52 Weeks of Gratefulness #10 – Beauty In Mississippi

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #10 – Beauty In Mississippi

In Week 10 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness I give thanks for beauty in Mississippi.

One bright Saturday morning, I drive out to Noxubee Refuge to do some reading and studying.

I park on the bank of a quiet little inlet, the water dotted by young bald cypress trees.

A number of people come and go, fishing from the bank.

Then this man walks to the bank with a bucket and two fishing poles. He sits down on the ground and casts. Shortly thereafter a whole gang of young children, four or five of them, come bustling across the road with their fishing poles and start plopping their lures in the water.

The man seemed utterly unbothered. He interacts with them, talks with them, instructing them to be careful.

Then the mother walks past, trailing the children. She sees me in the truck, stops, locks eyes with me and yells, “You want some kids?” She smiles. We laugh and she takes a seat near her husband.

After some time, a young black boy with dreads and camouflage pants walks up to where the family is camped out on the bank. He starts talking to one of the other children, then one-by-one he and each of the kids hug each other, and finally the boy hugs the father and mother.

The boy stands on the bank chatting for a while and then goes back across the road to where his family is fishing.

At some point both families, as different as they seemed, come together on the bank and earnestly behave as though they were one big family.

This is not the picture people tend to paint of Mississippi, but here it was –clear as day and beautiful.

What stays with me, is the expression of the children’s faces. That wasn’t tolerance. That was joy.

The beauty I saw on a bank of the Noxubee Refuge is the beauty I want to call out everywhere and for everyone in our great state.

Yes, we have grave challenges in Mississippi, but there is hope.

These people, just being people, sharing a pastime and the natural beauty of our planet, reminded me of that.

I’m thankful.

#52WoG

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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52 Weeks of Gratefulness #9 – A Birthday

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #9 - A Birthday

In Week 9 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness I give thanks for the ability to celebrate another birthday with the most important man in my life, Reverend Paul Luckett.

Happy birthday, Pop. Your example as a man and a father both guides and challenges me everyday.

I thank God for your life.

I thank Him more that I am able to share it with you.

I love you.

I’m thankful.

#52WoG

Note: He’s a leap year baby (Feb. 29) so in a normal year, he has the special ability to choose which day he wants to celebrate his birthday on: Feb. 28 or March 1. This year he chose to celebrate it today.

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #8 – A Proposal

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #8 - A Proposal
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #8 - A Proposal
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #8 - A Proposal
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks Of Gratefulness #8 - A Proposal

In Week 8 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness I give thanks for a proposal.

On May 6, 2022 my soon to be nephew-in-love, Leroy Williams, pulled off the coldest proposal I have ever seen to my niece Shannen Harris, who Melissa and I dearly love.

In this photograph of the proposal, you will see pictured our family’s beloved Willie and Mary Harris who have gone on to be with the Lord.

They are the trunk of the Harris family tree and this picture speaks volumes.

Jesus said in John 10:1, “Any who does not enter by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”

I believe Leroy would say himself that he probably wouldn’t be considered a big church guy, but what he demonstrates here is a Christ-like heart for my niece, wanting to go through the proper channels and do what’s necessary to secure his bride.

This picture is representative of Leroy going to the ones keeping Shannen (her family aka the door), to present himself, to demonstrate his willingness to pay the cost and to request the privilege and responsibility of now being the one to keep her.

I thank God and celebrate this proposal, their relationship and the things they’re doing to establish a firm foundation for their home. It is already having a powerful impact throughout our family and their community.

My soul has known few greater pleasures than their asking me to officiate their wedding. Not just that, they’re also allowing Melissa and I to walk with them in counseling leading up to that wonderful day when they are wed. Counseling is always a requirement of my officiating but before I could get it out they asked for it! My heart is so full.

Oh, how I cherish the opportunity to walk with people I love, into the Holy covenant of marriage, where a man and his wife are fitted and held together by the God of love that I love! May God use them to establish and deepen our roots in Christ so that our family will not be moved.

I love what this does for our family.

I love what this does for the future.

I’m thankful.

#52WoG

52 Weeks of Gratefulness #7 – Our Son’s Decision

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #7 – Our Son's Decision
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #7 – Our Son's Decision

In Week 7 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness I give thanks for our son’s decision.

