Lessons from Joseph… Part 4 The key to your dream

Joseph didn’t go to prison because someone lied about him. Joseph went to prison to interpret a dream for Pharaoh. He had to be there for that exact day. It was the day his own dream had waited on. Can you see it? Joseph had to help someone else with their dream so God could give Joseph his. Joseph now had to serve again but this time his service put him second in command only to Pharaoh. Our dreams are not “get out of jail free cards.” They don’t mean it can finally be all about us, at least not when they are from the Lord. The key to your dream may simply be to serve others. God fulfilled Joseph’s dream by Joseph living to serve another man’s dream.

If your dream doesn’t serve anyone but you it isn’t a dream from God. When Joseph had his dreams as a young man he saw people serving him. This began the test of his character. Could Joseph steward his authority in the way God intended it? Can you? Has God given you a dream? If he has, the dream will test you. Jesus commanded that we love one another and prayed that we would be one as he and the father were. Our assignments, dreams and purpose will always include others. Joseph was lifted to the highest pinnacle, yet his job was to solve Pharaohs problem. He was to make sure everyone else could eat and at the same time build a kingdom not his own. Self-service was nowhere to be found. Joseph knew how to live favored and be held in high regard. His dream didn’t have to teach him that. But being a slave taught him how to serve. Being a prisoner taught him the value of bread and water to those with no means. Being lied on taught him how to handle power with character for he would be in a position that would allow him to take vengeance. Being sold taught him what it was to be a stranger and an outcast. Joseph may have known how to prosper but his dream tested his ability to steward how his dream affected others. Do not be discouraged if you are in your testing time. Keep serving. It will keep you positioned for promise.

Jaime Luce

Lessons from Joseph… Part 3 Timing is everything!

Joseph’s life reveals the power behind timing. When left in a trial that is thrust upon us and not of our own doing, we can become desperate. We begin grasping at things and people we think can change our circumstance. I don’t think Joseph was wrong or let his character lapse, when he asked the butler to remember him. I think he was pushing on every door looking for the one that would open. Wanting out of trouble is never a bad thing. When you are overwhelmed and drowning you will grab hold of anything that floats. But Joseph didn’t get out even one day early for good behavior even though he was running the prison. What’s surprising is that Joseph waited an extra two long years to get out because of incredible favor. Before you quit reading let me explain. Timing is everything. It isn’t just a cliché. I can go to the airport and hold a ticket but if I arrive to early I will sit a wait until the scheduled time. If I arrive to late I have missed my opportunity and have to wait again for the next. I have to arrive prepared and wait for the announcement to board. Even while on the plane, it will not take off until the pilot hears, “You have been cleared for take-off.” Joseph wasn’t late. He was at the airport waiting for a flight out. To him it seemed the flight had been delayed but the truth was that it was right on time. If Joseph would have gotten out of prison even one day earlier, he would have simply remained a slave in a foreign country. He may have been out but his life largely unchanged. His dreams would never have come to pass. Instead of boarding another Boeing, Joseph was about to board Air Force One.

Galatians 6:9 tells us not to become weary of doing good because we will reap if we don’t faint. If you are still in the prison, then work to run it like Joseph did. Don’t waste your testing time. Use it. Show yourself faithful. I know God will. You’re not late and there is a reason. His timing is perfect so don’t grow weary in your well doing. He is faithful who promised.

Jaime Luce

Lessons from Joseph… Part 2 The value of favor

Joseph had his coat stripped twice. His brothers took the first and Potiphar’s wife took the second. The first was taken because of jealousy, and the second was taken because of entitlement. Both reveal envy. If she could not have Joseph she would strip him of his favor again. False accounts were given in both instances. This was done in order to hide the sin inside both the brothers and Potiphar’s wife. Envy lies. Envy steals. Potiphar’s wife thought she could have whatever she wanted. She didn’t earn her position but was close to the one who gave the favor. She relied on her position to demand favors. By her willingness to be unfaithful to her husband who gave her position she showed she did not value her favor from him. But Joseph valued the favor he received and would not abuse it. We’ve heard it said that favor isn’t fair. This was true for both Potiphar’s wife and for Joseph. It wasn’t fair that she received it unworthily and it wasn’t fair that Joseph was punished for valuing it. What we must remember was that even though is wasn’t fair and Potiphar’s wife got away with deception, Joseph’s future was unaltered. Paul said, “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Heb. 13:6

We must not get caught in the snare of entitlement nor be deterred by it. We press toward our dreams expected end knowing that he who promised is faithful.

