I Still Believe

Jeremy Camp, a Christian music recording artist, wrote a song called “I still believe” following his first wife’s death to cancer. All of us, in one form or fashion, will face life-changing events. These events will shake our very foundations. The shaking is not what will define your life. It is where you land that will.

When Jairus’ daughter was sick, Mark 5:23 says that he went to Jesus. He began well, believing she would be healed. Then came the press. A mob of people crowded Jesus slowing him down on their journey to his daughter. While he waited, others were healed.

Then came the report. Jairus, your daughter is dead. Don’t bother Jesus anymore. The voices from within and without will tell you it’s time to quit believing. Don’t pray about that anymore. But when you travel with Jesus, He hears the report too. Verse 36 says, “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he said unto the ruler of the Synagogue (Jairus), Be not afraid, only believe.”

For Jeremy Camp, continuing to believe led to a new beginning and full life with a new wife and three children. For Jairus, it meant his daughter would live. Both of these men had something in common. They were walking the journey with Jesus.

Your journey may take you through rough terrain, and the elements may fight against you. But Jesus is still the one who say’s, “Peace, be still.” He is still the one who puts out the mockers and silences the doubt so that you can say like these men, “I still believe.”

Don’t lose hope. Keep walking with Jesus. He has not left you. Even when it seems others have received their answers instead of you. Jesus is still headed to your house. He won’t disappoint. He knows what He is going to do. Just believe.

Blessings to you and yours,

Jaime Luce

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The Answer To Your Problem

Standing in the middle of the temple surrounded by the top thinkers of His day, Jesus stands poised for the trap they have set. They begin with words dripping and coated in honey. False platitudes of honor and respect are their weapon of choice. Then comes the tangled web of a question meant to silence Him permanently.

But the one who formed and created the mind that thinks with wit and clever imagination could not be trapped. Jesus not only answers but flips the script and silences them with this statement. “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” Matthew 22:29 (NIV)

I can promise you this is why we also error. It still comes down to these two things. We don’t know the scriptures or the power of God. It doesn’t matter what the problem or question in life is. The answer is found in the Word of God and the Power of God.

If the enemy has set a trap for you, there is a way out. There is an answer to the question you can’t seem to answer. Dive deep into the Word of God. Search out the wisdom from the one who is all-knowing and all-powerful. Seek His intervention by knowing the mind of Christ and His great power. There is nothing too difficult for Him. He told us that nothing is impossible to Him that believes. Believes what? The Word and the power of God.

You are not a victim but an overcomer. Today you can silence the enemy with just one Word.

Blessings to you and yours,

Jaime Luce

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Would the real church please stand up!

How dare you be healed at church! I mean, don’t you know we are in a pandemic? You could get others sick. You are so selfish! Wait, before you click off, let me explain. There is obvious division in the church right now over whether it is “moral” for the church to be meeting in person. Ignore that most churches only meet once a week anyway, which is a subject for another day. But the answer to this question is not hard to find. All you have to do is look at Jesus.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees continually harassed Jesus for doing what He was here to do because He broke all their rules. Three of the gospels tell the story of Jesus being in the synagogue on the Sabbath and healing the man with the withered hand. In Luke 13, Jesus is again at church on the Sabbath and heals a woman who had been bent over for 18 years. Why would anyone be upset if someone is healed? The answer is simple. The one accusing of wrong lives a life of lip service and not people service. You may just be a Pharisee.

It didn’t stop there either. You’re fooling yourself if you think it will stop there for the church as well. The church is the beginning. They will complain about what you do in your home too. Jesus was in a house teaching when four people were brave enough to offend the owners of a home by opening up their roof to lower down a man to be healed. Get this. Instead of rejoicing that a bedridden man could now walk again, they were upset that Jesus told the man he was forgiven. Their attack came not just with healing but on the words Jesus said. This is happening right now in our nation. Our choice of words and freedom of speech is under attack.

