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

by Max Lucado
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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/

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Max Lucado
From: A Love Worth Giving
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004) Max Lucado
Used by permission
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

By Max Lucado
___________________________________________________________

“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/

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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:
http://www.maxlucado.com/about/

 

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

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/

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Max Lucado
From: The Applause of Heaven
Copyright (Word Publishing, 1990)
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado
_____________________________________________________

A few days before our wedding, Denalyn and I enjoyed and endured a sailing voyage. Milt, a Miami church friend, had invited Denalyn, her mom, and me to join him and a few others on a leisurely cruise along the Florida coast.

Initially it was just that. Leisure. We stretched out on cushions, hung feet over the side, caught some zzz’s and rays. Nice.

But then came the storm. The sky darkened, the rain started, and the flat ocean humped like a dragon’s neck. Sudden waves of water tilted the vessel up until we saw nothing but sky and then downward until we saw nothing but blue. I learned this about sailing: there is nothing swell about a swell. Tanning stopped. Napping ceased. Eyes turned first to the thunderclouds, then to the captain. We looked to Milt.

He was deliberate and decisive. He told some people where to sit, others what to do, and all of us to hang on. And we did what he said. Why? We knew he knew best. No one else knew the difference between starboard and stern. Only Milt did. We trusted him. We knew he knew.

And we knew we didn’t. Prior to the winds, we might have boasted about Boy Scout merit badges in sailing or bass-boat excursions. But once the storm hit, we shut up. (Except for Denalyn, who threw up.) We had no choice but to trust Milt. He knew what we didn’t—and he cared. The vessel was captained, not by a hireling or a stranger, but by a pal. Our safety mattered to him. So we trusted him.

Oh, that the choice were equally easy in life. Need I remind you about your westerly winds? With the speed of lightning and the force of a thunderclap, williwaws anger tranquil waters. Victims of sudden storms populate unemployment lines and ICU wards. You know the winds. You’ve felt the waves. Good-bye, smooth sailing. Hello, rough waters.

Such typhoons test our trust in the Captain. Does God know what he is doing? Can he get us out? Why did he allow the storm?

Can you say about God what I said about Milt?

1. I know God knows what’s best.
2. I know I don’t.
3: I know he cares.

Such words come easily when the water is calm. But when you’re looking at a wrecked car or a suspicious-looking mole, when war breaks out or thieves break in, do you trust him?

To embrace God’s sovereignty is to drink from the well of his lordship and make a sailboat-in-the-storm decision. Not in regard to Milt and the sea, but in regard to God and life. You look toward the Captain and resolve: he knows what’s best.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/07/15/ml_in-god-we-nearly-trust/

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Max Lucado
From: Come Thirsty
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004) Max Lucado
Used by permission
To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/about/

 

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

By Max Lucado
__________________________________________

“Always be ready, because you don’t know the day your Lord will come.�
Matthew 24:42 (NCV
)

Every person who has ever lived will be present at that final gathering. Every heart that has ever beat. Every mouth that has ever spoken. On that day you will be surrounded by a sea of people. Rich, poor. Famous, unknown. Kings, bums. Brilliant, demented. All will be present. And all will be looking in one direction. All will be looking at him. Every human being.

“The Son of Man will come again in his great glory� (Matthew 25:31).

You won’t look at anyone else. No side glances to see what others are wearing. No whispers about new jewelry or comments about who is present. At this, the greatest gathering in history, you will have eyes for only one—the Son of Man. Wrapped in splendor. Shot through with radiance. Imploded with light and magnetic in power.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/07/08/ml_final-gathering/

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Max Lucado
From: And the Angels Were Silent
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2003)

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

One can’t, at once, promote two reputations. Promote God’s and forget yours. Or promote yours and forget God’s. We must choose.

Joseph did. Matthew describes Jesus’ earthly father as a craftsman (Matthew 13:55).

He lives in Nazareth: a single-camel map dot on the edge of boredom. Joseph never speaks in the New Testament. He does much. He sees an angel, marries a pregnant girl, and leads his family to Bethlehem and Egypt. He does much, but says nothing.

A small-town carpenter who never said a Scripture-worthy word. Is Joseph the right choice? Doesn’t God have better options? An eloquent priest from Jerusalem or a scholar from the Pharisees? Why Joseph? A major part of the answer lies in his reputation: he gives it up for Jesus. “Then Joseph [Mary’s] husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly“(Matthew 1:19).

