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

by Max Lucado

He had turned his back on the sea to follow the Messiah. He had left the boats thinking he’d never return. But now he’s back. Full circle. Same sea. Same boat. Maybe even the same spot.

But this isn’t the same Peter. Three years of living with the Messiah have changed him. He’s seen too much. Too many walking crippled, vacated graves, too many hours hearing his words. He’s not the same Peter. It’s the same Galilee, but a different fisherman.

Why did he return? What brought him back to Galilee after the crucifixion? Despair? Some think so—I don’t. Hope dies hard for a man who has known Jesus. I think that’s what Peter has. That’s what brought him back. Hope. A bizarre hope that on the sea where he knew him first, he would know him again.

So Peter is in the boat, on the lake. Once again he’s fished all night. Once again the sea has surrendered nothing.

His thoughts are interrupted by a shout from the shore. “Catch any fish?” Peter and John look up. Probably a villager. “No!” they yell. “Try the other side!” the voice yells back. John looks at Peter. What harm? So out sails the net. Peter wraps the rope around his wrist to wait.

But there is no wait. The rope pulls taut and the net catches. Peter sets his weight against the side of the boat and begins to bring in the net; reaching down, pulling up, reaching down, pulling up. He’s so intense with the task, he misses the message.

John doesn’t. The moment is déjà vu. This has happened before. The long night. The empty net. The call to cast again. Fish flapping on the floor of the boat. Wait a minute. He lifts his eyes to the man on the shore. “It’s him,” he whispers.

Then louder, “It’s Jesus.

Then shouting, “It’s the Lord, Peter. It’s the Lord!”

Peter turns and looks. Jesus has come. Not just Jesus the teacher, but Jesus the death-defeater, Jesus the king … Jesus the victor over darkness. Jesus the God of heaven and earth is on the shore … and he’s building a fire.

Peter plunges into the water, swims to the shore, and stumbles out wet and shivering and stands in front of the friend he betrayed. Jesus has prepared a bed of coals. Both are aware of the last time Peter had stood near a fire. Peter had failed God, but God had come to him.

For one of the few times in his life, Peter is silent. What words would suffice? The moment is too holy for words. God is offering breakfast to the friend who betrayed him. And Peter is once again finding grace at Galilee.

What do you say at a moment like this?

What do you say at a moment such as this?

It’s just you and God. You and God both know what you did. And neither one of you is proud of it. What do you do?

You might consider doing what Peter did. Stand in God’s presence. Stand in his sight. Stand still and wait. Sometimes that’s all a soul can do. Too repentant to speak, but too hopeful to leave—we just stand.

Stand amazed.

He has come back.

He invites you to try again. This time, with him.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/06/30/ml_galilean-grace-part-3/

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Max Lucado
From: He Still Moves Stones: Everyone Needs a Miracle
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999)

To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado

This wasn’t the first night that Peter had spent on the Sea of Galilee. After all, he was a fisherman. He, like the others, worked at night. He knew the fish would feed near the surface during the cool of the night and return to the deep during the day. No, this wasn’t the first night Peter had spent on the Sea of Galilee. Nor was it the first night he had caught nothing.

There was that time years before …

Most mornings Peter and his partners would sell their fish, repair their nets, and head home to rest with a bag of money and a feeling of satisfaction. This particular morning there was no money. There was no satisfaction. They had worked all through the night but had nothing to show for it except weary backs and worn nets.

And, what’s worse, everyone knew it. Every morning the shore would become a market as the villagers came to buy their fish, but that day there were no fish.

Jesus was there that morning, teaching. As the people pressed there was little room for him to stand, so he asked Peter if his boat could be a platform. Peter agreed, maybe thinking the boat might as well be put to some good use.

Peter listens as Jesus teaches. It’s good to hear something other than the slapping of waves. When Jesus finishes with the crowd, he turns to Peter. He has another request. He wants to go fishing. “Take the boat into deep water, and put your nets in the water to catch some fish” (Luke 5:4).

Peter groans. The last thing he wants to do is fish. The boat is clean. The nets are ready to dry. The sun is up and he is tired. It’s time to go home. Besides, everyone is watching. They’ve already seen him come back empty-handed once. And, what’s more, what does Jesus know about fishing?

So Peter speaks, “Master, we worked hard all night trying to catch fish” (v. 5).

Mark the weariness in the words.

