Galatians 3: 6 – 7

In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.

Righteousness is one of those ideas which confounds us. We often confuse it with holiness. We tend to think it has much to do with our behaviors. It turns out that righteousness is a measure of the condition of our hearts.

I have heard righteousness described as “rightness” with God. I find that a very practical definition. One might say, we stand in our “right” place with God or we are in right standing.    In this, we are drawing near to an understanding. Our right standing isn’t about what we’ve done “right” or, indeed, even the absence of having done something wrong. It is not a holiness measure. Paul shows us that right standing with God comes by faith.

In this passage Paul wrote that it was Abraham’s belief, not in God, but in what God said that marked him as righteous. Abraham believed God. That means he counted as truth the words from God. Likewise, Paul wrote, those who also believe God, believe His words and put their faith in Him are the children of Abraham and heirs to all the promises.

I wonder, sometimes, what draws people to be children of God. What causes us to give our lives to God. Purely from self-interest, the promises made to Abraham should motivate people to draw unto God. When we read the promises, do we believe God? Surely, most people desire to walk in the blessing, but do we truly believe that God will cause those things to happen for us?

It is precisely when we take God at His word that He counts us as righteous. I know this is backwards from the way we think. However, we would do well to wrap our minds around this ideal. Even the sin in our lives will not bar us from righteousness if we believe God. Now, that is a huge statement. It flies in the face of convention. However, it is also truth. Am I advocating nonchalance towards sin? Of course not. That is plain foolishness. We are to walk as Jesus walked. However, the walk begins with faith and belief. If we take care of the belief problem, the sin problem will sort itself out.

Ask yourself today whether, or not, you truly believe God and Christ, his son. Do you just believe in them, or do you believe them. See, believing IN God, really doesn’t say much. If you think about it, Satan believes in God. He is a usurper precisely because he believes in God. Yahweh is asking us to believe Him which equates to believing His Word. Challenge yourself to believe what you read in the Bible. May I say, if you are not reading His Word, it is improbable that you can believe it.

I have been sent to Christians rather than to the unsaved. My mission is to call Christians to higher ground, always higher and more enlightened in the things of God. In so doing, we become that family of believers that God desires.

Big Dreams

Psalm 37: 4

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

This certainly sounds like good news to me. You? And yet, I wonder. There seem to be many people who have not identified the desires of their heart. What is your dream? What do you want?

I remember when I was young that I didn’t go after everything I wanted. I kinda waited for things to come to me or for my parents to provide. There were definitely some things I would have liked to have done, adventuring types of things but I never told my parents. Those things were in my heart but not before my eyes. They were not where I could grasp them, so I didn’t pursue them. I regret that.

Life is different now. I understand my heavenly Father and that He wants to bless His kids. I now do with Him what I should have done more frequently with my parents. I tell Him what is in my heart. There is an important point buried in that statement though, because the thing I find I must do is to search my own heart.

Have you searched your heart lately? Do you know what is in there? Some call it soul searching. I find I need to spend time searching my heart. You know, you can go along believing you are pursuing your ambitions and yet when you slow down and search your heart find that your desires have changed.

Some people are going along without any dream at all! I don’t want to be that person, ever! To me, that isn’t living. It is existing. I do not believe our Lord gave us all these wonderful words to live by so we can just live day to day without a goal or ambition. I believe He wants to continue to fulfil our dreams until we step into the fulness of eternity where we will live our dreams fully.

This life is a dress rehearsal for the rest of eternity. We are authorized to dream big and to communicate those desires to the Father of fulfillment. I think about Ephesians 3: 20 where Paul described our Father, “who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” Paul teaches that our Father thinks bigger than we do and is able to fulfill dreams more grand than anything we have yet thought about or asked for. Come on! That is big! This verse would not exist if we were not supposed to have dreams and pursue them. It is part of God’s plan that we should take our heart’s desires to His throne room and give them to Him.

If you cannot, right this moment, say what your dream is, then take some time alone and search your heart. If all things are possible, and with God you know they are, then what do you want?

