Saturday, August 29, 2009

Food For Love

Sin feeds on Law. Love feeds on Grace.

Romans 7:8 "But sin taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead."

It is an enormous mistake to think telling people what is right will slow sin and feed love. It will not. Sin feeds on law. As much as we might like to think that the Ten Commandments will slow or stop sin, they cannot. The problem is much deeper than clearly seeing what is right by the law.

Romans 5: 20-21 "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Grace is God giving to us what he demands of us. God demands the perfect fulfillment of the law which would be continuous love for God and for all mankind. Jesus is this grace fulfilled and given to us. Jesus is this living grace and reality in every believer. If I would truly love--fulfill the true intent of God's law--I must feed on grace not law. The table of grace is set within us in Jesus moment by moment. Will we eat and be strengthened by His grace to continuously love?

This is why Jesus said in John 6:35 “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." We must feed on grace in order to have the strength to love.

Sin feeds on law. Love feeds on grace. Notice where in the world law is made to be the ultimate solution and you will find brutality and suffering on the rise. Sin increases when it is well fed. Notice where the grace of God in Christ is known as the only solution and you will find that brutality and suffering are in decline. Now look at your own life and ask which food is yours. You, too, will see that your brutality and the suffering you cause others are declining when your food is grace not law.

Legalism of any kind may be built on a proper view of reality, but as food the law in and of itself brings no power to the human soul to overcome sin by love. Only Jesus sets the table within us for love to eat and grow strong through us.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The speed of sin and speed of faith

It is easy to follow our thoughts into the darkness. Before we realize it we are back in that old darkness where we once lived and sought relief from pain and our dissatisfaction.

We stay in the darkness for awhile. We know we should leave but we do not want to. We know we have left the light. His voice has followed us into the darkness but we ignore it. If we listen to His voice even for a moment, we know the darkness will lose its grip on us and we will have to go back into the light. Strangely, we want to stay at least for awhile in the darkness even though we know it is no longer our place.

Finally the darkness grows tiring as it always does and our spirit begins to sense that this is no longer our true home. The taste of the darkness is growing sour in our soul and we turn back toward the light as we hear His voice again.

We leave the darkness and Jesus is there. We are embarrassed. What do we say?

Do we confess what we did in the darkness? Is that enough? Is that the real issue?

Perhaps it is good to say what we did but it is not enough to say only that. We need to say that our faith was on hold as we entered the darkness. What led us into the darkness was when we stopped believing Him and hearing His voice. It was that other voice from the darkness that we wanted to hear instead.

Our confession should be deeper than the deeds. Our confession needs to get to the root. The root for us as humans is always faith.

"Jesus, I left you." " Jesus, I stopped hearing you." "Jesus, I didn't want to hear you." "Jesus, I deliberately ignored your presence" "I stopped abiding and I went into the darkness again." "Jesus, I am so sorry."

Yes, it is easy and fast to enter the darkness. We enter at the speed of sin. It is even easier and faster to leave. We enter by the speed of sin but we leave at the speed of faith-the speed of light. When you are in the dark, just say "Jesus, I need you" as a cry for help and you are already back to Him in the light. The light is always just a name away. That name is Jesus when called in faith.

Speaking His name in faith brings the light to you and you to the light. This coming back by faith is the victory that will eventually lead to not going in the darkness at all.

"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith." I John 5:4 "... for whatever is not from faith is sin." Romans 14:23b

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sin stops love. Let us weep.

Sin stops love.

This is why sin is so horrible. Sin is not horrible because it is the breaking of a law. Sin is horrible because every law of God exists to show us when and where human love stops. Love stopping is what is horrible. Laws cannot keep love flowing because sin in us stops love from flowing from us. Read Romans 7 and you will see that all attempts to keep love flowing through law are destined to failure. Law informs, but law cannot inspire and sustain love because of sin. Only Christ in us can keep love flowing. Sin stops love but Jesus' love stops sin.