“We worked hard.” Scraping the hull. Carrying the nets. Pulling the oars. Throwing the nets high into the moonlit sky. Listening as they slap on the surface of the water.

All night.” The sky had gone from burnt orange to midnight black to morning gold. The hours had passed as slowly as the fleets of clouds before the moon. The fishermen’s conversation had stilled and their shoulders ached. While the village slept, the men worked. All … night … long.

Trying to catch fish.” The night’s events had been rhythmic: net swung and tossed high till it spread itself against the sky. Then wait. Let it sink. Pull it in. Do it again. Throw. Pull. Throw. Pull. Throw. Pull. Every toss had been a prayer. But every drag of the empty net had come back unanswered. Even the net sighed as the men pulled it out and prepared to throw it again.

For twelve hours they’d fished. And now … now Jesus is wanting to fish some more? And not just off the shore, but in the deep?

Peter sees his friends shrug their shoulders. He looks at the people on the beach watching him. He doesn’t know what to do. Jesus may know a lot about a lot, but Peter knows about fishing. Peter knows when to work and when to quit. He knows there is a time to go on and a time to get out.

Common sense said it was time to get out. Logic said cut your losses and go home. Experience said pack it up and get some rest. But Jesus said, “We can try again if you want.”

The most difficult journey is back to the place where you failed.

Jesus knows that. That’s why he volunteers to go along. “The first outing was solo; this time I’ll be with you. Try it again, this time with me on board.”

And Peter reluctantly agrees to try again. “But you say to put the nets in the water, so I will” (Luke 5:5). It didn’t make any sense, but he’d been around this Nazarene enough to know that his presence made a difference. That wedding in Cana? That sick child of the royal ruler? It’s as if Jesus carried his own deck to the table.

So the oars dip again and the boat goes out. The anchor is set and the nets fly once more.

Peter watches as the net sinks, and he waits. He waits until the net spreads as far as his rope allows. The fishermen are quiet. Peter is quiet. Jesus is quiet. Suddenly the rope yanks. The net, heavy with fish, almost pulls Peter overboard.

John, James!” he yells. “Come quick!

Soon the boats are so full of fish that the port side rim dips close to the surface. Peter, ankle deep in flopping silver, turns to look at Jesus, only to find that Jesus is looking at him.

That’s when he realizes who Jesus is.

What an odd place to meet God—on a fishing boat on a small sea in a remote country! But such is the practice of the God who comes into our world. Such is the encounter experienced by those who are willing to try again … with him.

Peter’s life was never again the same after that catch.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/06/23/ml_let-god-down-2/

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Max Lucado
From: He Still Moves Stones: Everyone Needs a Miracle
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999)

To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado

Brook Besor. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of the place. Most haven’t, but more need to. The Brook Besor narrative deserves shelf space in the library of the worn-out. It speaks tender words to the tired heart.

The story emerges from the ruins of Ziklag. David and his six hundred soldiers return from the Philistine war front to find utter devastation. A raiding band of Amalekites had swept down on the village, looted it, and taken the women and children hostage. The sorrow of the men mutates into anger, not against the Amalekites, but against David. After all, hadn’t he led them into battle? Hadn’t he left the women and children unprotected? Isn’t he to blame? Then he needs to die. So they start grabbing stones.

This could be his worst hour.

But he makes it one of his best.

David redirects the men’s anger toward the enemy. They set out in pursuit of the Amalekites. Keep the men’s weariness in mind. They still bear the trail dust of a long campaign and haven’t entirely extinguished their anger at David. They don’t know the Amalekites’ hideout, and, if not for the sake of their loved ones, they might give up.

Indeed, two hundred do. The army reaches a brook called Besor, and they dismount. Soldiers wade in the creek and splash water on their faces, sink tired toes in cool mud, and stretch out on the grass. Hearing the command to move on, two hundred choose to rest. “You go on without us,” they say.

How tired does a person have to be to abandon the hunt for his own family?

The church has its quorum of such folks. Good people. Godly people. Only hours or years ago they marched with deep resolve. But now fatigue consumes them. They’re exhausted. So beat-up and worn down that they can’t summon the strength to save their own flesh and blood. Old age has sucked their oxygen. Or maybe it was a deflating string of defeats. Divorce can leave you at the brook. Addiction can as well. Whatever the reason, the church has its share of people who just sit and rest.

And the church must decide. What do we do with the Brook Besor people? Berate them? Shame them? Give them a rest but measure the minutes? Or do we do what David did? David let them stay.

