Monday, September 17, 2012

Jesus, Risk and Love

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."
Matthew 4:1

Everything Jesus said and did  while living among us involved risk. Jesus did not get a pass on the risk of being human and loving in this world. Jesus as a human being had to make real choices that involved enormous risk to himself and to the human race. Jesus' temptations while loving us were real and risky. To love in a fallen world is to take a risk.

I loved watching all of my children compete in sports. Not all of them loved to compete but I loved to watch them in action. I remember telling them, "If you are going to make a mistake while playing in a game, risk making a big mistake because you were trying so hard to get it right."

Everything Jesus did was done while running the risk of having His love proven wrong or weak.  He took this risk on purpose and He took it as a human being not as a Divine being who didn't have to face the tempations we face when we love.

Jesus entered the battle for the future of humanity as a man in whom the Father was living.   He risked making earth shattering mistakes and I believe the risk was as real for Him as it is for us.  Jesus did not get a pass on taking love's risks. Jesus had to get every detail of love right so He could truthfully say "He who seen Me has seen the Father."

When Jesus was living as a  carpenter in a small Jewish town he was taking an enormous risk of not being able to be just a simple carpenter whose daily life was as boring and as daily as your life or mine. To love is to risk boredom.

When He was choosing His disciples he took the risk of associating Himself with men who could cast a really bad shadow on His reputation or even betray Him. To love is to risk the embarrassing  errors of others.

When He died on the cross He took the risk of letting God orchestrate His suffering and pain.  To love is to risk pain that is planned for us.

Jesus knew what God would do for HIm and in Him and he faced every risk with this one confidence. By faith in His Father's love He faced the possibility of human failure on a scale that would never be able to be corrected.

Jesus not only survived the risk, He overcame the risk, redeemed us and rescued us! How is that for taking a big, loving risk and getting it perfectly right!

Without Jesus taking the risk to love us, we would not be inspired to take the risk to love as He loved. Go ahead, take the risk and love because Jesus abides in you!

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Baptism Waters-- Deeper Than We Think

Among Jesus' final words were these:

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18-20

These very special words have sent thousands of missionaries around the world and these words have sent millions of new believers into rivers, lakes and baptistries to be immersed in water.

The physical baptismal waters are never too deep. They are just deep enough to picture a death, a burial and a ressurrection.  Even so, when  understood spiritually there is no water in the universe any deeper than baptismal waters.

Jesus said we were to be baptized in water in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.  He said we are to be immersed in God's name.  We are to be planted deeply and forever into who God is and what God does for us in Christ.

Jesus did not say to baptize them in the "names". He said to baptize them in the "name".  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are three persons but only one name.  God is One.

A name says who we are.  Over time a name also says what we do for others.  Being baptized in the "name" is to be forever planted in who God is and what God has done for us. Being planted deeply and forever in who God is and what God has done for us raises us to live in newness of life.

The baptismal waters are as deep as who God is and what God has done for us.  No matter how deeply you look into the baptismal waters you will never find the bottom.  Just when you think you know who God is and all God has done for you there is always more.


Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, September 03, 2012

Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:46

As He lived among us and as He died at Calvary for us Jesus gave away everything he had in order to love us and save us.  The only thing that He could not give away as He saved us was His Spirit.  His Spirit belonged only to God.

The individual human spirit was made to be in continuous connection to God alone.  When we as humans live this continuous spiritual connection we escape the power of the flesh and become truly human. 

"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;" Galatians 5:16-17

No one on earth should ask another human being to submit their spirit to them for any reason. The spirit of any individual should be given in submission only to God through Christ.  Our spirit belongs only to God and never to men. Our love belongs to God and to all men.

Secular or religious leaders who ask people for their spirit are asking for something that cannot and should not be theirs to control.  People in authority over others can legitimately ask for many things. They can ask for cooperation, submission, obedience, sacrifice and respect. They must never ask a human being to connect their spirit to the leader's spirit in order to live and to be.

"For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,"
I Timothy 2:5

The Caesars demanded that the early Christians give them their spirits. The early disciples lovingly gave everything else but refused to give up their spirits to the Caesars who claimed to be gods.  For this refusal the early Christians died by the thousands.

Cult leaders even today demand the spirits of their followers and the result is always slavery and death for those who give their spirits to such men.

Even well meaning religious leaders ask for the spirits of their followers to build their empires.  In the end, these same empires destroy the leaders, oppress the followers and inhibit the flow of love.

The temptation to ask for the spirit of human beings is very strong among spiritual, secular and religious leaders. Leaders know that the spirit of a man or a woman is the true energy of life in a human being.

Only God in Christ has the right to ask for my spirit. The only man to whom I can safely give my spirit is Jesus Christ because through the Cross He offers me His life and love first.

Leaders must not ask for the control of the spirit of any man or woman. Christians must be willing to follow God inspired leaders and even to die in order love others.  Even so, they must be willing to die to all men, including leaders,  before they give their spirit to anyone except God.

As always Jesus is our example.  He was willing to give all He had in order to love us, but he commited His spirit into the hands of God alone.  We must do the same.

"But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." I Corin. 6:17

Bud McCord
Abide International