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

by Max Lucado
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“You prepare a meal for me in front of my enemies.”?
Psalm 23:5 (NCV)

Pause and envision the scene in [God’s] royal dining room….

Driven not by our beauty but by his promise, he calls us to himself and invites us to take a permanent place at his table…. We take our place next to the other sinners-made-saints and we share in God’s glory.

May I share a partial list of what awaits you at his table?

You are beyond condemnation (Romans 8:1).
You are a member of his kingdom (Colossians 1:13).
You have been adopted (Romans 8:15).
You have access to God at any moment (Ephesians 2:18).
You will never be abandoned (Hebrews 13:5).
You have an imperishable inheritance (1 Peter 1:4).

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2009/03/15/ml_gods-table/
Not to be reprinted without permission

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Max Lucado
From: In the Grip of Grace
Copyright (Word Publishers, 1996)
Used by permission
To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado
____________________________________________________________________

“We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope� 1Thessalonians 4:13 (JB)

The Thessalonian church had buried her share of loved ones. And the apostle wanted the members who remained to be at peace regarding the ones who had gone ahead. Many of you have buried loved ones as well. And just as God spoke to them, he speaks to you.

If you’ll celebrate a marriage anniversary alone this year, he speaks to you.

If your child made it to heaven before making it to kindergarten, he speaks to you.

If you lost a loved one in violence, if you learned more than you want to know about disease, if your dreams were buried as they lowered the casket, God speaks to you.

He speaks to all of us who have stood or will stand in the soft dirt near an open grave. And to us he gives this confident word: “I want you to know what happens to a Christian when he dies so that when it happens, you will not be full of sorrow, as those who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and then came back to life again, we can also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him all the Christians who have died�
(1 Thessalonians 4:13–14 TLB).

God transforms our hopeless grief into hope-filled grief. How? By telling us that we will see our loved ones again.

Isn’t that what we want to believe? We long to know that our loved ones are safe in death. We long for the reassurance that the soul goes immediately to be with God. But dare we believe it? Can we believe it? According to the Bible we can.

Scripture is surprisingly quiet about this phase of our lives. When speaking about the period between the death of the body and the resurrection of the body, the Bible doesn’t shout; it just whispers. But at the confluence of these whispers, a firm voice is heard. This authoritative voice assures us that at death the Christian immediately enters into the presence of God and enjoys conscious fellowship with the Father and with those who have gone before.

Where do I get such ideas? Listen to some of the whispers:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.” (Philippians 1:21–23 NIV)

We don’t like to say good-bye to those we love. But if what the Bible says about heaven is true, and I believe it is, then the ultimate prayer, the ultimate answered prayer, is heaven.

It is right for us to weep, but there is no need for us to despair. They had pain here. They have no pain there. They struggled here. They have no struggles there. You and I might wonder why God took them home. But they don’t. They understand. They are, at this very moment, at peace in the presence of God.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2009/02/03/ml_gods-perspective/

******************************************************************** Max Lucado
From: For These Tough Times:
Reaching Toward Heaven for Hope and Healing

 (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006)
Used by permission
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by Max Lucado
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“The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The skies will disappear with a loud noise. . . . So what kind of people should you be?� 2 Peter 3:10-11 (NCV)

Great question. What kind of people should we be? Peter tells us: “You should live holy lives and serve God, as you wait for and look forward to the coming of the day of God” (vv. 11-12).

Hope of the future is not a license for irresponsibility in the present. Let us wait forwardly, but let us wait.

But for most of us, waiting is not our problem. Or, maybe I should state, waiting is our problem. We are so good at waiting that we don’t wait forwardly. We forget to look. . . . We are too content. We seldom search the skies . . .We seldom, if ever, allow the Holy Spirit to interrupt our plans and lead us to worship so that we might see Jesus.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2009/01/29/ml_waiting/

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Max Lucado
From: When Christ Comes
Copyright (Word Publishing, 1999)
Used by permission

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by Max Lucado
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It is good to…sing praises to Your name…to declare Your loving kindness in the morning.” Psalm 92 1-2 (NKJV)

Listen closely.  Jesus’ love does not depend upon what we do for him.  Not at all.  In the eyes of the King, you have value simply because you are.  You don’t have to look nice or perform well.  Your value is inborn.
Period.

