Shake Up

Matthew 27: 50 – 53

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two form the top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split, and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

Try to wrap your mind around all of this for a moment. We generally accept that Jesus arose from the grave and appeared, in the flesh, to his disciples. Sometimes I think we don’t make enough out of that truth but at least there is general recognition of it. How about the rest of the manifestations? Don’t they boggle your mind just a little? How is it that when Jesus gave up his spirit, the earth reacted so violently?

I know, the unbelievers will chalk a great deal of this story up to a natural earthquake. I have no doubt the earth quaked. That’s kind of the point. Why, though, did it shudder? The answer, I think, is because the life force which had sustained it ever since it was created was yielded, released. For a brief time, Jesus was not the life (John 14: 6) and the earth trembled in response. The life, for a brief time, went out of it.

What about the veil in the temple? That is such a poignant fact. The veil separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple, and indeed, the rest of the world. Symbolically, this represents the reality that no longer is God hidden behind a veil from the ordinary person. The veil has been pierced, rended and ultimately abolished. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, God is available to every person without the need of an intermediary. Was it coincidental that the veil in the temple was torn in two when Jesus gave up his spirit? I wouldn’t agree that damage of that sort is a likely result of an earthquake.

But lastly, surely no seismologist would argue that bodies coming back to life and arising from their graves is an expected consequence of an earthquake. These people entered the city and appeared to many people. It is surprising to me that we don’t make more of this amazing consequence of the life of Jesus. He is resurrection life and those saints are the proof of it.

The world shook when Jesus gave up his breath. Never before in the history of the earth had there been a moment without “the life.” Jesus’ release of his spirit shook the earth to its foundation, literally to its core. Many who did not previously believe, including the soldiers who participated in the crucifixion, were instantaneously converted. Of course, the news of this Jesus spread throughout Asia. This was a big deal.

I think we forget how big this event was. It is so far away from us in time and experience that we have lost the measure of its importance. Jesus’ death, quite literally, shook the world. But hold on to your hat because he isn’t done. He is coming back and he is going shake up the world again. Many, so called, unbelievers will recognize the truth of his deity and will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Forever, and Ever

Psalm 66: 22          TPT

I will forever praise this God who didn’t close his heart when I prayed and never said no when I asked him for help. He never once refused to show me his tender love.

As I look back on my journey of faith, I notice how my attitudes have changed. I recall the zealousness of being a new believer. That was a fun time. I so well remember the new awakening when I became spirit filled and how that changed my life forever. Then a conference, a prophetic dream and an emergence that was as a new birthday to me. Again, this new chapter with Yahweh changed my life substantially and forever.

Now, I am like an aged cheddar cheese or an aged wine. The flavor of my faith has definitely changed. I am steeped in my faith and praise is, perhaps not as loudly jubilant as in my youth, but is devoutly anchored in my soul. I sometimes have fewer words for Him because I am more overwhelmed by His graciousness and love than ever before. Words fail me. I find also that He is more Father to me than ever before and the depth of that relationship grows every day.

I have become a Christian vigilante. Maybe that is not a good thing but I find myself quick in response when someone talks bad about my Dad. People may find me perplexing as a pastor of the flock because some of those who speak most negatively about my beloved also call Him Father. Only last week, did I find myself with an internal reaction to someone who wanted her son to know that all the bad and challenging things in his life were God leading him to be stronger. Is that how we help our children to grow and be stronger, by beating them up? I find myself, instantly, armed for battle with the fierce courage of a lion.

He never fails to show His tender love, never! He is perfect love and unfathomable affection. I have not received everything I have prayed for. There is much I still long for but I have unshakable, absolute belief that my heavenly Father is alive and well. He is watching out for us every minute of every day. He is not asleep, is not inattentive. He has never once closed His heart to anyone of us when we have prayed. No amount of evidence is sufficient to prove otherwise because the evidence is simply incomplete until it shows a picture of ultimate love.

I will praise Him forever. He is on my heart and my mind. I may not jump up and down in the exuberance of David, but praise and gratitude shall never leave my heart or fail to be upon my lips. And, who knows, when I get to heaven, maybe I will learn to dance like David danced and maybe I will be able to sing as David sang. Regardless, from now through eternity, I shall praise the God of my heart who has never failed to hear our prayers or ceased in showing His tender love.

Streams of Water

Jeremiah 31: 9

I will make them walk by streams of waters, on a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel.

I say it often but for those who are new to the Word of the Day, fill in your name in place of Israel. I actually take a pencil and line through Israel in my Bible and fill in Ivey. You can too.

