Do The Hard Thing!

Do the hard thing even when people don’t understand you. Paul had it in his spirit to go to Jerusalem. His friends, who were believers, even prophetic, told him not to go. They tried to convince him not to do it. But Paul knew what was in his spirit. He told us in 1 Corinthians 4:4 that he conducts himself in all good conscience. In Acts 24:16, speaking of Paul, “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.”

Don’t disobey to please people if you know that you have heard from the Lord. Keep your conscience clear. Men won’t always understand. That’s because God didn’t speak that to them. They weren’t on a zoom call with you to hear what God said to you. People have good intentions, but they won’t always understand.

If Daniel were facing his choice to be thrown in the lion’s den today, people would have told him, “Dude, listen. You don’t have to do this. Just close your windows and pray in secret. That way, you won’t offend anyone and not risk your life.” But Daniel did what Daniel knew to do. Daniel going headlong into the lion’s den was the very thing that brought glory to God and influence with the king. It was the exact place Daniel was called to serve. His actions caused the removal of those with corrupt influence and the establishment of righteous influence.

If the Three Hebrew boys were facing the fiery furnace today, people would have justified them bowing down and even encouraged it. They would have told them, “it wouldn’t be God’s will for you to die. If you die, how will you do anything for God? That isn’t necessary. God sees your heart.” Ehhh—wrong! The act of being thrown into the furnace influenced the king, causing him to declare that God is the only real God. It was their willingness to do the hard thing that caused their bonds to fall off, and it was that hard thing that brought glory to God.

The kingdom of God is the invisible, influencing the visible. It is the unseen influencing the seen. Like the wind, you see its influence without ever seeing the wind itself. People won’t see that God is influencing you. They will only see later what the impact was. People won’t understand you. Accepting that will help you go from being a people pleaser with no influence to a God pleaser with tremendous influence. Do the hard thing!

Trouble may come before the thing is finished, and people will say, “See, I told you.” But you can’t worry about that. Those same people don’t ask you for your opinion before doing what they think they should do. They aren’t worried about what you think or if you agree. In fact, for Paul, Daniel, and the three Hebrew boys, it looked like they were right.

Let’s look at Paul. If he had listened and not gone to prison, we wouldn’t have most of the New Testament. The influence and reach of Paul’s obedience to what God put in his spirit still speaks over 2,000 years later. We still cling to what he taught us about following Christ.

Don’t waste time judging others. It isn’t your business, and it isn’t your calling. Do what God speaks to you to do so you can influence and make the impact you need to make.
Do the hard thing!

Jaime Luce

The Fork in the Road Called Faith

Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a ruler in the Jewish community. He was a teacher of the law and confident in his knowledge of God. However, when He encounters Jesus, he realizes how much he doesn’t know. In John 3:1-21, Nicodemus is struggling to understand the kingdom of God, and Jesus explains that he must be born again to see the kingdom.
At this statement, the one who usually teaches must admit he doesn’t understand and needs to be taught. Then even after Jesus explains, Nicodemus says, “How can these things be?” He has arrived at the juncture of faith.

At this crossroads, this fork in the road, Jesus needs to teach the learned that he is still missing it. And the missing ingredient isn’t tangible. Jesus confronts the real problem for Nicodemus and so many of us. He tells him in verse 12 that “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” In a nutshell, Jesus is saying, “with all your knowledge, you are still missing the most important piece. You have no faith.”

Many of us are like Nicodemus. We live not believing because of the natural. We look with natural eyes trying to see what can only be spiritually accessed. We fail to recognize that our flesh is inadequate and unable. But facing that very fact awakens us to the realization that we are dead and need to be born again to live. If our spirits are dead, we have no faith. We live suspiciously and remain critical and only know doubt.
Nicodemus had head knowledge, but it had not converted his heart where one believes and is convinced.

No matter what we think we know, we must continually be taught and corrected by the Lord. We need Him to instruct our hearts as we lean into His. We must spend time in His word, in prayer, and his presence, seeking the answers to all of our questions. We, like Nicodemus, must have our hearts converted and begin exercising faith. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith.