Think about that for just a minute.  You are valuable just because you exist.  Not because of what you do or what you have done, but simply because you are.  Remember that the next time you are left bobbing in the wake of someone’s steamboat ambition.  Remember that the next time some trickster tries to hang a bargain basement price tag on your self-worth.  The next time someone tries to pass you off as a cheap buy, just think about the way Jesus honors you…and smile.

I do.  I smile because I know I don’t deserve love like that.  None of us do.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2009/01/25/ml_honors/

*************************************************************
Max Lucado
From: No Wonder They Call Him the Savior
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2003)

Used by permission
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by Max Lucado
_____________________________________________________________

The first of the year is known for three things: black-eyed peas, bowl games, and lists. Some don’t eat black-eyed peas. Others hate football. But everybody likes lists.

The Bible certainly has its share of lists. Moses brought one down from the mountain.

There are lists of the gifts of the Spirit. Lists of good fruit and bad. Lists of salutations and greetings. Even the disciples’ boat got into the action as it listed in the stormy Sea of Galilee. (If you smiled at that, then I’ve got a list of puns you’d enjoy.)

But the greatest day of lists is still New Year’s Day. And the number one list is the list I call the Laws of the Lighthouse.

The Laws of the Lighthouse contain more than good ideas, personal preferences, and honest opinions. They are God-given, time-tested truths that define the way you should navigate your life. Observe them and enjoy secure passage. Ignore them and crash against the ragged rocks of reality.

Smart move. The wise captain shifts the direction of his craft according to the signal of the lighthouse. A wise person does the same.

Herewith, then, are the lights I look for and the signals I heed:

– Love God more than you fear hell.
– Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.
– Make major decisions in a cemetery.
– When no one is watching, live as if someone is.
– Succeed at home first.
– Don’t spend tomorrow’s money today.
– Pray twice as much as you fret.
– Listen twice as much as you speak.
– Only harbor a grudge when God does.
– Never outgrow your love of sunsets.
– Treat people like angels; you will meet some and help make some.
– ‘Tis wiser to err on the side of generosity than on the side of scrutiny.
– God has forgiven you; you’d be wise to do the same.
– When you can’t trace God’s hand, trust his heart.
– Toot your own horn and the notes will be flat.
– Don’t feel guilty for God’s goodness.
– The book of life is lived in chapters, so know your page number.
– Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.
– Live your liturgy.

To sum it all up: Approach life like a voyage on a schooner. Enjoy the view. Explore the vessel. Make friends with the captain. Fish a little. And then get off when you get home.

Max Lucado:
From: In the Eye of the Storm
 (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006)

Used by permission
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by Max Lucado
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My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2 (NCV)

For many people, life is—well, life is a jungle. Not a jungle of trees and beasts….Our jungles are comprised of the thicker thickets of failing health, broken hearts, and empty wallets….We don’t hear the screeching of birds or the roaring of lions, but we do hear the complaints of neighbors, and the demands of bosses.

Whether you are a lamb lost on a craggy ledge or a city slicker alone in a deep jungle, everything changes when your rescuer appears.

Your loneliness diminishes, because you have fellowship. Your despair decreases, because you have vision. Your confusion begins to lift, because you have direction.

You haven’t left the jungle. The trees still eclipse the sky, and the thorns still cut the skin….It hasn’t changed, but you have. You have changed because you have hope. And you have hope because you have met someone who can lead you out.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/12/30/ml_jungle/

**************************************************************

Max Lucado
From: Traveling Light
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2000)
Used by permission
To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
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By Max Lucado
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“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.�
Proverbs 4:23 (NCV)

[God] wants you to “think and act like Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). But how? The answer is surprisingly simple. We can be transformed if we make one decision: I will submit my thoughts to the authority of Jesus. . . .

Jesus claims to be the CEO of heaven and earth. He has the ultimate say on everything, especially our thoughts. He has more authority, for example, than your parents. Your parents may say you are no good, but Jesus says you are valuable, and he has authority over parents. . . .

