Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jesus. The Cure for Paralysis

“There is nothing that the presence of Jesus cannot cure.” Mike Wells

There are many types of paralysis.  Physical paralysis is the most obvious kind, but there are many forms of paralysis that limit our movement with God.

In Luke chapter 5: 17-26, concerned friends bring their paralysed friend to Jesus for healing.  Ripping off the tiles of the roof of the house where Jesus was curing people, these men literally dropped their motionless friend into the presence of Jesus.

The story ends with these words from Jesus:  “ ’I tell you’ he said to the man who was paralysed, ‘get up, pick up your bed and go home!’  Instantly the man sprang to his feet before their eyes, picked up the bedding on which he used to lie, and went off home praising God.”

In the same chapter in Luke, verses 27-28,  Jesus heals Levi from an entirely different kind of paralysis.  This is the same Levi who became one of Jesus disciples.

“Later on, Jesus went out and looked straight at a tax-collector called Levi, as he sat at his office.  ‘Follow me,’ he said to him.  And he got to his feet at once, left everything behind and followed him.”

Levi was just as paralyzed as the other man who was healed by Jesus. Both needed to get to their feet as Jesus spoke and head home praising God.  Both of them needed to be made able to leave behind the paralysis of their past and folllow Jesus.

All of us are paralysed by something that holds in one limited reality.  When our friends take us to the presence of Jesus or when Jesus comes to where we are paralysed, everything will change when we hear Him say “Get up! Follow Me!”

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill.  I have not come to invite the ‘righteous’ but the ‘sinners’---to change their ways.”  Luke 5:32 Phillips

Bud McCord
Abide International

Thursday, February 04, 2016

God Speaks With His Hand

“For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand...”
Isaiah 8:11

How does God speak with His strong hand?   The same way a parent speaks to a child with his or her strong hand.  The parent takes hold of the child’s circumstances with a strong hand until the child will  finally be still and listen.

When God speaks to us by taking hold of us and our circumstances it is unmistakeable.  When God speaks with a strong hand, we find ourselves literally in the grip of circumstances we are powerless to overcome.  We can fight, run, resist and complain but our circumstances hold us.  We cannot move away. We are held too firmly by an unseen hand.

By his strong hand God gets our attention.  We have come to the end of ourselves and we know it.   Finally we grow still and begin to  understand that we are not God,  God’s strong hand brings tears of repentance to our eyes. The tears are the stress of our resistance finally leaving us.

By holding us in the grip of our circumstances God educates us.   Once we have felt the grip of God orchestarated circumstances we are much easier to educate. We learn to be still before God.

When God’s hand has made its point,  we know God is greater than our circumstances. We know we are really in the grip of the hand of His will and voice.

Being stil and knowing He is God is such a relief!

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Receive Mode

“The just shall live by Faith.”
Romans 1:17

A just person is one  who loves the right person, at the right time, in the right way and in the right measure.  A just person does not simply want to do this.  A just person does this continuously.

Anyone who attempts to be just will soon learn that loving the right person, at the right time, in the right way and in the right measure is beyond human ability. 
People, including ourselves, are very complex to love justly over time.

The source of justice is God.  Only an intimate connection to and receptivity from perfect justice can make one just.  This connection and receptivity for justice has been made available to us by faith in Jesus who is God’s justice for us and in us forever.  Simply put, Jesus in us must be our continous justice.

The secret of a just life is not effort.  It is receptivity or “receive mode”.  Our ability to be just is directly connected to our growing awareness that in Christ we are being continuously loved as the right person, at the right time, in the right way and in the right measure.  It takes this justice perceived and received continously from Jesus  to allow this same justice to be released by us.

When we focus on being just we become frustrated and weary.  When we focus on and receive justice moment by moment from the perfect presence of Jesus in us by the Spirit, we begin to release one day at a time the justice we are receiving.

Focusing on how justly we have been and are being treated by Father, Son and Holy Spirit right now awakens justice in us. Receiving this justice one day at a time and moment by moment equips us with the right justice today’s complex people.  Releasing this same justice to the people who come into our lives each day becomes possible and sustainable in Jesus.

Do not worry about being just.  Let Jesus be the One who is your justice and you will find you can release the kind of justice you receive each day from the Father in Christ by the Spirit.

The just are the right people receiving the justice of God in Christ at the right time, in the right way and in the right measure.  Living like this in the ‘receive mode’ the just can release this same justice they receive from Jesus.

Jesus makes being a just person possible as we receive from Him. “Receive mode” toward Jesus in us makes justice possible. Justice is for those who can receive it.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cain Still Kills Abel

In the first two chapters of the Bible things in the world are “very good”.  By the time one reads on to chapter 4 of the Bible Cain murders his brother Abel in a religious rage. Evil moves fast.

Based on this Biblical story of the rapid human descent into family, social and religious violence, it is hard to defend the idea that today’s world is essentially worse than it has ever been.

Things have been as essentially bad as they are for a very long time.  What has changed is the scale and size of evil, not the essential nature or speed of evil.  In reality there are simply more Cains killing more Abels.

The  Bible narrative continues to be relevant because it always tells the truth about humanity.  No matter how ugly or beautiful the human story may be the Bible still explains it perfectly.

Though humanity may not be all of “one religion”, we are all biological blood brothers and sisters. We are all biological family and Cain continues to kill Abel.

“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, " Acts 17:26

Whenever one person in the name of religion murders, they murder their own “blood brother”.   In doing so,  they are Cain killing a truly innocent family member.  This kind of orginal, religious hatred is exactly what the Apostle John pointed out in John 3:10-12.

"In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous."

In God’s eyes the murderous religious rage that afflicts our world today is nothing new.  It is the same religious rage that led Adam and Eve to conduct the first family funeral.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Words In Intensive Care

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Jesus in Matthew 4:4

Words can become sick, kill and even die.  Only the words that God defines and uses carry no sicknesses, death or time limit.

The way men and women use words can lead to a complete departure from the way God uses a word.  When sick and poorly defined words are used in conversation they can contaminate or kill true communication.

On one occasion a man sought Jesus out with a theological question.  Thinking he was communicating respectfully with Jesus he called Jesus “Good teacher”.

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”  Mark 10:17

Jesus immediately corrected his use of the word “good”. The way the man used the word “good” had stopped any useful conversation with Jesus  The man used the word “good” to describe what human effort can produce for God. 

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God." Mark 10:18

In Genesis chapter 1 God defines the word “good”.  God uses the word “good” seven times.  Each time it describes the creation from God’s point of view.  God said it was good because it was all He intended it to be and intended it to do.  “Good” describes perfect cooperation with God not personal attainment or effort.

Unfortunately, today the word “good” is abused, redefined and in intensive care.  Only Jesus by the Holy Spirit can cure such sick and abused words.  That is why Jesus made this statement in 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.”

The cure of our words should always be an important part of our discipleship.  Abide in Jesus’ words and the Holy Spirit will cure your words. 

Jesus will stop our conversation with Him when we use words incorrectly.  Let Jesus make your words God’s words and they will give life.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Why Focus on and Believe in Jesus?

Because only focusing on Jesus reveals to us what God is really like.

“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fulness should dwell.”  Col. 1:19

When we see Jesus we see the Father.  Seeing Jesus allows us to answer the fundamental questions of reality:  In Jesus do we see the kind of God we hope exists?  Does Jesus reveal the kind of God in whom we would seek refuge ?

When we focus on Jesus we see in flesh and blood what God thinks, feels and wants.  Focusing on Jesus we can decide if this is the God with whom we want to think.  Focusing on Jesus we can decide if this is the kind of God with whom we want to share our feelings.  Focusing on Jesus we can decide if this is the kind of God with whom we want to cooperate.

No amount of theological thinking about God  can replace focusing our full attention on Jesus. When we focus on Jesus  we meet the Father face to face.

Because only by believing in Jesus we become the  kind of people who can love continuously.

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive;...” John 7:37-39

When we believe in Jesus as the drink that satisifes our inner thirst for love , the Holy Spirit becomes in us the river of  Jesus’ love which moves through our lives toward our neighbors.

As we believe in Jesus, He answers the second fundamental question of reality:  How can we become the kind of people we hope to be?  How can we love our neighbors as we love ourselves?  Believing in Jesus allows us to see and become  people who can  deliver love continuously by the Spirit in us.

Why focus on and believe in Jesus?

We focus on and believe in Jesus in order to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength  and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  We focus on and believe in Jesus because we exist to love God and our neighbor. Jesus makes both possible.

No other focus or belief can take us to this place of simultaneous Divine and human love. Only Jesus can take us to this place.  Focus on  and believe in Jesus. Only then love will flow toward God and others.   Without Jesus we can do nothing.  With Him our love can be perfected.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Way in 2016 “I am the way…” Jesus

There is a Way. There is a way that is not the way.
Acts 19:23
And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way.
A way that satisfies. A way that does not satisfy.  
Gen. 2:15-17
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
A way that leads to God. A way that does not lead to God. 
Gen. 5:2
And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
A way that prospers us. A way that consumes us.
Psalm 1:1-6
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
A way that ends well. A way that does not end well.
Psalms 23:1-6
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
A way that is the truth. A way that is a lie.
John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
A way that few find. A way that many find.
Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
A way that harmonizes everything. A way that destroys everything.
Col. 1:15-20
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Which way in 2016?
Bud McCord
Abide International