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UpWords with Max Lucado

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**Robert E. Lee IV **

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 October 2016 at 02:07
God Uses Failures
by Max Lucado


What was I thinking taking this job? I should have done better. It’s all my fault. The voices--you’ve heard them all. When you lost your job, flunked the exam, or when your marriage went south...when you failed. The voices began to howl, laughing at you. You heard them and you joined them. You disqualified yourself and berated yourself. You sentenced yourself to hard labor in the Leavenworth of poor self-worth. Oh, the voices of failure. Failure finds us all.

But God’s Word is written for failures. It’s full of folks who were foul-ups. David was a failure, yet God used him. Jonah was in the belly of a fish and God heard his prayer. Perfect people? No. Perfect messes? You bet! A surprising and welcome discovery of the Bible is this: God uses failures! Miss this truth and you miss your Glory Days. God’s grace is greater than your failures.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 November 2016 at 01:26
Don’t Waste Your Failures
by Max Lucado


My wife and I spent some years as missionaries in Brazil. Our first two years felt fruitless and futile. More often than not I went home frustrated. So we asked God for another plan. We prayed and reread the Epistles, especially focused on Galatians. It occurred to me I was preaching a limited grace. When I compared our gospel message with Paul’s, I saw a difference. His was high-octane good news. Mine was soured legalism. We focused on the gospel, proclaiming forgiveness of sins and resurrection from the dead. We baptized forty people in twelve months! God wasn’t finished with us. We just needed to put the past in the past and God’s plan in place.

Don’t waste your failures by failing to learn from them. Rise up! God hasn’t forgotten you. Keep your head up. You never know what good awaits you.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 November 2016 at 02:41
Spill Your Heart Before God

by Max Lucado


As a member of God’s family, come to Him-- not as a stranger, but as an heir. Earnestly make your requests known to him; not because of what you have achieved, but because of what Christ has done! Jesus spilled his blood for you. You can spill your heart before God.

Jesus said if you have faith, you can tell a mountain to go and jump into the sea (Mark 11:23). What is your mountain? What is the challenge of your life? Call out to God for help! Will he do what you want? I cannot say, but this I can say, “He will do what is best.” That includes any force that is seeking to drive you out of the Promised Land. “Ask and it will be given to you,” Jesus said in Matthew 7:7. It is a battle, but you do not fight in vain. Call on God for great things!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 November 2016 at 01:54
Call it what you wish. A talent...a skill set...a gift. The terms are different, but the truth is the same. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:7, “The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others.”

You aren’t the only person with your skill. But you are the only person with your version of your skill. You entered the world uniquely equipped. Psalm 139:13-15 describes it as “knit together, woven together in the dark of the womb, intricately and curiously wrought.”

Each of us! Not some of us, a few of us, or the elite among us. Each of us has a beauty that longs to be revealed and released. It is you at your best! When you stand at the intersection of your skill and God’s call, you are standing at the corner of Promised Land Avenue and Glory Days Boulevard.

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What You Were Made to Do

Many people stop short of their destiny. They settle for someone else’s story. Grandpa was a butcher, Dad was a butcher, so I guess I’ll be a butcher. Everyone I know is in farming, so I guess I’m supposed to farm. Consequently, they risk leading dull, joyless, and fruitless lives. They never sing the song God wrote for their voices. They never cross a finish line with heavenward-stretched arms and declare, I was made to do this! They fit in, settle in, and blend in. But they never find their call.

Don’t make the same mistake. Ephesians 2:10 says: “It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.” Your existence is not accidental. Your skills are not incidental. God shaped each person in turn!

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Everybody Gets a Gift

Joshua said: “Tribe of Judah, take the high country. Manasseh, occupy the valleys. People of God, inhabit the land east of the Jordan.”

Jesus says: Joe, take your place in the domain of medicine. Mary, your territory is accounting. Susan, I give you the gift of compassion. Now occupy your territory.

Everybody gets a gift and these gifts come in different doses and combinations. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is.” Our inheritance is grace-based and equal. But our assignments are tailor made. No two snowflakes the same and no two fingerprints the same. Why would two skill sets be the same? No wonder Paul said in Ephesians 5:17 to make sure you understand what the Master wants! Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.

