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

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When you believe in Christ, Christ works a miracle in you.

You are permanently purified and empowered by God himself. The message of Jesus to the religious person is simple: It’s not what you do. It’s what I do. I have moved in. And in time you can say with Paul,

I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  Galatians 2:20

If I’m born again, why do I fall so often?

Why did you fall so often after your first birth? Did you exit the womb wearing cross-trainers? Did you do the two-step on the day of your delivery? Of course not. And when you started to walk, you fell more than you stood. Should we expect anything different from our spiritual walk?

But I fall so often, I question my salvation. Again, we return to your first birth. Didn’t you stumble as you were learning to walk? And when you stumbled, did you question the validity of your physical birth? Did you, as a one-year-old fresh flopped on the floor, shake your head and think, I have fallen again. I must not be human?

Of course not. The stumbles of a toddler do not invalidate the act of birth. And the stumbles of a Christian do not annul his spiritual birth.

Do you understand what God has done? He has deposited a Christ seed in you. As it grows, you will change. It’s not that sin has no more presence in your life, but rather that sin has no more power over your life. Temptation will pester you, but temptation will not master you. What hope this brings!

Hear this. It’s not up to you!

Within you abides a budding power. Trust him!

Think of it this way. Suppose you, for most of your life, have had a heart condition. Your frail pumper restricts your activities. Each morning at work when the healthy employees take the stairs, you wait for the elevator.

But then comes the transplant. A healthy heart is placed within you. After recovery, you return to work and encounter the flight of stairs -the same flight of stairs you earlier avoided. By habit, you start for the elevator. But then you remember. You aren’t the same person. You have a new heart. Within you dwells a new power.

Do you live like the old person or the new? Do you count yourself as having a new heart or old? You have a choice to make.

You might say, “I can’t climb stairs; I’m too weak.” Does your choice negate the presence of a new heart? Dismiss the work of the surgeon? No. Choosing the elevator would suggest only one fact -you haven’t learned to trust your new power.

It takes time. But at some point you’ve got to try those stairs. You’ve got to test the new ticker. You’ve got to experiment with the new you. For if you don’t, you will run out of steam.

Religious rule keeping can sap your strength. It’s endless. There is always another class to attend, Sabbath to obey, Ramadan to observe. No prison is as endless as the prison of perfection. Her inmates find work but never find peace. How could they? They never know when they are finished.

Christ, however, gifts you with a finished work. He fulfilled the law for you. Bid farewell to the burden of religion. Gone is the fear that having done everything, you might not have done enough. You climb the stairs, not by your strength, but his. God pledges to help those who stop trying to help themselves.

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 1:6.) God will change you from the inside out.

By Max Lucado
Used by permission
To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at: http://maxlucado.com/about/

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•  God You’ve Been Working
•  My Lord, My Companion

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The power of a godly touch!

Have you known it?

The doctor who treated you, the teacher who dried your tears? Was there a hand holding yours at a funeral? A handshake of welcome at a new job? A pastoral prayer for healing? Can’t we offer the same?

Many already do! You use your hands to pray over the sick. If you aren’t touching them personally, your hands are sending notes, making calls, baking pies. You’ve learned the power of touch. But others of us tend to forget. Our hearts are good; it’s just that our memories are bad. We fear saying the wrong thing, acting the wrong way. So rather than do it incorrectly, we no nothing at all.

Aren’t we glad Jesus didn’t make the same mistake? Jesus touched the untouchables of the world.

Will you do the same?

By Max Lucado
Used by permission
From: Just Like Jesus

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For He Will Command his Angels…
A Calm Voice Spoke to Me

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“Nothing above us, nothing below us, nor anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:39 (NCV)

No matter what you do,
no matter how far you fall,
no matter how ugly you become,
God has a relentless, undying, unfathomable,
unquenchable love from which you cannot
be separated. Ever!

By Max Lucado
Used by permission

From: Everyday Blessings
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•  Jesus is Always There!
•  God WILL take care of you

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When my daughters were single-digit ages—two, five, and seven—I wowed them with a miracle. I told them the story of Moses and the manna and invited them to follow me on a wilderness trek through the house.

Who knows,” I suggested, “manna may fall from the sky again.

We dressed in sheets and sandals and did our best Bedouin hike through the bedrooms. The girls, on my instruction, complained to me, Moses, of hunger and demanded I take them back to Egypt, or at least to the kitchen. When we entered the den, I urged them to play up their parts: groan, moan, and beg for food.

