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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: 13 May 2018 at 14:22

Hucksters & Hypocrites
by Max Lucado

Some years ago I was in the Miami airport to pick up a friend. As I walked through the terminal, a convert of an Eastern cult got my attention. You know the kind I'm talking about: beads, sandals, frozen smile, backpack of books.

"Sir," she said. (I should have kept walking.)

"Sir, just a moment, please." Well, I had a moment. I was early and the plane was late, so what harm? (I should have kept walking.)

I stopped and she began her spiel. She said she was a teacher and her school was celebrating an anniversary. In honor of the event, they were giving away a book which explained their philosophy. She placed a copy in my hand. It was a thick hardback with a mystic cover. A guru-looking guy was sitting cross-legged with his hands folded. I thanked her for the book and began to walk away.

"Sir?" I stopped. I knew what was coming.

"Would you like to make a donation to our school?"

"No," I responded, "but thanks for the book."

I began to walk away. She followed me and tapped me on the shoulder.

"Sir, everyone so far has given a donation in appreciation for the gift."

"That's good," I replied, "but I don't think I will. But I appreciate the book." I turned and began to walk away. I hadn't even taken a step, however, when she spoke again. This time she was agitated.

"Sir," and she opened her purse so I could see her collection of dollars and coins. "If you were sincere in your gratitude you would give a donation in appreciation."

That was low. That was sneaky. Insulting. I'm not usually terse, but I couldn't resist. "That may be true," I responded, "but if you were sincere, you wouldn't give me a gift and then ask me to pay for it."

She reached for the book, but I tucked it under my arm and walked away. A small victory against the mammoth of hucksterism. Sadly, the hucksters win more than they lose. And, even more sadly, hucksters garb themselves in Christian costumes as much as those of Eastern cults.

You've seen them. The talk is smooth. The vocabulary eloquent. The appearance genuine. They are on your television. They are on your radio. They may even be in your pulpit. May I speak candidly?

The time has come to tolerate religious hucksters no longer. These seekers of "sanctimoney" have stained the reputation of Christianity. They have muddied the altars and shattered the stained glass. They manipulate the easily deceived. They are not governed by God; they are governed by greed. They are not led by the Spirit; they are propelled by pride. They are marshmallow phonies who excel in emotion and fail in doctrine. They strip-mine faith to get a dollar and rape the pew to get a payment. Our master unveiled their scams and so must we.

How? By recognizing them.

Two trademarks give them away. One, they emphasize their profit more than the Prophet. Note the emphasis of the message. What is the burden? Your salvation or your donation? Monitor what is said. Is money always needed yesterday? Are you promised health if you give and hell if you don't? If so, ignore him.

A second characteristic of ecclesiastical con men: they build more fences than they build faith. Medicine men tell you to stay out of the pharmacy. They don't want you trying other treatments. Neither do hucksters. They present themselves as pioneers that the mainline church couldn't stomach, but, in reality, they are lone wolves on the prowl.

Christ's passion on Monday is indignance. For that reason I make no apology about challenging you to call the cards on these guys. God has been calling a halt to babblers building towers for centuries. So should we.

Excerpt from And the Angels Were Silent. Click HERE to order And the Angels Were Silent.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2018 at 09:31

When Fishermen Don't Fish
by Max Lucado

Bread is eaten daily. Some fruits are available only in season. Some drinks are made only at holidays. Not so with bread. And not so with Jesus. He should be brought to our table every day. We let him nourish our hearts, not just in certain months or on special events, but daily.

Bread can meet many needs. So can Jesus. He has a word for the lonely as well as for the popular. He has help for the physically ill and the emotionally ill. If your vision is clear, he can help you. If your vision is cloudy, he can help you. Jesus can meet each need.

Can you see why Jesus called himself the Bread of Life?

I can think of one other similarity. Consider how bread is made. Think about the process. Wheat grows in the field, then it is cut down, winnowed, and ground into flour. It passes through the fire of the oven and is then distributed around the world. Only by this process does bread become bread. Each step is essential.

Jesus grew up as a "small plant before the LORD" (Isa. 53:2).  One of thousands in Israel. Indistinguishable from the person down the street or the child in the next chair. Had you seen him as a youngster, you wouldn't have thought he was the Son of God. He was just a boy. One of hundreds. Like a staff of wheat in the wheat field.

But like wheat, he was cut down. Like chaff he was pounded and beaten. "He was wounded for the wrong we did; he was crushed for the evil we did" (Isa. 53:5). And like bread he passed through the fire. On the cross he passed though the fire of God's anger, not because of his sin, but because of ours. "The LORD has put on him the punishment for all the evil we have done" (Isa. 53:6).

Jesus experienced each part of the process of making bread: the growing, the pounding, the firing. And just as each is necessary for bread, each was also necessary for Christ to become the bread of life. "The Christ must suffer these things before he enters his glory" (Luke 24:26).

