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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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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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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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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

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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!

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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

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tikkabuck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2018 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

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You Have Captured God's Heart
by Max Lucado

Just look at the gifts he has given you: He has sent his angels to care for you, his Holy Spirit to dwell in you, his church to encourage you, and his word to guide you. You have privileges only a fiancée could have. Anytime you speak, he listens; make a request and he responds. He will never let you be tempted too much or stumble too far. Let a tear appear on your cheek, and he is there to wipe it. Let a love sonnet appear on your lips, and he is there to hear it. As much as you want to see him, he wants to see you more.

He is building a house for you. And with every swing of the hammer and cut of the saw, he’s dreaming of the day he carries you over the threshold. “There are many rooms in my Father’s house; I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you. After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am” (John 14:2–3).

You have been chosen by Christ. You are released from your old life in your old house, and he has claimed you as his beloved. “Then where is he?” you might ask. “Why hasn’t he come?”

There is only one answer. His bride is not ready. She is still being prepared.

Engaged people are obsessed with preparation. The right dress. The right weight. The right hair and the right tux. They want everything to be right. Why? So their fiancée will marry them? No. Just the opposite. They want to look their best because their fiancée is marrying them.

The same is true for us. We want to look our best for Christ. We want our hearts to be pure and our thoughts to be clean. We want our faces to shine with grace and our eyes to sparkle with love. We want to be prepared.

Why? In hopes that he will love us? No. Just the opposite. Because he already does.

You are spoken for. You are engaged, set apart, called out, a holy bride. Forbidden waters hold nothing for you. You have been chosen for his castle. Don’t settle for one-night stands in the arms of a stranger.

Be obsessed with your wedding date. Guard against forgetfulness. Be intolerant of memory lapses. Write yourself notes. Memorize verses. Do whatever you need to do to remember. “Aim at what is in heaven . . . Think only about the things in heaven” (Col. 3:1–2). You are engaged to royalty, and your Prince is coming to take you home.

From When Christ Comes 
Copyright 1999, Max Lucado

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The Weight of Glory
by Max Lucado

“Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”  (2 Corinthians 4:17)

The words “weight of glory” conjure up images of the ancient pan scale.  Remember the blindfolded lady of justice?  She holds a pan scale- two pans, one on either side of the needle.  The weight of a purchase would be determined by placing weights on one side and the purchase on the other.

God does the same with your struggles. On one side he stacks all your burdens.  Famines.  Firings.  Parents who forgot you.  Bosses who ignored you.  Bad breaks, bad health, bad days.  Stack them up, and watch one side of the pan scale plummet.

Now witness God’s response.  Does he remove them?  Eliminate the burdens?  No, rather than take them, he offsets them.  He places an eternal weight of glory on the other side.  Endless joy.  Measureless peace.  An eternity of him.  Watch what happens as he sets eternity on your scale.

Everything changes!  The burdens lift.  The heavy becomes light when weighed against eternity.  If life is “just a moment,” can’t we endure any challenge for a moment?

We can be sick for just a moment.

We can be lonely for just a moment.

We can be persecuted for just a moment.

We can struggle for just a moment.

Can’t we?

Can’t we wait for our peace?  It’s not about us anyway.  And it’s certainly now about now.

From It’s Not About Me

Copyright 2004, Max Lucado

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When Everything Changes

Are you on the eve of change? A new chapter? A new season? Heaven’s message for you is clear: when everything else changes, God’s presence never does. You journey in the company of the Holy Spirit, who “will teach you everything and will remind you of everything” he has told you (John 14:26 NLT). So, make friends with whatever’s next.

Change is a part of life, and a necessary part of God’s strategy. To use us to change the world, he alters our assignments. But, someone might ask, what about the tragic changes God permits? Some seasons make no sense. They do, however, if we see them from an eternal perspective. What makes no sense in this life will make perfect sense in the next. As Paul wrote, “These troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing”  (2 Corinthians 4:17 CEV).

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The Desires of Your Heart
by Max Lucado

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalms 37:4

I recently met a twenty-year-old, just discharged from the military, and pondering his future. He bore a square jaw, a forearm tattoo, and a common question. He didn’t know what to do with the rest of his life. As we shared a flight, he told me about his uncle, a New England priest. “What a great man,” the ex-soldier sighed. “He helps kids and feeds the hungry. I’d love to make a difference like that.”

