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Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love does not envy!” A number of years ago I learned of a new church across town. A friend came to me with this report: The church is great. It’s bursting at the seams—the largest one in town. A more spiritual Max would have rejoiced. A more mature Max would have thanked God. But the Max who heard the report did not act mature or spiritual. He acted jealous. Rather than celebrate God’s work, I was obsessed with my own. I wanted our church to be the biggest. Sickening! In a profound moment of conviction, God let me know that the church is his church, … Listen Now

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Susie’s most treasured possession was a string of fake pearls given to her by her father. As he put her to bed one evening after he returned from a lengthy trip, he asked this question: “Do you love me?” “Yes, daddy. I love you more than anything,” she replied.  He paused. “More than the pearls? Would you give me your pearls?” “Oh daddy,” she replied. “I couldn’t do that. I love my pearls!” But the next day she went to see him. “Daddy, I love you more than these. Here you take them.” He said, “I brought you a gift from my trip.” She opened the small … Listen Now

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Suppose you spotted a flame in your house. How would you react? Would you shrug your shoulders and walk away, saying, “A little fire never hurt any house.” Of course not. You would put it out! Why? Because you know left untended, fire consumes all that’s consumable. For the sake of your house, you don’t play with fire. For the sake of your heart, the same is true. The name of the fire? Solomon tagged it in Song of Solomon 8:6. “Jealousy is cruel as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire.” Do you know what causes jealousy? Distrust. Do you know what is the … Listen Now

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How infiltrated are you with God’s patience? You’ve 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!  Remember the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:34? “Then the angry king sent the man to prison until he had paid every penny.” Whew! we sigh. It’s a good thing God doesn’t imprison the impatient in real life. Don’t be so sure. Impatience still imprisons the soul. But God does more than demand patience from us; he offers it to us. According to Galatians 5:22, patience is a fruit of … Listen Now

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Need more patience? Is generosity an elusive virtue? Having trouble putting up with ungrateful relatives or cranky neighbors? God puts up with you when you act the same. Luke 6:35 says, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.” Can’t we love like this? Not without God’s help we can’t. Our relationships need more than a social gesture. Some of our friends need a flood of tears. Our children need to be covered in the oil of our love. But if we haven’t received these things ourselves, how can we give them to others? Jeremiah 17:9 … Listen Now

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If you’ve never received love—how can you love others? In other words, we can’t give what we’ve never received. But oh how we try! Our typical strategy? Try harder. I don’t care how much it hurts, I’m going to be nice to that bum. So we try. Teeth clinched. Jaw firm. Could it be we’re missing a step? Could it be that the first step of love is not toward them but toward Christ? In 1 John 4:19 it says, “We love, because he first loved us.” Long to be more loving? Then consider how you’ve been forgiven. Paul said in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate … Listen Now

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In the aftermath of 9/11, a group of religious leaders was invited to come to Washington and pray with President Bush. The group was well frocked and well known. You might wonder if I felt out of place. The only time I wear a robe is when I step out of the shower. When it came my turn to meet George W. Bush, I added, “And, Mr. President, I was raised in Andrews, Texas, a half-hour drive from your hometown.” He smiled that lopsided smile and let his accent drawl ever so slightly. “Why, I know your town. I’ve walked those streets. I’ve even … Listen Now

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Suppose you were to stand on a stage while a film of every secret and selfish moment of your life was projected on the screen behind you? Would you not scream for the heavens to have mercy? And would you not feel just a fraction of what Christ felt on the cross? The icy displeasure of a sin-hating God? The Bible says Christ carried all our sins in his body. See Christ on the cross? That’s a gossiper hanging there. See Jesus? Embezzler….liar…bigot. Hold it, Max! Don’t you lump Christ with those evildoers. I didn’t. HE did. More than place his name in the same … Listen Now

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Make no mistake! Jesus saw himself as God. He leaves us with two options: accept him as God, or reject him as a megalomaniac. There is no third alternative. Oh, but we try to create one! Suppose you came across me standing on the side of the road. I can go north or south. You ask me which way I’m going. “I’m going sorth. I can’t choose between north and south, so I’m going both. I’m going sorth!” “You can’t do that,” you reply. “You have to choose.” When it comes to Christ, you’ve got to do the same. Call him crazy, or crown him … Listen Now

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Ever feel like you are walking through a religious midway? The Torah sends you to Moses. The Koran sends you to Muhammad. Buddhists invite you to meditate and spiritists to levitate. The agnostic believes no one can know. Step right up—try my witchcraft. Psst! Over here. Interested in some new age channels? Oh the voices! And we pray, Father, help me out! Please modulate one and relegate the others. If that’s your prayer, then Luke 9 is your chapter—the day God isolated the authoritative voice of history and declared, Listen to Him! On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus was praying with Peter, John and James. And his face became different, and his … Listen Now