I Don’t Feel God The Way I Used To

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com I Don't Feel God The Way I Used To

My wife left to go out of town and it taught me something.

I missed everything that comes with being near her.
I missed her company.
I missed her touch.

I wanted those things.

Should I have looked for them elsewhere because she was not near me? Would it have been appropriate to seek the companionship, intimacy and affection that I yearned for from another? Certainly not!

So, what do I instead?

I wait for my spouse.

I read my spouse’s love letters.
I reflect on my spouse’s love for me.
I reflect on my love toward my spouse.
I recall the last time I felt my spouse’s touch.
I remember the good we’ve had together and I rejoice over it.
I wait (prepare) with eager expectation for my spouse’s return.

So it is with the Lord.

He has not abandoned you. He’s just further ahead in the place that He’s calling you to. Sometimes, the absence we feel is His leading for us to come out of the place where we’ve grown comfortable and to come up just a little bit higher. (Romans 1:17, 2 Corinthians 3:18)

So, trust in His commitment to His promises, “He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), be faithful to the Lord and seek His face because “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). And, never forget that He wants to be with you as evidenced by His actions, foremost by coming through His Son Jesus (Immanuel) and including His moving on my heart to write this for you to read this right now.

In the words of David the psalmist,

“Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
– Psalm 27:14

An Unworldly Kingdom

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com An Unworldly Kingdom
What
kind of kingdom is this where the King kneels before His subjects and serves them? (John 13:1-17)
 
Its implications are staggering, among which is this:
 
No one in His kingdom is without care, honor or substance because our status in this kingdom does not come from how much you’ve got but how much you give.
 
That’s a kingdom I’d gladly give everything to.
 
That’s a kingdom I’d gladly die for.
 
It’s vastly superior to every human attempt at government.
 
Our marriages, our homes and the church should be a glorious demonstration of it.
 
Imagine the effect if everywhere that we have authority or influence were a demonstration of His kingdom. Glory! This is what I’m pressing into. We fall woefully short as believers but there is grace and power to fulfill our ministry.
 
Repent, the kingdom of heaven is as hand.

52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #35 – Pearson and Pepper Liddell

Liddells and Lucketts

In Week 35 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for Pearson and Pepper Liddell.

“Melissa and I are calling to see what divorce lawyers you would recommend. We want to end this as quickly and amicably as possible.”

This picture was taken less than 24 hours after that call.

The call was made to Pearson and Pepper Liddell, a couple who hosted a Christian marriage ministry that Melissa and I had been a part of for the last five years. During their ministry, they urged each couple to commit to a pact: to take divorce off the table. I was always reluctant to do so because I had a line in the sand. There were things I felt I deserved. There were certain things I wasn’t going to tolerate. There was only so much I was going to endure. I was only willing to go so far.

“Can you meet with us?”, they replied. Early the next morning they drove 4 hours from Georgia to meet with Melissa and I in a location they prepared at New Horizon’s Church in Starkville, Mississippi.

They labored with us in prayer and in the Word for almost 8 hours. It took that long, mostly because I’m pretty familiar with the Bible and was craftily twisting scripture to justify my position. Pearson was definitely no novice, but most importantly, while I was in the flesh, he was in the Spirit and said to me, “The problem with your logic and interpretation of scripture is that it’s built on the basis of what you want. But what does God want?”

Check.

Grasping at this point, I retort, “He wants my peace -1 Corinthians 7:15.”

Pearson and Pepper jointly replied, “Does God want that more than He wants to redeem and sanctify your wife and children through the ark of His holy institution? More than He want’s to make Himself known through your ministry to your wife as Christ’s to the church? If peace is primary, what about Jesus’ peace, that of His only begotten Son?”

Check and mate.

The fact that was indisputable is Christ’s purpose from before creation is redemptive. He came to seek and save that which was lost -Luke 19:10. That is what God wants. This is the ministry that Jesus took upon Himself and He was obedient to death, even the humiliating death of the cross -Philippians 2:8. From the beginning, God instituted marriage to point to Christ with His redemptive purpose in view.

I had been led astray by a focus on my own selfish purposes and desires. Pearson and Pepper were the shepherds that led us to repentance and back to the heart of the Father.

