You Win

Psalm 73: 28

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Thy works.

Here is David’s answer to the success of the world. He found his rest and his success in the shelter of the Lord. Take your time with this verse and feel the intimacy David had with the Father. That kind of close relationship is worth everything the world has to offer. What can you imagine would be greater to have than a personal closeness with God Almighty? I cannot conceive of anything better. David could always retreat to his place of fellowship with the Lord. It was his refuge and his hiding place. In his relationship with the Lord were his safety and his well-being. When you attain that kind of familiarity with the Lord, then all of the other needs are just automatically fulfilled. In God is everything we could ever possibly need or want. Seek Him and this kind of intimacy and you will have no want of anything.

I Know Where You’ve Been


Acts 4: 13

Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John, and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.

Now how would you like this to be the testimony that people speak about you? This is what I would like my testimony to be, that people can tell that I have been with Jesus. Oh Glory!

I read a book a couple of years ago which I cannot place my hands on now in order to tell you the title but I recall reading about some of the great saints of early American history. What made such an impression on me was that people could see with their own eyes that these people had been with God. It was remarked about one man that when he left his room of prayer there was a perceptible glow about him.

The presence of God lingers on us. As we spend intimate time with Him we are changed. We become increasingly like Him. Our thoughts change, our words change. His anointing resides with us as we abide in Christ and it shows. People may not always know what they perceive but they will know there is something about you.

I believe we are entering the days when people will marvel and recognize us as having been with Jesus. My reaction when I read that book was to spend more time in prayer. However, just because I was spending a chunk of time “in prayer” does not likewise mean that I was spending time with Jesus. I was still works oriented, i.e. “If I spend more time in prayer I will have more of Jesus.” What I have since discovered is that if I give more of myself to Jesus then I will have more of Him. It is the integration of my spirit with His that is increasingly helping me to know Him better and thus reflect Him better. I am not saying that I have laid hold of it yet but I am learning that this time of intimacy with the Lord marks me. I am different when I have spent quality time with Him.  When I haven’t the old Ivey begins to arise from the dust and ashes. I find myself less tolerant and less forgiving and the razor tongue comes back. You wouldn’t look at that person and see Jesus but as we let ourselves relax into His embrace, into His presence then we take on His grace and it shows.

I realize that people who are afraid of intimacy have trouble here but Jesus is the man who can help. He knows all there is about being tough and tender and believe it or not, he really makes it okay to open your heart. He will take you into a quiet, private, safe place; in fact, you can determine the place for yourself if you want. That is what I had to do in the beginning. I actually put God across a conference room table from me at one time. The key is in you being comfortable and that is what the Lord wants. He will meet you at your point of need. Just begin the dialogue. Tell Him that you want people to see Him on you when you leave His presence. Invite Him into the space you design and let Him speak to your needs. He is a loving Father who wants to pour Himself out to you.

We are the people; we are the generation that can walk in this grace. We have only to embrace the idea and then Father will cause it to happen. He desires for this to be the testimony of each and every one of us. You can have this report about you that people recognize that you have been with Jesus.  What a glorious report!


Trust in the Name

Psalm 9: 10             NIV

For those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Well, there are two pretty loud messages in this one short passage. The first one is about knowing the name of God and the confidence that builds in the hearts of His people. There are several aspects to this first idea. You know by now that “God” is not our father’s name. It is only a title. When you know His real name then naturally your relationship grows with Him as you use that name instead of the antiseptic title which has no familiarity attached to it nor any personal attachment to Him. People throughout the ages have called every kind of thing “God”.

There is some confusion regarding the accurate name of God but don’t get hung up on that. The name was hidden for eons and there are language issues but that is just puff and stuff. You can ask Father what name He wants you to use in your private discussions. I use the name Yahweh and I am quite comfortable with it though you may learn that YHWH (without the vowels) is certainly accurate if not more so. Some people use the name Jehovah and that works too. They are all derivatives of one another. We do not want to get caught up in Semantics although the study of all of these ancient words is awesome. I go back to Exodus where Moses asked the Lord who he should say sent him and the Almighty said, “I AM WHO I AM”; “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3: 14). The Lord’s declaration of I AM is where the name of Yahweh comes from. It is that idea of He who is, who was, and who always will be. So that is the first name I use for our Father and using it instead of a title brings me into closer unity with Him.

