It’s A Set Up

We’ve all heard that God works in mysterious ways. Well, those who say it aren’t wrong. When Elisha wanted to retrieve an ax head from the bottom of a lake, his instruction was to throw a piece of wood in the water where the ax head sunk. This action caused it to float. When Gideon needed an army, the instruction was to use torches and pots as weapons. They won. When Israel needed water, God told Moses to throw a tree in the bitter water, and it would be made sweet. Water problem solved.

But God’s setups are twofold. They wrought you the victory, and at the same time, they bring a fear of God to those who witness it. The awe of God can be terrifying for both the one who needs to follow His instructions and the one to whom those actions are for.

Genesis 14 tells of the Exodus of Israel from Egypt. They are now three days into the desert, and God hatches a plan. He tells them to circle back to the sea because Pharaoh will think they’re lost and chase after them. I’m sure Moses thought, “that’s a horrible plan.” But God reassures him by telling him in verse 4, “And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord!” So the Israelites camped there as they were told.

I know we’d probably rather God just help us make the great escape out of our troubles, but you’re more important than that. God has marked you as His. You have great purpose and opportunity to let God get glory from your life. He wants to give you bodacious miracles that show you how much He loves you but and at the same time, show how mighty He is to everyone around you. He wants to win them too. 

When trapped between the sea and an enemy, don’t be intimidated. God will hatch a plan. Maybe even a mysterious plan. But it will lead you through safely on dry ground while swallowing up your enemies. You’re just the decoy. It’s all a setup. Don’t let fear stop you from obedience. Remember, He planned it this way. He’s got this, and He’s got you.

Jaime Luce

 

What Does Surrender Look Like?

What does real surrender look like? Surrender doesn’t mean laying down or throwing up your arms in defeat. Surrendering means wrestling.

God had spoken to Jacob through a dream and told him it was time to go back home and become the man God had purposed him to be. But going home meant facing his brother, whom he had run from and who vowed to kill him, leaving Jacob in the middle of two undesirable scenarios. He was currently mistreated by his trickster uncle Laban who’d deceived him into marrying off his oldest daughter, stole his livelihood by changing his pay ten times, and accused him of theft. All the while, Jacob had caused Laban to prosper greatly. Neither staying nor going was promising, yet God had spoken, and it was time to go.

The original trickster had no more moves. When Jacob realized he had no way to save himself, he prayed this prayer of surrender in Genesis 32:9-12 (NLT). 9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord, you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’ 10 I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! 11 O Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. 12 But you promised me, ‘I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count.'”

In this prayer, Jacob faces who he was. He had done nothing to deserve God’s love or kindness and was asking for God’s help. After this prayer and by faith, Jacob sent his family and all he owned ahead and was left alone. We want to think that at this time, God would swoop down and encourage Jacob, give him a pep talk, and assure him that everything would all be alright, but that is not what happened. Instead, a fight ensued.

A “man” came and wrestled with Jacob. Wait. What? Why would God come and fight with Jacob when he was trying to obey? He was already terrified? Because God knew what Jacob did not. For Jacob to go home and face Esau and inherit the promise God made him, he would need to do it as Israel and not Jacob. Verse 28 (NLT) says, 28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on, you will be called Israel because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” The KJV says, “prevailed.” He needed to go back as a victor.

Surrender means we must now contend for the promise God has made us. We realize that on our own, we can do nothing. Left to our own devices and old natures, we will fail. God wants to give us every promise we are believing for, but that means becoming God’s man or woman. He never blesses flesh. What’s born of the flesh is flesh. Jacob’s conniving to receive blessing only birthed Laban’s false blessing in his life. Real blessing, the blessing that was spoken over Jacob before his birth, was that of the Spirit. We wrestle with God over it. We contend and don’t turn loose of it until we get it!