Here is my advice. Develop that deep desire. Communicate it to the Father and then Don’t Take Your Foot Off the Gas! Or, for the cyclists, Keep Pedaling. Don’t let age, failure, deadbeat relatives or anything steal your dream! Second, find someone who will agree with you. If you don’t have that person in your life, call me. You haven’t dreamed a dream big enough yet that I can’t agree with you! Let’s give Dad some fun things to work on. Let’s go big!

May your heart’s desires be fulfilled, in Jesus’ name.

Calling All Believers!

Matthew 9: 28, 21: 22

And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this? If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Yesterday I sent you an unusual Word of the Day, unusual because I have never before asked you to give to this ministry. That wasn’t easy for me but there was a specific reason I made that suggestion and request. First, if you are being fed by this ministry, you should support it, but that is not why I wrote you as I did yesterday. I wrote to you trying to get you blessed.

Why am I anointed to teach the gospel? And for whom? Why did God give me that anointing of increase Sunday? All the anointing that is on me was given for you. I don’t benefit from the anointing on me. I benefit from the anointing that is on Jesse. However, no matter what gifts God sends, it up to each one of us to receive them. So, I want to tell you another story.

A couple of years ago, I decided to test God on this finances thing. You see, we all have trouble believing. As you can see from today’s verse, Jesus couldn’t always get around people’s doubt. Anyway, I took one dollar and sowed it. I prayed over it, I declared, and I put God on notice that I was going to see what He would do. Well, very shortly thereafter I received a check for fifty dollars. Okay, I was expecting one hundred but, where else do you get that kind of return on your money. So, being quite serious about sowing, I sowed the entire fifty dollars. Guess what ministry I sent it to. Jesse Duplantis Ministries. I sent that fifty dollars as soon as I got it. I was working on something. So, then I sat and waited. I was expecting the hundredfold return. And I waited and waited. I began to tell Father, “Hey, you owe me some money here.” Still nothing. Then one day I heard the Father’s voice say to me, “I will make it up to you on your truck.” Well, the thing there was that I wanted a new Tahoe, but I couldn’t afford it. So, I waited some more. Then I reminded Father, “You owe me money!” Again, I heard Him say, “I will make it up to you on your truck.” Okay, fine, but didn’t He understand that I couldn’t afford a Tahoe? How was He going to make it up to me? This went on and I held on though I couldn’t see anything coming in. Some days I was despondent. Other days I was full of faith. Through it all, though, He gave me the strength and tenacity to hold on. Now you see why I titled yesterday’s Word of the Day as I did. I understand. Anyway, time went on and I could see no way I would be able to afford a new Tahoe, but that is the vehicle my heart was set on. Well, long story short . . . you would like the looks of my pretty new Tahoe. I got it in December, and I still don’t know how it happened. What’s more, I got a new stationary bike for indoor training and sold my old Tahoe for the amount that I was going to donate it for. All of this happened within a week and it was purely the blessing of the Lord. Dad isn’t a liar!

Now, what are you going to do? “Do you believe that I (Jesus) am able to do this?” “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” So, who are my believers? Do you believe God is able to do something for you? Some of you sowed yesterday as soon as you read the Word of the Day. God bless you! I am going to pray a prayer over those donations that will rock the walls of hell. Some of you didn’t sow a gift to Ivey Ministries. Why? Why didn’t you? Do you not believe that Jesus is able to bless you? Are you having a battle with doubt? What do you think? You are not the only one to doubt. If you read Monday’s Word of the Day you know that the Lord said to each of us, “Those speculations, wonderings, worries, all those mental gymnastics, must be brought to kneel at Jesus’ feet.” See, all that matters is what Jesus says.

But here is the hard part. Do you believe him? I mean really believe him? Are you willing to risk something on his word? Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is,” as the saying goes. Don’t think I don’t know how hard it is to do, but sooner or later we have to decide where we are going to stand. Are you a believer or are you not? Are you going to let Jesus bless you with this special blessing he has for you? Who wins in your heart faith or doubt?

God is able to make all grace abound to you, but you’ve got to get in the game. You have to choose to be a part of this. I am screaming with my outdoor voice that God is doing something here. Let Him include you. Be a part of the blessing. Do you believe?

Calling Those Things

Romans 4: 17 – 21

17 (as it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you”) in the sight of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.
18 In hope against hope he believed, in order that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, “So shall you descendants be.”
19 And without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb;
20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God,
21 and being fully assure that what He had promised, He was able to perform.