Look up,” I urged. “Manna might fall any minute.”

Two-year-old Sara obliged with no questions, but Jenna and Andrea had their doubts. How can manna fall from a ceiling?

Just like the Hebrews. “How can God feed us in the wilderness?”

Just like you? You look at tomorrow’s demands, next week’s bills, next month’s silent calendar. Your future looks as barren as the Sinai Desert. “How can I face my future?” God tells you what I told my daughters: “Look up.”

When my daughters did, manna fell! Well, not manna, but vanilla wafers dropped from the ceiling and landed on the carpet. Sara squealed with delight and started munching. Jenna and Andrea were old enough to request an explanation.

My answer was simple. I knew the itinerary. I knew we would enter this room. Vanilla wafers fit safely on the topside of the ceiling-fan blades. I had placed them there in advance. When they groaned and moaned, I turned on the switch.

God’s answer to the Hebrews was similar. Did he know their itinerary? Did he know they would grow hungry? Yes and yes. And at the right time, he tilted the manna basket toward earth.

And what about you? God knows what you need and where you’ll be. Any chance he has some vanilla wafers on tomorrow’s ceiling fans? Trust him.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matthew 6:33-34).

Max Lucado
used by permission
From: Great Day Every Day

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• Hope for the Hopeless
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Jesus said,

Father, if you are willing, take away this cup of suffering” (Luke 22:42).

Jesus could have confided in his disciples, he could have assembled a prayer meeting, but when he faced fear he went first to his Father. Oh, how we tend to go everywhere else. First to the bar, to the counselor, to the self-help book, or to the friend next door. Not Jesus — the first one to hear his fear was his Father in heaven.

A millennium earlier David was urging the fear-filled to do the same:

I will fear no evil” (Psalm 23:4).

How could David make such a claim? Because he knew where to look. Rather than turn to the other sheep, David turned to the Shepherd. Rather than stare at the problems, he stared at the rod and staff. Because he knew where to look David was able to say, “I will fear no evil.

By Max Lucado
Used by permission
From:  Begin Again
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Four Grizzly Bears – What are the Grizzly Bears (fears) in your life?
Fear, Faith and Migraines – Renewing your mind can help renew your body

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How did Jesus endure the terror of the crucifixion?

He went first to the Father with his fears. He modelled the words of Psalm 56:3:

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.

Do the same with yours. And be honest; do what Jesus did. Open your heart. And be specific; Jesus was. “Take this cup,” he prayed. Share the details.

God has plenty of time, he has plenty of compassion, he doesn’t think your fears are foolish or silly.

He knows how you feel, and he knows what you need.

In the case of Christ God did not take away the cross, but he took away the fear. 

Who’s to say he won’t take away your fear?

Please, don’t measure the size of the mountain; talk to the One who can move it. Hope is just a look away. Now, what were you looking at?

By Max Lucado
From:  Begin Again
Used by permission

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•  More than a Father
•  There is Nothing Beyond Your Reach – by Mark Doyle

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We ask God,

“Where are you taking me? Where is the path?”

And he doesn’t tell us. Oh, he may give us a hint or two, but that’s all. If he did, would we understand? Would we comprehend our location? No, we’re unacquainted with this jungle. So rather than give us an answer, Jesus gives us a far greater gift. He gives us himself.

Does he remove the jungle? No, the vegetation is still thick. Does he purge the predators? No, danger still lurks. Jesus doesn’t give hope by changing the jungle; he restores our hope by giving us himself. And he has promised to stay until the very end.

“I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

We need that reminder. We all need that reminder, for all of us need hope

By Max Lucado
From: Begin Again
Used by permission

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•  Jesus is Always There!
•  God WILL take care of you

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“Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”

When John Newton penned this promise, he did so out of personal experience. His greatest test came the day he buried his wife, Mary.  He’d loved her dearly and prayed his death would precede hers.  But his prayer was not answered.

On the day Mary Newton died, John Newton found strength to preach a Sunday sermon. The next day he visited church members, and later he officiated at his wife’s funeral.  He grieved but in his grief he found God’s provision.  He later wrote, “The Bank of England is too poor to compensate for such a loss as mine.  But the Lord, the all-sufficient God speaks, and it is done.  Let those who know Him, and trust Him, be of good courage.”