I saw a post from a friend the other day telling what a wonderful day of ministry they had just had ministering to the homeless. People were healed, delivered, and set free. On top of that, they fed them to fill their bellies as well as their spirits. She posted pictures to show God’s goodness. And wouldn’t you know that the first comment on that post was from a woman who said, “You mean there wasn’t social distancing there?” I wanted to scream what Jesus had said to the Pharisees. “You hypocrites!”
If you are more concerned about laws and regulations than people, well, then you don’t know Jesus. You may just be a Pharisee.

Ministering to the needs of people was the reason Jesus came. He came to heal, deliver and set free all those who were sick and oppressed. And if you are a follower of Jesus, then that is your mission too. Especially in a pandemic. Jesus didn’t run from contagious lepers. And neither should we. He laid His hands on them, and they recovered. If the church would just be the church, we would not worry about a pandemic. We should be telling all those with Covid to come to the church!

In fact, it would be hard for any government to keep you silent and shut up if we were the cure. How are you supposed to call for the elders of the church to lay hands on you and recover if you can’t go to the church where the elders are supposed to be. And if you are a pastor and don’t believe that Jesus still wants to heal, deliver and set free, then you have more significant problems than opening your church. Instead, if the church is open, we take temperatures to tell the sick to stay away. I can only imagine what Jesus is saying about this. Where is the holy reverent fear of God?

It’s time for the church to be the church and stand up! It’s time for the church to be the answer and the cure to the sickness of this world. It’s time to quit bowing to rules and regulations that hurt people, follow Jesus’ example, and keep doing what we are here to do. It’s time to stop giving lip service and be about our Father’s business.
If you are sick, go and find you a church that actually believes the Bible and let them lay hands on you, and you will recover in Jesus’ name!

Blessings to you and yours,


Jaime Luce

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Who are you? I really want to know!

In 1978, “The Who” released the title track “Who are you?” The song became even more famous when used as the theme song for the hit tv show CSI. During your life and even at your death everyone wants to know. Who are you? But not even you can answer this question when asked. You can state your name and the facts of your birth and the parents that bore you. You can list where you live and your education. That won’t answer who you are. The answer to this question has the power to change your life. In fact, the answer to this question will define your life and your death. It’s dramatically that important. But there is an even more imperative question.

In Matthew 16 Jesus looked at his disciples and asked, “Who do men say that I am? They gave Him several answers, but the consensus was that He was a prophet. So, Jesus replies, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter says without hesitation, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Stirred by Peter’s declaration Jesus says, “Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” But here is the kicker. Jesus then says, “And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

You can’t know who you are until you know who He is. You may have a name given by your parents, but you won’t know what that ultimately means until Jesus defines it. His answer will give you your assignment. His answer will give you your purpose. His answer will equip you with all the backing of heaven to accomplish your destiny. It doesn’t matter who your parents or grandparents thought Jesus was. You have to answer this question yourself. 

So, “Who are you?”

Blessings to you and yours,

Jaime Luce

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The Battle for Faith

With an army on charging horses racing toward them in fiery fury, William Wallace stands leading his troops. In that moment of fierce battle when his men are terrified of the coming fight, Wallace cries out that now famous line in Mel Gibsons version of Braveheart, “Hold, Hold, Hold, HOLD!” His men hang on every word of his declaration. And with his strategic might they are strengthened.

This same phrase is being declared from heaven even now. To the body of Christ heaven is roaring, “Hold, Hold, Hold, HOLD!” Do not leave your post! Do not run! Hold your ground! What sets us apart from the world is faith in God. Paul warned us that it would take armor to fight this good fight of faith. He told us perilous times would come but Jesus declared in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Now is the time and here is the place of the true church of Jesus Christ. He is coming for a victorious church. The gates of hell may rage against her but they will not prevail! We must hold fast to our confession of faith. We must declare the mighty works of God and wait for his commands. Our victory is certain if we will not lay down our swords! Hold steady. Hold fast. Hold onto the everlasting arms of Jesus and watch God do the impossible.

