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UpWords with Max Lucado

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    Posted: 20 August 2018 at 11:20
Been there once...similiar thoughts going in.  I'm not a Christian but talked to my maker.  Comfortable now, I know I don't fear death.
 
Death is the ultimate unkown.  So many religions teach fear and uncertain judgement; no wonder many people on death's doorstep are in panic.

"One thing is different, though. This matter of dying bravely?  I think I will."

May we all do the same.
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Death: Because of Christ, You Can Face It.
by Max Lucado

As heart surgeries go, mine was far from the riskiest. But any procedure that requires four hours of probes inside your heart is enough to warrant an added prayer. So on the eve of my surgery, Denalyn, I, and some kind friends offered our share. We were staying at a hotel adjacent to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. We asked God to bless the doctors and watch over the nurses. After we chatted a few minutes, they wished me well and said good-bye. I needed to go to bed early. But before I could sleep, I wanted to offer one more prayer... alone.

I took the elevator down to the lobby and found a quiet corner and began to think. What if the surgery goes awry? What if this is my final night on earth? Is there anyone with whom I should make my peace? Do I need to phone any person and make amends? I couldn't think of anyone. (So if you are thinking I should have called you, sorry. Perhaps we should talk.)

Next I wrote letters to my wife and daughters, each beginning with the sentence "If you are reading this, something went wrong in the surgery."

Then God and I had the most honest of talks. We began with a good review of my first half century. The details would bore you, but they entertained us. I thanked him for grace beyond measure and for a wife who descended from the angels. My tabulation of blessings could have gone on all night and threatened to do just that. So I stopped and offered this prayer: I'm in good hands, Lord. The doctors are prepared; the staff is experienced. But even with the best of care, things happen. This could be my final night in this version of life, and I'd like you to know, if that's the case, I'm okay.

And I went to bed. And slept like a baby. As things turned out, I recovered from the surgery, and here I am, strong as ever, still pounding away at the computer keyboard. One thing is different, though. This matter of dying bravely?

I think I will.

May you do the same.


Listen to UpWords with Max Lucado at OnePlace.com and find resources at MaxLucado.com
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When You Speak, God Hears
by Max Lucado

Those who pray keep alive the watch fires of faith. For the most part we don’t even know their names. Such is the case of someone who prayed on a day long ago. His name is not important. He is important not because of who he was, but because of what he did.

He went to Jesus on behalf of a friend. His friend was sick, and Jesus could help, and someone needed to go to Jesus, so someone went. Others cared for the sick man in other ways. Some brought food; others provided treatment; still others comforted the family. Each role was crucial. Each person was helpful, but no one was more vital than the one who went to Jesus.

John writes: “So Mary and Martha sent someone to tell Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick’” (John 11:3, emphasis mine).

Someone carried the request. Someone walked the trail. Someone went to Jesus on behalf of Lazarus. And because someone went, Jesus responded.

In the economy of heaven, the prayers of saints are a valued commodity. John the apostle would agree. He wrote the story of Lazarus and was careful to show the sequence: The healing began when the request was made.

The phrase the friend of Lazarus used is worth noting. When he told Jesus of the illness, he said, “The one you love is sick.” The power of the prayer, in other words, does not depend on the one who makes the prayer but on the one who hears the prayer.

We can and must repeat the phrase in manifold ways. “The one you love is tired, sad, hungry, lonely, fearful, depressed.” The words of the prayer vary, but the response never changes. The Savior hears the prayer. He silences heaven so he won’t miss a word. The Master heard the request. Jesus stopped whatever he was doing and took note of the man’s words. This anonymous courier was heard by God.

John’s message is critical. You can talk to God because God listens. Your voice matters in heaven. He takes you very seriously. When you enter his presence, the attendants turn to you to hear your voice. No need to fear that you will be ignored. Even if you stammer or stumble, even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses God--and he listens.

Intently. Carefully. The prayers are honored as precious jewels. Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord. “The smoke from the incense went up from the angel’s hand to God” (Rev. 8:4). Incredible. Your words do not stop until they reach the very throne of God.

One call and heaven’s fleet appears. Your prayer on earth activates God’s power in heaven.

You are the someone of God’s kingdom. Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don’t need to. But this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth. What an amazing thought!

When you speak, Jesus hears.

And when Jesus hears, the world is changed.

All because someone prayed.