My friend, disease, calamity, and trouble populate your world.  But they don’t control it!  Grace does.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

By Max Lucado
From: GRACE
Used by permission

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When I say… “I am a Christian
Fully Surrender to the Lord

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“If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us”. 1 John 4:12 (NIV)

God loves you. Personally. Powerfully. Passionately.

Others have promised and failed. But God has promised and succeeded.

He loves you with an unfailing love. And His love–if you will let it–can fill you and leave you with a love worth giving.

by Max Lucado
Used by permission
From: Everyday Blessings

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•  God is my Delight
•  What a Friend we have in Jesus

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“This is the victory that conquers the world, Our faith.”  1 John 5:4 (NCV)

What is unique about the kingdom of God is that you are assured of victory. You have won!  You are assured that you will someday stand before the face of God and see the King of kings.  You are assured that someday you will enter a world where there will be no more pain, no more tears, no more sorrow.

If you have no faith in the future, then you have no power in the present.  If you have no faith in the life beyond this life, then your present life is going to be powerless.  But if you believe in the future and are assured of victory, then there should be a dance in your step and a smile on your face.

By Max Lucado
Used by permission

From: The Inspirational Study Bible

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Count your blessings!

Focus more on what you have and less on what you don’t!

The apostle Paul modeled gratitude. He said,

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. . .I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. . . I can do all things through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV).

The circumstances of Paul’s life in jail were miserable. Yet with shackles dangling from his wrists, he announced, “I have learned the secret of being content.” He doesn’t say, I have learned the principle or I have learned the concept. He says, “I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need” (v.12 HCSB). Paul focused on eternal life, the love of God, and the forgiveness of sins. What he had in Christ was far greater than what he didn’t have in life!

Count your blessings and focus more on what you have and less on what you don’t!

By Max Lucado
From: Anxious for Nothing
Used by permission

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“His name will be…Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (NCV)

Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious One in a human womb.

The Omnipotent, in one instant, made Himself breakable.  He who had been Spirit became pierceable.  He who was larger than the universe became an embryo.  And He who sustains the world with a word chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl.

God had come near.

By Max Lucado
From: Everyday Blessings
Used by permission

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In Matthew 1:23 God called himself Immanuel, which means God with us. Not just God made us, not just God thinks about us, not just God above us. But God with us. God where we are. He breathed our air and walked this earth. God…with…us.

Bethlehem was just the beginning. Jesus has promised a repeat performance. Bethlehem, Act 2. No silent night this time, however. The skies will open, trumpets will blast, and a new kingdom will begin. He will empty the tombs and melt the winter of death. Death, you die! Life, you reign! The manger dares us to believe the best is yet to be. I love Christmas because it reminds us how “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God!”

By Max Lucado
Used by permission

From: Because of Bethlehem

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God is Thinking about You
God’s Mysterious Ways

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Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

Worry is falling short on faith.  Impatience is falling short on kindness.  The critical spirit falls short on love.

So, how often do you sin, hmm… in an hour?  For the sake of discussion, let’s say ten times an hour.  Ten sins an hour, times sixteen waking hours, times 365 days a year, times the average life span of 74 years.  I’m rounding the total off to 4,300,000 sins per person!  How do you plan to pay God for your 4.3 million sin increments?  You’re swimming in an ocean of debt.

But God pardons the zillion sins of selfish humanity.  He forgives sixty million sin-filled days.  He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where He always wanted us to be.  And He did it by the grace of Jesus Christ.

By Max Lucado
Used by Permission

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“People insulted Christ, but He did not insult them in return. Christ suffered, but He did not threaten.” 1 Peter 2:23

Someone you love or respect slams you to the floor with a slur or slip of the tongue.  And there you lie, wounded and bleeding.  Perhaps the words were intended to hurt you, perhaps not; but that doesn’t matter.  The wound is deep.  The injuries are internal. Broken heart, wounded pride, bruised feelings.

If you have suffered or are suffering because of someone else’s words, you’ll be glad to know that there is a balm for this laceration.  Meditate on these words from 1 Peter 2:23:  “People insulted Christ, but He did not insult them in return … He let God, the One who judges rightly, take care of Him.”

Did you see what Jesus did?  …. He left the judging to God. He did not take on the task of seeking revenge.  He demanded no apology … He to the astounding contrary, spoke on their defense.

Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

By Max Lucado
Used by permission

From: No Wonder They Call Him the Savior

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