Blessings to you and yours,

Jaime Luce

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The Unity Hoax

Warning. Proceed with caution. Continue at your own risk or I may have to steal the quote, “I’m afraid the strain was more than he could bear.” (Doc Holiday, TombstoneI’ll just come right out and say it. Enough of this “Christians are supposed to love everyone” nonsense. The people who say this either are timid by nature, have been taught only part of the Bible or have never read it for themselves. The entire book is filled with recorded wars and battles. Whether on the battle field or in society, Christians are fighting for their inheritance and freedom from oppression.

Those who want to dominate and control love to throw around comments like “I thought you were supposed to be a Christian.” or “Jesus is love.” I hate to burst your bubble but Jesus himself said in Matthew 10:34-39 (NKJV) “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” That’s not sweet baby Jesus. That’s the ruler of the whole earth.

Now don’t get me wrong. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Jesus is love. But Jesus is not just love. Nor is He just peace. He is a King. He is Just. He is not a people pleaser. He stood up to and harshly name called the hypocritical Pharisees. He crafted a whip and drove out the money changers while violently flipping their tables over. The only time Jesus allowed Himself to be controlled was at His appointed time to die for our sins. And even then, He handed himself over, allowing them to do what they wanted to do. Had He not done that they could not have held Him.

Jesus knew when to fight and when to heal the sick. He knew when to argue and when to keep silent. He was masterful with His words. He could not be tricked or manipulated. Jesus is awesome!

In like manner, we are to know when to stand and fight and when to keep silent. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NKJV) clearly says not all times are the same.

3 “To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.”

There are those who are crying “Unity.” Unity yes, but first it must be defined. The body of Christ must be in unity in order to function as the body. However, we are not to be in unity with the world.

James 4:4 (NIV) says, You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

We cannot think that if we play nice with those who oppose God that we are pleasing the Lord in the name of Christianity. You are fooling yourself. You make yourself an enemy of God. We are not to be timid and afraid and bow to those who want to rule over us. We are to be like the three Hebrew boys who under threat of death would not bow down. They believed in their God to deliver them. And even if He didn’t, they would not bow down.

Me loving my neighbor is me telling them the truth even if they hate what I’m saying. Me loving my neighbor is wanting blind eyes open both in the natural and spiritually speaking. Loving them is not me bowing to Godless demands and edicts. Jesus said they hated Me, and they will hate you. John 15:18

Now don’t misunderstand. It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. Of course, we are kind in nature and don’t go around starting senseless or meaningless fights. We defend the defenseless and care for the hurting like the “good Samaritan.” But we definitely don’t cower in the name of Christianity. David was a kind shepherd boy but when it was time to fight, he was the only one brave enough and bold enough to run straight at the giant in front of him. He knew this enemy was standing and threatening in opposition and defiance of God. We must do the same.

Do we love? Yes. Are we kind? Yes. But please, do not forget we also fight! Paul taught us to put on armor. We are told to act as good soldiers. Even our faith is a fight and we are told to fight. The freedom Christ purchased for us is worth fighting to keep. Let us not put our swords down and lower the standards of the Word. May we be like Paul when we come to the end and say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge, will award to me on that day and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV) 

So, let us unite as the body. Not with this world or its corrupt ideas. We have a treasure worth fighting for. We are carriers of the presence and power of God. We are to pray “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) We can only bring healing and restoration through fighting for the Word and fighting for the church. If we don’t fight for her who will? So I challenge you. Pick up your sword and fight! 

Blessings to you and yours,

Jaime Luce

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WISDOM LOST…THE FEAR FACTOR

 

If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, then it is clear that wisdom is lost. We are living in a time when every man does what seems right in his own eyes. (Judges 17:6) God is not only not feared, but He is detested, reviled and disdained. Those who claim to be aligned with Him are labeled the enemy or even worse, mentally ill. In case you haven’t noticed, the body of Christ is under attack. 

What has changed? How has such a dramatic turn happened? If we look to Scripture, it becomes abundantly clear. When you lose the fear of the Lord you remove all wisdom. When you lose the fear of the Lord you invite chaos to fill that void. Even to Christians, fearing God seems a thing of the past. For the last couple of decades, we wanted to make our all-powerful, all mighty God a very nice and approachable God instead. We wanted the God who created the expanse of all galaxies and the earth we live in, to be our buddy that we can hang out with. We wanted a God that we were familiar with. The problem with familiarity is that it breeds contempt. 