They reminded me that marriage is not mine for my pleasure and purposes. Marriage is God’s, made for His purpose and I am humbly just a minister in it. Marriage is a great and wonderful mystery and, as with most things, when done His way results in outcomes that far exceed anything I could even hope to achieve.

You can’t tell at first glance, but if you look closely at the picture, you can see the tint of red in all of our eyes from crying. This is what has characterized our walk with the Liddell’s. They don’t play church. We deal with real life. They are transparent about their own struggles and are therefore able to help us with ours. We confess our sins to one another and are healed together. God’s grace toward us through the Liddell’s has tremendously blessed us, our children and people we didn’t even know that God was using our marriage to reach.

I have since taken divorce off the table, for any reason, come what may. Christ gave it all so that we may have the true riches and pleasure of being one together with God in Him. The Liddell’s through word and deed have demonstrated that, when done right, marriage is a model of that.

I’m grateful. #52WoG

Originally posted to Facebook on August 27, 2021.

Dying For An Apology

Couple Disagreement

Has someone ever offended you and it seemed that the relationship was “on hold” until they apologized? Yep, me too. It naturally makes sense to think that the one who broke it should fix it. But, Jesus teaches something very different in Matthew 18:15. There, we’re told when someone hurts us, that we are to take initiative to restore the relationship and go to the offender. You’ll also find in Matthew 5:23-24, that Jesus commands those who realize they’ve hurt someone to take immediate action to restore the relationship. What does this mean? Regardless of who is in the wrong, I am responsible for doing all I can to pursue a healthy relationship.

I think this speaks to the heart of what it means to be Christian, a follower of Christ. Jesus’s entire purpose was to reconcile creation to God (Colossians 1:20). And to be Christian, is to be Christ-like. Therefore, we also have this ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). What this means to me is that our default disposition should be one of restoral. We should be driven, looking, to restore people to fellowship with God and then with us.

This helps me, especially in marriage. When my wife and I are at odds, I must take responsibility for restoring that fellowship -regardless of whether I hurt her or if she hurt me. Practically speaking, if I truly desire to maintain the relationship, I would remove any obstacles that prevent us from getting there. And among the first obstacles to remove is the idea that because I offended her or I was offended by her, I’ve taken a position that is against her. Instead, I must communicate, even over-communicate, that I am for her, I am not her enemy, and desire to be in fellowship with her again.

I’ve tried to implement this by establishing ongoing gestures that communicate my openness and good-will toward her. One of these gestures is simply to kiss her on the cheek or on her forehead every night before we retire to sleep (Ephesians 4:26). Whether she’s angry or whether I’m angry, I try to do this to communicate there’s hope and I’m open to restoring fellowship.

How is God doing that for you? How has He communicated His openness to you and the hope of fellowship with Him? First, have you received His gesture of goodwill? And secondly, how can you do more of that for others?

A Pursuit Greater Than Happiness

My marriage, like anything God creates, is not just for me. It’s for the benefit of those around me: for my children, my nieces & nephews, for my community -for the world. Marriage is the gold standard of relationships and if I cannot maintain the relationship that claims to be based on love, it sets a really low bar for the others.

So, I must fight for love, the hope of marriage. I must fight towards my wife. I must work through our differences. I must bless her and not hurt her. I must help bring to bear her God-given gifts to the world. I must do this, even in seasons of unhappiness, especially in seasons of unhappiness. I have a pursuit greater than happiness.

First posted on Facebook October 15, 2016 11:44:41 AM

I’m Done

Photo: Pete Rosos

“I tire of asking you for what’s due me,” the thought began, “and of the insults in the things you don’t bother to do.” But just before the following thought, “I’m done” could form in my mind, it became clear what I was thinking about someone else, Jesus could say of me. And through the echo of Scripture, He went on to say, “Now, love them like I love you1 despite your frequent apathy and disrespect2. Work to this end3, believing I can give them a new heart4 and perfect their love, just as I’m doing in you5.”

1 John 13:34; 15:12; Colossians 3:12-15
2 Romans 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8; Revelation 2:4-5; Revelation 3:15-18
3 John 17:15-21; Matthew 13:38; 1 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-20
4 Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Corinthians 5:16-19;
5 Philippians 1:6; Titus 3:1-7;