Citizenship Test

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Citizenship Test

I am not saved just because I claim Christ.

The only way to be saved is to be found in Christ.

Christ is King.

To be in Christ means to recognize Him as Master and to gladly submit to His rule.

“Then [the thief on the cross] said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.'”
—Luke 23:42

I will be judged according to which kingdom I’m in, the kingdom my heart has allegiance to.

My salvation is evidenced by which kingdom’s commands I obey, not which kingdom I claim.

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

Forgiveness is one of the foremost indications whether the Kingdom of God has jurisdiction in my heart.

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
—Matthew 6:14-15

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”
—2 Corinthians 13:5

52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #3 – A Son And An Eternal Brother

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Week 3 of 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness - A Son and Eternal Brother

In week 3 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks to God for a son and an eternal brother.

Marriage by the law gained me someone as dear as a son to me, my nephew, Devin Mabry, the son of my sister-in-law Gloria Harris.

Marriage to Christ by faith through the covenant of His blood has gained me a beloved and eternal brother, because Devin is now the son of God, the Father of our Lord and elder brother Jesus Christ.

He was just baptized.

Another brother, Jimmy Gant, said during a gathering, that the only thing you can take from this life to heaven is your loved ones.

I cannot express the deep gladness I have in knowing I will have someone so dear to me as Devin Mabry in this life and in the one to come.

Such joy is in my heart, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

Welcome, brother Devin.

I’m grateful.

#52WoG

How Will It Handle The Storm?

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Not too long ago, Melissa and I bought a house.

We looked for a while and at many houses.

Then we found it.

We were drawn to it by its curb appeal, the large windows, and the high ceilings.

We were so enamored by the way it looked that we didn’t notice (or at least, didn’t want to notice) the obvious red flags -the very things that made it beautiful: the large windows, the high ceilings, but most notably, the fifteen year old A/C unit in a thirteen year old house.

And now, here we are, on one of the coldest days on record, in a house that is seemingly impossible to get warm.

The temperatures are in single digits. It’s too cold for the heating pump, in what we’ve since learned is in an air conditioner unit that is too small for our house, to efficiently operate.

The heat runs non-stop to the point that the fan fails.

The auxiliary heat kicks in but is struggling to warm the house because, yet again, it is underpowered for our square footage.

So, here we are, in a beautiful house, miserable and freezing.

I’m talking about life.

We pursue the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. We set our hopes and hearts on the superficial, things that will ultimately fail and leave us exposed to the cruel and bitter elements.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
—Matthew 7:24-27

We go about life, picking and choosing what we will do and what we will believe based on what seems good to us.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
—Proverbs 14:12

We give heed to and prop up the rich and famous as our guides, scratching and clawing after fame and wealth thinking it will make us happy.

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
—James 1:14-17

But something that suffering in a beautiful house that failed to protect me from the cold has taught me is, there’s a much better question to ask about my heart’s pursuits than “Will it make me happy?”

The better question is: “How well well it handle the storm?”

I’ve faced some soul crushing challenges in my life, I’m dealing with one now, but what I can say wholeheartedly is, since believing and following Jesus, I’ve never been left out in the cold. I have been able to carry on, to be at peace and have joy inside regardless of the storm raging outside.

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”
—2 Corinthians 4:8-10

And, beyond this life, there’s a storm that’s coming. Scripture refers to it as The Great And Terrible Day.

Despite the grim and blood-curdling horrors of human history, the destruction and suffering of the full outpouring of God’s wrath against unrighteousness, the evil that corrupts His creation —everything that ails us, will be unimaginable.

The question is, how will what you’ve set your heart on handle that storm?

Find sure shelter for this life and beyond it.

Believe on the Lord Jesus and be saved!

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress;

My God, in Him I will trust.'”
—Psalm 91:1-2

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.”
—Proverbs 18:10

What We Need To Be Saved From

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - What We Need To Be Saved From

“What exactly are we ‘saved’ from?” someone asked.

If we weren’t blind and “past feeling”, it would be obvious:

bad government

that leaves God’s creation, people and the land, desolate

which is the result of every government other than God’s.

Other kingdoms is what Jesus saves us from, including yours and mine, and the just, righteous, restorative wrath of God against them.

For those who can see and know their cruel oppression, this is mighty good news.

We worship God for it, eagerly await it, and hope to have any part in ushering people into the freedom and safety of the kingdom of God before that great and terrible Day.

Preach The Foolish Gospel

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Preach The Foolish Gospel

I have a tendency to intellectualize things and want to make a compelling argument.

But far be it from me when God has chosen foolishness for me to make it reasonable and render it of no effect!

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
—1 Corinthians 1:21

I was not called to win debates.

I was called to preach the gospel.

