Tag Archives: Max Lucado

Max Lucado – Your Place at God’s Table

Max Lucado

Angry.  Sullen.  Accusatory.  Whiny.  Put them all together in one word and spell it b-i-t-t-e-r.  If you put them all in one person, that person’s in the pit, the dungeon of bitterness.  The dungeon calls you to enter.  You can, you know. You’ve experienced enough hurt.  You’ve been betrayed enough times. You can choose, like many, to chain yourself to your hurt.

Or you can choose, like some, to put away your hurts.  You can choose to go to the party.  You have a place there. If you’re a child of God, no one can take away your sonship. Which is precisely what the father said to his prodigal son in Luke 15. “You are always with me; all that I have is yours.”

What you have is more important than what you don’t have, and that is, your relationship with God the Father!  Your place at God’s table is permanent!

Max Lucado – Not Guilty

Max Lucado

Sometimes shame is private. Pushed over the edge by an abusive spouse. Molested by a perverted parent. Seduced by a compromising superior. No one else knows.  But you know.  And that’s enough. Sometimes shame is public. Branded by a divorce you didn’t want. Contaminated by a disease you never expected. Whether private or public, shame is always painful. And unless you deal with it, it’s permanent.

In John 8:11 Jesus confronts the woman who’d formerly been caught in the act of adultery.  When the crowd would have stoned her, Jesus speaks:  “Anyone here who has never sinned can throw the first stone at her.” As all turned to leave, Jesus said, “I also don’t judge you guilty. You may go now, but don’t sin anymore.”

Jesus’ message is written not with His hand, but with His blood. On a cross. Let Him stand beside you. Listen carefully.  He’s speaking. “Not guilty!”

Max Lucado – Goodness and Mercy

Max Lucado

Our moods may shift, but God’s doesn’t. Our minds may change, but God’s doesn’t. Our devotion may falter, but God’s never does. God is faithful, for He cannot betray Himself. He is a sure God. And because He is, we can state confidently what David exclaimed in his 23rd Psalm:  “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

What are those words that follow the word surely? “Goodness and mercy.” If the Lord is the shepherd who leads the flock, goodness and mercy are the two sheepdogs that guard the rear of the flock! Goodness AND mercy.  Not goodness alone, for we are sinners in need of mercy. Not mercy alone, for we are fragile, in need of goodness. We need them both. Goodness and mercy—the celestial escort of God’s flock.  If that duo doesn’t reinforce your faith, try this phrase: “all the days of my life!”

Max Lucado – A Place at God’s Table

Max Lucado

God gives hope!  So what if someone was born thinner or stronger? Why count diplomas or compare resumes? What does it matter if they have a place at the head table?  You have a place at God’s table—and He’s filling your cup to overflowing!

The overflowing cup was a powerful symbol in the days of David. As long as the host kept the cup full, the guest knew he was welcome. When the cup sat empty, the host was hinting that the hour was late. On those occasions when the host really enjoyed the company of the person, he filled the cup to overflowing; he kept pouring until the liquid ran over the edge of the cup and down on the table.

Have you noticed how wet your table is? God wants you to stay. Your cup overflows with joy. Overflows with grace. Shouldn’t your heart overflow with gratitude?

Max Lucado – Overflowing with Grace

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Do you ever worry that the cup of God’s mercy will run empty?  Are you afraid his grace will run out?   That your warranty will expire?  Are you afraid your mistakes are too great for God’s forgiveness?  I wonder if the apostle Paul had the same fear. Before he was Paul the apostle, he was Saul the murderer. Before he encouraged Christians, he murdered Christians. What would it be like to live with that kind of past?

Did Paul ever ask, “Can God forgive a man like me?” The answer is found in a letter Paul wrote to Timothy:  “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 1:14)

God is not a miser with His grace. Your cup may be low on cash or clout, but it’s overflowing with mercy. Your cup overflows with grace!

