DON’T STROLL THROUGH THE SWAMP

“You’re gonna regret it!” I waved away the warning without turning around. What was to regret? I took the shortcut.

I was on my way to a picnic. The tables sat on the other side of a marsh. The parks department had kindly constructed a bridge over the marsh. But who needed a bridge? I ventured in. The mud swallowed my feet. Squiggly things swam past me. I think I saw a set of eyeballs peering in my direction. I backpedaled—flip-flops sucked into the abyss. I exited, mud covered, mosquito bitten, and red faced.

I walked over and took my seat at the picnic table. It made for a miserable picnic, but it makes for an apt proverb. Life comes with voices. Voices lead to choices, and choices have consequences!

~ Max Lucado

From God’s With You Every Day

Merry Christ mas to all of you!

More of Christ!

In Bethlehem, the human being who best understood who God was and what he was doing, is a teenage girl in a smelly stable. As Mary looks into the face of the baby.  Her son. Her Lord.  His majesty—she can’t take her eyes off him.  Somehow Mary knows she’s holding God. So this is he. She remembers the words of the angel.  “His kingdom will never end!”

He looks like anything but a king. His cry, though strong and healthy, is still the helpless and piercing cry of a baby. Majesty in the midst of the mundane.  Holiness in the filth of sheep manure and sweat.  Divinity entering the world on the floor of a stable, through the womb of a teenager and in the presence of a carpenter.

God came near!

“And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.

Luke 1:33″

~ Max Lucado

Christ in You!

When grace happens, Christ enters.  Christ in you, the hope of glory!

For many years, I missed this truth.  I believed all the other prepositions:

Christ for me, with me, ahead of me.  But I never imagined that Christ was in me.

I can’t blame my deficiency on Scripture. Paul refers to it 216 times.  John mentions it 26.  No other religion or philosophy makes such a claim.  No other movement implies the living presence of its founder in his followers.

Muhammad does not indwell Muslims.  Buddha does not inhabit Buddhists.

Influence?  Instruct?  Yes.  But occupy?  No.

The mystery in a nutshell is Colossians 1:27:  “Christ is in you!”

The Christian is a person in whom Christ is happening!  We sense his re-arranging.  He’s turning debris into the divine, a pig’s ear into silk purse.  Little by little a new image emerges!

God’s Grace!

From GRACE

~ Max Lucado

A Huge Asset

As followers of God, you and I have a huge asset.  We know everything is going to turn out all right!

Christ has not budged from His throne, and Romans 8:28 has not evaporated from the Bible.  Our problems have always been His possibilities.

The kidnapping of Joseph resulted in the preservation of his family.  The persecution of Daniel led to a cabinet position.  Christ entered the world by a surprise pregnancy and redeemed it though His unjust murder.

Dare we believe what the Bible teaches?  That no disaster is ultimately fatal?

In 2nd Timothy 4:18 the apostle Paul wrote his final words from a Roman prison, chained to a guard, within earshot of his executioner’s footsteps.   Worst-case scenario?  Not from Paul’s perspective.

He wrote: “God is looking after me, keeping me safe in the kingdom of heaven.  All praise to Him, praise forever!”

Paul chose to trust his Father.  May we do the same.

 

~Max Lucado

Loving the you He sees

Why does God love you so much?

For the same reason the artist loves his paintings.  You are His idea!

Ephesians 2:10 confirms that we are “God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

In the movie Hook, Peter Pan had become old and looked nothing like the Peter the lost boys knew.  In the midst of the boys shouting that this was NOT Peter, one of the smallest boys pulled him down to his level.  He places his hands on Peter’s face, moved the skin around and reshaped his face.  The boy looked into Peter’s eyes and said, “There you are, Peter!”

Shh.  Listen.  Do you hear?

God is saying the same words to you.  There you are!  There you are!

He’s seeing you and loving the you he sees.

From Fearless

by Max Lucado

Take out the Trash

Who wants to live with yesterday’s rubble? 

Who wants to hoard the trash of the past? 

You don’t, do you? 

Or do you?

I’m not talking about the trash in your house, but in your heart. 

Not the junk of papers and boxes but the remnants of anger and hurt. 

Do you rat-pack your pain? 

Amass offenses? 

Record slights?

A tour of your heart might be telling. 

A pile of rejections. 

Accumulated insults. 

No one can blame you. 

They’re innocence takers, promise breakers, and wound makers.  

They’re everywhere and you’ve had your share.

Jesus answered Peter’s question in Matthew 18:21 and 22 when he asked:  “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me?  Seven times?”  “No, not seven times,” Jesus said.  “Seventy times seven!”

