Partnership II

Proverb 2: 6 -7

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity.

The Word of the Day you read last Monday was written back during the summer. Since then, I have thought about and talked with God about partnership a good deal. This verse resonates with me within the concept of partnership.

I asked the Father how this partnership works. I see how He works with me but is my example the only way He partners with us or even the single most significant way. God answered me by showing me his storehouse of wisdom.

His wisdom is one of the ways He leads us. Imagine beginning a project of any type or even beginning your day. What if Father began your day by giving you His wisdom. I will tell you what happens. You end up spending your time more wisely. You are more likely to have the right things to say in a situation which moves your goals forward and again, helps you save time because you get to your goal more quickly. You don’t end up having three meetings. Instead, one gets the job done and that is a big deal. Also, you end up at the right place at the right time when you have His wisdom. I cannot tell you the number of times I have run into someone I needed to see just because I allowed the Father to arrange my day.

Of course, there are two bits to this infusion of Godly wisdom. Although, He has stored it up for us and desires to give it to us we must first ask for it. God will not thrust His wisdom upon you any more than He will impose His will on you. You are a sovereign being in His sight. Therefore, we must ask Him and do so daily.

Second, we must listen. I find this can be an incredible challenge because it requires us first, to slow down. I have trouble with pausing, just like you do. I can say though, that my life works much better if I slow down, inquire of the Father and then take the time to listen. Also, some of us have so much noise in our heads that we find it difficult to discern the Father’s voice out of the cacophony within. I could teach an entire series on this topic. In fact, I have taught on how to quiet yourself down and how to hear God’s voice. Search the devotionals on our website and let them speak to you. Or, you have my email address.

Press the pause button of your life, ask the Father to give you His wisdom, ask for His guidance today and then quiet your mind and listen. Breathe. Let the Father do His part which is to guide you with His vast storehouse of wisdom. He is the wisdom and the plan. You are the hands and feet. Let Him instruct you. Then, all your ways will prosper. I believe!

Partnership

Psalm 115: 16

The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth He has given to the sons of mankind.

This is the first verse I should have used in the healing verse series because if we do not understand this verse and the premise it holds, then we shall fail in our partnership with the Lord.

Consider this verse, “I can do nothing on My own,” (John 5: 30). These are the words of Jesus. And yet, we know that Jesus did perform. He was successful in life and ministry. So, how do we reconcile this dilemma?

If you search the Ivey Ministries website under the Daily Devotional tab for the word “Partnership” you will find the search returns no less than 7 pages of Words of the Day that dealt with the concept of partnering with God. In fact, I have written before that the story of Hezekiah reveals God’s desire to partner with us as an Old Testament model for a modern world (Praying the Will of God, August 4, 2014). Since that time, I have continuously taught that God’s will is to work hand in hand with us. Indeed, this concept of partnership was a central theme to Jesus’ message. He came teaching that the Father would come to live in us, with us, and that together nothing would be impossible to us.

None the less, we have difficulty grasping this truth. The reason is that most of us have not been taught this reality. We have been taught trivialities and cliches which have failed us and the world. Words like, “Well, if it’s God’s will, I guess He’ll heal me.” By now we know God’s will is to heal so that is not the issue. In fact, the Bible reveals God’s will in all things. We don’t have to guess, and we don’t need trite statements to throw to the wind.

The truth is, that it is easier for us to pretend we have put a problem in God’s hands and left it there, but there are two problems with this. First, I don’t see that most people leave their problems with God. They make a prayerful show of it but then as soon as possible, they take the problem back by worrying, fretting and generally getting all mixed up in the minutiae of the problem. The second problem with this is that God never said for us to sit on the sidelines and cheer or whine while He fixes the problem. You know this verse, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4: 13). Who can do all things? You can, but only through He who strengthens you. Jesus said even he could do nothing on his own, but in his Father, he made the blind to see, the lame to walk and much, much more. He could do all things in partnership with his Father but nothing on his own.