Secondly, we know that beyond his personal name, the Lord had many descriptive names that He shared with the Israelites. I cannot go over all of them in this format but there are several books that list and describe the many descriptive names of God. I personally enjoyed Marilyn Hickey’s book on the names but there are plenty out there to choose from. One such name is Jehovah –Jireh which means “Our Provider”. Each of these descriptive names of God provides a greater insight into who He is and His relational positioning with us. Therefore, each one brings greater confidence and comfort to our hearts.

Lastly, He, our God and Father, has never forsaken any who have sought Him. I can testify loudly to this. When I sought Him, He reached out to me and took hold of me. When you seek Him, you find Him. I flew out to California and in typical lawyer fashion I put Him on notice that I was going to that conference to get Him. He must have laughed out loud but I was serious. I earnestly sought Him and my life has never been the same. 

You Shall Know Me

You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.           John 8: 32 

I am … the truth.                          John 14: 6 
If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.              John 8: 36 
Truth and freedom are all in one nice package; Jesus. If we will come to know Jesus who is the truth, the life and the way, then we shall at last experience true freedom and the peace which comes with it.

Jesus longs for us to come to know him in truth. He came into the earth to bring us back into close fellowship with the Father and he, Jesus, is the way to that close, personal fellowship. This is a key difference between Christianity and all the world religions. It also marks a significant departure from the Old Testament ways. It is not at all different, however, from how it was in the beginning when God first created humanity. Adam and Eve used to walk with God in the cool of the evening. Can you imagine taking an evening stroll through the garden with God? Can you see Him reach out and put His arm around you as you walk along the little stream that flows through the garden? Just as you cross over a little footbridge there is a bench and the two of you sit and visit. Maybe you don’t talk about anything important today. Perhaps some bugs draw your attention and you watch them. Can you imagine watching ants work while you sit and watch them with the one who created them? What might you say to Him? I suppose it would be a very interesting conversation. Before a few sentences pass I bet He will reveal some dazzling information about when He made the ant or some profound wisdom He draws from their example. Can you see the peace and joy that you experience as you sit there with your beloved Father? And Jesus looks upon the two of you and says, “It was all worth it.” Glory, Hallelujah! It is for that reunification, for that walk in the garden that both Jesus and God gave all. It is for this complete freedom in your spirit and the complete relaxation of your personality that all was done.

We read in Galatians 5: 1 that it was for freedom that Jesus set us free. This is a strange sentence, isn’t it? But it really does make a good point. Jesus did not suffer all that he endured just so that we can continue to live in bondage. We may answer Paul like the Jews answered Jesus in the eighth chapter of John saying that surely we are not in bondage. Are we not free people? Jesus said that anyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. Likewise, many of us are slaves to a variety of things. Perhaps we are bound by a bad temper when Christ has told us that we are to be gentle. Maybe there are still fetters on us from our past and we still react in ways that are not our free choice but rather spontaneous responses when certain buttons are pushed. Jesus is telling us that he came to set us free from all of that. Here is the key, though. This freedom, this life in Christ does not come from saying the sinner’s prayer. It comes through renewing the mind (Romans 12: 2). We must abandon self and come into close unity with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

You know, we have the promise that if we draw near to God, he will draw near to us (James 4: 8) and God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23: 19). That is a good word. Has He not said it, will He not do it (ibid). We think we are waiting on God to make a move in our lives but the truth is that He is waiting for us to draw nigh to Him and then He will draw unto us. He will not violate the free will that He has given us, so our relationship with Him is always in our hands. We have and can have whatever relationship we choose. I should warn you, though, this is not a decision that we can make in our minds. A quality decision of this magnitude can only be implemented by the heart. Your heart holds the keys. So even if your mind says, “Yeah, I want that kind of intimacy with the Father”, only your heart can open the doors and let Him in. When you do, though, in rushes freedom and overcoming love.

I pray that you find the strength of heart, the courage of soul, and the conviction of mind to reach out to your beloved Father and draw Him into the deepest folds of your being. I pray that you will be liberated from every tie which seeks to bind you to a life that is in any measure less than what God intended for you. May the truth set you free indeed.