A Love Worth Giving — Max Lucado

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A Gentle Thunder
And the Angels Were Silent
Cast of Characters
Come Thirsty
Cure for the Common Life
Every Day Deserves a Chance
Facing Your Giants
He Still Moves Stones
In the Eye of the Storm
In the Grip of Grace
Its Not About Me
Just Like Jesus
Next Door Savior
No Wonder They Call Him
the Savior
On the Anvil
Six Hours One Friday
The Applause of Heaven
The Great House of God
Traveling Light
When Christ Comes
When God Whispers Your Name
A Hat for Ivan
All You Ever Need
Because I Love You
Best of All
He Chose You
Hermie, a Common Caterpillar
Hermie and Friends Bible
If Only I Had a Green Nose
Jacobs Gift
Just in Case You Ever Wonder
Just Like Jesus (for teens)
Just the Way You Are
Milo, the Mantis Who
Wouldnt Pray
Next Door Savior (for teens)
Punchinello and the Most
Marvelous Gift
Small Gifts in Gods Hands
Stanley the Stinkbug
Gods Love
Max Lucado
2002 Max Lucado
To my daughter Jenna on her eighteenth birthday.
A higher joy and deeper pride no father could know.
I love you.
Loves Flagship
Your Kindness Quotient
Gods No Pecking Zone
A Call to Common Courtesy
The fingerprints of many dear ones are on these pages.
Liz Heaney and Karen HillYour patience is exceeded only by your
skill. Thanks for the brilliant editing.
Steve and Cheryl GreenCan you believe it? Three decades of friend-
ship! Thanks for keeping this ship on course.
Charles ShinnPrayer partner, golf buddy, shepherd, and just all-around
good guy. Thanks for showing up.
Charles PrinceGentleman scholar and dear adviser.
Steve HallidayYour discussion guide is terrific! Thanks for another
great job.
Jenna, Andrea, and SaraYou make other dads jealous and this dad beam.
I love you.
The 7:47 Principle
We love, because He first loved us.
1 John 4:19 nasb
od loves you. Personally. Powerfully. Passionately.
Others have promised and failed.
But God has promised and succeeded.
He loves you with an unfailing love.
ould two people be more different?
He is looked up to. She is looked down on.
thoughts you dont want Jesus to hear. For Jesus heard them, and when he
did, he chose to share a few of his own.
Simon answered, I suppose the one for whom he canceled the
Thats right, Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to
Simon, Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your
tationa sinner. A prostitute most likely. She has no invitation to the party
and no standing in the community. (Imagine a hooker in a tight dress
showing up at the parsonage during the pastors Christmas party. Heads
turn. Faces blush. Gasp!)
But peoples opinions didnt stop her from coming. Its not for them she
has come. Its for him. Her every move is measured and meaningful. Each
receiving? You give love by first receiving it. We love, because he first loved
us (1 John 4:19
Long to be more loving? Begin by accepting your place as a dearly loved
child. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a
life of love, just as Christ loved us (Eph. 5:12
Want to learn to forgive? Then consider how youve been forgiven. Be
kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in
Christ God forgave you (Eph. 4:32
Finding it hard to put others first? Think of the way Christ put you first.
Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God
(Phil. 2:6
instructing people to love without telling them they are loved is like telling
them to write a check without our making a deposit in their accounts. No
wonder so many relationships are overdrawn. Hearts have insufficient love.
The apostle John models the right sequence. He makes a deposit before he
tells us to write the check. First, the deposit:
God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into
or in your resolve to love (which is frail). John urges us to rely on the love
has for us (1 John 4:16
,emphasis mine). He alone is the power
Many people tell us to love. Only God gives us the power to do so.
We know what God wants us to do. This is what God commands: . . .
that we love each other (1 John 3:23). But how can we? How can we be
kind to the vow breakers? To those who are unkind to us? How can we be
patient with people who have the warmth of a vulture and the tenderness
of a porcupine? How can we forgive the moneygrubbers and backstabbers
Loves Flagship
Love is patient.
ee the people hiding in the house? Thats us. The folks ducking behind
the stairwell? Thats you and me. Were avoiding the bill collectors. This is
the eve of eviction. The bank has given us one day to pay the mortgage.
Credit-card agents are camped on the front lawn. Loan sharks have our
number on speed dial. But we are broke. Weve peddled our last food
stamp. The water is disconnected, the car repossessed, the furniture picked
up, and now the IRS agent is knocking on the door. He wants back taxes.
I know you are in there. Open up!
So we do. He tells us how much we owe; we remind him that turnips
give no blood. He mentions jail, and at this point a warm bed out of the
reach of creditors doesnt sound half bad.
Just as he motions for the sheriff, his cell phone rings. Its Washington.
The president wants a word with us, an explanation from us. We have
none. No defense. Only a plea for patience. He listens in silence and asks
to speak with the agent again. As the president speaks, the suit nods and
says, Yessir . . . Yessir . . . Yessir. He closes his phone and looks first at you
and then at me. I dont know who you know, but your debt is paid, he
Those times you used his name only when you cussed? God could have
blown up at you. But he didnt. He was patient.
The Greek word used here for
is a descriptive one. It figuratively
means taking a long time to boil. Think about a pot of boiling water.
or hundreds of thousands but millions of dollars. The king summarily
declares that the man and his wife and kids are to be sold to pay the debt.
Because of his inability to pay, the man is about to lose everything and
everyone dear to him. No wonder
the man fell down before the king and begged him, Oh, sir, be
with me, and I will pay it all. Then the king was filled with pity for
him, and he released him and forgave his debt. (Matt. 18:2627
The word
makes a surprise appearance here. The debtor does
cy or forgiveness; he pleads for patience. Equally curious is
this singular appearance of the word. Jesus uses it twice in this story and never
again. It appears nowhere else in the Gospels. Perhaps the scarce usage is the
first-century equivalent of a highlighter. Jesus reserves the word for one occa-
sion to make one point. Patience is more than a virtue for long lines and slow
Had there been no patience, there would have been no mercy. But the king
was patient, and the man with the multimillion-dollar debt was forgiven.
But then the story takes a left turn. The freshly forgiven fellow makes a
beeline from the courthouse to the suburbs. There he searches out a guy
who owes him some money.
But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who
owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and
demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and
begged for a little more time. Be
But his creditor wouldnt wait. He had the man arrested and jailed until
the debt could be paid in full. (vv. 2830
, emphasis mine)
The king is stunned. How could the man be so impatient? How
man be so impatient! The ink of the CANCELED stamp is still moist on
the mans bills. Wouldnt you expect a little Mother Teresaness out of him?
Youd think that a person whod been forgiven so much would love much.
But he didnt. And his lack of love led to a costly mistake.
The unforgiving servant is called back to the castle.
You evil servant! [the king, a.k.a. God, declares.] I forgave you
that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldnt you
have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you? Then
the angry king sent the man to prison until he had paid every penny.
(Matt. 18:3234
The kings patience made no difference in the mans life. To the servant,
throne-room mercy was nothing more than a canceled test, a dodged bul-
relieved he
hadnt been punished. He was given much patience but gave none,
which makes us wonder if he actually understood the gift he had received.
If you find patience hard to give, you might ask the same question. How
infiltrated are you with Gods patience? Youve heard about it. Read about
it. Perhaps underlined Bible passages regarding it. But have you received it?
The proof is in your patience. Patience deeply received results in patience
freely offered.
But patience never received leads to an abundance of problems, not the
least of which is
prison. Remember where the king sent the unforgiving serv-
ant? Then the angry king sent the man to prison until he had paid every
penny (Matt. 18:34
we sigh.
Glad that story is a parable. Its a good thing God doesnt
imprison the impatient in real life.
Dont be so sure he doesnt. Self-absorp-
Impatience still imprisons the soul. For that reason, our God is quick to
help us avoid it. He does more than demand patience from us; he offers it
to us. Patience is a fruit of his Spirit. It hangs from the tree of Galatians 5:22:
The Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience. Have you asked
God to give you some fruit?
Well I did once, but . . .
But what? Did you, hm,
grow impatient? Ask him again and again and again. He wont grow impa-
tient with your pleading, and you will receive patience in your praying.
And while youre praying, ask for understanding. Patient people have
great understanding (Prov. 14:29). Could it be your impatience stems
from a lack of understanding? Mine has.
offered an explanation. Forgive me, he said. I forgot to explain why the
two fellows at the back of the class are talking. One of them is an elder at
a new church in Romania. He has traveled here to learn about church lead-
ership. But he doesnt speak English, so the message is being translated.
All of a sudden everything changed. Patience replaced impatience. Why?
Because patience always hitches a ride with understanding. The wise man
says, A man of understanding holds his tongue (Prov. 11:12
). He also
says, A man of understanding is even-tempered (Prov. 17:27
). Dont
Wiesel tries to reroute the conversation but cant. It is as though every-
thing in creation leads back to Jesus. Jerusalem? Jerusalem is where Jesus
ministered. The Old Testament? Because of Jesus, the Old is now enriched
by the New. Mauriac turns every topic toward the Messiah. The anger in
Wiesel begins to heat. The Christian anti-Semitism hed grown up with, the
friendship. They corresponded until Mauriacs death in 1970. I owe
Franois Mauriac my career, Wiesel has said . . . and it was to Mauriac that
Wiesel sent the first manuscript of
What if Mauriac had kept the door shut? Would anyone have blamed
him? Cut by the sharp words of Wiesel, he could have become impatient
with the angry young man and have been glad to be rid of him. But he
didnt and he wasnt. He reacted decisively, quickly, and lovingly. He was
slow to boil. And, because he was, a heart began to heal.
