Category: <span>thoughts by Max Lucado</span>

Does a stronghold have a strong hold on you? Do you feel nothing but despair?


Do you think thoughts of defeat? A stronghold is a false premise that denies God’s promise.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says “it sets itself up against the knowledge of God.” It attempts to magnify the problem and minimize God’s ability to solve it.

God could never forgive me— That’s the stronghold of guilt.
Bad things always happen to me— That’s the stronghold of self-pity.
I have to be in charge– The stronghold of pride.
I don’t deserve to be loved– The stronghold of rejection.

Most Christians don’t recognize strongholds. But we don’t have to be among them. Our weapons are from God and have divine power to demolish strongholds. Isn’t that what you want? Keep God at center stage. Turn off the computer and open the Bible more! And turn to God for help.

By Max Lucado
Used by permission
From: Glory Days

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Further Reading

•   HE IS! – a powerful poem about God
•  The Powerful Reality by Ruth Calkin
•  Salvation Explained

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 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,  and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27


Unlike us, God never gives up on a person. Never. Long after we have moved on, God is still there, probing the conscience, stirring conviction, always orchestrating redemption. Fix your enemies? That’s God’s job.

Forgive your enemies? Ah, that’s where you and I come in. We forgive. “Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4:26–27 NASB). The word translated opportunity is the Greek word  topos, the same term from which we get the English noun topography. It means territory or ground. Interesting. Anger gives ground to the devil. Bitterness invites him to occupy a space in your heart, to rent a room. Believe me, he will move in and stink up the place. Gossip, slander, temper – anytime you see these, Satan has claimed a bunk.

Evict him. Don’t even give him the time of day. In the name of Jesus tell him to pack his bags and hit the road. Begin the process of forgiveness. Keep no list of wrongs. Pray for your antagonists rather than plot against them. Hate the wrong without hating wrongdoers. Turn your attention away from what they did to you to what Jesus did for you. Outrageous as it may seem, Jesus died for them too. If he thinks they are worth forgiving, they are. Does that make forgiveness easy? No. Quick? Seldom. Painless? Hardly.

Forgiveness vacillates like this. It has fits and starts, good days and bad. Anger intermingled with love. Irregular mercy. We make progress only to make a wrong turn. Step forward and fall back. But this is okay. When it comes to forgiveness, all of us are beginners. No one owns a secret formula. As long as you are trying to forgive, you are forgiving. It’s when you no longer try that bitterness sets in.

Stay the course. You’ll spend less time in the spite house and more in the grace house. And as one who has walked the hallways of both, I can guarantee that you are going to love the space of grace.

 By Max Lucado
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

•   Forgiveness – Yourself and  Others

•  The Power of Forgiveness | by Dr. Henry Brandt

•  Salvation Explained


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Jeremiah was depressed, as gloomy as a giraffe with a neck ache.


Jerusalem was under siege, his nation under duress. His world collapsed like a sand castle in a typhoon. He faulted God for his horrible emotional distress. He also blamed God for his physical ailments. “[God] has made my flesh and my skin waste away, and broken my bones” (Lamentations 3:4 RSV).

His body ached. His heart was sick. His faith was puny … He realized how fast he was sinking, so he shifted his gaze. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him‘” (vv. 21–24 RSV).

But this I call to mind ...” Depressed, Jeremiah altered his thoughts, shifted his attention. He turned his eyes away from his stormy world and looked into the wonder of God. He quickly recited a quintet of promises. (I can envision him tapping these out on the five fingers of his hand.)

  1. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
  2. His mercies never come to an end.
  3. They are new every morning.
  4. Great is thy faithfulness.
  5. The Lord is my portion.

The storm didn’t cease, but his discouragement did.

By Max Lucado
Used by Permission

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“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3


How would you finish the statement:  “I’ll be happy when….”  With your answer firmly in mind, answer this question.  “What’s the one thing separating you from joy?”

What if your ship never comes in, if your dream never comes true?  If the situation never changes, could you be happy?  If not, then you’re sleeping in the cold cell of discontent. You’re in prison.  And you need to know what you have in your Shepherd!