Mary’s parents, by this point, have signed a contract and sealed it with a dowry. Mary belongs to Joseph; Joseph belongs to Mary. Legally and matrimonially bound.

Now what? His fiancee is pregnant, blemished, tainted ; he is righteous, godly. On one hand, he has the law. On the other, he has his love. The law says, stone her. Love says, forgive her. Joseph is caught in the middle. But Joseph is a kind man. “Not wanting to disgrace her, [he] planned to send her away secretly” (v. 19 NASB).

A quiet divorce. How long would it stay quiet? Likely not long. But for a time, this was the solution.

Then comes the angel. “While he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (v. 20).

Mary’s growing belly gives no cause for concern, but reason to rejoice. “She carries the Son of God in her womb” the angel announces. But who would believe it? Who would buy this tale? Envision Joseph being questioned by the city leaders.

“Joseph,” they say, “we understand that Mary is with child.”

He nods.

Is the child yours?”

He shakes his head.

“Do you know how she became pregnant?”

Gulp. A bead of sweat forms beneath Joseph’s beard. He faces a dilemma. He makes his decision. “Joseph took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS” (Matthew 1:24-25).

Joseph tanked his reputation. He swapped his reputation for a pregnant fiancee and an illegitimate son and made the big decision of discipleship. He placed Gods plan ahead of his own.

Would you be willing to do the same? God grants us an uncommon life to the degree we surrender our common one. “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life” (Matthew 16:25 NLT). Would you forfeit your reputation to see Jesus born into your world?

Max Lucado
Used by permission

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From
Cure for the Common Life:
Living in Your Sweet Spot
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2005) Max Lucado
To learn more about Max Lucado visit his website at:
http://www.maxlucado.com/about/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado
____________________________________________

Use your uniqueness to take great risks for God!

The only mistake is not to risk making one.

Such was the error of the one-talent servant. Did the master notice him? Indeed, he did. And from the third servant we learn a sobering lesson.
“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground’ ”
(Matthew 25: 24–25).

Contrast the reaction of the third servant with that of the first two.
The faithful servants “went and traded� (v. 16). The fearful one “went and dug�
(v. 18).

The first two invested. The last one buried.

The first two went out on a limb. The third hugged the trunk.

The master wouldn’t stand for it. Brace yourself for the force of his response. “You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest�
(vv. 26–27).

Whoa. What just happened? Why the blowtorch? Find the answer in the missing phrase. The master repeated the assessment of the servant, word for word, with one exclusion. Did you note it? “I knew you to be a hard man� (v. 24). The master didn’t repeat the description he wouldn’t accept.

The servant levied a cruel judgment by calling the master a hard man. The servant used the exact word for “hard� that Christ used to describe stiff-necked and stubborn Pharisees (see Matthew 19:8; Acts 7:51). The writer of Hebrews employed the term to beg readers not to harden their hearts (3:8). The one-talent servant called his master stiff-necked, stubborn, and hard.

His sin was not mismanagement, but misunderstanding. Was his master hard? He gave multimillion-dollar gifts to undeserving servants; he honored the two-talent worker as much as the five; he stood face to face with both at homecoming and announced before the audiences of heaven and hell, “Well done, good and faithful servant.�

Was this a hard master? Infinitely good, graciously abundant, yes. But hard? No.

The one-talent servant never knew his master. He should have. He lived under his roof and shared his address. He knew his face, his name, but he never knew his master’s heart. And, as a result, he broke it.

Who is this unprofitable servant? If you never use your gifts for God, you are. If you think God is a hard God, you are.
 
For fear of doing the wrong thing for God, you’ll do nothing for God. For fear of making the wrong kingdom decision, you’ll make no kingdom decision. For fear of messing up, you’ll miss out. You will give what this servant gave and will hear what this servant heard: “You wicked and lazy servant� (v. 26).

But you don’t have to. It’s not too late to seek your Father’s heart. Your God is a good God.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/06/24/ml_good-god/

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Max Lucado
From: Cure for the Common Life; Living in Your Sweet Spot
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2005) Max Lucado

Used by permission

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado
_______________________________________________

Anger. It’s a peculiar yet predictable emotion. It begins as a drop of water. An irritant. A frustration. Nothing big, just an aggravation. Someone gets your parking place.

Someone pulls in front of you on the freeway. A waitress is slow and you are in a hurry. The toast burns. Drops of water. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.

Yet, get enough of these seemingly innocent drops of anger and before long you’ve got a bucket full of rage. Walking revenge.

