Friday, December 09, 2016

Falling Short


                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Brazil is in mourning.  The preventable crash of a chartered jet carrying one of Brazil's soccer teams left the entire nation in shock as 71 people died just short of landing in Columbia for the first game of the South American soccer finals. All the team needed to have landed safely was enough fuel to go a few more miles.

It is not that Brazilians are not used to seeing people die needlessly. Every day the news is filled with deaths that could have been avoided.  What shocked Brazil was seeing this young, talented team of soccer players, coaches and reporters be so close to glory and miss the opportunity due to human error.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 3:23 "...for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."  As humans we just do not have enough personal fuel to get the  goal of God's glory.  Because of human error, we all come short of landing at the goal of being the humans we should have been.  Human error has condemned us all to falling short.

The good news is that Jesus seeing humanity's failure and  falling short created a way for us to make it to the goal of God's glory.  By His terrible suffering at Calvary His death allows us to land in the presence of God and live.  Because of Jesus no person need fall short of becoming the kind of human being God intended. 
Every time a human being lands in the presence of God in Christ, heaven rejoices. 
Bud McCord
Abide International

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Human Body


                                                                                                                                                                                                           Problem or Opportunity?
When you consider the human body do you see a problem or an opportunity?  When you look at your own body do you see it as exclusively yours to use as you wish or as a part of the plan of God for this world?
In the Bible, in theology and in the example of Jesus the human body is considered essential to spirituality and the plan of God.  The body is not a minor subject in spiritual life.  The body is central to Christian spirituality.
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s."  I Cor. 6:19-20
Our body is a permanent documentation of how we have lived and loved.  Our body tells the truth about us for better or for worse.  Every scar we carry registers a story we may or may not want told.
The scars Jesus still carries on His body are the permanent record of His perfect love. 
May our bodies carry proof of our love and our participation in the will of God.
Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Original Hacker



Hackers are in the news.  Powerful people are afraid.

When hackers are in the news it means someone's private life has been invaded and is being put on display for all to see. We can hardly wait to see the powerful embarrassed.  Should that be the case? Will the hackers come for us, too?

Those of us who are old enough to be referred to as BC (Before Computers and Cell Phones) can still remember a time when privacy actually existed. Those times are gone forever. I, for one, miss them.

There is a sense, however, in which human privacy was destroyed long ago in the garden of Eden by the original hacker named Satan.  What the original hacker did to Adam and Eve left them so ashamed of their public nakedness they tried making clothes out of leaves and hide from God. Some plan!

A hacker must penetrate into the operating system of a computer and make that system give up its privacy and deeply held secrets.  A Hacker wants to embarrass and control.  That is what Satan, the original Hacker, did to all of humanity when Adam and Eve took a bite out of the original Apple. (Not sure it was an apple, but it fits the computer/hacker metaphor! Sorry Apple you chose the metaphor first.) 

What a relief it is for the Christian to no longer need to fear the original hacker!  Jesus came to destroy his works and set us free from needing to hide who we are or what we have done.  We even have a 'confess our sins' software installed if we do sin!
In a world where the original Hacker still exists and continues to try to shame us, there is very good news for us...

There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Christians are called to come out of hiding and walk in the light. Jesus defeated the original hacker and He even created a spiritual firewall should the Hacker try to shame us again. 

We may not have privacy in the world, but we can certainly have privacy and peace within our spirit where the original hacker can never enter again.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Having Faith For Someone You Love



 We love Him because He first loveus.
I John 4:19
Have you ever looked into the eyes of someone who believes more in you than you believe in yourself? Has someone seen your future before you saw it and wanted that future for you before you wanted it? If so, you have been deeply loved.

To be deeply loved means someone has had faith for us before we had faith.  Someone else can love us so much that they believe for us until we can believe for ourselves.

We love Jesus because He first loved us.  A part of His love was to have faith for us before we had faith.  He believed we could be forgiven before we even knew we needed to be forgiven.  He believed we could be redeemed before we even knew we needed redeeming.

Anyone who looked into the eyes of Jesus would have seen pure love inspired by perfect faith.  They would have also seen someone looking back offering to share that faith and love.

I believe that one of the thieves that hung on a cross next to Jesus looked into the eyes of Jesus and saw pure faith and love.  When he looked into Jesus’ eyes he received the faith and courage to say, “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”  Jesus lovingly responded “Today you will be with Me in paradise.”   Jesus’ faith came before the thief’s faith. Jesus’ faith became the thief’s faith.  The thief was able to ask because Jesus by faith and love had already seen him together with Him in paradise.