So I asked him the question of this chapter. “What were some occasions when you did something you love to do and did it quite well?”

He dismissed me at first. “Aw, what I love to do is stupid.”

“Try me,” I invited.

“Well, I love to rebuild stuff.”

“What do you mean?”

He spoke of an old coffee table he had found in a garage. Seeing its potential, he shaved off the paint, fixed the broken legs, and restored it. With great pride, he presented it to his mom.

“Tell me another time,” I prompted.

“This one is really dumb,” he discounted. “But when I worked at a butcher shop, I used to find meat on the bones others threw out. My boss loved me! I could find several pounds of product just by giving the bone a second try.”

As the plane was nosing down, I tested a possibility with him. “You love to salvage stuff. You salvage furniture, salvage meat. God gave you the ability to find a treasure in someone else’s trash.”

My idea surprised him. “God? God did that?”

“Yes, God. Your ability to restore a table is every bit as holy as your uncle’s ability to restore a life.” You would have thought he’d just been handed a newborn baby. As my words sank in, the tough soldier teared up.

See your desires as gifts to heed rather than longings to suppress, and you’ll feel the same joy.

Reflect on your life. What have you always done well and loved to do?

From Cure for the Common Life
Copyright 2006, Max Lucado

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It’s a Jungle Out There
by Max Lucado

The story is told of a man on an African safari deep in the jungle. The guide before him had a machete and was whacking away the tall weeds and thick underbrush. The traveler, wearied and hot, asked in frustration, “Where are we? Do you know where you are taking me? Where is the path?!” The seasoned guide stopped and looked back at the man and replied, “I am the path.”

We ask the same questions, don’t we? We ask God, “Where are you taking me? Where is the path?” And he, like the guide, doesn’t tell us. Oh, he may give us a hint or two, but that’s all. If he did, would we understand? Would we comprehend our location? No, like the traveler, we are unacquainted with this jungle. So rather than give us an answer, Jesus gives us a far greater gift. He gives us himself.

Does he remove the jungle? No, the vegetation is still thick.

Does he purge the predators? No, danger still lurks.

Jesus doesn’t give hope by changing the jungle; he restores our hope by giving us himself. And he has promised to stay until the very end. “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20 NIV).

We need that reminder. We all need that reminder. For all of us need hope.

Some of you don’t need it right now. Your jungle has become a meadow and your journey a delight. If such is the case, congratulations. But remember--we do not know what tomorrow holds. We do not know where this road will lead. You may be one turn from a cemetery, from a hospital bed, from an empty house. You may be a bend in the road from a jungle.

And though you don’t need your hope restored today, you may tomorrow. And you need to know to whom to turn.

Or perhaps you do need hope today. You know you were not made for this place. You know you are not equipped. You want someone to lead you out.

If so, call out for your Shepherd. He knows your voice. And he’s just waiting for your request.

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

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The Lord Looks at the Heart
by Max Lucado

“God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 2 Samuel 16:7

Seven sons pass. Seven sons fail. The procession comes to a halt.

Samuel counts the siblings: one-two-three-four-five-six-seven. “Jesse, don’t you have eight sons?” A similar question caused Cinderella’s stepmother to squirm. Jesse likely did the same. “I still have the youngest son. He is out taking care of the sheep.” (v. 11)

The Hebrew name for “youngest son” is haqqaton. It implies more than age, it suggests rank. The haqqaton was more that the youngest brother- the runt, the hobbit, the “bay-ay-ay-by.”

Sheep watching fits the family haqqaton. Put the boy where he can’t cause trouble. Leave him with woolly heads and open skies.

What caused God to pick him? We want to know. We really want to know.

“The Lord does not see as a man sees: for the man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (v.7)

Those words were written for the haqqatons of society, for misfits and castouts. God uses them all.

Moses ran from justice, but God used him.

Jonah ran from God, but God used him.

Rahab ran a brothel, Samson ran to the wrong woman, Jacob ran in circles, Ruth ran to a distant land, Elijah ran into the mountains, Sarah ran out of hope, Lot ran with the wrong crowd, but God used them all.

And David? God saw a teenage boy, serving him in the backwoods of Bethlehem, at the intersection of boredom and anonymity, and through the voice of a brother, God called, “David! Come in. Someone wants to see you.”

God saw what no one else saw: a God-seeking heart. Others measure your waist size or wallet. Not God. He examines hearts. When he finds one set on him, he calls it and claims it.