May I urge you to do the same?
Your Kindness
Love is kind.
he kindness of Jesus.
We are quick to think of his power,
his passion, and his devotion.
But those near him knewand know
God comes cloaked in kindness.
hree messages were on my answering machine this morning. All three
making the same request. Theyd heard the topic of this chapter and wanted
to contribute. God had been kind to them. They had a story to share. I
invited them over.
The first to arrive was a young couple freshly married. Both showed evi-
dence of a recent weddingshe was thin from the weight shed lost; he was
wide eyed at the bride hed gained. Sitting cuddly close on the couch, they
told me their story. She did most of the talking. He nodded and smiled and
would finish a sentence when she stopped for breath.
My mother and Mary had been friends since they were teens. So we
invited Mary and Jesus to the wedding.
My wife knew Jesus when he ran the family business, he added.
We were thrilled when Jesus came. But a bit surprised at the vanload of
buddies. There was a bunch.
Fifteen or twenty, he offered.
Butthat was fine. After all, Jesus is like family. Besides, we had a
great time.
Long after the ceremony ended, people lingered. Eating and
Drinking a bit too much, the groom explained.
Yeah, soon the wine was gone, and the waiters were nervous because the
people still wanted to party.
The young girl slid to the front of the couch. I didnt even know about
the problem until it was solved. No one told me. Someone told Jesus,
though, and he took care of it
Not only did he produce more wine, he
improved it! She went on to say that the wedding coordinator reported
that the vintage tasted like the hundred-dollar-a-bottle Bordeaux she tasted
once at a wine festival.
The young man moved up to the front of the couch with his wife. Here
is what impresses us. As he spoke, she looked at him and nodded as if she
knew what he was going to say. This is his first miracle, right? His debut,
and he uses it on us! To save us from looking like poor hosts.
He didnt have to do that, she jumped in. Our town had sick people,
poor people. Why, raising the dead would have made the headlines. But he
used his premiere miracle on a social miscue. Wasnt that kind of him? She
smiled. He smiled.
So did I.
As they left a businessman came in. Told me his name was Zacchaeus. A
diner was down the block, or I would have bought him lunch at the club.
But, no, he wanted to come to my house. And he wanted everyone to know
where he was going. His is the first signature in my guest book. That was
kind of him, dont you think? Unbelievably kind.
Later in the day a woman came by. Middle aged. Hair streaked with gray
and pulled back. Dress was simple. Reminded me of a middle-school librar-
Face was wrinkled and earnest. Said shed been sick for a dozen years.
HIV positive.
Thats a long time, I said.
Long enough, she agreed, to run out of doctors, money, even hope. But
worst of all, she had run out of friends. They were afraid of me, she said.
Worried about catching the disease. My church hadnt turned me out, but
they hadnt helped me out either. I hadnt been home in years. Been living
in a shelter. But then Jesus came to town. He was on his way to treat the
mayors daughter, who was dying. The crowd was thick, and people were
She spoke of following Jesus at a distance. Then she drew near and
stepped back for fear of being recognized. She told of inching behind a
broad-shouldered man and staying in his wake until, as she said, There
The whole story? I asked.
The whole story,
she replied.
I tried to imagine the moment. Everyone waiting as Jesus listened. The
crowd waiting. The city leaders waiting. A girl was dying, people were
pressing, disciples were questioning, but Jesus . . . Jesus was listening.
Listening to the whole story. He didnt have to. The healing would have
been enough. Enough for her. Enough for the crowd. But not enough for
him. Jesus wanted to do more than heal her body. He wanted to hear her
storyall of it. The whole story. What a kind thing to do. The miracle
restored her health. The kindness restored her dignity.
And what he did next, the woman never forgot. As if he hadnt done
enough alreadyher eyes began to waterhe called me daughter.
Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.
Ive been told he never used that word with anyone else. Just me.
After she left, I checked. She was right.
The kindness of Jesus. We are quick to think of his power, his passion,
and his devotion. But those near him knew and know God comes cloaked
in kindness. Kind enough to care about a faux pas. Kind enough to have
lunch with a crook. Kind enough to bless a suffering sister.
Love is kind, writes Paul.
Nehemiah agrees: You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merci-
ful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness (Neh. 9:17
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give
you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle
and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke
is easy and My burden is light. (Matt. 11:2830
Farmers in ancient Israel used to train an inexperienced ox by yoking it
to an experienced one with a wooden harness. The straps around the older
animal were tightly drawn. He carried the load. But the yoke around the
younger animal was loose. He walked alongside the more mature ox, but
his burden was light. In this verse Jesus is saying, I walk alongside you. We
we felt them? Has he carried our confusion so we wouldnt have to? Those
times when we have been surprised by our own sense of peace? Could it be
makes the coffee. Again, doesnt J
He not only
attended the wedding, he rescued it. He not only healed the woman, he hon-
ored her. He did more than call Zacchaeus by name; he entered his house.
Hasnt he acted similarly with you? Hasnt he helped you out of a few
jams? Hasnt he come into your house? And has there ever been a time
when he was too busy to listen to your story? The Bible says, Whoever is
wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness
(Ps. 107:43
). Hasnt God been kindpleasantly use-
fulto you? And since God has been so kind to you (you know what I am
about to say), cant you be kind to others?
Pauls question is for all of us: Do you think lightly of the riches of His
kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of
God leads you to repentance? (Rom. 2:4
). Repentance from what?
Certainly from ungodliness, rebellion, and sin. But cant we equally state
that Gods kindness leads to repentance from unkindness?
Some may think that all this talk of kindness sounds, well . . . it sounds
a bit wimpy. Men in particular tend to value more dramatic virtues
courage, devotion, and visionary leadership. We attend seminars on strate-
gizing and team building. But I cant say Ive ever attended or even heard of
one lecture on kindness. Jesus, however, would take issue with our priorities.
Go and learn what this means, he commands. I want kindness more
than I want animal sacrifices (Matt. 9:13). Paul places kindness toward the
top of the pyramid when he writes, Love is kind (1 Cor. 13:4
How kind are you? What is your kindness quotient? When was the last
doesnt hold back his kindness toward you. Has he, knowing all your
Love does not envy.
od offers authentic love.
His devotion is the real deal.
But he wont give you the genuine
until you surrender the imitations.
flicker of resentment toward women who have what she doesnt. And shes
Well she should be. For what is a flicker today can turn into a fire
Suppose you spotted a flame in your house. Not a blaze and certainly not
a fire, but tiny tongues of heat dancing on the hem of a curtain, on the
managed jealousy.
Look at Josephs brothers. They started out taunting and teasing Joseph.
Harmless sibling rivalry. But then the flicker became a flame. His broth-
ers were jealous of him (Gen. 37:11
). Soon it was easier to dump
Joseph into a pit than see him at the dinner table. Before long, Joseph was
in Egypt, the brothers were in cahoots, and Jacob, the father, was in the
dark. He thought his boy was dead. All because of envy.
And what about the Pharisees? Were they evil men? Criminals? Thugs?
A Love Worth Giving
No, they were the pastors and teachers of their day. Little League coaches
and carpool partners. But what did they do with Jesus? They had handed
Him over because of envy (Matt. 27:18
Since then, Ive attended countless weddings, receptions, class
reunions, and parties with Jesus as my partner. I cant say its been easy,
but I know that with each event my faith has grown. Jesus is a real,
tangible presenceas real to me as any other person. I continue to
grow in my understanding of what it means to partner with Him daily
in the small things and the big things and what it means for Him to
be the ever-present, always available lover of my soul.
God withholds what we desire in order to give us what we need. You
desire a spouse; he gives you himself. You seek a larger church; he prefers a
stronger church. You want to be healed so you can serve. He wants you
confined so you can pray. Such is the testimony of Joni Eareckson Tada.
Three decades after a diving accident rendered her a quadriplegic, she and
her husband, Ken, visited Jerusalem. Sitting in her wheelchair, she remem-
Susie can still remember the time he spent a week in the Orient. When he
Gods No
Pecking Zone
Love . . . does not boast,
it is not proud.
hats what love does. It puts the beloved before itself.
Your soul was more important than his blood.
he temperature is in the twenties. The chill factor is single digit. The
West Texas wind stings the ears, and frozen grass cracks beneath the step. It
is a cold December day. Even the cattle are smart enough to stay in the barn
Then what am I doing outside? What am I doing standing in a ditch, ankle
deep in water, hunkered over a leaking pipe? And, most of all, why arent the
three guys in the truck helping me? Why are they in there while Im out here?
Our truck-seating assignments revealed our rank. The crew chief drove;
second in command got the window seat. Third in line sat in the middle,
and the bottom dweller straddled the stick shift. No one announced the
system or wrote it down. We just knew it. And when the time came for
someone to climb out of the truck and into the ditch, no one had to tell
me. I understood the pecking order.
You do too. You know the system. Pecking orders are a part of life. And,
to an extent, they should be. We need to know who is in charge. Ranking
systems can clarify our roles. The problem with pecking orders is not the
order. The problem is with the pecking.
Just ask the shortest kid in class or the janitor whose name no one knows
or cares to know. The minority family can tell you. So can the new fellow
on the factory line and the family scapegoat. Its not pleasant to be the
A friend who grew up on a farm told me about a time she saw their
chickens attacking a sick newborn. She ran and told her mother what was
happening. Her mother explained, Thats what chickens do. When one is
really sick, the rest peck it to death.
