1 Chronicles 15:13

“It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.”

Last week I posited that Jesus intends us to partner with him in our life tasks. However, isn’t that a bit of a puzzling concept? How do we actually partner with Christ? I believe the answer is revealed in today’s passage.

The key seems to be, inquire of the Lord as to how to do whatever it is that you have in mind to do. It’s one thing to agree that we should partner with the Lord. It is quite another to figure out exactly what that looks like. First, we should embrace that this can be an everyday encounter and that is certainly a good aspiration. I also think we should begin our projects with a good brainstorming session with our God. Before we launch out into the deep waters, we can get a game plan together with God. What is natural for us is to put together a plan and ask God to anoint it. That is not really partnering because God has no say so in the operations. That model treats Him like a magical fairy. Instead, what I am proposing is that God’s paradigm for partnership involves Him in the decision making. Essentially, it is inquiring of Him and letting Him speak.

Of course, what good is it to inquire of the Jesus or the Father if we cannot hear their reply. An inquiry should yield a response. Many Christians do not believe we can actually hear the voice of God. That grieves me. Many of you know my story, how I chased God to San Diego because I was determined to hear His voice. You know what? It worked. I heard Him alright and it was an amazing week. It was begun by two factors. First, I believed we should hear the voice of our Father, and second, I was not hearing His voice. Had I not been certain that God wanted to speak with His kids in general and me specifically, I would not have chased Him and would not have gained the victory.

That leads me to my second point about partnering with God. “Now seek the Lord your God with all your heart and soul,” (1 Chronicles 22: 19). It seems to me that partnership must include seeking the Lord. Isn’t that the essence of partnering with someone, especially when your partner is the Almighty? So, the model looks like this to me. Seek the Lord. Inquire of Him. Hear His input. Partnering requires all three steps. Otherwise, it’s just us going along our merry way and hoping He will bless it. There is a much better way to do life. Partner with Christ!

Don’t hear your Father speaking with you? Ask me how.

Partnering with Christ

Matthew 11: 28 – 30

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

I opined last week that this passage is ultimately about partnership, partnering with the Divine that is. This is the message I believe Jesus wants us to hear in this age.

There are two ways we generally attack our problems or take on tasks. The first is that we try to do it in our own might. Truthfully, most of us pray about the project, but then we go forward in our might asking Father to anoint our path. When we fail, we often turn back to prayer, which is a good thing. Here, though, we have two ways to turn and based on how powerless we feel we choose our next course. We may opt for the second way of problem solving at this point. That is where we pray and “give the problem to God.”

Wouldn’t we all say that giving any problem to God is a good thing? Sure, we would. Here is the thing though. Sometimes we throw the problem on the floor at God’s feet and walk away. We have figuratively thrown our hands in the air in desperation. Sometimes we begin here. Other times we choose this methodology after attempting to succeed in our strength.

There is a third option. It is partnership. I understand it can be very difficult to achieve the proper balance of roles. Who does what? What do we do? Is our entire job prayer? Is there more? What I observe is that many times people begin in their own strength. Even if they do also offer prayers, they really are relying on the work of their hands. Most of us have been trained to be somewhat self-reliant if not entirely so. Even our pastors teach us, rightfully, that we are to lay our hand to something and then God will bless it. So, I want you to hear that you aren’t wrong, just that there is more.

Other people spend more time crying out to God for the help they know they need. The mistake we can so easily make here is that we take our hands off the plow completely. No longer are we giving God the opportunity to bless the work of our hands. We ask him to do the work and bless the work. I hear so often the hopeless prayers of people. They have given up and their only thought is that if they will pray strongly enough, maybe God will intervene. They give it to God and disengage themselves completely.

The whole truth is that God wants to partner with you. There are so many ways He can do so, but the first step is in us recognizing the importance of partnership. Once we enter into partnership, we no longer need to ask God to anoint our path. He will show us His path which is way better anyway. Of course, our prayer changes significantly because in this collaborative space, we can ask Father or Jesus to show us the way rather than begging them to bail us out of an impossible situation.