Max Lucado – On 9/12 We Ran to God

Max LucadoOn 9/12 We Ran to God

Originally published September 12, 2011 on FoxNews.com

On 9/11 we ran for cover. On 9/12 we ran to God. Churches overflowed. Synagogues were packed. Sanctuaries and temples swelled to capacity. Four thousand people gathered in a Manhattan Cathedral. A New York City church filled and emptied six times in one day. Street vendors were replaced by prayer counselors who stood beneath banners that read: “We will pray for you.”

Across the country, congregations hastily assembled post-attack prayer services. We did in San Antonio, Texas. “Come and Pray for Peace” our outdoor sign invited. You would have thought it was Easter Sunday. Standing Room Only.

Ironic. Usama Bin Laden intended to bring America to her knees, and he did—we prayed. What does this say about us? At least this much: we are a spiritual people. For all our talk about secularism, self-reliance and self-sufficiency, where we do we turn in turbulence? We turn to God.

We find Him to be—to use the old coinage—“an anchor of the soul” (Heb. 6:10). Everyone anchors to something. A retirement account, a resume. A person or a position. “When the storm comes,” they say, “this will get me through.”

On 9/11 we turned to the sturdiest anchor of all: God. Only He promises to secure our most precious commodity—our souls. When God breathed into Adam, he gave him more than oxygen; he gave him an eternal essence. He gave you the same. Because of your soul, you wrestle with right and wrong, value the lives of others and get choked up at the singing of our national anthem. The soul is that part of you dares to believe that good comes out of evil, Right still sits on the throne and the next life will make sense of this one.

This world can be tough on a soul. Yours needs an anchor: a double pointed cast-iron hooking point that is sturdier than the storm.

Storms still rage. “Irene” wreaks havoc and earthquakes shake our national monuments. Economy feels as sturdy as paper-mache. God never promised a life with no storms. But He did promise to meet us in the midst of them. storms. He met us ten years ago. He does still.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

Here’s hoping we never have to face another 9/11. But if we do, I pray that you’ve secured your soul to God—the anchor of the soul.

Max Lucado – He Cares About You

Max Lucado

Maybe you don’t want to trouble God with your hurts.  After all, “He’s got famines and pestilence and wars. He won’t care about my little struggles,” you think.  Why don’t you let Him decide that?

Jesus cared enough about a wedding to provide the wine. He cared enough about the woman at the well to give her answers.  1 Peter 5:7 says, “He cares about you.”

Your first step is to go to the right person.  Go to God.  Your second step is to assume the right posture.  Bow before God.  Luke 18:7 reminds us, “God will always give what is right to His people who cry to Him night and day, and He will not be slow to answer them.”

Listen to the prayer in Psalm 25:1-2: “Lord, I give myself to You, my God.  I trust You.”  So, go…bow…and trust.  It’s worth a try, don’t you think?

Max Lucado – Have a Joyful 4th of July!

Max Lucado

As we celebrate our country’s freedom on this 4th of July, may you be encouraged by this level-headed instruction from the Bible:

The Apostle Paul wants young Timothy to lead the church in a godly fashion. His first command? “pray for all people.” The flagship assignment of the church is prayer. Feed the hungry? Counsel the confused? Teach the lost? Absolutely. But first, we pray. The primary activity of a local church is intercession and worship.

Specifically, we “pray for rulers and for all who have authority….” This includes our president, vice-president, all elected and appointed officials.  We ask God to use them to facilitate a haven of quiet and peace where worship can abound.  We pray so that “…we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God.”

Remarkable. A peaceful society depends upon the prayers of the church. If we do not have a peaceful society–where worship and respect for God can flourish–what is the solution? Better government policy? A different president? New Congress? No, the first solution is a praying church.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray…then I will hear from heaven.” (II Chron. 7:14 NIV)

Max Lucado – You Are Not Alone

Max Lucado

Have you ever gone to the grocery on an empty stomach?  You’re a sitting duck.  You buy everything you don’t need.  Doesn’t matter if it’s good for you—you just want to fill your tummy!  When you’re lonely, you do the same in life, pulling stuff off the shelf, not because you need it, but because you’re hungry for love.