For that reason God says that love has no place for pecking orders. Jesus
wont tolerate such thinking. Such barnyard mentality may fly on the farm
but not in his kingdom. Just listen to what he says about the alpha birds of
They do good things so that other people will see them. They make
the boxes of Scriptures that they wear bigger, and they make their spe-
cial prayer clothes very long. Those Pharisees and teachers of the law
love to have the most important seats at feasts and in the synagogues.
Jesus blasts the top birds of the church, those who roost at the top of the
spiritual ladder and spread their plumes of robes, titles, jewelry, and choice
seats. Jesus wont stand for it. Its easy to see why. How can I love others if
my eyes are only on me? How can I point to God if Im pointing at me?
And, worse still, how can someone see God if I keep fanning my own tail
Jesus has no room for pecking orders. Love does not boast, it is not
proud (1 Cor. 13:4
His solution to man-made caste systems? A change of direction. In a
world of upward mobility, choose downward servility. Go down, not up.
Regard one another as more important than yourselves (Phil. 2:3
Thats what Jesus did.
He flip-flopped the pecking order. While others were going up, he was
going down.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who,
being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God some-
thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature
of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in
deatheven death on a cross! (Phil. 2:58
Would you do what Jesus did? He swapped a spotless castle for a grimy
stable. He exchanged the worship of angels for the company of killers. He
could hold the universe in his palm but gave it up to float in the womb of
If you were God, would you sleep on straw, nurse from a breast, and be
clothed in a diaper? I wouldnt, but Christ did.
If you knew that only a few would care that you came, would you still
Gods No Pecking Zone
come? If you knew that those you loved would laugh in your face, would
you still care? If you knew that the tongues you made would mock you, the
mouths you made would spit at you, the hands you made would crucify
you, would you still make them? Christ did. Would you regard the im-
mobile and invalid more important than yourself? Jesus did.
He humbled himself. He went from commanding angels to sleeping in
the straw. From holding stars to clutching Marys finger. The palm that
held the universe took the nail of a soldier.
Why? Because thats what love does. It puts the beloved before itself.
teen years she had one dream. The Summer Olympics. She wanted to rep-
resent the United States on the Olympic tae kwon do squad.
From the age of eight, she spent every available hour in training. In fact,
Fresh out of college and ready to change the world. Ready to preach, ready
to travel, ready to make history. But I wasnt ready to help Harold.
The director of our internship program had other plans. One day he told
me he had a special assignment. I assumed he meant a promotion. I never
thought he meant Harold.
Harold loved Bible classes and worship services. My job was to help him
attend both. To pick him up, to clean him up. To wheel him in, sit next to
him, and take him home. To hold his fork when he ate, to wipe his mouth
when he drooled. I dont remember feeling very loving. I do remember the
and largest families. Over 16,000 people gather each weekend to worship
in one of several services.
In 1989 Bob made a choice that surprised many observers. He announced
that he was going to share the preaching duties with a twenty-seven-year-
old preacher. He and Dave Stone would begin coministering to the church.
In the announced plan, each year Bob would preach less and Dave would
preach more, thus providing Bob more time to lead the church and the
church an experienced successor.
Not everyone could do that. Larger egos in smaller churches have strug-
gled to surrender the pulpit. But Bob understands the danger of the peck-
ing order and is humble enough to invert it.
True humility is not thinking lowly of yourself but thinking accurately
of yourself. The humble heart does not say, I cant do anything. But
rather, I cant do everything. I know my part and am happy to do it.
When Paul writes
began to applaud. Shocked, he turned and asked the man behind him to
go ahead. He then began to applaud the man, assuming the applause was
for him, and he was quite willing to share in it.
The humble heart honors others.
Again, is Jesus not our example? Content to be known as a carpenter.
Happy to be mistaken for the gardener. He served his followers by washing
A Call to
Love is not rude.
esus always knocks before entering.
He doesnt have to. He owns your heart.
If anyone has the right to barge in, Christ does.
But he doesnt.
That gentle tap you hear? Its Christ.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock (Rev. 3:20 nasb).
And when you answer,
he awaits your invitation to cross the threshold.
Afraid youll have to spend the night in the mens room.
And it wasnt the first. God gave me one long before the airlines did. Talk
about an upgrade! Not just coach to first class. How about sinner to saint,
hellbent to heavenbound, confused to clarified, guilty to justified? If any-
one has been bumped up, I have. Im not only heading home, Im heading
home in style. And I didnt pay a cent. Nor have any of Gods children.
to do quite often. Id open the garage door and see her car overlapping half
her space and half mine. My response was always a good-natured hint.
Denalyn, Id say as I entered the house, some car is taking up its half of
Maybe I said it more firmly one day. Perhaps my tone wasnt as chipper.
I honestly dont know what happened, but she began parking on her side.
I overheard my daughter ask her why she had quit parking in the middle.
Is it that big of a deal, Mom?
Its not that big to me. But it seems to be big to your dad. And if it mat-
Wasnt that courteous? Wasnt that Christlike? Perhaps youve never
placed the word
next to Christ. I hadnt until I wrote this chapter.
But you know how you never notice double-cab red trucks until your
friend says he wants onethen you see a dozen of them? I had never
thought much about the courtesy of Christ before, but as I began looking,
I realized that Jesus makes Emily Post look like Archie Bunker.
He always knocks before entering. He doesnt have to. He owns your
heart. If anyone has the right to barge in, Christ does. But he doesnt. That
gentle tap you hear? Its Christ. Behold, I stand at the door and knock
(Rev. 3:20
). And when you answer, he awaits your invitation to cross
the threshold.
Thats how he treated the two disciples on the Emmaus road. The resur-
rected Jesus didnt presume on their hospitality. When they entered the
house, he didnt follow. Only when they urged him to enter, did he do
so (Luke 24:29
). Astounding! Only days before, he had died for their
sin. Only hours before, he had defeated their death. Every angel in the
universe would gladly be his doormat, but Jesus, ever the gentleman, walks
with no swagger.
And when he enters, he always brings a gift. Some bring Chianti and
A Love Worth Giving
daisies. Christ brings the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). And, as he
stays, he serves. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but
to serve (Mark 10:45
). If youre missing your apron, youll find it on
him. Hes serving the guests as they sit (John 13:45). He wont eat until
hes offered thanks, and he wont leave until the leftovers are put away
(Matt. 14:1920).
He is courteous enough to tell you his name (Exod. 3:15) and to call you
by yours (John 10:3). And when you talk, he never interrupts. Ever been
to a doctor who is so busy that he prescribes the medicine before he hears
your problem? Jesus isnt like that. He could be. He knows what you need
before you ask him (Matt. 6:8
). He also knows what youve done
before you ask him for forgiveness. Nothing in all creation can hide from
him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes (Heb. 4:13
God of lesser courtesy would stop you midsentence with reminders of your
past foibles. Not Christ. He is not rude. He listens.
He is even on time. Never late. Never early. If youre checking your
watch, its because youre on a different itinerary. There is a time for every-
thing (Eccles. 3:1). And Christ stays on schedule.
He even opens doors for you. Paul could preach at Troas because the
Lord had opened a door (2 Cor. 2:12
). When I asked my dad why
men should open doors for women, his answer was one word: respect.
Christ must have abundant respect for you.
He knocks before he enters. He always brings a gift. Food is served. The
table is cleared. Thanks are offered. He knows your name and tells you his,
and here is one more.
He pulls out the chair for you. He raised us up with Christ and gave us
a seat with him in the heavens (Eph. 2:6).
My wife has a heart for single moms. She loves to include a widow or
divorce at the table when we go to a restaurant. Through the years Ive
A Call to Common Courtesy
noticed a common appreciation from them. They love it when I pull out
their chair. More than once they have specifically thanked me. One mom
in particular comes to mind. My, she blushed, brushing the sudden
moisture from her eye, its been a while since anyone did that.
Has it been a while for you as well? People can be so rude. We snatch
decisions about Christ by watching us. When we are kind, theyassume
Christ is kind. When we are gracious, they assume Christ is gracious. But
if we are brash, what will people think about our King? When we are dis-
honest, what assumption will an observer make about our Master? No
wonder Paul says, Be wise in the way you act with people who are not
believers, making the most of every opportunity. When you talk, you
should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone
in the way you should (Col. 4:5
6). Courteous
It also honors his children. When you surrender a parking place to
in peace with everyone (Rom. 12:18). Just do your best. You cant control
their attitude, but you can manage yours.
Besides, just look where you are sitting. You couldve been bumped off.
Instead, youve been bumped up. So loosen up and enjoy the journey. You
are going home in style.
A Love Worth Giving
here is a malady that makes the Black Plague appear as mild as the
Tally the death tolls of all infections, fevers, and epidemics since the
beginning of time, and youll still fall short of the number claimed by this
single infirmity.
And, forgive me for being the one to tell you, but you are infected. You
suffer from it. You are a victima diseased carrier. You have shown the
symptoms and manifested the signs. You have a case ofbrace yourself
Dont believe me?
Suppose you are in a group photo. The first time you see the picture,
where do you look? And if you look good, do you like the picture? If you
are the
one who looks good, do you still like the picture? If some are
more important than yourselves; do not
look out for your own per-
sonal interests, but also for the interests of others (Phil. 2:34
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of
mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not
look out for your own personal interests, but also for the inter-
ests of others. (Phil. 2:34
Remember the passage that describes the Word of God as a sword? I was
impaled. As a doctor pronounces a disease, so the passage declared mine.