Jaime Luce

Lessons from Joseph… Part 1 The coat does not make the man.

The biblical account of Joseph is filled with life lessons for those who want to succeed in life. Ironically his life is filled with pain and disappointment before he ever see’s the power of his choices. We romanticize his life because scripture continually tells us that God prospered all that Joseph touched. That may be the truth but not the whole story. Joseph had favor and power but that was all the while he was a slave and a prisoner. This in itself is a powerful lesson. You can be at the top while at the bottom. Behind this truth is the bigger truth that we shouldn’t despise small beginnings. The irony is that it wasn’t Joseph’s beginning. He began at the top. He was the favored son of his father Jacob. He was given gifts the others were not given. What beginning success he seemingly had was stripped from him. This is what separates those who only envy success from those who actually work for it. Joseph’s life shows us why he was favored. He was not favored because of who his mother was but by his character. He pleased his father. Instead of his brothers learning by emulating they envied and wanted to take away from him what they weren’t willing to strive for. This is so prevalent in our world today. With social media dominating our senses we spend countless amounts of time trying to be what we see others being and do what others seem to be doing. We glamorize their lives as they hide behind filters and countless shots before the perfect angle is attained. None of it is real. Those who have legitimate success have it because they worked really hard to get it. Are you satisfied with only pretending to be what you see others being? Taking someone else’s success will not create your own. Stripping Joseph of his coat did not strip him of his father’s favor. Even without his coat Joseph remained favored. His work ethic catapulted him among the ranks even if he was a slave. His character enabled him to run the prison he was a prisoner of. The coat is not what will open doors for you, your character will. The coat was not the favor. It was simply the evidence of the favor. It’s not what you wear but how you wear it.

Jaime Luce

He’s Relentless

achildblr_mcb8s2bdvq1rribcco1_500My English class was going over the three parables in Luke 15 when the Lord decided to teach me today. In this chapter Jesus tells three parables one right after the other to emphasize the message. I have always read them as individual parables. They each had some meaning and value alone but today I saw them as one, as Jesus intended. Jesus was constantly showing us the Father through his life so that we would know him. He said if you’ve seen me you’ve seen the father. Here in this chapter Jesus is painting a beautiful picture of the Father’s relentless pursuit of us and how heaven rejoices when we’ve been found by him.

The first parable tells of the shepherd leaving the ninety-nine to go find the one. When he finds it he calls everyone to tell them how he is rejoicing for his sheep is now found, safe and back in the fold with him. Here he can love, provide for and protect the sheep he loves.

The second parable is the woman who has lost a coin. She lights a lamp and searches until she finds it and when she does, she calls everyone to rejoice with her because what was lost is now found. The coin can now be used for its purpose and is not wasted. What I saw for the first time that lost meant in the dark. The light had to be shed for the coin to be found. Many times, we and our purpose and value are missing in the dark. Jesus, the light of the world, comes to show us who we are and how valuable he’s made us and that we have great purpose yet to be fulfilled.

The third and probably everyone’s favorite comes right on its heals. The parable of the prodigal son. I’m sure we know this story but what’s so beautiful is that the father is looking for his son anticipating his return. He’s sees him a far off. This tells me he’s looking intently. A prodigal is lost in a different way. He chose to get lost so he needs to choose to come home. But the beauty in this is that Father God acts the same way even when we’ve lost ourselves on purpose. He’s still looking for us though we’ve gone. Then of course when the son returns the father calls everyone to celebrate and restores the son as before. No penitence was required. The father didn’t even let the son say the words he’d rehearsed to be a servant since he wasn’t worthy anymore to be called a son. Father said nothing doing. You’re my son, welcome home.

We tend to think that we are on the hunt for Jesus. The truth is he’s on the hunt for us. The coin could do nothing but be found. The sheep couldn’t return on his own. He had to be found since he didn’t know the way back. The son, though he needed to return, had to be looked for so he’d know how loved he was. He knew we couldn’t do it in our own strength. Jesus alone could. He loves you with an everlasting love and will be relentless until he finds you no matter how you became lost. And if you’re the prodigal he’s promised in his word that when you search for him you’ll find him when you search with all your heart. He’s already looking for you. When he finds you what a great celebration will be had by all!

