Keep Going Where?

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Keep Going Where?

People often say, “Don’t give up. Keep going.”

But, “keep going” where?

My answer: to God;

To more conformed to the image of Christ, to experiencing the Kingdom of God to a greater degree by helping others to experience the Kingdom of God to a greater degree, to deeper and sweeter communion with the Beloved…

When I feel like giving up, this is why I will keep going: I am going to God, my treasure, my help now and my hope for eternity.

Glorious Suffering

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Glorious Suffering

God is teaching me about suffering.

The message given to me was:

We can do more than know about God.
We can know God.
We can be with God, now.

Now, the Word burning on my heart is:

We can make God known.

As I pressed into this, and dug to unearth the marvelous treasure of this revelation, the first means of making God known that the Spirit began to tutor me in was suffering.

It has been put on my heart to dispel several prevalent yet errant notions about suffering.

One being that because I may be suffering, that something must be wrong, that I’ve done something wrong or that I must not be in the perfect will of God.

But “living right” or “being in the will of God” does not give us a pass on suffering.

Bad things have happened and will happen to even God’s most faithful elect.

In that sin has entered the world it made it so that everyone will suffer, even the best man, the perfect man, Jesus, was not excepted.

We do not have a choice whether we will suffer, but we can choose who our suffering will serve.

It may very well be that you are suffering not because you’re not in the will of God, but precisely because you are, and He has entrusted to you the honor and privilege of making Him known through the ministry of your suffering.

Consider Job.

Not only do I hope to share how to survive these inevitable seasons of suffering, but to thrive in the midst of them, by God’s grace being plump grapes in the desert —a fig tree producing in incompatible seasons, giving life and bearing fruit abundantly for the saving of souls to the glory of His name.

In the coming days and weeks, I hope to unpack that and share what God reveals about how to suffer in a series called Glorious Suffering.

#GloriousSuffering

The Life Giving Spirit Mindset

“And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’

The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”
—1 Corinthians 15:45

Being a life giving spirit -connecting people to the Source of life, rather than being just another character in a dead, empty and cannibalizing culture, that’s the mindset.

I get to give life.

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
—John 7:38

Giving life through making the Father known in word and deed, as revealed through Jesus Christ, is everything. It is life itself.

#LifeGivingSpiritMindset

What To Do When I’m Not Feeling It

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - What To Do When I'm Not Feeling It

Anyone who has been married for any significant amount of time can tell you that there are days when you’re “not feeling it”.

It’s the whole reason faithfulness is a thing.

If I were “feeling it” all the time, there would be no need for faithfulness.

On those days that I’m not feeling it, I **feel** like doing something that makes me feel better, that satisfies my craving, that soothes my pain, that fills what I’m lacking…

But, I **choose** to be faithful: to continually advance that which I have committed to.

“Feel”
Sense
Senses:
Touch, Taste, Smell, Hearing, Sight

Sight

But, the just live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

I must choose to be faithful.

#perfectourlove #thriveday

This Is Going To Hurt

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - This Is Going To Hurt

I’m going to be real.

I have oriented my life around avoiding pain.

It’s evident even in the little things.

I cling to the sheets of my bed a little longer waiting for the chill of the morning to subside.

But there is nothing that hinders growth more than avoiding pain.

When I look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, He was literally in paradise.

But, unlike me with my bed covers, He didn’t think paradise was anything to hold on to (Philippians 2:5-8).

Rather, He considered the will of His Father to be greater.

“He became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross,” Philippians 2:8 says.

Doing that demonstrates a love that’s greater than His comfort.

It also demonstrates an unwavering trust of His Father.

I imagine Jesus, my Elder Brother, loving the Father and knowing His will to be perfect, steps forward without flinching, completely willing to take on the challenge.

God the Father asks, “Who will go for us?”

Jesus, God the Son, says, “I’ll go.”

As He goes, I can imagine Him thinking,
“This is going to hurt, but this is going to be good.”

I repent.

I aspire be like Him, to love God more than my comfort, to trust His plan, to go –to cast aside comfort and take on the day, fully embracing the challenges, pain and suffering before me to grow, and to be made like Christ, fit to rule.

I go. I attack the day out of love for my Father, trusting and executing His plan, thinking,

“This is going to hurt, but this is going to be good.”

Always Winning

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Always Winning

When we misunderstand what Christianity really is and the desire of our hearts are amiss, we can often think and feel that we’re losing when we’re actually winning.

In the biblical account of Acts 16 we observe how Paul and Silas have devoted themselves to the work of the Lord. There is no question that they are where God would have them to be, doing what God would have them to do.

Yet, by verse 22 of the same chapter, they find themselves having their backs beaten open, their feet shackled and being thrown in a dark jail cell.

Admittedly, were it me, I would have thought,

“What have I done wrong?”

“I’m trying to do the right things.”

“Then, why is this happening to me?!” as though obedience and living for Christ should only result in pleasant things and a life of ease without hardship.

But where did that idea come from? Jesus certainly did not teach that.