I have this passage outlined in my Bible. I really was not going to send another verse out of Jeremiah today, but I just couldn’t help it. I can’t get away from this one. The reason why it is sticking with me so strongly is because of the loving nature of this entire passage. Of course, the first phrase puts me in remembrance of Psalm 23, “He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul,” (v. 2-3). We learn why he leads us by streams of waters. It is to restore us. He also leads us on paths that are straight and level so that we will not trip and fall. What so you think of that?

The God of the Old Testament gets a bad rap. He is often accused of being wrathful and angry. And, to be honest, there are some passages that make you hold your breath. He was sorely tested but that fact that there is humanity remaining on the planet is proof that he is not a vengeful, hateful God. While humans were stumbling around making idols of wood, metal and clay, He was planning how and when He would send His son to earth to sacrifice himself so that we could come into unhindered fellowship with God. How is that for an angry God? You see, just because you get angry does not mean you have to act on it. “Be angry, and yet do not sin,” (Ephesians 4: 26).

God identifies Himself as a Father. That is His mental self-image. We could ask ourselves what image of the Father we hold in our hearts. Do we see an angry deity who, at the drop of a hat, can fly into a rage? Or, do we see a tender parent, loving and kind? Did you know that the image you hold onto of God is what you will allow to manifest in your life? If all you want from God is punishment, then you will find verses that support your abasement. However, if you will allow God to be who He truly is, you will overflow with love because love is His ultimate manifestation.

Perhaps today you can allow Him to lead you by streams of water where you will find refreshing and restoration. Today is a good day to allow Him to straighten your road. Enjoy the kindness of the Father.

With You, With Me

Matthew 28: 20

I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

I had an interesting conversation with our Father this week. Let me share honestly and be completely transparent. I have had a bit of a frustrating week, not bad mind you, just some hiccups that I have allowed to derail me a bit. By the way, the remedy for this is always the same for me, spend more time with my Dad. And, so I did. We were talking about Him always being with me and truthfully, I felt a little selfish and told Him so. I confessed that no matter what I do right or how unfaithful I am to Him, I, none the less, expect Him to be with me all of the time. I expect Him to sleep with me at night, go to my workouts with me, write the Word of the Day and just generally accompany me in everything I do. So, as we were chatting guilt and condemnation poured through me, of my own devise though, not of His doing. I knew I didn’t deserve for Him to be with me every minute of every day and yet, I fully expect it. I knew I wasn’t spending as much time with Him as I should or in His Word like I ought. Now “should” and “ought” are always dangerous words so when you hear them you need to take care that you are not judging yourself and if you are, you need your own forgiveness. None the less, my heart was aware of spending less time doing the “churchy” stuff but still expecting Him beside me always. Then Jesus reminded me of this verse.

He promised to be with me “always” and he didn’t qualify it. He didn’t say he would be with me when I deserve it, thank God, because I never deserve it. He didn’t say he would be with me when I need him or when I ask. He said always. Therefore, if he didn’t stay by my side night and day, even when I don’t deserve it, he would be a liar and that just cannot be. He made me a promise and that’s the end of that.

However, there was a sting in the tail of this one. After reassuring me, he asked me a question. Ivey, I am with you all the time but are you with me? Ouch Jesus! That hurt. I had mentally back away because I felt my unworthiness. Usually I realize how unworthy I am, but I am so overcome with the worthiness of the lamb that my failures get overshadowed. Usually I am so bathed in the worthiness of the blood that I am confident before the Father and the Son. Worthiness just isn’t something I am generally concerned with. Even asking the Father about our own worthiness is so egocentric that it is repulsive. Still, in this case I felt the inequity of our fellowship and the high expectations I have of Him.

The moral of the story – it turns out that both Father and Son are happy that I have such high expectations of them. I believe in them and I believe their word. That pleased them. They were so nonplussed about what had me conflicted. And look, my response, thanks to their grace, was to run to them to spend more time with them.

I don’t deserve the love and dedication they show me. I don’t deserve for them to bless everything I touch, and to go with me everywhere. They don’t do it because I deserve it. They do it because they love me and the funny thing is, they enjoy my confidence in their presence. It is strengthening me even as I write this because their joy is in our being together. I hope they want to go to a meeting tonight because I am taking them with me.


Jeremiah 31: 16

Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord.

Have you ever labored in vain, or at least what seemed in vain? Are you spending time and energy right now that doesn’t seem to be bearing fruit for you? Well, God has a good word for you today. Your labor is not in vain. Your work will be rewarded.