From Facing Your Giants 
Copyright 2006, Max Lucado

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Hidden Heroes
by Max Lucado

A revival can begin with one sermon. History proves it. John Egglen had never preached a sermon in his life. Never.

Wasn’t that he didn’t want to, just never needed to. But then one morning he did. The snow left his town of Colchester, England, buried in white. When he awoke on that January Sunday in 1850, he thought of staying home. Who would go to church in such weather?

But he reconsidered. He was, after all, a deacon. And if the deacons didn’t go, who would? So he put on his boots, hat, and coat and walked the six miles to the Methodist Church.

He wasn’t the only member who considered staying home. In fact, he was one of the few who came. Twelve members and one visitor. Even the minister was snowed in. Someone suggested they go home. Egglen would hear none of that. They’d come this far; they would have a service. Besides, they had a visitor. A thirteen-year-old boy.

But who would preach? Egglen was the only deacon. It fell to him.

And so he did. His sermon lasted only ten minutes. It drifted and wandered and made no point in an effort to make several. But at the end, an uncharacteristic courage settled upon the man. He lifted his eyes and looked straight at the boy and challenged: “Young man, look to Jesus. Look! Look! Look!”

Did the challenge make a difference? Let the boy, now a man, answer. “I did look, and then and there the cloud on my heart lifted, the darkness rolled away, and at that moment I saw the sun.”

The boy’s name? Charles Haddon Spurgeon. England’s prince of preachers.

Did Egglen know what he’d done? No. Do heroes know when they are heroic? Rarely. Are historic moments acknowledged when they happen?

You know the answer to that one. (If not, a visit to the manger will remind you.) We seldom see history in the making, and we seldom recognize heroes.

But we’d do well to keep our eyes open. Tomorrow’s Spurgeon might be mowing your lawn. And the hero who inspires him might be nearer than you think.

He might be in your mirror.

From When God Whispers Your Name
Copyright 1994, Max Lucado

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Remarkable
by Max Lucado

Every day I have the honor of sitting down with a book that contains the words of the One who created me. Every day I have the opportunity to let him give me a thought or two on how to live.

If I don’t do what he says, he doesn’t burn the book or cancel my subscription. If I disagree with what he says, lightning doesn’t split my swivel chair or an angel doesn’t mark my name off the holy list. If I don’t understand what he says, he doesn’t call me a dummy.

In fact, he calls me “Son,” and on a different page explains what I don’t understand.

Remarkable.

At the end of the day when I walk through the house, I step into the bedrooms of three little girls. And one by one, I bend over and kiss the foreheads of the angels God has loaned me. Then I stand in the doorway and wonder why in the world he would entrust a stumbling, fumbling fellow like me with the task of loving and leading such treasures.

Remarkable.

Then I go and crawl into bed with a woman far wiser than I ... a woman who deserves a man much better looking than I ... but a woman who would argue that fact and tell me from the bottom of her heart that I’m the best thing to come down her pike.

After I think about the wife I have, and when I think that I get to be with her for a lifetime, I shake my head and thank the God of grace for grace and think, Remarkable.

I’m learning not to take these everyday miracles for granted.

I’m discovering many things: traffic jams eventually clear up, sunsets are for free, Little League is a work of art, and most planes take off and arrive on time. I’m learning that most folks are good folks who are just as timid as I am about starting a conversation.

I’m meeting people who love their country and their God and their church and would die for any of the three.

I’m learning that if I look ... if I open my eyes and observe ... there are many reasons to take off my hat, look at the Source of it all, and just say thanks.

From In the Eye of the Storm
Copyright 1991, Max Lucado

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Living Loved

The secret to loving is living loved. It’s the forgotten first step in relationships. Remember Paul’s prayer? “May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love” (Ephesians 3:17 NLT).

Many people tell us to love. Only God gives us the power to do so. We know what God wants us to do. “This is what God commands. . .that we love each other.”  (1 John 3:23). But how can we? How can we be kind to those who are unkind to us? How can we love as God loves? By being loved. By following the principle: receive first and love second. God loves you personally...powerfully...passionately! He loves you with an unfailing love. Others have promised and failed. But God has promised and succeeded!

Read more A Love Worth Giving

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Thin Air-ogance
by Max Lucado

You can climb too high for your own good. The story of David and Bathsheba is less a story of lust and more a story of power. A story of a man who rose too high for his won good. A man who needed to hear these words: “Come down before you fall.”

