Category: thoughts by Max Lucado

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He brought them out of the gloom and darkness and broke their chains.   Let them give thanks to the Lord.”  Psalm 107:14-15

Worship is when you’re aware that what you’ve been given is far greater than what you can give.  Worship is the awareness that were it not for His touch, you’d still be hobbling and hurting, bitter and broken.  Worship is the half-glazed expression on
the parched face of a desert pilgrim as he discovers that the oasis is not a mirage.

Worship is the “thank you” that refuses to be silenced.

We have tried to make a science out of worship.  We can’t do that. We can’t do that anymore than we can “sell love” or “negotiate peace”.

Worship is a voluntary act of gratitude offered by the saved to the Savior, by the healed to the Healer, and by the delivered to the Deliverer.

By Max Lucado
Used by permission

From: In the Eye of the Storm

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A grateful heart sees each day as a gift.

Thankful people focus less on what they lack and more on the privileges they have. I attended a banquet recently in which a wounded soldier was presented with the gift of a free house. He nearly fell over with gratitude. He bounded onto the stage with his one good leg and threw both arms around the presenter. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” He hugged the guitar player in the band and the big woman on the front row. He thanked the waiter, the other soldiers, and then the presenter again. Before the night was over, he thanked me! And I didn’t do anything.

Shouldn’t we be equally grateful? Jesus is building a house for us (John 14:2). Our deed of ownership is every bit as certain as that of the soldier. What’s more, Jesus cured our leprosy. Sin cankered our souls and benumbed our senses. Yet the Man on the path told us we were healed, and, lo and behold, we were!

The grateful heart is like a magnet sweeping over the day, collecting reasons for gratitude. A zillion diamonds sparkle against the velvet of your sky every night. Thank you, God. A miracle of muscles enables your eyes to read these words and your brain to process them. Thank you, God. Your lungs inhale and exhale eleven thousand liters of air every day. Your heart will beat about three billion times in your lifetime. Your brain is a veritable electric generator of power. Thank you, God.

For the jam on our toast and the milk on our cereal. For the blanket that calms us and the joke that delights us and the warm sun that reminds us of God’s love. For the thousands of planes that did not crash today. For the men who didn’t cheat on their wives, and the wives who didn’t turn from their men, and the kids who, in spite of unspeakable pressure to dishonor their parents, decided not to do so. Thank you, Lord.

Gratitude gets us through the hard stuff. To reflect on your blessings is to rehearse God’s accomplishments. To rehearse God’s accomplishments is to discover his heart. To discover his heart is to discover not just good gifts but the Good Giver. Gratitude always leaves us looking at God and away from dread. It does to anxiety what the morning sun does to valley mist. It burns it up.

Join the ranks of the 10 percent who give God a standing ovation. “Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ Ephesians 5:20 (NLT).

By Max Lucado
Used by permission

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1 Samuel 16:7 says,. . .man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Those words were written for misfits and outcasts. God uses them all. Moses ran from justice, but God used him. Jonah ran from God, but God used him. Rahab ran a brothel. Sarah ran out of hope, Lot ran with the wrong crowd, but God used them all. And David? Human eyes saw a gangly teenager, smelling like sheep. Yet the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is the one!” (1 Samuel 16:12).

God saw what no one else saw– a God-seeking heart. David took after God’s heart, because he stayed after God’s heart. In the end, that is all God wants or needs. Others measure your waist size or wallet. Not God. He examines hearts. When he finds one set on Him, He calls it and claims it.

By Max Lucado
Used by permission

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In Romans chapter 8,  Paul asks five life-changing questions:

  1. Won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?”  

God won’t leave us to fend for ourselves.

  1. If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”  

God’s presence tilts the scales of security forever in our direction.

  1. Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own?”  

Once God accepts you, what other opinion matters?

  1. Who then will condemn us?  Will Christ Jesus?”  

The answer is NO!  Christ sits next to God as our divine defence attorney who mutes the voices of our accusers.

  1. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?”  

Paul’s “Eureka!” conclusion:  Nothing and no one can drive a wedge between you and God’s love!

By Max Lucado
From:  Come Thirsty

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When Christ rose from the dead, he never reminded the disciples of their betrayal and desertion.  They outran the guards, but they couldn’t outrun the love of Christ.