Today, humble yourself and ask the Lord to show you where you need faith. Let Him teach you what you don’t know. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”

Jesus has the answers to all of your questions. So let your faith rise and make the way for you to lay hold of them today.

Jaime Luce

 

You Have What It Takes

There is a misconception that is prevailing in the church. The dangerous and misleading belief is that you just need to say a prayer of salvation, and you’re good. You’ve got a ticket to heaven, and all will be well. Why it’s misleading is because you can receive the mercy and grace of God by just asking. But once you have moved from the children of darkness into the children of light, there is something for you to do. And what he calls us to do has great consequence for us and the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 25:14-30 tells us the parable of the talents. Verse 14 begins like this. “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.” In this parable, the man is dealing with his own servants. He isn’t talking about strangers or outsiders. He is talking about those are his. He then gives one servant five talents, one servant two talents, and the last servant one talent. He gave each according to their ability, so nothing was required of them that they could not handle.

Heaven operates this way. We’re given what we have the capacity to increase. There are no excuses. We should be doing something to grow what we have been given. To bury it is to bury your future and, ultimately, your eternity. It is that drastic!
The servant given five talents made five more, and he heard the words in verse 21, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”

Likewise, in verse 23, the second servant was given two talents and heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”

However, in verses 24-25, the third servant who was given one talent made excuses while placing blame on his lord and said, “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.”

But look what his lord said to him in response. “You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming, I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

This parable closely resembles another parable Jesus gave of the wedding feast in Matthew 22. Someone comes into the wedding without the proper garments on, and the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into out darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

I know this can sound hard but hear me out. You won’t be required to do what you aren’t capable of doing. However, sometimes you’re called to do what you think you can’t do. Moses thought the people wouldn’t listen to him and that he was insignificant and asked the Lord how. The Lord asked him a question in response. “What do you have in your hand?” He then successfully led millions of people to freedom with the rod that was in his hand. And God will do the same with you. You do have what it takes. There are no excuses. God has given you everything you need to be fruitful in this life and the next.

Don’t worry about the one with five talents or the one who has two. Just do what you’re called to do with what you have, which will produce an increase. And when you do, what a reward you will receive when you hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” What a day that will be! So go for it. Do something with what you have and watch God do the impossible through you.

Jaime Luce

Just Pray

Prayer. Such a small but powerful word. And to access its power, you simply must do it. You want to do it. You know you need to do it. Your own spirit calls to you, asking you to do it. And it’s the one thing that can actually change you and your situation. It is the one thing that can bring peace into your chaos. But it won’t happen by itself. You must do it. Just as keys are only useful when you use them, so is prayer.

Prayer is the ability to talk face to face with the one who created the galaxies. The one who formed the heavens and the earth with just a word. The one who owns it all and desires to share it. The one who imagined you and dreamed a good plan for you and knows how to bring it to pass. The one who loves you so personally that He gave His life just for you so that you could live that life He planned in grand fashion.

In Ephesians 6:18 (NIV), Paul says, “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.” That covers it all. He tells us to pray about everything, anything, all things, and keep praying.

He also tells us how to do it. By the Spirit. Why is that important? Because in Romans 8:26 (NKJV), we read, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” That is so comforting. Even when we don’t know what to pray, the Holy Spirit does. If we will open our mouths and allow Him to pray through us, even when it only sounds like groans, God hears me and knows what I need.

Then the promise is that He not only hears us, but He answers us. 1 John 5:14-15 (NIV) says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

We are instructed to pray. It’s like Naaman, the leper, in 2 Kings 5. When the Prophet told him what he needed to do to be healed, he didn’t want to do it. His servant reasoned with him and said to him that he would have done it if the Prophet had told him to do a hard thing. Why not do the simple thing he instructed? So Naaman realized he was wrong, did what he was told to do, and received his miracle.

God is your Father, and He is a good father. The closeness and nearness we desire from Him are found in prayer. You can’t have a relationship where there is no talking. It’s not a hard thing we are called to do. The answers you desire are found in Him. The help you need is found in Him. The breakthrough you are fighting for is found in Him. Everything you could ever need or want is found in Him. The key to accessing it all is prayer.

