Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No Exit

One of the most enjoyable things I do is eat a leisurely breakfast with my wife while enjoying the view of the Brazilian mountains from our 9th floor apartment.  Rarely is this wonderful moment interupted by unexpected guests.

One such unexpected guest entered through our window.  A small sparrow flew into the apartment (we do not have screens on the windows here in Brazi) and flew directly into a large mirror on our dining room wall.   Needless to say, the mirror was an ilusion that the small bird did not see as dangerous.  It was.

I thought the bird was dead but it was only stunned.  I gently put it in the palm of my hand and waited until it showed more signs it was recovered from its crash with the ilusion.  When the signs appeared I stood by the window and the bird flew away.

As I watch the sparrow fly away I thought of Jesus' words recorded in Matthew 10:29

 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.

Even when we smash ourselves into an ilusion that there is an exit where there is no exit, the Father is with us and takes us to the nearest window that is not an ilusion.

I am not sure if sparrows eventually learn the difference between mirrors and windows, but I certainly hope I do!  If not, God will keep taking me to the window.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Was Jesus too focused on Himself?  Isn't it a sign of egotism to focus a lot on ourselves?  Does Jesus' insistence on focusing attention on Himself need to be continued by His followers?  Should Christians focus as exclusively on Jesus as He focused on Himself?  Is Jesus where the Father and the Spirit want us to focus?

Listen to just a few of these statements of Jesus  where he uses the word  "Me" and ask yourself if these statements are still as true right now as they were when Jesus first said them.

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Matthew 19:21 

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Mark 8:34

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
John 5:39-40

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “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.”
John 7:37-38

Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always." And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father givesMe will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” 
John 6:34-40

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“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.If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
John 15:1-8

Jesus focused the attention of people on Himself because that was God's plan. Jesus is the focus of the entire Bible because that is God's plan. The Bible exists to get you to Jesus.  Be careful about turning the Christian faith into anything other than a clear focus on Jesus. Even a  focus on all of the Bible can become a problem if that focus does not end up at Jesus.

A challenge.  Go back and read any of the four Gospels and note every place where the focus is Jesus.  Look for words like "Me" "Mine" "I"  or "My".  Then ask yourself why the Father never intervened to stop this singular focus.  Ask yourself if you focus on Jesus as you should.  Ask yourself why the church focuses on so many other things and often forgets to even mention Jesus.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, October 15, 2012

Growing In Christ

What does it mean to "grow in Christ?"Does it mean completing a series of studies that increases one's knowledge about Jesus? Is it learning to live by the principles of life that Jesus taught? Is it obeying His commands? Is it learning to do what He would do?
Is it a combination of all of these things?

It is interesting that the Apostle Paul was not so concerned about the Galatian Christians"growing in Christ". He was more concerned that Christ was growing in them!

"My little children, for whom I labor in birth again
until Christ is formed in you..." Gal. 4:19

Perhaps this seemingly minor shift in thinking is the key to knowing how growing in Christ really works.

We start out being somewhat interested in this person called Jesus. We come to a place where we see how what he did for us at Calvary can bring us to a place of forgiveness before God. We accept Jesus as our Savior.

By His Spirit He enters into our spirit. We soon learn that there exists something called the Christian life and Jesus is the key to this kind of life. We want to live the Christian life. We begin to ask the question "What would Jesus do?" 

Suddenly we discover that Jesus did not only teach the Christian life, He is the Christian life!  We continue on and begin to understand that Jesus in us means the entire Christian life is in us.

As we begin to submit to Jesus' perfect  presence and life in us His presence begins to grow in us and we begin to "grow in Christ" because "Christ grows in us." We stop asking "What would Jesus do?" and begin to ask  "What is Jesus doing that I can do with Him?"

Finally we begin to say  "It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me" and  "For to me to live is Christ."  As He grows in us we grow in Him.

The best prayer we can pray so Christ will grow in us is "Jesus, you are welcome in me.  Grow in me and I will grow in you."


Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Reconciliation By, For and To

 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.  II Corin. 5:20

In Christ we have the opportunity to be reconciled to God.  Jesus is God inviting us to be reconciled with Himself. This is an incredible offer and opportunity.  Reconciliation with God is the one opportunity we must not miss.

In Christ we are invited to have a new, reconciled relationship BY GOD, FOR GOD and TO GOD.  In Christ we begin everything again BY GOD, FOR GOD and TO GOD.  This truly is a new birth.

To understand this offer of reconciliation, It helps if we remember that to reconcile with God is to reconcile with continuous love.  "God is love".  Reconciliation means that In Christ we are invited to be recconciled by Love, for Love, in order to Love.

By dying for our sins Jesus makes it possible to reconcile because He is  God's perfect love for us.  BY His love He removes all condemnation for our sins which are our failures to continuously love.  We no longer have a fight with love because love fought for us.

By coming into our lives by His Spirit Jesus makes it possible for us to live again FOR God's glory which is His love.  He restores us to our original purpose which was to  glorify God which is to make His love visible and available.  We no longer live for ourselves, we live for love which lives in us.

By being present with us moment by moment by His Spirit Jesus loves us so we can live TOlove.  He restores us to our original glory which is to love while being one with God or one with love.  We no longer live just to live, we live to love.

When we say we are reconciled  we are saying that we have reconciled BY LOVE, FOR LOVE, TO LOVE.  We are reconciled BY GOD, FOR GOD, TO GOD.

There is nothing as wonderful as being fully reconciled by, for and to God who is continuous love.


Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


There are some words that we need to eliminate from our vocabulary.  Some words just do not fit who we are and the goals we have for our lives

When I married Pam over 41 years ago, we decided to elimnate the word divorce from our vocabulary.  The word just did not fit our dream of living a marriage as the image of God in the world.  Eliminating the word divorce did not make our marriage work, but it eliminated a thought that could have easily undermined our marriage.

Jesus told his first followers that they would need to carry a cross if they intended to follow Him and be one of His disiples.  He warned them that the narrow path He was leading them down would involve the pain that always accompanies the delivery of real love.

"Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them,  “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple."  Luke 14:25-27

To follow Jesus and to carry our cross we need to eliminate from our vocabulary the word  "avoid".   We simply cannot be what He calls us to be if we live by avoiding the cost of loving others.

People who are always trying to avoid things because they are hard or painful miss the narrow path Jesus walked.  They also miss the joy which that the narrow path leads us toward.

I remember telling Pam early in our relationship that I would never be a missionary.  I was absolutely convinced the missionary's life for me should be avoided if at all possible.  If I had avoided God's call to missions I would have lost so much that I now count as precious.  Thank God I eventually eliminated the word avoid when it came to God's call to missions!

If you are tempted to avoid things because they may be hard or painful, think again.  On the other side of the things we often avoid are the great adventures of life and love.

Discipleship and the word avoid just do not match.

Bud McCord
Abide International