You have a God who hears you; the power of love behind you; the Holy Spirit within you; and all of heaven ahead of you.  If you have the Shepherd, you have grace for every sin, direction for every turn, a candle for every corner, and an anchor for every storm.

You have everything you need.

By: Max Lucado
|Used by permission
From: Everyday Blessings

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Further Reading

•  Joy Robbers

•  Living in God’s Joy and Peace– Prayer for Inner Peace

•  Life Can Bring Joy out of Sorrow?

•  Salvation Explained


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Anxiety doesn’t mean you are not a Christian. Jesus battled anxiety, for heaven’s sake!


It’s two-thirty in the morning. Everyone is asleep. Everyone, that is, except you! Thoughts rage through your mind. The green numbers on the clock are the only lights in your room, indeed the only lights in your life. Another hour passes. What a mess!

What does all this anxiety, all this restlessness mean? Simply this– you are a human. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It doesn’t mean your parents failed you or vice versa. And, this is important, it doesn’t mean you are not a Christian. Jesus battled anxiety, for heaven’s sake! In the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed three times that he wouldn’t have to drink of the cup (Matthew 26:36-44). He was anxious, but he didn’t stay anxious. He entrusted his fears to his heavenly Father and completed his earthly mission with faith. And he will help us to do likewise!

By Max Lucado
From: Anxious For Nothing
Used by permission

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Further Reading

•   Four Grizzly Bears – What are the Grizzly Bears (fears) in your life?

•   Dealing with Inner Turmoil

•  Salvation Explained


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“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3


How would you finish the statement:  “I’ll be happy when….”  With your answer firmly in mind, answer this question.  “What’s the one thing separating you from joy?”

What if your ship never comes in, if your dream never comes true?  If the situation never changes, could you be happy?  If not, then you’re sleeping in the cold cell of discontent. You’re in prison.  And you need to know what you have in your Shepherd!

You have a God who hears you; the power of love behind you; the Holy Spirit within you; and all of heaven ahead of you.  If you have the Shepherd, you have grace for every sin, direction for every turn, a candle for every corner, and an anchor for every storm.

You have everything you need.

By Max Lucado
Used by permission
From: Everyday Blessings

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Further Reading

•   Joy out of Sorrow – Norma Becker’s story

• Setting up a  Proper Foundation in Your Life for a Successful Business and Personal Life – Dr. Ed Becker

•  Salvation Explained


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If we let him, God will lighten our loads. Why don’t you try travelling light? Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.  Try it! Try it for the sake of those you love. How do you embrace someone if your arms are full of bags? For the sake of those you love, learn to set them down.

And for the sake of the God you serve, do the same. God has a great race for you to run. But you have to drop some stuff. How can you share grace if you’re full of guilt? How can you offer comfort if you’re disheartened? God is saying, “Set it down, child. I’ll carry that one.” What do you say we take God up on his wonderful offer? We just might find ourselves travelling a little lighter.

By Max Lucado
Used by permission
From: Travelling Light

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For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Much has been said about Jesus’ “gift of the Cross.” But what of the other gifts? What of the nails, the crown of thorns?  The garments taken by the soldiers?  Have you taken time to open these gifts?

He didn’t have to give us these gifts, you know. The only required act for our salvation was the shedding of blood, yet He did much more.  So much more.

Search the scene of the Cross—and what do you find? A wine-soaked sponge.  A sign.  Two crosses beside Christ. Divine gifts intended to stir that moment, that split second when your face will brighten, your eyes will widen, and God will hear you whisper, “You did this for me?” Dare we think such thoughts?

Let’s unwrap these gifts of grace– as if for the first time. Pause and listen.  Perhaps you will hear Him whisper, “I did it just for you!”

By Max Lucado
Used by permission

From: He Chose the Nails

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FURTHER READING

• Eternal Love

• Fully Surrender to the Lord

•  Salvation Explained


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Question: How does Jesus’ own suffering encourage you in times you suffer?


Go with me for a moment to witness what was perhaps the foggiest night in history. The scene is very simple; you’ll recognize it quickly. A grove of twisted olive trees. Ground cluttered with large rocks. A low stone fence. A dark, dark night.

