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Do You Trust Him? BY Max Lucado

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Do You Trust Him? BY Max Lucado Empty Re: Do You Trust Him? BY Max Lucado

Post  Admin on Tue 19 Apr 2011, 10:27 pm

The Sufferings of His Broken Heart
by Max Lucado

Go with me for a moment to witness what was perhaps the foggiest night in
history. The scene is very simple; you'll recognize it quickly. A grove of
twisted
olive trees. Ground cluttered with large rocks. A low stone fence. A dark,
dark night.

Now, look into the picture. Look closely through the shadowy foliage. See
that person? See that solitary figure? What's he doing? Flat on the ground.
Face
stained with dirt and tears. Fists pounding the hard earth. Eyes wide with a
stupor of fear. Hair matted with salty sweat. Is that blood on his forehead?

That's Jesus. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Maybe you've seen the classic portrait of Christ in the garden. Kneeling
beside a big rock. Snow-white robe. Hands peacefully folded in prayer. A
look of
serenity on his face. Halo over his head. A spotlight from heaven
illuminating his golden-brown hair.

Now, I'm no artist, but I can tell you one thing. The man who painted that
picture didn't use the gospel of Mark as a pattern. Look what Mark wrote
about
that painful night, he used phrases like these: "Horror and dismay came over
him." "My heart is ready to breakwith grief." "He went a little forward and
threw himself
on the ground."

Does this look like the picture of a saintly Jesus resting in the palm of
God? Hardly. Mark used black paint to describe this scene. We see an
agonizing,
straining, and struggling Jesus. We see a "man of sorrows." (Isaiah 53:3
NASB) We see a man struggling with fear, wrestling with commitments, and
yearning
for relief.

We see Jesus in the fog of a broken heart.

The writer of Hebrews would later pen, "During the days of Jesus' life on
earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the
one
who could save him from death." (Hebrews 5:7 NIV)

My, what a portrait! Jesus is in pain. Jesus is on the stage of fear. Jesus
is cloaked, not in sainthood, but in humanity.

The next time the fog finds you, you might do well to remember Jesus in the
garden. The next time you think that no one understands, reread the
fourteenth
chapter of Mark. The next time your self-pity convinces you that no one
cares, pay a visit to Gethsemane. And the next time you wonder if God really
perceives
the pain that prevails on this dusty planet, listen to him pleading among
the twisted trees.

The next time you are called to suffer, pay attention. It may be the closest
you'll ever get to God. Watch closely. It could very well be that the hand
that extends itself to lead you out of the fog is a pierced one.

This is Love - The Extraordinary Story of Jesus

NEW Gift Book! This story from:
This is Love - The Extraordinary Story of Jesus
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2011) Max Lucado
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Do You Trust Him? BY Max Lucado Empty Do You Trust Him? BY Max Lucado

Post  Admin on Tue 01 Mar 2011, 3:05 pm

Do You Trust Him?
by Max Lucado

I know God knows what's best.
I know I don't.
I know he cares.

Such words come easily when the water is calm. But when you're looking at a
wrecked car or a suspicious-looking mole, when war breaks out or thieves
break
in, do you trust him?

Scripture, from Old Testament to New, from prophets to poets to preachers,
renders one unanimous chorus: God directs the affairs of humanity. No leaf
falls
without God's knowledge. No dolphin gives birth without his permission. No
wave crashes on the shore apart from his calculation. God has never been
surprised.
Not once.

I am the one who creates the light and makes the darkness. I am the one who
sends good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these
things.
(Isa. 45:7)

Some find the thought impossible to accept. One dear woman did. After I
shared these ideas in a public setting, she asked to speak with me. Husband
at her
side, she related the story of her horrible childhood. First abused, then
abandoned by her father. Unimaginable and undeserved hurts scar her early
memories.
Through tear-filled eyes she asked, "Do you mean to tell me God was watching
the whole time?"

The question vibrated in the room. I shifted in my chair and answered, "Yes,
he was. I don't know why he allowed your abuse, but I do know this. He loves
you and hurts with you." She didn't like the answer. But dare we say
anything else? Dare we suggest that God dozed off? Abandoned his post? That
heaven
sees but can't act? That our Father is kind but not strong, or strong but
doesn't care?

I wish she could have spoken to Joseph. His brothers abused him, selling him
into slavery. Was God watching? Yes. And our sovereign God used their
rebellious
hearts to save a nation from famine and the family of the Messiah from
extinction. As Joseph told them, "God turned into good what you meant for
evil"
(Gen. 50:20).

Best of all would have been a conversation with Jesus himself. He begged God
for a different itinerary: a crossless death. From Gethsemane's garden
Christ
pleaded for a Plan B. Redemption with no nails. " 'Father, if you are
willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your
will, not
mine.' Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him" (Luke
22:42-43).

Did God hear the prayer of his Son? Enough to send an angel. Did God spare
his Son from death? No. The glory of God outranked the comfort of Christ. So
Christ suffered, and God's grace was displayed and deployed.

Are you called to endure a Gethsemane season? Have you "been granted for
Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake"
(Phil.
1:29 NASB)?

If so, then come thirsty and drink deeply from his lordship. He authors all
itineraries. He knows what is best. No struggle will come your way apart
from
his purpose, presence, and permission. What encouragement this brings! You
are never the victim of nature or the prey of fate. Chance is eliminated.
You
are more than a weather vane whipped about by the winds of fortune. Would
God truly abandon you to the whims of drug-crazed thieves, greedy corporate
raiders,
or evil leaders? Perish the thought!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
For I am the Lord your God.
(Isa. 43:2-3 NASB)

We live beneath the protective palm of a sovereign King who superintends
every circumstance of our lives and delights in doing us good.

Nothing comes your way that has not first passed through the filter of his
love.

Learn well the song of sovereignty: I know God knows what's best.Pray humbly
the prayer of trust: "I trust your lordship. I belong to you. Nothing comes
to me that hasn't passed through you."

A word of caution: the doctrine of sovereignty challenges us. Study it
gradually. Don't share it capriciously. When someone you love faces
adversity, don't
insensitively declare, "God is in control." A cavalier tone can eclipse the
right truth. Be careful.

God Came Near Deluxe Edition
And be encouraged. God's ways are always right. They may not make sense to
us. They may be mysterious, inexplicable, difficult, and even painful. But
they
are right. "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the
good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them"
(Rom. 8:28).

From
Come Thirsty
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2004) Max Lucado
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