There is so much more to say on this topic, however, I want you to see this concept from Jesus’ perspective. First, he recognizes that doing things our way and in our own strength has exhausted us physically, mentally and even spiritually. Therefore, the first step he offers is, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.” That’s recovery, healing and restoration. Rest and restore. The second part is, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” Wow, I hope that jumped out at you. I don’t think the church has yet to grasp the awesome invitation to working with him that is on offer here. Rest, get yourself restored and then come work with me. Take my yoke. He isn’t taking on your yoke. He is asking you to join him. Be paired with him. What? Do I hear, “Be partnered with me?”

Exactly! That is exactly what Jesus is saying to us. Come join me. He is calling us to join his team and learn his ways. He will be the senior partner who shows us how to move forward with that impossible situation, difficult challenge or even show us how to recover from absolute failure. You see, his yoke is his school of methods. He invites us to work jointly with him so he can show us the ways that will give us the success we desire. Enroll in his school and your demanding situation becomes a class project. Sometimes, it is as simple as changing our prayer.

I remember the story of a woman who was praying every health scripture she knew over her very sick son. She spent night after night praying over him. She knew all the scriptures, so it was a task she was well educated for. Finally, though, in desperation she cried out to God. The child was getting worse instead of better. When she relinquished her control and inquired of God, He told her she was praying the wrong prayer. He guided her to a prayer on death. You see, she had been praying but she was praying the scriptures she thought would impact the situation. When she stopped and asked God, He led her to an entirely different group of scriptures. The child then recovered. It wasn’t that she wasn’t praying to God. It was that she wasn’t truly partnering with Him. You can see how this could be confusing. She thought she was working with Him but she wasn’t. She didn’t ask Him what she should do. She just did what she knew to do. It may be subtle but there is a huge difference.

Other times, Jesus will show us an entirely new strategy for doing the work. Maybe you fish off the left side of the boat and he will tell you to drop your net on the right-hand side (John 21: 6).

It may take some time pondering these differences to understand what is being suggested today. Of course, you can take this straight to Yahweh and ask Him. Rather than filing away this Word of the Day, ask Jesus to explain it. Do you know he will speak with you? You can have an entire conversation with him. Don’t know how? Ask me. I can coach you.

Business Partner

John 15: 5

Apart from me you can do nothing.

I had to stop myself recently and ask how much I believe God is our partner in all things, including in business. If you believe a thing, it will show up in your behaviors. Do we really believe that Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are present and active in our everyday lives? Do we believe He (the trinity) intercedes in the affairs of men.

Intellectually and theologically, I absolutely do believe that our Father is ever present and desires to work alongside us in our everyday existences. In fact, did you know that one of the titles of the Holy Spirit is He who goes alongside? What, though, does that mean in practical terms? In other words, even though we may believe this intellectually, how does one partner with the Spirit of God. Does this belief color our actions?

I live knowing my Father is beside me all the time. I speak with Him all day. It is probably the greatest revelation of my life. However, when I arrested myself about God as my senior business partner, I had to face some difficult questions. If you have a boss or a senior partner, do you go about the business of your occupation without checking in with that person? Or do you have regular meetings in order to receive counsel and direction? I was working hard in all the things God has given into my hands, but I wasn’t conferring with Him enough. There is the daily chatter which we keep up and that is great, but it isn’t enough. I need time consulting with Him when I am not driving a car, working out, or applying my hands to any number of tasks. I need that quiet time which is devoted completely to our relationship. Truthfully, I also find it is best if I do that first thing in the morning.

Today’s passage comes from the parable of The Vine. Jesus is the vine; we are the offshoots of the vine and it is from those branches that you find the fruit. Jesus says that he who abides in him and in whom Jesus abides, that person will bear much fruit. The fruit, then, is the product of abiding in Jesus and allowing him to abide with you. There are realms of theology in that statement, but even just at a surface level it means that our lives must be intertwined with him. This is the substance of my logo, lest I forget. He in us, we in him, that is the best business model ever. If we cut ourselves away from the vine, we bear no fruit; we can do nothing.

Here is a little insight for us all. Advancing in our businesses or in another facet of life is in seeking time with the Lord. Sometimes we go to him only when we have a question. Above I wrote that the best thing for me to do is spend time with the Father on our relationship. Out of that relationship flows the river of life. Even when I am not asking Him about business, He is opening my eyes to ideas and insights. My advice, then, to you and to myself is to seek Him. Let us not only seek business counsel but also simply seek the one with wisdom. Seek the lover of your soul. While you seek His heart, He will prosper your business.

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!


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.