A New Book. A Daring New Life…

FearlessHB_LNo, I haven’t written a book.  But one of my MOST favorite authors has.  And it’s on a topic that I knew far too well: Fear.

Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear

And I’ve been reading the first chapter.  I was able to digitally ownload it free because I subscribe to his UpWords newsletter. (You can subscribe to this newsletter here, or click to read Fear Not and Fearless ch. 1)

Once again, in a matter of a few simple words, Max has drawn the ultimate portrait of life as we know it.  How it feels – how it works – and how God wants it to be…

And reminds me – once again – WHO IS the Master of the Storm.

On a day when I so need to be reminded.  When the waves threaten to crash over me and drown me.  When some of the difficulties of life just seem too difficult to fathom, let alone bear.

This statement:

Christ-followers contract malaria, bury children, and battle addictions, and, as a result, face fears. It’s not the absence of storms that sets us apart. It’s whom we discover in the storm: an unstirred Christ.

And these, too:

Fear does this. Fear corrodes our confidence in God’s goodness. We begin to wonder if love lives in heaven. If God can sleep in our storms, if his eyes stay shut when our eyes grow wide, if he permits storms after we get on his boat, does he care? Fear unleashes a swarm of doubts, anger-stirring doubts.

And it turns us into control freaks. “Do something about the storm!” is the implicit demand of the question. “Fix it or . . . or . . . or else!” Fear, at its center, is a perceived loss of control. When life spins wildly, we grab for a component of life we can manage: our diet, the tidiness of a house, the armrest of a plane, or, in many cases, people.

The more insecure we feel, the meaner we become. We growl and bare our fangs. Why? Because we are bad? In part. But also because we feel cornered.

Does that speak to you?  It sure does to me.  I have to reread it again and again to let it sink in.

And I’ll have to buy this book, for sure!

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He Chose the Nails

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3:16

Every Knee Shall Bow

by Max Lucado

“. . . whoever believes in him shall not perish . . .”

How could a loving God send sinners to hell? He doesn’t. They volunteer.

Once there, they don’t want to leave. The hearts of damned fools never soften; their minds never change. “Men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory” (Rev. 16:9 NKJV). Contrary to the idea that hell prompts remorse, it doesn’t. It intensifies blasphemy.

Remember the rich man in torment? He could see heaven but didn’t request a transfer. He wanted Lazarus to descend to him. Why not ask if he could join Lazarus? The rich man complained of thirst, not of injustice. He wanted water for the body, not water for the soul. Even the longing for God is a gift from God, and where there is no more of God’s goodness, there is no longing for him. Though every knee shall bow before God and every tongue confess his preeminence (Rom. 14:11), the hard-hearted will do so stubbornly and without worship. There will be no atheists in hell (Phil. 2:10–11), but there will be no God-seekers either.

But still we wonder, is the punishment fair? Such a penalty seems inconsistent with a God of love—overkill. A sinner’s rebellion doesn’t warrant an eternity of suffering, does it? Isn’t God overreacting?

Who are we to challenge God? Only he knows the full story, the number of invitations the stubborn-hearted have refused and the slander they’ve spewed.

Accuse God of unfairness? He has wrapped caution tape on hell’s porch and posted a million and one red flags outside the entrance. To descend its stairs, you’d have to cover your ears, blindfold your eyes, and, most of all, ignore the epic sacrifice of history: Christ, in God’s hell on humanity’s cross, crying out to the blackened sky, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). The supreme surprise of hell is this: Christ went there so you won’t have to.


bookFrom 3:16, The Numbers of Hope
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2007) Max Lucado

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