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

“Stay Hungry My Friends”

Are you hungry?  Isn’t it funny how hunger is never really satisfied?  I mean I ate yesterday but here it is today and I’m hungry again.  It’s born in each of us to remain hungry.  In fact, don’t we say that if you have no appetite then you must be sick?  That something must be wrong?  I find it sadly obvious then when we aren’t hungry to know our Savior more or be in His word that we don’t realize somethings wrong.  That isn’t said with condemnation.  Believe me I have been that one too more often than I care to admit.  But why is it we miss the obvious observations when it comes to our own condition and growth in the Lord.  Somehow we don’t want to take responsibility for our own health and maturity.

If you had a child who didn’t want to eat it would greatly concern you.  You would even try to force the child to eat.  You know that he cannot remain healthy and grow if he does not receive the nourishment necessary for life.  Just a quick look at the commercials for children who are malnourished show what can happen and what may be irreversible if not dealt with.

Today while reading from a devotional by Beth Moore called Whispers of Hope, she made a statement that brought a quick yet powerful revelation to me.  She said “I can’t go back and pick up last year’s mercies, and neither can you, but we can receive today’s”. Well immediately I thought of the manna that God provided for the children of Israel while they were in the desert waiting for the promise.

Try to see this with me.  First the children of Israel (note they were called children) were traveling from a place of bondage to a place of promise. All of us start this way.  Even just naturally speaking a child is born with the promise ahead of them of a great life.

Second they were just delivered from a bondage that was all consuming and are now free.  They were just like a baby bound in the womb now born and unattached from the umbilical cord.  That baby needs continual supervision, direction and correction.  This was also the case for the children of Israel.  They are free but now need continual supervision, direction and correction from the Lord through Moses in order to live free. It’s one thing for you body to be free but it’s another thing all together for you mind to be free because your mind will tell your body to walk right back into bondage.  We become born again, set free, yet we need constant supervision, direction and correction to teach us how to walk free which leads me to point three.

They had to learn how to walk.  Just like children, we must learn how to walk with constant supervision, leading and correction otherwise we can hurt ourselves and cause real injury.  No one gets angry at a child learning to walk.  No instead we cheer and celebrate every time they even attempt a step.  We also comfort and encourage when they fall while attempting to walk.  And let me just say, if we aren’t doing this we should.

Fourth and final point, they complained a lot!  Isn’t it ironic how children tend to cry about everything or whine and complain about every disappointment or need and want. They even cry when you’re trying to feed them or give them rest.  Okay, don’t get mad at me but so do we.  Just be honest here.  We complain about a lot of things.  I remember being around 12 years old and being so tired and hungry after school that I stood staring into the refrigerator and just cried.  It was so bad that I actually realized and told myself out loud “Jaime this is ridiculous, go to bed” and I did.  I felt much better afterward.  So this is what leads me to the antidote that God showed me.

The children of Israel desperately needed to learn to trust their Lord.  They needed to understand His heart toward them and how much He loved them and wanted to care for them and take care of them by meeting all of their needs.  He needed to teach them how to depend on Him so again after a very grievous complaining session He told them how He would feed them everyday.  He would leave Manna outside every morning enough for every person for the day to satisfy them.  They were instructed to go out and gather a measured amount for each person and not to take more than told or it would go bad and cause them sickness.  He promised each person would have exactly what he needed and none would be wasted or left over.  And of course this is exactly what happened.  He made sure they had exactly what they needed for their health and well being but not to much or excess.  The thing was though that they had to go gather it everyday except Sunday but they were to gather enough on Saturday for both days.  This was to enforce in them the understanding of how to rest for they had come out of slavery with no rest.  I could go on a rabbit trail here about this but I won’t.  So back to revelation.

We all need the Word everyday to feed us the nourishment we need to be healthy and grow. But this principle applies to more than the Word and prayer.  You may need grace today to face whatever lies in front of you.  You may need mercy for the failures that have trapped you.  You may need strength to get up and do again what drains you.  You may need healing from sickness that plagues you.  You may need peace to calm the storm that rages around or in you.  So there is good news and bad news.  The good news is whatever you need today He has promised He would give you today.  He said His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24).  That His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).  In our weakness He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:11) and that by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).  He even says “My peace I leave with you, My peace I give you (John 14:27).  So here’s the bad news.  If you don’t go gather it you will go without.  Everyday it’s  your choice.  He’s told you what to do and what you need but you have to go get it.

Time is a funny thing.  It races by leaving only memories and for some regrets.  As Beth Moore said “I can’t go back and pick up last year’s mercies, and neither can you, but we can receive today’s”.  God’s been so good and faithful and provided what you need.  Now go get it!

By Jaime Luce