Tag Archives: Max Lucado

Max Lucado – The Sparkle of Eternity

 

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The fifth chapter of Mark tells the story of a synagogue leader who reached the point where desperation exceeded dignity.  He begged Jesus to heal his dying daughter.  And Jesus did, with a look on his face that said, Come here. I’ve got a secret.

I’ve seen that sparkle of eternity in the eyes of a cancer patient who said, “I’m ready to go.”  I saw it at a funeral.  The widower didn’t weep like the others.  “Don’t worry about me,” he said.  “I know where she is.”  Peace where there should be pain.  Hope defying despair.  That’s what that look says.  It is a look that knows the answer to the question asked by every mortal:  Does death have the last word?  I can see Jesus wink as he answers, “Not on your life.”

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Max Lucado – God vs. Death

 

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Death is the bully on the block of life.  “Your time is coming,” he taunts.  Oh, we try to prove him wrong.  We jog.  We diet.  But we know that we will only, at best, postpone it.  That is why you should never face him alone.  That is why you need a big brother.

Take heart from these words,  “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-16).

Yes, the Christian can face the bully nose to nose and claim the promise that echoed in the empty tomb. My death is not final!

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Max Lucado – An Eleventh Hour Gift

 

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“We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done one thing wrong.”  These words were spoken on Skull’s hill by a thief.  After a life of crime, he’s reached the bottom—a crossbeam and three spikes.  He begins to wonder who Jesus might be, and he hears the whisper, “Father, forgive them.”

When the other criminal hurls an accusation at Jesus, this thief defends him.  His statement includes facts that anyone needs to recognize to come to Jesus.  We are guilty and he is innocent.  He is not on that cross for his sins.  He is there for ours.  And Jesus performs the greatest miracle of the cross—the miracle of forgiveness.  “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”  A sin-soaked criminal is received by a blood-stained Savior.  Such is the definition of grace.

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Max Lucado – You Can Come Home

 

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What do you do when your failures suck the sandy foundation of your future out from under you?  Well, you can blame the world.  Failure invites finger pointing and buck passing.  You are the victim, and the world is your enemy.  A second option is to continue playing the games.  We are masters of the masquerade.  And, well with time, the real self is forgotten.

Or you can do what the prodigal son did.  You can come home.  When Jesus told this parable of the loving father, I wonder, did he use his hands?  Later he stretched his hands as open as he could.  He forced his arms so wide apart that it hurt.  And to prove that those arms would never fold and those hands would never close, he had them nailed open.  They still are my friend.

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Max Lucado – Behold the Redeemer From Heaven

 

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For some, Jesus is the Rabbit’s Foot Redeemer—a good luck charm used to get you out of a jam.  For many he’s an Aladdin’s Lamp Redeemer— Your wish is his command.  For others, Jesus is a Game Show Redeemer— Let’s make a deal! Few demands; no challenges; and no need for sacrifice or commitment.

That’s not the Redeemer described in the New Testament.  And that’s not the Redeemer seen by the frightened woman who was caught in the act of adultery.  The leaders were going to stone her, but Jesus intervened.  If we could somehow transport her to Calvary she would recognize his hands—hands that still hold no stones.  She would recognize his voice, “Father, forgive them…”  And she would recognize his eyes; the eyes that saw her not as she was, but as she was intended to be. Behold!  The Redeemer from Heaven.

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Max Lucado – Remember the Unbending Grace of Christ

 

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If we’re not teaching people how to be saved, perhaps it’s because we have forgotten the tragedy of being lost!  If we’re not teaching the message of forgiveness, it may be because we don’t remember what it’s like to be guilty.

When times get hard, when death looms, when anger singes, when shame weighs heavily, remember Jesus.  Remember this descendant of David who beat down death.

You know a person is never the same after simultaneously seeing his or her utter despair and Christ’s unbending grace.  To see the despair without the grace is suicidal.  To see the grace without the despair results in futility.  But to see them both…that’s conversion.

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Max Lucado – When the Disciples Saw Jesus

 

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John 20:19 says, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews…”  Did you know that the church of Jesus Christ began with a group of frightened men in a second-floor room in Jerusalem?   Upper-room futility….a little bit of faith but very little fire.