From For These Tough Times: Reaching Toward Heaven fo
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My Salvation is About Him
by Max Lucado

Who would look at the cross of Christ and say, “Great work, Jesus. Sorry you couldn’t finish it, but I’ll take up the slack.”?

Dare we question the crowning work of God? Dare we think heaven needs our help in saving us? Legalism discounts God and in the process makes a mess out of us.

To anyone attempting to earn heaven, Paul asks, “How is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? ....What has happened to all your joy?” (Galatians 4:19, 15 NIV).

Legalism is joyless because legalism is endless. There is always another class to attend, person to teach, mouth to feed. Inmates incarcerated in self-salvation find work but never joy. How could they? They never know when they are finished. Legalism leaches joy.

Grace, however, dispenses peace. The Christian trusts a finished work.

Grace offers rest. Legalism never does. Then why do we embrace it? “Those who trust in themselves are foolish” (Proverbs 28:26 NCV). Why do we trust in ourselves? Why do we add to God’s finished work?

But the truth is, we don’t. If we think we do, we have missed the message. “What is left for us to brag about?” Paul wonders (Romans 3:27 CEV). What is there indeed? What have you contributed? Aside from your admission of utter decadence, I can’t think of a thing. “By his doing you are in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Salvation glorifies the Savior, not the saved.

Your salvation showcases God’s mercy. It makes nothing of your effort but everything of his. “I--yes, I alone--am the one who blots out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again” (Isaiah, 43:25, emphasis mine).

Can you add anything to this salvation? No. The work is finished.

Can you earn this salvation? No. Don’t dishonor God by trying.

Dare we boast about this salvation? By no means. The giver of bread, not the beggar, deserves praise. “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31).

It’s not about what we do; it’s all about what he does.

From It's Not About Me
(c) (Thomas Nelson, 2007), Max Lucado
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Honor God in Your Work 
by Max Lucado

Heaven’s calendar has seven Sundays a week. God sanctifies each day. He conducts holy business at all hours and in all places. He uncommons the common by turning kitchen sinks into shrines, cafés into convents, and nine-to-five workdays into spiritual adventures.

Workdays? Yes, workdays. He ordained your work as something good. Before he gave Adam a wife or a child, even before he gave Adam britches, God gave Adam a job. “Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15 NASB). Innocence, not indolence, characterized the first family.

God views work worthy of its own engraved commandment: “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest” (Exod. 34:21 NASB). We like the second half of that verse. But emphasis on the day of rest might cause us to miss the command to work: “You shall work six days.” Whether you work at home or in the marketplace, your work matters to God.

And your work matters to society. We need you! Cities need plumbers. Nations need soldiers. Stoplights break. Bones break. We need people to repair the first and set the second. Someone has to raise kids, raise cane, and manage the kids who raise Cain.

Whether you log on or lace up for the day, you imitate God. Jehovah himself worked for the first six days of creation. Jesus said, “My Father never stops working, and so I keep working, too” (John 5:17 NCV). Your career consumes half of your lifetime. Shouldn’t it broadcast God? Don’t those forty to sixty hours a week belong to him as well?

The Bible never promotes workaholism or an addiction to employment as pain medication. But God unilaterally calls all the physically able to till the gardens he gives. God honors work. So honor God in your work. “There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good” (Eccles. 2:24 NASB).

Here is the big idea:

Use your uniqueness (what you do)
to make a big deal out of God (why you do it)
every day of your life (where you do it).

At the convergence of all three, you’ll find the cure for the common life: your sweet spot.

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

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Focus on the Task at Hand 
by Max Lucado

Life is tough enough as it is. It’s even tougher when we’re headed in the wrong direction.

One of the incredible abilities of Jesus was to stay on target. His life never got off track. Not once do we find him walking down the wrong side of the fairway. He had no money, no computers, no jets, no administrative assistants or staff; yet Jesus did what many of us fail to do. He kept his life on course.

As Jesus looked across the horizon of his future, he could see many targets. Many flags were flapping in the wind, each of which he could have pursued. He could have been a political revolutionary. He could have been a national leader. He could have been content to be a teacher and educate minds or to be a physician and heal bodies. But in the end he chose to be a Savior and save souls.

Anyone near Christ for any length of time heard it from Jesus himself. “The Son of Man came to find lost people and save them” (Luke 19:10). “The Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people” (Mark 10:45).

