ISBN-10:
0718030494
ISBN-13:
9780718030490
Pub. Date:
Publisher:
Let the Journey Begin: Finding God's Best for Your Life

Let the Journey Begin: Finding God's Best for Your Life

by Max Lucado

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Overview

Are you looking for a special gift for a graduate? Let the Journey Begin is filled with godly wisdom, encouragement, and guidance from bestselling and trusted author Max Lucado for students about to embark on new steps in their life journey. Graduates will be reassured that they are not alone—God is with them every step of their way.

Let the Journey Begin includes:

  • Dozens of easy-to-read writings divided into five themed sections: God's Plan for the Journey of Life—A Road Map for Success; Stop, Look, and Listen—Good Habits for a Good Journey; A Fork in the Road—Deciding Which Way to Go; Dangers and Detours Ahead—Slow Down, Avoid Disaster; and Two Is Fine Company—A Friend for the Journey
  • 32 additional pages that include excerpts, quotes, and scripture
  • Special pages for graduates to log personal goals, favorite verses of scripture, and prayers

This life guide fits nicely on a nightstand, gift basket, or backpack. For graduates the question is, will they face the future with or without God? Max Lucado's Let the Journey Begin has powerful, life-changing messages for a vital time in life.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718030490
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 03/10/2015
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 91,043
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Since entering the ministry in 1978, Max Lucado has served churches in Miami, Florida; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and San Antonio, Texas. He currently serves as Teaching Minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. He is the recipient of the 2021 ECPA Pinnacle Award for his outstanding contribution to the publishing industry and society at large. He is America’s bestselling inspirational author with more than 145 million products in print.

Visit his website at MaxLucado.com

Facebook.com/MaxLucado

Instagram.com/MaxLucado

Twitter.com/MaxLucado

Youtube.com/MaxLucadoOfficial

The Max Lucado Encouraging Word Podcast

Read an Excerpt

Let the Journey Begin

Finding God's Best for Your Life


By Max Lucado

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2009 Max Lucado
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-3879-3



CHAPTER 1

God's Plan for the Journey of Life

* * *

A Road Map for Success


THE KEY QUESTION IN LIFE IS NOT "HOW STRONG AM I?" BUT RATHER "HOW STRONG IS GOD?"


Direction for the Road Ahead

* * *

Occupy yourself with the nature of God, not the size of your biceps ...

That's what God told Moses to do. Remember the conversation at the burning bush? The tone was set in the first sentence. "Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground" (Exodus 3:5). With these eleven words Moses is enrolled in a class on God. Immediately the roles are defined. God is holy. Approaching him on even a quarter-inch of leather is too pompous ... No time is spent convincing Moses what Moses can do, but much time is spent explaining to Moses what God can do.

You and I tend to do the opposite. We would explain to Moses how he is ideally suited to return to Egypt ... Then we'd remind Moses how perfect he is for wilderness travel ... We'd spend time reviewing with Moses his resume and strengths.

But God doesn't. The strength of Moses is never considered. No pep talk is given, no pats on the backs are offered. Not one word is spoken to recruit Moses. But many words are used to reveal God. The strength of Moses is not the issue; the strength of God is.

The Great House of God


NAILS DIDN'T HOLD GOD TO A CROSS. LOVE DID.


The Strength of God's Love

* * *

"Can anything make me stop loving you?" God asks. "Watch me speak your language, sleep on your earth, and feel your hurts. Behold the maker of sight and sound as he sneezes, coughs, and blows his nose. You wonder if I understand how you feel? Look into the dancing eyes of the kid in Nazareth; that's God walking to school. Ponder the toddler at Mary's table; that's God spilling his milk.

"You wonder how long my love will last? Find your answer on a splintered cross, on a craggy hill. That's me you see up there, your maker, your God, nail-stabbed and bleeding. Covered in spit and sin-soaked. That's your sin I'm feeling. That's your death I'm dying. That's your resurrection I'm living. That's how much I love you."

In the Grip of Grace


YOU CHANGE YOUR LIFE BY CHANGING YOUR HEART.


Locked Behind Bars

* * *

Think of it this way. Sin put you in prison. Sin locked you behind the bars of guilt and shame and deception and fear. Sin did nothing but shackle you to the wall of misery. Then Jesus came and paid your bail. He served your time; he satisfied the penalty and set you free. Christ died, and when you cast your lot with him, your old self died too.