This passage is a keg of dynamite ready to go off in the spirit of the one who can receive it. There is so much to glean from it, but I wish to focus on three points.

1. He grew strong
2. He believed the promise of God meant something and could be relied upon.
3. Speak those things

First, this passage, speaking of Abraham, says that he “grew strong”. This shows that he did not begin strong. Abraham is called the father of faith, but that faith was no more inherent to him than to us. He grew in faith. If you read the account of Abraham’s life, you will see that he was not a paragon of faith in the beginning. He learned and he grew and his faith grew with him. Notice also that he considered the “true” facts, his age and Sarah’s inability to have children, but he did not allow this to disuade him from God’s promise. It is okay to acknowledge facts, but you do not have to accept them as truth. They are only circumstantial and temporary. Abraham was able to recognize the obstacles, but he did not let them negate the promise of God. He grew such that the promise of God was bigger in his heart and mind than the facts.

Second, Abraham took God at his word. He believed that what God said, He would do. He also believed that God was able to do what He promised. When your faith feels small and weak, don’t look at it. Look at God. We measure the value and weight of our faith, but we need not. We only need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12: 2). As we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and the Father all things, do, seem possible. If we measure the size of our faith, it always seems wanting. Our faith never looks large enough to measure up to the task. Yahweh, however, is large enough to believe in. Focusing our attention on Him brings us to a place of agreement with Him. Abraham believed that God was not a liar and would do all He promised. So, we don’t focus on the facts or the littleness of our faith but rather on the majesty of the God who promised.

Last, Paul recognized a key behavior of God’s. Namely, that God calls into being that which did not previously exist. Hence, we are back to the power of words. The simplest expression of this principle is, you shall have what you say. Because we are made in God’s image and live according to His authority, we operate in this earth as He does. The power of intentional speech is beyond what we currently understand. It is how God created the universe. Unfortunately, the influence of unintentional speech is impactful too, which is why Jesus warned us about careless words (Matthew 12: 36).

We have been given authority in the earth to call things into being as our Father does. This is one of the key things Yahweh is teaching us. What we say matters, but more than that, when we appreciate the link between speech and creation, we will use our words as a painter uses her brush. The creative power of the universe is in our mouths. We can call into being that which does not exist, and the truth is that we are affecting our health daily with the things we say. So, we must use this power, this power of God, to call health into being where it does not exist.

There is a reason Jesus taught us to “say” something to the mountain. He understands creative power and he knows that reality is shaped by what we say. That is also why he said nothing when he was being tortured and questioned. He knew he would shape destiny with his words. He had to keep silent. Likewise, we shape our destiny. We can call those things which currently do not exist into being.

Set your eyes on the promises of God and on He who promised. Gaze upon His majesty and allow yourself to grow in faith and belief as you marshal your tongue into agreement with all He says. Call yourself the healed. Call yourself strong. Be the healed and the strong of Yahweh.

What do You Want?

Matthew 21: 21 – 22

“Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the seas,’ it shall happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.”

Jesus was keen on prayer. All things, when approached through prayer, are, he taught, possible. He didn’t need to speak to us directly on healing because he was interested in all things. The conclusion being “all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” So, here is the question, have we asked, while believing, for healing. Let’s do that today, shall we?

What physical ailment have you? I know we often have several but let us choose one to focus upon today. Imagine Jesus is holding a healing meeting. You see yourself walk up to him. He asks, “What do you wish healed?” You tell him. Then he asks, “Do you believe I can do this?” What do you respond?

Jesus deals with a world of unbelief. In fact, most of the people who read this verse read it in unbelief. Want me to prove it? When Jesus spoke of casting the mountain into the sea, was he speaking literally or metaphorically. Most people do not believe Jesus was speaking plainly. In fact, Jesus had a very difficult time being understood because when he was being quite literal, people took him as speaking figuratively. Let me give you the inside scoop on the meaning of today’s verse. Jesus spoke literally. He meant exactly what he said. You don’t have to look for the hidden meaning. He meant that if we understood and believed, we have power over the physics of this planet and could, literally, cause the mountain to be removed. However, because of doubt and unbelief, we have made his words capricious, though that is not how most of us would describe Jesus. So, it turns out that we only categorize him as fanciful when we encounter statements that our faith is too small to handle. This, then, is the task, to believe Jesus. How can he teach us if we will not take him at his word? Do we believe him or do we not? If we will answer this very basic question, we can move forward.

