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.


Philippians 4: 13                Jubilee Bible

I can do all things.

You likely already know this verse and what a bunch of good news it is! There is more to this verse than meets the eye. Let’s see how it fits in the context of other verses.

In contrast to today’s verse, we find Jesus declaring in John 5: 19 he could do nothing. Where does Paul get off saying, “I can do all things,” when Jesus said he could do nothing? Of all the people in history, Jesus is the one person I believe could do anything. It leaves me thinking, “If Jesus could do nothing, where does that leave me?” How can I do all things if Jesus could do nothing? It gets worse. In John 15: 5 Jesus answers that question saying, “You can do nothing.”

That is pretty discouraging, but light begins to peek through in Proverb 10: 22 where we find that “It is the blessing that makes a person rich, and hard work adds nothing to it.” According to this proverb it is not by my labor and strength that success comes. The blessing creates success. However, many other proverbs warn about the fate of the sluggard. A good example is Proverb 21: 25, “The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work.” So, on the one hand we are taught that success is not the product of our hands or even of hard work. Then, the very same author warns us not to be sluggards, but instead put our hand to the plow, as it were.

Is God schizophrenic? Does the Bible set up a dichotomy telling us one thing and then the opposite? Is the Bible intentionally confusing, cloaking its truths in mystery? Is success the product of my labor or of the divine?

As with so many topics, understanding is more clearly gained when the Bible is taken in its entirety rather than one verse standing alone. The answer to this question is in Deuteronomy 28 where we are promised that God will bless everything we set our hand to (Deuteronomy 28: 12). I am also reminded of the 23rd Psalm where we find the good shepherd who leads us in the right paths. We don’t have to find our own way. He guides us.

The way to success, in any endeavor, is through partnership with the divine. The rest of the statement from John 15: 5 is “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” Paul’s statement is incomplete too. He said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Paul would be the first person to say he could do nothing apart from Christ. However, he understood that when he partnered with the divine, allowing Jesus to guide him and the Holy Spirit to empower him, truly nothing was impossible to him. Our labor guided by the hand of God and mixed with the blessing of the Almighty is the formula for success. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing but with him, we are well able to do all things!

Wait Lifting

Hebrews 4: 11

Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

No, I didn’t misspell the word “wait” in the title. There is a concept imbedded in those two words. It is the precept that in our quiet contemplation with the Lord there is power to lift great weight and succeed in every calling of the Lord.

I was speaking with some friends last week when this idea, this principle came to the foreground of my thoughts and I have been unable to shake it. The awareness that we are meant to glean from this passage is that our labor, our effort is in entering into the rest of the Father whereby we cease from our striving. In Him, we are able to do all things (Philippians 4: 13). Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15: 5). Therefore, the purpose of our effort is to become integrated with Him and thus be “in Him.” The King James Bible says it this way, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

We have become such externalists that our faith and the expression of our faith has become largely external rather than internal. Contrast this ideology with some of the great historical icons of our faith. People like Thomas á Kempis, Martin Luther or Julian of Norwich. These and others, noticeably the Apostles John and Paul, believed and argued that the labor of our faith was to come to know God in the quietness of our spirits. Our faith is not in the things we do but in our connection internally with the Father, Son and Spirit. This is our works, extending our faith, believing with our hearts. Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6: 29).

We should not “do” works at the cost of sacrificing the quiet contemplation of our souls. Instead, external work should be at the direction of our Father and as an extension of the quiet, meditative connection with the Father. As in all things, balance is key. I know people who are so spiritual that they are no earthly good. What do I mean? They spend all of their time feeding themselves but it never has any expression beyond their own gorging. The true unity with God ought to show. It ought to spill over on to others but not by mere works but rather from the overflowing grace of the Lord.

When we rest in the presence of the Lord we gain substantively. This is not all subjective. It has real world consequences that can be objectively observed. We are empowered in the presence of the Lord and through communion with His Spirit we are guided; directed. He imbues us with power and then directs that power to His good intentions. “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40: 31). He fills us up to overflowing, speaks to us in our spirits and directs our paths. He gives us the power to do all things. All of this comes from spending time and investing our effort in “knowing Him” and the power which flows from just such a knowing (Philippians 3: 10). 

When Moses died and Joshua was appointed by God to take over the leadership of the nation of Israel God’s advice to Joshua was, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success (Joshua 1: 8). I think that same advice will serve us well today. We should wait upon the Lord in the meditation of the Word, prayer and in the contemplation of the Lord. In that waiting, that quiet communion spent with the Lord, is great power; great strength. As we rest in Him, as we wait in His presence and in prayer He performs the works; His power goes into action rather than our limited power. He assigns angels and directs ministering spirits. His is the power which does all of the heavy lifting while we meditate in Him and the authority of His grace. In Him, in our rest, we become powerful ministers of the gospel of grace. In Him we become mighty “wait lifters”.