By Jaime Luce

Keys To Hearing God Speak

Do you need a Word from God?  Are you in a season of questions with no answers?  I am in that place right now.  I have decisions to make.  They require the direction from God so I don’t waste valuable time, energy or money.  Can you relate?

I read His Word.  I pray over it every time it comes to mind.  My ears are tuned and I’m eagerly waiting.  Is there something I’m missing?  Is there a key to this?

It’s funny how the scripture plays out.  Jeremiah 29:13 says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Key number one then is that we must seek Him with all of our heart.  But what does that look like?

I read something today in scripture that I hope will give us help and clarity.  1 Samuel 3:1 says “And the child ministered unto the Lord before Eli.  And the Word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.’

If you caught it there was a great clue in that verse.  It says that the word of the Lord was precious. There was no vision.  I pondered this because any Christian you ask would say the Word is precious but do they really mean it?  Here’s why I say that.  The Word had only become precious because they had no vision.  Heaven was silent.  Isn’t is true how precious His voice and Word become when you can’t hear anything?

This is our missing link, key number two.  If His beautiful Word was truly precious to us we would be reading it everyday.  We would be communing with our Father every chance we get. The definition of the word precious in this passage means: precious, rare, splendid, weighty, honored, costly, valuable…  You get the picture.  It gave the word picture of precious gem stones.

I submit when we truly value His Word enough to obey it we will hear from Him more often.  I can read it but if I don’t obey it I don’t value it.  This was the case in 1 Samuel.  Eli’s sons offered God “strange fire”.  This was disobedience to the Lords instructions.  No value.

Elvis Presley said, “Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ’em all over everything you do”.  You will do what you value.

If I don’t even read it then it doesn’t carry much weight.  I give my time to what I value most.  If I was continually asked for help or direction but the advice was never headed I’d quit giving it.  I, like God, wouldn’t speak either.

Our Father’s Words are more valuable than gold.  They’re more precious than gems.  Do we really value His voice?  Do you truly want to hear?  You are so valuable to Him.  He wants to speak to you.  He died for the chance.  If you seek Him He will be found.  Today let’s seek Him with all our heart.

By Jaime Luce

 

Wrestling for the Blessing

So many times we hear the word blessing used and for all kinds of things.  I personally like to use it in my signature block.  You may ask someone “How are you?” and they may respond “Blessed”.  Both are fine but extremely lacking.  To be blessed biblically means to not only be blessed but to also be a blessing.  It is to have great favor and to actually receive the blessing that was promised.  Have you ever been promised a blessing? Promises are good but it’s even better to receive the blessing!

 

In Genesis 25 we are introduced to Jacob and Esau .  Right away we see a struggle for preeminence between brothers.  Somewhere inside of Jacob even before birth was a hunger to be blessed.  I’m sure Jacob felt very conflicted inside because on the one hand he wanted the blessing and any rights that brought with it.  On the other hand though to be truly blessed also meant to be a blessing to all those he would deal with.  So how does being a blessing line up with cheating your brother to get it?  Have you ever felt like two people?  My brother-in-law, who is now passed, struggled with drug addiction and all that entails.  He said once “It feels like I have two people fighting a war inside me.  One wants whats right and other does not.” This was a torment to him and evidenced by his tattoos.  On his right side were angels and all things good and on the left were all things bad.

(I won’t take the time to discuss Esau here but I’d like to concentrate on Jacob. He wanted it so badly that he manipulated and cheated to get it. He didn’t operate alone but I will also leave out for the sake of space his mom and dad who played a role in this manifested behavior.  If you read the text ,and I encourage you to do that, but you can see the problem which is a good lesson for parents).

I have often wondered why God let Jacob “get away” with his deception. Reading it now I see that He didn’t. I don’t mean to imply that God would get him instead that He would correct him.  The final outcome would be as we already knew since it was prophesied at birth but getting there is where the story is.

For Jacob the road to understanding and receiving blessing came filled with Gods faithful tutelage. You see, this is where God didn’t let him get away with his deceptive manipulations.  Rather he would be taught to have a right understanding of the blessing and its true purpose, its value and how to rightfully obtain it.