He and the remaining four hundred fighters resume the chase.

David and his men swoop down upon the enemy like hawks on rats. Every Israelite woman and child is rescued. Every Amalekite either bites the dust or hits the trail, leaving precious plunder behind. David goes from scapegoat to hero, and the whooping and hollering begin.

And what about the two hundred men who had rested?

You might feel the way some of David’s men felt: “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except for every man’s wife and children” (1 Samuel 30:22).

A Molotov cocktail of emotions is stirred, lit, and handed to David. Here’s how he defuses it: “Don’t do that after what the Lord has given us. He has protected us and given us the enemy who attacked us. Who will listen to what you say? The share will be the same for the one who stayed with the supplies as for the one who went into battle. All will share alike.” (30:23–24 NCV)

Note David’s words: they “stayed with the supplies,” as if this had been their job. They hadn’t asked to guard supplies; they wanted to rest. But David dignifies their decision to stay.

David did many mighty deeds in his life. He did many foolish deeds in his life. But perhaps the noblest was this rarely discussed deed: he honored the tired soldiers at Brook Besor.

Someday somebody will read what David did and name their church the Congregation at Brook Besor. Isn’t that what the church is intended to be? A place for soldiers to recover their strength?

If you are listed among them, here is what you need to know: it’s okay to rest. Jesus is your David. He fights when you cannot. He goes where you cannot. He’s not angry if you sit. Did he not invite, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest” (Mark 6:31 MSG)?

Brook Besor blesses rest.

Brook Besor also cautions against arrogance. David knew the victory was a gift. Let’s remember the same. Salvation comes like the Egyptian in the desert, a delightful surprise on the path. Unearned. Undeserved. Who are the strong to criticize the tired?

Are you weary? Catch your breath. We need your strength.

Are you strong? Reserve passing judgment on the tired. Odds are, you’ll need to plop down yourself. And when you do, Brook Besor is a good story to know.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/05/30/ml_tender-words/
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Max Lucado
From: Facing Your Giants
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2006)

To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

By Max Lucado

His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us.”  Ephesians 1:3, (TLB)

And you thought God adopted you because you were good-looking. You thought he needed your money or your wisdom. Sorry. God adopted you simply because he wanted to. You were in his good will and pleasure. Knowing full well the trouble you would be and the price he would pay, he signed his name next to yours and changed your name to his and took you home. Your Abba adopted you and became your Father.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/05/23/ml_adopted-you/

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Max Lucado
From: Every Day Blessings (devotional)

To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/

Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado

I didn’t like the preacher I sat by on the plane. I know, I know. You’re supposed to like everyone, but this fellow …The plane was crowded. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was tired from Sunday-morning services. I was speaking that evening in Atlanta and had planned on taking a nap on the flight.

But this fellow had other ideas. Though he had been assigned another seat, he took the one next to me since it was closer to the front. And when he took it, he took every inch of it—and then some. Knowing I couldn’t sleep, I figured I’d review my thoughts for the evening lesson, so I opened my Bible.

What ya’ studying there, buddy?”

I told him, but he never heard.

The church is lost,” he declared. “Hell bound and heartsick.”

Turns out he is an evangelist. He speaks in a different church every weekend. “I wake ’em up,” he growled. “Christians are asleep. They don’t pray. They don’t love. They don’t care.

With that pronouncement, he took on his preaching tone and cadence and started listing all the woes and weaknesses of the church, “Too lazy-uh, too rich-uh, too spoiled-uh, too fat-uh …”

The folks around were beginning to listen, and my face was beginning to redden. I shouldn’t have let it bug me, but it did. I’m one of those fellows who never knows what to say at the time but then spends the next week thinking, I wish I’d thought to say that.

Well, I’ve spent the last few days thinking about it, and here is what I wish I’d said to the bad news preacher: God’s faithfulness has never depended on the faithfulness of his children. He is faithful even when we aren’t. When we lack courage, he doesn’t. He has made a history out of using people in spite of people.

Need an example? The feeding of the five thousand.

One would be hard pressed to find much faith on the hill that day.

Philip was cynical.

Andrew was doubtful.

The other disciples were negative.

The preacher I met on the flight would’ve felt right at home with these guys. Look at them: They aren’t praying, they aren’t believing, they aren’t even seeking a solution. If they are doing anything, they are telling Christ what to do! “Send the people away” (Mark 6:36). A bit bossy, don’t you think?

