Category: thoughts by Max Lucado

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Attempts at “self-salvation” guarantee nothing but exhaustion. We scamper and scurry, trying to please God, collecting merit badges and brownie points, scowling at anyone who questions our accomplishments.  The result?  The weariest people on earth.  We so fear failure that we create the image of perfection.  Call us the church of hound-dog faces and slumped shoulders.

Stop it!  Once and for all, enough of this frenzy!

Hebrews 13:9 says,

Your hearts should be strengthened by God’s grace, not by obeying rules.”

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus promises,

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

There is no fine print. A second shoe isn’t going to drop. God’s promise has no hidden language. Let grace happen. You have His unending affection. Stretch yourself out in the hammock of grace. You can rest now!

By Max Lucado
Used by Permission

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A love that never fails! 

Hard to imagine, isn’t it?  Has human love ever failed you?  I’m guessing your answer may be, “Yes it has—more times than I like to admit!”

1 Corinthians 13:8 promises that “love never fails!”  Not God’s kind of love anyway.

I sense you may be so thirsty for this type of love. Those who should have loved you, did not.  Those who could have loved you, didn’t. You were left at the hospital.  Left at the altar. Left with an empty bed.  Left with a broken heart.  Left with your question, “Does anybody love me?

Listen to heaven’s answer:  God loves you—with a love that never fails.  Personally.  Powerfully.  Passionately.  God loves you with unfailing love!

And His love, if you’ll let it, can fill you!  Come thirsty, my friend, and drink deeply!

By Max Lucado
Used by permission
From: Come Thirsty

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“Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” Psalm 50:15 NLT

God will use whatever he wants to display his glory. Heavens and stars. History and nations. People and problems. My dying dad in West Texas.

The last three years of his life were scarred by A.L.S. The disease took him from a healthy mechanic to a bedbound paralytic. He lost his voice and his muscles, but he never lost his faith. Visitors noticed. Not so much in what he said but more in what he didn’t say. Never outwardly angry or bitter, Jack Lucado suffered stately.

His faith led one man to seek a like faith. After the funeral this man sought me out and told me. Because of my dad’s example, he became a Jesus follower.

Did God orchestrate my father’s illness for that very reason? Knowing the value he places on one soul, I wouldn’t be surprised. And imagining the splendor of heaven, I know my father’s not complaining.

A season of suffering is a small assignment when compared to the reward.

Rather than begrudge your problem, explore it. Ponder it. And most of all, use it. Use it to the glory of God. . . .

Your pain has a purpose. Your problems, struggles, heartaches, and hassles cooperate toward one end—the glory of God.

—from It’s Not About Me

Heavenly Father, when problems and pain come my way, help me to remember that nothing comes into my life without your approval. Rather than complain and cry about the challenges I face, help me consider them as opportunities to bring glory to you. Give me the strength and patience to bear my burdens in a way that will honor you. I will lift my eyes off the trials and keep them fixed firmly on you, amen.

“Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us.” Daniel 3:17

“Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” Joshua 21:45

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19

By Max Lucado
From: Lived Loved: Experiencing God’s Presence in Every Day Life
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“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

In the final days of Jesus’ life, he shared a meal with his friends Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. Within the week he would feel the sting of the Roman whip, the point of the thorny crown, and the iron of the executioner’s nail. But on this evening, He felt the love of three friends.

For Mary, however, giving the dinner was not enough.

Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house
(John 12:3). . . .

Judas criticized the deed as wasteful. Not Jesus. He received the gesture as an extravagant demonstration of love, a friend surrendering her most treasured gift. As Jesus hung on the cross, we wonder, Did He detect the fragrance on his skin?

Follow Mary’s example.

There is an elderly man in your community who just lost his wife. An hour of your time would mean the world to him.

Some kids in your city have no dad. No father takes them to movies or baseball games. Maybe you can. They can’t pay you back. They can’t even afford the popcorn or sodas. But they’ll smile like a cantaloupe slice at your kindness.

Or how about this one? Down the hall from your bedroom is a person who shares your last name. Shock that person with kindness. Something outlandish. Your homework done with no complaints. Coffee served before he awakens. A love letter written to her for no special reason. Alabaster poured, just because.

Daily do a deed for which you cannot be repaid.
—from Great Day Every Day

Precious Savior, we pass people every day who need a demonstration of your love. May we search for ways to show extravagant gestures of gracious love, and outlandish acts of kindness. Make us people who set a goal of doing daily deeds for which we cannot be repaid. Set our hearts on fire for people who do not know you. Consume us with compassion for the desperate and downtrodden. Let us pour our lives out in love . . . just because, amen.