How many congregations today have just enough religion to come together, but not enough passion to go out?  What is needed to get us out is exactly what got the apostles out.  They saw Jesus.  The stone of the tomb couldn’t keep him in.  The walls of the room couldn’t keep him out.  He came to commission them to remember.  To remember that he who was dead is alive; and they, who were guilty, have been forgiven.

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Max Lucado – God Will Never Give Up!

 

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God never gives up.  When on trial before the cross, people spat in his face, but he didn’t spit back.  When a whip ripped his sides, he didn’t command the awaiting angels to stuff that whip down the soldier’s throat. When human hands fastened the divine hands to a cross with spikes, it wasn’t the soldiers who held the hands of Jesus  steady.  It was God who held them steady.

God never gives up. Not then, not now, not ever. So the next time doubt walks in. Escort him out. Out to the hill. Out to Calvary. Out to the cross where, with holy blood, holy hands wrote the promise: God would give up His only Son before He’d give up on you.

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Max Lucado – The Darkness of Doubt

 

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God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars and would inherit all the land.  But Abraham had no son.  He was facing the dreadful darkness of doubt.

The same darkness you feel when you sit in a funeral chapel and listen to the obituary of the one you love.  The same darkness you feel when you realize the divorce you never wanted is final.  The same darkness into which Jesus screamed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Appropriate words.  For when we doubt, God seems very, very far away.  Which is exactly when he chooses to draw near.  He instructed Abraham to perform a ceremony to seal the covenant.  And God participated!  God lifted the darkness of doubt from Abraham’s world.  If you are experiencing doubt, lean into God and listen.  He’s nearer, than you might imagine.

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Max Lucado – Jesus is Living Proof of God’s Love

 

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Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

That passage is so poignant.  God did not spare his own son but gave him up.  God’s heart must have ached as the cracking voice of his son prayed, “Father, take this cup away.”  God said good-bye to his son fully aware that when Jesus’ cry of despair would roar through the heavens, he would sit in silence.

He gave himself up for us all.  Jesus, though in anguish, would feel no comfort from his father’s hands.  Would you receive this reminder?  God did not spare his son. He gave him up for you.

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Max Lucado – Victims of Futility

 

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In the shade of a well in a rejected land Jesus spoke to an ostracized woman, saying, “I am the Messiah.”  Don’t you know His eyes must have danced as he whispered the secret to the Samaritan woman—a woman with five failed marriages.  Suddenly the insignificance of her life was swallowed by the significance of the moment.  She dropped her water jar and ran to the city to tell the people.

The water jar seems to symbolize the weight she was carrying.  The weight of her struggles and insignificance.  Jesus took her common existence and made it special. He took a rejected woman and made her a missionary.  A forgotten water jar marked the burial place of insignificance.

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Max Lucado – God’s Formula for Fatigue

 

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The futility of life zaps strength from life.  Do you know the wait of futility?  Is it worth it?  When I get what I want, will it be worth the price I paid?

Such weariness makes the words of Jesus so compelling, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” People brought him the burdens of their existence, and he gave them not religion, not doctrines, not systems, but rest. As a result, they called him Lord. As a result, they called him Savior.  And they all found rest.  My prayer is that you, too, my friend, will find rest.

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Max Lucado – Caught in a Storm

 

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How sturdy is your life when faced with the storm of futility, wondering what is the purpose of it all? What about the storm of failure, when you blew it and let everyone down…or the storm of finality —tears, and flowers— an open grave.

Two thousand years ago during six hours on a Friday, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Jesus gave us three anchor points that can stand against any storm.  The first anchor point is my life is not futile.  The second is my failures are not fatal. And the third anchor point is my death is not final.  So, when the storm comes, anchor deep, say a prayer, and hold on.  And don’t be surprised if someone walks across the water to help you.

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Max Lucado – He Still Moves Stones

 

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Why did God leave us one tale after another of wounded lives being restored?  It isn’t to tell us what Jesus did.  It’s to tell us what Jesus does.  Paul says in Romans 15:4, “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us.  The Scripture gives us patience and encouragement so that we can have hope.”