Today our son, Chris Luckett, turns 21 years old. And, throughout those 21 years, he has made the conscious decision to share his life with us.

Whatever ignites him: anime, athletics, Pokémon, nature, dancing or people dear to him –he has decided to make us a part of it.

For 21 years it has been a privilege to bask in its glow.

Happy 21st birthday our beloved son.

Thank you for sharing your your life with us.

I’m thankful.

#52WoG

Surprise Luncheon Honoring Dr. Placid and Dr. Athelia Eze

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - Surprise Luncheon Honoring Dr. Placid and Dr. Athelia Eze

Members of a local black professionals network hosted a surprise luncheon to celebrate Dr. Placid and Dr. Athelia Eze, two living legends of black history in Starkville and Oktibbeha County.

The Eze’s opened a medical clinic and pharmacy in Starkville, MS and grew it to one of Starkville’s largest practices -with additional satellite offices in Columbus, Mississippi and East Point, Georgia.

The Eze’s medical practice culminated with the building of a million dollar facility in Starkville that became a pillar of a new growing medical corridor on Stark Rd. that has recently added facilities such as Columbus Orthopaedic.

In addition to providing a safe and welcoming space for blacks to receive healthcare, Dr. Athelia and Dr. Placid Eze identified, recruited, educated and produced more black medical professionals than anyone in the area. They gave minorities a chance and an onramp into medical professions when no one else would.

After 22 years of service, the Eze’s closed their practice.

On their last day, members of the local black professionals network hosted a surprise luncheon in their honor.

It was truly a community effort.

Bonnie and Robbie Coblentz provided a wonderfully intimate and elegant meeting space in their newly opened L’uva Wine Bar.

We presented an awards plaque that was custom created by Josh Herrington at Dunkington.

All of the Eze’s staff and some of their previous staff attended and offered tributes.

Alderman Henry Vaughn honored them on behalf of the City of Starkville.

Supervisor Orlando Trainer honored them on behalf of Oktibbeha County.

Rosa Dalomba honored them on behalf of all the up and coming black entrepreneurs that the Eze’s cleared the way for and for being shoulders on which we stand.

There were laughs.

There were tears.

But above all there was thankfulness and honor for these two paragons of black excellence.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. It was truly wonderful.

#blackhistory #blackhistoryisstillbeingmade

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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52 Weeks of Gratefulness #6 – Alex Romanov

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #6 – Alex Romanov
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #6 – Alex Romanov
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #6 – Alex Romanov

In week 6 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for Alex Romanov.

This guy loves me.

How do I know?

I just know.

There’s something about his spirit and approach to me that conveys it.

The first time I met Alex was at the gym. I’m trying not to die on the bench press and he walks up, handing out these little strips of paper with Scripture on it.

That’s right. Our first encounter was him “Bible thumping” as some might call it.

But Brother Alex could and should teach a class on witnessing.

His spirit and approach was that he was sharing someone dear to him with someone dear versus giving something to someone that he thought they lacked.

His example is how we should all witness:

Love God.
Love people how God loves you.
Then witness (share Him with them), because it’s not witnessing until I’ve done the first two.

I am grateful for his witness. So much so, that I now I seek him out asking, “What’s the Word, Alex?” (VeggieTales insider joke)

I am delighted to share the dear gift of Christ with such a dear brother. Thank you Brother Alex for the rare and precious gift that gets better the more you give it away. I love you too.

I’m thankful.

#52WoG

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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52 Weeks of Gratefulness #5 – A Wife

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com - 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #5 – A Wife

In week 5 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for a wife.

“This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased,” is what God says of Jesus. That leaves me in awe. To receive such an affirmation from the God of the universe, I can’t imagine it. There is nothing I’d like more than to know God is pleased with me.

He has.

Because of His pleasure in and love for His Son Jesus, who was obedient to death, God gives Him a people.

He gives me a wife.

I find that the more like His Son that He makes me, the more obedient I become, the more of her I get.

Words fail me to express all that my wife is to me.

My very being aches for her. I so adore her.

She catches me staring at times because I can scarcely believe it.

I examine her, every inch of her, the way one might examine an unbelievable treasure.

She is an indescribable gift that leaves me in awe.

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.” – Proverbs 18:22

I’m thankful.

#52WoG

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

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

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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