The heart of Christ was relentlessly focused on one task. The day he left the carpentry shop of Nazareth he had one ultimate aim--the cross of Calvary. He was so focused that his final words were, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

How could Jesus say he was finished? There were still the hungry to feed, the sick to heal, the untaught to instruct, and the unloved to love. How could he say he was finished? Simple. He had completed his designated task. His commission was fulfilled. The painter could set aside his brush, the sculptor lay down his chisel, the writer put away his pen. The job was done.

Wouldn’t you love to be able to say the same? Wouldn’t you love to look back on your life and know you had done what you were called to do?

From Let the Journey Begin: God’s Roadmap for New Beginnings
(c) (J Countryman 2009) Max Lucado

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Working as a grade 1 laboror in the steel mill, the older workers told me "A task doesn't degrade a man; but a man can degrade a job".  I still remember that.
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Many people dread their work. If you’re one of them, try changing your attitude toward your work! God’s eyes fall on the work of our hands. One stay-at-home-mom keeps this sign over her sink: “Divine tasks performed here, daily.” Indeed, work can be worship.

Peter wrote, “You are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God.” (1 Peter 2:9). So, let every detail in your life--your words, actions, whatever--be done in the name of the Master, Jesus. (Colossians 3:17). You don’t drive to an office, you drive to a sanctuary. You don’t attend a school, you attend a temple. You may not wear a clerical collar, but you could, because your work is God’s pulpit!

Read more Cure for the Common Life


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Water for Your Soul
by Max Lucado

Where do you find water for the soul? Jesus gave an answer one October day in Jerusalem. People had packed the streets for the annual reenactment of the rock-giving-water miracle of Moses. Each morning a priest filled a golden pitcher with water from the Gihon spring and carried it down a people-lined path to the temple. He did this every day, once a day, for seven days. “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’ ” (John 7:37-38).

He “stood and shouted” (NLT). The traditional rabbinic teaching posture was sitting and speaking. But Jesus stood up and shouted out. Forget a kind clearing of the throat. God was pounding his gavel on heaven’s bench. Christ demanded attention.

He shouted because his time was short. The sand in the neck of his hourglass was down to measurable grains. In six months he'd be dragging a cross through these streets. And the people? The people thirsted. They needed water, not for their throats, but for their hearts. So Jesus invited: Are your insides starting to shrivel? Drink me.

Internalize him. Ingest him. Welcome him into the inner workings of your life. Let Christ be the water of your soul.

Toward this end, I give you this tool: a prayer for the thirsty heart. Carry it just as a cyclist carries a water bottle. The prayer outlines four essential fluids for soul hydration: God’s work, God’s energy, his lordship, and his love. You’ll find the prayer easy to remember. Just think of the word W-E-L-L.

Lord, I come thirsty. I come to drink, to receive. I receive your work on the cross and in your resurrection. My sins are pardoned, and my death is defeated. I receive your energy. Empowered by your Holy Spirit, I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength. I receive your lordship. I belong to you. Nothing comes to me that hasn’t passed through you. And I receive your love. Nothing can separate me from your love.

Don’t you need regular sips from God’s reservoir? I do. I’ve offered this prayer in countless situations: stressful meetings, dull days, long drives, demanding trips, character-testing decisions. Many times a day 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.

Drink with me from his bottomless well. You don’t have to live with a dehydrated heart.

Receive Christ’s work on the cross,
the energy of his Spirit,
his lordship over your life,
his unending, unfailing love.

Drink deeply and often. And out of you will flow rivers of living water.

From Come Thirsty
(c) (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004) Max
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Practicing the Presence
by Max Lucado

How do I live in God’s presence? How do I detect his unseen hand on my shoulder and his inaudible voice in my ear? A sheep grows familiar with the voice of the shepherd. How can you and I grow familiar with the voice of God? Here are a few ideas:

Give God your waking thoughts. Before you face the day, face the Father. Before you step out of bed, step into his presence. I have a friend who makes it a habit to roll out of his bed onto his knees and begin his day in prayer. Personally, I don’t get that far. With my head still on the pillow and my eyes still closed, I offer God the first seconds of my day. The prayer is not lengthy and far from formal. Depending on how much sleep I got, it may not even be intelligible. Often it’s nothing more than “Thank you for a night’s rest. I belong to you today.”

Give God your waiting thoughts. Spend time with him in silence. The mature married couple has learned the treasure of shared silence; they don’t need to fill the air with constant chatter. Just being together is sufficient. Try being silent with God. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10 niv). Awareness of God is a fruit of stillness before God.

