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The Fundamental Flaw Of America

The fundamental problem in America is the system is setup to protect property owners rather than people.

It inevitably results in outcomes such as in the tragic case of Tyre Nichols. (May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon him and his family, and may we be its agents and a comfort to those he left behind.)

Policing is different for different profiles. For the affluent, it’s protect and serve. For the poor, it’s search and destroy, as seen in the application of Broken Window policing theory that is designed to proactively protect the affluent and prevent the encroachment of crime from poorer areas where it is prevalent due largely to their marginalization (think gentrification) and neglect.

Whether you resist or don’t resist, the truth remains that property owners don’t get treated the way Tyre Nichols and countless others who fit his profile have been treated.

The brutality is not against blacks per se but against the poor who historical discrimination and unreconciled, unjust government policies (see FHA and racially restrictive covenants) has all but ensured blacks will be categorized as.

There has been a perpetual, pernicious and well documented history of discrimination against blacks that result in the deep disparities in property ownership and property values that we see today.

The system in America is shaped by and deeply rooted in that racist (might I also add sexist) history which results in what is indisputable and rightfully called systemic racism.

The police are not the problem.

Police are regular heroes in our communities when the system allows them to be. I see their hearts, I see their service, I see their sacrifice everyday. I would not want a community without healthy, effective and equitable policing.

The police are not the problem.

The problem is the unjust and unequitable system they are made to submit to and operate within.

The problem is the proxy war against the poor.

I would argue, that’s why no matter how different the police are (black police officers in this case), the outcomes are often the same.

Police are arguably a victim of this system as well –the underpaid poor weaponized against the poor. Part of the solution is empowering them to stand against harmful policies without retribution, to educate them to lead and manage people, to give them a voice in how to police their own communities and to pay them what is commensurate with having such a vital job and important skill set.

What repeatedly happens to people who fit the profile of Tyre Nichols is simply the fruit of the poison tree –the inevitable outcome of unrequited injustice and a system with a bad setup that lends to bad incentives.

The fundamental problem in America is the system is setup to protect property owners rather than people.

Another vital part of the solution is for blacks, who I understand are not a monolith yet we need to think collectively on key issues such as wages and property ownership.

To be clear, there is a vast difference between being a property owner and being a black who happens to own property. When are we going to learn that individual success is not sufficient?

For blacks to become property owners in the eyes of the system, we must do so en masse. Enough of us have to do it to change the profile, so it matches that which the system is designed to protect.

I am not one to jump on the bandwagon of what’s trendy to be outraged about today. But, since people are somewhat paying attention, I thought I’d attempt to leverage the opportunity to try to inject something into the conversation that might move us in a more helpful direction:

America needs to right its wrongs such as instituting an unsecured, without qualification, near zero interest FHA loan program for black Americans just as the whites were allowed during FDRs New Deal but that blacks were unjustly excluded from.

But regardless of what others do or don’t, Blacks need to concentrate on Capacity (property ownership, voting power), Consolidation (capacity at scale), and above all Community (togetherness on key issues) so rather than make a lot of noise only to end right back here again, we can speak softly and carry a big stick.

My two cents.

#tyre #TyreNichols #police #race #black #systemicracismexists

The Only Way To Call Jesus Lord

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - The Only Way To Call Jesus Lord

Photo Courtesy of Zoltan Toth – Flickr

“[…] no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 12:3

Because you’ve said “Jesus is Lord,” don’t read this and think that you’re in the clear.

You do realize that calling someone “Lord” indicates that you acknowledge their authority to tell you what to do, right?

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” – Luke 6:46

Calling Jesus, “Lord” it is not about saying the words with your mouth but with your life.

Even demons recognized His title. What makes them demons was their rebelling against His will.

The line between the godly and the demonic is as simple as who’s rule you support: God’s or not. To be clear, any rule besides God’s is demonic, including yours.

But, even in that there’s grace.

“But what do you think?

A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went.

Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go.

Which of the two did the will of his father?

They said to Him, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.'”

– Matthew 21:28-32

All of us have areas in our lives that we have not given over to Christ’s lordship. We’re saying “I will not” because we’re comfortable with the demonic arrangements we’ve made for those parts of our lives.