Selfishness. Because of the little me in my eyes, I couldnt see my blessings.
Love builds up relationships; selfishness erodes relationships. No wonder
Paul is so urgent in his appeal: Do nothing from selfishness or empty con-
ceit (Phil. 2:3
But arent we born selfish? And if so, can we do anything about it? Can
Isnt that a work of the Cross? A smaller I and a greater Christ? Dont
focus on yourself; focus on all that you have in Christ. Focus on the encour-
agement in Christ, the consolation of Christ, the love of Christ, the fel-
lowship of the Spirit, the affection and compassion of heaven.
If Christ becomes our focus, we wont be like the physician in Arkansas.
He misdiagnosed the patient. He declared the woman to be dead. The fam-
ily was informed, and the husband was grief-stricken. Imagine the surprise
The Headwaters
of Anger
Love . . . is not easily angered.
od will load your world with flowers.
glance at the two brothers would raise no suspicion. To see them
exit the worship service would give you no cause for concern. Like any
make you touchy, irritable, quick-tempered, quick to take offense? Do you
fly off the handle? Those arent my terms. They are Pauls. According to the
apostle, love is not:
touchy (
irritable (
quick tempered (
quick to take offence (
easily angered (
and love doesnt fly off the handle (
Cain was all of these and more. But why? Why the short fuse? Again the
text gives an answer. The L
accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not
accept Cain and his gift. So Cain became very
4:45, emphasis mine).
Interesting. This is the first appearance of Anger in the Bible. Hell pop
Davids work was rejected by God. His plan to move the ark of the
covenant by cart didnt please the Father. And when Uzzah touched what
he shouldnt have touched, God smote him . . . and he died (2 Sam. 6:7
). Before David was afraid, he fumed. David became angry because of
s outburst against Uzzah (2 Sam. 6:8
And Jonah. The fellow had a whale of a problem with anger. (Sorry,
couldnt resist.) He didnt feel the Ninevites were worthy of mercy, but God
did. By forgiving them, God rejected Jonahs opinion. And how did the
rejection make Jonah feel? It greatly displeased Jonah and he became
angry (Jon. 4:1
I dont want to oversimplify a complex emotion. Anger has many causes:
Dont sit on the floor, she said.
I thought she was feeling sorry for me. I dont mind. Besides, I couldnt
find a chair.
Her response had the tone of a miffed third-grade teacher. You arent
to sit on the floor.
Not allowed to sit on the floor? Isnt that like saying, Youre not allowed
poor grades, missed curfews, messy room. Each accusation is like a shove
in the boys chest. Back and back and back until he perceives a Grand
And when Cain brought some food from the ground, he was acting
out of disobedience. Surely he had heard what Abel had heard. Would God
hold him accountable otherwise? He knew what Abel knew. He knew that
forgiveness of sin came through the shedding of blood (Heb. 9:22). But still
Others would write:
Why wont God hear our prayers! We go to church, we pay our bills,
but still the crib is empty.
Why wont God give me a job? Ive done nothing wrong. People who
havoc of the church (Acts 8:3
). Paul
.(After Discovery) brimmed
with love. Could a raving maniac write these words?
To the Corinthians: I always thank my God for you (1 Cor. 1:4).
To the Philippians: I have you in my heart. . . . I long for all of you with
the affection of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:78
To the Ephesians: I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remem-
bering you in my prayers (Eph. 1:16
To the Colossians: We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, when we pray for you (Col. 1:3
To the Thessalonians: We were gentle among you, like a mother caring
for her little children (1 Thess. 2:7
His heart was a universe of love. But what about his enemies? Its one
thing to love your coworkers, but did Paul love those who challenged him?
I would be willing to be forever cursedcut off from Christ!if that
would save them (Rom. 9:13
). On every occasion that he had to
enter their synagogues and teach, he did so (Acts 13:45; 14:1; 17:12,
10). His accusers beat him, stoned him, jailed him, mocked him. But can
you find one occasion where he responded in kind? One temper tantrum?
One angry outburst?
This is a different man.
His anger is gone. His passion
is strong. His devotion is unquestioned. But rash outbursts of anger? A
What made the difference? He encountered Christ. Or, to use his phrase,
he was hidden in Christ: Your life is now hidden with Christ in God
The Chinese language has a great symbol for this truth. The word for
is a combination of two pictures. On the top is a lamb.
Beneath the lamb is a person. The lamb covers the person.
Isnt that the
essence of righteousness? The Lamb of Christ over the child of God?
Whenever the Father looks down on you, what does he see? He sees his
A Love Worth Giving
Son, the perfect Lamb of God, hiding you. Christians are like their ances-
tor Abel. We come to God by virtue of the flock. Cain came with the work
of his own hands. God turned him away. Abel came, and we come, depend-
ent upon the sacrifice of the Lamb, and we are accepted. Like the Chinese
symbol, we are covered by the lamb, hidden in Christ.
When God looks at you, he doesnt see you; he sees Jesus. And how does
he respond when he sees Jesus? He rends the heavens and vibrates the earth
with the shout, You are my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with
you (Mark 1:11).
The missionary was wrong. We dont live under the frown of God. We
stir an ear-to-ear smile of joy. He will rejoice over you with gladness, He
the day, youre down to one. Woe be to the soul who dares to draw near it.
him daily bouts of anger. His daughter, upon hearing him describe them
years later, responded with surprise. I dont remember any anger during
those years.
He asked if she remembered the treethe one near the driveway about
The Heart Full
of Hurts
Love . . . keeps no record of wrongs.
odays thoughts are tomorrows actions.
Todays jealousy is tomorrows temper tantrum.
Todays bigotry is tomorrows hate crime.
Todays anger is tomorrows abuse.
Todays lust is tomorrows adultery.
Todays greed is tomorrows embezzlement.
Todays guilt is tomorrows fear.
is the worlds most unwanted ship. Since 1986 she has
been the hobo of the high seas. No one wants her. Sri Lanka doesnt.
Bermuda doesnt. The Dominican Republic turned her away. So did the
Georgia refused it and New Jersey declined it. No one wanted
Philadelphias trash.
Thats when the
entered the picture. The owners thought they
would turn a quick penny by transporting the rubbish. The trash was
burned, and the ashes were dumped into the belly of the boat. But no one
would take it. Initially it was too much. Eventually it was too old. Who
wants potentially toxic trash?
is proof. Trash-filled ships find few friends.
is also a parable. Trash-filled hearts dont fare any
Todays guilt is tomorrows fear.
Todays thoughts are tomorrows actions. Could that be why Paul writes,
Love . . . keeps no record of wrongs (1 Cor. 13:5
me, Satan! You are not helping me! You dont care about the things of God,
but only about the things people think are important (Matt. 16:2223).
See the decisiveness of Jesus? A trashy thought comes his way. He is
tempted to entertain it. A cross-less life would be nice. But what does he
But, Max, Im a decent person. Ive never done anything to hurt Christ.
careful now. That opinion can lead to trouble. Do you really think you
havent done things that hurt Christ?
Have you ever been dishonest with his money? Thats cheating.
Has your love for flesh or fame ever turned you away from him? Thats
Ever spoken an angry word with the intent to hurt? In the corpus juris
of heaven, you are guilty of assault.
Have you ever been silent while he was mocked? Dont we call that treason?
Ever gone to church to be seen rather than to see him? Hypocrite.
Ever broken a promise youve made to God? Whoa. Deceit. Thats serious.
Need we go further? Only six questions, just two inches of copy, and look
at you. Guilty of dishonesty, adultery, assault, treason, hypocrisy, and deceit.
female, condescended to by the men. Third, she is a divorce, not once, not
You really dont.
You can stick with your long lists and stinky cargo. And drift from port
to port.
The Love Test
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
snt it good to knowthat even when we dont love
with a perfect love, he does?
jog wasnt on my mind when we checked into the hotel. It was
dark. Waco, Texas, was windy and cold. The book tour was fun but tir-
had she been asked, could have proved them wrong. No matter how much
I wonder if youve ever made the same mistake. Not with a hotel, but
with love. Have you ever made decisions about your relationships based on
your feelings instead of the facts? When it comes to love, feelings rule the
day. Emotions guide the ship. Goose bumps call the shots. But should they?
Can feelings be trusted? Can a relationship feel right but be wrong? Heads
are nodding.
A college kid with a broken heart is nodding.
The fellow who fell in love with a figure that could cause a twelve-car
Feelings can fool you. Yesterday I spoke with a teenage girl who is puz-
zled by the lack of feelings she has for a guy. Before they started dating, she
was wild about him. The minute he showed interest in her, however, she
lost interest.
Im thinking also of a young mom. Being a parent isnt as romantic as
she anticipated. Diapers and midnight feedings arent any fun, and shes
feeling guilty because they arent.
Am I low on love?
How do you answer such questions?Ever wish you had a way to assess
the quality of your affection? A DNA test for love? Paul offers us one: Love
does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth (1 Cor. 13:6
). In
this verse lies a test for love.
Want to separate the fake from the factual, the counterfeit from the real
thing? Want to know if what you feel is genuine love? Ask yourself this:
Do I encourage this person to do what is right?
For true love takes no
pleasure in other peoples sins but delights in the truth (1 Cor. 13:6
For instance, one lady calls another and says, Were friends, right?
The Love Test
Yeah, were friends.
Do I applaud what is right?