“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
—1 Corinthians 2:4-5

Jesus said His sheep know His voice and they follow Him.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
—John 10:27

So, my aim is simply to speak with His voice by His Spirit to gather His Sheep to Him that He leads to good pasture in God.

If the preaching of His Anointed Word does not cause them to hear, nothing will.

If the foolishness of the gospel does not save them, nothing will.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
—1 Corinthians 1:18

The foolishness of the gospel is the God ordained means by which He chooses. It is His dividing rod. I must be careful not to modify it or corrupt it to make it suitable lest it is no longer the gospel.

I must trust God.

I must do it His way.

If I don’t, those who are “saved” by my “ministry” are not saved at all, rather they are deceived again by the deceitfully wicked heart of man.

Preach the foolish gospel.

Here it is:

God alone is good.

We sinned and thereby died, becoming instruments of death, killing and being killed, languishing in darkness, hopelessly separated from God and condemned to the same destruction of every evil thing by a good and Holy God.

But, God demonstrating His exceeding goodness and love provided a Way, while we were His enemies, that we can be with Him. Jesus is the Way.

God came Himself, to do what only He could do, taking the form of man by sending His Son to live a sinless life so that He might be the perfect sacrifice -a sacrifice infinitely greater than sheep, goats and bulls, a sacrifice sufficient for the sins of the whole world for all time. Because, without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.

But, God through Jesus, who having the riches of God, paid the debt and took the penalty we owe -death. God made Him who knew no sin become sin that we might become the righteousness of God.

God through Jesus provides a way of salvation from the death we are dying now and the death to come.

But, God not only had Jesus to die for us. Jesus being God laid down His life and took it up again. He was raised from the dead as the firstborn of a new creation which we become part of as a new creature when we believe.

And, this is the good news: we can be with God.

Our sin is great but God’s love is greater and God has provided a Way to be with Him for all who will accept it. Jesus is the Way.

We accept it by believing God, that Jesus is God who came in the flesh, that He is the Word, that He alone makes the truth of who God is known to us, that He died for our sin and that He was raised from the dead.

Acceptance is indicated by repenting of our sin: denouncing the world -the kingdom of darkness, forsaking it with joy in exchange for the kingdom of light, seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness above all, confessing Jesus as King and Master and giving our lives to Him who in turn reconciles us to God.

When we believe God, not only does He account Jesus’ payment on the cross to our account so that our current, past and future debt is forever paid, He gives us new life, making us righteous and acceptable in the Beloved, making us instruments of life rather than death through the same Power that raised Jesus from the dead -the Holy Spirit, and by Him makes available to us all of the riches of God, including a bodily resurrection on the Last Day so we can be with God forever.

God has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes.

God has done this, not we ourselves, so it will not fail.

God did it for Himself, not for us, so His reason will never change.

God didn’t do it because we earned it, deserve it, or because of anything desirable in us, quite the contrary.

God did it because He’s just that good.

And, the good news is that we can be with God.

Repent.

Accept what God’s done.

Believe in Him who God sent: Jesus.

And, be saved.

#gospel #preaching #perfectourlove

Strange Fire

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Strange Fire

Strange Fire

Notes from my time in the Word this morning.

“Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them.

So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.

And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying:

‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy;

And before all the people I must be glorified.’”

So Aaron held his peace.

So they went near and carried them by their tunics out of the camp, as Moses had said.”
-Leviticus 10:1-3,5

God does not want my thoughts, He wants His.

God does not want my love, He wants His.

God does not want my service, He wants His.

The only proper way to serve God is with what God supplies.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
-Isaiah 55:8-9

“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.

If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.””
-1 Peter 4:10-11

To bring “strange fire”; our ideas, agendas and methods to the service of God defiles and makes little of Him, but most egregiously it defies the purposes of God, causing death, leading people astray, cutting them off from the Fountainhead of all meaning, creation and life.

Bringing strange fire is a crime that is killing people for which God will kill us with eternal death if we do not repent.

“If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
-1 Corinthians 3:17

So, in the spirit of Jude 1:22-23, I plead for your sake: please do not mishandle the things of God or approach them trivially, appropriating His things for your purposes, or doing your thing in His name. It is sin –a deadly sin.

God is gracious, but He’s also severe. A good way to draw His wrath is to hinder others from coming to Him.

There’s a lot of this going on in Christendom today, especially to support our proclivities and our politics.

Repent!

All strange fire; ideas, identities, values, religions, systems and methods other than God’s, will be destroyed.

The only thing that can stand before God is God.

Which is why Christ is such good news.

Jesus Christ is God and is the only one in whom we can find shelter from the consuming fire of the wrath of God.

Therefore above all, be diligent to be found in Christ: die to self –forsake what you’re doing (put away the strange fire) and live to Christ –putting your complete faith in what Christ has done.