Give God your whispering thoughts. Through the centuries Christians have learned the value of brief sentence prayers, prayers that can be whispered anywhere, in any setting.

Imagine considering every moment as a potential time of communion with God. By giving God your whispering thoughts, the common becomes uncommon. Simple phrases such as “Thank you, Father,” “Be sovereign in this hour, O Lord,” “You are my resting place, Jesus” can turn a commute into a pilgrimage. You needn’t leave your office or kneel in your kitchen. Just pray where you are. Let the kitchen become a cathedral or the classroom a chapel. Give God your whispering thoughts.

And last, give God your waning thoughts. At the end of the day, let your mind settle on him. Conclude the day as you began it: talking to God. Thank him for the good parts. Question him about the hard parts. Seek his mercy. Seek his strength. And as you close your eyes, take assurance in the promise: “He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps. 121:4 niv). If you fall asleep as you pray, don’t worry. What better place to doze off than in the arms of your Father.

From Just Like Jesus
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 1998, 2001) Max Lucado

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Untangling Life's Knots
by Max Lucado

It’s your best friend’s wedding. “I’ll take care of the reception,” you’d volunteered. You planned the best party possible. You hired the band, rented the hall, catered the meal, decorated the room, and asked your Aunt Bertha to bake the cake.

Now the band is playing and the guests are milling, but Aunt Bertha is nowhere to be seen. Everything is here but the cake. You sneak over to the pay phone and dial her number. She’s been taking a nap. She thought the wedding was next week.

Oh boy! Now what do you do? Talk about a problem! Everything is here but the cake ...

Sound familiar?

It might. It’s exactly the dilemma Jesus’ mother, Mary, was facing. Back then, wine was to a wedding what cake is to a wedding today.

What Mary faced was a social problem. No need to call 911, but no way to sweep the embarrassment under the rug, either.

When you think about it, most of the problems we face are of the same caliber. We’re late for a meeting. We leave something at the office. A coworker forgets a report. Mail gets lost. Traffic gets snarled. The waves rocking our lives are not life threatening yet. But they can be. A poor response to a simple problem can light a fuse.

For that reason you might want to note how Mary reacted. Her solution poses a practical plan for untangling life’s knots. “They have no more wine,” she told Jesus (John 2:3). That’s it. That’s all she said. She didn’t go ballistic. She simply assessed the problem and gave it to Christ.

It’s so easy to focus on everything but the solution. Mary didn’t do that. She simply looked at the knot, assessed it, and took it to the right person. “I’ve got one here I can’t untie, Jesus.”

“When all the wine was gone Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine’” (John 2:3).

Please note, she took the problem to Jesus before she took it to anyone else. A friend told me about a tense deacons’ meeting he attended. Apparently there was more agitation than agreement, and after a lengthy discussion, someone suggested, “Why don’t we pray about it?” to which another questioned, “Has it come to that?”

What causes us to think of prayer as the last option rather than the first?

From A Gentle Thunder
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2006) Max Lucado

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America, You Exist by My Power
by Max Lucado

Every national privilege can be traced back to the hand of God. If we have liberty, we can thank the One who came to “proclaim liberty to the captives... to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18 NKJV). If we enjoy a robust economy or a high tide of justice, we don’t limit our thanks to senators or the Supreme Court; we thank God.

Tally this up. God makes the boundaries. He determines the leaders. He dispenses the blessings. And America exists by the power of God. Can we afford to forget this--can we afford to sever this single, silver strand that supports the whole framework of our republic?

Only at terrible risk.

“If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed” (Deut. 8:19, NLT).

“America,” God says, “you exist by My power.” That’s the first reminder. But God doesn’t stop there. A second reminder commands our attention.

America, you exist for My glory.

Recall what God said through the prophet, “I will demonstrate my glory among the nations” (Ezekiel 39:21, NLT).

God does not need the United States in order to advance His cause. He lobbies no country and depends on no government. “No, for all the nations of the world are nothing in comparison with him. They are but a drop in the bucket, dust on the scales. He picks up the islands as though they had no weight at all. The nations of the world are as nothing to him.  In his eyes they are less than nothing--mere emptiness and froth” (Isaiah 40:15, 17 NLT).