For love rejoices whenever the truth wins
out (1 Cor. 13:6
The summer before my eighth-grade year I made friends with a guy
named Larry. He was new to town, so I encouraged him to go out for our
and you never would have heard of it, but God spoke in your language.
when God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so well appreciate the
strength of his love. Didnt he do this with David? Saul turned on him.
Love Is a
Package Deal
Love . . . bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
owlong must I put up with you?
Jesus actions answered his own question. . . .
Until the rooster sings and the sweat stings and the
y parents were not too big on restaurants. Partly because of the
the forty-five-minute drive to the greatest culinary innovation since the gas
Paul was never more the wordsmith than when he crafted this sentence.
(Now when people ask you what you are doing,
you can say, Im reading some Greek. Say it humbly, however, for love
does not boast.) Did you notice the fourfold appearance of
Expansions of
appear in your English dictionary.
belief that God is in all things. A
is a cupboard where one can, hope-
fully, store all things. A
is a cure for all things. And a
means all things.
Gods view of love is like my moms view of food. When we love some-
one, we take the entire package. No picking and choosing. No large help-
ings of the good and passing on the bad. Love is a package deal.
But how can we love those we find difficult to love?
The apostle Paul faced that same question. In fact, thats the reason we
have this epistle. The church he began in southern Greece had gone wacko.
When it came to unity, the members of the church in Corinth were out of
step with each other. The apostle has barely placed pen on parchment
before he writes:
The church
members had their favorite leaders. Some rallied around
Paul, the church founder. Others liked Apollos, a dynamic speaker.
Veils were a pr
oblem. Some of the women were coming to church without
one. In Corinth, a veil was a sign of modesty and virtue. To appear unveiled in
public was nothing short of immoral. The enlightened believers wanted to
chuck the veils and face the future. Others, however, said, Not so fast. Paul
was one of them. The unveiled woman might as well shave her head, he argues
(11:5). As long as she is going to attract attention to herself, why hold
And then there was the matter of the Lords Supper. In Corinth the meal
was more than crackers and juice; it was an extended time of food, fellow-
ship, and worship. But some of the members were missing the point. They
liked the food but disregarded the fellowship and worship. They arrived
early and ate heartily, leaving nothing for the others but an empty table.
The women were missing the point with the veil. The others were miss-
ing the point with communion. And all of them were missing the point
with the gifts of the Spirit. Some were proud of their gifts; others felt short-
changed. There was too much tongue speaking and preaching and not
Well, she stepped on my WWF Nintendo game.
And off they go. He did. She did. She did. He did. You shake your head
and wonder why your kids couldnt have been blessed with more traits from
your side of the family.
love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures
all things (13:7
This is
the type of love that Paul prescribes for the church in Corinth. Dont
we need the same prescription today? Dont groups still fight with each other?
A Cloak of Love
Love . . . always protects.
e hide. He seeks.
We bring sin. He brings a sacrifice.
We try fig leaves. He brings the robe of righteousness.
n the 1930s, Joe Wise was a young, single resident at Cook Hospital in
Fort Worth, Texas. Patients called him the doctor with the rose. He made
Paul had in mind when he wrote the phrase love . . . always protects (1
Cor. 13:47
Paul employed a rich word here. Its root meaning is to cover or con-
ceal. Itscousins on the noun side of the family are
Paul said, Love always protects, he might have been thinking of the
shade of a tree or the refuge of a house. He might even have been think-
ing of a coat. One scholar thinks he was. The
Theological Dictionary of the
New Testament
couldnt resist, and the fruit of the tree became a doorknob that, once
pulled, permitted a slew of unwanted consequences to enter.
One of which was shame. Adam and Eve had felt no shame. Then they
felt nothing but. Hence they hid, and hence they sewed, but the covering
was insufficient. What is a grove of trees to the eyes of God? What protec-
tion is found in a fig leaf?
Adam and Eve found themselves, like Madge, vulnerable on a gurney
wounded, not by a car, but by their own sin.
But what would God do? Had he not announced his judgment? Hadnt
his law been broken? Didnt justice demand their death? Is he not righteous?
But, we are quick to counter, is God not love? And werent Adam and
Eve his children? Could his mercy override his justice? Is there some way
According to Genesis 3:21 it can. The verse has been called the first
gospel sermon. Preached not by preachers, but by God himself. Not with
words, but with symbol and action. You want to see how God responds to
The L
God made clothes from animal skins for the man and his
wife and dressed them (Gen. 3:21).
The mystery behind those words! Read them again, and try to envision
The L
God made clothes from animal skins for the man and his
wife and dressed them.
That simple sentence suggests three powerful scenes.
Scene 1: God slays an animal. For the first time in the history of the
earth, dirt is stained with blood. Innocent blood. The beast committed no
sin. The creature did not deserve to die.
Adam and Eve did. The couple deserve to die, but they live. The animal
deserves to live, but it dies. In scene 1, innocent blood is shed.
A Cloak of Love
Scene 2: Clothing is made. The shaper of the stars now becomes a tailor.
And in Scene 3: God dresses them. The L
. . . dressed them.
Oh, for a glimpse of that moment. Adam and Eve are on their way out
of the garden. Theyve been told to leave, but now God tells them to stop.
Those fig leaves, he says, shaking his head, will never do. And he pro-
through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. It
was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it. God
has made us what we are (Eph. 2:810).
We hide. He seeks. We bring sin. He brings a sacrifice. We try fig leaves.
He brings the robe of righteousness. And we are left to sing the song of the
command his angels . . . to guard you (Ps. 91:11
). God protects you
with a cloak of love.
Wouldnt you love to do the same for him? What if you were given the
privilege of Mary? What if God himself were placed in your arms as a naked
baby? Would you not do what she did? She wrapped the baby with pieces
of cloth (Luke 2:7).
after the curfew hour. You climb out of bed and march to the kitchen, and
there you find him at the counter. The smell of beer is on his breath. The
flush of alcohol is on his cheeks. This is serious. He has been drinking. He
has been driving. You have a problem, and I have a question. What are you
going to give your son?
Are you going to give him a lecture? He deserves one. Are you going to
give him three months with no keys? That may be wise. Are you going to
give him a life sentence with no parole? That may be understandable, con-
girls from the winds, but I could give them an anchor to hold in the midst.
On Valentines Day, 1997, I wrote the following and had it framed for each
A Cloak of Love
I have a special gift for you. My gift is warmth at night and sunlit
afternoons, chuckles and giggles and happy Saturdays.
But how do I give this gift? Is there a store which sells laughter? A
catalog that offers kisses? No. Such a treasure cant be bought. But it can
be given. And here is how I give it to you.
Your Valentines Day gift is a promise, a promise that I will always
love your mother. With God as my helper, I will never leave her. Youll
never come home to find me gone. Youll never wake up and find that
I have run away. Youll always have two parents. I will love your mother.
I will honor your mother. I will cherish your mother. That is my prom-
Love, Dad
Know anyone who could use some protection? Of course you do. Then
give some.
Pay a gas bill for a struggling elderly couple.
Promise your kids that, God being your helper, theyll never know a
hungry day or a homeless night.
Tell your husband that youd do it all over again and invite him on a
Make sure your divorced friends are invited to your parties.
And when you see a wounded soul, shivering and shaken on a gurney of
life, offer a lab coat and leave the rose.
Thats what Dr. Wise did. And he didnt stop there. As Madge recovered,
he paid visits to her room. Many visits. When he learned that she was
A Love Worth Giving
engaged, he hung a No Visitors sign on her door so her fianc couldnt
enter. Madge didnt object. Her diary reads, I hope that handsome young
doctor comes by to visit today. He did, that day and many others, always
with a rose. One a day until she was dismissed from the hospital.
The Ring
of Belief
Love . . . believes all things.
hen you speak truth, you are Gods ambassador.
As you steward the money he gives, you are his business manager.
When you declare forgiveness, you are his priest.
As you stir the healing of the body or the soul, you are
his physician.
And when you pray, he listens to you as a father listens to a son.
You have a voice in the household of God. He has given you
his ring.
y all rules, Skinner was a dead man. With these words Arthur Bressi
where Arthur found Skinner. He called his name, and out of the barracks
walked the seventy-nine-pound shadow of the friend he had once known.
I stood at the wire fence of the Japanese prisoner-of-war camp on
Luzon and watched my childhood buddy, caked in filth and racked
with the pain of multiple diseases, totter toward me. He was dead;
only his boisterous spirit hadnt left his body. I wanted to look away,
but couldnt. His blue eyes, watery and dulled, locked on me and
the gesture declares. Dont despair. Dont give up. I believe in you. Its no
wonder Paul included this phrase in his definition of love. [Love] believes
all things (1 Cor. 13:7
Do you know anyone who is standing on Skinners side of the fence? If
your child is having trouble in school, you do. If your husband struggles
with depression or your wife has been laid off, you do. If you have a friend
with cancer, if the class mocks your classmate, if your son doesnt make the
squad, if you know anyone who is afraid or has failed or is frail, then you
know someone who needs a ring of belief.
And, whats more, you can give them one. You may, by virtue of your
words or ways, change that persons life forever.
Arthur did. Want to know what happened to Skinner? He took the ring
and buried it in the barracks floor. The next day he took the biggest risk of
his life. He approached the kindest of the guards and passed him the ring
through the fence.
the guard asked. Is it valuable? Skinner
assured him that it was. The soldier smiled and slipped the ring into a
power-of-attorney privileges over your affairs? Would you have entrusted
him with a credit card? Would you have given him this ring?