I read this morning that the a major american denomination voted to approve homosexuals as leaders and pastors. The reactions on the blog where this news appeared are pretty consistent. Those against say " Homosexuality is not Biblical." Anyone who knows and believes the Bible can see this Biblical truth as clearly as the noon day sun. Homosexuality is truly sin.
To redefine homosexuality as not being sin does not change it. Sin stops love. Homosexuality will mean less Divine love delivered not more love delivered.

What is interesting is the fact those who voted in favor of approving homosexual leadership did so in the name of increasing love in their group. They went on record voting for homosexuality in the name of more love not less. Their vote said "Love is more important than sexual orientation." Love is more important than sexual orientation. That is why true love must say what sin is. Changing standards of sexual orientation to fit our culture diminishes love. Diminishing love is why the Bible says homosexuality is sin. Homosexuality stops God's love from being properly delivered. All sin does the same.

This entire debate is profoundly tragic not because this vote is simply unbiblical. This is profoundly tragic because homosexuality is clearly the stopping of love as God designed love to be delivered. Marriage between a man and woman for life is God's delivery system of love for humans. Whenever we alter this system in any way, we stop the effective delivery of love to humans. The Bible makes this clear. Whether the Bible had said this or not, time would show that homosexual behavior stops the true flow of God's love among humans. The fact that the Bible says it so clearly simply allows us to know in advance where this decision is headed. Sin stops love. This vote for more love will actually produce less love. This is a Biblical fact, but it is a fact that exists where Bibles or denominations don't even exist.

It is one thing to weep and be angry that this denomination disobeyed the Bible. I think the real reason to be angry and weep is because we know in advance that they did not advance love as they intended. They are contributing to less love not more. That is truly a tragedy for them and all they lead. Don't be angry at them because they are Biblically wrong. Be angry and weep because love will be less among them not more. "Be angry and sin not". Don't let their Biblical error become the stopping of love in you toward them. If you do, you, too, break God's law.

We can get all fired up about this because we are Biblically right--and we are-- or we can say "This means we will need to deliver more love than ever since this decision will stop this group from truly delivering love as God intended."

We need to remember that when things were at their very worst for mankind, God sent Jesus as His delivery system of eternal love. God didn't send a written law to stop sin. He sent the law fulfilled as love in Jesus. Now He is sending us. Will we love or just be right? There are Biblical commands about love, you know. Will we obey these words or find a reason not to like this group so tragically did?

Matthew 5: 43-44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,"

Sin stops love until love stops sin. Jesus stopped sin for us and now He must stop sin in us and through us. This is Biblical and it is real. I weep not because a law has been broken by this group. I weep because love will be less not more. I weep when I see this in me and I weep when I see it in them. Less love is a loss for all of us and for the glory of God.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Let My People Go

Men have a tendency to use other men to sustain their own comfort and advantages. Men enslave other men. Usually religion is used to justify the slavery. God steps into such distortions and injustice and says "Let my people go."

Who are the people of God? They are the ones He has chosen for His purposes. His purpose is sustained love not slavery. God releases slaves of men to become slaves of God--slaves of love. As Augustine said "Slavery to God is perfect freedom."

God's true people see their only choice as being the choice to love. Men, even religious men, see enslaving other men as one of their choices. God's people should never see another human being as existing to create or sustain comfort and advantage.

Many modern religious systems exist to sustain the comfort and advantage of the leaders of those systems. These leaders have created a "pyramid scheme" that protects those at the top from the reality of those at the bottom. These leaders promise those at the bottom that they, too, can climb to the top but they must help those at the top stay there. Pyramid builders always promise freedom that never really comes.

The Egyptians invented the original pyramid scheme and it was a place of death. Pyramids of any kind are tombs or places where others were sacrificed to false gods.

We would do well to remember that according to Jesus we are called to build vineyards not pyramids of comfort and advantage for a few. At this very moment there are millions upon millions of people being used to build pyramids for the few. This is done in the name of dozens of religious leaders and religions. It is done in the name of God.

Even so, the voice of God continues to say "Let my people go." We would be wise to exit pyramids and enter the vineyard.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Abide Retreat August 2009

The most effective way of communicating the joy of Abiding in Christ has been our weekend retreats. When a group of believers is focused on the perfect presence of Christ for three days, the results are amazing.

