Wednesday, January 18, 2017

“When you’re full of yourself, God can’t fill you.”

A thought by Max Lucado (2011-05-02) from his book, Cure for the Common Life  (p. 88). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

Max continues this thought by saying, “But when you empty yourself, God has a useful vessel. Your Bible overflows with examples of those who did.”

“In his gospel, Matthew mentions his own name only twice. Both times he calls himself a tax collector. In his list of apostles, he assigns himself the eighth spot. John doesn’t even mention his name in his gospel. The twenty appearances of ‘John’ all refer to the Baptist. John the apostle simply calls himself the ‘other disciple’ or the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved.’ Luke wrote two of the most important books in the Bible but never once penned his own name.”

Max goes on, “Paul, the Bible’s most prolific author, referred to himself as ‘a fool’ (2 Cor. 12:11). He also called himself ‘the least of the apostles’ (1 Cor. 15:9). Five years later he claimed to be ‘less than the least of all the saints’ (Eph. 3:8). In one of his final epistles, he referred to himself as the ‘chief ‘ of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). As he grew older, his ego grew smaller. King David wrote no psalm celebrating his victory over Goliath. But he wrote a public poem of penitence confessing his sin with Bathsheba (see Ps. 51).”

“And then there is Joseph. The quiet father of Jesus. Rather than make a name for himself, he made a home for Christ. And because he did, a great reward came his way. ‘He called His name JESUS’ (Matt. 1:25).”

Here is the key.  Max says, “One can’t, at once, promote two reputations. Promote God’s and forget yours. Or promote yours and forget God’s. We must choose.”

He then says, “God grants us an uncommon life to the degree we surrender our common one. ‘If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life (Matt. 16:25 NLT).”

So which is the reputation we will promote?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

“We suffer from poor I-sight.”

A thought by Max Lucado (2011-05-02) from his book, Cure for the Common Life (p. 71). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

That is the truth.  Max says, “Not eyesight, a matter of distorted vision that lenses can correct, but I-sight. Poor I-sight blurs your view, not of the world, but of yourself. 

He goes on, “Some see self too highly. Maybe it’s the PhD or pedigree. A tattoo can do it; so can a new truck or the Nobel Peace Prize. Whatever the cause, the result is the same. ‘I have so many gifts. I can do anything.’” 

He then says, “And don’t we also know the other extreme: ‘I can’t do anything’?  Forget the thin air of pomposity; these folks breathe the thick, swampy air of self-defeat. Roaches have higher self-esteem. Earthworms stand taller. ‘I’m a bum. I am scum. The world would be better off without me.’”

And have you at one time felt each of these poor I-sights?  “Two extremes of poor I-sight. Self-loving and self-loathing. We swing from one side to the other. Promotions and demotions bump us back and forth. One day too high on self, the next too hard on self. Neither is correct. Self-elevation and self-deprecation are equally inaccurate. Where is the truth?”

And Max answers his own question.  He says, “Smack-dab in the middle. Dead center between ‘I can do anything’ and ‘I can’t do anything’ lies ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Phil. 4:13). Neither omnipotent nor impotent, neither God’s MVP nor God’s mistake. Not self-secure or insecure, but God-secure—a self-worth based in our identity as children of God. The proper view of self is in the middle.”

He then asks and answers another question you might have, “But how do we get there? How do we park the pendulum in the center? Counseling? Therapy? Self-help? Long walks? Taking Lucado out to dinner? Advisable activities, but they don’t compare with God’s cure for poor I-sight: Worship.”

He continues, “Worship can happen every day in every deed. We can make a big deal about God on Sundays with our songs and on Mondays with our strengths. Each time we do our best to thank God for giving his, we worship. ‘Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering’ (Rom. 12:1 MSG). Worship places God on center stage and us in proper posture.”

So would you do your best to take care of your poor I-sight today?

Friday, January 13, 2017

“Before you knew you needed a Savior, you had one.”

A thought by Max Lucado (2011-05-02) from his book, Cure for the Common Life (p. 70). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

I love a story that Max tells.  He says, “The bank sent me an overdraft notice on the checking account of one of my daughters. I encourage my college-age girls to monitor their accounts. Even so, they sometimes overspend. What should I do? Let the bank absorb it? They won’t. Send her an angry letter? Admonition might help her later, but it won’t satisfy the bank. Phone and tell her to make a deposit? Might as well tell a fish to fly. I know her liquidity. Zero. Transfer the money from my account to hers? Seemed to be the best option. After all, I had $25.37. I could replenish her account and pay the overdraft fee as well. Besides, that’s my job. Don’t get any ideas. If you’re overdrawn, don’t call me. My daughter can do something you can’t do: she can call me Dad. And since she calls me Dad, I did what dads do. I covered my daughter’s mistake. When I told her she was overdrawn, she said she was sorry. Still, she offered no deposit. She was broke. She had one option. ‘Dad, could you . . .’ I interrupted her sentence. ‘Honey, I already have.’ I met her need before she knew she had one.”

He goes on, “Long before you knew you needed grace, your Father did the same. He made the deposit, an ample deposit. ‘Christ died for us while we were still sinners’ (Rom. 5:8 NCV). Before you knew you needed a Savior, you had one. And when you ask him for mercy, he answers, ‘I’ve already given it, dear child. I’ve already given it.’”

And that is such good news for all of us.  It is there for us even on Friday the 13th.
Just ask him to forgive you of your sins.  He already has so just ask and accept it. 

Why not ask and accept it right now? 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

“Jesus loved us too much to leave us alone.”

A thought by Max Lucado (2011-05-02) from his book, Cure for the Common Life (p. 65). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

Are you someone who hurts because you are lonely?

Max says, “Lonely people fight feelings of insignificance. What do you do with such thoughts? No one knows me. No one’s near me. No one needs me. How do you cope with such cries for significance? Some stay busy; others stay drunk. Some buy pets; others buy lovers. Some seek therapy. And a few seek God.”

He continues, “He invites us all to. God’s treatment for insignificance won’t lead you to a bar or dating service, a spouse or social club. God’s ultimate cure for the common life takes you to a manger. The babe of Bethlehem. Immanuel. Remember the promise of the angel? ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us.’ (Matt. 1:23).”

He goes on, “For thousands of years, God gave us his voice. Prior to Bethlehem, he gave his messengers, his teachers, his words. But in the manger, God gave us himself. Many people have trouble with such a teaching. Islam sees God as one who sends others. He sends angels, prophets, books, but God is too holy to come to us himself. For God to touch the earth would be called a ‘shirk.’ People who claim that God has touched the earth shirk God’s holiness; they make him gross. They blaspheme him. Christianity, by contrast, celebrates God’s surprising descent. His nature does not trap him in heaven, but leads him to earth. In God’s great gospel, he not only sends, he becomes; he not only looks down, he lives among; he not only talks to us, he lives with us as one of us.”

“Get the word out. God is with us; we are not alone.”

That is such good news isn’t it?