Before you start questioning the wisdom of the father, remember, in this
story you are the boy. When you came home to God, you were given
authority to conduct business in your heavenly Fathers name.
When you speak truth, you are Gods ambassador.
As you steward the money he gives, you are his business manager.
When you declare forgiveness, you are his priest.
As you stir the healing of the body or the soul, you are his physician.
And when you pray, he listens to you as a father listens to a son. You have
a voice in the household of God. He has given you his ring.
The only thing more remarkable than the giving of the ring is the fact
that he hasnt taken it back! Werent there times when he could have?
When you promoted your cause and forgot his. When you spoke lies and
not truth. When you took his gifts and used them for personal gain. When
you took the bus back to Las Vegas and found yourself seduced into the
world of lights, luck, and long nights. Couldnt he have taken the ring?
Absolutely. But did he? Do you still have a Bible? Are you still allowed to
pray? Do you still have a dollar to manage or a skill to use? Then it appears
that he still wants you to have the ring. It appears that he still believes in you!
He hasnt given up on you. He hasnt turned away. He hasnt walked out.
He could have. Others would have. But he hasnt. God believes in you.
And, I wonder, could you take some of the belief that he has in you and
share it with someone else? Could you believe in someone?
There is such power in belief. Robert Schuller said, I am not who I
think I am. I am not who you think I am. I am who I think you think I
(You might want to read that twice.) Right or wrong, we define our-
selves through other peoples eyes. Tell me enough times that Im stupid,
and Ill believe you. Tell me enough times that Im bright, and I might
The Ring of Belief
You and I have the privilege to do for others what Arthur did for Skinner
and what God does for us. How do we show people that we believe in
Show up.
I didnt even go back to the dugout. I turned around in the middle of
left field and climbed over the fence. I was halfway home when my dad
found me. He didnt say a word. Just pulled over to the side of the road,
leaned across the seat, and opened the passenger door. We didnt speak. We
didnt need to. We both knew the world had come to an end. When we got
home, I went straight to my room, and he went straight to the kitchen.
Presently he appeared in front of me with cookies and milk. He took a seat
Earlier I gave you a test for love. Theres also a test for the tongue. Before
you speak, ask: Will what Im about to say help others become stronger?
You have the ability, with your words, to make a person stronger. Your
words are to their soul what a vitamin is to their body. If you had food and
saw someone starving, would you not share it? If you had water and saw
someone dying of thirst, would you not give it? Of course you would. Then
wont you do the same for their hearts? Your words are food and water! Do
not withhold encouragement from the discouraged. Do not keep affirma-
tion from the beaten down! Speak words that make people stronger. Believe
in them as God has believed in you.
You may save someones life.
When Youre
Lowon Hope
Love . . . always hopes.
ope is an olive leafevidence of dry land after a flood.
Proof to the dreamer that dreaming is worth the risk.
ater. All Noah can see is water. The evening sun sinks into it. The
clouds are reflected in it. His boat is surrounded by it. Water. Water to the
north. Water to the south. Water to the east. Water to the west. Water.
All Noah can see is water.
He cant remember when hes seen anything but. He and the boys had
barely pushed the last hippo up the ramp when heaven opened a thou-
sand fire hydrants. Within moments the boat was rocking, and for days
the rain was pouring, and for weeks Noah has been wondering,
How long
For forty days it rained. For months they have floated.
For months they have eaten the same food, smelled the same smell, and
looked at the same faces. After a certain point you run out of things to
say to each other.
Finally the boat bumped, and the rocking stopped. Mrs. Noah gave Mr.
Noah a look, and Noah gave the hatch a shove and poked his head through.
The hull of the ark was resting on ground, but the ground was still sur-
rounded by water. Noah, she yelled up at him, what do you see?
him that dinner is on the table and he should lock the hatch, and hes just
about to call it a day when he hears the cooing of the dove. Here is how the
Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?
No one, sir, she said.
Then neither do I condemn you, Jesus declared. Go now and
leave your life of sin. (vv. 1011
Into her shame-flooded world he brings a leaf of hope.
Every effort was made to rescue the sailors, but every effort failed. Near the
end of the ordeal, a deep-sea diver heard tapping on the steel wall of the
Certainly he whooped. Thats what you do with hope. What do you do
with olive leaves? You pass them around. You dont stick them in your
comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does
he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy
and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and com-
fort God has given us. (2 Cor. 1:34
Encourage those who are struggling. Dont know what to say? Then
open your Bible. The olive leaf for the Christian is a verse of Scripture. For
everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that
through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have
hope (Rom. 15:4
Do you have a Bible? Do you know a Noah? Then start passing out the
To the grief stricken: God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I
forsake you (Heb. 13:5
To the guilt ridden: There is now no condemnation for those who are
in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1
To the jobless: In all things God works for the good of those who love
him (Rom. 8:28
To those who feel beyond Gods grace: Whoever believes in him shall
He Could Have
Given Up
Love . . . endures all things.
t any step along the way he could have called it quits. . . .
e could have given up. No one would have known otherwise. Jesus
could have given up.
One look at the womb could have discouraged him. God is as unbridled
as the air and limitless as the sky. Would he reduce his world to the belly of
And nine months? There is another reason to quit. Heaven has no
much more. He is a lover of God and a lover of kids. For that reason, the
following scene wont be hard to imagine.
They hurled insults at him, shaking their heads (Mark 15:29
The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at
Jesus (Luke 16:14
Isaiah prophesied the reception like this: He was despised and rejected
by men (Isa. 53:3
John summarized the rejection with these words: He was in the world,
and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize
him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him
(John 1:1011
How did Christ endure treatment like that? At any point he could have said,
I quit. Ive had enough. Why didnt he? What kept him from giving up?
Thats why he endured the resistance from us. Love . . . endures
Thats why he went the final step of the incarnation: God made him
who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the right-
eousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21
Why did Jesus do that? There is only one answer. And that answer has
one word. Love. And the love of Christ bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things (1 Cor. 13:7
Think about that for a moment. Drink from that for a moment. Drink
Unfailing Love
Love never fails.
od loves you simply because he has chosen to do so.
He loves you when you dont feel lovely.
He loves you when no one else loves you.
Others may abandon you, divorce you, and ignore you,
but God will love you.
No matter what.
y friend Mike tells how his three-year-old daughter, Rachel, lost
her balance and hit her head against the corner of an electric space heater.
After a short cry, she blacked out. Her parents rushed her to the hospital,
where the tests revealed a skull fracture.
about the people in your world. If you want to write a few names in the
margin, go ahead. Your husband, wife, kids, teachers, friends, parents, car-
pool buddies, coworkers. Give it some thought. Who populates your circle
step? An essential step? Could it be that we are trying to give what we dont
This is his promise. I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting
love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself (Jer. 31:3
Do you know what else that means? You have a deep aquifer of love from
which to draw. When you find it hard to love, then you need a drink! Drink
deeply! Drink daily!
A Love
Worth Giving
by Steve Halliday
The 7:47 Principle
Love Remembered
1.We cant give what weve never received. If weve never received love,
how can we love others?
A.Do you agree that we cant give what we havent received? Explain.
B.How does someone receive love? How does someone refuse
C.Have you received Gods love? Explain.
2.Our relationships need more than a social gesture. Some of our
spouses need a foot washing. A few of our friends need a flood of
tears. Our children need to be covered in the oil of our love.
A.If you are married, what does your spouse need today? What does
your closest friend need? If you have children, what do they need?
B.How can you cover others in the oil of your love?
C.How do you need to be covered in the oil of others love?
3.How can we love as God loves? We want to. We long to. But how can
we? By living loved. By following the 7:47 Principle: Receive first, love
A.How does God love
B.What does the phrase living loved mean to you? Are you living
loved? Explain.
C.How do you receive Gods love on a day-to-day basis?
Love Deepened
1.Read Luke 7:3650.
A.In your own words, describe the scene depicted here.
B.What lesson did Jesus want Simon to learn? How did he
C.What principle did Jesus develop in verse 47? How does this
principle relate to you? Explain.
2.Read 1 John 4:911.
A.What does Gods love look like?
B.How is our love supposed to take its cue from God?
C.Why did God love us? Why are we supposed to love others?
3.Read Ephesians 4:325:2.
A.What three commands does God give us in verse 32? What
example does he provide to show
we are to obey these
B.What command does God give us in verse 1? In what way can we
obey this command? What gives us the ability to obey this
command, according to the second part of the verse?
C.What command does God give us in verse 2? What example are
we given? How can we practically follow this example?
Love Given
Loves Flagship
Love Remembered
1.Paul presents patience as the premiere expression of love. Positioned at
the head of the apostles Love Armadaa boat-length or two in front of
kindness, courtesy, and forgivenessis the flagship known as patience.
A.Have you ever thought of patience as the premiere expression of
love? Explain.
B.Why do you think Paul positioned patience at the head of his Love
Armada? What is it about patience that best shows love?
C.Do you consider yourself a patient person? Explain.
D.How does God try to build your patience?
2.Patience is more than a virtue for long lines and slow waiters. Patience
A.What does it mean to receive Gods patience? Have you received
it? Explain.
B.Thus far in your life, what have you learned in Gods Word about
patience? Do you struggle with any of these lessons? Explain.
C.Would others say that you are a patient person? Explain.
Love Deepened
1.Read Romans 2:14.
A.How does a tendency to judge others reveal a lack of
understanding about Gods patience? Do you struggle with judging
others? Explain.
B.How is it possible to show contempt for the riches of Gods
kindness (v. 4)?