We have relegated our responsibility in the partnership to empty phrases. We pray one time, not seeking God’s wisdom or instruction, but rather whining and begging for Him to do something. What did God answer Moses? “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward,” (Exodus 14: 15). God wanted Moses to get up and do his part.
God has a part to play, and we have a part to play. This is true in healing, finances, and everything we do. He will guide us and give us His wisdom. We have failed so often because we don’t do our part. Then we blame God because we didn’t get the result we wanted. Some people even fall away from God. We give a bad example to the world. They are watching us to see our God in action, but we are failing to listen to Him and work with Him. We want to have Him fix all our problems by saying one prayer. Well, occasionally one prayer will work, but more often than not, God has a bigger plan for us, and it involves us getting our hands dirty. We may have to pray every day. We may have to meditate daily over the scriptures. We may even have to read our Bibles.

I am telling you this today because I see too many Christians led astray by wrong teaching. I do not understand how people can read the scriptures and then teach the crazy things they do. Maybe they get their sermons from a book rather than from the Holy Spirit. I don’t know but it worries me. If you are sick or have any other big challenge, you need to know that God is for you and wants to help you. However, you also need to know that He is working in you, with you and through you. It’s work I tell you. It’s life. God doesn’t work through magic. He works through faith!

God has given the earth to us. It was His to give. He expects us to rule in this earth. In fact, He has limited Himself in the earth by giving us authority and power. It is important for us to understand that everything with God is in partnership. The good news is that He is the senior partner and has all the answers. All we have to do is plug into Him. We must model Jesus who, though he could do nothing on his own, was supremely powerful when he followed the Father.

Please, if you do not understand the divine partnership of which I write today, reach out to me. You can also run the same search on my website that I did and find many writings on the subject. If you need an answer to prayer, if you need God’s help then seek because I can promise you that if you seek, you shall find.

Blessing or Labor

Proverb 10: 4

Poor is one who works with a lazy hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

What about this? I wrote you recently that it was the blessing of the Lord which makes rich (Proverb 10: 22). So, which is it, the blessing or the work of your hand which makes rich?

I heard an expression years ago that stuck with me, “God can’t steer a parked car.” The message was that we are to begin moving and then He will direct us. In recent years you have actually heard me teach this under the moniker, “Partnership.” Therein lies your answer.

Deuteronomy 28: 12 reads, “The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless every work of your hand; and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow.” This chapter is about the blessing and you can surely see it in this passage. If you look closely, though, you will also see our part in the partnership. Let me rephrase this combining the verses from Proverbs and Deuteronomy. It is the blessing of the Lord which makes rich as God blesses the work of our hands. We must set our hands to something. Second, we must do so in the name of the Lord, committing our work to Him.  Third, we must allow Him to steer us. The outcome is blessing. If we will allow the Father to be our partner in everything we do, He will anoint and bless the work of our hands. He will show us the way to go.

Neither looking to the might of our hand nor sitting around waiting for God to do something will result in the success we desire. It is the combination of allowing God to direct us and then putting our hand to the plow which yields results. God is waiting to bless you, but you must pull away from the curb and then let Him navigate. It is the combination of our joint labors that wins the day.

Always and Forever

Psalm 136: 1

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His faithfulness is everlasting.

I have come to like this psalm very much. Thanks to Psalm Mondays I have gotten to look at it with new eyes and I quite appreciate it. There are twenty-six verses in this psalm. Each looks like verse one with its two phrases, the second of which is always, “His faithfulness is everlasting.” Essentially, the author gives twenty-six examples of God’s faithfulness. They aren’t just twenty-six events but rather twenty-six ways the Lord is continually faithful. For example, some are about creation, some about routing evil kings, a couple about salvation from Egypt, and more. Throughout history God has shown Himself faithful and that is some really good news.