Only Christ is acceptable before God, so we must utterly depend on the grace He supplies to make your heart His heart, to say just what He says, to walk the way He walked by the same power that was at work in Him which is the Holy Spirit.

The only thing that can stand before God is God.

So let all we do be done with what God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

Nothing else is acceptable before God.

All strange fire will be destroyed.

“And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”
-Jude 1:22-23

The Thief On The Cross And What It Really Means To Be Saved

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - The Thief On The Cross And What It Really Means To Be Saved

I am so thankful for the cross because religious people try to complicate salvation and create hoops for people to jump through, but the cross demonstrates the simplicity of Christ.

At the cross we find astonishingly simple clarity.

Namely, the salvation of the thief on the cross, where Jesus saves a convicted sinner in his dying moments.

There is no time for religion, no perfectly worded expression of faith, no baptism, no works, no apparent fruit in that moment.

Yet, the thief was saved.

All of our theology has to square with this fact.

I draw many things from it but the one that’s heaviest on my heart right now is grace.

What’s displayed gloriously in the interaction between Jesus and the dying thief is grace.

Not grace in the sense of leniency or merely benevolence, but grace in the sense of the sovereign, unmerited, unassisted work of God.

God does it all.

The thief was mocking Jesus along with the crowd that was crucifying Jesus and him! But, at some point something changed.

I believe what Jesus described to Nicodemus in John 3:8 happened here,
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

I believe the Holy Spirit gave the thief ears to hear and eyes to see and at that moment he was allowed to see Who was hanging next to him.

Above Jesus’s head was written, “King of the Jews” (John 19:21) but the thief was allowed to see that He was not just an earthly king, He was the King of a Kingdom not of this world –a kingdom where the thief wanted to be.

“Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.'” -Luke 23:42

And Jesus responds,
“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
-Luke 23:43

God does it all.

We like the thief are dying.

Sin is the disease that’s killing us.

We were without hope until Hope was revealed –hope established before the world was.

God had the Cure.
He promised the Cure.
He showed us the formula of the Cure (but even with that we could not grasp it).
He gave us the ability to receive (perceive) the Cure.
He gave us the Cure.
He is the Cure.
He heals us through the Cure.
The Cure is Jesus Christ.

Grace.

All the thief did was not reject it.

I feel led to take a moment and ask why would he [reject it]? At this point he has nothing to lose.

God had to bring me to such a point –of utter brokenness and despair where I had nothing else to lose. Very often it’s comfort, wealth or even just sufficiency -life being “good enough”, that’s deceiving us, holding us back and that causes us to fail to see our desperate need for Jesus.

I implore you, don’t be proud like I was, I would spare you that pain!

Humble yourself and seek the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God has come in the person of Jesus Christ. Seek the Lord while He may be found!

With a humble heart, petition the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see and ears to hear as He’s done for the thief on the cross.

Look upon Jesus, hear Him through the Word, believe and be saved.

Grace.

God does it all.

All the thief did was not reject it.

The clarifying message of the salvation of the thief on the cross was that God does it all. Salvation is a gift that we simply receive –a gift that is imparted when we accept Jesus as He really is, just as the thief on the cross saw Him.

Dear brother, formerly called the thief on the cross, what did you see?

“I am a sinner, justly condemned (Luke 23:40-41), but this man is what is spoken of Him even though I may not know what that fully means: the Christ, King of The Jews (Luke 23:35-39), a King of a Kingdom that is not of this world –a kingdom where I want to be, He is One who will live again and who can make me live again (Luke 23:42).”

I love a commentary by Pastor Alistair Begg on the matter: “The thief enters heaven and he is asked about how he got there and what he knows about this doctrine or that and the thief replies, ‘All I know is that the Man on the middle cross said I could come.'”

Hallelujah!

The thief did everything that is necessary to be saved: He did not reject the grace God made available through Jesus Christ.

Right now, Jesus Christ, the grace and salvation of God, is being presented to you.

All you have to do is not reject it.

Accept it. Believe Jesus. Be saved.

I conclude with a caution: the thief did all that was necessary to be saved and enter life, yet their is so much more to be had. He was like a baby that was born but who’s earthly body was immediately aborted.

Yes, by all means, enter life BUT DON’T STOP THERE.

There is more life to be had.

Let us who live also continue on to maturity, enjoying and exercising the grace of God to His glory for all of our days.

Don’t live a minimal life.

Enter by grace.
Continue in grace.
Grow in grace.

Amazing Grace.

#grace #resurrection #ressurectionsunday

Believe Jesus All The Way

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Believe Jesus All The Way

It was good to fellowship this past Resurrection Sunday with the beautiful people of Sand Creek Chapel Church.

Their Pastor Abdural Lee preached on a powerful interaction from John 11:25-26 where Martha says to Jesus,

“If You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

And Jesus responds,

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

“Do you believe this?”

Pastor Lee shared an illustration of him being a barber.