The next part of the process, the distribution, Christ leaves with us. We are the distributors. We can't force people to eat the bread, but we can make sure they have it.

"I am the bread that gives life."  John 6:35

From A Gentle Thunder, Copyright 1995 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: 15 May 2018 at 08:56

Trust in God, and Trust in Me
by Max Lucado

I’ve often thought it curious how few people Jesus raised from the dead.

He healed hundreds and fed thousands, but as far as we know he only raised three: the daughter of Jairus, the boy near Nain, and Lazarus. Why so few? Could it be because he knew he’d be doing them no favors? Could it be because he couldn’t get any volunteers? Could it be that once someone is there, the last place they want to return to is here?

We must trust God. We must trust not only that he does what is best but that he knows what is ahead. Ponder these words of Isaiah 57:1–2: “The good men perish; the godly die before their time and no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to realize that God is taking them away from the evil days ahead. For the godly who die shall rest in peace” (TLB).

My, what a thought. God is taking them away from the evil days ahead. Could death be God’s grace? Could the funeral wreath be God’s safety ring? As horrible as the grave may be, could it be God’s protection from the future?

Trust in God, Jesus urges, and trust in me.

Several years ago I heard then Vice President George Bush speak at a prayer breakfast. He told of his trip to Russia to represent the United States at the funeral of Leonid Brezhnev. The funeral was as precise and stoic as the communist regime. No tears were seen, and no emotion displayed. With one exception. Mr. Bush told how Brezhnev’s widow was the last person to witness the body before the coffin was closed. For several seconds she stood at his side and then reached down and performed the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest.

In the hour of her husband’s death, she went not to Lenin, not to Karl Marx, not to Khrushchev. In the hour of death she turned to a Nazarene carpenter who had lived two thousand years ago and who dared to claim: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me.”

From A Gentle Thunder: Hearing God through the Storm
Copyright 1995, 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: 16 May 2018 at 07:21

Begin. Just Begin!
by Max Lucado

What difference will my work make?

God’s answer: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zech. 4:10).

Begin. Just Begin! What seems small to you might be huge to someone else. Just ask Bohn Fawkes. During World War II, he piloted a B-17. On one mission he sustained flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns. Even though his gas tanks were hit, the plane did not explode, and Fawkes was able to land the plane.

On the morning following the raid, Fawkes asked his crew chief for the German shell. He wanted to keep a souvenir of his incredible good fortune. The crew chief explained that not just one but eleven shells had been found in the gas tanks, none of which exploded.

Technicians opened the missiles and found them void of explosive charge. They were clean and harmless and with one exception, empty. The exception contained a carefully rolled piece of paper. On it a message had been scrawled in the Czech language. Translated, the note read: “This is all we can do for you now.”

A courageous assembly-line worker was disarming bombs and scribbled the note. He couldn’t end the war, but he could save one plane. He couldn’t do everything, but he could do something. So he did it.

God does big things with small deeds.

From Cure for the Common 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 May 2018 at 09:08

The Beggar and the Bread
by Max Lucado

A beggar came and sat before me. “I want bread,” he said.

“How wise you are,” I assured him. “Bread is what you need. And you have come to the right bakery.” So I pulled my cookbook down from my shelf and began to tell him all I knew about bread.

I spoke of flour and wheat, of grain and barley. My knowledge impressed even me as I cited the measurements and recipe. When I looked up, I was surprised to see he wasn’t smiling. “I just want bread,” he said.

“How wise you are.” I applauded his choice. “Follow me, and I’ll show you our bakery.” Down the hallowed halls I guided him, pausing to point out the rooms where the dough is prepared and the ovens where the bread is baked.

“No one has such facilities. We have bread for every need. But here is the best part,” I proclaimed as I pushed open two swinging doors. “This is our room of inspiration.” I knew he was moved as we stepped into the auditorium full of stained-glass windows.

The beggar didn’t speak. I understood his silence. With my arm around his shoulder, I whispered, “It overwhelms me as well.” I then leaped to the podium and struck my favorite pose behind the lectern. “People come from miles to hear me speak. Once a week my workers gather, and I read to them the recipe from the cookbook of life.”

By now the beggar had taken a seat on the front row. I knew what he wanted. “Would you like to hear me?”

“No,” he said, “but I would like some bread.”

“How wise you are,” I replied. And I led him to the front door of the bakery. “What I have to say next is very important,” I told him as we stood outside. “Up and down this street you will find many bakeries. But take heed; they don’t serve the true bread. I know of one who adds two spoons of salt rather than one. I know of another whose oven is three degrees too hot. They may call it bread,” I warned, “but it’s not according to the book.”

The beggar turned and began walking away. “Don’t you want bread?” I asked him.

He stopped, looked back at me, and shrugged, “I guess I lost my appetite.”