Blind bitterness. Unharnessed hatred. We trust no one and bare our teeth at anyone who gets near. We become walking time bombs that, given just the right tension and fear, could explode.

Yet, what do we do? We can’t deny that our anger exists. How do we harness it? A good option is found in Luke 23:34. Here, Jesus speaks about the mob that killed him. “‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’�

Look carefully. It’s as if Jesus considered this bloodthirsty, death-hungry crowd not as murderers, but as victims. It’s as if he saw in their faces not hatred but confusion. It’s as if he regarded them not as a militant mob but, as he put it, as “sheep without a shepherd.�  “They don’t know what they are doing.�

And when you think about it, they didn’t. They hadn’t the faintest idea what they were doing. They were a stir-crazy mob, mad at something they couldn’t see so they took it out on, of all people, God. But they didn’t know what they were doing.

And for the most part, neither do we. We are still, as much as we hate to admit it, shepherdless sheep. All we know is that we were born out of one eternity and are frighteningly close to another. We play tag with the fuzzy realities of death and pain. We can’t answer our own questions about love and hurt. We can’t solve the riddle of aging. We don’t know how to heal our own bodies or get along with our own mates. We can’t keep ourselves out of war. We can’t even keep ourselves fed.

Paul spoke for humanity when he confessed, “I do not know what I am doing.� (Romans 7:15, author’s paraphrase.)

Now, I know that doesn’t justify anything. That doesn’t justify hit-and-run drivers or kiddie-porn peddlers or heroin dealers. But it does help explain why they do the miserable things they do.

My point is this: Uncontrolled anger won’t better our world, but sympathetic understanding will. Once we see the world and ourselves for what we are, we can help. Once we understand ourselves we begin to operate not from a posture of anger but of compassion and concern. We look at the world not with bitter frowns but with extended hands. We realize that the lights are out and a lot of people are stumbling in the darkness. So we light candles.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/06/19/ml_dont-know/

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Max Lucado
From: No Wonder They Call Him the Savior
© (W Publishing Group, 1986, 2004) Max Lucado
Used by permission
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado
____________________________________________

Be strong in the Lord and in his great power.”  
Ephesians 6:10 (NCV)

I stand a few feet from a mirror and see the face of a man who failed, … who failed his Maker. Again. I promised I wouldn’t, but I did. I was quiet when I should have been bold. I took a seat when I should have taken a stand.

If this were the first time, it would be different. But it isn’t. How many times can one fall and expect to be caught?…

Your eyes look in the mirror and see a sinner, a failure, a promise-breaker. But by faith you look in the mirror and see a robed prodigal bearing the ring of grace on your finger and the kiss of your Father on your face….

Your eyes see your faults. Your faith sees your Savior.

Your eyes see your guilt. Your faith sees his blood.  

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/05/15/ml_faith-sees/

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Max Lucado
From: When God Whispers Your Name
Copyright (Word Publishing, 1994)
Used by permission

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado
___________________________________________

“The Lord is good.  His love is forever, and his loyalty goes on and on.� (Psalm 100:5)

 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 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 he 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/2008/05/11/ml_honors/

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Max Lucado
From: No Wonder They Call Him the Savior
Used by permission

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

By Max Lucado
________________________________________________

“. . . shall not perish but have eternal life . . .� John 3:16

On a trip to China, I rode past Tiananmen Square in a bus full of Westerners. We tried to recollect the causes and consequences of the revolt. Our knowledge of history was embarrassing. One gave one date; another gave a different one. One person remembered a certain death toll; someone else disagreed. All this time our translator remained silent.

Finally one of us asked her, “Do you remember anything about the Tiananmen Square revolt?�

Her answer was solemn. “Yes, I was a part of it.�

We quickly grew quiet as she gave firsthand recollections of the bloodshed and oppression. We listened, because she’d been there.

We who follow Christ do so for the same reason. He’s been there . . .
He’s been to Bethlehem, wearing barn rags and hearing sheep crunch. Suckling milk and shivering against the cold. All of divinity content to cocoon itself in an eight-pound body and to sleep on a cow’s supper. Millions who face the chill of empty pockets or the fears of sudden change turn to Christ. Why?

Because he’s been there.

He’s been to Nazareth, where he made deadlines and paid bills; to Galilee, where he recruited direct reports and separated fighters; to Jerusalem, where he stared down critics and stood up against cynics.

We have our Nazareths’ as well—demands and due dates. Jesus wasn’t the last to build a team; accusers didn’t disappear with Jerusalem’s temple. Why seek Jesus’ help with your challenges? Because he’s been there. To Nazareth, to Galilee, to Jerusalem.

