Monday, December 27, 2010

An Amazing Promise

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16

There is a way for every disciple of Jesus to experience sustained victory over their flesh. There is a way for every Christian to be free from every habit pattern we developed to manage our own lives apart from God.

The Apostle Paul described this way of overcome the flesh as walking in the Spirit. To walk in the Spirit is to be habitually inspired by God’s perfect presence in us instead of being habitually inspired by our own understanding of ourselves and our personal plans for survival.

Every day you can observe what continuous inspiration by God looks like by observing the habitual behavior of birds. Birds begin each day inspired by the creative inspiration God placed in their nature. They simply awaken and begin moving about receiving from God’s generosity what they need for that day.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? Matthew 6:25-27

At the end of each day you will see the birds calmly ending their day by finding a place to rest for the night. They show no fear, anxiety or frustration. They slow down to a complete stop and wait for the generosity of the next day.

The economy of the birds is amazing. They find what they need by simply being what birds are inspired to be by the Creator. The key to their lives is not how hard they work. They are living from the Source that created them in the beginning. Birds are successful because they are inspired by God.

To walk in the Spirit as a Christian is to learn to live from the original Source of human inspiration—The Holy Spirit of God. To walk in the Spirit is to return to paradise—to Genesis. To walk in the Spirit is to renounce your own inspiration and receive His.

The key to the victory over the flesh is not effort. The key is inspiration. Walk in the inspiration only God can provide. What an amazing promise an inspired human being can be.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Power of a Single Thought

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
Psalm 23:1

Among all of the statements in the Old Testament, this one is perhaps the best known and remembered. It is also one of the most powerful thoughts ever spoken by a person of faith.
To have come to this statement David had to have seen God in a way that few men ever do. Someone once said: “No man can see God and live---live as he once lived.” David had seen God and he never lived the same way as before.

This single thought concerning God’s constant generosity had changed David. This single thought changes all who can say it with real faith.

This single thought changes everything about the universe in which we live day by day.

Men and women are not born believing that God is continuously generous with mankind. All men and women are born afflicted with the fear of lacking what is needed to live. This thought about never “wanting” for what we need must be given to us from God’s own generosity and patience.

We may hear a thousand sermons and be unchanged. We may read our Bibles time and time again and nothing changes. It takes a thought like David’s thought to become truly ours for our lives to change forever.

When such a thought comes from God to us, we are changed. Pray for this single thought to be yours right now. When this thought is truly yours, your soul will rest and you will be changed to live as you have never lived.

Then pray that the rest of Psalm 23 will come to you one powerful thought at a time.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Further Instructions

The story is told of a missionary in New Zealand who had a bold approach to planting churches. He would go from village to village, locate the local bar where the roughest men gathered and begin his ministry right next to the bar. The missionary was fearless and knew from personal experience that God could reach those that seemed unreachable.

One day a very rough and tough drunk from the local bar confronted the missionary with a Bible question. He asked the missionary if it was true that Jesus had said when someone hit a Christian the Christian was required to turn the other cheek. When the missionary agreed that Jesus had taught such a thing, the drunk immediately struck the missionary in the face knocking him to the ground.

The missionary got up and turned the other cheek to the drunk. He was struck again on the other cheek and once again fell to the ground. When he got up the second time, he hit the drunk with a powerful blow and knocked him unconscious.

When the drunk awakened he asked the missionary why he had hit him. He said it was because the instructions of Jesus only covered the first two blows to the face. After that there were no further instructions.

I like this story. It appeals to my desire to finally be able to strike the last blow in God’s name. It appeals to my human, fleshly spirit and my respect for human discipline.
The problem is that there are further instructions.

Matthew 5:10-11 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,

For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

The further instructions for persecution are “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad….”

That does not sound like a great plan to my fleshly spirit because rejoicing in the face of persecution is a reaction born of the Spirit of Jesus and not the spirit of man. Jesus’ teaching and behavior only make sense when we begin at the level of His Spirit and not at the level of the human spirit and self control.

To truly understand and obey Jesus’ teaching we must move beyond the letter of human control and live inspired by the Spirit of Jesus. We need inspiration not personal self- control. There is an enormous difference between the two.

Only by abiding in Jesus, the True Vine, can such an inspired shift in human behavior occur. Jesus doesn’t call us just to turn the other cheek. He calls us to let the Spirit that inspired Him all the way to Calvary inspire us all the way to rejoicing and being exceedingly glad when persecuted.

John 15:5 “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.”

Be sure to read all the inspired instructions of Jesus no matter how good it may feel to have the last blow be yours. Selective obedience is not inspiration.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, December 06, 2010

Forgiven, At Peace and Healed

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

For those who know Jesus as the Messiah, this is one of the most beloved verses in the Old Testament. I love these words!
The focus on forgiveness is crystal clear. The offer of peace is powerful and perfect. Healing is guaranteed.

Unfortunately the words “And by His stripes we are healed.” have been a place of great debate among the disciples of Jesus.

Do the words “By His stripes we are healed” mean that I can claim physical healing for my body on the same level that I claim my forgiveness and peace with God? Should I awaken every day as sure of being healed of every physical sickness as I awaken assured of my perfect peace with God and my perfect freedom from condemnation?

What does a human being who is “cured by Jesus’ stripes” look like and behave like in this world?
I have personally seen God cure people of all kinds of illnesses. I have seen the joy in a church when a physical healing is announced. I have participated in that joy. I hope I see this kind of healing many more times. I have also done funerals for people I once saw healed.

What I know is that no cure of our physical bodies here on earth can reverse the fact that these bodies of ours are temporary and will eventually give in to their inevitable decline and death. There will come a day when the permanent cure of our bodies will be to die. For Christians that is not something to fear!

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Cor. 4.16-18

A pastor suffering from cancer here in Brazil said to his church, ‘If I am cured you will see the glory of God. If I am not cured I will see the glory of God.”

Could his words be the true meaning of the words “By His stripes we are healed” ? Could this pastor’s fearlessness, complete confidence God could heal him and His desire that others would see God be the cure of Jesus’ stripes being manifested?

I have seen people use the words “By His stripes we are healed” to put enormous pressure on believers who cannot seem to receive their cure from serious illness. Those who see this verse as a guarantee of healing for those with enough faith often leave those who are sick with the distinct impression that to be sick and remain sick is to be lacking faith and a failure to receive all that is ours in Jesus.

Here is what I know. Regardless of what is happening to me, I am healed by His stripes. My healing means that the glory of God can and will be seen in my situation no matter which way it goes. A human being who can glorify God in any circumstance in this fallen world is a person Jesus has healed by His stripes.

Illness can no longer claim the victory over us just as surely as death can no longer claim victory over us. Illness can no longer claim the victory over us just as surely as we are all now at peace with God. No physical cross or illness can ever again destroy our ability to glorify God. Jesus has seen to our healing once and for all by His stripes which revealed the glory of God when He died and will continue to reveal His glory in us.

His stripes have healed us. We are cured to glorify God in all things.

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

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

Bud McCord
Abide International

Abide International is an organization dedicated to helping Christ-followers worldwide
understand and experience true satisfaction in Jesus as a moment by moment reality.

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2010 Retreat Season

Our 2010 retreat season finished on the weekend of December 4-5 in Campos do Jordão. Planning, promoting and executing 9 retreats in 9 months is a challenge, but the joy of seeing people learn to rest in Christ in order to release His love is worth it.

Each group is a unique collection of disciples who experience the oneness Jesus promised to all who will start everything from His perfect presence.

A special thanks to all who have supported the Abide International ministries this year! We make a great team!

Bud and Pam