Do you want to give every day a chance?  

Jesus says to get rid of the trash. 

Give the grace you’ve been given!

~ Max Lucado

From Great Day Every Day

Your spiritual DNA

Want to blow the cloud cover off a gray day?  Accept God’s direction! 

It’s exactly what John Bentley did.

He and his wife were overseers of an orphanage for abandoned babies in Beijing. 

Years ago a mother deposited a newborn in a nearby field. 

No note, no explanation, just $1.25.  

The Chinese equivalent of a burial. 

The child was severely burned from head to toe.  

The Bentleys weren’t about to let that child die. 

They nursed him to health–and adopted him as their son.

I Corinthians 3:5 says, “The Lord has assigned to each his task.”

What direction has God taken you?

What needs has he revealed to you?

What abilities has he given you?

Direction. 

Need. 

Ability. 

Your spiritual DNA–you at your best! 

None of us is called to carry the sin of the world. 

But all of us can carry a burden for the world!

From Great Day Every Day

~ Max Lucado

His Masterpiece

As a group of fishermen relaxed in an old Scottish seaside inn, one of the men gestured widely, depicting a fish that got away.  His arm struck the waiter’s tray, sending its contents onto the white wall, leaving an ugly brown splotch.

The innkeeper sighed, “The whole wall will have to be repainted.”

“Perhaps not,” offered a stranger.  “Let me work with it!”

The man pulled brushes, oils, and colors out of an art box.  He dabbed away at the ugly splotch.  An image emerged–a stag with a great rack of antlers.  His signature at the bottom read:  Sir Edwin Landseer.  A famous painter of wildlife.  In his hands, a mistake became a masterpiece!

God’s hands do the same.  He draws together the disjointed blotches in our life.  Ephesians 2:7 says, we become “examples of the incredible wealth of God’s favor and kindness toward us!”  

We are His masterpiece!

~ Max Lucado

Hydrate your soul

Don’t deny your anger.

Don’t dismiss your loneliness.

Your restless spirit.

Your sense of dread.

Don’t let your heart shrink into a raisin.

Hydrate your soul.

Heed your thirst!

Not everything you put to your lips will help your thirst.

The arms of forbidden love may satisfy for a time, but only for a time.

Eighty-hour workweeks grant a sense of fulfillment, but never remove the thirst.

Religion pacifies but never satisfies.  Church activities may hide a thirst, but only Christ quenches it.

Drink him.  And drink of him often!

Don’t you need regular sips from God’s reservoir?

I do.

I step to the underground spring of God and receive anew his work for my sin and death,

the energy of his Spirit, his lordship, and his love.

Receive Christ’s work on the cross, the energy of His Spirit.

His unending, unfailing love.

Drink deeply–and drink often!

Jesus said, “…he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”  John 6:35

~ Max Lucado

Loaded with Fears

I don’t care how tough you are.

You may be a Navy SEAL. 

Doesn’t matter. 

Every parent melts the moment he or she feels the full force of parenthood!

How did I get myself into this? 

My moment came in the midnight quiet of an apartment

in downtown Rio De Janeiro, Brazil,

as I held a human being—my daughter—in my arms.

The semi-truck of parenting comes loaded with fears.

Will we have enough money? 

Enough answers? 

Enough education? 

It’s enough to keep a parent awake at night.

God has a heart for parents! 

Are we surprised? 

After all, God himself is a father.

What parental emotion has he not felt? 

But because of his great love for us,

Romans says, “he did not spare his own son but gave him for us all. 

So with Jesus, God will surely give us all things!”

ALL THINGS—

must include courage and hope!

~ Max Lucado

A different side of Max Lucado

http://vimeo.com/40881634

I’ve been a great admirer of Max Lucado for years. To me he’s one of the most gifted writers and is a true inspiration.

I think you’ll enjoy this little movie about Joseph!

God is Always the Same

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,

who does not change like shifting shadows. 

James 1:17”

God will always be the same! 

No one else will. 

Lovers call you today and scorn you tomorrow. 

Companies follow pay raises with pink slips. 

Friends applaud you when you drive a classic and dismiss you when you drive a dud. 

Not God. 

God is always the same. 

James 1:17 says, “With God, there is no variation or shadow due to change.” 

Catch God in a bad mood? 

Won’t happen. 

Can your fear exhaust his grace?  A sardine will swallow the Atlantic first. 

Do you think he’s given up on you?  Wrong! 

Did he not make a promise to you? 

What he says he will do, he does. 