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…” I Peter 1:22

By Max Lucado
From: Live Loved: Experiencing God’s Presence in Everyday Life
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Are you hoping that a change in circumstances will bring a change in your attitude?

If so, you are in prison, and you need to learn a secret of travelling light. What you have in your Shepherd is greater than what you don’t have in life.

May I meddle for a moment? What is the one thing separating you from joy? How do you fill in this blank: “I will be happy when ________________”? When I am healed. When I am promoted. When I am married. When I am single. When I am rich. How would you finish that statement?

Now, with your answer firmly in mind, answer this. 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 are sleeping in the cold cell of discontent. You are 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
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“Love one another as I have loved you” John 13:34

The Greek word used for love (agape) denotes an unselfish affection.  The final phrase is the essential one: “as I have loved you.” Have you let God love you?  Please don’t hurry past the question.

We don’t love people because people are lovable.  People can be cranky, stubborn, selfish, and cruel.  We love people for this reason: we have come to experience and believe the love that God has for us.  We are beneficiaries of an unexpected, undeserved, yet undeniable gift— the love of God.

It is only by receiving our Father’s agape love that we can discover an agape love for others.  Be loved, and then love.  Just as hurt people hurt people, loved people love people.  So let God love you!

This is how happiness happens.

By Max Lucado
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“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

Grudge is one of those words that defines itself. It’s very sound betrays its meaning.

Say it slowly: ‘Grr-uuuud-ge.’

It starts with a growl. ‘Grr’ Like a bear with bad breath coming out of hibernation or a mangy mongrel defending his bone in an alley. ‘Grr

Remove a GR from the word grudge and replace it with SL and you have the junk that grudge bearers trudge through. Sludge.  Black, thick, ankle-deep resentment that steals the bounce from the step.  No joyful skips through the meadows. No healthy hikes up the mountain. Just day after day of walking into the storm, shoulders bent against the wind, and feet dragging through all the muck life has delivered.

Is this the way you are coping with your hurts? Are you allowing your hurts to turn into hates? If so, ask yourself: Is it working? Has your hatred done you any good? Has your resentment brought you any relief, any peace? Has it granted you any joy?

Let’s say you get even. Let’s say you get him back. Let’s say she gets what she deserves. Let’s say your fantasy of fury runs its ferocious course and you return all your pain with interest. Imagine yourself standing over the corpse of the one you have hated. Will you now be free?

The writer of the following letter thought she would be. She thought her revenge would bring release. But she learned otherwise.

I caught my husband making love to another woman. He swore it would never happen again. He begged me to forgive him, but I could not – would not. I was so bitter and so incapable of swallowing my pride that I could think of nothing but revenge. I was going to make him pay and pay dearly. I’d have my pound of flesh.
I filed for divorce, even though my children begged me not to.

Even after the divorce, my husband tried for two years to win me back. I refused to have anything to do with him. He had struck first; now I was striking back. All I wanted was to make him pay.

Finally he gave up and married a lovely young widow with a couple of small children. He began rebuilding his life -without me.

I see them occasionally, and he looks so happy. They all do. And here I am – a lonely, old, miserable woman who allowed her selfish pride and foolish stubbornness to ruin her life.

Unfaithfulness is wrong. Revenge is bad. But the worst part of all is that, without forgiveness, bitterness is all that is left.

The state of your heart dictates whether you harbor a grudge or give grace, seek self-pity or seek Christ, drink human misery or taste God’s mercy.

No wonder, then, the wise man begs, ”Above all else, guard your heart.

David’s prayer should be ours:  “Create in me a pure heart, O God.”

By Max Lucado
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My big brother used to pick on me.  For Dee (my big brother) no day was complete unless he had made mine miserable.  He stole my allowance.  He called me a sissy.

But all his cruel antics were offset by one great act of grace on a summer day in the park. He picked me to play on his baseball team.  Everyone else was a middle-schooler.  I was a third-grader.  I went from the back of the pack to the front of line, all because he picked me.  Dee didn’t pick me because I was good.  He called my name for one reason only.  He was my big brother.  And on that day he decided to be a good big brother.

The New Testament has a word for such activity–  encouragement.  “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).  This is how happiness happens.