Desert God—he’ll still love you.  Deny God—he’ll still love you.  Doubt God—he’ll still love you.  You have never lived a loveless day.  Not one!  You never leave God’s mind, escape his sight, or flee his thoughts.  He knows you better than you know you, and he loves you still.

The greatest discovery in the universe is the greatest love in the universe—and that is God’s love.  Remember Paul’s words in Romans 8:38,  “Nothing can separate us from his love.”  Step to the well of God’s love and drink up.  Once filled by his love, you’ll never be the same.

By Max Lucado
From: Come Thirsty
Used by Permission

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Victoria Ruvolo doesn’t remember the 18-year-old boy leaning out the window, of all things, holding a frozen turkey.  He threw it at her windshield.  It shattered Victoria’s face like a dinner plate on concrete.

John 13:14 -15 says,  “Since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. Do as I have done to you.” And that’s what Victoria Ruvolo did. Months later, she stood face to face with her offender in court. He was given six months behind bars and five year’s probation. Everyone in the courtroom objected to the light sentence. He sobbed while she spoke. The light sentence was her idea. “I forgive you. I want your life to be the best it can be. God gave me a second chance at life, and I passed it on” she said!  Grace chooses to give the forgiveness that’s been received!

By Max Lucado
From: GRACE
Used by Permission

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“We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4 NLT

Does one prevailing problem leech your life?

Some are prone to cheat. Others quick to doubt. Maybe you worry. Yes, everyone worries some, but you own the national distributorship of anxiety. Perhaps you are judgmental. Sure, everybody can be critical, but you pass more judgments than a federal judge.

What is that one weakness, bad habit, rotten attitude? Where does Satan have a stronghold within you? Ahh, there is the fitting word—stronghold: a fortress, citadel, thick walls, tall gates. It’s as if the devil staked a claim on one weakness and constructed a rampart around it.

Strongholds: old, difficult, discouraging challenges.

That’s what David faced when he looked at Jerusalem. . . .

Nevertheless.

Nevertheless David took the stronghold . . .” (2 Samuel 5:9).

Granted, the city was old. The walls were difficult. The voices were discouraging . . . Nevertheless David took the stronghold.

Wouldn’t you love God to write a nevertheless in your biography? Born to alcoholics, nevertheless she led a sober life. Never went to college, nevertheless he mastered a trade. Didn’t read the Bible until retirement age, nevertheless he came to a deep and abiding faith.

We all need a nevertheless. And God has plenty to go around. Strongholds mean nothing to him. Remember Paul’s words?

We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds(2 Corinthians 10:4 NLT).

You and I fight with toothpicks; God comes with battering rams and cannons. What he did for David, he can do for us.

Blessed Father, as you helped David conquer a stronghold so you can help us conquer the strongholds in our lives. You have promised freedom and victory. Father, will you break these strongholds with your mighty power? You steady us with your love, amen.

By Max Lucado
—from Facing Your Giants
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If you pass your days mumbling, “I’ll never make a difference; I’m not worth anything,” guess what? You’ll be sentencing yourself to a life of gloom without parole! When you do that, you’re questioning God’s judgment, second-guessing his taste.

Psalm 139:14 says you were “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He can’t stop thinking about you. Psalm 139:18 confirms it. If he could count his thoughts of you, “they would be more in number than the sand.”

Why does he love you so much? The same reason the artist loves his paintings or the boat builder loves his vessels. You are God’s idea. And he has only good ideas. Paul said in Ephesians 2:10,

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

You matter to God!

By Max Lucado
Used by permission

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We are incarcerated by our past.  We have been found guilty!  Our executioner’s footsteps echo against stone walls.  We sit on the floor of the dusty cell, awaiting our final moment.  We don’t look up as he opens the door.  We know what he’s going to say.

Time to pay for your sins.”  But we hear something else!
You’re free to go. They took Jesus instead of you!”
The door swings open, the guard barks, “Get out.”

And we find ourselves shackles gone, crimes pardoned, wondering what just happened?  Grace just happened!  Christ took away your sins. Romans 3:24 says,

God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins.  We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.”

What happenedGrace happened!

By Max Lucado
From: Grace
Used by Permission

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“A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory;’ Matthew 12:20

Look at a bruised reed at the water’s edge—once slender, sturdy, and tall— now bowed and bent.  Are you a bruised reed?  You were upright and sturdy, rooted in the riverbed of confidence.  Then you were bruised by harsh words, a friend’s anger, a spouse’s betrayal, religion’s rigidity, or your own failure.

