Friday, August 21, 2015

A Relationship With Jesus - Deep, Light and Generous

A  relationship with Jesus, the true Vine, is deep. 
In the beginning the branch receives from the Vine without knowing the true depth of the Vine's capacity to give of its wealth. As the branch receives  and releases all that comes freely from the Vine a knowledge of the Vine's depth begins to grow. The branch dives into this depth more and more.  No matter how much the branch draws from Jesus there is always more. What a discovery!

A relationship with Jesus, the true Vine, is light.
Receiving repeatedly from the depths of generosity found in Jesus the branch discovers a great mystery. The deeper the branch dives into Jesus' depths the lighter becomes the task of simply being a branch. Deeper in Jesus means a lightness in being me!  Being a simple, Jesus supported branch makes me the person I enjoy being. 
What a relief!

A relationship with Jesus, the true Vine, is generous.
Finally from depth and lightness in Jesus comes a growing generosity. Releasing love threatens the branch no more.  What threatens the branch is to not release generously.  How can I not love when I have leaned into the depths of Jesus and found Him making my life so much lighter? What an opportunity!

I dive into the depths of Jesus’ love. I am lifted to a life of less weight.  I am inspired to lovingly and generously give. Jesus, the true Vine, promised abundant life and He is that life abiding in me.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


The list of personal orientations seems to be expanding exponentially.
My political orientation is….
My sexual orientation is…
My religious orientation is….
My gender orientation is….
My life orientation is…
My environmental orientation is…
My moral oriention is….
My financial orientation is…

As the list of possible human orientations grows, respect for each person’s orientations has now become one of society’s most passionately defended values. Intolerance of other’s orientations is fast becoming society’s new scarlet letter.  Instead of an “A” for adultery, we may soon see a big public “O” put on people for failing to repect orientations.

The idea that each person should be allowed to freely live their orientations has suddenly become the test of whether a society is progressive and free.  Failure to respect another person’s orientation has now become the new universal sin in many parts of the world.

Where such a concept of progressive orientational freedom will lead a culture will not take  long to come to maturity.  Freedom of orientation is on a roll and won’t take long to reveal its wisdom or lack thereof.   Most orientations have a shelf life of no longer than the human will and then they end.  It would really help if the government put validity dates on our orientations to help us choose!

The idea of giving people freedom of orientation is not new to humanity.  The Bible opens with the story of two humans  and two trees (orientations) in a garden. God told them they could choose their orientation but not control the orientational consequences and validity dates.

Apparently freedom of orientation is at its root a Divine idea.  One might say God created freedom of orientation and He still gives people up to their chosen orientations.

What God did not create was freedom from consequence.  Not all orientations work out well.  Even the most ardent of orientation defenders choke on some orientations!

Following Jesus is an orientation.  So much so, that the true goal of discipleship is to take people to Jesus and leave them there until Jesus becomes their complete orientation.

Jesus is God’s chosen human orientation.  Because He is God’s choice for humans,   Jesus has no expiration date.  No matter how progressive and free we may appear, seems like we just can’t get away from the two trees of  life and death.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. “ Jesus (John 10:10)

Bud McCord
Abide International

Thursday, July 23, 2015


There is a time and place for crutches in our lives.  When we have been injured  and we need support to begin on the path to recovery there is no shame in using crutches.   Crutches may fit the moment but In most cases they are to be temporary not permanent.

Some people get so used to some kind of daily support that it takes a good friend who comes along and takes away the crutches.  With a word or a action the friend sends a clear message that it is time to walk without the crutches. Good friends don’t let crutches become permanent when they do not need to be.

Jesus called us His friends.  As our friend Jesus will come to us and take away our crutches when the time is right.  He can see that we have become too dependent on the support and sympathy we receive from an injury we have experienced.  Sometimes we have stopped moving toward full recovery because we like the attention we get from our pain.

Professional beggars are seen sitting on the same street corners day after day asking for support.  At the end of the day some of them quietly stand up and make their way to their car which is parked a few blocks away.  They have made their weakness permanent so they can always keep the support of others.  How sad for them!  They truly need an honest friend to come and take away their crutches.

As hard as it may be to perceive, we all have a tendency to elicit sympathy and support from our past injuries and the injustices we have suffered.  We often spend our time on our own street corners wanting people to notice our pain and pay attention to us.

Our good friend Jesus will not let us do this forever.   Sooner or later He will come and take away our crutches.  He loves us too much to leave us on our crutches when He knows we can walk with Him.

Real friends know when crutches need to go or stay.   Ask Jesus if it is time for you to walk with Him without the attention or sympathy of others.

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.  John15:15-17

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

From There to Here

How far away from here is the kingdom of heaven or the Kingdom of God?  Is it far away?  Is it so far away it is unknown to us?
Perhaps  three other questions can help us move toward an answer.

Do you have someone you deeply love who has passed away and you believe they are in heaven?   Do you feel they are far away from you as you think of them in heaven?  Has the distance to heaven closed for you since they are there?

Distances change when you know someone who is alive in another place.  It seems they cannot be too far away if you can still sense they are there, they are fine and you, too, could someday go there.

Jesus taught us to pray about the Kingdom as if it could come here.  He makes it sound like the question is not one of geography or distance but one of behavior and cooperation with God.

Read again the Lord’s prayer and notice the idea of there and here.  See if the distance between there and here closes in this prayer.