When you are faced with a challenging situation or a friend is, this faithfulness of God is the good news you and they need. God has not left the building. He is still faithful and dependable. What do you need? Get alone with Him and meditate with Him. It could even be that what you think you need isn’t the right or perhaps the complete answer. You will find out that you are brilliant and insightful when you are well partnered.

Teamwork

Joshua 23: 9 – 11

For the Lord has driven out great and strong nations from before you; and as for you, no man has stood before you to this day. One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you. So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God.

I didn’t include this passage in yesterday’s devotion because it was already getting lengthy, but I felt you needed to see this for yourself and us discuss it a bit further. Truly, though, the two go hand in hand.

The key to this passage is the partnership. It is loud and strong. The quick summary is, “The Lord fights for you. Therefore, you will put thousands to flight.” If ever there was an expression of synergy, this has to be it. One of us can put to flight a thousand enemies. That is what the passage says but to read that sentence without its partners is to misunderstand scripture and to misunderstand our God.

Likewise, were we to read this passage and only hear, “For the Lord your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you,” then we fail our faith and understanding of scripture again because it is not only that our God fights for us but that we stand in partnership with Him. Any other reading of this passage is a distortion. The loud message must be “Teamwork.” If you truly want to understand this passage, read the last sentence first. The key language is “Take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God.” That is powerful, powerful stuff!

Do you see how this ties so strongly with yesterday’s devotion on praise, worship and offerings? It is in these expressions of love for our Father that real power resides, and that partnership is utilized. We are nothing, alone. Even Jesus said he could do nothing on his own, but in our Father, we can be very effective partners. He is our source, our strength and our wisdom. You don’t want me to rely on my wisdom for the Word of the Day, do you? Of course not! These devotionals only have meaning if our Father speaks. Further, I couldn’t do this without Him anyway. I would be powerless, empty.

The challenge is for each of us to partner with Him every day, in all we do. When I worship my Lord, when I praise Him, my heart opens to Him and I am able to connect with Him more strongly than ever. Giving a donation does that for my inner self too. God doesn’t need my money, but it is a way for me to connect with His ministry that subsequently empowers my heart.

It isn’t just the warrior who puts a thousand to flight. It isn’t only Father fighting our battles for us. The reality that we are learning is that victory is in our cooperation with the Spirit of God.

I hope this blessed your heart. Email your questions, comments and prayer requests to us at https://iveyministries.org/.

Connected

Psalm 96: 1 – 2

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.

I wrote to you last week about praise. This song is titled “A call to Worship.” I think this is worth some thought. As you read further in this psalm the author also says to take an offering to the Lord. This made me think of how we can partner with the Lord in devotional unity against the viral situation we are facing but also unified towards and in one another.

We are living in a historical moment, no doubt. I have asked myself this question, “When I look back at this time, what will my own legacy be? What will be said of me?” I have answered that I want to grow, spiritually especially, and have looked after myself physically with a good diet and exercise. When hardship strikes, one of the ways we can fight back is to become better versions of ourselves. Make a silver lining. Romans 8: 28 promises that God will help us do just that. If we will give Him our lemons, He will make lemonade.

So, what are we going to do during this time of challenge? Hopefully we will never have to experience a time like this again but there will be other challenges in our lives. How do we respond to them? Do we grow or crumble? Can I come out stronger on the other side?
Here is the other question this psalm brings to my mind? Does praying, praising, worshipping or giving offerings to the Lord stimulate Him to action? That is what this psalm seems to suggest. I do not believe that our Father is sitting on His hands. Further, I do not believe there is anything I can do, or need do, to cause our Father to feel compassion. He is the embodiment of compassion. So, why this psalm?