Suppose--just suppose--God’s glory became America’s prayer and priority: “Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory” (Psalm 115:1). Suppose our elected officials daily asked.  How can we honor God in our decisions? How can this school introduce students to God? How can this army promote the name of God?

Remember, who manages the hearts of rulers? Who prompts the decisions of kings? God does. God can change a nation.

For that reason, we must pray--pray with all our hearts--that America would turn back to God. 

“Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake” (Psalm 79:9).

Copyright Max Lucado
Turn, Multnomah Publishers, Inc. 2005

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Guilt and Grace
by Max Lucado

Sometime ago I read a story of a youngster who was shooting rocks with a slingshot. He could never hit his target. As he returned to Grandma’s backyard, he spied her pet duck. On impulse he took aim and let fly. The stone hit, and the duck was dead. The boy panicked and hid the bird in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister watching.

After lunch that day, Grandma told Sally to help with the dishes. Sally responded, “Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn’t you Johnny?” And she whispered to him, “Remember the duck!” So, Johnny did the dishes.

What choice did he have? For the next several weeks he was at the sink often. Sometimes for his duty, sometimes for his sin. “Remember the duck,” Sally’d whisper when he objected.

So weary of the chore, he decided that any punishment would be better than washing more dishes, so he confessed to killing the duck. “I know, Johnny,” his grandma said, giving him a hug. “I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. I wondered how long you would let Sally make a slave out of you.” (Steven Cole, “Forgiveness,” Leadership Magazine, 1983, 86.)

He’d been pardoned, but he thought he was guilty. Why? He had listened to the words of his accuser.

You have been accused as well. You have been accused of dishonesty. You’ve been accused of immorality. You’ve been accused of greed, anger, and arrogance.

Every moment of your life, your accuser is filing charges against you. Even his name, Diabolos, means “slanderer.” Who is he? The devil.

As he speaks, you hang your head. You have no defense. His charges are fair. “I plead guilty, your honor,” you mumble.

“The sentence?” Satan asks.

“The wages of sin is death,” explains the judge, “but in this case the death has already occurred. For this one died with Christ.”

Satan is suddenly silent. And you are suddenly jubilant. You realize that Satan cannot accuse you. No one can accuse you! Fingers may point and voices may demand, but the charges glance off like arrows hitting a shield. No more dirty dishwater. No more penance. No more nagging sisters. You have stood before the judge and heard him declare, “Not guilty.”

From In the Grip of Grace
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 1996) Max Lucado

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Diving into Life Headfirst
by Max Lucado

Steve Lyons will be remembered as the player who dropped his pants.

The White Sox were playing the Tigers in Detroit. Lyons bunted and raced down the first-base line. He knew it was going to be tight, so he dove at the bag. Safe! The Tiger’s pitcher disagreed. He and the umpire got into a shouting match, and Lyons stepped in to voice his opinion.

Absorbed in the game and the debate, Lyons felt dirt trickling down the inside of his pants. Without missing a beat he dropped his britches, wiped away the dirt, and... uh oh... twenty thousand jaws hit the bleachers’ floor.

Within twenty-four hours of the “exposure,” he received more exposure than he’d gotten his entire career: seven live television and approximately twenty radio interviews.

Fortunately, for Steve, he was wearing sliding pants under his baseball pants.

Now, I don’t know Steve Lyons. I’m not a White Sox fan. Nor am I normally appreciative of men who drop their pants in public. But I think Steve Lyons deserves a salute.

I think anybody who dives into first base deserves a salute. How many guys do you see roaring down the baseline of life more concerned about getting a job done than they are about saving their necks? How often do you see people diving headfirst into anything?

Too seldom, right? But when we do ... when we see a gutsy human throwing caution to the wind and taking a few risks ... ah, now that’s a person worthy of a pat on the ... back.

So here’s to all the Steve Lyons of the world.

Here’s to the Miracles, a choral group out of Memphis, Tennessee, made up of the mentally retarded and the stout-hearted. Just see if you can listen to them and still feel sorry for yourself.

Here’s to the hero of the San Francisco marathon who crossed the finish line without seeing it. (He was blind.)

Here’s to the woman whose husband left her with a nest of kids to raise and bills to pay, but who somehow tells me every Sunday that God has never been closer.

Here’s to the single father of two girls who learned to braid their hair.

Here’s to the grandparents who came out of retirement to raise the children their children couldn’t raise.

Here’s to the foster parents who took in a child long enough for that child to take their hearts--then gave the child up again.