I have to believe that God’s word is true and that as you sow, you shall reap. If you are sowing seeds with your effort, then God will produce a harvest. Right now, it may look like all hope is lost, that none appreciate the hard work you have been putting in. Maybe you have been working for a while now without the fruit of you labor showing. God is not a man that He should lie. Your seed must bear fruit. It is the way the universe was created. Maybe you don’t think your boss appreciates you or that anyone even notices how hard you have been working. Maybe not even your spouse knows about the sleepless nights you have had because of thinking about a project and how you can improve it. There is one, however, who sees all you have done, all you are doing. God is a witness to your hard work and dreams.

When God gives us a dream and a vision, we are propelled into a state which almost feels like a parallel dimension. We see so clearly what could be and throw the full force of our dreams and our energy into following God’s plan. We must pray and stay on His track. We must partner with Him, letting Him guide us. Then, no matter what happens, keep your faith in your vision and your God. Don’t be sidetracked by what mere men do. This is between you and Yahweh. Leave the results to him. Just focus your eyes on him and do all that is in your heart to do. Let the Lord, your God be your rewarder. He promises, “Your work will be rewarded.”

State of Being

Jeremiah 30: 17

“For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds,” declares the Lord.

There are many healing verses and stories in the Bible. The aspect of this one that is useful is that it addresses wounds. In this verse, God does not only contemplate illness, but injuries as well. If you have an injury rather than a sickness, you may like this verse.

Our bodies were designed for health and healing. They were engineered by Yahweh to heal. I can prove it to you. Have you ever had a paper cut? Do you still have it? What happened? Did you have to go to the doctor and have it sutured? Did you even put medicine on it? Why is that important? Some people, especially people who feel “old”, expect to keep any dis-ease they develop. They just say, “Oh, I guess I will have to take medicine for this the rest of my life.” Well, it’s time to stop guessing and be Christ led, i.e. make your thoughts and words agree with Jesus.

God said he would restore you to health. Why then should we accept injuries, wounds and sickness as a state of being? The state God recognizes in this verse is “health.” When He said He would restore us, because of the implication of the word restore, God intends to put us back in the state we should be in. He will “restore” us to “as we should be.” Surely, the first phrase of this verse relates to any kind of disturbance in our health.

The verse goes on to include restoration from wounds, and I like to mentally include the word “injuries.” We can be restored from injuries and that is important to consider, even ponder. Not only can we be restored but it is God’s intention. He is a healing God. While most of us recognize that, few of us truly expect Him to visit healing upon our bodies.

Shake the cobwebs off your brain and begin to expect, even require, God not to be a liar. If He said it, then let us expect Him to be true to His word. Our unbelief is all that is stopping Him. He has made His will clear. Now, let’s get in agreement with Him and get healed. Be restored to full health in Jesus’ name!

Awe Inspiring

Psalm 65: 2, 5          TPT

You are the God who answers prayer; all of humanity comes before you with their requests. You answer our prayers with amazing wonders and with awe-inspiring displays of power. You are the righteous God who helps us like a father. Everyone everywhere looks to you, for you are the confidence of all the earth, even to the farthest islands of the sea.

Even people who don’t know God, even people who say they don’t believe there is a God, know whom to call when the chips are down. I like to say, “There are no atheists in the oncology ward.” While that may not be 100% true, it is substantially true. When it comes down to the real issues of life, people know who to turn to in the time of need. Even people who have never been taught about a God, instinctively turn to Him because inside of each of us is embedded the truth. We know there is a God and we turn to Him to answer prayers.

Everything that has breath will praise God. The complete truth of His deity will reign gloriously over the earth. There will be none who deny the truth of His existence and His divinity. We shall all revel in that day, but you can have a piece of it now. This psalm is a good place to meditate and as you do you may even feel the glory of who He is welling up in your heart. Your breath may catch a little and then you realize that this benevolent, beatific God is your very own Father; your love and best friend. It does snatch the breath away. He who created all the galaxies and universes, wants, more than anything, to walk with you today. He wants to answer your prayers and lead you to success and liberty.

David knew Him as the one who answers prayers with displays of His power. The Father wants to show Himself to each of us just as He did to David. He wants to be our strong right hand and our ever present helper. That is pretty amazing.

Let yourself fall a little deeper today. Not just deeper in love but deeper into your inner-self and your relationship with Him. Think about the words from these verses and let them give you encouragement and hope. The God who answers prayers; the God of all humanity is waiting to visit with you today.