Jesus said in Mark 6:3-5 “Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.”

Because of their familiarity they did not believe. In fact, they were indignant. This very thing has happened in the world. Even those in the church take offense at things in scripture. They believe the parts they like and discard the ones they don’t. This same diluted approach asks why would we want a God that we fear? Why would we embrace such a thought?

To answer that, you must first know what the fear of God is and why you need it. Fear is audaciously just that. Fear. Ministers shy away from the fact that fear means fear. We like to put the emphasis on how it is also awe and reverence. I grew up in a home where my dad is known as the one who loves everyone. Every person I know who meets my dad says the same thing. “I love your dad.” And I reply, “Me too.” His nature is one of grace, long suffering and abundant mercy. All of these are characteristics of our Heavenly Father. But there are other character traits my dad has that also mimic my Heavenly Father. He is fiercely brave and unafraid. He would fight any devil naturally and spiritually. When pushed, he is a force of strength and might. He served in the United States Army and understands what fighting is all about. Growing up, I knew you don’t mess with dad! And I was grateful for having him be like that. I felt safe and secure whenever dad was there.

Well I don’t know about you but in times like this I need a God that fights battles and wins. I need a God that the enemy is afraid of. I need a God that keeps my road clear, straight and narrow, for that is what leads to life. Matthew 7:14 “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” I don’t need a God that I simply make sure to be quiet around or respect from a distance. I don’t need a Father who winks at my sin and doesn’t teach me how to live and survive in this world. I need a God that is infinitely bigger, stronger and smarter than I am. One that can control the elements when I need Him too. One that fights battles on my behalf and wins. One that insures I get where I’m supposed to go. I don’t need a mamsy pamsy weak and helpless God who just goes around saying nice things to everyone. I want a God that I can say “You don’t mess with Him.”

Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” It’s literally the beginning. You don’t pass go or collect $200 dollars without it. Proverbs is replete with wisdom. But it must be laid hold of in order to produce. One must seek wisdom as if for treasure. One must seek council and lean on those whose lives have proved their words. Multiple times we are taught to head to the instruction of our father. Here is what scripture says.

Proverbs 1:20-29

20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
    she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall[a] she cries out,
    at the city gate she makes her speech:

22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
    How long will mockers delight in mockery
    and fools hate knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
    Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
    I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But since you refuse to listen when I call
    and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
    and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
    I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
    when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
    when distress and trouble overwhelm you.

28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.

That, my friends, is something to be afraid of. The God I serve has all power. I don’t get to choose the way I want to do it. I get to choose who I follow. 

We shouldn’t be surprised. We have raised a generation of children who mock their parents, refuse instruction and are praised for it. This is shameful. We are reaping what we have sown as a society. Our music, television and media defy all wisdom and instruction. We let a carnal godless world indoctrinate our children because we didn’t want to rebuke them. Now we are upset that they won’t listen to reason and stop their out of control behavior. What we need is to regain our fear of the Lord. We need to repent and follow His instructions and gladly listen to His rebukes. He has given them not because He is a tyrant, but because He loves us. He cares what happens to us. He knows what lies ahead if we refuse.

I challenge you today. Bravely look at how you see God. Do you have a right fear of the All Mighty? Or is he so familiar that you can disregard what He has said? If we want to see change, we must be changed. Our lives, our families and our country will not be affectively impacted without it. We need the fear of God. We need to remember who He is and what He can do. We need a revival!

Blessings to you and yours,

Jaime Luce

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The Masking of Christianity

The parallel seems uncanny. The apostles were continually told to keep silent. Acts 4:18 NLT “So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.” Acts 5:40 NLT “The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.”

Don’t speak. Like a parent covering a child’s mouth. This is exactly how I feel walking around with everyone’s face covered. You can see the eyes but the voice is muffled and sometimes not understandable through the cloth covering it. How many movies and tv shows have we seen where in order for the assailant to subdue his target, he covers the mouth and nose of the victim with a cloth laced with chloroform and the victim collapses into submission.