C.How does Gods patience lead us toward repentance?
D.Where would you be if God were not patient with you? Why is it
important to remember this when you deal with others?
C.What was the first servants problem? What was the second
servants problem?
D.What is the main point of Jesus story? How does it affect you?
Your Kindness Quotient
Love Remembered
1.The kindness of Jesus. We are quick to think of his power, his passion,
and his devotion. But those near him knew and know God comes
A.Do you usually think of kindness when you ponder Jesus? Explain.
B.What does kindness mean to you? How have people shown you
C.What does it mean to be cloaked in kindness? What does this
image suggest to you?
2.Isnt kindness good
good for you? Pleasant
A.How has the kindness of others ministered to you?
B.How is kindness both pleasant and practical?
C.Why can genuine kindness never be inactive? Why must it always
B.Would others use the word
to describe you? Explain,
especially if they see you differently than you see yourself.
Love Deepened
1.Read Titus 3:37.
Love Remembered
1.What is born in innocence is deadly in adolescence. Left untended,
fire consumes all that is consumable.
A.What does envy look like in innocence? How is it deadly in
B.How does envy consume those it touches?
C.In what situations are you most likely to struggle with envy? How
do you deal with it?
2.God withholds what we desire in order to give us what we need.
A.What desires has God so far withheld from you? Why do you
B.Describe a time when God withheld a personal desire in order to
Love Deepened
1.Read Psalm 37:13.
Gods No Pecking Zone
Love Remembered
1.Would you do what Jesus did? He swapped a spotless castle for a
grimy stable. He exchanged the worship of angels for the company of
killers. He could hold the universe in his palm but gave it up to float
A.Answer the previous question, then explain your answer.
B.What do you think was hardest for Jesus to give up? Why?
C.If you had been Jesus, what do you think you would have done
differently? Explain.
2.Whats more important to youthat the work be done or that you be
seen? When a brother or sister is honored, are you joyful or jealous?
A.Answer the previous questions. Why did you answer as you did?
C.Who is the most humble person you know? Describe him or her.
Love Deepened
1.Read Matthew 23:512.
A.How do verses 57 paint a picture of showboating? Whats so
wrong with this picture?
B.How does Jesus tell us to combat such showboating (vv. 811)?
C.How can a servant be great?
D.What does Jesus promise to do for the humble? What does he
promise to do for those who exalt themselves (v. 12)?
2.Read Philippians 2:311.
A.What general principle does Paul give us in verse 3? How is this
principle to be lived out practically?
B.How does verse 4 give us a practical way to show humility? How
could you put this into practice to a greater degree in your own
C.How did Jesus exemplify a lifestyle of humility?
D.How will God reward Jesus for his humility? In what way does this
provide an incentive for us?
3.Read Romans 12:310.
A.How are we to think of ourselves (v. 3)? What does this mean?
B.How does remembering the Christian body help us to remain
humble (vv. 48)?
C.How are we to honor one another above ourselves (v. 10)? What
might this entail for you personally?
Discussion Guide
Love Given
1.Plan an Honor Day. Give your time to someone else: an older
person, a child, an invalid. Demonstrate Christlike love to that person
by helping him or her feel special. At the end of the day, journal all
youve learned about serving and loving.
2.Hold a little foot-washing ceremony. Go to a relative or friend, read
John 13:117 aloud, and then reenact the scene. And be sure your
servanthood stays with you beyond the reenactment!
Discussion Guide
A Call to Common Courtesy
Love Remembered
1.When defining what love is not, Paul put rudeness on the list.
A.Whats the rudest thing anyone has ever done to you?
B.Describe the rudest thing youve ever done to someone else.
C.How do you feel when someone is rude to you? How do you
usually respond?
2.God calls us to a higher, more noble concern. Not What are my
rights? but What is loving?
A.Be honest: Do you usually think first about your rights or about
what is most loving?
B.What does courtesy have to do with love?
C.Describe the most loving thing you did this week.
3.Does not the groom cherish the bride? Respect the bride? Honor the
Love Deepened
1.Read Luke 4:22.
A.Why did everyone (at first) speak well of Jesus?
B.What kind of words came from Jesus lips?
C.How are such words the opposite of rude?
2.Read Colossians 4:6.
A.How can our conversation be full of grace?
B.What does it mean to season our words with salt?
C.What is the purpose of this grace and seasoning in our speech?
3.Read Romans 12:16.
A.What does living in harmony say about Gods people?
Love Deepened
1.Read James 3:1316.
A.How would James define selfish ambition?
B.What does it accomplish? To what does it lead? From where does it
C.How can we combat selfish ambition?
2.Read Psalm 119:36.
A.What prayer does the psalmist offer in this verse?
B.How can Gods Word help to turn us away from selfish gain?
C.How do you use the Bible to combat selfishness?
3.Read Romans 2:78.
The Headwaters of Anger
Love Remembered
1.The fire of anger has many logs, but according to biblical accounts,
the thickest and the hottest block of wood is rejection.
A.What makes you angry?
B.Does rejection make you angry? Explain.
C.Why does rejection anger most of us?
2.If rejection causes anger, wouldnt acceptance cure it? If rejection by
heaven makes you mad at others, wouldnt acceptance from heaven stir
your love for them?
A.Does acceptance always cure anger? Explain.
B.How does heavens acceptance prompt us to show love toward
C.If this statement is true, then why do many Christians seem to be
so angry? Why are many believers lacking in love?
3.Rejections are like speed bumps on the road. They come with the
journey. . . . You cannot keep people from rejecting you. But you can
keep rejections from enraging you.
A.Can we keep rejections from injuring us? Explain.
B.How can we keep rejections from enraging us?
C.How have you learned to best deal with rejection?
Love Deepened
1.Read Genesis 4:28.
A.What caused Cains anger in this account?
B.How did God respond to Cains anger (vv. 67)?
C.How did Cain deal with his anger (v. 8)?
D.What can we learn from Cain about how
2.Read Romans 9:15.
A.How did Paul feel toward his countrymen? Why did he feel this way?
B.Paul had great cause to oppose his Jewish brothers, but he didnt.
C.Upon what did Paul focus in order to maintain his love for his
estranged brothers and sisters (v. 5)? How can we follow his
3.Read John 5:6.
A.What question did Jesus ask of the invalid?
B.Why would Jesus ask the man such a question? Wouldnt the
answer be obvious?
C.If Jesus were to ask you this question regarding your anger, what
would you say? Explain.
Love Given
The Heart Full of Hurts
Love Remembered
1.Our assignment is to protect the boat and refuse entrance to trashy
thoughts. The minute they appear on the dock we go into action.
3.You can stick with your long lists and stinky cargo. And drift from
thought to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5
)? Do you allow any stumbling
The Love Test
Love Remembered
1.Feelings can fool you.
A.Describe a time when your feelings fooled you.
B.How do feelings fool us? How do they manage to deceive us?
C.How does our culture encourage us to do whatever we feel? How
can we resist its unwise urgings?
2.True love will never ask the beloved to do what he or she thinks is
wrong. Love doesnt tear down the convictions of others. Quite the
A.Answer the previous questions, then explain your answers.
B.Why does love never celebrate misfortune?
C.How does love react to a
Love Deepened
1.Read 1 Corinthians 8:113.
2.Take stock of how you react when a believing brother or sister enjoys
some success. Can you truly rejoice with that person, or do you feel a
little envious? Also consider how you react when a rival takes a
stumble. Do you enjoy it? Ask the Lord to show you your heart, and
then ask him to help you become more like Christ.
Discussion Guide
Love Is a Package Deal
Love Remembered
A.Why is it important for us to remember that Jesus himself endured
all things? How can this knowledge change our behavior toward
B.What might have happened if Jesus had refused to endure all
things? What would have happened to you?
C.How can we learn to imitate Jesus example of enduring all things?
Love Deepened
1.Read 1 Corinthians 1:1017.
A.What church problem does Paul discuss in this passage? Is such a
problem common today? Explain.
B.How did Paul want the church to behave (v. 10)? Is such a hope
realistic? Explain.
C.What might have happened in Corinth had the church learned to
bear all things among its membership? Explain.
2.Read 1 Corinthians 5:113.
A.Does this passage fit with the idea that love bears all things?
Love Given
A Cloak of Love
Love Remembered
C.Who has been a protector for you? Describe the person.
Love Deepened
1.Read Matthew 25:3146.
A.What scene is depicted in verses 3133?
B.How does the king describe the blessed ones in verses 3436?
C.Why are the blessed ones surprised at the kings statement (vv.
D.How does the king respond to their surprise (v. 40)?
E.What does this suggest to us about our responsibility to protect the
less fortunate?
2.Read 2 Thessalonians 3:13.
A.What request did Paul make of his Thessalonian friends (v. 1)?
Why did he make this request?
B.What additional request did Paul make (v. 2)? How does this
prayer relate to protection?
C.What promise does God make through the apostle in verse 3? Can
we take advantage of this promise? Explain.
3.Read Matthew 14:2233.
A.Recount in your own words what happened in this story.
B.In how many ways did Jesus protect his disciples in this incident?
C.How can this story give us hope? What can we learn from it?
Love Given
1.Using a good concordance, do a word study on the term
with related words such as
protects, protected,
Discussion Guide
you learn about how God protects his children? What does this do for
your sense of security? How can you use this knowledge to help others
build their trust in God?
