Monday, September 26, 2011


The Spirit of Christ is an equalizer not a divider.

When the Spirit of Christ is in control of a group of believers there will always be a deep and abiding equality among all. When there appears in a group of believers a sense of the “haves” and the “have nots”, equality in Christ is dying and the Spirit of Christ is not being followed.

In the book of Galatians the Apostle Paul confronts the Apostle Peter because of the issue of equality between Jewish and Gentile believers. It is hard to even imagine one of the apostles confronting another, but equality is that important.

Here is what happened that caused the confrontation.

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. Galatians 2:11-16

Some Jewish “haves” came and determined that some Gentile “have nots” were not up to their level. This new paradigm was so powerful that Peter and Barnabas were “carried away with their hypocrisy.”

If this kind of mistake can be made by Peter and Barnabas, who are we to think we cannot be drawn into this mistake? This is the kind of failure that can and will destroy the very essence of Christian life and community.

How can we avoid this mistake?

1. By focusing exclusively on Christ as Christianity. Jesus is Christianity. If a person has Christ they are as much a Christian as any other Christian. Treat them as such.

2. By seeing love as our reason for existence. We exist to love. We exist to give the best we are and the best we have to those who need us. Even if we see ourselves as a “have” in the midst of a lot of “have nots” that only increases our responsibility to love them more effectively not isolate them more effectively.

3. By resisting the temptation to confuse leadership positions as places of superiority instead of places of service. God gives leadership authority to those who can still wash feet. Leaders who cannot wash feet need to be confronted.

Listen to these remarkable words that the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29

When equality in Christ begins to die in a group of believers, so does the spiritual power begin to die no matter how impressive the “haves” still appear to be in their special but separate gatherings. Unfortunately inequality draws huge crowds.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spiritual LIfe--Goals and Pace

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18

The promise contained in these verses that one can be completely free of the desires of the flesh by walking in the Spirit is truly remarkable. For those of us who have battled with our fleshly desires that are not born in God, this passage offers hope but it also raises a serious question.

What does it mean to “Walk in the Spirit..”?

I believe it means to spend each moment adjusting myself internally and externally to the goals and pace of Christ in me. That’s right, Jesus is continuously moving in us with clear goals and with a determined pace. Jesus may not be physically in the world, but He is in each believer and He is still walking among men through each disciple who walks in the Spirit.

Walking in the Spirit is learning to adjust myself continuously to the abundance of Jesus’ perfect presence in me by His Spirit. It means that I must continuously relate everything that is happening to me to Christ in me by His Spirit. When I do relate everything to Christ within by His Spirit, I get in sync with Jesus’ goals and pace. I walk in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is in me to make this adjustment to Jesus possible and to release to me what I need in order to not need what the flesh is offering me. The Holy Spirit of God is in me to align me with the goals and the pace of God in Christ 24 hours a day, seven days a week and moment by moment. The Holy Spirit walks me into this adjustment.

Imagine you decide to walk an entire day with another person. They have agreed that you can accompany them as long as you truly want to do what they do and you understand that they have a busy agenda and a determined pace. You accept the conditions and off you go toward their goals and at their pace.

At first it is easy, but as the day progresses you find that you are being continuously invited to leave the person with whom you are walking and satisfy some other need the way you normally would. Eventually you discover that walking with another person who has a very specific agenda and pace in mind means you must continually submit to their goals and pace or walking with them just will not work.

This is how Jesus walked with His Father. When Jesus said he always did what pleased His father He was describing what it means to walk in the Spirit. God’s goals were His goals and God’s pace was His pace at all times.

We either walk in the Spirit or we walk in the flesh. We either conform to God’s goals and pace in Christ through the Spirit or we conform to the old goals and pace of our flesh. At any given moment I am either walking in the Spirit or I am walking in my flesh.

Over time it has become abundantly clear to me when I am in the Spirit and when I am in the flesh. The fruit just does not lie. The goals and the pace of Spirit are clear. The goals and pace of flesh are clear.

If you want to walk in the Spirit it is as simple as saying to Jesus who abides in you--”I will walk with you right now by your Spirit.” As the day moves along and the temptation comes back to fulfill your own desires first, just whisper the words “Jesus, I am entirely yours.” and walk where the Spirit is leading at Jesus' perfect pace for you.

Today we can make the goal and the pace of Jesus our goal and our pace. When we do this the fruit is true Spiritual Life. To be spiritual is to let the Spirit set your goal and your pace to those of Jesus moment by moment. What wonderful goals and what a wonderful pace await all those who walk in the Spirit.

Bud McCord
Abide International

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Abundant Life-Being, Having and Doing

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. John 10:10

The most valuable thing a thief can steal is our inspiration to keep on living our story. The material he takes can be replaced but a stolen inspiration leads to the certain death of the story of our life.