By Max Lucado
used by permission

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From his book:  How Happiness Happens – Finding Lasting Joy in a world of Comparison, Disappointment, and Unmet Expectations

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Moses announced in Exodus 15:11,

Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness?

The psalmist asked,

Who in the skies is comparable to the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the Lord” (Psalm 89:6).

Isaiah wrote,

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3)!

God is not just holy or holy, holy, holy—he is wholly unlike us. Pain does not plague him. The economy does not faze him. Elections do not define him. Diseases do not infect him and death cannot claim him. Ephesians 3:20 proclaims he is

“able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

Stare at the mountain less and at the Mountain Mover more. Ponder the holiness of God. Let his splendor stun you and inspire you!

By Max Lucado
Used by Permission
From: Glory Days

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“May He enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope His call holds for you.” Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

What [does] it mean to be just like Jesus? The world has never known a heart so pure, a character so flawless. His spiritual hearing was so keen he never missed a heavenly whisper. His mercy so abundant he never missed a chance to forgive. No lie left his lips, no distraction marred his vision. He touched when others recoiled. He endured when others quit. Jesus is the ultimate model for every person …. God urges you to fix your eyes upon Jesus. Heaven invites you to set the lens of your heart on the heart of the Savior and make him the object of your life.

By Max Lucado

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John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and lived among us.” 

The God of the universe left the glory of heaven and moved into the neighborhood. Our neighborhood! Why? Because He loves to be with the ones he loves!

There is a remarkable story about a man injured in a fire. While attempting to save his parents, his face was burned and disfigured. He wouldn’t let anyone see him, including his wife. When she went to a plastic surgeon for help, the doctor assured her that he could restore her husband’s face. But she wasn’t there to restore her husband’s face. She wanted her face disfigured so she could share in his pain.

It’s the way God feels about us. He took on our face, our disfigurement. He became like us—to show us how far he will go to be with the ones he loves!

By Max Lucado
Used by Permission

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Dear Jesus,

It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.

These killings, Lord.  These children, Lord.  Innocence violated.  Raw evil demonstrated.
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?

Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas.  But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were night-shift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty.  Dark with violence.

Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.

Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.

This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.
In a new hope, Your Children

By: Max Lucado
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God  is waiting to show His love and kindness to you and to guide your life.  He wants to make something beautiful of your life.  And you can open your heart and life to Him today by praying this prayer with a sincere attitude.

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

It starts today.


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God’s plan for humanity

it was crafted in the halls of heaven and carried out on the plains of earth. Only holiness could have imagined it. Only divinity could have enacted it. Only righteousness could have endured it.

When God chose to reveal himself, he did so through a human body. The hand that touched the leper had dirt under its nails. The feet upon which the women wept were calloused and dusty. And his tears—oh, don’t miss His tears. They came from a heart as broken as yours or mine has ever been.

So people came to him! Not one person was reluctant to approach him for fear of being rejected. Remember that the next time you find yourself amazed at your own failures! Or the next time you hear a lifeless liturgy. Remember. It’s man who creates the distance. It’s Jesus who builds the bridge!

By Max Lucado
From: In the Manger
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“Many people received God’s gift of life by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ.”  Romans 5:15 (NCV)

We take our free gift of salvation and try to earn it or diagnose it or pay for it instead of simply saying “thank you” and accepting it.

Ironic as it may appear, one of the hardest things to do is to be saved by grace.  There’s something in us that reacts to God’s free gift.  We have some weird compulsion to create laws, systems, and regulations that will make us “worthy” of our gift.

Why do we do that?  The only reason I can figure is pride.  To accept grace means to accept its necessity and most folks don’t like to do that.  To accept grace also means that one realizes his despair, and most people aren’t too keen on doing that either.

By Max Lucado
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Voices in our head whisper,

“You aren’t good enough!” 

“You’ll never improve.” 

“You failed—again!”  

Voices in our world.

Voices in our head.

Who is this morality patrolman who issues a citation at every stumble?  Does he ever shut up? No. Because Satan never shuts up!  Revelation 12:9-10 says,

For the Accuser has been thrown down to earth, the one who accused our brothers and sisters before our God day and night.”

Satan is relentless, tireless.  The Accuser makes a career out of accusing.  But he will not have the last word.

Jesus has acted on our behalf.  He stooped.  Low enough to be spat upon, nailed, and speared.  Low…low enough to be buried.

And then he stood…he stood up!  Romans 8:34 promises He is in the presence of God at this very moment standing up for us.  We have a clean record.  Grace!

By Max Lucado
From:  GRACE

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