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My friends-only banner was originally a header.  With permission, I simply added the words "friends only" onto it, because I really wanted to use it for this purpose.

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 [info]ennife.

He Can Do the Impossible - Max Lucado


He Can Do The Impossible

by Max Lucado

The kingdom of heaven. Its citizens are drunk on wonder.

Consider the case of Sarai. She is in her golden years, but God promises her a son. She gets excited. She visits the maternity shop and buys a few dresses. She plans her shower and remodels her tent … but no son. She eats a few birthday cakes and blows out a lot of candles … still no son. She goes through a decade of wall calendars … still no son.

So Sarai decides to take matters into her own hands. (“Maybe God needs me to take care of this one.”)

She convinces Abram that time is running out. (“Face it, Abe, you ain’t getting any younger, either.”) She commands her maid, Hagar, to go into Abram’s tent and see if he needs anything. (“And I mean ‘anything’!”) Hagar goes in a maid. She comes out a mom. And the problems begin.

Hagar is haughty. Sarai is jealous. Abram is dizzy from the dilemma. And God calls the baby boy a “wild donkey”—an appropriate name for one born out of stubbornness and destined to kick his way into history.

It isn’t the cozy family Sarai expected. And it isn’t a topic Abram and Sarai bring up very often at dinner.

Finally, fourteen years later, when Abram is pushing a century of years and Sarai ninety … when Abram has stopped listening to Sarai’s advice, and Sarai has stopped giving it … when the wallpaper in the nursery is faded and the baby furniture is several seasons out of date … when the topic of the promised child brings sighs and tears and long looks into a silent sky … God pays them a visit and tells them they had better select a name for their new son.

Abram and Sarai have the same response: laughter. They laugh partly because it is too good to happen and partly because it might. They laugh because they have given up hope, and hope born anew is always funny before it is real.

They laugh at the lunacy of it all.

They laugh because that is what you do when someone says he can do the impossible. They laugh a little at God, and a lot with God—for God is laughing, too. Then, with the smile still on his face, he gets busy doing what he does best—the unbelievable.

He changes a few things—beginning with their names. Abram, the father of one, will now be Abraham, the father of a multitude. Sarai, the barren one, will now be Sarah, the mother.

But their names aren’t the only things God changes. He changes their minds. He changes their faith. He changes the number of their tax deductions. He changes the way they define the word impossible.

From The Applause of Heaven
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999) Max Lucado

When We Miss the Target - Max Lucado

When We Miss the Target
by Max Lucado

Read the first verse of Matthew’s gospel. Jesus knew David’s ways. He witnessed the adultery, winced at the murders, and grieved at the dishonesty. But David’s failures didn’t change Jesus’ relation to David. The initial verse of the first chapter of the first gospel calls Christ “the son of David” (Matt. 1:1 KJV). The title contains no disclaimers, explanations, or asterisks. I’d have added a footnote: “This connection in no way offers tacit approval to David’s behavior.” No such words appear. David blew it. Jesus knew it. But he claimed David anyway.

He did for David what my father did for my brother and me.

Back in our elementary school days, my brother received a BB gun for Christmas. We immediately set up a firing range in the backyard and spent the afternoon shooting at an archery target. Growing bored with the ease of hitting the circle, my brother sent me to fetch a hand mirror. He placed the gun backward on his shoulder, spotted the archery bull’s-eye in the mirror, and did his best Buffalo Bill imitation. But he missed the target. He also missed the storehouse behind the target and the fence behind the storehouse. We had no idea where the BB pellet flew. Our neighbor across the alley knew, however. He soon appeared at the back fence, asking who had shot the BB gun and who was going to pay for his sliding-glass door.

At this point I disowned my brother. I changed my last name and claimed to be a holiday visitor from Canada. My father was more noble than I. Hearing the noise, he appeared in the backyard, freshly rousted from his Christmas Day nap, and talked with the neighbor.

Among his words were these:
“Yes, they are my children.”
“Yes, I’ll pay for their mistakes.”

Christ says the same about you. He knows you miss the target. He knows you can’t pay for your mistakes. But he can. “God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins” (Rom. 3:25 NLT).

Since he was sinless, he could.

Since he loves you, he did. “This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10 NLT).

He became one of us to redeem all of us. “Jesus, who makes people holy, and those who are made holy are from the same family. So he is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters” (Heb. 2:11 NCV).

He wasn’t ashamed of David. He isn’t ashamed of you. He calls you brother; he calls you sister. The question is, doyou call him Savior?

From Facing Your Giants
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2006) Max Lucado

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