In yesterday’s Word of the Day, Jesus taught that God would do what we ask when two or more of us agree about anything. Today we learn that anything we ask will be done for us if we ask without doubting. This is where the work comes in. Twice Jesus has said that Father will do all things for us, but the condition of faith is sometimes a tough hurdle to get over. We have a difficult time believing Jesus’ words. How, then, are we going to believe he will actually do what these scriptures promise? Harder still is that we must move out of our thinking centers, our minds, and into our believing centers. You would either call that your heart or your spirit. You see, we sometimes “believe” with our minds though doubt remains in our hearts. How can that be? Well, your mind is not your believer. What we really should say is, “I think that is true,” because we are actually thinking in agreement, but have not graduated to believing in agreement with Jesus. How do you get your spirit to come into alignment with Jesus’ words?

It comes down to these tools again: mediation, prayer, visualization, rehearsal. This is where it is beneficial to write down a key verse and talk with Jesus about it continually. Visualization is very helpful. See Jesus sitting in a chair at your house and ask him to teach you how to have the kind of faith you need. See him sitting there teaching you and even praying for you. Watch as he lays his hand on you and prays for your healing. Do this until the switch goes on inside you. All of a sudden you have an “aha” moment.

These things should be the most natural things in the world, but because the world is broken, it has come down to work for us to believe and see as we should. You, however, are built as a faith machine. You are God’s own handiwork. Listen to me in this! He has prewired you with the network to believe all things. You even have the capacity to look with your God given visionary ability and see that mountain get up and jump itself into the sea. Do not be discouraged. Jesus sends you this good word today so that you will be encouraged. All things for which you ask and believe, you shall have. It has been proven time and time again. You are the blessed, living in the blessing. This is your birthright and God’s will. Fire up that believer and ask what you will because the Father is willing and waiting to get into agreement with you. What do you want?

Say What?

Proverb 18: 20 – 21          Tree of Life Version

From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled – with the harvest of his lips he is satisfied. Death and life are in the control of the tongue. Those who indulge in it will eat its fruit.

Of all the challenging things we are instructed about, bridling our mouths is the most difficult. It is also extremely important. Not only are life and death hanging in the balance, but our provision is constantly affected by the things we say.

To be fair, there is some debate regarding the importance of our words. Some believe that words only have power when they are charged by belief. I completely agree that the synergy between your heart and mind is as an amplifier. However, this passage does not equivocate nor make exception so while I agree about the heart/mind connection, I would warn about taking this verse lightly. I believe it means what it says, and that Solomon knew of what he wrote. Take it at face value and make your language comport to your desires.

One of the reasons I believe this is so important is that your mind hears the stupid things your mouth says. Your mind does not distinguish between careless foolishness and intelligent affirmation. It believes everything you say. If you say your toe hurts long enough you may begin to believe it. If you consistently confess something about yourself, whether or not it is a factual statement, it may become true because you will convince your heart of its veracity.

Second, what you say other people have a right and propensity to believe. If you put yourself down, whether a person agrees intellectually, they are likely to be influenced by those ideas. You are going to make it true by repeating it.

Third, there is an entire spiritual realm that none of us fully understands. In that realm, God spoke and created. We do understand that right now, even though we are seated on earth, we are also connected with the spiritual realm. It is a part of life on earth. It is the Kingdom. Jesus taught us that one of the ways to interact in the Kingdom is through our words (Mark 11: 24 – 25). When you read that passage you will find that what you believe when you speak is important, vitally important, but he said to speak to the mountain, and it would move. He was showing us the power of our words.

I am not trying to argue with anyone about the importance of belief. We are looking for truth. There is no value in being right, only in God’s truth. I am, however, trying to get us to take seriously the things we say. Saying that you are “scared to death” certainly has no positive value. Right? You can argue it won’t kill you, but I will argue it does not add anything positive to your life. Further, it just makes sense to me that a person wouldn’t speak death over their life or body.

Words are power vessels. Use them with wisdom and discretion. Anything else would seem foolish.

What are you Saying?

Romans 4: 17        God’s Word

Abraham believed when he stood in the presence of the God who gives life to dead people and calls into existence things that don’t even exist.

This is a good time to teach about Abraham. We will visit him next week as well. Today’s verse continues the thoughts of yesterday’s Word of the Day. And so, here is the question, “What are you saying?”

I love this version of the Bible and its rendition of this verse. Abraham is called the Father of faith because he believed even when the promise of God seemed ludicrous. One of the things that made it a bit easier to believe is that he stood in the presence of God. I find that the more time I spend in God’s presence, the easier it is for me to believe too. So, now I am thinking, “I just need to spend more time in God’s presence.” It’s true. When I slow myself down and mediate in him, my ability to hear Him is improved and understanding and faith increase. The hard part, at least for me, is in quieting everything about me: my physiology as well as psychology. Mind and body can be unruly partners, but I have decided that I am lord over my body and my mind, and they will behave. Further, the more I submit them to Jesus’ lordship, the more peace I enjoy physically and mentally. That’s phase one, getting quiet in God’s presence.

The next thing I need to model about God and Abraham is “calling those things.” What is this? Abraham took his cue from our Father. We not only model Abraham, but we can see what he learned from the Father. Therefore, we have two very good role models. What we see when we observe them is that they said what they wanted before the thing even existed. They actually called those things which were not into existence. This is where it gets sticky for some people, but it needn’t.

Some people say, “Well, I can’t call myself healed when I am sick. That isn’t true.” Here’s the thing, when you shift your gaze you find it is true. I wrote a piece about shifting the frame just a little. It is amazing what you will see when you move the frame. Make a frame with your hands and then narrow your focus to only that which is inside the frame. What do you see? Now shift the frame. What do you see now? If you’ve played the game with me, you will find a totally different picture within the frame. Now, here is the question, “Which one represents truth?”

Here’s another way to play this game. Do you have something you can use as a frame and fix it in place? If not, you have to do this with your brain. Fix the frame either literally or figuratively and take a picture of what you see with your internal eye. Now remember that picture. Do not move the frame, move yourself. Move your body. Now what do you see? Again, if you played along, the picture has changed although the subject neither moved nor changed. You changed your perspective. You changed your vantage point. Now, again, which picture represents the truth? Of course, truth has not actually changed, only our perspective and perception changed. This is the greater reality. This is (T)ruth with a capital T.

Abraham was able to call himself the father of a multitude because he had a new perspective. It was one of faith and belief. He could close his eyes and see this truth. It is the most natural thing in the world to say what you see. We do that all day long. We assume that which we perceive with the natural eye is “true” although we know it’s not always so. Why, then, is it so challenging for us to believe that what we see with the eyes of our spirit is truth? In this, we have identified the real work of faith that Jesus spoke of. This is the “work” that he wants us to do. Once we see his truth, it becomes an easy thing to speak that reality.

One last thing before I let you go, and it is another question. Speaking both literally and figuratively, who is in control of the placement of the frame and the perspective of viewing? Who is the director of this film? If you answered Jesus, you are half right. Hopefully you also recognize that ultimately you are the director of the film. You have to set up the camera and shout “action.” Then you sit back while Jesus rolls out a movie for you. If you will keep your camera focused on him, he will show you are version of reality that you can sink your heart into and speak with confidence.

This leads back to the beginning. What are you saying? We must listen to what comes out of our mouths and police it, if need be. That isn’t all though. Phase two might be tuning our eyes and spirits to Jesus’ version of truth but ultimately we must transition to phase three which is intentionally calling those things into existence which do not currently exist in the natural realm. That is the point we want to get to. That is the meaning of this verse, but sometimes you have to fix your believer first. This is exactly, how your Father created the earth. He called things which didn’t exist into existence. Was he not speaking truth? He was speaking the truth He saw in His spirit and it had to come into existence. That is your charge. See what Jesus wants to show you and then speak it out in confidence. See your protective shield, see your healing. Say what Jesus says about you. Amen?