If you want this year to be different, become a person of prayer. It’s very simple, yet so many miss it. Don’t be one of them. Let the Lord begin to direct your life in the plan He designed just for you. You can start right now, right where you are. All you have to do is pray. Your answers are waiting.

Jaime Luce

 

 

Press On!

Phillippians 3:13-14, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Are you pressing? Though the road has been challenging, are you pressing forward? Though all may have forsaken you, are you pressing? Even though you have a past, are you pressing? Even though you’ve had some successes, are you pressing?

Paul had experienced it all. He began with a past that left him feeling he was the least. A worm at best. He had been blind, beaten, shipwrecked, bitten by a snake, and abandoned, to name just a few. He knew failure in ministry and relationships. He wrestled with his flesh, saying he didn’t do the things he wanted to, and he did the things he didn’t want to do.

On the other hand, he was rocking the world by bringing the gospel to the gentiles. He had brought the baptism of the Holy Spirit to those who hadn’t so much as heard that there was a Holy Spirit. He healed the sick and raised the dead. He mentored and fathered new Christians to lead, and he mended and reunited relationships with those once torn. He authored thirteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament and finished his race well.

With a new year upon us, let us remember what Paul taught. Forget what is behind. There is a prize to win that God has called us to win. The enemy would love to keep us locked up in the things we can’t relive. It isn’t an easy thing, of course. Paul said he strained forward. The original Greek for that word means to exert oneself to the uttermost. It’s hard work. It’s a stretching, and stretching is painful. But like a rubber band, once it has been stretched, it will never be a small as it once was. It has grown.

We, like Paul, must press on. That word press means to move rapidly and decisively toward. To hasten and to run. Before we know it, 2023 will be at the door, and what will we have done? Let’s press on. Let’s leave the past in the past and stretch toward the prize. To look back is not to press but to regress. It’s time to advance with precision. We’ve got a race to win, and 2022 is just the year to do it. Press on saints. Let’s win the prize!

Jaime Luce

The Main Thing

In every circumstance and every situation, there is one determining factor that has the power to alter, change, restore, and make brand new. It alone holds power to manifest an answer where only questions abound. It is the single factor that set’s you apart. This one element is the golden ticket, the treasure map, the compass of direction. The single key that opens every door tears down every wall, and defeats every enemy is the presence of God!

In Exodus 33, Moses is having an exchange with God about continuing with his assignment. We’ve all been there. We begin and see the mighty power of God displayed as we set out in faith to accomplish the task He called us to do. Somewhere along the line, things go sideways. The people who were with you are now against you. Where you thought you’d be and where you are now look nothing alike. Even your conversations with the Lord are discouraging because He’s just as fed up with everyone’s lack of faith as you are. Though God promises you that He will still use you and accomplish what He said He would, you feel depleted and not comforted.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Keep the main thing, the main thing.” What Moses was worried about was the main thing. He knew that even if he continued forward with a new plan, that would still eventually accomplish his task; without the main thing, it would mean nothing. This is where most people miss it. This one main thing is why God chose Moses.

All Moses cared about from the beginning was God’s presence. It was his only sure thing. It’s as if to say, “If God goes with me, I know it will go exactly how God says it will go.” Moses was so attached to this truth that God would speak to him face to face. And even in that seemingly perfect relationship, Moses wasn’t satisfied. The cry of his heart was, I need to know you more. He says to the Lord, “Show me your glorious presence.” In essence, he was saying, “I know you talk to me, even intimately, face to face, but I want to know why you do what you do and how you think. I want to know all of your ways and how to walk in them.”

King David had this same heart. That’s why it is said of him that he was a man after God’s own heart. God’s presence going with you, leading the way, is the secret of every victory. To know that God is with you, fighting for you, preparing the way, is the peace and courage of every giant slayer. It is the ammunition for every weapon you wield. It is the ultimate prize. To have the presence of God is to have peace that passes all understanding. It is strength to continue to fight the next battle. It is assurance that you’re going to be ok.

If you seek anything today, may you seek His presence. Keep the main thing, the main thing. Nothing else really matters. Though the season is busy and chaotic, remember where peace comes from. It won’t come from checking off all the boxes and finishing the must-dos. It will come when you’re face to face and hear Him say, “I’m going with you, and I’ll show you all my goodness.” There is nothing like the presence of God. Make Him your priority, and watch Him make the difference.