The key to authentic faith and life in Christ is to trust Jesus. We must let God be true and believe His government produces life, while all others lead to death (whether it looks that way or not – many things that appear full of life are dying, e.g. a rose in a vase looks beautiful, it’s naturally a perennial [long living, enduring plant], but it began to die the moment it was cut – anything apart from God is dead).

When we belong to Christ, the Holy Spirit reveals areas in our hearts where Jesus is not King and one by one, with great violence, we must make war to turn them over to His rule.

It is in this process that though we formerly said, “I will not”, by the revelation of Christ and conviction of the Holy Spirit, we come to a place of repentance and obey, and in this struggle we truly say “Jesus is Lord” and can have confidence that we belong to Him.

It’s a work of the Holy Spirit.

Giving Thanks For The Hard Things


Photo Courtesy of YouVersion Bible

“I had a great weekend with my bride.”

“It’s a beautiful day.”

“I’m enjoying a portion of health, strength or provision”

It’s easy to give thanks for that.

But, the annoying employer,

The unexpected expense,

The person being a jerk,

Illness,

Or, tragic loss is another matter.

“In everything, give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” This is the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Admittedly, I have trouble with that, especially as it pertains to things that are unpleasant, painful or are simply something I don’t want to do.

But, God works all things together for good. Nothing is wasted -not even trouble.

For the Christian, trouble is strength conditioning. It’s our gym. By it, we are being made mighty in God when we get with the program and do not despise the training of the Lord.

So, as trouble presses against us, more and more we develop the strength to stand firmly.

The goal is to become immovable.

The goal is to not be moved by any circumstance from a place of peace, joy and love in God –strength built on faith in Christ that even the gates of hell cannot prevail against.

A house built on the Rock.

Imagine the value of being such an asset on the battlefield! Imagine the beacon of hope it would be. Imagine the refuge in Christ it would offer others. Imagine the protection it would provide our families and community. Imagine the glory God would receive!

Giving thanks in all things returns our focus to Him, it reminds us of His promises and that we are being prepared. It helps us get our minds right so that we can get the most out of the training now to be effective in our assignment later.

So, as I encounter trouble, I pray to enter into a more appropriate attitude for a child of the King,

“Thank you Father, for the opportunity this hardship affords me;
to gain experience, strength and promotion,
This light and momentary affliction is working for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

I trust You to get me there,
to make me into what You would have me to be.
Help me to understand and submit to what You’re teaching me.

Teach me to dwell in the secret place of the Most High.

Make me immovable.

In the name of Jesus Christ and for Your glory I pray.

Amen.”

And, in those moments where there is an onslaught and the enemy attempts to overwhelm me, my breath prayer is,

“Thank you Father, for the opportunity.”

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

– 1 Corinthians 15:57-58
https://my.bible.com/bible/114/1CO.15.57-58

Repentance Is Lifting Your Eyes To Love

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Repentance Is Lifting Your Eyes To Love

Hating yourself can feel like the proper punishment for the wrong you’ve done, the people you hurt and not being who you think you ought to be, but it’s not the way.

It only causes more harm.

The only helpful response to error and harm is repentance:

1. Awareness of God’s standard (Love),

2. Agree that I fall short of God’s standard,

3. Apologize for the offense to God and the injured caused by missing God’s standard,

4. Acknowledge my need for God’s help to meet the standard,

5. Ask God for His help meet to the standard,

6. Accept God’s help — His manifold grace through the instruction, wisdom, guidance and strength He supplies to atone with others and to align you to His standard so that you approach the matter appropriately moving forward.

7. Appreciate the forgiveness Jesus bought with His blood and the amazing power He offers, the same power that raised Him from the dead He makes available to you to give you new life now, with a new sprit –new and healthy desires, a new disposition and a new outlook.

Self hatred and self loathing is just more selfishness and a twisted attempt at self-righteousness which achieves nothing: no reconciliation, no healing, no improvement, just more anger, bitterness and regret.

When we continually abuse ourselves rather than accept the forgiveness Christ affords us, though we think we abase ourselves, it is an egregious act of pride.

When we reject His grace, we put ourselves above God, we take His seat as judge and instruct Him on how He should have handled our case. We mock God’s perfect solution for justice, we belittle the sacrifice of Christ and assert that His blood isn’t good enough!

