practiced ways. We can’t quickly and perhaps prematurely say, “I’ve got it,” and so basically say, “I don’t need You anymore, Lord; I know what to do.” Living with the jagged edges of mystery forces us into dependence on Him. Throughout the book, Art relates stories about how the Lord would give him and/or his team words that meant little or nothing to them, or even seemed irrelevant or nutty, but drove them to our Lord for more clarification. With this clarity, these words became door-openers to hearts and effective ministry. Struggling to comprehend puzzling words causes us to come to know and love our Lord far more than had He simply spoken directly, and that is what it’s all about anyway—falling ever more in love with our wonderful Lord.
A most pleasing thing to me about the book is that Art Thomas continually calls for death of self, and locates error where it truly originates—in pride. Readers should pay close attention to the chapter on pitfalls. Being both a teacher and counselor, I can’t tell you (being ethically restrained) the woeful stories of so many who could have been saved painful falls if they had only possessed opportunity to let this chapter sink deeply into the heart.
Finally, Art asks how we can receive the gift of a word of knowledge. Read the book; he will give you good advice for the searching. But I want to close this foreword by saying that first and above all you must let our Lord fill you with His love for people and His passion to heal and set lives straight. Paula and I filled seventeen books with keys of knowledge for ministry, all of which came as words of knowledge in the act of ministry. While ministering to someone, we would come up against blockages and things we couldn’t understand or know how to minister to. So we would cry out our usual fervent, intellectual, and righteous prayer: “Help!” Then, in the context of ministry, where need prompted humility, our Lord would give the revelations that became the books. We never got a word of knowledge just because we wanted to know more than we did. For us, words of knowledge always came as expressions of our Lord’s love in ministry to His loved ones, when desperation called from our hearts to His. Therefore I say, if you desire the gift of a word of knowledge, don’t seek it by itself first or only; seek to minister His love to others, and when you need it, He will pour His revelations into your mind and heart.
Let The Word of Knowledge in Action become your springboard into more effective ministry, and into the joy of knowing and loving our Lord Jesus more and more when you are truly given into letting Him express His love for others.
John Loren Sandford
Founder, Elijah House Ministries, Inc.
Excerpted from The Word of Knowledge in Action
by Art Thomas, published by Destiny Image Publishers