Category: thoughts by Max Lucado

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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
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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
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According to Psalm 91:14, “The LORD says,

I will rescue those who love me.  I will protect those who trust in my name.’”

God is your guardian, separating you from evil. 

So, why do bad things happen to us?

You and God may have different definitions for the word bad.   God not only read your story…he wrote it.  His perspective is different and his purpose is clear.  He uses struggles to toughen our spiritual skin.  James urges us to “consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides…Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (James 1:2,4).

Trust God’s sovereignty.  He is directing your steps and delighting in every detail of your life. Don’t you feel better knowing he is in control?

By Max Lucado
Read more Come Thirsty
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In Galatians 2:16 the Apostle Paul says, “No one will ever be saved by obeying the law.”  We become right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by trusting in Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:4-9 explains how we are defined by God’s grace.  “He gave us life” so we are spiritually alive.  We are “seated with him in the heavenly realms”—heavenly positioned.  We are “one with Christ,” connected to God.  We are billboards of mercy because we are “examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us.”  And we are honored children saved “by his special favor.”

Are you defined by God’s grace?  Your deeds don’t save you.  Your deeds don’t keep you saved.  Grace does.  Paul said, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”

By Max Lucado
From:  Come Thirsty
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Read the first verse of Matthew’s gospel. Jesus knew David’s ways. He witnessed the adultery, winced at the murders, and grieved at the dishonesty. But David’s failures didn’t change Jesus’ relation to David. The initial verse of the first chapter of the first gospel calls Christ “the son of David” (Matthew 1:1 KJV). The title contains no disclaimers, explanations, or asterisks. I’d have added a footnote: “This connection in no way offers tacit approval to David’s behavior.” No such words appear. David blew it. Jesus knew it. But he claimed David anyway.

He did for David what my father did for my brother and me.

Back in our elementary school days, my brother received a BB gun for Christmas. We immediately set up a firing range in the backyard and spent the afternoon shooting at an archery target. Growing bored with the ease of hitting the circle, my brother sent me to fetch a hand mirror. He placed the gun backward on his shoulder, spotted the archery bull’s-eye in the mirror, and did his best Buffalo Bill imitation. But he missed the target. He also missed the storehouse behind the target and the fence behind the storehouse. We had no idea where the BB pellet flew. Our neighbor across the alley knew, however. He soon appeared at the back fence, asking who had shot the BB gun and who was going to pay for his sliding-glass door.

At this point I disowned my brother. My father was more noble than I. Hearing the noise, he appeared in the backyard, freshly rousted from his Christmas Day nap, and talked with the neighbor.

Among his words were these:

Yes, they are my children.”

Yes, I’ll pay for their mistakes.

Christ says the same about you. He knows you miss the target. He knows you can’t pay for your mistakes. But he can.

God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins” (Romans 3:25 NLT).

Since he was sinless, he could.

Since he loves you, he did.

This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10 NLT).

He became one of us to redeem all of us.

Jesus, who makes people holy, and those who are made holy are from the same family. So he is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters” (Hebrews 2:11 NCV).

He wasn’t ashamed of David. He isn’t ashamed of you. He calls you brother; he calls you sister. The question is, do you call him Savior?

By Max Lucado
From:Facing Your Giants
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“The LORD hates what evil people do, but he loves those who do what is right.” Proverbs 15:9 (NCV)

Perhaps the wound is old. A parent abused you. A teacher slighted you. A mate betrayed you…. And you are angry.

Or perhaps the wound is fresh. The friend who owes you money just drove by in a new car. The boss who hired you with promises of promotions has forgotten how to pronounce your name…. And you are hurt.

Part of you is broken, and the other part is bitter. Part of you wants to cry, and part of you wants to fight…. There is a fire burning in your heart. It’s the fire of anger….

And you are left with a decision.

Do I put the fire out or heat it up? Do I get over it or get even? Do I release it or resent it? Do I let my hurts heal, or do I let hurt turn into hate?“….

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

By Max Lucado
From: The Applause of Heaven
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“I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens.” Philippians 4:11 (NCV)

Test this question: What if God’s only gift to you were his grace to save you. Would you be content? You beg him to save the life of your child. You plead with him to keep your business afloat. You implore him to remove the cancer from your body. What if his answer is, “My grace is enough.” Would you be content?

You see, from heaven’s perspective, grace is enough. If God did nothing more than save us from hell, could anyone complain?… Having been given eternal life, dare we grumble at an aching body? Having been given heavenly riches, dare we bemoan earthly poverty?…

If you have eyes to read these words, hands to hold this book, the means to own this volume, he has already given you grace upon grace.

By Max Lucado

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From: In the Grip of Grace

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The secret to loving is living loved. It’s the forgotten first step in relationships. Remember Paul’s prayer? “May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love” (Ephesians 3:17 NLT).

Many people tell us to love. Only God gives us the power to do so. We know what God wants us to do. “This is what God commands. . .that we love each other.”  (1 John 3:23). But how can we? How can we be kind to those who are unkind to us? How can we love as God loves? By being loved. By following the principle: receive first and love second. God loves you personally…powerfully…passionately! He loves you with an unfailing love. Others have promised and failed. But God has promised and succeeded!

By Max Lucado
Used by Permission
From: A Love Worth Giving

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The bandit of joy is Fear

Fear of death, fear of failure, fear of God, and fear of tomorrow.  His arsenal is vast.  His goal?  To create cowardly, joyless souls.

We try unsuccessfully to face our fears with power, possessions, or popularity.  Only inward character creates courage.  And it is those inward convictions Jesus is building in the Beatitudes.  The result of this process is courage—“they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).  No longer shall the earth and its fears dominate us, for we follow the one who dominates the earth.

If you are in Christ, you are guaranteed that your sins will be filtered through, hidden in, and screened out by the sacrifice of Jesus.  That means failure is not a concern for you. Your victory is secure.  How could you not be courageous?

By Max Lucado
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“Look at the birds in the air. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them.” Matthew 6:26 (NCV)

Consider the earth! Our globes weight has been estimated at six sextillion tons (a six with twenty-one zeroes). Yet it is precisely tilted at twenty-three degrees; any more or any less and our seasons would be lost in a melted polar flood. Though our globe revolves at the rate of one-thousand miles per hour or twenty-five thousand miles per day or nine million miles per year, none of us tumbles into orbit….

As you stand … observing God’s workshop, let me pose a few questions. If he is able to place the stars in their sockets and suspend the sky like a curtain, do you think it is remotely possible that God is able to guide your life?  If your God is mighty enough to ignite the sun, could it be that he is mighty enough to light your path?  If he cares enough about the planet Saturn to give it rings or Venus to make it sparkle, is there an outside chance that he cares enough about you to meet your needs?

By Max Lucado

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Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Matthew 5:7)

Jesus says the merciful are shown mercy.  Forgiving others allows us to see how God has forgiven us.  The dynamic of giving grace is the key to understanding grace.  For it is when we forgive others, that we begin to feel what God feels.

Those who taste God’s grace but refuse to share it are tortured by anger; choked by bitterness; and consumed by revenge.  But for the one who tastes God’s grace and gives it to others, the reward is a blessed liberation. The prison door is thrown open.  And the prisoner set free is yourself.  Find the face of God who forgave you in the face of your enemy. Then set your enemy and yourself free.

By Max Lucado
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thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men