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I Love Christmas



Let the sleigh bells ring! I love Christmas. Let the carolers sing. The more Santas the merrier. I don’t complain about the crowded shops. I don’t grumble at the jam-packed grocery store. Well--it’s Christmas.

I love it because someone will ask the Christmas questions. What’s the big deal about the baby in the manger? Who was he? What does his birth have to do with me? The questioner may be a soldier stationed far from home. She may be a young mom who, for the first time, holds a child on Christmas Eve. The Christmas season prompts Christmas questions...and answers.

Because of Bethlehem, God is always near us. Always for us. Always in us. We may forget Him, but God will never forget us. He called Himself “Immanuel”--God with us!

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Christmas is about Jesus



My dad, a man of few words, told my brother and me, “Boys, Christmas is about Jesus!” In one of those bedtime, book-time moments, somewhere between the fairy tales and the monkey with the lunch pail, I thought about what he had said. I began asking the Christmas questions, and I’ve been asking them ever since!

God knows what it’s like to be a human. When we talk to him about deadlines or tough times, he understands. He’s been there. He’s been here. Because of Bethlehem, we have a friend in Jesus. Christmas begins what Easter celebrates. The child in the cradle became the King on the cross. He doesn’t tell us, “Clean up before you come in.” He offers, “Come in and I’ll clean you up.” It’s not our grip on him that matters, but his grip on us! And his grip is sure!

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Christ is in You



Jesus not only did a work for us; he does a work in us! Colossians 1:27 tells us, The mystery in a nutshell is just this– Christ is in you. He commands our hands and feet, requisitions our minds and tongues. Romans 8:29 declares, “He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son.”

We’ll never be sinless, but we will sin less. And when we do sin, we have this assurance: the grace that saved us also preserves us. We may lose our tempers, our perspective, and our self-control. But we never lose our hope. Scripture promises “He is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy!” (Jude 24).

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25 Questions for Mary



A teacher friend of mine asked her students to make a list of questions they would like to ask Mary. Their responses included: What was Jesus’ first word? Did he ever get sick? Did Jesus ever misbehave? All legitimate questions. The fact that we can ask these questions raises an even greater one. Why did God go so far? Why did He become a human being?

A chief reason is God wants you to know that he gets you. The Bible says in the Book of Hebrews that he understands how you feel and has faced what you face (4:15-16). Jesus has been through weakness and testing; he’s experienced it all--all but the sin! So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help! Because of Bethlehem, you can boldly go to him!

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The Secret of Forgiveness



You will never forgive anyone more than God has already forgiven you. Is it still hard to consider the thought of forgiving the one who hurt you? If so, go one more time to the room. Watch Jesus as he goes from disciple to disciple. Can you see him? Can you hear the water splash? Can you hear him shuffle on the floor to the next person? Keep that image.

John 13:12 says: “When he had finished washing their feet. . .” Please note; he finished washing their feet. That means he left no one out. Why is that important? Because that means he 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!

From “The Lucado Inspirational Reader”


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God Doesn't Let Go



Many Christians think they’re saved, hope they’re saved, but still they doubt, wondering, “Am I really saved?” Our behavior gives us reason to wonder. We’re strong one day, weak the next. Devoted one hour, flagging the next. Believing, then unbelieving.

Conventional wisdom draws a line through the middle of these fluctuations. Perform above this line, and enjoy God’s acceptance. But dip below it, and expect a pink slip from heaven. Salvation then becomes a matter of timing and you just hope you die on an upswing.

Jesus’ language couldn’t be stronger: “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never lose it or perish throughout the ages...and no one is able to snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28 AMP). God doesn’t let go and He won’t let go of you!

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God's Never Failing Love



God will not let you go. The big news of the Bible is not that you love God but that God loves you! He tattooed your name on the palm of his hand. His thoughts of you outnumber the sand on the shore. You never leave his mind, escape his sight, or flee his thoughts.

You need not win his love. You already have it. He sees the worst of you and loves you still. Your sins of tomorrow and failings of the future will not surprise him; he sees them now. Every day and deed of your life has passed before his eyes and been calculated in his decision. He knows you better than you know you and has reached his verdict: he loves you still! No discovery will disillusion him. No rebellion will dissuade him. He loves you with an everlasting love. God’s love--never failing. Never ending.