Acts 5:18 says, (NIV) “And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.” This is simultaneously happening to the church of Christ around the world right now. The governing systems and leaders are telling us to be quiet. Be quiet about meeting together. Be quiet about Biblical righteousness. Be quiet about what the Bible says about abortion. Be quiet about Biblical marriage. Be quiet about equality and justice. They are trying in every way and by every means to put their hands over our faces and shut us up.

How did the Apostles respond? They refused to wear the mask! What happens to the psyche of those who see people with their faces covered all around them? It say’s be afraid! Be afraid of the person behind the mask. Be afraid that they will infect you. That what they have is dangerous and can hurt you. The church needs to understand the danger and deceit of what is happening spiritually. There is a war going on. The enemy wants to silence you and cause those who see you to fear you and your message. He wants to cause those who see you to think that what you carry is dangerous instead of empowering and cause contamination instead of freedom. The strategy is deception. People are told to watch us, report us and ticket or arrest us if we even try to meet. And if we meet, we are to do so in very small numbers while standing far apart.

Just think about that strategy. Don’t allow them to muster the troops. Don’t let them link arms and comfort one another. Don’t allow them to sing and rejoice. Don’t allow them to pray for one another. In essence it’s an attempt to dismantle the body of Christ systematically and stop the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

So what is the church to do? Let’s look at the passage again. Acts 4:13-20

13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Peter and John reasoned that they answer first to God. They were not criminals. They had hurt no one. On the contrary, a man had just been healed. These were not men of terror or chaos but instead men of peace and compassion. Their boldness was called rebellion. Their fearlessness called insurgence and revolt.

We must not silence our voices. We must continue to stand boldly and proclaim the name of Jesus. We must go around healing the sick and delivering the bound. We must advance the Kingdom of God in the face of opposition, tyranny and imprisonment. The apostles didn’t back down and neither should we. Jesus was led to the slaughter so that we could walk in His power and authority. I challenge you not to lay down your sword!

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

When Jesus ascended and sat down at the right hand of the father he was proclaiming His victory. He had finished the work. His victory has wrought ours. We are to be valiant in our stance and full of courage. According to Matthew 11:12 (NASB) “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” There is still a work to be done and it is we who are to do it.

So today, stare your enemy in the eye. Rip off your mask of silence and proclaim the Kingdom of God is at hand. Wield your sword and stand your ground. You are a conquerer! You’re the called of God and heirs to the throne. Child of God march forward and claim your victory over every sphere in your life and free others while you do!

Blessings to you and yours,

Jaime Luce

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His Banner Over Me Is Love

It is probably safe to say we have all learned something about ourselves during this quarantine. One friend posted a funny meme that said, “I never had time to clean my house.” “Now I know that wasn’t the problem.” The joke is on us. Now we have the time to do things we “didn’t have time for” before and we still aren’t doing them.

Do you have something you blamed on not having enough time for? More specifically, did you blame not reading your Bible, spending time with the Lord and praying on time? That is not meant to be a rebuke but simply a real question of introspection. Are we really where we think we are in our walk with the Lord? Titus 2 teaches us to live soberly in this present world while we look for the blessed hope of Christ’s return.

Just a month ago my son and daughter-in-law had their first child. Jane is a healthy, happy and beautiful little girl. For now, we love how small she is, but she is growing every day.  Growth is healthy. As much as we love babies and puppies, something would be very wrong if they remained small and did not grow. We would take them to the doctor to find out why their growth is stunted. According to google, “the most direct causes are inadequate nutrition (not eating enough or eating foods that lack growth-promoting nutrients) and recurrent infections or chronic diseases which cause poor nutrient intake, absorption or utilization.”

Now if you had a child whose growth was stunted, would you still love them? Of course you would. You would love that child no matter what condition they were in. But what would your desire for that child be? To be healthy. You would want them to grow and to flourish into a strong adult. You would want them to live to their fullest potential.

This is us.