Instead, humble yourself. Repent. Turn your attention from self to the Savior. Lift your eyes to Jesus Christ and find all the help you need to meet the standard to be better, to do better, to reconcile, to heal, to be transformed –to love that does no harm.

Repentance is lifting your eyes to Love.

“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
2 Corinthians 7:10
https://bible.com/bible/114/2co.7.10.NKJV

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #4 – A Brother’s Reminder Of The Father’s Love

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #4 – A Brother's Reminder Of The Father's Love

In Week 4 of 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness I give thanks for a brother’s reminder of the Father’s Love.

A dear brother, David Purvis, sent me a text message out of the blue that said, “Paul you have been on my heart. […] The Lord wanted me to tell you that He loves you and is so proud of you. He wants you to know this so you can have great joy.”

I can readily see this and believe this for others but I will admit that the Lord being “so proud” of me was hard for me to conceive, let alone receive.

That same night I was at a Man Church fellowship where Brother Luke Gardner shared “You are justified in Christ Jesus,” (1 Corinthians 6:11) and then did this little play on the word to drive the concept home.

Justified.

Just if I’d never sinned.
Just if I’d always obeyed.

Because of Christ, that’s how God sees me.

What amazing grace.

I have to be careful not to confuse how I feel about myself with how God feels about me.

As it pertains to me, I often allow the accuser to make accusations unchallenged resulting in me being unkind to myself and my own worst critic. But, no more.

Let God be true.

I just see a lump of clay but God sees the finished product and it pleases Him.

And, it’s not because of what I’ve done but because of who I am in Christ as a result of what He’s done.

It is impossible for me to mess this up.

Nothing will separate me from this Love.

Grace on top of grace.

Inconceivable.

The joy is welling up to overflowing. Thank you for this reminder, Brother Purvis.

I’m thankful.

#52WoG

Expectation Versus Reality

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Expectation Versus Reality

Many people’s faith has failed because they had their faith in a lie.

I get it, you thought you were signing up for the good life and find yourself in a war zone.

The mortars are blasting, bullets are whizzing by your head, the carnage is unimaginable and you’re thinking, “I didn’t sign up for this $#*+!”

But I’ve got news for you, this life has always been a war zone since the fall and the battle will continue to rage until the last enemy breathes his last.

There’s fellowship, joy, peace, gladness and many good things to be had now, but Paradise comes later.

The only choice any of us have right now, is which side we’re going to live and die for.

There are only two –for Christ or not.

Get your mind right, Christian.

Grace Makes It Possible, Not Easy

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Grace Makes It Possible But Not Easy

Imagine being at a basic training camp where everyone can train and proceed to any level available (think elite special forces) but training was completely optional and you completely wasted the opportunity either because you were simply unaware of the opportunity or because you were lazy, preferring comfort, in pursuit of pleasure, or unwilling to endure the suffering that is part of the process to become a mighty warrior royal. (Do you seriously think our Lord would give rule of anything to anyone unqualified? Salvation is a gift. Rule and rewards are earned [even that by the grace He supplies, but being careful not to waste it. See 1 Cor 15:10 ])

That basic training camp is life. And, how we use free will is part of the selection process (not for salvation, because salvation is not earned, but for “rule and rewards” that are earned).

If you can’t survive camp, you will by no means survive the War that’s coming.

Jesus came so that you would not be unaware, so that you would not waste the opportunity, so that you would have life in Him and so that you would be equipped to fight and rule.

The industrial church, with its easy bake Christianity, seeks to rob you of your reward now and in eternity, by making you docile pets that will be loyal to a place, to sit in a pew and put money in a plate.

“Let no one cheat you of your reward” -Colossians 2:18

After you have believed Jesus, press hard after Him. Go! Labor, strive, run, seek the Kingdom of God, take it with violence, fight to be wealthy toward God, for the true riches and an imperishable crown that does not fade away.

For me, that looks like renouncing the values of the principalities and powers of this world and instead accepting and proclaiming Christ –the coming of His Kingdom and laying down my life (my position, my possessions and my power) to grow and prosper the family of God by making Him known through love.

Grace makes it possible but it doesn’t make it easy.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Get your mind right, Christian.

#perfectourlove

Picture copyright Sophie Merlo – Flickr

The Point Of Everything Is To Glorify God

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com The Point Of Everything Is To Glorify God

The point of everything is to glorify God.