Jesus also has authority over your ideas. Suppose you have an idea that you want to rob a grocery store. Jesus, however, has made it clear that stealing is wrong. If you have given him authority over your ideas, then the idea of stealing cannot remain in your thoughts….

To have a pure heart, we must submit all thoughts to the authority of Christ. If we are willing to do that, he will change us to be like him.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/11/28/ml_ceo/

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About Max Lucado
From: Just Like Jesus
Copyright (Word Publishing, 1998)
Used by permission

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by Max Lucado
____________________________________________________

For the last twenty years, I’ve wanted a dog. A big dog. But there were always problems. The apartment was too small. The budget was too tight. The girls were too young. But most of all, Denalyn was unenthusiastic. Her logic? She’d already married one slobbering, shedding beast, why put up with a second? So we compromised and got a small dog.

I like Salty, but small dogs aren’t really dogs. They don’t bark; they yelp. They don’t eat; they nibble. They don’t lick you; they sniff you. I like Salty, but I wanted a real dog. A man’s-best-friend type of dog. A fat-pawed, big-eating, slurp-you-on-the-face type of dog you could saddle or wrestle or both.

I was alone in my passion until Sara was born. She loves dogs. And the two of us were able to sway the household vote. Denalyn gave in, and Sara and I began the search. We discovered a woman in South Carolina who breeds golden retrievers in a Christian environment. From birth the dogs are surrounded by inspirational music and prayers. (No, I don’t know if they tithe with dog biscuits.) When the trainer told me that she had read my books, I got on board. A woman with such good taste is bound to be a good breeder, right?

So we ordered a pup. We mailed the check, selected the name Molly, and cleared a corner for her dog pillow. The dog hadn’t even been born, and she was named, claimed, and given a place in the house.

Can’t the same be said about you? Long before your first whimper, your Master claimed you, named you, and hung a reserved sign on your room. You and Molly have more in common than odor and eating habits. (Just teasing.)

You’re both being groomed for a trip. We prefer the terms maturation and sanctification to weaning and training, but it’s all the same. You’re being prepared for your Master’s house. You don’t know the departure date or flight number, but you can bet your puppy chow that you’ll be seeing your Owner someday. Isn’t this the concluding promise of David?

“And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever� (Psalm 23:6 NKJV).

Where will you live forever? In the house of the Lord. If his house is your “forever house,� what does that make this earthly house? You got it! Short-term housing. This is not our home. “Our homeland is in heaven� (Philippians 3:20).

We, like Molly, are being prepared for another house.

Don’t quench, but rather, stir this longing for heaven.

God’s home is a forever home. “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever� (Psalm 23:6 NKJV).

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/11/25/ml_forever-home/

*****************************************************************
From: Traveling Light
(Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006) Max Lucado                          
Used by permission
To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/about/


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by Max Lucado
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Homesickness is one of the burdens God doesn’t mind if we carry. God has “set eternity in the hearts of men� (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). Down deep you know you are not home yet.

This is not our forever house. It will serve for the time being. But there is nothing like the moment we enter his door.

Molly can tell you. After a month in our house she ran away. I came home one night to find the place unusually quiet. Molly was gone.

She’d slipped out unnoticed. The search began immediately. Within an hour we knew that she was far, far from home. Now, if you don’t like pets, what I’m about to say is going to sound strange. If you do like pets, you will understand.

You’ll understand why we walked up and down the street, calling her name. You’ll understand why I drove around the neighborhood at 10:30 P.M. You’ll understand why I put up a poster in the convenience store and convened the family for a prayer. (Honestly, I did.) You’ll understand why I sent e-mails to the staff, asking for prayers, and to her breeder, asking for advice. And you’ll understand why we were ready to toss the confetti and party when she showed up.

Here is what happened. The next morning Denalyn was on her way home from taking the girls to school when she saw the trash truck. She asked the workers to keep an eye out for Molly and then hurried home to host a moms’ prayer group. Soon after the ladies arrived, the trash truck pulled into our driveway, a worker opened the door, and out bounded our dog. She had been found.

When Denalyn called to tell me the news, I could barely hear her voice. It was Mardi Gras in the kitchen. The ladies were celebrating the return of Molly.

