Live Loved

As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”   [Mark 5:36]

Loved by a God You Can Trust

The presence of fear does not mean you have no faith. Fear visits everyone. Even Christ was afraid (Mark 14:33). But make your fear a visitor and not a resident. Hasn’t fear taken enough? Enough smiles? Chuckles? Restful nights, exuberant days? Meet your fears with faith.

Do what my father urged my brother and me to do. Summertime for the Lucado family always involved a trip from West Texas to the Rocky Mountains. (Think Purgatory to Paradise.) My dad loved to fish for trout on the edge of the white-water rivers. Yet he knew that the currents were dangerous and his sons could be careless. Upon arrival we’d scout out the safe places to cross the river. He’d walk us down the bank until we found a line of stable rocks. He was even known to add one or two to compensate for our short strides.

As we watched, he’d test the stones, knowing if they held him, they’d hold us. Once on the other side, he’d signal for us to follow.

“Don’t be afraid,” he could have said. “Trust me.” We children never needed coaxing. But we adults often do. Does a river of fear run between you and Jesus? Cross over to him.

Believe he can. Believe he cares.

[Every Day Deserves a Chance]

Dear God,

You have promised to walk life’s path before us and show us the way. You don’t leave us to find our way alone. Even when the path looks uncertain and frightening, help us focus on you and your promise. Your presence strengthens us. You are a God we can depend on. You are our strong defender, 

Amen.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped.

[Psalm 28:7]

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river.

[Jeremiah 17:7-8]

Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God.

[Isaiah 50:10]

~ Max Lucado ~

Live Loved

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.[Colossians 4:2]

A Life Immersed in Prayer

Most of us struggle with prayer. We forget to pray, and when we remember, we hurry through prayers with hollow words. Our minds drift; our thoughts scatter like a covey of quail. Why is this? Prayer requires minimal effort. No location is prescribed. No particular clothing is required. No title or office is stipulated. Yet you’d think we were wrestling a greased pig.

Speaking of pigs, Satan seeks to interrupt our prayers. Our battle with prayer is not entirely our fault. The devil knows the stories; he witnessed the angel in Peter’s cell and the revival in Jerusalem. He knows what happens when we pray. “Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places” (2 Corinthians 10:4).

Satan is not troubled when Max writes books or prepares sermons, but his knobby knees tremble when Max prays. Satan does not stutter or stumble when you walk through church doors or attend committee meetings. Demons aren’t flustered when you read this book. But the walls of hell shake when one person with an honest heart and faithful confession says, “Oh, God, how great thou art.”

Satan keeps you and me from prayer. He tries to position himself between us and God. But he scampers like a spooked dog when we move forward. So let’s do.

“Humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you” (James 4:7–8 nlt).

Jesus immersed his words and work in prayer. Powerful things happen when we do the same.

[Outlive Your Life]

Gracious Lord,

You have opened for us the throne room of heaven. We can come into your very presence with our petitions and praise. As you immersed your life in prayer, so may we make prayer a priority each day. May we never forget what a privilege it is to speak freely and openly to you any time and any place. You are always listening,

Amen.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers.

[1 Peter 3:2]


I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

[Mark 11:24]


If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will forgive their sin and heal their land.

[2 Chronicles 7:14]

~ Max Lucado ~

Live Loved

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
[Psalm 27:1]

Live Without Doubt and Dread

Fear, it seems, has taken a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversized and rude, fear is unwilling to share the heart with happiness. Happiness complies and leaves. Do you ever see the two together? Can one be happy and afraid at the same time? Clear thinking and afraid? Confident and afraid? Merciful and afraid? No. Fear is the big bully in the high school hallway: brash, loud, and unproductive… Fear herds us into a prison and slams the doors.

Wouldn’t it be great to walk out?

Imagine your life wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, and doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, absent the dread of failure, rejection, and calamity. Can you imagine a life with no fear? This is the possibility behind Jesus’ question.

“Why are you afraid?” he asks (Matthew 8:26).

[Fearless]

I know, loving Father, that you do not want us to live in the dark dungeon of doubt and dread. You want us to live in the light of your loving faithfulness. Help us to remember your never-failing power and kindness. Teach us to release all doubt and dread from our minds. Let us live encouraged and free from all insecurity in the knowledge that you hold our lives together, 

Amen.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”

[John 14:1]

We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

[2 Corinthians 4:18]

Those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

[Psalm 9:10]

~ Max Lucado ~

Live Loved

The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations.

[Psalm 33:11]

Loved by an Unchanging God

God will always be the same. No one else will. Lovers call you today and scorn you tomorrow. Companies follow pay raises with pink slips.

Friends applaud you when you drive a classic and dismiss you when you drive a dud. Not God. God is “always the same” (Psalm 102:27 nlt).With him “there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).

Catch God in a bad mood? Won’t happen. Fear exhausting his grace? A sardine will swallow the Atlantic first. Think he’s given up on you? Wrong. Did he not make a promise to you? “God is not a human being, and he will not lie. He is not a human, and he does not change his mind. What he says he will do, he does. What he promises, he makes come true” (Numbers 23:19 ncv). He’s never sullen or sour, sulking or stressed. His strength, truth, ways, and love never change. He is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 esv). And because he is, the Lord “will be the stability of your times” (Isaiah 33:6)…

God’s plans will never change, because he makes his plans in complete knowledge. Forget hopeful forecasting. He declares “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10 nasb).Nothing takes him by surprise. “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever” (Psalm 33:11 niv).
The cross will not lose its power. The blood of Christ will not fade in strength… “The Lord Almighty has spoken—who can change his plans? When his hand moves, who can stop him?” (Isaiah 14:27 nlt). God never changes.