Jesus came to make our inner life safe from all those who would steal our inner inspiration to live and to love. This continuous inner inspiration in Jesus is the abundant life.

To live the abundant life, essence must come before effort. Our essence is who we are in Jesus and what we have in Jesus. We keep the thief out of our life when our essence is beyond his reach. The only way to keep our essence out of his reach is to abide in Christ moment by moment.

Most people who are good observers of human nature would agree that we need to be and have some kind of an inner inspiration in order to do something memorable with our lives. In fact, the most inspiring stories among all cultures and religions are those which describe a person who overcame enormous odds because of some inner being and having that won the day. A Mother Teresa inspires because her inner life prevailed in the face of such immense poverty in India. Because no thief could steal her inspiration the narrative she told with her life is so powerful it continues to inspire even after her death.

When Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life, it is clear He was not speaking about giving every disciple an abundance of material things no one could steal and with which they could do what they wanted to do. He was talking about giving each disciple a permanent and safe spiritual abundance at the level of their inner being and inner having. He came to inspire in each disciple a very particular kind of doing called love. Jesus knew it takes abundant inner life no thief could steal to love like He loved.

Looking back over the last 2000 years of the Christian experience it is clear that the true and memorable Christian narratives are the ones which describe time and time again what happens when disciples live inspired lives of being and having while in union with Christ. As much as some have tried to make Christianity about doing in order to be and to have, this human effort narrative just never works. Thank God for that!

Right at this moment every believer in Christ has the perfect presence and abundance of Jesus in them by the Holy Spirit. No thief can reach this place and steal this abundance. If we would do something that actually would create a story worth remembering, then we must start in this inner abundance. When we start in Jesus, the doing will happen and the narrative of our lives will inspire others.

Truly, being and having must come before doing and seeing the results. Just how sure are you of who you are and what you have in Jesus right now? The answer to that question will determine what kind of story you are telling as you live and it will determine how long your story and life will bless others.
Write a brand new, unique Christian narrative as you abide in Jesus! No one else could ever write your story of being and having in Jesus.

Remember, no thief can steal who your are what you have in Jesus. Write your story!

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, September 05, 2011


"And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." Matt.6:13

What does it mean to be led into temptation?

To be tempted is to be led into the tragedy of trying to be and to have by doing for ourselves what apparently God has not done.

It means to be led into thinking and behaving as if we can become what we want to become and have what we think we need to have by taking a situation into our own hands.

Adam and Eve were the first humans to be led into temptation. They were led to believe by the evil one that they could become like God because they wanted to be. All they needed to do was simply take the issue of being and having into their own hands and into their own mouths. (See Genesis 3)

Temptation is the opposite of faith. When we live by faith what we are and what we have come to us freely from God. When one is led into temptation one is fooled into thinking being and having depend on human effort instead of Divine grace.

Religion is often the most destructive form of temptation. Religion tells us to be and to have means to produce our own identity and possessions by works that will convince God we are worthy to be what He wants us to be and have what He wants us to have. Religion always tells us what we are not and what we lack. Faith always tells us who we are and what we have in God.

Jesus was also tempted since he was the "last Adam." (See Matt. 4) Unlike the first Adam, Jesus never tried to become something more than He had been made by God or use resources other than those God gave Him. Jesus never stopped being what He received from God and He never started trying to produce on His own what Satan said He needed produce to live.

Satan tried to lead Jesus into temptation and failed because Jesus never forgot who He was in His Father and what He had available to Him in His Father. In every way it is possible for a human to be tempted Jesus was tempted. Even so, He never sinned. He never stopped living who God made Him to be and using what God gave Him to use. His love never stopped for one moment. He was continuously delivered from evil by abiding in His Father's love.

Every day of our lives in this world we will be tempted. We will be led to believe we are not enough and we do not have enough because God did not make us enough or give us enough. We will be repeatedly told that our only hope to be or have is to act on our own. Any day we follow this idea to its conclusion we will be led into temptation. Our love will stop and more suffering is added to us and those we love.

The solution to temptation is to be delivered from evil by God's love in Jesus. How does that work? It works by faith. It works by knowing who we have become in Jesus and what we have in Jesus right now. Deliverance comes by abiding in the Vine. (See John 15)

Whatever the Vine is, I am. Whatever the Vine has, I freely receive. The fruit of being in the true Vine and receiving as ours what the the true Vine gives to us moment by moment delivers us from evil. Being in the true Vine allows us to be continuously delivered from the evil one and it allows us to deliver love continuously for God''s glory.

Christ in us is God's answer to our prayer "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Evil." What He is, you are. What He has is what you have.

Abide in His love right now in the same way He was abiding in His Father's love when He was tempted.

Bud McCord
Abide International