Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The Great Risk of Loving and Being Loved



“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.”
― C.S. Lewis

Even a brief time in this world confirms these words.  Experiencing a great love and loving greatly is to also risk great pain.  To experience a great joy is to risk a great loss.

Jesus and those he loved lived this great risk.  Meet Lazarus, Maria and Marta the beloved friends of Jesus.  See how they handled the risk and grief of their great love and joy.

Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”

When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.  John 11: 1-6

We learn from Jesus and His beloved friends that in the presence of sickness we must stay still, wait and know we have been loved and are still loved.  We must know that the Will of the Father, the Word of the Son and Wind of the Spirit are greater than the weakening of our mortal will, words and wind.  The risk will be rewarded by the ressurrection.

We learn that at the right moment we will be called back from sickness or death to full health by the will, word and wind of God.  Sickness and death do not have the final word over us. The Father’s love in Jesus by the Spirit will call us back to life and love.

The contrast of good and bad that surrounds us is here for now and so is the risk we take when we love or are loved.   In Christ we see that love never dies and will never let us die. So, we risk being loved and loving.  “That’s the deal.”


Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Words


Jesus understood the power of His words. We often do not. He also understood that many who heard Him could not understand Him. Listen to how He describes those who could neither hear nor understand Him.

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.” John 8:42-43

Truly hearing the words of another person and understanding their words requires much more than ears that work.  It requires a relational and cultural connection to the one speaking. Communication requires a living history. Only relational and cultural connection allows  words spoken to be heard correctly.

The first part of us that needs to be “born again” is our hearing.  We need to learn like a newborn child learns to hear with understanding.  To abide in the words of Jesus is like learning a new language—the language of God. Jesus is the language of God. It takes time but the rewards of being able to hear and understand in a new language is worth the effort.  It is liberating.

Keep listening to Jesus and you will grow more and more aware of the liberating power of His words.  Disciples of Jesus abide in His words and become more and more aware of what God is saying and doing.  When they do they are see free to join in.

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.” João 8:31-32


Bud McCord
Abide International

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Good Theology



Is your theology good?  Would a face to face meeting with Jesus concerning your personal theology go well for you? Would your theology pass the Jesus test?

In John chapter 5:38-47 Jesus has a very direct and honest conversation with the Jewish theologians of His day.  The conversation did not go well for the theologians.  They definitely did not pass the Jesus test.  Listen to Jesus’ evaluation of their theology.

“But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

“I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.

How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust.For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

Notice the three things Jesus said they their theology did not give them.

1.     Life.  They thought they had found eternal life in the Scriptures so they did not need to go any farther to find life.  They especially did not believe they needed to come to Jesus for life.
2.     Love. They sought honor from men above the love of God.  God’s love had no home in them.
3.     Faith.  They knew Moses’ words but they did not believe them.  If they believed them they would have believed Jesus’ words.

In the end it will be Jesus who says whether our theology was good or not.  Jesus defines and approves theology.  Theology does not define or approve Jesus.
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

A Good Confession



Confession is good for the soul.  It reallly is.  Confession is good for the soul because we must continously be reconciled to the truth in order to live freely and well.  Confession is resetting the soul to the truth.

So, please hear my confession:  I confess that I have been continously helped by God to be what I am and do what I do.  Whatever I am and whatever good I have done came from God’s help in Christ.

I cannot honestly claim I am the source of what I am and what I have done that is good.  I have always had Divine help.

Admitting one has been helped by God in Christ generates thanksgiving and being thankful is the will of God for all of us.

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thess. 5:18

We often here people say “If you can dream it, you can do it!”   Really?  Without help? With no one to thank but yourself?

The Apostle Paul dreamed of keeping the law of God.  He tried and failed.  He made a very difficult confession about himself.

“I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”  Romans 8:20-25

Paul confessed he needed Divine help.  “Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

Paul gave thanks to the One who helped.  “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

As Christians we all have a confession to make. “To be the kind of person I hope to be, I have always needed God’s help in Christ and I always will.”

Paul confessed this way.  ‘I am what I am by the grace of God.”   Confessing this is good for the soul and it makes thanksgiving come easily.  It is also the truth for all of us.

Reconcile yourself to the fact that you have been helped and will always be helped by God in Christ.  This is good for your soul because the truth will set you free.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Armed With Love



True love is most evident when it faces danger and death for others unarmed. Look for weapons in Jesus' hands. In a very violent world Jesus held no weapon but love. No weapon could have loved us or died for us. Only Jesus lovingly and voluntarily facing danger and death unarmed could.

There will come a time in every believer's life when love will be the only weapon they can carry to save the lives of those they love.  Missionaries have understood this for centuries. Missionaries used to go to the nations to live, love and die unarmed. Most still do.

Depending on where we live in the world we may or may not bear arms legally. No matter where we may live we can always love for against love no law or weapon can permanently succeed.

In these violent days do we really believe in love's power? We will all find out when what we face can only be overcome by love.

"Love never fails." I Cor. 13:8

Bud McCord
Abide International

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Exit



Great Britain just voted to exit the European union.  Some are celebrating and some are weeping.  Most of the world is a little confused about what this all  this means.
There are times when an exit means loss and there are times when an exit means gain.   Exits always change things.
Time always reveals what an exit really means.   Over time one will either say “That was a really great decision!”   or  “I wish I could go back!”.  Read the story of Israel in the wilderness and you will see both reactions.  Disagreements over exits are nothing new.
For every believer in Jesus there was a moment when His invitation to follow Him came to us.  We accepted the invitation and exited our old life and entered His new life.  Through Jesus’ initiative, we changed kingdoms.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love…”  Col. 1:13

As you remember your decision to exit with Jesus what do you say today about that deciision?

Bud McCord
Abide International












Thursday, June 16, 2016

Resilience



Resilience seems to be the hot word for these turbulent times.  Resilience is the quality one needs to adapt to a constantly changing world.  It is the quality one needs to face and overcome the 24/7 news cycle of each day.  Without resilience nothing survives.

Jesus was way ahead of His time.  In fact, Jesus was from before time!  Jesus is the very source and definition of resilience.  Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.

In the Sermon on the mount Jesus defines resilience using one of the most necessary elements of life-Salt.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men."  Matthew 5:13

Men step on anything that is not resilient.  Just take a drive through a city with a depressed economy that once thrived and you will see what being trampled underfoot by men looks like.

Every Christian can and should be resiilient because the very essence of resilience is Christ within.  One day at a time every disciple of Jesus can be renewed and resilient.  Jesus is bigger than any change that mankind faces. 


Bud McCord
Abide International