Looks like the disciples are “hell bound and heartsick.” Looks like they are “too lazy-uh, too rich-uh, too spoiled-uh, too fat-uh.” Let me be clear. I agree with the preacher that the church is weak. When he bemoans the condition of the saints, I could sing the second verse. When he laments the health of many churches, I don’t argue.

But when he proclaims that we are going to hell in a hand basket, I do! I simply think God is greater than our weakness. In fact, I think it is our weakness that reveals how great God is. The feeding of the five thousand is an ideal example. The scene answers the question, What does God do when his children are weak?

When the disciples didn’t pray, Jesus prayed. When the disciples didn’t see God, Jesus sought God. When the disciples were weak, Jesus was strong. When the disciples had no faith, Jesus had faith. He thanked God.

Look what he does next. “Jesus divided the bread and gave it to his followers, who gave it to the people” (Matthew 14:19).

Rather than punish the disciples, he employs them. There they go, passing out the bread they didn’t request, enjoying the answer to the prayer they didn’t even pray. If Jesus would have acted according to the faith of his disciples, the multitudes would have gone unfed. But he didn’t, and he doesn’t. God is true to us even when we forget him.

Why is that important to know? So you won’t get cynical. Look around you. Aren’t there more mouths than bread? Aren’t there more wounds than physicians? Aren’t there more who need the truth than those who tell it? Aren’t there more churches asleep than churches afire?

So what do we do? Throw up our hands and walk away? Tell the world we can’t help them? That’s what the disciples wanted to do. Should we just give up on the church? That seemed to be the approach of the preacher I met on the plane.

No, we don’t give up. We look up. We trust. We believe. And our optimism is not hollow. Christ has proven worthy. He has shown that he never fails, though there is nothing but failure in us.

I’ll probably never see that proclaimer of pessimism again, but maybe you will. If you do, will you give him a message for me?

God is faithful even when his children are not.

That’s what makes God, God.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/05/22/ml_bad-news-preacher/

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Max Lucado
From: A Gentle Thunder
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1995)

To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado

We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NCV)

Capturing thoughts is serious business. It was for Jesus. Remember the thoughts that came his way courtesy of the mouth of Peter? Jesus had just prophesied his death, burial, and resurrection, but Peter couldn’t bear the thought of it. “Peter took Jesus aside and told him not to talk like that….Jesus said to Peter, ‘Go away from me, Satan! You are not helping me! You don’t care about the things of God, but only about the things people think are important‘” (Matthew 16:22-23).

See the decisiveness of Jesus? A trashy thought comes his way. He is tempted to entertain it. A cross-less life would be nice. But what does he do? He stands at the gangplank of the dock and says, “Get away from me.” As if to say, “You are not allowed to enter my mind.”

What if you did that? What if you took every thought captive?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/05/15/ml_captured-thoughts/

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Max Lucado
From: A Love Worth Giving
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2002)

To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/

Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado

God is the strength of my heart.”  Psalm 73:26, NKJV

God is for you. Turn to the sidelines; that’s God cheering your run. Look past the finish line; that’s God applauding your steps. Listen for Him in the bleachers, shouting your name.

Too tired to continue? He’ll carry you. Too discouraged to fight? He’s picking you up. God is for you.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/05/12/ml_for-you
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Max Lucado

To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/

Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado

The Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience.”  Galatians 5:22

Have you asked God to give you some fruit? Well I did once, but . . . But what?

Did you, ahem, grow impatient? Ask him again and again. He won’t grow impatient with your pleading, and you will receive patience in your praying.

And while you’re praying, ask for understanding. “Patient people have great understanding(Proverbs 14:29). Could it be your impatience stems from a lack of understanding? Mine has.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/04/30/ml_ask-for-fruit/

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Max Lucado
From: Everyday Blessings

To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

By Max Lucado

Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” 1 Peter 3:18 (NIV )

The path of righteousness is a narrow, winding trail up a steep hill. At the top of the hill is a cross.

At the base of the cross are bags. Countless bags full of innumerable sins. Calvary is the compost of guilt. Would you like to leave yours there as well?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/04/26/ml_at-the-cross/

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Max Lucado
From: Grace for the Moment

To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/

Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado

“Then Jesus cried in a loud voice and died.”  The curtain in the Temple was torn into two pieces, from the top to the bottom.” Mark 15:37-38

It’s as if the hands of heaven had been gripping the veil, waiting for this moment. Keep in mind the size of the curtain  sixty feet tall and thirty feet wide. One instant it was whole,
the next it was ripped in two from top to bottom. No delay. No hesitation.