Now, look into the picture. Look closely through the shadowy foliage. See that person? See that solitary figure? What’s he doing? Flat on the ground. Face stained with dirt and tears. Fists pounding the hard earth. Eyes wide with a stupor of fear. Hair matted with salty sweat. Is that blood on his forehead?

That’s Jesus. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Maybe you’ve seen the classic portrait of Christ in the garden. Kneeling beside a big rock. Snow-white robe. Hands peacefully folded in prayer. A look of serenity on his face. Halo over his head. A spotlight from heaven illuminating his golden-brown hair.

Now, I’m no artist, but I can tell you one thing. The man who painted that picture didn’t use the gospel of Mark as a pattern. When Mark wrote about that painful night, he used phrases like these: “Horror and dismay came over him.” “My heart is ready to break with grief.” “He went a little forward and threw himself on the ground.

Does this look like the picture of a saintly Jesus resting in the palm of God? Hardly. Mark used black paint to describe this scene. We see an agonizing, straining, and struggling Jesus. We see a “man of sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:3 NASB) We see a man struggling with fear, wrestling with commitments, and yearning for relief.

We see Jesus in the fog of a broken heart.

The writer of Hebrews would later pen,

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death.” (Hebrews 5:7 NIV)

My, what a portrait! Jesus is in pain. Jesus is on the stage of fear. Jesus is cloaked, not in sainthood, but in humanity.

The next time the fog finds you, you might do well to remember Jesus in the garden. The next time you think that no one understands, reread the fourteenth chapter of Mark. The next time your self-pity convinces you that no one cares, pay a visit to Gethsemane. And the next time you wonder if God really perceives the pain that prevails on this dusty planet, listen to him pleading among the twisted trees.

The next time you are called to suffer, pay attention. It may be the closest you’ll ever get to God. Watch closely. It could very well be that the hand that extends itself to lead you out of the fog is a pierced one.

Question: How does Jesus’ own suffering encourage you in times you suffer?

By Max Lucado
Used by permission

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Further Reading

•   At the Foot of the Cross – Powerful Poem

•  Touched by the Risen Lord by Elfrieda Nikkel

•  Salvation Explained


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Jesus forgave thei Disciple’s sin before they even committed it. He offered mercy before they even sought it.


It has been a long day. Jerusalem is packed with Passover guests, most of whom clamor for a glimpse of the Teacher. The spring sun is warm. The streets are dry. And the disciples are a long way from home. A splash of cool water would be refreshing.

The disciples enter [the room], one by one, and take their places around the table. On the wall hangs a towel, and on the floor sits a pitcher and a basin. Any one of the disciples could volunteer for the job, but not one does.

After a few moments, Jesus stands and removes his outer garment. He wraps a servant’s girdle around his waist, takes up the basin, and kneels before one of the disciples. He unlaces a sandal and gently lifts the foot and places it in the basin, covers it with water, and begins to bathe it. One by one, one grimy foot after another, Jesus works his way down the row.

In Jesus’ day the washing of feet was a task reserved not just for servants but for the lowest of servants…The servant at the bottom of the totem pole was expected to be the one on his knees with the towel and basin.

In this case the one with the towel and basin is the king of the universe. Hands that shaped the stars now wash away filth. Fingers that formed mountains now massage toes. And the one before whom all nations will one day kneel now kneels before his disciples. Hours before his own death, Jesus’ concern is singular. He wants his disciples to know how much he loves them…

You can be sure Jesus knows the future of these feet he is washing. These twenty-four feet will not spend the next day following their master, defending his cause. These feet will dash for cover at the flash of a Roman sword. Only one pair of feet won’t abandon him in the garden. One disciple won’t desert him at Gethsemane—Judas won’t even make it that far! He will abandon Jesus that very night at the table…

What a passionate moment when Jesus silently lifts the feet of his betrayer and washes them in the basin!

