What better way to begin my first blog post on my new blog site then to quote from one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado, who “has spent the last 40 years telling the story of God’s grace in books, in pulpits, on broadcasts, on music tours…every chance he gets” (quote source here).
I was fortunate to find this sample reading below from Max Lucado’s book, “Let the Journey Begin: God’s Roadmap for New Beginnings” (2009) on CBN’s website:
DEEP IN EVERY HEART
YOU WILL FIND IT: A LONGING
FOR MEANING, A QUEST FOR PURPOSE.
If you ask the secularists what is the meaning of life they will say, “We don’t know.” At least they might agree that we are developed animals. At worst, rearranged space dust.
What a contrast to God’s vision for life: “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to devote ourselves to the good deeds for which God has designed us” (Eph. 2:10 NEB).
God has placed his hand on your shoulder and said, “You’re something special.”
Untethered by time, he sees us all. In fact, he saw us before we were born.
And he loves what he sees. Flooded by emotion. Overcome by pride, the Star Maker turns to us, one by one, and says, “You are my child. I love you dearly.”
And he loves us forever. Should you ever turn from him and walk away, he has already provided a way back. Nothing can separate you from his love. If you anchor these truths firmly in your heart, you will be ready for whatever you may encounter on the road ahead.
So let the journey begin!
The key question in life is not
“How strong am I?” but rather
“How strong is God?”
Direction for the Road Ahead
OCCUPY YOURSELF WITH THE
NATURE OF GOD, NOT THE SIZE
OF YOUR BICEPS…
That’s what God told Moses to do. Remember the conversation at the burning bush? The tome was set in the first sentence. “Take off you sandals because you are standing on holy ground” (Exodus 3:5). With these eleven words Moses is enrolled in a class on God. Immediately the roles are defined. God is holy. Approaching him on even a quarter-inch of leather is too pompous…. No time is spent convincing Moses what Moses can do, but much time is spent explaining to Moses what God can do.
You and I tend to do the opposite. We could explain to Moses how he is ideally suited to return to Egypt…. Then we’d remind Moses how perfect he is for wilderness travel…. We’d spend time reviewing with Moses his resume and strengths.
But God doesn’t. The strength of Moses is never considered. No pep talk is given, no pats on the backs are offered. Not one word is spoken to recruit Moses. But many words are used to reveal God. The strength of Moses isn’t the issue; the strength of God is.
Nails didn’t hold God to a cross.
The Strength of God’s Love
“Can anything make me stop loving you?” God asks. “Watch me speak your language, sleep on your earth, and feel your hurts. Behold the maker of sight and sound as he sneezes, coughs, and blows his nose. You wonder if I understand how you feel? Look into the dancing eyes of the kid in Nazareth; that’s God walking to school. Ponder the toddler at Mary’s table; that’s God spilling his milk.
“You wonder how long my love will last? Find your answer on a splintered cross, on a craggy hill. That’s me you see up there, your maker, your God, nail-stabbed and bleeding. Covered in spit, and sin-soaked. That’s your sin I’m feeling. That’s your death I’m dying. That’s your resurrection I’m living. That’s how much I love you.”
You change your life by changing your heart.
Locked Behind Bars
Think of it this way. Sin put you in prison. Sin locked you behind the bars of guilt and shame and deception and fear. Sin did nothing but shackle you to the wall of misery. Then Jesus came and paid your bail. He served your time; he satisfied the penalty and set you free. Christ died, and when you cast your lot with him, your old self died too.
The only way to be set free from the prison of sin is to serve its penalty. In this case the penalty is death. Someone has to die, either you or a heaven-sent substitute. You cannot leave prison unless there is a death. But that death has occurred at Calvary. And when Jesus died, you died to sins claim on your life. You are free.
“Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ” (Eph. 2:5).
A New Player on Our Team
As youngsters, we neighborhood kids would play street football. The minute we got home from school, we’d drop the books and hit the pavement. The kid across the street had a dad with a great and a strong addiction to football. As soon as he’d pull in the driveway from work we’d start yelling for him to come and play ball. He couldn’t resist. Out of fairness he’d always ask, “Which team is losing?” Then he would join that team, which often seemed to be mine.
His appearance in the huddle changed the whole ball game. He was confident, strong, and most of all, he had a plan. We’d circle around him, and he’d look at us and say, “OK boys, here is what we are going to do.” The other side was groaning before we left the huddle. You see, we not only had a new plan, we had a new leader.
He brought new life to our team. God does precisely the same. We didn’t need a new play; we needed a new plan. We didn’t need to trade positions; we needed a new player. That player is Jesus Christ, God’s firstborn son.
Answer the big question of eternity,
and the little questions of life fall into perspective.
The Applause of Heaven
Truth Will Triumph
Imagine that you are an ice skater in competition. You are in first place with one more round to go, If you perform well, the trophy is yours. You are nervous, anxious, and frightened.
Then, only minutes before your performance, your trainer rushes to you with the thrilling news: “You’ve already won! The judges tabulated the scores, and the person in second place can’t catch you. You are too far ahead.”
Upon hearing that news, how will you feel? Exhilarated!
And how will you skate? Timidly? Cautiously? Of course not. How about courageously and confidently? You bet you will. You will do your best because the prize is yours. You will skate like a champion because that is what you are! You will hear the applause of victory….
The point is clear: the truth will triumph. The Father of truth will win, and the followers of truth will be saved. (Quote source here.)
We’re off to a great start on our journey, don’t you think? I’ll end this post with Jesus’ words found in John 8:32 . . .
Then you will know the truth . . .
And the truth . . .
Will set you free . . . .
YouTube Video: “I Just Need U” by TobyMac: