Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Circumference of Love

The chief aim of discipleship is the perfecting of our love for God and others. Discipleship expands the circumference of our love.

All of us have a circumference problem when it comes to love.  All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’s circumference of love. (Romans 3:23) We all reach the limit of our love and love stops.

When we listen to the Sermon on the Mount for the first time, we get an idea of a kind love that is far beyond the current circumference of our love.  To be anywhere near Jesus is to feel just how far beyond our love Jesus extends his love.  To follow Him over time is to be taken little by little to a new circumference of love.

When Christ is formed in us His perfect love within us pushes against the outer limits of our love.  This inner stretching of the circumference of our love hurts us like growing hurts the body of a child who is headed for full maturity. This inner stretching of our love feels like carrying a cross.

Just when we think the circumference of our love is where it should be, God brings even more difficult people into our life.  We are tempted to say, “Stop! Isn’t loving like this far enough?”

With Christ within us, the stretching continues until the racists become missionaries, the bigots become servants, the haters become lovers and the fearful become forgivers. This expanding of love is the miracle of Jesus’ presence in us.  All who were once afraid and unwilling to love become unwilling and afraid to stop growing in Jesus’ love.  They would rather die than stop loving.  Finally, we are like Jesus.

When the circumference of our love becomes one with Jesus then we discover a new reality.  There is no circumference to love with Jesus.  This continuous growth in love is our permanent destiny just as it has been His permanent reality.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Life’s Classroom

“O God, you teach us the way through Christ and Catastrophe.”   E. Stanley Jones

Our day to day experience in this world is “Life’s  classroom” where we discover the way and not the way.  Every moment of every day is an opportunity to see what cooperates with God’s original plan for mankind and what does not. 

If we will open our eyes to God as we move through every day we will see clearly what produces life and love and what produces fear and death.  We will see that our decisions and behaviors have predictable results.  None of us can say we saw nothing of the true way.  The way is written into our DNA by God and we are all enrolled at birth in class 101-The way and not the way.

To be absolutely sure we can see the way and what is not the way, God sent Jesus who is the way made flesh and dwelling among us.  To see Jesus is to see God’s original intention for human life and love.  Jesus was not and never will be the cause of human catastrophe, He is and will ever be the way out of human catastrophe.

When Jesus makes a permanent connection by His Spirit with any human being “Life’s Classroom” moves into our inner life where Jesus begins to live and teach by His Spirit.  This inner teaching about the way becomes much more intense and personal.  We begin to see catastrophes and their impact more clearly and the pain we feel seeing so clearly would overwhelm us if it were not for Jesus revealing to us moment by moment God’s forgiveness and love.

It is within our inner life with Jesus that our love is being perfected.  It is within our inner life with Jesus that the Way  becomes our Way  It is in our inner life that Jesus is the true teacher.

Jesus does not take us out of the catastrophes.  He takes the catastrophes out of us.

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful."  Col. 3:15

"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."  I John 2:26-27

Bud McCord
Abide International

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Jesus, You Are Welcome Here!

For the last 20 years it has been my practice to awaken every morning  finding the presence of Jesus in me, acknowledging His presence and welcoming His presence.  These words from C.S. Lewis taken from his book  “Mere Christianity” certainly played a central part in this wonderful spiritual discipline that has so blessed me and many others:

"The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.

We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through.

He never talked vague, idealistic gas. When He said, ‘Be perfect,’ He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder—in fact, it is impossible.

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad." From Mere Christianity

Never start any day in which you wish to be the kind of human being you were meant to be without first focusing on Jesus and finding Him to be all He is for you and in you.  I find that starting every day with the simple phrase “Jesus, you are welcome here”  while placing my hand over my heart gives me the right starting point for every day.  It is time to fly!

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Holy Spirit Come!

One of the most common prayers heard during modern worship is “Holy Spirit Come!”  As with many prayers the intention is great, but this request is off center.If the Holy Spirit has not taken up permanence in us at the center we are not of Christ.

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.  Romans 8:9-11

When we fail to begin with all we need already living in us, we begin to seek what we lack to live elsewhere.  With the Trinity living in us there is no need for looking elsewhere.  We are truly the Temple of God.  All the Christian life we will ever need or ever lives already abides in us.

Perhaps a better, more centered prayer is  “Holy Spirit inspire!”  or “Holy Spirit fill!”.  To keep asking someone to come who is already present seems off  and close to offensive.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Fight, Flight or Fearless?

Think of the three words fight, flight or fearless.  Which one describes Jesus as He walked among us in this very dangerous and faithless world?  Easy question if you know Jesus’ story. Jesus was, is and always will be fearless.

Now think of Jesus abiding in you as you right now. If  you are sensing the desire to fight or flee because of the circumstances that surround you, can you see you are taking Him with you as you respond?   Are you sure your response is what He wants?  Is your response what you really want?

Can Jesus’ fearlessness be yours?  Can Jesus eliminate your normal reaction to what you fear so much that all you can think of is to fight or flee? Yes, He can but you will  have to move beyond simply imitating Jesus and begin to live Jesus as your life.

Imitation of Jesus still leaves you in control of your reactions.   Living Jesus puts Him in control of your reactions.   Imitating gives you an excuse since you have your limits.  Living Jesus makes His ability the limit of your ability.

The next time your fight or flight desire is moving you to act, ask Jesus is He wants to fight or flee with you.  He will clearly give you an answer if you are willing to obey His answer.

Fear torments and inspires the worst in you. Jesus empowers you to fearlessly love.
Somehow you know that fearless love is what you were made to live.  Jesus in you is what you were made to live.  Live Jesus fearlessly!

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”  I John 4:17-18

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Bottom Line

Sometimes the bottom line of our day leaves us full of fear.  Sometimes the bottom line of our day leaves full of happiness.  No one can escape the bottom line of every day.

It is impossible to know the truth about any subject of our  daily lives without dealing with the bottom line.  How much we have and what is left over each day are the bottom lines that give us direction and inspiration or leave us afraid and paralyzed.

Jesus is the bottom line of the universe every day.  Jesus should become the bottom line for every human being because He came to give us abundant life one day at a time.

It is really easy to become disoriented, afraid and paralyzed in this world.  When we take our eyes off of Jesus what is left without Him at the end of the day soon becomes clear and frightening.  The bottom line without Jesus is loss.

When you live each day with Jesus as your bottom line the disorientation, fear and paralysis with be replaced with the peace and joy of God’s bottom line which is Jesus.

“Jesus is all and is in all.”   Col. 3:11

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

A Sickness Called No and a Healing Called Yes

“For all the promises in Him are yes…” 
II Cor. 1:20

God did not create mankind in His own image to live with no as our starting point. The opening two chapters of Genesis are clearly yes in every aspect. God is the essential yes in all life. He created us to live a healthly yes.

The introduction of man’s independence from God began man’s descent into a deadly sickness called no. No breeds negativity, blame, distress, violence and death.

The sickness of no began spreading through human experience until it had humanity clearly in its negative grip. Then Jesus was born. The healing called yes was back. The sickness of no could be healed by yes in Jesus.

One of the surest signs Jesus is alive in our inner life is that our natural no turns to a supernatural yes. We slowly begin to see yes filling the spaces where we only saw no. We become people who speak a healthy yes in moments where our usual response would have been a sickly no.

Jesus’ power to turn a person in the grip of no into a person in the grip of yes does not seem so impressive until that person is you. When living with you is a healthy yes you will be duly impressed with Jesus’ positive, healing power. Those who live near you filled with yes will soon be impressed, too.

We were created to live yes and that yes is in Jesus.