Please share your thoughts with me. How did this Word of the Day impact you? We always appreciate your comments. Thank you.

Driving on Empty

Ephesians 3: 8            God’s Word Translation

I am the least of all God’s people. Yet, God showed me his kindness by allowing me to spread the Good News of the immeasurable wealth of Christ to people who are not Jewish.

I have now taken this title from Paul, being the least of God’s people. Yet it is to your advantage that I am so flawed because in my weakness, God shows His strength and He then passes on the lesson through my experience so that you won’t make all of the mistakes that I do and have.

Recently you were with me as I learned to allow God to be the master of my calendar, schedule and appointments rather than allowing my schedule and obligations to rule me. He taught me to begin my day turning my face to Him and connecting with Him in my heart the very first thing. So I began giving my day and my schedule to the Lord before I even picked up my devotionals. Wow! What freedom that granted me and I found that I was getting everything done when I began it in this grace that He has given.

However, before many weeks passed I found myself in a new struggle of my creation. I am trying to lose weight, improve my diet and my health for the long haul. I have a coach who is helping me and together she and I set some objectives. Everything clicked along fine for about 4 weeks. It wasn’t perfect, of course, but there were changes taking place, improvements made and that was the main thing. Then all of a sudden I hit a wall and while I mean that metaphorically I will also say that I felt this wall. All of a sudden I was completely run down and spent. Monday’s exercise that week was challenging though I had done tougher workouts in previous weeks. My eating habits began to deteriorate and my body began to hurt. Every old sports injury reared its ugly head to torment me. It was a bad week. I just couldn’t seem to do anything right and I did not have the strength inside me to fight back. I was bankrupt physically, mental and emotionally.

It took me a couple of days to sort out what had gone so wrong but finally the light bulb came on. Although I had prayed about this project, I was really proceeding through it in my own strength. Well, my strength gave out. Thank God for weakness because that is when He came in. Finally I was in a place to hear Him. Once my tank was empty I listened to Him and He gave me plenty of guidance. Immediately things began to improve and I really do mean immediately. The old injuries began to recede back into the past where they belong. My eating habits improved without any real effort on my part and my exercise changed abruptly. I had more strength in my body and just “knew” the right things to do. 

If we would begin every project by giving it over to God and letting Him be the project manager then we would find life so much easier. One of the interesting lessons in here is that simply praying about a matter is so not the same as giving Him control. I don’t just want to ask for His help. I want to do it with Him, through Him. Philippians 4: 13 says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Interestingly enough it does NOT read, “I can do all things once I have prayed about them.” We need to learn to yield the whole project to His guidance and strength. Then we shall have good success.

Loving the Unlovely

Romans 12: 14

Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not.

This is grown-up Christianity. We have gone into the deep water. We know that if we love Christ we will keep his commands. Paul is preaching Christ here. Besides, we know that Jesus is the word, the entire word. But if that is not good enough let us see what Jesus said when he was still in the earth. Matthew 5: 44 reads, “But I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” One translation says, “… bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (KJV).

If you do not like these two verses, I don’t blame you. It is just not natural to heap blessing on those who persecute and hate us. But then, we weren’t called to be natural, were we? We are called to be supernatural through the power of Christ at work within us. These circumstances are when we most need the miracle working might of Christ Jesus ministering in us and through us. Jesus said that all things are possible with God (Mark 10: 27) so the key here is that we must be with God. We are not going to succeed in praying for and blessing our persecutors without God’s strength. The Apostle Paul received this revelation as well. In Philippians 4: 13 he wrote, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” With God all things are possible which is a really important thing to know when you believe that He has called you to the impossible like saving a country or forgiving your obnoxious brother-in-law. I wonder which is more difficult. Regardless, you are going to need God’s power and strength in order to do what you are supposed to do. We know that we are to follow all of Jesus’ teachings and obey his commands. If you have made a quality decision to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and be obedient to the calling within you including obeying all of Jesus’ ordinances then you need the power of God at work in your life. But, fear not. Father God has created a foolproof way for each of us to operate in that awesome power that can only be obtained through Him. He just comes and lives inside of us. We take off the grave clothes of our former lives and don the glory of the living God. He, God, becomes again our covering just as in the Garden of Eden when humanity was surrounded by the glory of God.  

There is nothing God cannot due and by extension there is nothing you cannot do when you are joined with the Holy One. You can even pray for your enemies and bless those who persecute you. Your glory is the Lord himself and He will lift you up and He will enable you to do all things. You are half of an unbeatable team. Now, what will you do?