When we glorify God, we don’t give God anything, rather we simply recognize the truth of the eternal and unmatched glory of the Ancient of Days. Then our lives stop teetering on lies and began to align with the truth of that reality.

Glory is spiritual mass and like an incomprehensibly massive star, God’s glory makes Him central. It draws everything into right relationship relative to Himself (righteousness). It puts everything in its proper place with the proper orientation which results in more abundant life and well-being.

But life and well-being is not the point, God’s glory is, which creates, sustains and gives meaning to everything.

If people (those who are being saved) are pointed to God, they will flourish because He alone makes all things right.

When the demonic (those who are of the evil one) are pointed to God, they perish and rightly so because they prefer darkness (John 3:16-19, 2 Corinthians 4:1-7).

In either case we do a good work by pointing everything to God.

Glorify God.

So, the point to everything is to glorify God, but how do we glorify God?

What He purposed, He will perform. It is the work of God. Any part that we have in the matter is completely by grace.

The Father is sending forth the Holy Spirit, convicting the world of sin, of righteousness and judgement. (John 16:8)

Do not resist or harden your heart. (Proverbs 8:33)

Receive what He reveals about God’s holiness, our wretchedness without Him, our powerlessness to correct it and our need for deliverance made available exclusively through Jesus Christ. (Mark 10:15, Matthew 11:27, 16:16-17, Acts 4:12)

Do not be proud, knowing more than God and harden your heart. Be as a child. If you think you are wise, become a fool that you may be made wise (e.g. I don’t know. Please teach me). (Hebrews 3:8, Romans 1:18-26, 1 Corinthians 3:19)

Receive the Holy Spirit’s revelation of Christ, hear Jesus and follow Him. (John 5:39)

Trust Him to make us what we need to be to fulfill God’s good and acceptable will. (John 6:29)

Seek His heart’s desire. Reject the flesh and its worldly desire (Kingdom of God vs kingdom of men). (Matthew 6:23, Galatians 5:24)

Obey by loving as He loved us, giving Himself for us. (John 15:12, 1 John 4:11)

When we love as He loved, we fulfill the law, are known as His disciples, yield Oneness and we testify that the Father sent the Son, resulting in the glory of God. (Matthew 22:37-40 John 12:26-28, 13:34-35, 17:23, Romans 13:10)

Everyday this is the purpose before me, to glorify God. The work is believing His only begotten Son and walking according to the guidance of His Spirit with the power He provides. His glory is the result. (Romans 8:11, 2 Corinthians 4:7)

What He has purposed, He will perform and will allow me to be a part of it when I believe (trust) and yield (obey). (Philippians 2:13, 1 Peter 4:10) #grace

The fruit will be love –the standard of righteousness, the bond of fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ all to the glory of God.

“This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.” -Psalm 118:23

So that I can easily remember this and stay on task I summarize it as:

Receive Love
Give Love
Trust Love

It is God through and through because “God is love”. -1 John 4:8

He is worthy of the glory.

Glorify God.

#purpose #grace #faith #works #love #perfectourlove

The Futility Of Trying To Make It All Fit

You know what’s funny?

But, don’t laugh.

I’m a grown man that still gets frustrated about not being able to fit everything that needs to be done in one day.

We learn very early on that each day has twenty-four hours. And as an adult we understand that finite resources must be managed through budgeting –most importantly that is, in order to say “yes” to one thing requires saying “no” to another.

The frustration often comes when I’ve not taken the time to be deliberate about what I’m saying no to and am somehow caught by surprise by what hasn’t gotten done and disappointed by violated expectations (mine and others I’ve made promises to).

In those moments I have to grow up, to:
1. remember that it’s unfeasible to get everything done at once, therefore,
2. to take an account,
3. to choose based on my priorities what I’m saying yes to today,
4. to understand what I’m saying no to for today,
5. to evaluate if or when the “nos” may get a “yes” in the future and
6. communicate accordingly to stakeholders so that the appropriate expectations are set.

I shouldn’t just barge into the day hoping to please everyone.

I can’t.

So, I need a plan and to make sure I’m letting the right people down.

The goal is to express my life in a manner that is true to who I am and consistent with my values like how a fruit tree expresses fruit after its own kind, providing sustenance and shelter to other living things.