Is there anything closer to death than the smoldering wick on a candle?  Once you blazed with faith.  Then they said your ideas were foolish, your dreams were too lofty.

But the theme of the New Testament is that God is the friend of the wounded heart and the keeper of your dreams.  Christ met people at all points of pain.  By His touch bruised reeds straightened and smoldering wicks were ignited.

By Max Lucado
Read more He Still Moves Stones
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Worry has more questions than answers, more work than energy, and thinks often about giving up. There’s not enough time, luck, credit, wisdom, or intelligence. We’re running out of everything it seems, and so we worry.  But worry doesn’t work. You can dedicate a decade of anxious thoughts to the brevity of life, and not extend it by one minute. Worry accomplishes nothing.

God doesn’t condemn legitimate concern for responsibilities but rather the continuous mind-set that dismisses God’s presence. Destructive anxiety subtracts God from the future and tallies up the challenges of the day without entering God into the equation. Jesus gives us this challenge: “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously; and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:32-33).

By Max Lucado
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From Fearless
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“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Philippians 4:11

You have every reason to be content! A man once went to a minister for counseling. He was in the midst of financial collapse.

I’ve lost everything,” he bemoaned.

Oh, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve lost your faith.”

No,” the man corrected him, “I haven’t lost my faith.”

Well then, I’m sad to hear you’ve lost your character.”

I didn’t say that,” he corrected. “I still have my character.”

I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve lost your salvation.”

That’s not what I said,” the man objected.

I haven’t lost my salvation.”

You have your faith, your character, your salvation. Seems to me,” the minister observed, “that you’ve lost none of the things that really matter.

We haven’t either! You and I could pray like the Puritan.  He sat down to a meal of bread and water.  He bowed his head and declared, “All this and Jesus too?

By Max Lucado
Used by Permission

From: Travelling Light

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Can you look back over your life and see instances of God’s protection? My junior year of college I was fascinated by a movement of Christians. Some of my friends decided to spend the summer at the movement’s largest church and be discipled. When I tried to do the same every door closed. A second opportunity surfaced, which was spending the summer in Brazil. In this case every door swung open. Decades later I saw how God protected me. The movement became a dangerous and oppressive cult. The time in Brazil introduced me to grace—freeing and joyful.

And you? Did God keep you from a bad relationship? Or protect you from the wrong job? In 2 Thessalonians 3:3 Paul promises,

He will strengthen and protect you.

And Psalm 91:11 reminds us,

He will command his angels to guard you.”

God protects you with a cloak of love!

By Max Lucado
From A Love Worth Giving

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If hurts were hairs—we’d all look like grizzlies!  So many hurts.  When teachers ignore your work, their neglect hurts.  When your girlfriend drops you, when your husband abandons you, when the company fires you… it hurts.  Rejection always hurts.  People bring pain.  Sometimes deliberately.  Sometimes randomly.  So where do you turn?  Hitman.com?  Jim Beam and friends?  Pity Party Catering Service?

Retaliation has its appeal. But Jesus has a better idea! Grace is not blind. It sees the hurt full well. But Grace chooses to see God’s forgiveness even more. Hebrews 12:15 urges us to,

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Where grace is lacking, bitterness abounds. Where grace abounds, forgiveness grows. Forgiveness may not happen all at once.  But it can happen with you.

By Max Lucado
Used by Permission

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From: GRACE
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“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything” Philippians 4:6.

God offers you and me the possibility of a worry-free life.  Jesus said,

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life!  Of course not”  (Matthew 6:27).

Worry is irrelevant.  You don’t add one day to your life or one bit of life to your day by worrying.

Worry is also irreverent; it’s distrusting God…an “unconscious blasphemy.”  The Apostle Paul urges us to “be anxious for nothing.”  How?  Our part includes prayer and gratitude.  Instead of looking forward in fear, look upward in faith and backward in appreciation of past victories. God’s part is peace and protection.  God enjoys perfect peace because he enjoys perfect power.  And he offers his peace to you to guard your heart.  Do your part and God will do his.

By Max Lucado
From: Come Thirsty
Used by permission

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