Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jesus Touched the Untouchables

When Jesus came down from the hill, great crowds followed him. Then a man with a skin disease came to Jesus. The man bowed down before him and said, “Lord, you can heal me if you will.”Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man and said, “I will. Be healed!” And immediately the man was healed from his disease. Matthew 8:1-3
I wonder… about the man who felt Jesus’ compassionate touch. He makes one appearance, has one request, and receives one touch. But that one touch changed his life forever….
I wonder about this man because in New Testament times leprosy was the most dreaded disease. The condition rendered the body a mass of ulcers and decay. Fingers would curl and gnarl. Blotches of skin would discolor and stink. Certain types of leprosy would numb nerve endings, leading to a loss of fingers, toes, even a whole foot or hand. Leprosy was death by inches.
The social consequences were as severe as the physical. Considered contagious, the leper was quarantined, banished to a leper colony.
In Scripture the leper is symbolic of the ultimate outcast: infected by a condition he did not seek, rejected by those he knew, avoided by people he did not know, condemned to a future he could not bear…
The touch did not heal the disease, you know. Matthew is careful to mention that it was the pronouncement and not the touch of Christ that cured the condition. “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man and said, ‘I will. Be healed!’ And immediately the man was healed from his disease” (Matt. 8:3).The infection was banished by a word from Jesus.
The loneliness, however, was treated by a touch from Jesus.
Jesus touched the untouchables of the world.

From His Name is Jesus© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2009) Max Lucado

Monday, April 13, 2009

He did it just for you!

Well, I can't believe that I haven't been on for forever, first off, and then also that I missed a chance to talk about one of the best days of the year - Easter!!!! Rather than me trying to wax eloquent though, here's something by Max Lucado that will talk about the God who is the God of Easter... He did it just for you.....

When God entered time and became a man, he who was boundless became bound. Imprisoned in flesh. Restricted by weary-prone muscles and eyelids. For more than three decades, his once limitless reach would be limited to the stretch of an arm, his speed checked to the pace of human feet.

I wonder, was he ever tempted to reclaim his boundlessness? In the middle of a long trip, did he ever consider transporting himself to the next city? When the rain chilled his bones, was he tempted to change the weather? When the heat parched his lips, did he give thought to popping over to the Caribbean for some refreshment?

If ever he entertained such thoughts, he never gave in to them. Not once. Stop and think about this. Not once did Christ use his supernatural powers for personal comfort. With one word he could’ve transformed the hard earth into a soft bed, but he didn’t. With a wave of his hand, he could’ve boomeranged the spit of his accusers back into their faces, but he didn’t. With an arch of his brow, he could’ve paralyzed the hand of the soldier as he braided the crown of thorns. But he didn’t.

Want to know the coolest thing about the coming?

Not that he, in an instant, went from needing nothing to needing air, food, a tub of hot water and salts for his tired feet, and, more than anything, needing somebody—anybody—who was more concerned about where he would spend eternity than where he would spend Friday’s paycheck.

Not that he kept his cool while the dozen best friends he ever had felt the heat and got out of the kitchen. Or that he gave no command to the angels who begged, “Just give the nod, Lord. One word and these demons will be deviled eggs.”

Not that he refused to defend himself when blamed for every sin since Adam. Or that he stood silent as a million guilty verdicts echoed in the tribunal of heaven and the giver of light was left in the chill of a sinner’s night.

Not even that after three days in a dark hole he stepped into the Easter sunrise with a smile and a swagger and a question for lowly Lucifer—“Is that your best punch?”

That was cool, incredibly cool.

But want to know the coolest thing about the One who gave up the crown of heaven for a crown of thorns?

He did it for you. Just for you.

His Name is Jesus
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2009) Max Lucado
Great House of God

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Just Wearing the Shirt

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I have two adult friends who own Princeton University sweatshirts. Al has one because he put in four challenging years there and graduated from Princeton. I ran into another friend, Dave, at the store one day and he was wearing his Princeton sweatshirt. I said, "I didn't know you went to Princeton, Dave." He informed me that he didn't attend that Ivy League school. He bought the sweatshirt at a discount store for 12 dollars! He said, "Oh, I didn't go there. I just wear the shirt!"

Jesus has a lot of folks like my friend who got his shirt at a discount store; they're just wearing His shirt. In fact, our word for today from the Word of God describes people like that. And frankly, it's pretty unsettling.