Here’s to the girl, told by everyone to abort the baby, who chose to keep the baby.

Here’s to the doctor who treats more than half of his patients for free.

Here’s to the heroin-addict-turned-missionary.

Here’s to the executive who every Tuesday hosts a 5:30 A.M. meeting for Bible study and prayer.

Here’s to all of you reckless lovers of life and God, who stand on first base because you paid a price to get there.

So what if you forget about pleasing the crowd and get caught with your pants down? At least you’re playing ball in the pros.

Most of us aren’t even in your league.

From In the Eye of the Storm
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 1998, 2001) Max Lucado

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 July 2018 at 08:57

Traveling Light
by Max Lucado

I fell asleep in the Louvre.

The most famous museum in the world. The best-known building in Paris. Tourists are oohing and aahing, and that’s me, nodding and snoring. Seated on a bench. Back to the wall. Chin to my chest. Conked out.

The crown jewels are down the hall. Rembrandt is on the wall. Van Gogh is one floor up. The Venus de Milo is one floor down. I should have been star struck and wide eyed.

Denalyn was. You’d have thought she was at Foley’s Red Apple sale. If there was a tour, she took it. If there was a button to push, she pushed it. If there was a brochure to read, she read it. She didn’t even want to stop to eat.

But me? I gave the Mona Lisa five minutes.

Shameful, I know.

But it wasn’t my fault. I like seventeenth-century art as much as the next guy ... well, maybe not that much. But at least I can usually stay awake.

But not that day. Why did I fall asleep at the Louvre?

Blame it on the bags, baby; blame it on the bags. I was worn out from lugging the family luggage. We checked more suitcases than the road show of the Phantom of the Opera.

I can’t fault my wife and daughters. They learned it from me. Remember, I’m the one who travels prepared for an underwater wedding and a bowling tournament. It’s bad enough for one person to travel like that, but five? It’ll wear you out.

You think I’ll ever learn to travel light?

I tell you what. Let’s make a pact. I’ll reduce the leather bags, and we’ll both reduce the emotional ones. After all, it’s one thing to sleep through the Louvre but quite another to sleep through life.

We can, you know. Do we not dwell in the gallery of our God? Isn’t the sky his canvas and humanity his magnum opus? Are we not encircled by artistry? Sunsets burning. Waves billowing.

And isn’t the soul his studio? The birthing of love, the bequeathing of grace. All around us miracles pop like fireflies--souls are touched, hearts are changed, and...

Yawn. We miss it. We sleep through it. We can’t help it. It’s hard work carrying yesterday’s guilt around.

It’s also enough to make you miss the magic of life.

Then let’s get rid of the bags! Once and for all, let’s give our luggage to him. Let’s take him at his word! “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28 NLT).

From Traveling Light
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2004) Max Lucado

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 June 2018 at 09:42

Because He Chooses To...
by Max Lucado

Love. We’ve all but worn out the word. This morning I used love to describe my feelings toward my wife and toward peanut butter. Far from identical emotions. I’ve never proposed to a jar of peanut butter (though I have let one sit on my lap during a television show). Overuse has defused the word, leaving it with the punch of a butterfly wing.

Biblical options still retain their starch. Scripture employs an artillery of terms for love, each one calibrated to reach a different target. Consider the one Moses used with his followers: “The LORD chose your ancestors as the objects of his love” (Deuteronomy 10:15).

This passage warms our hearts. But it shook the Hebrews’ world. They heard this: “The Lord binds [hasaq] himself to his people.” Hasaq speaks of a tethered love, a love attached to something or someone. I’m picturing a mom connected by a child harness to her rambunctious five-year-old as the two of them walk through the market. (I once thought the leashes were cruel; then I became a dad.) The strap serves two functions, yanking and claiming. You yank your kid out of trouble and in doing so proclaim, “Yes, he is as wild as a banshee. But he’s mine.”

In this case, God chained himself to Israel. Because the people were lovable? No. “GOD wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important--the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors” (Deut. 7:7–8 MSG). God loves Israel and the rest of us because he chooses to.

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

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 June 2018 at 09:41

Welcome Home
by Max Lucado

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 he 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.

From Traveling Light
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2001) Max Lucado

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 June 2018 at 09:53

You Are Not a Victim of Your Thoughts

Life has a way of unloading her rubbish on our doorstep! Your husband works too much. Your wife gripes too much. Your boss expects too much. Your kids whine too much. The result? Trash. Loads of pessimism, guilt, anxiety--it all piles up. And what about the Pharisees? They killed Christ in their hearts before they killed him on the cross.