[It’s Not About Me]

Father God,

It is such a comfort to know that you never change. Your grace and your love are inexhaustible. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. You know the beginning of life to the end. Your power never grows weak, and your truth always stands firm. Your plans will never alter. You remain the same forever. We can count on your unfailing mercy. We praise your everlasting name,

Amen.

Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is His name.

[Jeremiah 50:34]

 
Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places.

[Psalm 135:6]

 
Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah the Lord, is everlasting strength.

[Isaiah 26:4]


~ Max Lucado ~

Live Loved

Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

[Philippians 3:13-14]

Stay in the Race



In 1952, Florence Chadwick attempted to swim the chilly ocean waters between Catalina Island and the California shore. She swam through foggy weather and choppy seas for fifteen hours. Her muscles began to cramp, and her resolve weakened. She begged to be taken out of the water, but her mother, riding in a boat alongside, urged her not to give up. She kept trying but grew exhausted and stopped swimming. Aides lifted her out of the water and into the boat. They paddled a few more minutes, the mist broke, and she discovered that the shore was less than a half mile away. “All I could see was the fog,” she explained at a news conference. “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

Take a long look at the shore that awaits you. Don’t be fooled by the fog of the slump. The finish may be only strokes away. God may be, at this moment, lifting his hand to signal Gabriel to grab the trumpet. Angels may be assembling, saints gathering, demons trembling. Stay at it! Stay in the water. Stay in the race. Stay in the fight.

Give grace, one more time. Be generous, one more time. Teach one more class, encourage one more soul, swim one more stroke.
[Facing Your Giants]

Father, 

You created us and you know everything there is to know about us. You know how discouraged we get at times and how we want to give up the struggles we face. Sometimes it seems as if we have more struggles than strength. We are tempted to quit. When that happens, Lord, remind us to endure for one more day, to be patient one more time, to serve without reward for one more season, 

Amen.

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

[Joshua 1:9]


I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

[Isaiah 46:4]


He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

[Proverbs 30:5]

~ Max Lucado ~

Live Loved

“Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”[Matthew 5:41-42]

The Society of the Second Mile

Jesus created what we might deem the Society of the Second Mile. He presented a new option. Serve the ones who hate you; forgive the ones who hurt you. Take the lowest place, not the highest; seek to serve, not to be served. Retaliate, not in kind, but in kindness.

Roman soldiers could legally coerce Jewish citizens into carrying their load for one mile. With nothing more than a command, they could requisition a farmer out of his field or a merchant out of his shop.

In such a case, Jesus said, “Give more than requested.” Go two. At the end of one mile, keep going. Surprise the sandals off the soldier by saying, “I haven’t done enough for you. I’m going a second mile.” Do more than demanded. And do so with joy and grace!

The Society of the Second Mile still exists… We have a second-mile servant in our church. By profession he is an architect. By passion, a servant. He arrives an hour or so prior to each worship service and makes his rounds through the men’s restrooms. He wipes the sinks, cleans the mirrors, checks the toilets, and picks up paper off the floor. No one asked him to do the work; very few people are aware he does the work. He tells no one and requests nothing in return. He belongs to the Society of the Second Mile.

[Every Day Deserves a Chance]

Lord Jesus, 

I want to live each day in a way that will please you. I know you are calling me to have a servant attitude: to take the lowest place and to seek to serve. When I am faced with a choice, may I choose to go the second mile no matter how difficult. And may I do so with joy and grace and a glad heart. Teach me to live a God-centered life that will bring honor to your name, 

Amen.

Blessed are those who keep justice, and he who does righteousness at all times!

[Psalm 106:3]


The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

[James 3:18]


He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.

[Proverbs 16:20]
~ Max Lucado ~

Live Loved

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.

[Psalm 50:15]

Problems Have a Purpose

God will use whatever he wants to display his glory. Heavens and stars. History and nations. People and problems. My dying dad in West Texas.

The last three years of his life were scarred by ALS. The disease took him from a healthy mechanic to a bedbound paralytic. He lost his voice and his muscles, but he never lost his faith. Visitors noticed. Not so much in what he said but more in what he didn’t say. Never outwardly angry or bitter, Jack Lucado suffered stately.

His faith led one man to seek a like faith. After the funeral this man sought me out and told me. Because of my dad’s example, he became a Jesus follower.

Did God orchestrate my father’s illness for that very reason? Knowing the value he places on one soul, I wouldn’t be surprised. And imagining the splendor of heaven, I know my father’s not complaining.

A season of suffering is a small assignment when compared to the reward.

Rather than begrudge your problem, explore it. Ponder it. And most of all, use it. Use it to the glory of God…

Your pain has a purpose. Your problems, struggles, heartaches, and hassles cooperate toward one end—the glory of God.

[It’s Not About Me]

Heavenly Father,

When problems and pain come my way, help me to remember that nothing comes into my life without your approval. Rather than complain and cry about the challenges I face, help me consider them as opportunities to bring glory to you. Give me the strength and patience to bear my burdens in a way that will honor you. I will lift my eyes off the trials and keep them fixed firmly on you, 

Amen.

Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us.

[Daniel 3:17]

Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.

[Joshua 21:45]

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

[Psalm 34:19]

~ Max Lucado ~