But most of all, he’s been to the grave. Not as a visitor, but as a corpse. Buried amidst the cadavers. Numbered among the dead. Heart silent and lungs vacant. Body wrapped and grave sealed. The cemetery. He’s been buried there.

You haven’t yet. But you will be. And since you will, don’t you need someone who knows the way out?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/04/20/ml_been-there

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Max LucadoFrom:  3:16, The Numbers of Hope
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2007) Max Lucado
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado
________________________________________________

“. . . whoever believes in him shall not perish . . ”
John 3:16

How could a loving God send sinners to hell? He doesn’t. They volunteer.

Once there, they don’t want to leave. The hearts of damned fools never soften; their minds never change. Men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory. (Revelations 16:9 NKJV). Contrary to the idea that hell prompts remorse, it doesn’t. It intensifies blasphemy.

Remember the rich man in torment? He could see heaven but didn’t request a transfer. He wanted Lazarus to descend to him. Why not ask if he could join Lazarus? The rich man complained of thirst, not of injustice. He wanted water for the body, not water for the soul. Even the longing for God is a gift from God, and where there is no more of God’s goodness, there is no longing for him. Though every knee shall bow before God and every tongue confess his preeminence (Romans 14:11), the hard-hearted will do so stubbornly and without worship. There will be no atheists in hell (Philippians 2:10-11), but there will be no God-seekers either.

But still we wonder, is the punishment fair? Such a penalty seems inconsistent with a God of love, overkill. A sinner’s rebellion doesn’t warrant an eternity of suffering, does it?

Isn’t God overreacting?

Who are we to challenge God?

Only he knows the full story, the number of invitations the stubborn-hearted have refused and the slander they’ve spewed.

Accuse God of unfairness? He has wrapped caution tape on hell’s porch and posted a million and one red flags outside the entrance. To descend its stairs, you’d have to cover your ears, blindfold your eyes, and, most of all, ignore the epic sacrifice of history: Christ, in God’s hell on humanity’s cross, crying out to the blackened sky, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

The supreme surprise of hell is this: Christ went there so you won’t have to.

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Max Lucado
From: 3:16, The Numbers of Hope Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2007) Max Lucado  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
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“. . . whoever believes in him shall not perish . . .� (John 3:16)

The phrase “believes in him� doesn’t digest well in our day of self-sufficient spiritual food. “Believe in yourself � is the common menu selection of our day. Try harder. Work longer. Dig deeper. Self-reliance is our goal.

And tolerance is our virtue. “In him� smacks of exclusion. Don’t all paths lead to heaven? Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and humanism? Salvation comes in many forms, right? Christ walks upriver on this topic. Salvation is found, not in self or in them, but in him.

Some historians clump Christ with Moses, Muhammad, Confucius, and other spiritual leaders. But Jesus refuses to share the page. He declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me� (John 14:6 RSV). He could have scored more points in political correctness had he said, “I know the way,� or “I show the way.� Yet he speaks not of what he does but of who he is: I am the way.

Many recoil at such definitiveness. John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 sound primitive in this era of broadbands and broad minds. The world is shrinking, cultures are blending, borders are bending; this is the day of inclusion. All roads lead to heaven, right? But can they?

The sentence makes good talk-show fodder, but is it accurate? Can all approaches to God be correct? Every path does not lead to God.

Jesus blazed a stand-alone trail void of self-salvation. He cleared a one-of-a-kind passageway uncluttered by human effort. Christ came, not for the strong, but for the weak; not for the righteous, but for the sinner. We enter his way upon confession of our need, not completion of our deeds. He offers a unique-to-him invitation in which he works and we trust, he dies and we live, he invites and we believe.

We believe in him. “The work God wants you to do is this: Believe the One he sent� (John 6:29 NCV). This union is publicly dramatized in baptism, for to be baptized, as Paul wrote, is to be baptized into Christ. (Galatians 3:27)

Believe in yourself? No. Believe in him.

Believe in them? No. Believe in him.

And those who do, those who believe “in him shall not perish but have eternal life� (John 3:16).

You can comment on this devotional online at: 
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/04/04/ml_believe-in-him/

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From: 3:16, The Numbers of Hope
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2007)
Max Lucado
Used by permission

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado
________________________________________________

Christ rose first; then when Christ comes back, all his people will become alive again.”
1 Corinthians 15:23 (TLB)

Let’ss go to the tomb, for Jesus lies in the tomb.