In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power 
and the glory forever. Amen.
Matthew 6:9-13

The key to understanding much of Jesus’ teaching is to remember He came from the Kingdom of God where the will of God is always done.  In a very real sense, because of His obedience to the Father while here,  He is the Kingdom coming from there to here. He is the answer to the prayer “You Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.

Jesus obeying His Father here as He always had obeyed Him there brought the Kingdom close and closed the distance forever for those who believe.

In a very real sense Jesus is the Way from “There” to “Here” and back again.

“For I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father, except through me.”  John 14:6

Jesus with us means the distance has closed between “here” and “there” forever.  The more we cooperate with Jesus, the closer the Kingdom comes to here.

Every obedient Christian is the Kingdom coming here.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Cause and Consequence?

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:1-4

It is perfectly clear in the Scriptures that the Creator is the cause and consequence of everything and everyone.  The Creator is the pure and eternal truth.  We need not concern ourselves with the question of whether there is a cause and a consequence that governs all of us. Cause and  consequence is the reality of every human being that exists.

God sent his only Son to call us all back to the original cause and consequence.  He did not send Jesus to judge us and condemn us.  He sent Him to call us back home to the true light.

The question for disciples of Jesus in these days of ever changing morality and behavior is if we are called and sent to be the cause of change in others lives and the consequence if they do not change.  Should we as Jesus’ followers in the world assume the role of judge and jury?  Should we work  as the cause and the consequence of God in the world?  Should we evaluate and punish in Jesus’ name?

Another way to ask this question is this.  Is there a Christian “jihad”?   Is there a Christian “crusade”?  Are we called to impose our will in God’s name on others?
Are we called to become a punishment?

There does not exist either a legitimate Christian “jihad” our “crusade”.  There is, however, a call to be salt and light.   There is, however, a generosity and revelation that we are called to be in a world that grows darker by the day.

Jesus never became a negative force or consequence in the life of any human being.  The Pharisees wanted Him to be the cause and consequence in the lives of others in God’s name, but he refused.  In the process of refusing to condemn those on the the Pharisee’s list,  Jesus lost their support and gained their hate.

Jesus did not use His power to coerce  change and He did not use his perfect judgment to create consequences.  By His presence He became an invitation to live a new life that would cooperate with the original cause and consequece the Creator is  and will always be.

As disciples of Jesus we are an invitation to repentance which is a rethinking of everything we do and defend.  As disciples we are an invitation to rethink.  We are not a forced change but a call to a new birth where all things are becoming new.

Force and judgment cannot produce this kind of repentance.  Only  goodness, tolerance and patience over time and rooted in God who is the cause and consequence  can lead a human back to the original cause and consequence.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

With Or Without Support

Jesus prepared his first followers to succeed in their mission in the world without political, cultural, moral or military support.  They did.

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” Jesus

Every word Jesus spoke and every day He lived led His disciples to the conclusion that His life could be lived and His commandments obeyed even in the face of open cultural hostility.  The needed support for such a  quality of Christan life would come from within where the continuous support of the Trinity remains constant in a person of faith.  The first disciples knew that those willing to cooperate fully with Christ formed in them would have all the daily support they needed to carry Jesus’ presence forward with power in the world.

For Christians now living in western civilization which was heavily influenced by Christian thought, morality, culture and even military might are experiencing an enormous adjustment to a new reality that is quickly forming around them. External support for anything Christian is diminishing across the west.  In other parts of the world this external support has never existed or ceased to exist over time.  The time for the normal Christian life of inner rest, food, water, happiness found in Jesus abiding within is for such a time as this in the west.

“Without Me you can do nothing.”  Jesus

A generation of western believers is being spiritually born into an environment where they will need to hear Jesus’ teaching in a fresh, new way. They are our children and grandchildren.  They will need to personally hear Jesus’  voice again about the normal Christian way to live in a time and a place where they will come to expect no external support for success in their endeavor to see, hear, love and live Jesus one day at a time. 

These new believers and even older cultural Chrstians will need to experience being empowered from within by the Spirit of Christ and nurtured to full spiritual formation in Jesus by communities of believers who know how to abide in Christ alone. Old formulas based on a mix of cultural support and accumulated Bible knowledge will not weather the storm that is to come.  In these days we will be driven within to live in Jesus moment by moment to find the strength to move forward unafraid and living out Jesus through the storm one day at a time.

For those of us who have lived our faith with cultural support of all kinds, our frustration and tears of loss will need to be very brief.  Those being born again right now still need us to form communities of faith, hope and love that manifest true Christianity’s ability to adapt to want or plenty, support or no support.  With or without external support from the culture that surrounds us,  Jesus’ mission will  powerfully move on and on in abiding believers. Nothing on earth can or will stop the fruit of such an inner supported life received from Jesus one day at a time.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Paul. Apostle and Martyr

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Door

Not all thoughts and paradigms that come knocking on the door of our inner life deserve to come inside.  What some thoughts and paradigms carry within do not mix with the presence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that now lives in us.

According to Jesus the Trinity has taken up residence in the inner life of every believer.  This perfect presence within must be valued above all other thoughts and paradigms that might want to find a place to abide.  Whatever does not match the Divine presence must never be allowed to move in with us.

We cannot avoid the thoughts and paradigms that come knocking on the door of our inner life, but we can deny them entry and housing.  We are responsible to determine if a thought or a paradigm harmonizes with the Life that now dwells within us. Whatever does not match with who we now are in Christ cannot stay.

Yes, it is true we are in the world and all kinds of thought and paradigms can come to the door of our inner life and knock.  Even so, we do not have to let the world in.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  II Cor. 10:5.

Bud McCord
Abide International