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Thoughts From Max Lucado

Dear Friends,

Today’s “thought” comes from one of America’s favorite Christian authors - Max Lucado (author of too many books to list)! To use the old saying, he simply, “has a way with words.” This particular excerpt is two of his daily devotionals with similar themes combined. They are taken from his 365 day devotional collection, entitled, “God is With You Every Day” (a Christmas gift from my twin sister)! They are about how we sometimes treat people versus how God calls us to treat people. Good stuff! Challenging and maybe a bit convicting, but good stuff. Enjoy.

An Entirely Different Approach
“God has shown me that he doesn’t think anyone is unclean or unfit." Acts 10:28 (CEV)
“As long as we can call people common or unfit, we can go our separate ways. Labels relieve us of responsibility. Pigeonholing permits us to wash our hands and leave.

“Oh, I know John. He’s an alcoholic.” (Translation: “Why can’t he control himself.”)
“Oh, I know her. She’s divorced.” (Translation: “She’s got a lot of baggage.”)

Categorizing others creates distance and gives us a convenient exit strategy for avoiding involvement. Jesus took an entirely different approach. He was all about including people, not excluding them. “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14 MSG). Jesus touched lepers and loved foreigners and spent so much time with partygoers that people called him a “lush, a friend of the riffraff.” (Matthew 11:19 MSG).

His Facebook page included the likes of Zacchaeus the Ponzi-Meister, Matthew the IRS agent, and some floozy he met at Simon’s house. Jesus spent thirty-three years walking in the mess of this world. “He had equal status with God, but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!” (Philippians 2:6-7 MSG). His example sends this message: “Don’t call any person unfit.”

“I once knew an extremely courageous lady. For one thing, she was waging an uphill battle against alcoholism. For another, she was doing all she could to restore her relationship with God. She chose a small church to attend, a church where she knew many members. One Sunday as she walked toward the front door, she overheard two ladies talking. “How long is that alcoholic going to hang around here?” She turned and went back to her car. She never entered another church building until she died… seemingly painless gossip did irreparable damage.”

It speaks for itself: More of Jesus, less of us. More like Christ, less like His common adversaries the Pharisees. We are to let the grace that we as ungodly sinners once received be the grace that we seek to bestow on others who are now where we once were. "Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy" (Matthew 5:7; James 2:12-13). Forgive us Lord for those times when we miss the mark. Ok, the times we sin! Forgive us for those times when we have sinned against others.

In Need of His Grace, Pastor Jeff


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