2.Matthew 25 makes it plain that Christ wants us to protect and help
the less fortunate among us. What are
currently doing to feed the
hungry, give drink to the thirsty, house the homeless, clothe the
naked, care for the sick, and visit those in prison? If you want to take
Christs words seriously, what
you do?
Discussion Guide
The Ring of Belief
Love Remembered
1.God believes in you. And, I wonder, could you take some of the belief
that he has in you and share it with someone else? Could you believe
A.Do you agree that God believes in you? Explain.
B.How can we share Gods belief in us with others?
C.How has someone shown that he or she believed in you? What did
this belief do for you?
2.Right or wrong, we define ourselves through other peoples eyes. Tell
me enough times that Im stupid, and Ill believe you. Tell me enough
times that Im bright, and I might agree.
A.Do you tend to define yourself through the eyes of others? Explain.
B.Describe a time when someones comments about you affected
your self-image or behavior.
C.How do you try to show people that you believe in them? What
do you say to them?
3.How do we show people that we believe in them?
Show up. . . . Listen
up. . . . Speak up.
A.How do you show up in the lives of others? How do they show up
in yours?
B.How do you listen up in the lives of others? How do they listen up
in yours?
C.How do you speak up in the lives of others? How do they speak
up in yours?
Love Deepened
1.Read Luke 15:1123.
A.Describe the main characters in this story. What are they like?
B.What is the main point of this story? What are we to take away
from it?
C.In what way is the father in the story a picture of God? How does
God act like the father?
D.How did the father show his belief in his son? How did this belief
2.Read Proverbs 18:21; 12:18; 15:2, 4.
A.What powers are attributed to the tongue in these verses?
B.How does the tongue of the wise bring healing?
C.How can you teach your own tongue to bring life and healing?
What may have to change to make that happen?
3.Read Ephesians 4:29.
A.What is prohibited in this verse?
B.What is commended in this verse?
C.What good result is described in this verse?
D.Are you complying with this verse? Explain.
Love Given
1.Try your hand as an author. Write an account of how someone
Discussion Guide
When Youre Lowon Hope
Love Remembered
1.Hope is an olive leaf
evidence of dry land after a flood. Proof to the
dreamer that dreaming is worth the risk.
A.In what areas of your life do you most need hope right now?
B.How has hope rescued you from a flood in the past?
C.What dreams do you hold dear? Do you believe they are worth the
risk? Explain.
2.With all due respect, our severest struggles are, in Gods view, nothing
worse than lost bobby pins and rubber bands. He is not confounded,
confused, or discouraged. Receive his hope, wont you? Receive it
because you need it. Receive it so you can share it.
A.How big is your God? Can he handle your problems? Explain.
B.How would you feel if God
C.How do you receive Gods hope? How can you share it?
3.Love extends an olive leaf to the loved one and says, I have hope in
you. Love is just as quick to say, I have hope
A.What does it mean to say that love declares, I have hope in you?
B.What does it mean to say that love declares, I have hope
C.How can you declare to those nearest to you that you have hope in
them and for them? What do you think such a declaration would
Love Deepened
1.Read Romans 8:1825.
A.Why did Paul not grumble about his present sufferings (v. 18)?
B.To what did Paul look forward (vv. 1921)? How did this
C.Did Paul downplay his troubles (vv. 2223)? How did he forbid
them from bringing him down?
D.How did Paul understand hope (vv. 2425)? How can his
2.Read Romans 15:4.
A.Why was the Bible written, according to this verse?
B.How do we receive hope, according to this verse?
C.Why do we need hope?
3.Read Hebrews 13:56.
A.Why can we be content with what we have (v. 5)?
B.What promise does God make to us in this passage?
C.How can this promise give us hope?
D.How can this hope change the way we live (v. 6)?
Love Given
1.Read a good book on the topic of hope
How has God designed our
faith to give us hope, even in trying times?
reporting. Ask several of your coworkers or neighbors to talk about
He Could Have Given Up
Love Remembered
1.Jesus could have given up.
A.If you had been the devil, how would you have tempted Jesus to
give up?
B.Why do you think Jesus
give up? What kept him on track?
C.What would have happened had Jesus given up? How would
history have changed?
Love Deepened
1.Read Hebrews 12:23.
A.What guidance does the writer give us in verse 2? What is the
reason for this guidance?
B.How did Jesus endure the Cross, according to the writer? To what
joy does he refer (v. 2)?
C.In what way can we follow Jesus example here (v. 3)? What
happens when we do follow his example?
2.Read 2 Corinthians 4:718.
A.Why does Paul call our bodies jars of clay (v. 7)? What is Gods
B.How does Paul describe his challenges and hardships (vv. 810)?
How did he endure them?
C.What hope drove Paul and gave him such endurance (v. 14)? Do
you share this hope? Explain.
2.Be on the lookout this week for someone in your life who desperately
needs encouragement. What can you do to help this person endure?
Invite him or her to breakfast or lunch, and gently probe how you
Discussion Guide
Unfailing Love
Love Remembered
1.When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? When
death extends its hands to you, where will you turn for comfort?
A.Answer the previous questions.
B.Describe someone in your life who exemplifies unfailing love.
C.Why is love greater than faith and hope?
3.Read John 15:512.
A.In what way is Jesus the vine? In what way are we the branches?
B.What promise is given to those who remain in Jesus (v. 7)?
C.What happens to the branch that remains in Jesus (v. 8)? Why is
this to Gods glory?
D.How do we remain in Christs love (v. 10)?
E.What is the result of remaining in Christs love (v. 11)?
F.What command does Jesus give those who remain in his love (v.
Love Given
1.Make a list of the ways others have blessed you through their love.
How can you pass along this love to others?
Chapter 2: Loves Flagship
1.David Aikman,
Great Souls: Six Who Changed the Century
Word Publishing, 1998), 34142.
2.Ibid., 33844.
Chapter 3: Your Kindness Quotient
1.John 2:111; Luke 19:110; Mark 5:2134; Matthew 9:22
2.Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, eds.,
Theological Dictionary of
the New Testament,
trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971), 9:483.
Chapter 4: Inflamed
1.Paul Lee Tan,
Encyclopedia of 7,700 Illustrations
(Rockville, Md.:
Assurance Publishers, 1979), 274.
2.Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus,
2.Gerald F. Hawthorne,
vol. 43 of
Word Biblical
(Waco, Tex.: Word Publishing, 1983), 70.
3.William Barclay,
(Deerfield, Fla.: Health
Chapter 11: Love Is a Package Deal
1.Robert J. Dean,
First Corinthians for Today
(Nashville, Tenn.:
Broadman Press, 1972), 60.
Chapter 12: A Cloak of Love
1.Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, eds.,
Theological Dictionary of
the New Testament,
trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971), 7:587.
2.John 8:111; Matt. 14:2233; Mark 5:120; Matt. 17:2427.
3.My appreciation to Dr. Harold Wise and Dr. Joe Bob Wise for
allowing me to tell their parents story.
Chapter 13: The Ring of Belief
1.Barbara Bressi-Donahue, Friends of the Ring,
Readers Digest,
2.Robert H. Schuller,
The Peak to Peek Principle
(Garden City, N.Y.:
Doubleday and Co., 1980), 107.
3.Alan Loy McGinnis,
Bringing Out the Best in People: How to Enjoy
Helping Others Excel
(Minneapolis: Augsburg Books, 1985), 3233.
4.Alan Loy McGinnis,
The Friendship Factor
(Minneapolis: Augsburg
Publishing House, 1979), 5152.
5.David Jeremiah,
Acts of Love
(Gresham, Oreg.: Vision House
Publishing, Inc., 1994), 92.
6.Bressi-Donahue, op. cit., 15360.
Chapter 14: When Youre Low on Hope
1.Charles Swindoll,
The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1,501 Other Stories
(Nashville, Tenn.: Word Publishing, 1998), 275.
Chapter 15: He Could Have Given Up
1.My appreciation to J. R. Vassar for this parallel and to David
Robinson for allowing me to share it.
2.Deborah Hastings, Firefighters Reward: Carrying Sons Body,
Antonio Express News,
14 December 2001, sec. 17A.
Chapter 16: Unfailing Love
1.J. I. Packer,
Knowing God
(Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press,
Now in Trade Paper
For more information, visit
The Teaching Ministry of Max Lucado
of Gods Word.
narrative,drawn from his previous twenty-plus years ofwriting.
At the end ofeach chapter will be study guide questions so the reader can go
Extraordinary stories are told about the following characters:
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Touch someones life and bring encouragement to
their day with a Max Lucado greeting card or gift
from DaySpring.
e Max Lucado line from DaySpring includes
a large variety of products, including greeting
cards, journals, coee mugs, and more.
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Find them today at a local Christian bookstore near you.
Fearless Worship
is the companion CD to
from Max
Lucado. e album features the well known voices and songs in
worship music today. Big Daddy Weave, Travis Cottrell, Lenny
LeBlanc, Cindy Morgan, Nicole C Mullen and many more join
voices with Max Lucado in walking a life free from fear . . . a life
abandoned to the One who will shoulder it all. From Morgans
majestic Praise the KingŽ to the surrender of Mullens On My
Fearless Worship
will lead you into his presence where
you will begin to trust more and fear less!
For more information visit www.fearlessworship.com
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the story of the
Too-Smalls of Stiltsville
The Tallest of Smalls
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There is a plague of biblical proportions taking place in Africa right
now,but we can beat this crisis if we each do our part.Step ONE
You could be the answer to a childs prayer. When you sponsor
a child you will be providing things like food, shelter, clothing,
clean water, education, and hope for a brighter future.

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