The only way to be set free from the prison of sin is to serve its penalty. In this case the penalty is death. Someone has to die, either you or a heaven-sent substitute. You cannot leave prison unless there is a death. But that death has occurred at Calvary. And when Jesus died, you died to sin's claim on your life. You are free.

In the Grip of Grace


THOUGH WE WERE SPIRITUALLY DEAD BECAUSE OF THE THINGS WE DID AGAINST GOD, HE GAVE US NEW LIFE WITH CHRIST.

Ephesians 2:5


A New Player on Our Team

* * *

As youngsters, we neighborhood kids would play street football. The minute we got home from school, we'd drop the books and hit the pavement. The kid across the street had a dad with a great and a strong addiction to football. As soon as he'd pull in the driveway from work we'd start yelling for him to come and play ball. He couldn't resist. Out of fairness he'd always ask, "Which team is losing?" Then he would join that team, which often seemed to be mine.

His appearance in the huddle changed the whole ball game. He was confident, strong, and most of all, he had a plan. We'd circle around him, and he'd look at us and say, "Okay, boys, here is what we are going to do." The other side was groaning before we left the huddle. You see, we not only had a new plan, we had a new leader.

He brought new life to our team. God does precisely the same. We didn't need a new play; we needed a new plan. We didn't need to trade positions; we needed a new player. That player is Jesus Christ, God's firstborn son.

In the Grip of Grace


ANSWER THE BIG QUESTION OF ETERNITY, AND THE LITTLE QUESTIONS OF LIFE FALL INTO PERSPECTIVE.


Truth Will Triumph

* * *

Imagine that you are an ice skater in competition. You are in first place with one more round to go. If you perform well, the trophy is yours. You are nervous, anxious, and frightened.

Then, only minutes before your performance, your trainer rushes to you with the thrilling news: "You've already won! The judges tabulated the scores, and the person in second place can't catch you. You are too far ahead."

Upon hearing that news, how will you feel? Exhilarated!

And how will you skate? Timidly? Cautiously? Of course not. How about courageously and confidently? You bet you will. You will do your best because the prize is yours. You will skate like a champion because that is what you are! You will hear the applause of victory ...

The point is clear: the truth will triumph. The Father of truth will win, and the followers of truth will be saved.

The Applause of Heaven


FAITH IS THE GRIT IN THE SOUL THAT PUTS THE DARE INTO DREAMS.


Character Creates Courage

* * *

A legend from India tells about a mouse who was terrified of cats until a magician agreed to transform him into a cat. That resolved his fear ... until he met a dog, so the magician changed him into a dog. The mouse-turned-cat-turned-dog was content until he met a tiger—so, once again, the magician changed him into what he feared. But when the tiger came complaining that he had met a hunter, the magician refused to help. "I will make you into a mouse again, for though you have the body of a tiger, you still have the heart of a mouse."

Sound familiar? How many people do you know who have built a formidable exterior, only to tremble inside with fear? We tackle our anxieties by taking on the appearance of a tiger. We face our fears with force ...

Or if we don't use force, we try other methods. We stockpile wealth. We seek security in things. We cultivate fame and seek status.

But do these approaches work? Can power, possessions, or popularity really deliver us from our fears?

Courage is an outgrowth of who we are. Exterior supports may temporarily sustain, but only inward character creates courage.

The Applause of Heaven


GOD WOULD PREFER WE HAVE AN OCCASIONAL LIMP THAN A PERPETUAL STRUT. AND IF IT TAKES A THORN FOR HIM TO MAKE HIS POINT, HE LOVES US ENOUGH NOT TO PLUCK IT OUT.


When God Says No

* * *

There are times when the one thing you want is the one thing you never get ...

All you want is an open door or an extra day or an answered prayer, for which you will be thankful.

And so you pray and wait.

No answer.

You pray and wait.

No answer.

You pray and wait.

May I ask a very important question? What if God says no?

What if the request is delayed or even denied? When God says no to you, how will you respond? If God says, "I've given you my grace, and that is enough," will you be content?

Content. That's the word. A state of heart in which you would be at peace if God gave you nothing more than he already has. Test yourself with this question: What if God's only gift to you were his grace to save you? Would you be content?

What if his answer is, "My grace is enough." Would you be content?