Our heavenly Father has many children who are called by his name. But this incubation time has shown many to be stunted in their growth. If you have a baby who can only live on milk because they have no means to chew food, you are happy to give them milk. If, however you have a child who doesn’t want to eat, you have to intervene. If you don’t you will stunt their growth and harm them. It would not be love to let them do as they pleased. They may want to eat only junk or not eat at all. Out of love you would not allow this. You would prepare healthy options that would help supply what they need. Our Father has done this for us. We are a people, a nation in need.

I’m not saying that God brought this virus. I’m also not saying that He isn’t in it. We as a church have entered into a new era. We can’t have church as usual. We are now forced to feed ourselves and see what we are really made of. Every excuse has been taken away for those who are at home. I think I can safely say everyone has a phone or computer which means everyone has access to the Bible and great teaching. To top it off you now have an abundance of the costliest commodity. Time. It can’t be bought and it always run out.

Song of Solomon 2:4 says, “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me is love.” Will we eat? Will you sit with him and take the time to dine with him to feed your soul and nourish your relationship? He shows you He loves you by feeding you and meeting that need. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” He doesn’t want to force feed you but instead he has desired to come to you and spend some time with you. 3 John 1:2 says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” We can affect our health in this present chaos by feeding our souls. Romans 10:17 tells us “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” He won’t force feed you but He does invite you. He wants you well and nourished, growing and flourishing even if you’ve not eaten this way before.

After Jesus’ crucifixion, the disciples put themselves into a quarantine of sorts. They hid in fear in an upper room with the door locked. Once Jesus had made himself known to them on several occasions Jesus had a conversation with Peter in John 21:15, “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

Jesus will question our love. And I can assume we would quickly say Yes Lord, we love you, just like Peter did. But Jesus asked again and again cutting Peter to the quick. Here in lies the teaching moment. We know Jesus was not trying to wound Peter. He was wanting to enlarge Peter.

To help us understand, I’d like to highlight two phrases. The first is “More than these.” When left to ourselves we must ask, do we love him more than these? “These” are all the things we put before him. In the aftermath of Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter said he was going fishing. His “these” could have been the boat, the nets, the fish or the act of fishing. It could have been “the guys.” He was surrounded by fellow fishermen and friends. Whether “these” are distractions or idols, they take our time and our love.

Who do you love? I challenge you right now to stop and think about what you have said is the one thing you wish you could hurry up and do as soon as the quarantine is over. What is the true love of you your life that you would give your time too? What have you complained about not getting to do the most? What have you neglected to do right now that you easily could do? You will know because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth will speak. 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us to examine ourselves because it is possible to deceive ourselves.

Do we really love Him?

I know this is a simple example but it is true none the less. When you love someone, you are eager to spend time with them. You will ditch your other friends to be with them. Even your closest friends. If you can’t physically be together you are on the phone. You know how we do. We won’t be the first one to hang up. You hang up. No, you hang up. Then we fall asleep holding the phone. And if you don’t have a phone you write a beautiful gushing love letter. What ever it takes we make a way. Do you ever get creative to be with Jesus?

The second phrase is “Feed my lambs.” When Jesus questioned Peter’s love, He followed it with a “than do.” We are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. If you really love Him, you will do something about it. It will affect your decisions and choices. Jesus asked him to “feed” the others. He knew they would look to Peter.  This was a pivotal point. They would either rise to their call and purpose or they would shrink back and become stunted. They needed to grow. Peter had been chosen to lead this band of men once Jesus ascended. It was time to mature. It was going to take someone feeding them and giving them nourishment. They could not remain lambs. These men were to become the fathers of the faith. It was time for Peter to live what he had learned.

Now it’s our turn.

Let’s use this gift of time, this Selah moment in history, to make sure we are ready for what comes next. We may never have this opportunity again. The commodity of time will run out. We need to be feeding ourselves and helping to feed others.

I can’t help but think of the underground church who never have a building to go to. They never have freedom to worship yet they are close to the Father’s heart. They put at risk life and limb to read his word and worship. We are still the most blessed nation. We can still serve the Lord in freedom and gladness.