In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many of you will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"

This is a disturbing description, because the people Jesus says He never knew are not people who are only wearing a Jesus shirt. They have like a total Christian wardrobe. They have been Christian leaders, they're experts on Jesus, they've spoken for Jesus and they've done some impressive things in His name. Jesus says those who are truly His, who will end up in heaven, will not be "everyone who says" the right things but those who do His Father's will. Which is spelled out in John 6:40, "My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life." See, it's your total trust in God's Son to rescue you from your sin that gets you into heaven and nothing else. It takes more than a Christian uniform.

There may be someone listening today who says all the right words - maybe even publicly - but you've never surrendered your heart and your will to Jesus Christ. The fact that you have Christianity but you don't have Christ can be concealed until you see the Lord. Could it be that you're just wearing the shirt, but your heart is still lost?

In Luke 6:46, Jesus addresses people who apparently really do belong to Him. But He asks, "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" Maybe your commitment to Jesus has deteriorated to being pretty much words like "Lord, Lord." My friend, Dave, had not really paid the price that goes with identification with the university. When my friend, Al, wears his shirt, it is backed up by years of sacrifice and work. Could it be that you're proud to wear a Jesus shirt, but you're not paying the price of really living consistently with Jesus first?

But by far the most important question you have to answer and answer correctly is this: "Do I really belong to Jesus? Have I really begun a relationship with Him by grabbing Him in total trust to be my Rescuer from my sin?" You see if it's only a Christian uniform, it won't make it past the throne of God on Judgment Day. You need to be sure. You need to make sure that Jesus Christ rules in your heart.

It may be hard for you to admit, but if you don't really belong to Jesus and you want to, would you tell Him that right now? "Jesus, beginning today, I really am Yours." And if you want to begin this relationship for real, I want to urge you to go visit our website at your first opportunity today. It's, and it'll walk you through how to be sure you have begun this relationship and that you truly do belong to Jesus. Or I could send you the free booklet Yours For Life if you just call for it at our toll free number. It's 877-741-1200.

I think the most chilling words Jesus will ever speak are "I never knew you," spoken to people who knew all about Him but didn't know Him. I don't ever want you to hear those words. He doesn't ever want you to hear those words. He comes to you one more time. Please, let Him in.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Laws of the Lighthouse

The first of the year is known for three things: black-eyed peas, bowl games, and lists. Some don’t eat black-eyed peas. Others hate football. But everybody likes lists.

The Bible certainly has its share of lists. Moses brought one down from the mountain.

There are lists of the gifts of the Spirit. Lists of good fruit and bad. Lists of salutations and greetings. Even the disciples’ boat got into the action as it listed in the stormy Sea of Galilee. (If you smiled at that, then I’ve got a list of puns you’d enjoy.)

But the greatest day of lists is still New Year’s Day. And the number one list is the list I call the Laws of the Lighthouse.

The Laws of the Lighthouse contain more than good ideas, personal preferences, and honest opinions. They are God-given, time-tested truths that define the way you should navigate your life. Observe them and enjoy secure passage. Ignore them and crash against the ragged rocks of reality.

Smart move. The wise captain shifts the direction of his craft according to the signal of the lighthouse. A wise person does the same.

Herewith, then, are the lights I look for and the signals I heed:

– Love God more than you fear hell.
– Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.
– Make major decisions in a cemetery.
– When no one is watching, live as if someone is.
– Succeed at home first.
– Don’t spend tomorrow’s money today.
– Pray twice as much as you fret.
– Listen twice as much as you speak.
– Only harbor a grudge when God does.
– Never outgrow your love of sunsets.
– Treat people like angels; you will meet some and help make some.
– ‘Tis wiser to err on the side of generosity than on the side of scrutiny.
– God has forgiven you; you’d be wise to do the same.
– When you can’t trace God’s hand, trust his heart.
– Toot your own horn and the notes will be flat.
– Don’t feel guilty for God’s goodness.
– The book of life is lived in chapters, so know your page number.
– Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.
– Live your liturgy.

To sum it all up:
Approach life like a voyage on a schooner. Enjoy the view. Explore the vessel. Make friends with the captain. Fish a little. And then get off when you get home.

In the Eye of the StormFrom
In the Eye of the Storm
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006) Max Lucado

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Overcoming Life's Monotony

Week of Jan. 12

Overcoming Life's Monotony

Consider for a moment an average person in an average home who wakes up early in the morning to beat everyone into the shower so that he can get ready and get on the road to get to work on time. He works hard all day and then jumps back into the car to beat the traffic home, so he can sit down to eat and watch television. He sets his alarm and goes to bed so he can begin the whole process all over again. Does this life sound familiar?