This story pops with symbolism. The master leaving his house, searching for the lost. Victories in the midst of prayer. Great things coming out of trash. But most of all: the celebration at the coming home. That’s something else you have in common with Molly—a party at your homecoming.

Those you love will shout. Those you know will applaud. But all the noise will cease when the Father cups your chin and says, “Welcome home.� And with scarred hand he’ll wipe every tear from your eye. And you will dwell in the house of your Lord—forever.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/11/17/ml_home/

******************************************************************

Max Lucado
From: Traveling Light
 (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006) Max Lucado
Used by permission
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By Max Lucado
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“If we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right.� 1 John 1:9 (NCV)

If we confess our sins…” The biggest word in Scriptures just might be that two letter one, ‘if‘. For confessing sins–admitting failure–is exactly what prisoners of pride refuse to do.

Me a sinner? Oh sure, I get rowdy every so often, but I’m a pretty good ol’ boy.”
Listen, I’m just as good as the next guy. I pay my taxes. . . .”

Justification. Rationalization. Comparison….They sound good. They sound familiar. They even sound American. But in the kingdom, they sound hollow….

When you get to the point of sorrow for your sins, when you admit that you have no other option,… then cast all your cares on him for he is waiting.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/10/18/ml_sorrow-for-sin/

*************************************
Max Lucado
From: The Applause of Heaven
Copyright (Word Publishing, 1990)
Used by permission
To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/about/


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By Max Lucado
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“God has planted eternity in the hearts of men.�
Ecclesiastes 3:10 (TLB)

It doesn’t take a wise person to know that people long for more than earth. When we see pain, we yearn. When we see hunger, we question why. Senseless deaths. Endless tears, needless loss. . . .

We have our moments. The newborn on our breast, the bride on our arm, the sunshine on our back. But even those moments are simply slivers of light breaking through heaven’s window. God flirts with us. He tantalizes us. He romances us. Those moments are appetizers for the dish that is to come.

 “No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him“ (1 Corinthians 2:9).

What a breathtaking verse! Do you see what it says? Heaven is beyond our imagination…. At our most creative moment, at our deepest thought, at our highest level, we still cannot fathom eternity.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/10/02/ml_eternity/

********************************************************

Max Lucado
From: When God Whispers Your Name
Copyright (Word Publishing, 1994)
Used by permission
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by Max Lucado
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You live one final breath from your own funeral.

Which, from God’s perspective, is nothing to grieve. He responds to these grave facts with this great news: “The day you die is better than the day you are born� (Ecclesiastes 7:1). Now there is a twist. Heaven enjoys a maternity-ward reaction to funerals. Angels watch body burials the same way grandparents monitor delivery-room doors. “He’ll be coming through any minute!� They can’t wait to see the new arrival. While we’re driving hearses and wearing black, they’re hanging pink and blue streamers and passing out cigars. We don’t grieve when babies enter the world. The hosts of heaven don’t weep when we leave it.

Oh, but many of us weep at the thought of death. Do you? Do you dread your death? And is your dread of death robbing your joy of life?

Jesus came to “deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying� (Hebrews 2:15).

Your death may surprise you and sadden others, but heaven knows no untimely death: “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed� (Psalm 139:16).

Dread of death ends when you know heaven is your true home. In all my air travels I’ve never seen one passenger weep when the plane landed. Never. No one clings to the armrests and begs, “Don’t make me leave. Don’t make me leave. Let me stay and eat more peanuts.� We’re willing to exit because the plane has no permanent mailing address. Nor does this world. “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior� (Philippians 3:20).

Why don’t you do this: give God your death. Imagine your last breath, envision your final minutes, and offer them to him. Deliberately. Regularly. “Lord, I receive your work on the cross and in your resurrection. I entrust you with my departure from earth.� With Christ as your friend and heaven as your home, the day of death becomes sweeter than the day of birth.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/09/28/ml_death-becomes-birth/

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Max Lucado
From: Come Thirsty
 (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004) Max Lucado
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by Max Lucado
_________________________________________

Through Christ, God has accepted you. Think about what this means. You cannot keep people from rejecting you. But you can keep rejections from enraging you.