We are completing our third year of retreats and we have learned much about spending this time with people from all walks of life. In our August retreat we had visitors with us from Memphis, Tenn. (Dale Shows), from Senegal, Africa (Missionary Ivonete) and Angola, Africa (Zorobabel-a university student).

During the first 9 months of 2008 we had hosted 80 people in our retreat center in the mountains near our home here in Brazil. During the first 9 months of 2009 we have received over 160. Our goal for 2009 is to host 300.

We will host an English only abide retreat Nov. 6-8, 2009. Book your flight now! We will pick you up in São Paulo! No kidding!

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Friday, August 07, 2009


Luke 21:19
By your patience possess your souls.

We possess our souls by patience. The soul is a marvelous creation of God. The soul is where we think, feel and resolve to do. It is from this invisible place that love must be received and released. A disturbed soul is terrible to live with and is useless for sustaining love. A soul at rest in God is a marvelous tool for love.

According to Jesus, the duty to possess our souls is ours. Our soul is our responsibility. That is, we must be sure that what takes possession of our soul is what we truly want to be. Patience is our personal grip on our own soul. Our soul can get away from us.

Possessing the soul goes back to the idea that "whatever gets your attention gets you." When something gets your attention that something gets some level of possession of you soul. The may be for a brief moment or it may be for a prolonged time.
Even demonic possession of a soul is real and the effect of demon possession is the total stopping of love and the delivery of evil in its place.
The thing that gets our attention turns our soul where that thing wants to go and we can literally lose possession of our soul when we focus on things that do not synchronize with God's good intentions.

Imagine that you are in a traffic jam and you are getting upset. What is at stake? You soul is at stake and so are other drivers because upset drivers do very stupid things. Imagine that you go to a town hall meeting on healthcare and you think President Obama's plan is terrible. Be careful. More than healthcare is at stake. Your soul is at stake, too.

How many people sit in prisons today because they gave the possession of their soul to something other than God for just a moment? How many families have been ripped apart because dad gave his soul to another woman for just a moment?

Patience is a virtue that comes from God in Christ. The source of patience lives in you right now. In Him you have the perfect patience to possess your soul for love. Turn your attention to Jesus the moment you feel impatience rising in you. Your soul is at stake and so is your ability to love.

To do this, use a simple phrase like "Thine only" or "Jesus, your will be done". This gives you back the possession of your soul as you give yourself back to Him.

James 1:4
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Narrow Path

Imagine that you are awakening for a deep sleep to welcome a new day. You know that there is a purpose for this day in the plans of God. You know that there is a path that God has for you. How do you find this path?

Do you make a list of things to do and people to see? Do you awaken your common sense and lean on all the past wisdom you have attained? Do you call for some anointed Christian leader to give you your path?

I believe the path is not a set of tasks, common sense or following the anointed leaders of the day. The path is a Person. Find this Person and you find the perfect path for you. Miss this Person and you miss the path.

Paul tells us to understand what the will of God is. The will of God is explained in the scriptures and the scriptures point to the Person of Jesus. The will of God is Jesus.

When I awaken each day I find the path. Author Mike Wells taught me to awaken each day with the words "Jesus, you are welcome here!" This is finding the path that few find. The path waits within you each morning. Truly we live from the inside-out. We must be renewed day by day. When we set our foot on the path that is Jesus, we are renewed by His presence.

This path is narrow because the purposes of God in Christ are narrow. Imagine that you are beginning your day shoulder to shoulder with Jesus at the beginning of the path. Look carefully into His eyes. Do His eyes look like those of man with singleness of purpose or those of man wondering what comes next? Look carefully at the language of His body. Is He nervous, anxious, tired or lacking direction. Take your cue from Him. He is your perfect path.

This path is difficult because the entire world is walking thousands of individual paths that go nowhere. The confusion is so great and the competition so fierce that the path that is a person seems crazy and foolish. To walk this path is to confront the other paths and this always causes a negative reaction because men are proud of their paths.

