By: Bud McCord
Here are some of my favorite thoughts.
“He who has Jesus lacks nothing.”
“Christ is all and is in all.”
“Whatever gets your attention gets you.”
“It is not that I sin less, it is that I abide more.”
“There is nothing that the presence of Jesus cannot cure.”
“I exist to love.”
“Jesus loves me this I know.”
“Nothing can separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.”
“Obeying Jesus’ words can make my soul indestructible.”
“God is enough.”
“Jesus said I will never die.”
“Something pure enough to be called ‘living water’ can flow from my life.”
“Grace is like oxygen. Jesus is God’s grace. Just breathe.”
“Any thought that does not begin in abundance does not begin in God.”
“Love Jesus before you try to love people.”
“Jesus made God’s love visible and available.”
“Abiding in Jesus is the normal Christian life.”
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Phil. 4:8
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by Bud McCord
Did you know that there is a difference between your spirit and your soul? There is and that difference needs to be understood if you ever hope to understand and live what God has in store for you.
Read these words in Hebrews 4:12 and note how the spirit and the soul are differentiated and contrasted.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (emphasis mine)
In this verse soul is linked to “joints” and spirit is linked to “marrow”. Problems with your joints will not kill you but they may make you want to die. Just ask people with chronic back pain! Problems in your mind, emotions and will (your soul) will not condemn you death, but may make you want to condemn yourself to death.
Problems with your marrow (spirit) don’t seem as dramatic or as painful as joint issues (soul disturbances) but they will eventually take your life. Problems with your spirit may seem unimportant and almost unnoticed, but they can separate you from God’s life forever.
The verse goes on to link “thoughts” to the soul and “intents” to the “heart” or spirit.
What goes on in the thoughts is significant to human behavior, but God sees our intent and judges our intentions as the essential thing about us.
It is in the marrow of our being, our spirit, where our intentions are birthed. Just as marrow is supposed to be the source of healthy human blood that allows us to live, so, too, spirit is supposed to be the source of healthy, loving intentions from which we should live. It is from the marrow (spirit or heart) that the intentions travel to the soul where they are felt, considered and become personal human desires. As soon as these desires are birthed in your soul you will quickly fulfill them with your body as actions.
Your spirit is where God designed you to connect with Him for the constant inspiration of healthy, loving intentions. No constant Divine inspiration in your spirit means no hope of healthy life and love in your soul. This is why the book of Ezekiel says God will need to give us a new heart and write His laws on our heart.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
Your soul is where those Divinely inspired intentions are transformed into your thoughts, feelings and desires. These healthy, loving intentions did not originate in you but they become yours by God’s gracious generosity. That is why you will say as they become yours in your soul “I am what I am by the grace of God.” I Corin.15:10
Your body is where those Divinely inspired intentions, which are now fully yours, are manifested as continuous love.
So, here is the Divine plan. You receive in your spirit the inspired, living intentions of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit who abide in you. You rest and rejoice in your soul as these intentions become yours. You then release these intentions through your body as sustained love.
Over time, as you live from the union of your spirit with the Spirit of Christ, you stop limping in your soul and love gets delivered efficiently. Then you say “For to me to live is Christ.” Phil 1:21 This is what is called “spiritual formation”.
This is the faith, hope and love reality Paul describes in I Cor. 13- 14:1. This is the more excellent way to live.
If you have received Christ as your Savior, the Father, Son and Spirit have come to live in your spirit where they will inspire your intentions until your soul becomes one with them and real love is delivered through you where it is needed. Your job is to believe and cooperate—to abide.
Your soul pain (joint pain) will diminish over time and one day you will walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the wrong intentions which once were so natural to you.
What a plan! I’m in! In union with the Spirit of Christ, that is.Read More »
by Bud McCord
I recently watched a news report about children in Afghanistan who are born addicted to heroin because their mothers are addicted to heroin. The mothers are addicted because their husbands are addicted. The children are born addicted whether they want to be or not. The addiction is generational, pervasive and deadly.
In the spiritual realm we are all born addicted to the outer, visible world for satisfaction. Though we did not personally chose this outward orientation away from God’s satisfying presence in us, it is the inheritance of our birth as Adam’s children. This addiction to the outward for satisfaction is generational, pervasive and deadly.