Whatever faith we have comes from the faith and love Jesus had concerning us.  Whenever we love someone who has no faith, we offer them our faith before theirs is born in them. In doing this we are one with Jesus’ faith and love.

Faith and love give birth to faith and love.  Jesus not only died for us when we were still His enemies.  He believed for us when we could not believe. Truly faith is a gift from God to us in Christ.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Huge Mistake


I have made some big mistakes in my life and I have had time to correct many of them.  I am so glad God is patient with us all as we live and learn.
One of the biggest mistakes I made as a Christian leader was to fail to point people to a fact about Jesus.  That fact is:  Jesus still personally teaches his disciples by the Holy Spirit.
In fact, Jesus never stopped teaching his disciples.  The truth Jesus is and the truth Jesus continues to teach needs to come to us directly  by the Holy Spirit and not by teachers who put themselves between us and Jesus.  It is always a huge mistake to get between Jesus and one of His disciples.
It took me a long time to hear the words of Jesus and of his disciple John and let them correct my mistake.
John 8:31-32  Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
I John 2:24-27  Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.
These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
Jesus said each of us needs to abide directly in His original words and not in an explanation or translation of His words delivered by a teacher.   Nothing and no one should get between a disciple and Jesus’ person and words. Getting between a disciple and Jesus trying to help them is like getting between a person’s head and their body trying to help them stay alive.
Jesus does not need help from me to say what He has already said.   Jesus would have me take people to hear from Him personally.  I can certainly tell others what I have heard from Him, but disciples must hear Him for themselves or discipleship is not taking place.
It was a great relief for me to be free of trying make Jesus’ teaching clear to people. Over the years I have understood that Jesus’ teaching is not difficult to  understand. It is difficult to hear and live.
 As anyone who has done translating from one language to another will affirm, translation is imperfect and tiring. It is so good to hear directly from someone instead of feeling you need a translator.  Jesus does not need to be translated.  He needs to be heard and obeyed.  Jesus speaks perfectly in every language by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
 Jesus’ teaching is clear to those who will ask Him personally what He means and what He wants. If you do not believe that, then I challenge you to hear His words again. Then ask Him questions about what He means for you to do with what He says.  Be prepared to act.  He still teaches and He speaks your language!


Bud McCord
Abide International

Friday, September 30, 2016

Seeing the Unseen


While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
II Corinthians 4:18

The first disciples saw Jesus every day.  What they did not realize was that they were also looking at the unseen as they looked at Jesus.  When they looked at Jesus they were seeing the unseen, eternal Father.
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?John 14:8-9

Every day we live we see things that will pass away.  We must learn to look beyond them to see the unseen.  We must see beyond the temporary to see the eternal.  If all we see is the temporary then we will lose heart.  If we see beyond the temporary and see the eternal we will gain strength to go on.

If the first disciples missed seeing the unseen Father when they saw Jesus, what are we missing when we fail to see beyond what we see around us every day?  Learn to look beyond the seen until the unseen is more real to you than the seen.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Equality


The desire for equality is  a noble goal. Perhaps it is the most noble of human dreams. The search for it, however, has led to millions of deaths and great sacrifice. No matter how many deaths and how great the sacrifices, the dream of equality still seems far away.

Whether the path chosen to equality is the non-violent approach of Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr or the radical violence of Lenin and Mao, time reveals just how hard equality is to produce or sustain. In all of human history has anyone shown us the way to equality?

In all of human history only Jesus had the courage to call Himself the way to human equality  He was neither an activist nor an armed revolutionary. He was something altogether new. He claimed to be equal with God and and 

He invited humanity to be one with Him and the Father as the basis of equality.  He said all who accept Him are instantly brought into the equality mankind longs to find. Jesus said being in Him would make us equals.

As the Father sent Him into the world to invite humanity into equality , He sends us out into the world sustained by our equality in Him to make the same offer. We have been sent to tell others to be one With the Father, the Son and the Spirit and with all others who are one In Christ.

Jesus continues to be way to human equality. Sadly, we as His followers often fail to live this equality in practical and visible ways. If we could live as equals in our Christian communities surely the world would take note that we have been with Jesus.

Our starting point in Jesus is equality. As long as Jesus lives and we live in Him equality is available and sustainable. Live your equality in Jesus and invite others to experience it with you.

Bud McCord
Abide International