Tag Archives: Upwords

Upwords; Max Lucado – Let Jesus Take Your Sins

LET JESUS TAKE YOUR SINS – July 19, 2021

Denalyn and I had enjoyed a nice dinner at a local restaurant. As we received our bill, a church member spotted us and came over. After we chatted a few moments, he took our bill. “I’ll take this,” he said. Guess what? I let him do what he wanted to do. I let him take it away.

Someday we will stand before God. All of us will be present. All of us will have to give an account for our lives. Every thought, every deed, every action. Were it not for the grace of Christ, I would find this to be a very terrifying thought. Yet, according to Scripture, Jesus came to “take away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). On that day, I will point to Christ. When my list of sins is produced, I will gesture toward him and say, “He took it.” Let him take yours.

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Upwords; Max Lucado –Don’t Get Lost in Your Troubles

DON’T GET LOST IN YOUR TROUBLES – July 12, 2021

Our minds cannot be full of God and, at the same time, full of fear. Don’t get lost in your troubles. Lift up your eyes! “He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord!” (Isaiah 26:3 TLB)

Are you troubled, restless, sleepless? Then rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty. I dare you—I double-dog dare you—to expose your worries to an hour of worship. Your concerns will melt like ice on an August sidewalk!

Jeremiah draws a direct connection between faith and peace. He says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NKJV).

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Upwords; Max Lucado – The Inside Track to Peace

THE INSIDE TRACK TO PEACE – July 9, 2021

The next time you fear the future, rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty. Rejoice in what he has accomplished. Rejoice that he is able to do what you cannot do.

Fill your mind with thoughts of God: “He is the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25). “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). “His years will never end” (Psalm 102:27).

He is king, supreme ruler, absolute monarch, an overlord of all history. An arch of his eyebrow and a million angels will pivot and salute! Every throne is a footstool to his. Every crown is papier-mache next to his. He consults no advisers, he needs no congress, he reports to no one. He is in charge.

Sovereignty gives the saint the inside track to peace. Others see the problems of the world and wring their hands. We see the problems of the world and bend our knees.

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Upwords; Max Lucado –He Is Able to Do What You Cannot

HE IS ABLE TO DO WHAT YOU CANNOT – July 8, 2021

What will happen if your job disappears? Or your health diminishes? Or the economy takes a nosedive? Does God have a message for his people when calamity strikes? He certainly had a word for Isaiah. The prophet wrote:

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up…above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:1-3).

God calmed the fears of Isaiah, not by removing the problem, but by revealing his divine power and presence. Rejoice that God is able to do what you cannot do! Your anxiety decreases as your understanding of your heavenly father increases.

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Upwords; Max Lucado – Beneath the Shadow of God’s Wings

BENEATH THE SHADOW OF GOD’S WINGS – July 7, 2021

Control freaks are easily frustrated. We can’t take control, because control is not ours to take! The Bible has a better idea.  Rather than seeking control, relinquish it. Peace is within reach, not for lack of problems, but because of the presence of a sovereign Lord. Rather than rehearse the chaos of the world, rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty, as  the apostle Paul did.

From prison he wrote: “The things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ” (Philippians 1:12-13). In the innermost of his being, Paul was a man who believed in the steady hand of a good God; protected, preserved by God’s love. He lived beneath the shadow of God’s wings. Do you?

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Upwords; Max Lucado –Entrust It to God

ENTRUST IT TO GOD – July 6, 2021

If anyone had a reason to be anxious it was the apostle Paul. Envision an old man as he gazes out the window of a Roman prison. Half-blind, squinting just to read. Awaiting trial before the Roman emperor. His future is as gloomy as his jail cell.

Yet to read his words, you’d think he’d just arrived at a Jamaican beach hotel. His letter to the Philippians bears not a word of fear or complaint. Not one! Instead, he lifts his thanks to God and calls on his readers to do the same. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4)

Paul’s challenge is a decision deeply rooted in the confidence that God exists, that he is in control, and that he is good. Rejoice in the Lord—always! You can’t run the world, but you can entrust it to God.

Upwords; Max Lucado –As Christ Forgave You

AS CHRIST FORGAVE YOU – June 22, 2021

The Scripture says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

It was the eve of the Crucifixion and Jesus’ final meal with his followers. He stood up, he hung his cloak on a hook, and he wrapped a towel around his waist, and he poured water into a basin. He washed feet. Jesus used some of his precious final moments in this silent sacrament of humility.

The disciples pledged to stay with their Master. But later that night, when the soldiers marched in, the disciples ran out. And when they looked at their feet in shame, they realized Jesus forgave his betrayers before they betrayed him. Hasn’t he done the same for us? We each have a basin. We’ve each been wounded. But before we knew we needed grace, we were offered it. This is how happiness happens.