What did the torn curtain mean?  For the Jews it meant no more barrier between them and the Holy of Holies. No more priests to go between them and God.  No more animal sacrifices to atone for their sins.

And for us? What did the torn curtain signify for us?

We are welcome to enter into God’s presence any day, any time. God has removed the barrier that separates us from him. The barrier of sin? Down. He has removed the curtain.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/04/03/ml_enter-his-presence/

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Max Lucado
From: He Chose the Nails
To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/

Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado

The cross. Can you turn any direction without seeing one? Perched atop a chapel. Carved into a graveyard headstone. Engraved in a ring or suspended on a chain. The cross is the universal symbol of Christianity. An odd choice, don’t you think? Strange that a tool of torture would come to embody a movement of hope. The symbols of other faiths are more upbeat: the six-pointed star of David, the crescent moon of Islam, a lotus blossom for Buddhism. Yet a cross for Christianity? An instrument of execution?

Would you wear a tiny electric chair around your neck? Suspend a gold-plated hangman’s noose on the wall? Would you print a picture of a firing squad on a business card? Yet we do so with the cross. Many even make the sign of the cross as they pray. Would we make the sign of, say, a guillotine? Instead of the triangular touch on the forehead and shoulders, how about a karate chop on the palm? Doesn’t quite have the same feel, does it?

Why is the cross the symbol of our faith? To find the answer look no farther than the cross itself. Its design couldn’t be simpler. One beam horizontal – the other vertical. One reaches “out” like God’s love. The other reaches “up” as does God’s holiness. One represents the width of his love; the other reflects the height of his holiness. The cross is the intersection. The cross is where God forgave his children without lowering his standards.

How could he do this? In a sentence: God put our sin on his Son and punished it there.

God put on him the wrong who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (MSG).

Have you come to the place in your spiritual journey where you realize that Jesus Christ died for your sins (all acts of active rebellion and passive indifference)? Would you like to be free inwardly from all of your sin and guilt? Would you like to have Jesus Christ, your Creator, direct your life from now on?  If your answer is “yes” pray the following prayer and your sins will be forgiven, your guilt will be removed and you will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

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 and receive You as Savior ad Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Amen.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/04/02/ml_the-cross/

To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

He placed one scoop of clay upon another until a form lay lifeless on the ground.

All of the Garden’s inhabitants paused to witness the event. Hawks hovered. Giraffes stretched. Trees bowed. Butterflies paused on petals and watched.
You will love me, nature,” God said. “I made you that way. You will obey me, universe. For you were designed to do so. You will reflect my glory, skies, for that is how you were created. But this one will be like me. This one will be able to choose.

All were silent as the Creator reached into himself and removed something yet unseen. A seed. “It’s called ‘choice.The seed of choice.”
Creation stood in silence and gazed upon the lifeless form.
An angel spoke, “But what if he ... ”
“What if he chooses not to love?” the Creator finished. “Come, I will show you.”
Unbound by today, God and the angel walked into the realm of tomorrow.
“There, see the fruit of the seed of choice, both the sweet and the bitter.”

The angel gasped at what he saw. Spontaneous love. Voluntary devotion. Chosen tenderness. Never had he seen anything like these. He felt the love of the Adams. He heard the joy of Eve and her daughters. He saw the food and the burdens shared. He absorbed the kindness and marveled at the warmth.
Heaven has never seen such beauty, my Lord. Truly, this is your greatest creation.”
“Ah, but you’ve only seen the sweet. Now witness the bitter.

A stench enveloped the pair. The angel turned in horror and proclaimed, “What is it?”

The Creator spoke only one word: “Selfishness.”
The angel stood speechless as they passed through centuries of repugnance. Never had he seen such filth. Rotten hearts. Ruptured promises. Forgotten loyalties. Children of the creation wandering blindly in lonely labyrinths.
This is the result of choice?” the angel asked.
Yes.”
They will forget you?”
“Yes.”
They will reject you?”
Yes.”
They will never come back?
Some will. Most won’t.”
What will it take to make them listen?”

The Creator walked on in time, further and further into the future, until he stood by a tree. A tree that would be fashioned into a cradle. Even then he could smell the hay that would surround him.