By the Spirit of God the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:12,
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

This, I believe, was born out of Jesus’s own words in John 16:33,
“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Obedience and living for Christ as a means of gain, attaining worldly pleasure and a life of ease without hardship is an insidious deception that Satan harvests from our own unregenerate, fleshly hearts so he can inoculate us with it later, a deception that can be reintroduced casually, subtly and imperceptibly –even from the pulpit as preachers tickle our itching ears with what we want, which infects our heart and causes our desire to be amiss.

It’s a Christianity that makes God merely a means to an end (“the good life”), when He should be everything.

This is why it is imperative to stay immersed in the Word, to submit to the Word, to stand on the Word and watch, guarding against my own heart because it is deceitfully wicked. His heart should be the pursuit and the Word is the seed of His heart being formed in me by the work of the Holy Spirit.

So, I repent.

The true aim of Christianity is TO BE WITH GOD.

That results in us:
Going where God goes,
Doing what God does,
Loving who God loves,
Wanting what God wants.

Where does God go? Everywhere. (Psalm 19:1-4, Matthew 24:14, Mark 16:15 )

What does God do? Making Himself known and giving life by doing so. (Isaiah 11:6-9, Habakkuk 2:14, John 17:3)

Who does God love? The world, especially those who love Him. (Exodus 20:5-6, 33:19, John 3:16)

What does God want? His creation redeemed, all things reconciled to Himself, Us conformed to the image of His Son, His children to be part of His work. (Genesis 12:3, 2 Corinthians 5:18‭-‬20, 2 Peter 3:9, Ephesians 2:10)

He did that.

All that He desires, He has done. (Isaiah 55:11)

Jesus’s last words from the cross, “It is [was/is/shall be] finished” recorded in John 19:30 was the cry of victory.

God has won.

And it is this reality and Jesus’s words in the latter part of John 16:33 that I believe Paul and Silas have confidence in and that allow them to respond to tribulation in the manner that they did -“praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25). Again, those words from Jesus were,

“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

“I have overcome the world.”

The hearts of Paul and Silas were not amiss. Their desire was not for a nice house, a successful career or easy going. Like Jesus, their heart was to be with God, to the extent that they WANTED to share in Christ’s sufferings to be with Him and to see God’s will done –a will they were confident was being accomplished even in the midst of what appeared to be a setback.

And, God’s will was being accomplished.

“Then he [the jailer] called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'” -Acts 16:29-‬30

That night, the entire prison was witnessed to, the jailer and his entire household (which may have extended well beyond his immediate family, potentially including servants and their families, etc.) were saved and baptized.

Hallelujah.

Would this have occurred if Paul and Silas were sulking, crying, complaining and begrudging their circumstances?

No.

But Paul and Silas were operating from a position of winning.

Their example in Acts 16 encapsulates Romans 8:28-29,

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

“We KNOW…”

Paul and Silas were confident in the victory of Jesus Christ and they knew that even their imprisonment would work together for good.

And, what was that good?

That “whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Said another way, Paul and Silas knew that the good that would come of a seemingly bad situation was that either they (or another) would be made to look more like Christ (“conformed to the image of His Son”) and/or the family of God would grow (“that He might be the firstborn among many brethren”) which pleased God and therefore pleased them.

The Apostle Paul writes victoriously,

“So [at the end of the day] when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:

‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’
‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

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 15:54-58

When my heart is amiss, it can feel like I’m losing even when I’m winning.

But when I center my hope and expectation in Christ, seeking those things which are above and eternal such as being with Him and being like Him, rather than seeking those things below and temporary such as worldly goods and pleasure, I can live joyfully in any circumstance to His praise and glory, knowing because He’s won, I’m always winning.

What do you see?

A prison cell to complain about or a platform to glorify Christ and secure a crown?

For those of us in Christ, everything is an opportunity “for we know ALL things work together for good to those who love God.”

Whether we seize it, depends on how we see it.

Delight yourself in the Lord, make Him alone the desire of your heart and you will see

Because He’s won, I’m always winning

Resulting in growth and life in Christ.

#perfectourlove #winning

Jesus Goes Hard

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Jesus Goes Hard

This is me some days.

A lot of days, actually.

Struggling to get myself together and out of bed because I don’t know where I’m going or if where I’m going is worth the trouble.

But, Jesus goes hard.

He’s driven.

His goals are not like our goals.

He didn’t leave heaven to acquire houses fit for the cover of “Southern Homes and Garden” or for a certain lifestyle. Jesus said,

“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” – Luke 9:58

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:28

And to the point of daily discipline, He said,

“I must be about My Father’s business.” – Luke 2:49

Jesus left heaven and got up everyday because of His love for and dedication to the Father.

But, I’m not so enraptured by a feeling of love for the Father that it propels me out of bed every morning. Many days I’m not excited. Many days I don’t feel like it.

“Lord,” I say, “I’m not there yet. Help me.”

And, He did. This is where He teaches me. Jesus says,

“Not My will, but Yours [Father] be done.” – Luke 22:42

Simply put, action in loving obedience is not a product of desire but decision. This is what Jesus demonstrates here.