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Upwords; Max Lucado –Step Toward Forgiveness

STEP TOWARD FORGIVENESS – June 21, 2021

Resentment sucks satisfaction from the soul. Bitterness consumes it. Revenge has a monstrous appetite. One act of retaliation is never enough. Grudges send us on a downward spiral.

Some people perceive the path of forgiveness to be impossibly steep, so let’s be realistic. Forgiveness does not pardon the offense, excuse the misdeed, or ignore it. Forgiveness is not even necessarily reconciliation. The phrase “forgive and forget” sets an unreachable standard. Painful memories are not like old clothing, easily shed. Forgiveness is simply the act of changing your attitude toward the offender. It’s moving from a desire to harm toward an openness to be at peace. A step in the direction of forgiveness is a decisive step toward happiness.

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Upwords; Max Lucado –Everyone Needs a Cheerleader

EVERYONE NEEDS A CHEERLEADER – May 17, 2021

Every person needs to hear a “wonderful.” Here’s why: companies spend billions of dollars to convince us that we are chubby, smelly, ugly, and out-of-date. Inadequacy indwells a billion hearts. Would you distribute encouragement? Will you make some happiness happen? Will you remind humanity that we are made in God’s image? That we are chosen and destined and loved?

Start by listening intently. Ask someone to tell you his or her story. Give the rarest of gifts: your full attention. Praise abundantly. Biblical encouragement is no casual kind word, but rather a premeditated resolve to lift the spirit of another person. Everyone needs a cheerleader. Give the gift that God loves to give: the gift of encouragement. This is how happiness happens.

Upwords; Max Lucado –Build Each Other Up

BUILD EACH OTHER UP – May 11, 2021

My big brother used to pick on me. For Dee, no day was complete unless he had made mine miserable. He stole my allowance, he called me a sissy. But all his cruel antics were offset by one great act of grace on a summer day in the park. He picked me to play on his baseball team.

Everyone else was a middle-schooler. I was a third-grader. I went from the back of the pack to the front of line, all because he picked me. Dee didn’t pick me because I was good. He called my name for one reason only: he was my big brother. And on that day he decided to be a good big brother.

The New Testament has a word for such activity: encouragement. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). This is how happiness happens.

Upwords; Max Lucado –Be an Agent of Happiness

BE AN AGENT OF HAPPINESS – May 10, 2021

Jesus wants to bring joy to the people of this generation, and he has enlisted some special agents of happiness to do the job: you and me.

Not an easy task. The people in our world can be moody, fickle, and stubborn. And that just describes my wife’s husband. Nah, if we are going to find the joy that comes through giving joy away, we need instruction. No wonder the Bible has so much to say about finding joy in the act of sharing it. The New Testament contains more than fifty “one another” statements.

You and I indwell a lonely planet. We cannot solve every problem in society, but we can bring smiles to a few faces. And who knows? If you brighten your corner of the world and I do the same in mine, a quiet revolution of joy might break out. It can be how happiness happens.

Upwords; Max Lucado –Jesus Spread Happiness


JESUS SPREAD HAPPINESS – May 7, 2021

Jesus was accused of much, but he was never described as a grump or sourpuss or self-centered jerk. People didn’t groan when he appeared. He called them by name. He listened to their stories. He answered their questions. He visited their sick relatives, and he helped their sick friends. He fished with fishermen, he ate lunch with the little guy, and he spoke words of resounding affirmation.

He went to weddings. He went to so many parties that he was criticized for hanging out with questionable people. Thousands came to hear him. Hundreds chose to follow him. They walked away from careers to be with him. His purpose statement read “I came to give life with joy and abundance” (John 10:10 The Voice). Jesus was happy and wants us to be the same.

Upwords; Max Lucado –Change Doors

CHANGE DOORS – May 4, 2021

As one Harvard professor said, “We think money will bring lots of happiness for a long time; actually it brings a little happiness for a short time.” We’ve all seen happy peasants and miserable millionaires, right? There is another option. It requires no credit card, monthly mortgage, or stroke of fortune. It demands no airline tickets or hotel reservations. Age and ethnicity and gender are not factors. You don’t have to change jobs, change cities, change looks, or change neighborhoods.

But you might need to change doors. The motto on the front door says “Happiness happens when you get.” The sign on the lesser-used back door counters “Happiness happens when you give.” Doing good does good for the doer. This is how happiness happens.