What he promises, he makes come true. 

God is not a human being, and he will not lie.

God is never sullen or sour,

sulking

or stressed. 

His strength,

truth,

ways,

and love never change. 

He is the same yesterday and today and forever!

~ Max Lucado

Finishing the Race

The Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 

2 Corinthians 12:9

Derek Redmond was favored to win the 400 meter race in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.  Halfway into his semi-final heat, he suffered a torn hamstring.  Even as the medical team was approaching, he pushed away to finish the race.  A big man pushed through the crowd.

“You don’t have to do this,” he told his weeping son.
“Yes, I do.”  Derek declared.
“Well, then,” he said, “we’re going to finish this together.”

And they did!  His dad wrapped Derek’s arm around his shoulder and helped him hobble to the finish line.

What made him do it?  His son was hurt so the father came to help him finish.

God does the same.

Our attempts may be feeble.

Our prayers may seem awkward.

But He comes to help us finish the race!

~ Max Lucado

This is Love

“This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us.

John 4:10”

Love never fails!

Wait a minute, no one has unfailing love! 

No person can love with perfection. 

That’s right. 

But God is not a person. 

Unlike our love, his love never fails! 

God’s love is immensely different from ours. 

Ours depends on the receiver of the love. 

Our love will be regulated by appearance or by personality. 

Even when we find a few people we like,

our feelings will still fluctuate.

Does God love us because of our goodness? 

Because of our kindness? 

Because of our great faith?

No.

He loves us because of HIS goodness,

kindness,

and great faith. 

The love of God is born from within him,

not from what he finds in us. 

His love is uncaused, spontaneous. 

God loves you simply because he has chosen to do so!

~ Max Lucado

The Secret of Forgiveness

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered. 

Psalm 32:1”

Is it still hard to consider the thought of forgiving the one who hurt you?

We’ll never be able to wash the feet of those who’ve hurt us until we allow Jesus,

the one we’ve hurt, to wash ours. 

That’s the secret of forgiveness. 

You’ll never forgive anyone more than God has already forgiven you.

Watch Jesus as he goes from disciple to disciple. 

Can you hear the water splash?  Keep that image. 

John 13:12 says, “When he had finished washing their feet…” 

Note, he finished washing their feet. 

He left no one out. 

That’s important! 

It means he also washed the feet of Judas. 

Jesus washed the feet of his betrayer.

That’s not to say it was easy for Jesus. 

That’s not to say it’s easy for you. 

That IS to say—

God will never call you to do what he hasn’t already done!

~ Max Lucado

Six Hours, One Friday

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us,

that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21”

Six hours, one Friday. 

Mundane to the casual observer. 

A shepherd with his sheep,

a housewife with her thoughts,

a doctor with his patients. 

But to a handful of awestruck witnesses,

the most maddening of miracles is occurring.

God is on a cross. 

The creator of the universe is being executed. 

It is no normal six hours. 

It is no normal Friday. 

Far worse than the breaking of his body is the shredding of his heart. 

And now his own father is beginning to turn his back on him,

leaving him alone.

What do you do with that day in history? 

What do you do with its claims? 

They were the most critical hours in history. 

Nails didn’t hold God to a cross. 

Love did.

The sinless One took on the face of a sinner

so that we sinners could take on the face of a saint!

~ Max Lucado

Such Passion

Posted: 16 Mar 2012 11:01 PM PDT

“I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand

the greatness of Christ’s love.” 

Ephesians 3:18

 

From the cradle in Bethlehem to the cross in Jerusalem

we’ve pondered the love of our Father.

What can you say to that kind of emotion?

Upon learning that God would rather die than live without you,

how do you react?

How can you begin to explain such passion?

~Max Lucado

Don’t Be Afraid

“Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him,

‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’

Mark 5:36”

Sometimes what we need is just a word of encouragement,

isn’t it?

And God gives a word—

to the overwhelmed. 

To the downcast. 

To us. 

He urges, “Don’t’ be afraid; just believe.”

Believe that He can. 

Believe that He cares. 

Believe that He comes.

Mark it down. 

You will never go where God is not. 

You may be transferred, enlisted, commissioned, re-assigned, or hospitalized….

But brand this truth on your heart—

Jesus promised, “I am with you always.” 

Don’t be afraid, just believe!

Make your fear a visitor and not a resident. 

Hasn’t fear taken enough? 

Enough smiles? 

Enough restful nights? 

Enough exuberant days?

Make it a day changer to meet your fears with faith. 

Choose to make every day—a great day!

~ Max Lucado