That wrestling match is for your growth. God is not intimidated by you wanting to wrestle it out with Him. He intentionally initiates it. The result will be a change in your walk that’s permanent. No longer will you lean on your own strength but on the surety of God’s word. You will have prevailed. You will walk into situations knowing you are already the victor. Like Jacob, you can advance and face your fear because your identity is no longer that of the guilty or undeserved. Your name has been changed, you’ve received the blessing, and only promise lies ahead. 

Don’t lay down and quit. Surrender, and get in the ring. And don’t turn loose until you get what God’s promised.

Jaime Luce

Let My People Go

Regardless of the state of a man, God is just. In Exodus, He did not demand that Pharoah worship Him, nor those who lived in Egypt. His command to Pharaoh was simply to allow His people the freedom to do so. He knew at the end that Pharoah would allow them to go and do as He commanded. Still, because He is just, He allowed Pharoah to let them go and worship Him before any judgment would be pronounced against the Egyptian king personally, his land, or his people. God is so good that He gave this defiant, earthly king the ability not to do battle with the King of Kings. And in His mercy, He still gives this ability to the kings, presidents, and officials of today. God is not slow in His deliverance, folks. He is deliberate. And He will always win. Our part is to continue to proclaim the message during the waiting.

But to harden your heart and deny Him will always bring consequences. Pharoah refused 10 God opportunities. Each opportunity was a chance to allow God’s people the freedom to worship when, where, with whom, and for how long He chose. Each act of defiance led to the strong arm of God’s judgment until the eventual plundering of Pharoah, his army, and his people. Make no mistake about it. If God say’s “let them go,” He plans on setting them free.

Today, your lack of freedom may be because of a “Pharoah’s” government interference. It may be an addiction or sickness. You could be financially struggling from a crippled economy. Maybe you live in the chains of bad decisions or past pain. Or perhaps you are sitting in an actual prison.

Let’s begin to do as Moses did. We must cry, “Let my people go, that they may worship me.” Don’t let fear stop you. Moses took his brother with him to help him have the courage. This is why we must stand together in this battle. We are to be each other’s encouragers. And we must stand in faith. Moses expected that God would do the mighty signs and wonders He said He would do. We, too, must trust Him in that same way. God wants to use us to show forth his mighty power in this day and hour. The command has gone out. “Let me people go, that they may worship me.” Who will you be? Moses or Pharoah? The choice is yours.

Jaime Luce

To obey or not to obey. That is the question.

Christians everywhere are trying to determine what is right and what is not. Our government and media as a whole are crying “foul” against Christians who say anything contrary to their agenda.

The pressure is causing many who are weak in faith to succumb to mandates and ideologies that are contrary to scripture. From the beginning, God made us free. In the garden, we were given freedom of choice. Galatians 5 says, “It was for freedom that Christ has set us free.” The entire book of Exodus is about the dramatic deliverance from slavery to freedom. Our own United States Constitution was written so that we, the citizens of this great nation, would know our freedoms and fight for them when necessary as our forefathers did. In our bill of rights, we are told that our very first freedom is that of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. Right now, every single one of these is under attack.

How should we as Christians respond? I would answer by saying we should respond exactly as God would expect us to. If you fear God, you are not to fear man. Acts 5:29 says, “We must obey God rather than human authority.”

In the book of Exodus chapter one, we read how the children of Israel increased in number and power. So much so that Pharoah and all Egypt feared them even though they had made Israel their slaves. Pharoah then tells the midwives Shiphrah and Puah that if a girl is born, let her live, but if it is a boy, to kill him. This is what Exodus 1:17 says, “But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, also.”

I am sounding the alarm and battle cry. This is a call to action. The people of God are to stand strong. We have our strategy in Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:13-18 Therefore, put on the whole armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

We have marching orders as Christians and as citizens. Freedom is Godly and worth fighting for. It’s time to stand and be counted. It’s time to live what we preach. Today I challenge you. Stand for righteousness! Stand for freedom!

Jaime Luce