Still. Cold. Stiff. Death has claimed its greatest trophy. He is not asleep in the tomb or resting in the tomb or comatose in the tomb; he is dead in the tomb. No air in his lungs. No thoughts in his brain. No feeling in his limbs. His body is as lifeless as the stone slab upon which he has been laid.

The executioners made sure of it. When Pilate learned that Jesus was dead, he asked the soldiers if they were certain. They were. Had they seen the Nazarene twitch, had they heard even one moan, they would have broken his legs to speed his end. But there was no need. The thrust of a spear removed all doubt. The Romans knew their job. And their job was finished. They pried loose the nails, lowered his body, and gave it to Joseph and Nicodemus.

Joseph of Arimathea. Nicodemus the Pharisee. Jesus had answered the prayer of their hearts, the prayer for the Messiah. As much as the soldiers wanted him dead, even more these men wanted him alive.

As they sponged the blood from his beard, don’t you know they listened for his breath? As they wrapped the cloth around his hands, don’t you know they hoped for a pulse? Don’t you know they searched for life?

But they didn’t find it.

So they do with him what they were expected to do with a dead man. They wrap his body in clean linen and place it in a tomb. Joseph’s tomb. Roman guards are stationed to guard the corpse. And a Roman seal is set on the rock of the tomb. For three days, no one gets close to the grave.

But then, Sunday arrives. And with Sunday comes light – a light within the tomb. A bright light? A soft light? Flashing? Hovering? We don’t know. But there was a light. For he is the light. And with the light came life. Just as the darkness was banished, now the decay is reversed. Heaven blows and Jesus breathes. His chest expands. Waxy lips open. Wooden fingers lift. Heart valves swish and hinged joints bend.

And, as we envision the moment, we stand in awe.

We stand in awe not just because of what we see, but because of what we know. We know that we, too, will die. We know that we, too, will be buried. Our lungs, like his, will empty. Our hands, like his, will stiffen. But the rising of his body and the rolling of the stone give birth to a mighty belief: “What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end.

“Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us.” (Romans 6:5:9 MSG).

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From: When Christ Comes
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 1999) Max Lucado

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

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men

by Max Lucado
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“Then the soldiers bowed before Jesus and made fun of him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!� They spat on Jesus.� (Matthew  27:26–31)

The soldiers’ assignment was simple: Take the Nazarene to the hill and kill him. But they had another idea. They wanted to have some fun first. Strong, rested, armed soldiers encircled an exhausted, nearly dead, Galilean carpenter and beat up on him. The scourging was commanded. The crucifixion was ordered. But who would draw pleasure out of spitting on a half-dead man?

Spitting isn’t intended to hurt the body—it can’t. Spitting is intended to degrade the soul, and it does. What were the soldiers doing? Were they not elevating themselves at the expense of another? They felt big by making Christ look small.

Ever done that? Maybe you’ve never spit on anyone, but have you gossiped? Slandered? Have you ever raised your hand in anger or rolled your eyes in arrogance? Have you ever blasted your high beams in someone’s rearview mirror? Ever made someone feel bad so you would feel good?

That’s what the soldiers did to Jesus. When you and I do the same, we do it to Jesus too. “I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!� (Matthew 25:40 NLT). How we treat others is how we treat Jesus.

“Oh, Max, I don’t like to hear that,� you protest. Believe me, I don’t like to say it. But we must face the fact that there is something beastly within each and every one of us.

Something beastly that makes us do things that surprise even us. Haven’t you surprised yourself? Haven’t you reflected on an act and wondered, “What got into me?�

The Bible has a three-letter answer for that question: S-I-N.

Allow the spit of the soldiers to symbolize the filth in our hearts. And then observe what Jesus does with our filth. He carries it to the cross.

Through the prophet he said, “I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting� (Isaiah 50:6 NIV). Mingled with his blood and sweat was the essence of our sin.

God could have deemed otherwise. In God’s plan, Jesus was offered wine for his throat, so why not a towel for his face? Simon carried the cross of Jesus, but he didn’t mop the cheek of Jesus. Angels were a prayer away. Couldn’t they have taken the spittle away?

They could have, but Jesus never commanded them to. For some reason, the One who chose the nails also chose the saliva. Along with the spear and the sponge of man, he bore the spit of man.

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From: He Choose the Nails
Copyright [W Publishing 1998, 2001] Max Lucado

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

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Max Lucado Thoughts by Men