In the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon says that there is nothing new under the sun. There is monotony, he writes, and there is boredom in our lives. But a life lived with God, in fellowship with Him, under His authority, is a life of joy and fulfillment. All humans can live a life of emptiness, boredom, and meaninglessness living without God, or they can experience a life full of joy, excitement, and contentment when they live it with Him.

Throughout Ecclesiastes, Solomon warns us saying, "Please, do not go where I went. Please, be forewarned about living your life the wrong way. Learn from my failures, and do not make the mistakes I have made. Live in fellowship with God. Live under the authority of God." He says the temptations we will face in life are not worth the trouble they will cause, and cautions us against falling prey to them. Much of our worldly pursuits in life will bring us nothing but emptiness, misery, and disappointment. A life without God's leading is a life without purpose and meaning.

But thanks to God, there is a better way! A life that is lived in fellowship with God, a life lived under the authority of the Word of God, a life which is lived by the principles given to us in the Word--that life will be meaningful. That sort of life will be purposeful. That life will be joyful and fulfilling. That life will be a blessing to you and to others. Most importantly, that life will be a blessing to God.

The good news is that those who are experiencing a personal relationship with the Son of God will not only find contentment in this life--they will know with all assurance that the day is coming when they will have perfect knowledge, perfect bodies, perfect memories, and perfect stamina. And the reason that they can have this full life is that they know who they are and to Whom they belong. They know their purpose for living and they know their ultimate destination.

Are you experiencing emptiness, drudgery, or monotony? You can change direction, and you can do it today. You can begin a life of meaning, a life full of purpose, a life with the absolute and perfect assurance of your ultimate and eternal destination. If that is your desire, then you can say to the Lord, "Lord, I am tired of living a life of emptiness and monotony. I want to live a life of purpose; I want to live my life for You and for Your Kingdom." And God will answer that prayer--of that you can be sure. In His time, you will begin to live a life full of joy, peace, fulfillment, and contentment. Only God, His truths, His purpose, and His Word can give your life the meaning you have always wanted.


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Good or Evil?

January 21

Calling Good Evil & Evil Good

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20

People can become so warped in their thinking that they don't know the difference between right and wrong.

I was listening to the radio one morning, and they were talking about what scientists want to do with the tissue of aborted babies. They said that some women are thinking about having babies, aborting them, then selling the tissue for research. The scientific community is promoting this propaganda because of the good they say the research will have on the whole of humanity! But what about the whole of humanity that begins in the womb?

People today will play enough tricks on their minds that they will literally approve evil with a good conscience.

Where do you stand on this issue? What is right and what is wrong?

Take some time this morning to read Psalm 139 and ask God to show you His truth.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Guarding against extremes

by Charles R. Swindoll

Romans 14:22 NLT

Three suggestions come to mind as I think about living with the risks of grace and putting all this into balanced living.

First, guard against extremes if you want to enjoy the freedom grace provides. Try your best to keep balanced, then enjoy it. No reason to feel guilty. No reason to be afraid. Try this first: Simply give yourself permission to be free. Don't go crazy . . . but neither should you spend time looking over your shoulder worrying about those who "spy out your liberty," and wondering what they will think and say.

Second, treat grace as an undeserved privilege rather than an exclusive right. This will also help you keep a balance. Live gratefully, not arrogantly. Have fun, but don't flaunt. It is all in one's attitude, isn't it? It has nothing to do with financial status or where you live or what clothes you prefer or which car you drive. It has everything to do with attitude.

Third, remember that while grace came to you freely, it cost the Savior His life. It may seem free, but it was terribly expensive when He purchased it for us. And who wouldn't want to be free, since we have been purchased from the horrors of bondage?

Grace is God's universal good news of salvation. The tragedy is that some continue to live lives in a deathlike bog because they have been so turned off by a message that is full of restrictions, demands, negativism, and legalism. You may have been one of those held in bondage, victimized by a system that has stolen your joy and snuffed out your hope. If so, I have some wonderful news. You've gotten very close to the border. There's a flag flying. And on that flag is a cross. And if you come into this camp of grace beneath the cross, you'll never have to be in that awful bog again.

You will be free... free at last.