You see, from heaven's perspective, grace is enough.

In the Grip of Grace


IF YOU WANT TO TOUCH GOD'S HEART, USE THE NAME HE LOVES TO HEAR. CALL HIM FATHER.


We All Need a Father

* * *

[Recently], my daughter Jenna and I spent several days in the old city of Jerusalem ... One afternoon, as we were exiting the Jaffa gate, we found ourselves behind an orthodox Jewish family—a father and his three small girls. One of the daughters, perhaps four or five years of age, fell a few steps behind and couldn't see her father. Abba! she called to him. He stopped and looked. Only then did he realize he was separated from his daughter. Abba! she called again. He spotted her and immediately extended his hand ...

He held her hand tightly in his as they descended the ramp ... When the signal changed, he led her and her sisters through the intersection. In the middle of the street, he reached down and swung her up into his arms and continued their journey.

Isn't that what we all need? An abba who will hear when we call? Who will take our hand when we are weak? Who will guide us through the hectic intersections of life? Don't we all need an abba who will swing us up into his arms and carry us home? We all need a father.

The Great House of God


EVEN JESUS WAS GIVEN A PORTION HE FOUND HARD TO SWALLOW. BUT WITH GOD'S HELP, HE DID.


Not Every Day Is a Three-Cookie Day

* * *

Last night during family devotions, I called my daughters to the table and set a plate in front of each. In the center of the table I placed a collection of food: some fruit, some raw vegetables, and some Oreo cookies. "Every day," I explained, "God prepares for us a plate of experiences. What kind of plate do you most enjoy?"

The answer was easy. Sara put three cookies on her plate. Some days are like that, aren't they? Some days are "three-cookie days." Many are not. Sometimes our plate has nothing but vegetables—twenty-four hours of celery, carrots, and squash. Apparently God knows we need some strength, and though the portion may be hard to swallow, isn't it for our own good? Most days, however, have a bit of it all. Vegetables, which are healthy but dull. Fruit, which tastes better and we enjoy. And even an Oreo, which does little for our nutrition, but a lot for our attitude ...

The next time your plate has more broccoli than apple pie, remember who prepared the meal. And the next time your plate has a portion you find hard to swallow, talk to God about it. Jesus did.

The Great House of God


DON'T ASK GOD TO DO WHAT YOU WANT. ASK GOD TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT.


The Cure for Disappointment

* * *

When God doesn't do what we want, it's not easy. Never has been. Never will be. But faith is the conviction that God knows more than we do about this life and he will get us through it. Remember, disappointment is cured by revamped expectations.

I like the story about the fellow who went to the pet store in search of a singing parakeet. Seems he was a bachelor and his house was too quiet. The store owner had just the bird for him, so the man bought it.

The next day the bachelor came home from work to a house full of music. He went to the cage to feed the bird and noticed for the first time that the parakeet had only one leg.

He felt cheated that he'd been sold a one-legged bird, so he called and complained.

"What do you want," the store owner responded, "a bird who can sing or a bird who can dance?"

Good question for times of disappointment.

In the Word with Max Lucado


God Promises Gladness

* * *

Nine times he promises it. And he promises it to an unlikely crowd:

"The poor in spirit." Beggars in God's soup kitchen.

"Those who mourn." Sinners Anonymous bound together by the truth of their introduction: "Hi, I am me. I'm a sinner.

"The meek." Pawnshop pianos played by Van Cliburn. (He's so good no one notices the missing keys.)

"Those who hunger and thirst." Famished orphans who know the difference between a TV dinner and a Thanksgiving feast.

"The merciful." Winners of the million-dollar lottery who share the prize with their enemies.

"The pure in heart." Physicians who love lepers and escape infection.

"The peacemakers." Architects who build bridges with wood from a Roman cross.

"The persecuted." Those who manage to keep an eye on heaven while walking through hell on earth.


It is to this band of pilgrims that God promises a special blessing. A heavenly joy. A sacred delight.

But this joy is not cheap. What Jesus promises is not a gimmick to give you goose bumps nor a mental attitude that has to be pumped up at pep rallies. No, Matthew 5 describes God's radical reconstruction of the heart.

The Applause of Heaven


GOD'S GLADNESS IS NOT RECEIVED BY THOSE WHO EARN IT, BUT BY THOSE WHO ADMIT THEY DON'T DESERVE IT.