My only hope must be to learn to narrow my purpose to one Person not many. When my focus narrows to Jesus as my path, then I will love as I should. When my focus narrows to Jesus alone, I see the path to love others in the most effective way for God's glory. When nothing matters to me but Jesus, then everyone else will matter as they should today. This is my path.

Your perfect path waits for you every day no matter where you are as you awaken. Begin from within with Him.

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.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Spiritual warfare

Exactly what can the devil do to me?

Revelation 2:10 "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. "

This shocking verse says the devil can throw me into bondage that is a spiritual test. A test of what? A test of what it is that truly stimulates me to live as I live.

How far can this test go? It can go all the way to "death", which is the end of physical stimulation for our body. To not fight to defend my "right" to continuing stimulus for my body, is to say I have another source that is more important to me.

Why would God allow me to experience such a "throwing" into bondage if He truly loves me? Because He knows that His Son in us is capable of inspiring life in such bondage. This satanic "throwing" is a test of "Christ in us the hope of glory." This is not a test based upon what God thinks we can do. It is a test of what God knows Christ in us can inspire us to do.

I often ask Christians if they think God loved His Son. They always say "yes." Then I repeat the question with a little more force.
"Do you really think God really loved His Son?" They hesitate and say "yes." Then I ask them "Do you want God to love you like He loved Jesus?" They grow quiet as they remember how Jesus was treated while being loved by His Father.

We need to know that right now we have brothers and sisters in prison because the devil threw them there using human hands. We need to pray for them. We, too, may find ourselves in a some satanic prison where we are being tested. Jesus is enough--"do not fear any of these things which you are about to suffer."

All I can say to this is "Jesus, increase my faith in you!"

Spiritual warfare is the test of who and what inspires us to live as we live. "For to me to live is Christ" is more than a statement of a contemplative monk hidden away in a mountain retreat. It is the battle cry of one who knows what it is to be thrown by the devil into prison.

There is a war going on. Expect your inspiration to be tested. Do not be afraid.

Inspiration-Spiritual warfare

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.' John 15:5

Here is how I hear these words of Jesus speaking to me today. "Bud, as My follower everything you want to do that is worthy to be My fruit, I must inspire you and give it to you or it will not happen."

I might like to think I am independent and autonomous, but I am not. I am a creation of God that was designed to be inspired. I cannot even control the sources of inspiration that are competing for my attention. What I can do is choose which source is getting my attention. Faith is choosing which source will inspire me. The fruit of being like Jesus is the proof I choose Jesus.

Abiding in Christ is to be inspired by Christ in order to produce the fruit that He is and He wants. Abiding is true spiritual warfare. Abiding is the only weapon I have against the other sources that want to use me for their ends. My abiding in Jesus is the only thing the enemy of my soul fears.

We are continuously in a war of competing inspirations. Everyone is inspired from some source other than themselves even if they think they are independent and autonomous. Satan's chief way of inspiring us to evil is to convince us we are our own inspiration.

"Whatever gets your attention gets you." Author Mike Wells gave me this wonderful statement about inspiration. It is absolutely the truth. We are held and used for good or for evil by the source that inspires us. We could also say "Whatever inspires you, becomes your life." Paul put it like this "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." Galatians 2:20

Even depressed people are being inspired. They are being inspired to quit, to stop, to devalue themselves. Behind the symptoms lies a source of inspiration that must be located, refused and replaced with the inspiration that frees which is Jesus.

Jesus said that we would be free when we abide in His words. Jesus said we would move mountains when we have faith.
Freedom and power depend on the right inspiration. In spiritual warfare the army that wins is the army that is best inspired.
Jesus is the inspiration that equips and overcomes the world, the flesh and the devil.

Do not underestimate your dependence on Jesus. Remember “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." With Him you can do all things. It is always a question of inspiration and the Spirit of Christ is that inspiration for living moment by moment like Jesus.

If you find your inspiration in this world, you have lost your life. If you find your inspiration in Jesus, you have found eternal life.