So, the goal is being authentic and fruitful, not being liked.

I often overcome dissatisfaction with how my day has gone by beginning it with a realistic understanding of the limitations of the time available to me, resulting in being deliberate about how I’m budgeting my time so at the end of the day I know I’ve spent my time in ways that are consistent with who I am and what my priorities are.

I am Christ’s.

And, my priorities are enjoying life in Christ and imparting it to others, all for the glory of God.

So, everyday, how I’ve spent my time should reflect that and then, assuming I have actually identified my authentic who and why, I can enjoy the satisfaction of having expressed and invested toward that.

It’s almost embarrassing how often as an adult I have to be reminded of how to function within constraints. But, I’m human and sometimes circumstances and emotions overwhelm my critical thinking, so I put this here as a reminder and in case it can help anyone else!

#Thriveday #planningday #adulting #timemanagement #productivity #fruitfulness #purpose

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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52 Weeks of Gratefulness #1 2023 – Fellowship With Brothers And Sisters In Christ

Do you remember when I said I was going through a rough patch a while back?

It was a season that started much earlier than the day I finally mustered the courage to admit it and ask for help.

It started around the time the 52 Weeks of Gratefulness posts stopped.

One of the first things Satan attacked was my thankfulness. There was a campaign to maximize self by emphasizing my trouble and minimizing the triumph I have in Christ.

Earlier last year, I was in a very dark place. I came to a point where after over 20 years preaching the gospel I was ready to walk away from God. Some people who have heard that thought I was overstating the case, that I was exaggerating or that I’m being dramatic. But, no. I began to doubt the very existence of God. I started questioning the reality of His person, His power and His presence based on what I thought should (or shouldn’t) be happening in my life.

There were a lot of things that led to that moment, aging loved ones, difficulty in my marriage, financial troubles, but it came to a head during a really rough summer for my business. It was worse than it had been in a long time. I was finding it difficult to cover basic expenses. It just felt like I had been struggling forever. Here I am following God, trying to honor Him, but there just doesn’t seem to be any relief or breakthrough, and for all I’ve done, I’m still a failure.

But, thanks be to God that even though I was ready to walk away, I found that I wasn’t holding on to God, God was holding on to me! His Word came to me as gentle as a whisper “Where are you?” When God asks a question, it’s not because He needs information but because He is trying to show us something. His question began a dialog called prayer where I confessed my anger, my frustration and how I just don’t feel God anymore.

God gave me one verse. He brought to remembrance one line and made it burn on my heart (this is why it is vital to get the Word in you.) That verse was Proverbs 18:1 “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.”

The idea was that part of my problem was that I was focused on myself. I had allowed a root of bitterness to spring up in me and I went into myself, crawling into the dungeon of my heart to nurse and steep in that bitterness. In doing that I had cut myself off. But God gave me a Word that prompted me to seek His face in the presence of His people.

So, I stepped out on that Word and that led to me attending the Men’s luncheon that they host at New Horizons here in Starkville, and that led to me engaging with Brian Spencer at the gym, and that led to me attending my first Man Church and that led to me developing new relationships and my wife and I started hosting a marriage ministry in our home and you know what I found? The Word of God is true! I found revival in the presence of His people.

Look, I have long considered myself a rabid introvert. I am not fond of being around people. I like being by myself, I’d rather be by myself. Being around a lot of people was torture and zapped all the strength out of me. When I’m around people for an extended amount of time, I go home and just collapse and sleep for the rest of the day because of how much it takes out of me.

But now since I’ve tasted the sweet communion of being in the presence of God with other believers, since I’ve experienced Christ where two or three are gathered in His name, I’ve been going out, seeking Him out almost every day.

I’m not talking about “going to church”. I’m talking about seeking to live and function along with other members of the Body of Christ and being the church.

Thankfulness is not just something you should remember to do occasionally, thankfulness should be developed and practiced as a discipline. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” -1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thankfulness is a practical and important tactical maneuver in spiritual warfare.

So, in Week 1 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. It saved my life.

If you prayed for me, thank you. The prayers were effective.

I’m thankful. #52wog

Pictured is a regular get together with other members of a marriage ministry Melissa Luckett and I attended that was hosted by Pearson & Pepper Liddell. It was the first place we encountered authentic church.

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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