I have to do, not based on what I’m feeling but based on what I’ve decided based in loving obedience to Him. His Truth and His Spirit give me that capacity. It is an appropriate application of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

But, I’m right. I’m not there yet. So, I have to “exercise myself into godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7).

It’s not about daily motivation, it’s about daily discipline.

I have to do what I don’t want to do in loving obedience until it simply becomes what I do because obedience has become part of me. Thus, “exercising myself into godliness.”

I feel it’s also important to observe that Jesus did not move aimlessly. Hebrews 12:2 says that, as our example, as the one who ran the first race and set our course –as “the author and finisher of our faith”, Jesus endured pain and suffering “for the joy that was set before Him.”

Jesus was not pressing toward a thing –an achievement or an event.

Jesus was pressing toward a state, “the joy” –abiding in the pleasure of the Father.

“And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” – John 8:29

That “abiding” is in a continuous tense, meaning, it’s not just something that will happen in the future. In Jesus’s case, it always was, it will always be and it is right now.

His pressing was not for Himself, abiding with the Father was His natural state. His pressing was for our abiding.

“Father, I desire that they also who You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” – John 17:24

So, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

Therefore, I seek to go forth *abiding* more so than *doing*, having God’s heart to see people loved: seeing them delivered from the death of sin, given life through the knowledge of Him by the face of Jesus Christ and that life nurtured by His manifold grace through us in service.

I seek to go forth abiding, Him being a part of everything that I do.

It’s strange. That state, “abiding”, both results from and results in “always doing those things that please Him.”

So, if I’m not enjoying an abiding with Him, the answer is “doing those things that please Him” (loving people: making Him known, serving, etc.).

And, when I’m enjoying abiding with Him, the result is “doing those things that please Him.”

Love is “doing those things that please Him.”

Consider 1 John 4:12-13,

“No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”

Love is “doing those things that please Him” and it is how we abide.

Love is how we experience God.

And, that’s the joy: being with God.

Love is how it is done.

Jesus goes hard for it.

Then, so will I.

So, I press.

#perfectourlove

“When You Return To Me” – My Night Song

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - "When You Return To Me" - My Night Song

“When You Return To Me” – My Night Song

Some of the most beautiful words in all of Scripture are

“When you return to Me” from Luke 22:32

It demonstrates that when Jesus is keeping me, when He is my hope, no matter how miserably I fail, no matter how much I fall short,

The Son’s position toward me is fixed and He does not move -like the Sun.

His rays will prosper in the things for which He sent them.

His purposes are being achieved.

I am greatly comforted by the sheer mass of His inexhaustible love, faithfulness and grace but I am also challenged by it.

I dare not abuse this grace to do as I please, “as a cloak for vice”.

I, rather, have incentive to return to Him.

Because just as He is certain, so is His victory and glory.

The only question is, how much of it will I get to partake in and enjoy?

So, whenever I fall, as I often do, by His grace I remember where the Son is.

I put away the death of darkness and turn again to the Light to receive Life to do the very thing I was created for

“to strengthen my brethren.”

“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Luke 22:32

Always Already There

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Always Already There

Ripples in my heart from John 6:16-21:

Life is wonderful but it can also be hard –not just the certain moments of pain or difficulty but just as much the daily grind.

The tide of life can make me feel like I’m walking in water, moving in place and not getting anywhere.

I often find myself at such times toiling and struggling on my own to get out of that place and to somewhere I think would be better –where the next thing is, maybe where I think I’ll find provision, accomplishment, fulfillment or security.

But whenever Jesus gets in the boat, I’m already where I’m supposed to be.

“I’ll be happy when I get there” is a constant and deadly temptation in our world. Deadly because it blinds me to all I have to enjoy at any given time –even in the midst of difficulty. That blindness renders it (God’s blessings: family, friendships, fellowship, opportunities, etc.) dead, as though it did not exist.

I must therefore be careful to remember that it is not about being happy when I get there, but being completely satisfied with God wherever I am.

Because He is the life: a good Father who constantly unfolds the wonders of His creation before Me, who every second seeks to teach me how to rule and to be as He is –as a faithful husband, a loving parent, a life giving spirit, a wise and skillful creator, a righteous ruler, a good steward and just protector of His creation.

He uses every circumstance to allow me to explore Him, to practice what I learn, to grow in His Spirit, in strength and in wisdom, and He graciously gives me opportunity to have a hand in His works, to do what He does, that I may learn to be as He is. It’s a tremendous thing and it’s often hard. But the difficulty we endure is nothing compared to the outcome.

The point is there is never a need to be afraid about where I am now or anxious to get to the next thing because He is with me and He is the point.

So, whatever the circumstance, wherever I find myself, I should be asking,

How can I enjoy Him?
What is He showing me?
What is He teaching me?
What is there to learn about Him?
How can I use wherever I am and whatever I have to put into practice what I know of Him, to do His will, to glorify Him, to help others enjoy Him?
How can I please Him?

These are the type of questions that lead to soul satisfaction and peace, because in Him is where every good and perfect thing is. (I’m not talking about money but the true riches.)

And, all the answers are readily available when I receive Jesus in the boat.

My aim is to focus on always abiding with Him and the joy that comes with that.

Peace be unto you.

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