With another step into the future, he paused before another tree. It stood alone, a stubborn ruler of a bald hill. The trunk was thick, and the wood was strong. Soon it would be cut. Soon it would be trimmed. Soon it would be mounted on the stony brow of another hill. And soon he would be hung on it.
He felt the wood rub against a back he did not yet wear.
Will you go down there?” the angel asked.
I will.”
Is there no other way?”
There is not.”
Wouldn’t it be easier to not plant the seed? Wouldn’t it be easier to not give the choice?”
It would,” the Creator spoke slowly. “But to remove the choice is to remove the love.

He looked around the hill and foresaw a scene. Three figures hung on three crosses. Arms spread. Heads fallen forward. They moaned with the wind.
Men clad in soldiers’ garb sat on the ground near the trio. They played games in the dirt and laughed.
Men clad in religion stood off to one side. They smiled. Arrogant, cocky. They had protected God, they thought, by killing this false one.
Women clad in sorrow huddled at the foot of the hill. Speechless. Faces tear streaked. Eyes downward. One put her arm around another and tried to lead her away. She wouldn’t leave. “I will stay,” she said softly. “I will stay.”
All heaven stood to fight. All nature rose to rescue. All eternity poised to protect. But the Creator gave no command.
It must be done ... ,” he said, and withdrew.
But as he stepped back in time, he heard the cry that he would someday scream: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) He wrenched at tomorrow’s agony.

The angel spoke again. “It would be less painful ... ”
The Creator interrupted softly. “But it wouldn’t be love.”
They stepped into the Garden again. The Maker looked earnestly at the clay creation. A monsoon of love swelled up within him. He had died for the creation before he had made him. God’s form bent over the sculptured face and breathed. Dust stirred on the lips of the new one. The chest rose, cracking the red mud. The cheeks fleshened. A finger moved. And an eye opened.

But more incredible than the moving of the flesh was the stirring of the spirit. Those who could see the unseen gasped.
Perhaps it was the wind who said it first. Perhaps what the star saw that moment is what has made it blink ever since. Maybe it was left to an angel to whisper it:
It looks like … it appears so much like … it is him!

The angel wasn’t speaking of the face, the features, or the body. He was looking ‘inside’ at the soul.
It’s eternal!” gasped another.

Within the man, God had placed a divine seed. A seed of his self. The God of might had created earth’s mightiest. The Creator had created, not a creature, but another creator. And the One who had chosen to love had created one who could love in return.

Now it’s our choice.

 

By Max Lucado
From: In the Eye of the Storm

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

Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado

“He lets me rest in green pastures.”  Psalm 23:2 (NLT)

For a field to bear fruit, it must occasionally lie fallow. And for you to be healthy, you must rest. Slow down, and God will heal you. He will bring rest to your mind, to your body, and most of all to your soul. He will lead you to green pastures.

Green pastures were not the natural terrain of Judea. The hills around Bethlehem where David kept his flock were not lush and green. Even today they are white and parched. Any green pasture in Judea is the work of some shepherd. He had cleared the rough, rocky land. Stumps have been torn out, and brush has been burned …

With his own pierced hands, Jesus created a pasture for the soul. He tore out the thorny underbrush of condemnation. He pried loose the huge boulders of sin. In their place he planted seeds of grace and dug ponds of mercy.

And he invites us to rest there.

Question: Do you need to slow down, and rest for awhile in God’s green pastures?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/03/17/ml_for-the-soul/

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Max Lucado
Copyright [W Publishing 1998, 2001]
Used by permission

To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/

Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

By Max Lucado

“God is so great, greater than we can understand!” Job 36:26

We may search out the moment the first wave slapped on a shore or the first star burst in the sky, but we’ll never find the first moment when God was God, for there is no moment when
God was not God. He has never not been, for He is eternal. God is not bound by time.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/03/09/ml_he-is-eternal/

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Max Lucado
From: Everyday Blessings

Used by permission
To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/

Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado

“This is my commitment to my people: removal of their sins.” 
Romans 11:27
(The Message)

God does more that forgive our mistakes; he removes them! We simply have to take them to him.

He not only wants the mistakes we’ve made. He wants the ones we are making. Are you making some? . . .

If so, don’t pretend nothing is wrong . . . Go first to God. The first step after a stumble must be in the direction of the cross.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/03/05/ml_more-forgiveness/

_________________________________________

Max Lucado
From: Every Day Blessings

To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/info/view/about_max_lucado/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men