Rejections are like speed bumps on the road. They come with the journey. You’re going to get cut, dished, dropped, and kicked around. You cannot keep people from rejecting you. But you can keep rejections from enraging you. How? By letting his acceptance compensate for their rejection.

Think of it this way. Suppose you dwell in a high-rise apartment. On the window sill of your room is a solitary daisy. This morning you picked the daisy and pinned it on your lapel. Since you have only one plant, this is a big event and a special daisy.

But as soon as you’re out the door, people start picking petals off your daisy. Someone snags your subway seat. Petal picked. You’re blamed for the bad report of a coworker. Three petals. The promotion is given to someone with less experience but USC water polo looks. More petals. By the end of the day, you’re down to one. Woe be to the soul who dares to draw near it. You’re only one petal-snatching away from a blowup.

What if the scenario was altered slightly? Let’s add one character. The kind man in the apartment next door runs a flower shop on the corner. Every night on the way home he stops at your place with a fresh, undeserved, yet irresistible bouquet. These are not leftover flowers. They are top-of-the-line arrangements. You don’t know why he thinks so highly of you, but you aren’t complaining. Because of him, your apartment has a sweet fragrance, and your step has a happy bounce. Let someone mess with your flower, and you’ve got a basketful to replace it!

The difference is huge. And the interpretation is obvious.

God will load your world with flowers. He hand-delivers a bouquet to your door every day. Open it! Take them! Then, when rejections come, you won’t be left short-petaled.

God can help you get rid of your anger. He made galaxies no one has ever seen and dug canyons we have yet to find. “The LORD … heals all your diseases� (Psalms 103:2–3 NIV). Do you think among those diseases might be the affliction of anger?

Do you think God could heal your angry heart?

Do you want him to? This is not a trick question. He asks the same question of you that he asked of the invalid: “Do you want to be well?� (John 5:6). Not everyone does. You may be addicted to anger. You may be a rage junkie. Anger may be part of your identity. But if you want him to, he can change your identity. Do you want him to do so?

Do you have a better option? Like moving to a rejection-free zone? If so, enjoy your life on your desert island.

Take the flowers. Receive from him so you can love or at least put up with others.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/08/24/ml_bouquets/

***********************************************
Max Lucado
From: A Love Worth Giving
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004) Max Lucado
Used by permission
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By Max Lucado
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“A friend loves you all the time.�
Proverbs 17:17 (NCV)

One gets the impression that to John, Jesus … was above all a loyal companion. Messiah? Yes. Son of God? Indeed. Miracle worker? That, too. But more than anything Jesus was a pal. Someone you could go camping with or bowling with or count the stars with. . . .

Now what do you do with a friend? (Well, that’s rather simple too.) You stick by him. 

Maybe that is why John is the only one of the twelve who was at the cross. He came to say good-bye. By his own admission he hadn’t quite put the pieces together yet. But that didn’t really matter. As far as he was concerned, his closest friend was in trouble and he came to help.

“Can you take care of my mother?�
Of course. That’s what friends are for.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/08/05/ml_what-friends-do/

*******************************************************

Max Lucado
From: No Wonder They Call Him the Savior
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2003)
Used by permission
To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
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By Max Lucado
___________________________________________________

God will show his mercy forever and ever to those who worship and serve him.” Luke 1:50 (NCV)

God does not save us because of what we’ve done. Only a puny god could be bought with tithes. Only an egotistical god would be impressed with our pain. Only a temperamental god could be satisfied by sacrifices. Only a heartless god would sell salvation to the highest bidders.

And only a great God does for his children what they can’t do for themselves.

God’s delight is received upon surrender, not awarded upon conquest. The first step to joy is a plea for help, an acknowledgment of moral destitution, an admission of inward paucity. Those who taste God’s presence have declared spiritual bankruptcy and are aware of their spiritual crisis…. Their pockets are empty. Their options are gone. They have long since stopped demanding justice; they are pleading for mercy.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/07/26/ml_spiritual-bankruptcy/

*****************************************

Max Lucado
From: The Applause of Heaven
Copyright (Word Publishing, 1990)
Used by permission
To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
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