My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants. Mark3:35
Does Jesus have anything to say about dealing with difficult relatives? Is there an example of Jesus bringing peace to a painful family? Yes there is.
It may surprise you to know that Jesus had a family at all! You may not be aware that Jesus had brothers and sisters. He did. Quoting Jesus' hometown critics, Mark wrote, "[Jesus] is just the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters are here with us" (Mark 6:3 ).
And it may surprise you to know that his family was less than perfect. They were. If your family doesn't appreciate you, take heart, neither did Jesus'…
[Yet] he didn't try to control his family's behavior, nor did he let their behavior control his. He didn't demand that they agree with him. He didn't sulk when they insulted him. He didn't make it his mission to try to please them.
He Still Moves Stones (Max Lucado)
Do you actually believe God would make a statement like, “I will not hold their sins against them”—and then rub your nose in it whenever you ask for help?” Was He exaggerating when He said He would cast your sins as far as the east is from the west? (Psalm 103:12).
Are you really forgiven? Does He really forgive and forget? Yes, but you and I don’t. You still remember. That horrid lie. That jealousy. That habit. That business trip.
Do you think God is the voice that reminds you of your past? Was God teasing when He said, “I will remember your sins no more?” You and I just need an occasional reminder of God’s nature, His forgetful nature.
It’s against God’s nature to remember forgiven sins. He is the God of perfect grace. Grace forgets. Period.
I’ve never been surprised by God’s judgment, but I’m still stunned by His grace.
God’s judgment has never been a problem for me. In fact, it always seemed right. Lightning bolts on Sodom. Fire on Gomorrah. Good job, God! Egyptians swallowed in the Red Sea. They had it coming.
Discipline is easy for me to swallow. Logical to assimilate.
But God’s grace? Anything but. Do you need examples? How much time do you have? Peter denied Christ before he preached Christ. Zacchaeus, the crook… the cleanest part of his life was the money he’d laundered. But Jesus still had time for him. The thief on the cross, hung-out to die one minute, heaven-bound and smiling the next.
Story after story. Surprise after surprise! Search the pages. Read the stories! Find one person who came seeking a second chance and left with a stern lecture. Search. You won’t find it.
Maybe your past isn’t much to brag about. Maybe you’ve seen evil and you have to make a choice. Do you rise above the past and make a difference? Or do you remain controlled by the past and make excuses?
Many choose the convalescent homes of the heart. Healthy bodies. Sharp minds. But retired dreams. Lean closely and you’ll hear “If only…” The white flag of the heart. “If only.” Maybe you’ve used those words. Maybe you have every right to use them. Perhaps you were hearing the ten count before you even got into the ring.
Let me show you where to turn. Go to John’s gospel and read Jesus’ words in John 3:6, “Human life comes from human parents, but spiritual life comes from one Spirit.”
Your parents have given you genes, but God gives you grace. God is willing to give you what your family didn’t.
“We were hoping the doctor would release him.”
“I thought the job was in the bag.”
Words painted gray with disappointment. What we wanted did not come. What came, we didn’t want. The result? Shattered hope. What kind of God would let me down like this? The foundation of our world trembles.
So tear-filled are our eyes and so limited is our perspective. It’s not a lack of faith, but a lack of vision. Our petitions are limited to what we can imagine—an earthly kingdom. We roll in the mud of self-pity in the very shadow of the cross. If we would just remember the heavenly body that awaits us, we’d stop complaining that he hasn’t healed this earthly one. Hope is not what you expect—it’s what you would never dream!
I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens.Philippians 4:11
Test this question: What if God's only gift to you were his grace to save you. Would you be content? You beg him to save the life of your child. You plead with him to keep your business afloat. You implore him to remove the cancer from your body. What if his answer is, "My grace is enough." Would you be content?
You see, from heaven's perspective, grace is enough. If God did nothing more than save us from hell, could anyone complain? … Having been given eternal life, dare we grumble at an aching body? Having been given heavenly riches, dare we bemoan earthly poverty? …
If you have eyes to read these words, hands to hold this book, the means to own this volume, he has already given you grace upon grace.
In the Grip of Grace (Max Lucado)
Don't be afraid of people, who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. The only one you should fear is the one who can destroy the soul and the body in hell. Mat 10:28
Hell's misery is deep, but not as deep as God's love.
So how do we apply this [truth]? If you are saved, it should cause you to rejoice. You've been rescued. A glance into hell leads the believer to rejoice. But it also leads the believer to redouble his efforts to reach the lost. To understand hell is to pray more earnestly and to serve more diligently. Ours is a high-stakes mission.
And the lost? What is the meaning of this message for the unprepared? Heed the warnings and get ready. This plane won't fly forever. "Death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart" (Ecc 7:2 NIV).
When Christ Comes (Max Lucado)
When people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. Romans 6:23
Sin does to a life what shears do to a flower. A cut at the stem separates a flower from the source of life. Initially the flower is attractive, still colourful and strong. But watch that flower over a period of time, and the leaves will wilt and the petals will drop. No matter what you do, the flower will never live again. Surround it with water. Stick the stem in soil. Baptize it with fertilizer. Glue the flower back on the stem. Do what you wish. The flower is dead…
A dead soul has no life.
Cut off from God, the soul withers and dies. The consequence of sin is not a bad day or a bad mood but a dead soul. The sign of a dead soul is clear: poisoned lips and cursing mouths, feet that lead to violence and eyes that don't see God…
The finished work of sin is to kill the soul.
In the Grip of Grace (Max Lucado)
Jesus’ death was not the result of a panicking, cosmological engineer. The cross wasn’t a tragic surprise. The death of the Son of God was anything but an unexpected peril!
Jesus’ death was part of a plan. A calculated choice.The cross was written into the script. It was no accident. Jesus was born crucified. Whenever he became conscious of who he was, he also became conscious of what he had to do. It explains the resoluteness in his words: “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life, only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:18).
So call it what you wish. An act of grace. A plan of redemption. A martyr’s sacrifice. But whatever you call it, don’t call it an accident. It was anything but that!
The LORD hates what evil people do, but he loves those who do what is right. Pro 15:9
Perhaps the wound is old. A parent abused you. A teacher slighted you. A mate betrayed you… And you are angry.
Or perhaps the wound is fresh. The friend who owes you money just drove by in a new car. The boss who hired you with promises of promotions has forgotten how to pronounce your name… And you are hurt.
Part of you is broken, and the other part is bitter. Part of you wants to cry, and part of you wants to fight… There is a fire burning in your heart. It's the fire of anger…
And you are left with a decision. "Do I put the fire out or heat it up? Do I get over it or get even? Do I release it or resent it? Do I let my hurts heal, or do I let hurt turn into hate?" …
Unfaithfulness is wrong. Revenge is bad. But the worst part of all is that, without forgiveness, bitterness is all that is left.
The Applause of Heaven (by: Max Lucado)