Jaime Luce

Miracles Come From Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a time when even those who don’t regularly practice gratitude try to. Social media posts are filled with challenges to be grateful for something every day, while others post funny turkey cartoons wanting to spread some laughter and joy. It’s the one time a year that we emphasize remembering the details in life that really matter and for which we should be most grateful. There is something about gratitude that compels us. We want to give to those who have given to us.

In 2 Kings 4:8-17, we read of one such event. Elisha, on many occasions, travels through the town of Shunem. Each time, an unnamed woman invites him to stop in for a hot meal before continuing on his journey. She senses that he is a man of God and wants to bless him. So she talks with her husband, and they build a room especially for him so that when he passes through, he not only can have a meal but a place to stay and refresh.

This act of generosity so impacts Elisha that he asks his servant to call her so he can speak to her. He asks her, “is there anything I can do for you?” But because she gave her gift out of pure generosity and with no expectation of reciprocation, she responds with “no. My family takes good care of me.” She wanted nothing in return, only to be a blessing.

Her response made Elisha more determined. He asked his servant, “what can we do for her?” Gehazi, his servant, perceived a great need. She had no child, and her husband was old. She may not need anything now, but without a son, her future might look very different.

So Elisha calls her back and tells her, “next year at this time, you will be holding a son in your arms!” She cried out, “No, my lord! O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.” But the scripture says that sure enough, by that time the following year, she was holding a son.

Friends, it was gratitude that prompted her miracle. It was gratitude that brought back to life a dead dream. It was gratitude that did the impossible. Saints, let gratitude birth your miracle. And this time next year, we can testify once more to the goodness of God, continuing the blessing of Thanksgiving.

Jaime Luce

It’s An Opportunity, Not a Setback!

Can you imagine? David, just a shepherd boy, singing and playing his instrument while watching his father’s sheep. When out of the corner of his eye, he sees a lion jump from his hidden position to attack the sheep. By himself, David jumped and ran toward the lion, killing him and saving the sheep.

Now, can you imagine that instead of celebrating his great victory, David instead sits down to say, “Why God? Why did you allow that lion to attack us? I’m no good at this. This is too hard. I guess I shouldn’t be a shepherd. You must not want me to do this.”

Let’s take it even further. David is again worshipping the Lord and watching the sheep graze when out of the shadow comes a bear that is running full force straight at them. Alone again, David kills the bear and saves himself and the sheep.

David could have thought, “Why does this keep happening. I’ve already had to fight a battle. God must not be with me. What am I doing wrong? Why do I always have problems?”

When faced with another problem or another battle, the temptation is to take the victim mentality even if you’ve won the previous battles and think you have a setback. If your self-talk sounds something like, “Just when things were going good, this had to happen.” Or, “Why does this always happen to me?” Then you’ve got to shake yourself loose from the grip of self-pity.

Like David, your past battles had a purpose. They worked for you to enlarge you. The fight you are facing right now is not a setback. It is an opportunity. You can take even more territory. God has more for you!

You can be like David doing a task that seems menial and mundane. You may think this is all there is. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not. God has opened an opportunity to enlarge you. But taking territory and enlarging is a battle. Anyone who has tried to grow a company understands that enlarging is hard work. It’s an uphill battle with many obstacles. And at every place of enlargement comes a more significant, more intimidating struggle.

David was just delivering bread and cheese when he heard Goliath vomiting his threats and mockings. At that moment, David could have thought, “not again…,” “not another fight.” I’ve already had to deal with a lion and a bear. What more does God want from me?” Thank God he didn’t think those things. Instead, he said, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine who defies the armies of the living God?” After finding out the reward, David’s immediate reaction was to run toward the battle. Ours should be the same.

Revelation 1:6 says we are kings and priests unto God. We are overcomers, not down and outers. We advance the kingdom of God and take territory. Like David, we don’t shrink back. (Hebrews 10:38) That day, David was positioned for the palace. The previous battles prepared him for this giant. Just like before, David took that giant down and cut his head off. And saints, so can we!