Earlier I quoted from John 21:15. Let’s back up now to vs.1-14 and see this beautiful truth displayed.

21 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”

They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and [a]immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”

They answered Him, “No.”

And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.”

11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.

You may feel you fished all night and caught nothing. You can’t go to church to get your fish. Jesus is saying throw your net on the other side. Do it at home. You will catch a huge catch. Or if you have found that you have left your first love without realizing it, or you gave up and said, “I’m going fishing,” don’t fret. Simply confess it. Like Peter you can plunge into the water. Rejoice and come to the table. Can you smell it? Jesus has a meal He’s cooking especially for you.

Blessings to you and yours,

Jaime Luce

 

Photo:  iStock by Getty

 

 

 

 

 

Well Hello Sunshine…

Don’t you just love the sunshine?  There is nothing more beautiful than the sun breaking through the clouds after a storm.  It’s breathtaking. We have many sayings about the sun.  For instance there’s “Well Hello Sunshine” or “Sunshine makes me happy”.  We write songs about it like “You are my sunshine” and “Here comes the sun” or “Sunshine on my shoulder.” There is something about the sun that makes us happy and gives us hope.  But what do we do when the sun isn’t shining?  How do we get through the darkness, the chaos, the emptiness?

God’s word is not just informational its transformational. His word was written for you and me personally. So let’s look at this scripture from a new perspective. Genesis 1:1-4 reads like this. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.”

God created you and I in much the same way. You were formless and void.  He hovered over us in the waters of a womb forming us in a dark place until the moment he chose to burst forth our lives into the world. We weren’t alone in that dark place but carefully hovered over. Our hope remains in the fact that God is the same yesterday, today and forever according to Hebrews 13:8.

He is teaching us about his power in darkness. Where is the darkness? It is on the face of the deep. In other words, it is on the face of the one in deep darkness. How did He transform it? He said, “Let there be.” Have you ever noticed someone’s face and in that instant you knew they were in deep pain or a very dark place. Our face won’t be able to feel the sun until we allow the Lord to go deep. Our gentle savior will wait on us to allow him into those deep dark places. The hidden places of chaos that we feel trapped in. We have to let there be. We can decide to remain in darkness or let him in.

John 8:12 says, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” We may not be able to go back and change the past but Christ has unlocked the door to a different future. A new dawn. Country singer Terri Clark’s song “I just want to be mad for awhile” describes a place we can get stuck in. The last two lines of the chorus say “Please don’t make me smile, I just want to be mad for a while.” It’s cute and comical and too often true. We get comfortable and we can even begin to hold fast to it. But darkness can be deceiving. It will lie to us and tell us it’s our friend. We were wronged so we have a right to hold it. And we may very well have been wronged but instead of being our friend it continues to steal life from us and it holds us captive in the darkness of yesterday.

Depression, trauma and tragedy are real and I’m not here to argue or dismiss their reality or severity. I am here to say however that if we “let there be” God can do what only he can do. He needs only to speak and our darkness can break. We have to cling to the truth found in the book of Jeremiah. God has planned for us a hope and a future. He promised in Philippians that the work he began in us he would complete. He won’t leave us there if we are willing to leave it behind. How he leads you is personal to each one of us. We all walk a different journey but our guide should be the same.

As a little girl my father sang in a quartet and traveled from church to church almost every weekend for years. Being on that circuit I learned so many songs that ring in my ears today. One of those was “It always gets the darkest just before daylight.”  Have you ever sat waiting to watch a sunrise? It can be so dark you can feel it. Then almost without detection the black has somewhat softened to a flatter black from the stark sharpness it just eminated, then to almost a very deep blue. Before you know it, light is breaking on the horizon like a aura. It may begin ever so dimly but it most definitely is rising. 

Jesus Christ, our hope, wants to break forth into your darkness and warm your face with his light and warmth.  I hope today you hear the Lord say “Let there be” over you. Let him speak peace to the chaos and lead you out of darkness and into his marvelous light. 

Blessings to you and yours,

Jaime Luce

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