Jacob left his family in obedience to his father’s instructions to take a wife and to remain away for a time so his brother wouldn’t kill him.  He immediately found the wife he wanted but her dad was a cheater too.  We always reap what we sow.  This isn’t to hurt us but to help us understand a loving and just God.  He got his wife but not after working seven years and being tricked into marrying the wrong one.  He then had to work another 7 years for the right one.  Ironically, Laban his wife’s father, continued to try to reap the blessing of having Jacob work for him knowing he was blessed because of Jacob. It seems Laban suffered from the same problem.  Jacob felt trapped by Laban.  He was unable to receive his personal blessing while living out the consequences that were produced from his own trickery.  I don’t think there was a better way that God could have chosen to teach Jacob.  He put him with someone who was just like he was in order to show him himself.

God used this and spoke to Jacob again about his blessing.  He told Jacob to go back home and He would be with him.  He would receive his blessing and also be a blessing. But to Jacob there remained a problem.  He has to leave Laban who won’t be happy to let him go. So he flees without telling him and Laban comes after him.  In Genesis 31:25-42 the exchange between the two is awesome because Jacob lays out his complaint to Laban. This complaint was the very story of the lesson God taught Jacob.

He had worked very hard for Laban who unjustly would change Jacob’s pay.  He always tried to obtain his blessing at Jacobs expense.  This was precisely what Jacob had done to Esau.  Our blessings aren’t predicated on someone else not getting theirs.  That’s covetousness. Our God is big enough to bless each of us without someone else having to go without.  Further, when we are blessed it should never cause pain to others. Instead we are blessed to be a blessing.  Now that he had learned this he was ready to receive his rightful blessing.

As Laban lets Jacob go with blessing to his brother Esau, Jacob is left alone with God. Jacob must now wrestle it out.  He must wrestle out all that he has learned and be humbled so that he can contain what he is about to receive.  I love that we can learn from others who have walked with God.  How did they do it?  How did God respond?  I’ve heard many who think that you shouldn’t wrestle with God as if that’s offensive.  I guess I don’t see it like that at all.  We really aren’t wrestling with God but we are wrestling to receive.  We aren’t trying to force God but rather we are fighting to know how to receive. The word is full of promises that most Christians don’t walk in.  We believe them with our heads but somehow we still have unbelief in our hearts.  Like Jacob, we desperately want the blessing but we know we don’t deserve it in our hearts so we don’t really believe we can receive it.  We look at our unrighteousness instead of His promise.  Thank God for his diligent teaching and molding of our lives.  Just as he worked on Jacob He also works on us.  The key is to stay in obedience.  He will do the rest.

Now that God protected Jacob from Laban as He said He would he had to now face the bigger threat of facing his brother.  He needed to know that God would be with him, that He would go all the way with him. He was determined he’d not go on until he had heard from God.  He said in Genesis 32:26 “I will not let you go unless You bless me”. Would to God that we all have this kind of faith.

So in the wrestling God touched his hip and changed his name.  This was part of the blessing because Jacob would always have the constant reminder of his encounter with God.  This encounter so greatly impacted and changed his life that when he saw his brother Esau he said it was as if he’d seen the face of God. Wow! The one who once was as close an enemy as you can have has become the face of God’s mercy, grace and blessing. Not only did he now see differently but since he learned humility from his encounter with God he now continually humbled himself to his brother by calling himself his servant even though the blessing was that Esau would serve Jacob.  There was no longer a fight for position. God would raise him up or put him down.  Our God not only handles the big stuff but all the details in between.  He loves us enough to not leave us as we are but He changes us and if need be He changes our name, making us into His image.  No longer was he Jacob the supplanter but he was now Israel.  Forever we would know him and say his name.  His name went from a negative reflection to a name that represents God and his people forever.

If you don’t know who you are in God you must look to the scriptures for your identity in Christ.  You are now the beloved, the redeemed, the holy and the righteousness of Christ. He even calls you a saint.  I know this can be hard to swallow but it is how He sees us. And it doesn’t stop there.  You are free though bought with a price.  You’re the body of Christ and the heirs of salvation.  The list goes on and on.  

I pray that today, no matter what you were once known for, who you once were or what you are facing, that even if it’s the struggle of your life, you do not turn loose until you receive your blessing.  Don’t give up.  Your story isn’t over and no mountain or fear of one is to big for our God. He has a plan for you  that’s full of blessing.  Jeremiah 29:11-13 says ” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”.  