People have seen Pastor Lee cut hair, so they come to him trusting that he can cut their hair.

But, they don’t trust him to fix their car because they’ve never seen him do that type of work.

Pastor Lee uses this to illustrate how Martha trusted Jesus to heal her brother because she’s known Him to heal. “But,” as Pastor Lee says, “she’s never seen Jesus raise anyone from the dead.”

At this point Pastor Lee asserts what Jesus asserts that He “is the resurrection and the life” and then poses the same question that Jesus poses to Martha from verse 26,

“Do you believe this?” [that Jesus is the resurrection and the life]

From there Pastor Lee prompted us to assess to what extent we trust Jesus and then challenged us to “trust Jesus all the way”.

There are things Jesus has said He will do even beyond the resurrection that we’ve never seen and may not see in our lifetime.

We cannot receive what Jesus offers unless we trust Jesus all the way.

I’ve written before that salvation requires pinhole accuracy. Only Jesus can do it. Only Jesus can get you there. Jesus alone is The Way.

The world offers many paths, many doors, many versions of Jesus even, but Jesus is THE Door. And, there is a very specific Jesus we must go through.

It’s the Door that you only find by believing Jesus all the way, only by the full embrace of believing the most unbelievable event in human history –the resurrection: that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God given by God to die for our sins and He was raised from the dead “with all power” (Matthew 28:18).

Only by believing Jesus all the way can we receive what He offers: salvation, fellowship with God and resurrection.

Believe Jesus. All the way.

Thank you Pastor Abdural Lee.

#resurrection #ressurectionsunday

One More

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - One More

Something that struck me today as we were reflecting on the last utterances of Jesus from the cross…

There’s no indication that the Man had eaten.

He’s likely dizzy from the blood loss of the scourging alone. ¹

He struggles to carry the implement of His torture, weighing upwards of 175 lbs (79kg), for more than 650 yards (600m). ²

When He finally gets to the hill, He’s rewarded with nails driven through His flesh to fix Him to the cross. ³

He’s struggling to breath from the asphyxiation the cross was designed to produce.

He’s being humiliated, openly mocked even by both of the thieves He’s being crucified between. ⁴

But somewhere along the way, one thief has a change of heart. ⁵

Bloodied, beaten and dying, what does our Lord think?

One more.

Hallelujah.

In His state, Jesus makes the time for a thief, a “convicted felon” as someone put it today, to accept his repentance and to assure his salvation because the condemned man simply believed Jesus was a King not of this world. (Luke 23:39)

Jesus makes time for him in the midst of all He was going through to minister to him and say, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” ⁶

To His dying breath, Jesus used every ounce of strength He had to do His Father’s will.

This illuminates John 13:1,
“[…] Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” -John 13:1

He loved them to end with everything that He had -love that reconciled them to the Father.

That’s the standard.

This is a Perfect Picture of what it looks like to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. ⁷

My Lord and My God.

What excuse do I possibly have for not loving to the very end, especially since I “have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin”?! (Hebrews 12:4)

The calling is indeed high. So, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12)

When I am tired, hard-pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and beat down ⁸, by His grace I aim to be like my Savior and think, “One more.”

¹ Matthew 27:26, John 19:1
² Matthew 27:29
³ John 20:25
⁴ Matthew 27:44
⁵ Luke 23:38-42
⁶ Luke 23:43
⁷ Deuteronomy 6:5, Mark 12:29-31
⁸ 2 Corinthians 4:7

Only Two

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Only Two
Photo Courtesy: Muse by Clio

Do not be deceived.

There are only two camps.

Everyone is in one or the other:

Those who prefer darkness, or
Those who come to the Light.

Jesus is Light.

(John 3:16-21)

Those who prefer darkness:

love their lives to death,

love the world as it is, its pleasures and its value system,

are proud and believe they are capable of governing their own lives and the world,

prefer the world without the government of God, so that they can do what they please, even if those pleasures are an offense to what is good: God, and is harming themselves, others and the earth.

I know this intimately because this was (and to some degree still is) me.

-But-

Those who come to the light (by conviction and drawing of the Holy Spirit):

sense this life isn’t it,

perceive that the world not only does not satisfy but it’s evil,

grieve the death that’s in them and around them,

hunger and thirst for righteousness -no harm to anyone,

desire better, in terms of virtue and government, for themselves, their loved ones and the world,

confess their ignorance, weakness, fallibility and sin,

recognize their need for God and His government,

sees Jesus as God: everything good, and the answer to their need.

And, thanks be to God for His saving grace, this is who I am (increasingly becoming).

Jesus is calling you. How do I know? Because you’re reading this. All that is needed for you to be saved, to move from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, to pass from death to life, is to believe Jesus.

Hear Him with a hunger.

Start with John 1:1.

Believe.

Be saved.

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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