“First pride, then the crash- the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 MSG)

This must be why God hates arrogance. He hates to see his children fall. He hates to see his Davids suduce and his Bathshebas be victimized. God hates what pride does to his children. He doesn’t dislike arrogance. He hates it. Could he state it any clearer than Proverbs 8:13: “I hate pride and arrogance.” (NIV)? And then a few chapters later: “God can’t stomach arrogance or pretense; believe me, he’ll put those upstarts in their place” (16:5 MSG).

You don’t want God to do that. Just ask David. He never quite recovered from his bout with this giant. Don’t make his mistake. ‘Tis far wiser to descend the mountain than fall from it.

Pursue humility. Humility doesn’t mean you think less of yourself but that you think of yourself less. “Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you” (Romans 12:3 Phillips).

Embrace your poverty. We’re all equally broke and blessed. “People come into this world with nothing, and when they die they leave with nothing” (Eccles. 5:15 NCV)

Resist the place of celebrity. “Go sit in a seat that is not important. When the host comes to you, he may say, ‘Friend, move up here to a more important place.’ Then all the othere guests will respect you” (Luke 14:10 NCV).

Wouldn’t you rather be invited up than put down?

God has a cure for the high and mighty: come down from the mountain. You’ll be amazed what you hear and who you see. And you’ll breathe a whole lot easier.

From Facing Your Giants
Copyright 2006, Max Lucado

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Traveling Light
by Max Lucado

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28 NLT).

Rest from the burden of a small god. Why? Because I have found the Lord.

Rest from doing things my way. Why? Because the Lord is my Shepherd.

Rest from endless wants. Why? Because I shall not want.

Rest from weariness. Why? Because he makes me to lie down.

Rest from worry. Why? Because he leads me.

Rest from hopelessness. Why? Because he restores my soul.

Rest from guilt. Why? Because he leads me in the paths of righteousness.

Rest from arrogance. Why? Because of his name’s sake.

Rest from the valley of death. Why? Because he walks me through it.

Rest from the shadow of grief. Why? Because he guides me.

Rest from fear. Why? Because his presence comforts me.

Rest from loneliness. Why? Because he is with me.

Rest from shame. Why? Because he has prepared a place for me in the presence of my enemies.

Rest from my disappointments. Why? Because he anoints me.

Rest from envy. Why? Because my cup overflows.

Rest from doubt. Why? Because he follows me.

Rest from homesickness. Why? Because I will dwell in the house of my Lord forever.

From Traveling Light
Copyright 2001, Max Lucado

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Uncluttered Faith
by Max Lucado

One of my favorite stories concerns a bishop who was traveling by ship to visit a church across the ocean. While en route, the ship stopped at an island for a day. He went for a walk on a beach. He came upon three fishermen mending their nets.

Curious about their trade he asked them some questions. Curious about his ecclesiastical robes, they asked him some questions. When they found out he was a Christian leader, they got excited. “We Christians!” they said, proudly pointing to one another.

The bishop was impressed but cautious. Did they know the Lord’s Prayer? They had never heard of it.

“What do you say, then, when you pray?”

“We pray, ‘We are three, you are three, have mercy on us.’ ”

The bishop was appalled at the primitive nature of the prayer. “That will not do.” So he spent the day teaching them the Lord’s Prayer. The fishermen were poor but willing learners. And before the bishop sailed away the next day, they could recite the prayer with no mistakes.

The bishop was proud.

On the return trip the bishop’s ship drew near the island again. When the island came into view the bishop came to the deck and recalled with pleasure the men he had taught and resolved to go see them again. As he was thinking a light appeared on the horizon near the island. It seemed to be getting nearer. As the bishop gazed in wonder he realized the three fishermen were walking toward him on the water. Soon all the passengers and crew were on the deck to see the sight.

When they were within speaking distance, the fisherman cried out, “Bishop, we come hurry to meet you.”

“What is it you want?” asked the stunned bishop.

“We are so sorry. We forget lovely prayer. We say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name ...’ and then we forget. Please tell us prayer again.”

The bishop was humbled. “Go back to your homes, my friends, and when you pray say, ‘We are three, you are three, have mercy on us.’ ”

From And the Angels Were Silent
Copyright 1992, Max Lucado

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