From Lucado Inspirational Reader

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The Sigh

As God’s story becomes your story, you will make this wonderful discovery: you will graduate from this life into heaven. According to Ephesians 1:10, Jesus’ plan is to “gather together in one all things in Christ.” God will reunite your body with your soul and create something unlike anything you have seen– an eternal body.

Consider Christ’s response to the suffering of a deaf mute. He took him aside from the multitude, the gospel says, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. “Then looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, ‘Be opened'” (Mark 7:33-34). Jesus looked up to heaven and sighed. A sigh of sadness, a deep breath...it won’t be this way for long. Indeed, it won’t.

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Grace for the Mess



The wasted years of life. The poor choices of life. God answers the mess of life with one word: grace! Grace. We know the word. The bank gives us a grace period. The seedy politician falls from grace. Grace shares the church parsonage with its cousins: forgiveness, faith, and fellowship. But do we really understand it? We’ve settled for wimpy grace. It politely occupies a phrase in a hymn and fits nicely on a church sign.

Have you been changed by grace? Shaped by grace? Strengthened by grace? Softened by grace? God’s grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. Grace comes after you! From insecure to God-secure. From afraid-to-die to ready-to-fly. Grace is the word that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off!

From God’s With You Every Day

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2017 at 02:21
Pray Boldly



When Martin Luther’s co-worker became ill, the reformer prayed boldly for healing. “I besought the Almighty with great vigor,” he wrote.

As John Wesley was crossing the Atlantic Ocean, contrary winds came up. When he learned the winds were knocking the ship off course, he responded in prayer. “Almighty and everlasting God. . .command these winds and these waves that they obey thee, and take us speedily and safely to the haven whither we would go.”

Boldness in prayer...it’s an uncomfortable thought for many. Storming heaven with prayers? God invited us to pray as such. Scripture says, “so let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive his mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need” (Hebrews 4:16 TLB). Dare to pray boldly!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 February 2017 at 01:46
But God Can



When you feel helpless, where can you turn? I suggest you turn to one of Jesus’ most intriguing teachings about prayer!

Luke tells the story of a persistent neighbor looking to borrow bread at midnight. Imagine it’s you ringing the doorbell. The door opens. “What are you doing here?” he asks. You answer, “A friend of mine has arrived for a visit, and I’ve nothing for him to eat.”

Finally he takes you to his pantry. And, as a result, your surprise guest doesn’t have to go to bed hungry. All because you spoke up on behalf of someone else. This is intercessory prayer at its purest. This prayer gets God’s attention. If your cranky and disgruntled neighbor will help you out, how much more will God do?

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Strength to Overcome



God’s word to Joshua is God’s word to us. “Be strong and of good courage” (Joshua 1:6). Do not cower before your woes. Take the land God has given you to possess. “And the Lord said to Joshua, “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor” (Joshua 6:2). God did not say, Joshua, take the city. God said, Joshua, receive the city I have taken. Joshua didn’t go forth hoping to win. He knew that God had already won.

The same can be said about you and your challenge. God says, Receive the blessing of my victory. The question is not, will you overcome? It is, when will you overcome? Life will always bring challenges. But God will always give strength to face them.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2017 at 01:39
The God Who Never Leaves

When I was seven, I ran away from home. I’d had enough of my father’s rules--I could make it on my own, thank you very much! I didn’t go far. At the end of the alley I remembered I was hungry, so I went back home.



Did my dad know of my insurrection? Fathers usually do. Was I still his son? Apparently so. If you’d asked my father, “Mr. Lucado, your son says he has no need of a father. Do you still consider him your son?” What do you think my dad would have said? I don’t have to guess at his answer. His commitment to me was greater than my commitment to him. So is God’s! I can count on him to be in my corner no matter how I perform. You can too!



From Max on Life

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 March 2017 at 02:46
All Have Fallen Short



Simply put--we’re not good enough to go to heaven! So what can we do? Perhaps if we do enough good deeds, they will offset our bad deeds. The question then surfaces: how many good deeds do we need to do? If I spend one year being greedy, how many years should I be generous? No one knows how many good deeds it takes to offset the bad. A rule sheet can’t be found--simply because it doesn’t exist.

God doesn’t operate this way. All we can do is ask for mercy. And God, because of his kindness, gives it. God turned over our sins to his Son. His Son, Jesus Christ, died for our sins. He did what we could not do so that we might become what we dare not dream: citizens of heaven!

From Max on Life

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