We are not living in a setback moment. It’s time to advance. It’s time to take new and larger territory and slay our giants! Don’t be intimidated. Don’t listen to the lies and tricks of the enemy. Think from the proper perspective. Take every negative and defeatest thought captive. Deny fear any entrance and march forward in faith. Your victory will position you for your greater purpose and will bring deliverance to you and all those around you.

Jaime Luce

Misinformation

We’ve all jumped to conclusions. We see something, hear something, or imagine something because we saw nothing and heard nothing. Relying on senses alone will lead to a conclusion that is just as imagined.

After selling Joseph to traders, Jacob’s sons brought Joseph’s coat that was shredded and dipped in blood to their father. They simply asked, is this your son’s coat? Immediately Jacob’s mind took him to the worst-case scenario. He declared that Joseph had certainly been attacked by wild animals and was undoubtedly dead.

Satan uses this method with precision. We watch professional propagandists while ignoring missing facts. News stations and social media platforms hurl accusations as “misinformation” but with no investigation. Though these sources are no longer trustworthy, countless conclusions are made. Finding truth means uncovering all pertinent questions and answers, but the enemy keeps the most valuable information hidden, simply showing us a shredded bloody coat.

Saints, we’ve got to quit falling for this tactic. We don’t have to settle for the devil’s lies. We don’t have to fear the devil or the plans he has for us. We are overcomers. We overcome sin. We overcome death. We overcome oppression. We overcome poverty. We overcome sickness and disease. We overcome fear. I could go on and on. Our God is not mocked. When we know the truth, we are free indeed. Instead of jumping to conclusions, we must say by the Spirit, “and in conclusion.” We need to be declaring it to ourselves and each other. The conclusion is that God has already defeated the enemy. He has pronounced his punishment and declared our victory.

Go to the Word of God. Declare His promises over your life. Ignore the “false evidence” that the devil is waving at you with an “It is written.” Don’t agree with your enemy. Instead, speak life and promise. God’s word is the final say on the matter. Psalm 138:2 “I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.”
There is no higher truth than God’s word. Declare truth today and receive your victory!

Jaime Luce

Don’t Miss This Opportunity

I would venture to say that everyone, regardless of what you believe or where you stand on current issues, is experiencing some form of dissatisfaction. We are dissatisfied because we have genuine and tangible needs that are going unmet. But dissatisfaction breeds action. And the action we take determines whether we experience joy. Don’t miss this opportunity.

We are shown a picture of a Father who prepares and provides for His children from creation. Adam was not created and then told to cultivate a garden. God created a fully loaded garden that was ripe for productivity and multiplication. Then He placed Adam in it. Not the other way around. God knows what we have need of before we ask. So why don’t we have it?

The answer is twofold. First, we are given instructions. God told Adam, eat anything except one particular tree. But disobedience will rob you of the blessing every time. He gave similar instructions for Moses to give to the people. Deuteronomy 28:1-2 says,” “If” you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you “if” you obey the Lord your God.” (My emphasis)

To receive what we are asking for means we are living a life according to God’s instructions. We have surrendered our lives for the Kingdom of Christ and no longer live to fulfill the selfish desires of our flesh. We have died to ourselves, and we now live unto God. Living this way opens the doors to answered prayers and invites the supernatural to invade your natural. It gains access to the “already prepared for us” blessings that simply need asking for, which leads to the second reason.

We must ask! When Jesus was talking to the woman at the well in John 4, He said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” If you really knew who He was, you would ask Him. He has the gift-ready. He comes prepared. He simply needs you to ask.

James 4:2 tells us that “yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” Then in John 16:24, we’re told, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Some translations even say, “ask largely!”

John 14:12-14 says, 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Those verses sum it all up. If we live as Christ lived and ask, we will have what we ask for, bring glory to God, and our joy will then be complete. Don’t resign yourself to complain about what you are seeing or experiencing. Don’t go without. Ask God and follow His instructions.

If you need to repent for disobedience, then repent. Turn from the old way and start fresh today. He is faithful and just and will forgive you. He will help you start again just like He did for the woman at the well. She ran to tell the good news with joy. She was free from her past and now had a future, and so do you. He’s waiting right now. Ask for what you need. Follow His instructions see what God will do.

Jaime Luce