Focus on the Task at Hand

* * *

Life is tough enough as it is. It's even tougher when we're headed in the wrong direction.

One of the incredible abilities of Jesus was to stay on target. His life never got off track. He had no money, no computers, no jets, no administrative assistants or staff; yet Jesus did what many of us fail to do. He kept his life on course.

As Jesus looked across the horizon of his future, he could see many targets. Many flags were flapping in the wind, each of which he could have pursued. He could have been a political revolutionary. He could have been a national leader. But in the end he chose to be a Savior and save souls.

Anyone near Christ for any length of time heard it from Jesus himself. "The Son of Man came to find lost people and save them" (Luke 19:10). "The Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people" (Mark 10:45).

The heart of Christ was relentlessly focused on one task. The day he left the carpentry shop of Nazareth he had one ultimate aim—the cross of Calvary. He was so focused that his final words were, "It is finished" (John 19:30).

How could Jesus say he was finished? There were still the hungry to feed, the sick to heal, the untaught to instruct, and the unloved to love. How could he say he was finished? Simple. He had completed his designated task. His commission was fulfilled. The painter could set aside his brush, the sculptor lay down his chisel, the writer put away his pen. The job was done.

Wouldn't you love to be able to say the same? Wouldn't you love to look back on your life and know you had done what you were called to do?

Just Like Jesus


ENJOY SERVING THE LORD, AND HE WILL GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT. DEPEND ON THE LORD; TRUST HIM, AND HE WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.

Psalm 37:4–5


Whose Dream Will You Follow?

* * *

Let's be honest—there's a lot in life that doesn't make sense.

School. Friends. The news. Politics. Wall Street. Even God's track record in the Bible doesn't make a lot of sense:

• Transporting a million or so people across the desert for forty years to a mysterious promised land (Exodus–Deuteronomy)

• Whittling a thirty-two-thousand-man army down to three hundred in order to attack the most feared warriors in the land (Judges 7:1–16)

• Saving the world through a baby born in a barn (Luke 2:1–7) ...


So if someone has a dream that makes perfect sense, it really couldn't be from God. That's not how he dreams!

We forget that impossible is one of God's favorite words. He dreams impossible dreams. Why?

If you accomplish a possible dream, then you get all the glory.

But if you accomplish an impossible dream, then God gets all the glory ...

In the end you must ask yourself, whose dream am I going to follow: mine, my parents', or God's? God's dreams are always bigger and better and more unbelievable. His dreams look like these:

• Your neighbors ... your community ... your school coming to Christ

• Churches in your zip code coming together to pray for revival

• An end to hunger and disease in just one country

• Peace on earth


Dare to dream like God.

Max on Life


THE PURPOSE OF IMPOSSIBLE DREAMS IS TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT AN INCREDIBLE, UNBELIEVABLE GOD STILL EXISTS, AND HE WORKS IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE.


NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU'VE DONE, GOD CAN USE YOU.


Make a Difference in Your World

* * *

If God chose only righteous people to change the world, you could count them all on one finger—Jesus. Instead, he included others in his plan—the sinners, the ungodly, the imperfect, the fearful, the prideful, the truth twisters. There's a lot more of us to choose from.

The reassuring lesson is clear. God used (and uses!) people to change the world. People! Not saints or superhumans or geniuses but people. Crooks, creeps, lovers, and liars—he uses them all. And what they lack in perfection, God makes up for in love.

If you ever wonder how God can use you to make a difference in your world, just look at those he has already used, and take heart.

Because you're imperfect, you can speak of making mistakes.

Because you're a sinner, you can speak of forgiveness.

God restores the broken and the brittle, then parades them before the world as trophies of his love and strength. The world sees the ungodly turn godly, and they know God must love them too.

Max on Life


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Let the Journey Begin by Max Lucado. Copyright © 2009 Max Lucado. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface, ix,
God's Plan for the Journey of Life—A Road Map for Success,
Stop, Look, and Listen—Good Habits for a Good Journey,
A Fork in the Road—Deciding Which Way to Go,
Dangers and Detours Ahead—Slow Down, Avoid Disaster,
Two Is Fine Company—A Friend for the Journey,
Prologue—Teach Us to Pray, 156,
Charting Your Course—First Steps, 158,

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