Jesus knows what these men are about to do. He knows they are about to perform the vilest act of their lives. By morning they will bury their heads in shame and look down at their feet in disgust. And when they do, he wants them to remember how his knees knelt before them and he washed their feet…

He forgave their sin before they even committed it. He offered mercy before they even sought it.

By: Max Lucado
Used by Permission
From This is Love: The Extraordinary Story of Jesus

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Further Reading

•  The Easter Story

•  Remembering the Sad Path to Easter and not just the Glorious part

•  Salvation Explained


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God’s grace delivered us from fear, but how quickly we return.


Grace told us we didn’t have to spend our lives looking over our shoulders, but look at us glancing backward. Look at us with guilt on our consciences.

Why are we so quick to revert back to our old ways? Or as Paul candidly wrote, “What a miserable man I am! Who will save me from this body that brings me death?” (Romans 7:24). Simply stated: we are helpless to battle sin alone. Aren’t we glad Paul answered his own question? “I thank God for saving me through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25).

The same one who saved us first is there to save us still. Such is the message of grace. You are saved, not because of what you do, but because of what Christ did! And you are special because of whose you are.

By Max Lucado
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

•   Keeping Yourself in God’s Love – even during painful times in your life

•  When God Interrupts

•  Salvation Explained


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How does God deal with your bitter heart?


When you are praying, if you are angry with someone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins.”  Mark 11:25

Bitterness is its own prison.

The sides are slippery with resentment.  A floor of muddy anger stills the feet.  The stench of betrayal fills the air and stings the eyes.  A cloud of self-pity blocks the view of the tiny exit above.

Step in and look at the prisoners.  Victims are chained to the walls. Victims of betrayal.  Victims of abuse.

The dungeon, deep and dark, is beckoning you to enter . . .  You can, you know.  You’ve experienced enough hurt . . . Or you can choose, like many, to chain yourself to your hurt  . . . Or

How does God deal with your bitter heart?  He reminds you that what you have is more important than what you don’t have.  You still have your relationship with God.   No one can take that!

By Max Lucado
Used by permission
From: He Still Moves Stones

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Further Reading

•   Overwhelmed by Negative Feelings?

•  Why Me Lord?  Why Not? A different perspective on being shunned or mistreated.

•  Salvation Explained


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Our weapons are prayer and worship and Scripture.


The devil is a splitter, a divider, a wedge driver. He divided Adam and Eve from God in the garden. He would like to separate you from God as well. He wants to take all unbelievers to hell and make life hell for believers.

Our weapons are prayer and worship and Scripture. When we pray, we engage the power of God against the devil. When we worship, we do what Satan himself did not do: we place God on the throne. And when we pick up the sword of Scripture, we proclaim truth.

According to Colossians 2:15, “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, [Jesus] made a public spectacle of [the forces of evil], triumphing over them by the cross.” Satan will not linger long where God is praised and prayers are offered. Satan may be vicious, but he will not be victorious. God has already won.

By Max Lucado
Used by permission

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Further Reading

•   The Power of Prayer & Praise

•   One More Reason to Praise by Bill Bright

•  Salvation Explained


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“Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NCV)


Maybe you don’t want to trouble God with your hurts.

After all, he’s got famines and pestilence and wars; he won’t care about my little struggles, you think.  Why don’t you let him decide that?

He cared enough about a wedding to provide the wine.  He cared enough about Peter’s tax payment to give him a coin.  He cared enough about the woman at the well to give her answers.

By Max Lucado
Used by permission
To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
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Further Reading

•   Did You Know that You are Someone Special?

•  Good News for You

•  Salvation Explained


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Is guilt having its way with you?


If so, here is a promise from Isaiah 1:18: “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow.” God can do what no one else can.  He can extract every last mark from your soul.

Give God your guilt. Pray simply, “Father you are good. I need help. Forgive me. . .” Tell Jesus what you did. Do it as often as needed. One time, two times, ten times a day? By all means! Hold nothing back. No sin is too ancient or recent, too evil or insignificant.

By Max Lucado
Used by permission
From: Before Amen

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Further Reading

•  Hope for the Hopeless

•  The Power of Forgiveness | by Dr. Henry Brandt

•  Salvation Explained


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