Jesus was not born addicted to the outer world for satisfaction. Jesus lived from the inside-out.
We can get a glimpse into Jesus’ inner orientation through His own words.
John 15: 9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.”
John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
John 16:33 “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 17:20-21 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
I agree with author Thomas Kelly who said “Such practice of inward orientation, or inward worship and listening, is no mere counsel for special religious groups, for small religious orders, for special ‘interior souls,’ for monks retired in cloisters. This practice is the heart of religion. It is the secret, I am persuaded of the inner life of the Master of Galilee. He expected this secret to be freshly discovered in everyone who would be His follower.”
A TESTAMENT TO DEVOTION
Jesus was not born addicted to this outer orientation for satisfaction. Jesus was born with an inner orientation toward finding moment by moment satisfaction in God. He was abiding in His Father’s love, joy and peace for satisfaction. Jesus was truly clean.
To make a disciple is to lead people into a personal encounter with Jesus for forgiveness and then lead them out of their personal addiction to the outer orientation for satisfaction. It is to lead them to “Christ in you the hope of glory.” It is to lead them to “It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.” It is to teach them to abide in the Vine moment by moment so they can live fruitful lives of love.
Much of what passes for discipleship today never addresses our addiction to the outer orientation. It addresses the troublesome symptoms of the addiction through rules or recipes but it does not address the outer orientation versus the inner orientation.
Dealing with addicts is one of the most daunting tasks anyone can undertake because relapses are so common. Dealing with believers in Jesus who are coming out of their slavery to the outer orientation is no less challenging. Even so, this is the work of the church and relapses are part of the process.
Teaching others to live as Jesus lived is to face head on mankind’s addiction to the visible for satisfaction. Teaching others to live as Jesus lives means one forgiven, former addict is willing to teach a forgiven addict a whole new way of finding satisfaction. This includes dealing with the relapses that come.
We are all recovering addicts who are tasting inward love, joy and peace in Jesus. Because we have clearly seen Jesus for us at Calvary as our forgiveness, we can now enjoy Jesus in us right now as our satisfying life. As we learn to live from the inside reality of Jesus’ perfect love, joy and peace, the works of our addiction are put to death. This is no set of rules or clever recipes. This is satisfaction found and lived from the inside out moment by moment.
Outward orientation to the world for satisfaction is sleep and death. Inward orientation toward God in Christ is love, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Outward deadens and kills. Inward awakens and inspires us to love those who sleep as we once did.
In Jesus the addicts are free. Free to love God and love others. Abide and be clean.Read More »
This single, remarkable fact is the basis for our inner spiritual development. When we start with Jesus as the perfect source of all we need to be the person God expects us to be, we start at the only truly satisfying place. Amazingly, Jesus is all and is in all. What a relief to know Jesus abides in us!
The perfect presence of Jesus does not mean there is nothing for us to do. The abundance we have in Jesus equips us for all we need for life and godliness. Even so, we have to cooperate with this abundance and that means deciding to add to our faith behaviors that cooperate with such abundance.
In II Peter 1: 5-9 we receive this challenge. “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”
Our soul (mind, emotions and will) must cooperate with Jesus. This requires all of the spiritual disciplines listed above. This requires constant vigilance and attention. The abundance of Jesus in us can be wasted and misused and I am responsible if it is.
Our bodies must also cooperate with our soul as it is cooperating with Jesus. This requires a clear knowledge of what keeps the body functioning efficiently so it can cooperate with the soul that is being continuously inspired by Jesus’ perfect presence.
True spiritual life and formation does not begin at the body, but it certainly depends on the body for love to be delivered efficiently.
God’s original plan was spirit, soul and body working efficiently to deliver love. This system was destroyed by sin. In Jesus this system can work again. When it does it is a beautiful thing to see and experience.
I want my spirit, soul and body to deliver God’s love quickly and efficiently. To focus only on one of these areas and exclude the others is to waste the abundance of Jesus’ presence in us. Christians who fail to care for their bodies will also fail to deliver love effectively.
People who need my love are counting on me to have a soul and body that are cooperating with Jesus right now. That means I have much to do since my soul and body are gifts of God for the purpose of love.Read More »