Why do we do it?  Because we fear facing life alone.  For fear of not fitting in, we take the drugs.  For fear of standing out, we wear the clothes.  For fear of appearing small, we go into debt and buy the house.  For fear of sleeping alone, we sleep with anyone.  For fear of not being loved, we search for love in all the wrong places.

But all that changes when we discover God’s perfect love. 1 John 4:18 says, “Perfect love casts out fear.”  You are not alone!

Max Lucado – Put Your Trust in Him

Max Lucado

How did Jesus endure the terror of the crucifixion? He went first to the Father with His fears. He modeled the words of Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Do the same with your fears. Enter them—just don’t enter them alone.  And while there, be honest. Pounding the ground is permitted.  Tears are allowed.

“Take this cup,” Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemene. Give God your fears. Give God the number of the flight. Share the details of the job transfer. He has plenty of time. He also has plenty of compassion. He won’t tell you to “buck up” or “get tough.” He knows how you feel. That’s why we punctuate our prayers as Jesus did: “Father, if you’re willing. . .”  Was God willing?  Yes and no. He didn’t take away the cross of Christ, but He took away the fear. Who’s to say He won’t do the same for you?

Max Lucado – God Loves Humility

Max Lucado

God loves humility!  Could that be the reason He offers so many tips on cultivating it?

May I (ahem) humbly articulate a few? Do you want to be humble?  Assess yourself honestly.  Don’t take success too seriously. Celebrate the significance of others. Don’t demand your own parking place. Never announce your success before it occurs. Speak humbly. One last thought to foster humility. Live at the foot of the cross.

Paul said in Galatians 6:14:  “The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is my only reason for bragging.” Do you feel a need for affirmation? Does your self-esteem need attention? You don’t need to drop names or show off. You need only to pause at the base of the cross and be reminded of this:  The maker of the stars would rather die for you than live without you. And that’s a fact.  So if you need to brag, brag about that!

Max Lucado – God Hates Arrogance

 

Proverbs 16:18 Max Lucadoreminds us as humility goes before honor, “pride goes before a fall.”

Ever wonder why churches are powerful in one generation but empty the next? The Bible says, the Lord will tear down the house of the proud. God hates arrogance. He hates it because we haven’t done anything to be arrogant about. Is there a Pulitzer for ink? Can you imagine a scalpel growing smug after a successful heart transplant?  Of course not. They are only tools.  So are we. We may be the canvas, the paper, or the scalpel, but we are not the one who deserve the applause.

David declares who does in Psalm 23, “He makes me, He leads me, He restores my soul…for His name’s sake.”  For His name’s sake!  No other name.  This is all done for God’s glory.  He takes the credit, not because He needs it, but because He knows we cannot handle it!

Max Lucado – Suitcases of Guilt

Max Lucado

Do you carry a load of guilt?  So many do. If our spiritual baggage were visible, you know what you’d see? Suitcases of guilt, bulging with binges, blowups, and compromises. The kid with the baggy jeans and nose ring? He’d give anything to retract the words he said to his mother. But he can’t. So he tows them along. The woman in the business suit that looks like she could run for Senator?  She can’t run at all. Not hauling that carpet bag wherever she goes. So what do we do?

In Psalm 23:3 David said it like this, “He leads me in the paths of righteousness.” The path of righteousness is a narrow, winding trail up a steep hill.  At the top is a cross. At the base of the cross are bags, countless bags full of innumerable sins. Calvary is the compost pile for guilt.  Would you like to leave yours there as well?

 

Max Lucado – Where Does My Help Come From?

Max Lucado

David said in Psalm 121, “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?”  And David answers his own question, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip, He who watches over you will not slumber. The Lord watches over you. The Lord will keep you from all harm, He will watch over your life.”

God—your rescuer, has the right vision.  He also has the right direction. He made the boldest claim in the history of man when He declared, “I am the way.”  People wondered if the claim was accurate. He answered their question by forging a path through the underbrush of sin and death—escaping alive.