There is something which happens when we praise, worship and make an offering? We are not moving God to action; we are activating our hearts. That is what is so important, in fact, it is vitally important. God’s heart is crying out for people who will connect with Him. We are His hands in the earth. We are His feet. If we fully understood this “partnership” we would be amazed at the power Yahweh has put in our hands. With a prayer you can “put ten thousand to flight,” (Leviticus 26: 8 KJV). Jehovah God has put weapons, or tools, if you prefer, in our hands. I wrote last week (Monday, April 6, 2020) that praise is one of the biggest guns we have (please forgive my weapon analogy but it works in my heart. Translate it to tools for yourself if you prefer). I wanted to disclose in that Word of the Day the strongest of all weapons but didn’t because I did not want to veer from the point of that message. However, I find my greatest tool in the time of great stress is an offering. I pull out my checkbook and give to a ministry. This is not a time I give to the Red Cross or any other worthy charity. I give into the hands of God. For some of you prayer is your biggest hammer. Others are able to release themselves into this partnering with God through praise. My worship and weapon is a check to an anointed ministry which feeds me. It puts power in my hands but more importantly it releases my faith. I feel that I am connecting with my Lord and that I am striking a blow against the enemy. I don’t give hoping something will happen. I give knowing I am impacting the world around me.

So, I think the psalm does make sense. We need to connect with our Father during this time. We might connect with Him more strongly than ever before. Our hearts certainly need it and our world needs it. Perhaps you dedicate yourself to prayer. Maybe it is worship. Some of you will feel empowered and connected with Dad by writing out a big check. Whatever it is, I hope you will make this sheltered time a point in your personal history which you will remember as a time of personal growth. Maybe you will start doing push-ups and can say it began in the midst of a crisis. I hope, and pray, that whatever transformative strides you make during this time, spiritual growth will be among them, because we need you. As this psalm says, “Bless His name.”

Favor and Light

Psalm 44:3

For by their own sword they did not possess the land, and their own arm did not save them, but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, for You favored them.

Here is a good example of partnership with God and I hope you find it encouraging because the favor of God was sufficient weaponry to possess the land.

What land are you trying to take? Is it a new job, financial security, a big project? How about raising kids? Whatever your big goals, you don’t have to do it in the power of your might. We kind of know that but we often know it intellectually rather than experientially. I find that I can have very strong theology when we sit and chat but that in the moment of everyday happenings, my inner self does not always act out those intellectual beliefs. I may even hold to those beliefs very strongly and would argue adamantly about them but still not instinctively employ them in day to day life. This partnership with God theology is one of the largest ideals I write about. However, the practical application can be somewhat enigmatic. How do we actually allow God to be our strong right hand? How do we come to own Canaan if not by our own sword? Is our Puritan work ethic a hindrance to walking by faith or is it what makes for quality individuals? Better still, do we misuse our work ethic?

I believe in setting goals, determining what is required in order to reach them and then setting realistic activity goals. If one wants X, what will be required in order to attain X? Secondarily, am I willing to do what is required? However much I admire this approach I must recognize that it is still a worldly process. That is not to say that I recommend rejecting it, it just means that it is only the beginning of the method. The more important step is taking all of this to God, talking with Him about it and then, more importantly, listening to Him. If we seek the goals He has for us then we will start off on the right track. Second, once we have God’s vision for our future, then we should enquire of the course. What would He have us do? He will tell us our part if we listen. Then we don’t run off half-cocked making a mess of big dreams.

I want God to win the goal for me. That sounds infinitely better than toiling. God will hand Canaan into our hands if we will follow Him. Most interesting of all, today’s verse reveals that His presence was the key to obtaining the goal. We have only to walk in the shadow of His glory, follow along in the footsteps He leaves as He leads and the next thing we know will be the Promised Land.

What do you want? What do you really, really want? Is there a goal out there that is almost too big to even dream? Maybe your dream is even too big to talk about but the light of His presence can bring it to pass. This takes some meditation. Today’s verse is really poignant, and I hope you will ponder it. When we learn to walk with God such that His hand delivers the victory then all things shall be possible. Remember, the Israelites defeated a city by walking around it. God’s way is not usually our way but we can learn to hear Him and follow His direction instead of launching out in the power of our might and when we do, even those biggest of dreams will be yours!