He has had this plan for you from before you were born.  He is faithful and cannot lie. You can trust Him.  He cannot fail! Just be obedient to His direction as Jacob was and watch as God unfolds His promises for you.

By Jaime Luce 

For your own Bible study on this read from Genesis 25-33.

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What Does God Really Want? Part 3

Isaiah 58 is a very rich and plentiful chapter to chew on and I have only skimmed the service in part’s 1 and 2 and I’m afraid it will be the same for this final part 3.  But what’s so interesting is where we will pick up for today.  We ended with verse 9 but only up to part a and I would like to begin with part b. This portion of scripture according to my bible says that the yoke referred to in this passage is in reference to all forms of political, economic, and social injustice.  I love how God’s word is so timely.  It’s living and active and just as relevant today as it was then.  Let’s read it.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

then your light will rise in the darkness,

and your night will become like the noonday.

11The Lord will guide you always;

he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

and will strengthen your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like a spring whose waters never fail.

12Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins

and will raise up the age-old foundations;

you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,

Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

 

Isn’t that amazing?  Reading it in the context in which it was written gives great wisdom for our current condition in the USA.  It’s so self explanatory that it doesn’t need expounding.  If we really wanted a blessed abundant life the recipe is right here.   But the evidence is all around us that we have as a nation not lived up to this.  I know we have done many good things but this recipe of not pointing our fingers and speaking maliciously is way of kilter and if we would correct it it would certainly point us in the right direction.  There are always consequences for not doing it God’s way.  But that’s why I love the If-then’s here.  There is always a remedy.  There’s always a cure.  Let’s continue reading.

13“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath

and from doing as you please on my holy day,

if you call the Sabbath a delight

and the Lord’s holy day honorable,

and if you honor it by not going your own way

and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

14then you will find your joy in the Lord,

and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land

and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”

The mouth of the Lord has spoken.

 

True fulfillment and joy are ours for the receiving if we would only honor and obey the voice of the Lord.  We can be very rebellious and say we don’t like being told what to do but the consequences will begin to heap up.  However the opposite is also true.  If we will humble ourselves and honor the only one who deserves our praise, all the joy and victory we need is in His hand.  Yes, it’s our choice but I say today choose wisely.  Your joy depends on it.

 

Blessings,

Jaime Luce

7x A Failure

falling_w1The other day while on Facebook I shared a post from John Bevere.  In it was a scripture that basically spoke from David’s heart about loving to walk in holiness.  Down in the comments section several people had basically ridiculed this passage because David had screwed up and did so in a big way.  This really bothered me and I began meditating on it.  Today in prayer I was surprised that all of a sudden in my spirit the answer came even though I hadn’t been praying for the revelation at this time.  It was so beautifully stated and I understood it immediately and then had to chew on it and realize even for my own life what He was saying.

The scripture that He dropped in mine was Proverbs 24:16a which says “A righteous man falls seven times but he gets back up”.  What the Spirit emphasized was “A righteous man”.  I just sat and thought about it.  It didn’t say a backslider or a hypocrite or a phony. It said “A righteous man”.  Then the thoughts of all the other disciples and stories of this very fact began to come to mind.  I thought about Peter, Mark, Thomas. They weren’t righteous because of their own deeds but by the blood of Jesus.

It’s easy sometimes to believe this for others but not for ourselves.  I wanted to write and post this for anyone who is feeling like a failure.   You’ve blown it and maybe you’ve blown it over and over.  You think that this means you’re disqualified, that you’ve used up all your chances.  But you’re His.  If you are His, then be encouraged my friend.  David did blow it big but it didn’t change the fact that he loved the Holiness of God.  He loved it!  I do to and I’m sure you do.  The righteous fall 7 times but they get back up.  He still calls you righteous!  I know that’s crazy but He does.  I am so thankful for His mercy that is new every morning.  This is just one of the reasons I do love His holiness.  I want to walk in it and show forth His glory as I’m sure you do too.  I want God to call me a woman after His own heart just like David.

So today, if you’ve fallen, get up and start again.  Read those scriptures telling of the beauty of His holiness and start walking.  You’re the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Just stay in Him and you’ll be alright.  Blessings!

Oh and PS If you see someone who has fallen, help them up!

By Jaime Luce