Maybe you need your hope restored.  If so, lift up your eyes.  Like David said, look unto the hills…look unto the One who made you and He will give you help

Max Lucado – You Have Hope

Max Lucado

For many, hope is in short supply. Hopelessness is an odd bag. Unlike others, it isn’t full. It’s empty, and its emptiness creates the burden. Unzip the top and examine all the pockets. Turn it upside down and shake it hard. The bag of hopelessness is painfully empty! Not a very pretty picture, is it?  What would it take to restore your hope? One comes quickly to mind…a person.  Not just any person. You need someone to look you in the face and say, “This isn’t the end.  Don’t give up.  There’s a better place than this.  And I’ll lead you there.”

David, in Psalm 23, used these words, “He restores my soul.”  God majors in restoring hope to the soul. Please note that you always have hope!  Psalm 121:7 says, “The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life.” He’s the perfect one to do so!

Max Lucado – One Step is Enough

 

Arthur Hays Sulzberger was the publisher of the New York Times during the Second World War. Because of all the world conflict, he found it almost impossible to sleep.  He was never able to set aside worries from his mind—until he adopted as his motto these five words, “one step enough for me.” He took it from the old hymn, “Lead Kindly Light.”

Lead, kindly light. . .

Keep Thou my feet;  I do not ask to see

The distant scene; one step enough for me.

God isn’t going to let you see the distant scene either. So you might as well quit looking for it. God does promise a lamp for our feet, not a crystal ball into the future. We don’t need to know what will happen tomorrow. We only need to know that Hebrews 4:16 promises  “we will find grace to help us when we need it.”

Max Lucado – He Leads

 

Worrying is one job you can’t farm out, but you can overcome it. There’s no better place to begin than in Psalm 23:2. “He leads me beside the still waters,” David declares. “He leads me.”  God isn’t behind me, yelling, “Go!”  He’s ahead of me bidding, “Come!”  He’s in front, clearing the path, cutting the brush. Standing next to the rocks, He warns, “Watch your step there.”

Isn’t this what God gave the children of Israel? He promised to supply them with manna each day. But He told them to collect only one day’s supply at a time. Matthew 6:34 says, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

God is leading you! Leave tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow!

Max Lucado – The Burlap Bag of Burdens

 

Worry is the burlap bag of burdens.  It’s overflowing with “whaddifs” and “howells.” Whaddif after all my dieting, I find that lettuce is fattening and chocolate isn’t?  Howell will we pay our baby’s tuition?”  Whaddifs and howells…the burlap bag of worry. Cumbersome. Chunky. Unattractive. Scratchy.  Irritating to carry and impossible to give away!  No one wants your worries.  The truth is, you don’t want them either. No one has to remind you of the high cost of anxiety, but I will anyway. Worry divides the mind.  It splits our energy between today’s priorities and tomorrow’s problems.  The result is half-minded living!

Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to “boldly approach the throne of our gracious God, where we may receive mercy and, in His grace, find timely help.”  God’s help is timely!  God will do the right thing at the right time.  And what a difference that makes!

Max Lucado – Sabbath Rest

 

When God gave the Ten Commandments, He needed only five English words to condemn adultery; four to denounce thievery and murder.  But when he came to the topic of rest?  Listen to this:  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work; you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servants, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day…” (Exodus 20:8-11). Wow!  One word after another…

Still we object. We offer up one reason after another. We don’t like to rest. Repeat these words after me, “It is not my job to run the world.”  In the long run we’ll do more by doing less!

Max Lucado – His Finished Work

 

When God gave the Ten Commandments, and it came to Sabbath rest, His message was clear, “If creation didn’t crash when I rested, it won’t crash when you do!”  You know we need to rest. For a field to bear fruit, it must occasionally lie fallow. And for you to be healthy, you must rest.

When David says in the 23rd Psalm, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures,” he’s saying, “My shepherd makes me lie down in his finished work.”

With His own pierced hands, Jesus created a pasture for the soul. He pried loose the huge boulders of sin. In their place He planted seeds of grace and dug ponds of mercy.  Can you imagine the satisfaction in the heart of the shepherd when the work is completed and he sees his sheep rest in the tender grass? Can you imagine the satisfaction in the heart of God when we do the same?