I shook my head and returned to my office. “What a shame,” I said to myself. “The world just isn’t hungry for true bread anymore.”

I don’t know what is more incredible: that God packages the bread of life in the wrapper of a country carpenter or that he gives us the keys to the delivery truck. Both moves seem pretty risky. The carpenter did his part, however. And who knows -- we may just learn to do ours.

From A Gentle Thunder
Copyright 2001, Max Lucado

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: 18 May 2018 at 06:21

Scrooge Didn't Create the World

Scrooge didn’t create the world – God did! Psalm 104 celebrates this lavish creation with twenty-three verses of itemized blessings: the heavens and the earth, the waters and the streams and trees and the oil and bread and the people and the lions. God is the source of “innumerable teeming things,” writes the Psalmist, “living things both small and great... These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season” (vs. 15, 27). And He does!

God is the great giver. The great provider. The fount of every blessing. God owns everything and gives us all things to enjoy. Move from the fear of scarcity to the comfort of provision. Less hoarding and more sharing. The resounding and recurring message of Scripture is clear. God owns it all. God shares it all. Trust him--not stuff!

Read more Fearless

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The Winsomeness of Holiness
by Max Lucado

John the Baptist would never get hired today. No church would touch him. He was a public relations disaster. He “wore clothes made from camel’s hair, had a leather belt around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey” (Mark 1:6). Who would want to look at a guy like that every Sunday?

No, John would never get hired today. His tactics lacked tact. His style wasn’t smooth. He made few friends and lots of enemies, but what do you know? He made hundreds of converts. “All the people from Judea and Jerusalem were going out to him. They confessed their sins and were baptized by him in the Jordan River” (Mark 1:5).

Look at that. “All the people of Judea and Jerusalem.... ” How do we explain such a response? It certainly wasn’t his charisma or clothing. Nor was it his money or position, for he had neither. Then what did he have?

One word. Holiness.

John the Baptist set himself apart for one task, to be a voice of Christ. Everything about John centered on his purpose. His dress. His diet. His actions. His demands.

He reminded his hearers of Elijah. And he reminds us of this truth: “There is winsomeness in holiness.” You don’t have to be like the world to have an impact on the world. You don’t have to be like the crowd to change the crowd. You don’t have to lower yourself down to their level to lift them up to your level.

Nor do you have to be weird. You don’t need to wear camel’s-hair clothing or eat insects. Holiness doesn’t seek to be odd. Holiness seeks to be like God.

You want to make a difference in your world? Live a holy life:

Be faithful to your spouse.

Be the one at the office who refuses to cheat.

Be the neighbor who acts neighborly.

Be the employee who does the work and doesn’t complain.

Pay your bills.

Do your part and enjoy life.

Don’t speak one message and live another.

Note the last line of Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:11–12.

Do all you can to lead a peaceful life. Take care of your own business, and do your own work as we have already told you. If you do, then people who are not believers will respect you.

From A Gentle Thunder
Copyright 1995, Max Lucado

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: 8 hours 24 minutes ago at 10:56

The Touch of God
by Max Lucado

In Scripture Matthew 8:2 is symbolic of the ultimate outcast: infected by a condition he did not seek, rejected by those he knew, avoided by people he did not know, condemned to a future he could not bear. And in the memory of each outcast must have been the day he was forced to face the truth: life would never be the same.

The banishing of a leper seems harsh, unnecessary. The Ancient East hasn’t been the only culture to isolate their wounded, however. We may not build colonies or cover our mouths in their presence, but we certainly build walls and duck our eyes. And a person needn’t have leprosy to feel quarantined.

The divorced know this feeling. So do the handicapped. The unemployed have felt it, as have the less educated. Some shun unmarried moms. We keep our distance from the depressed and avoid the terminally ill. We have neighborhoods for immigrants, convalescent homes for the elderly, schools for the simple, centers for the addicted, and prisons for the criminals.

The rest simply try to get away from it all. Only God knows how many individuals are living quiet, lonely lives infected by their fear of rejection and their memories of the last time they tried. They choose not to be touched at all rather than risk being hurt again.

Some of you have the master touch of the Physician himself. You use your hands to pray over the sick and minister to the weak. If you aren’t touching them personally, your hands are writing letters, dialing phones, baking pies. You have learned the power of a touch.

But others of us tend to forget. Our hearts are good; it’s just that our memories are bad. We forget how significant one touch can be. We fear saying the wrong thing or using the wrong tone or acting the wrong way. So rather than do it incorrectly, we do nothing at all.

Aren’t we glad Jesus didn’t make the same mistake? If your fear of doing the wrong thing prevents you from doing anything, keep in mind the perspective of the lepers of the world. They aren’t picky. They aren’t finicky. They’re just lonely. They are yearning for a godly touch.

Jesus touched the untouchables of the world. Will you do the same?

From Just Like Jesus
Copyright 1998, Max Lucado

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

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