Reflect on your own journey.  What was it like before you met Christ?  And share your story; not with everyone necessarily, but with someone.  Your honest portrayal of your past may be the courage for another’s future.  But don’t just depict the past.  Depict the present.  Describe his touch and the difference Jesus has made in your life.  He’s not finished with you yet!   Ah, but look how far you’ve come!  What God begins, God completes.  The God who spoke still speaks.  The God who forgave still forgives.  He still moves stones.

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Max Lucado – When Being Good Isn’t Good Enough

 

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Paul writes in Romans 3:10, “There is no one who always does what is right, not even one.”  And he adds, “All have sinned and are not good enough for God’s glory.”  Then how do you go to heaven?

The two criminals being crucified with Jesus mocked him.  But Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.”  Then one thief began to defend Jesus saying, “We are punished justly, getting what we deserve, but this man has done nothing wrong.” The core of the gospel in one sentence—through the mouth of a crook.  Then the thief asks, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

What right does he have to beg for forgiveness?  The same right you have.  We, like the thief, hear the voice of grace.  Today you will be with me in my kingdom.

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Max Lucado – Understanding Death

 

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By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days.  John 11:21 says that Martha confronted Jesus, saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  Hurt and disappointment.  When we face death, our definition of God is challenged.  Which, in turn, challenges our faith.

Why is it that we interpret the presence of death as the absence of God?  As a result, we get angry or resentful when God doesn’t answer our prayers for healing. It’s distressing that this view of God has no place for death.  Jesus didn’t raise the dead for the sake of the dead, but for the sake of the living.  The same voice that awakened the corpse of Lazarus will speak again.  The earth and the sea will give up their dead.  There will be no more death.  Jesus made sure of that.

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Max Lucado – When You’re Confused by God’s Actions

 

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The Bible says in Matthew 1:24 that “Joseph did what the Lord’s angel had told him to do.” I wonder what Joseph was thinking while Jesus was being born?  Was a stable in Bethlehem what he had in mind?

You’ve probably stood where Joseph stood when things haven’t turned out like you thought they would—maybe outside an emergency room or on the manicured grass of a cemetery.  When you wondered why does God do what he does.  Joseph didn’t let confusion disrupt his obedience.  He shut down his business, packed up his family, and even went to another country.  Why?  Because that’s what God said to do.  Because Joseph obeyed, God used him to change the world.  He does the same with us.  Be a modern day Joseph.  God will use you to bring Jesus into the world.

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Max Lucado – Seeing the Unseen

 

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We can’t see the future.  It’s one limitation we all share.  In Mark Chapter 5 we read about Jairus, the leader of the synagogue.  The Jairus we see in this story was a desperate father begging for Jesus to heal his daughter.  His meeting with Jesus was interrupted by a message from home– “Your daughter is dead.”  But Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Faith sometimes begins by ignoring what people say.  We have a choice to live by the facts or see by faith.  Jairus opted for faith and Jesus.  Mark it down!  God knows you and I are blind.  He knows living by faith and not by sight doesn’t come naturally.  And I think that’s one reason he raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead.  Not for her sake—she was better off in heaven.  But for our sake—to teach us that heaven sees when we trust.

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Max Lucado – When You Encounter Evil

 

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Jesus found him in a cemetery, and his story is in the fifth chapter of Mark.  As Jesus stepped out of a boat, a demon-possessed man stormed out of a cave.  The demons begged to be sent into a herd of pigs.  Jesus consented, and 2000 demon-possessed pigs threw themselves into the sea.

The people begged Jesus to leave their area.  Why?  Fear of change.  But before Jesus left, he told the man freed from demons to “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.” That was the commissioning of the first missionary sent to people who dismissed Jesus.  Christ still sends messages to the unworthy.  And he still uses the unworthy as messengers.

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Max Lucado – What Matters to You Matters to God

 

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The first miracle of Jesus was at a wedding—no small event.  For several days, there was gift-giving, speechmaking, food-eating, and wine-drinking.   Hospitality was a sacred duty  The absence of wine was a social embarrassment.  Mary asks her son to help, and he tells her that his “time has not yet come.” But he changed his plan to meet the needs of his friends.

This miracle tells us that what matters to you matters to God. You are his child.  So go ahead. Tell God what hurts.  He won’t turn you away or think it’s silly.  Hebrews 4:15-16 says, “For our high priest is able to understand our weaknesses…Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace.”  Does God care about the little things in our lives?  You better believe it.

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