Today’s thoughts are tomorrow’s actions. Could that be why Paul writes, “Love...keeps no record of wrongs?” (1 Corinthians 13:5). We do have a choice. Paul says we do when he writes, “We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).  Selfishness, step back!  Envy...get lost! You are not a victim of your thoughts. If today’s thoughts are tomorrow’s actions, what happens when we fill our minds with thoughts of God’s love? Will standing beneath the downpour of his grace change the way we feel about others? Absolutely!

Read more A Love Worth Giving

Listen to UpWords with Max Lucado at OnePlace.com and find resources at MaxLucado.com

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 June 2018 at 09:33

Nevertheless...
by Max Lucado

And the king and his men... spoke to David, saying, “You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you,” ...Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David).
2 Samuel 5:6-9

Did you see it? Most hurry past it. Let’s not. Pull out a pen and underline this twelve-letter masterpiece.

Nevertheless.

“Nevertheless David took the stronghold...”

Wouldn’t you love God to write a nevertheless in your biography? Born to alcoholics, nevertheless she led a sober life. Never went to college, nevertheless he mastered a trade. Didn’t read the Bible until retirement age, nevertheless he came to a deep and abiding faith.

We all need a nevertheless. And God has plenty to go around. Strongholds mean nothing to him. Remember Paul’s words? “We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4 NLT).

You and I fight with toothpicks; God comes with battering rams and cannons. What he did for David, he can do for us. The question is, will we do what David did? The king models much here.

Two types of thoughts continually vie for your attention. One proclaims God’s strengths; the other lists your failures. One longs to build you up; the other seeks to tear you down. And here’s the great news: you select the voice you hear. Why listen to the mockers? Why heed their voices? Why give ear to pea-brains and scoffers when you can, with the same ear, listen to the voice of God?

Do what David did.
Turn a deaf ear to the old voices.
Open a wide eye to the new choices.
Who knows, you may be a prayer away from a nevertheless. God loves to give them.
Peter stuck his foot in his mouth.
Joseph was imprisoned in Egypt.
The Samaritan woman had been married five times.
Jesus was dead in the grave ...

Nevertheless, Peter preached, Joseph ruled, the woman shared, Jesus rose -- and you?

You fill in the blank. Your nevertheless awaits you.

From Facing Your Giants
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2006) Max Lucado

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2018 at 09:52

Headed Homeward
by Max Lucado

Aging is God’s idea. It’s one of the ways he keeps us headed homeward. We can’t change the process, but we can change our attitude. Here is a thought. What if we looked at the aging body as we look at the growth of a tulip?

Do you ever see anyone mourning over the passing of the tulip bulb? Do gardeners weep as the bulb begins to weaken? Of course not. We don’t purchase tulip girdles or petal wrinkle cream or consult plastic-leaf surgeons. We don’t mourn the passing of the bulb; we celebrate it. Tulip lovers rejoice the minute the bulb weakens. “Watch that one,” they say. “It’s about to blossom.”

Could it be heaven does the same? The angels point to our bodies. The more frail we become, the more excited they become. “Watch that lady in the hospital,” they say. “She’s about to blossom.” “Keep an eye on the fellow with the bad heart. He’ll be coming home soon.”

“We are waiting for God to finish making us his own children, which means our bodies will be made free” (Romans 8:23).

Are our bodies now free? No. Paul describes them as our “earthy bodies” (Phil. 3:21 MSG). Or as other translations state:

“our lowly body” (NKJV)
“the body of our humble state” (NASB)
“these weak mortal bodies” (NLT)
“our vile body” (KJV)
“our simple bodies” (NCV)

You could add your own adjective, couldn’t you? Which word describes your body? My cancerous body? My arthritic body? My deformed body? My crippled body? My addicted body? My ever-expanding body? The word may be different, but the message is the same: These bodies are weak. They began decaying the minute we began breathing.

And, according to God, that’s a part of the plan. Every wrinkle and every needle take us one step closer to the last step when Jesus will change our simple bodies into forever bodies. No pain. No depression. No sickness. No end.

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

From Traveling Light
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2001) Max Lucado

God,Mother,Country,and Hot Rods. Done with political crap.LOL
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