Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Noise or Voice?

“My personal world is noisier than it has ever been.” 

Is this statement true of your personal world?   Have you lived long enough in this world to perceive an increase in noise?  This statement is true in my world.

If we define noise as anything that gets our attention and forces us to consider what it means for us, then the world is noisier than it has ever been for all of us.  More attempts are made to get us to pay attention to messages and thoughts today than at any time in human history.  Noise is everywhere.

To survive and flourish in a world where noise is everywhere and becoming impossible to ignore, we will need to define and discipline our listening.  We will need to choose what noise deserves our attention.  We cannot simply listen to all the noise and stay sane.

To define and discipline the noise in your world, choose which voice is the defining voice in your life.  Choose carefully.  Make sure this voice gets your attention at any time and in any situation.  Put this voice on your list as your favorite voice.  If you are a disciple of Jesus this voice should be His voice.

Next, make a list of the voices of those who genuinely have your best interest at heart.  Add them to your favorites list.  When they call, listen to their voice.  This list may not be long, but it can grow over time.

When the voices of those who have your best interest are in order in your life, give them your attention.  Do not make them compete with this noisy world to speak to you.  Give them access to you.

Be careful who you add to your favorites list and block all enemies of the way to authentic life and love. 

The world may be noisier than ever but we can still define and discipline our listening by only accepting voices of those who have our best interest at heart.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Circumference of Love

The chief aim of discipleship is the perfecting of our love for God and others. Discipleship expands the circumference of our love.

All of us have a circumference problem when it comes to love.  All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’s circumference of love. (Romans 3:23) We all reach the limit of our love and love stops.

When we listen to the Sermon on the Mount for the first time, we get an idea of a kind love that is far beyond the current circumference of our love.  To be anywhere near Jesus is to feel just how far beyond our love Jesus extends his love.  To follow Him over time is to be taken little by little to a new circumference of love.

When Christ is formed in us His perfect love within us pushes against the outer limits of our love.  This inner stretching of the circumference of our love hurts us like growing hurts the body of a child who is headed for full maturity. This inner stretching of our love feels like carrying a cross.

Just when we think the circumference of our love is where it should be, God brings even more difficult people into our life.  We are tempted to say, “Stop! Isn’t loving like this far enough?”

With Christ within us, the stretching continues until the racists become missionaries, the bigots become servants, the haters become lovers and the fearful become forgivers. This expanding of love is the miracle of Jesus’ presence in us.  All who were once afraid and unwilling to love become unwilling and afraid to stop growing in Jesus’ love.  They would rather die than stop loving.  Finally, we are like Jesus.

When the circumference of our love becomes one with Jesus then we discover a new reality.  There is no circumference to love with Jesus.  This continuous growth in love is our permanent destiny just as it has been His permanent reality.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Life’s Classroom

“O God, you teach us the way through Christ and Catastrophe.”   E. Stanley Jones

Our day to day experience in this world is “Life’s  classroom” where we discover the way and not the way.  Every moment of every day is an opportunity to see what cooperates with God’s original plan for mankind and what does not. 

If we will open our eyes to God as we move through every day we will see clearly what produces life and love and what produces fear and death.  We will see that our decisions and behaviors have predictable results.  None of us can say we saw nothing of the true way.  The way is written into our DNA by God and we are all enrolled at birth in class 101-The way and not the way.

To be absolutely sure we can see the way and what is not the way, God sent Jesus who is the way made flesh and dwelling among us.  To see Jesus is to see God’s original intention for human life and love.  Jesus was not and never will be the cause of human catastrophe, He is and will ever be the way out of human catastrophe.

When Jesus makes a permanent connection by His Spirit with any human being “Life’s Classroom” moves into our inner life where Jesus begins to live and teach by His Spirit.  This inner teaching about the way becomes much more intense and personal.  We begin to see catastrophes and their impact more clearly and the pain we feel seeing so clearly would overwhelm us if it were not for Jesus revealing to us moment by moment God’s forgiveness and love.

It is within our inner life with Jesus that our love is being perfected.  It is within our inner life with Jesus that the Way  becomes our Way  It is in our inner life that Jesus is the true teacher.

Jesus does not take us out of the catastrophes.  He takes the catastrophes out of us.

"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

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful."  Col. 3:15

"These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him."  I John 2:26-27

Bud McCord
Abide International