Upwords; Max Lucado –A Simple Philosophy

A SIMPLE PHILOSOPHY – May 3, 2021

Ninety-two-year-old Johnny Barnes stands on the edge of a roundabout in Hamilton, Bermuda, and he waves at people as they drive past. He’s not asking for money or begging for food. He’s making people happy. “I love you!” he shouts. “I’ll love you forever!” And they love him. Bermudans call him Mr. Happy Man. They route their morning commute to see him. If Johnny’s not standing in his spot, people call the radio station to check on him.

Johnny’s philosophy is simple: “We human beings gotta learn how to love one another,” he says. “One of the greatest joys that can come to an individual is when you’re doing something and helping others.” Wouldn’t you love to meet a person like him? Or better still, wouldn’t you love to be like him? This is how happiness happens.

Upwords; Max Lucado –Best Days Are Ahead

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Perhaps you can relate to the deflated little fellow I saw in an airport terminal. Everything about the dad’s expression said, “Hurry up! We have to run if we’re going to make the connection.” Can the little fellow keep up? Mom could. The big brothers could. But the little guy? He tried to match his parents’ pace, but he just couldn’t.

Can you relate? Sometimes the challenge is just too much. It’s not that you don’t try, you just run out of fight. The story of Joshua in the Bible dares us to believe our best days are ahead of us. A life in which the Bible says we are “anxious for nothing,” in which we’re “praying always.” A life in which Paul says we’re “giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” We may stumble but we don’t collapse. God has a Promised Land for us to take.

Upwords; Max Lucado –God’s Plan in God’s Land

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Joshua 21:45 says, “Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” Joshua and his men went from dry land to the Promised Land. From manna to feasts. From arid deserts to fertile fields. They inherited their inheritance: the glory days of Israel.

This is God’s vision for your life. You at full throttle. You as victor over the Jerichos and giants. Paul describes it as a life in which “Christ’s love has the first and last word in everything we do.” A life in which Paul says, “We do not lose heart.” A life defined by grace, refined by challenge, and aligned with a heavenly call. In God’s plan in God’s land, God’s promises outweigh personal problems, and victory becomes a way of life. Your glory days await you!

Upwords; Max Lucado –A Promised Land Life

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God spoke, Joshua listened, and Israel’s glory days began. The Jordan River opened up and Jericho’s walls fell down and evil was booted and hope rebooted. Joshua 21:43-44 says, “So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give their fathers, and they took possession of it…The Lord gave them rest all around. Not a man of all their enemies stood against them.”

Perhaps you need a new season. You don’t need to cross the Jordan River, but you need to get through the week. And you aren’t facing Jericho, but you’re facing rejection or heartache. The story of Joshua dares us to believe God has a Promised Land for us to take. It’s not real estate, but a real state of the heart and mind: a Promised Land. A Promised Land life.

Upwords; Max Lucado –Glory Days Await

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God has a promised land for you to take. I sat across the table from a man in midlife misery. He described his life with words like stuck and rut and stalled. He’s a Christian, but he can’t tell you the last time he defeated a temptation or experienced an answered prayer. Twenty years into his faith he fights the same battles he was fighting the day he came to Christ. It’s as if the door to spiritual growth has a lock and everyone has a key but him.

Joshua 21:43 says, “So the Lord gave Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give…and they took possession of it and dwelt in it.” The Promised Land! God’s vision for your life. Yours for the taking. Expect to be challenged—the enemy won’t go down without a fight. But your glory days await you.

Upwords; Max Lucado –Leave Your List at the Cross

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God not only wants the mistakes we’ve made, he wants the ones we’re making. Are you drinking too much? Are you cheating at work or cheating at marriage? Mismanaging your life? Don’t pretend nothing’s wrong. The first step after a stumble must be in the direction of the cross. 1 John 1:9 promises, “If we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.”

So start with your bad moments. And while you’re there, give God your mad moments. There’s a story about a man bitten by a dog, and when he learned the dog had rabies he began a list. The doctor said, “There’s no need for you to make a will—you’ll be fine.” “Oh I’m not making a will,” he said. “I’m making a list of all the people I want to bite.” God wants that list. He wants you to leave it at the cross.

Upwords; Max Lucado –How Wide Is God’s Love

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It’s nice to be included. You aren’t always. Universities exclude you if you aren’t smart enough. Businesses exclude you if you aren’t qualified enough. And sadly, some churches exclude you if you aren’t good enough. But though they may exclude you, Christ includes you. When asked to describe the width of his love, he stretched one hand to the right and the other hand to the left and had them nailed in that position so you would know he died loving you.

Surely there has to be a limit to this love. You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But David the adulterer never found it. Paul the murderer never found it. Peter the liar never found it. When it came to life, they hit bottom. But when it came to God’s love, they never did. How wide is God’s love? Wide enough for the whole world, and you’re included.