The Soaring Eagle

Only your body is limited. Your spirit can 'mount up on wings like eagles'


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Good News

“The gospel of God- the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God, by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith”
(Romans 1:1-5)

Reflection:
At the very beginning of his great letter to the Romans Paul gives a very concise, clear and complete description of the gospel. There are six key elements that he brings out,

Firstly, it is ‘the gospel of God.’ That is it had its origin in God the Father. And, as the Scriptures make very clear, this took place before the creation of the world. It was a part of God’s plan and purpose from before the beginning.

Secondly, it is totally focussed on Jesus Christ. It is ‘the gospel  … regarding His Son …Jesus Christ our Lord.’ It is centred on Him and on His life and purpose, His ministry and meaning, and His death and resurrection and coming again.

Thirdly, the gospel is the fulfilment of the prophecies in the Old Testament. Both Jesus and the apostles used these Scriptures as a a foundation for their proclamation of Jesus as Saviour and Lord.

Fourthly, the scope of the gospel is the whole world. Paul refers here to ‘all the Gentiles’ which would have included every person who was not a Jew. And in the Great Commission Jesus sends the disciples to take the gospel ‘to all nations.’

Fifthly, the immediate purpose of the gospel is to ‘call people .. to the obedience that comes from faith.’ This means to a new life and way of living centred on faith in Jesus Christ and in accordance with His teachings.

Finally, the ultimate goal of the gospel is for ‘His names sake’ – that is for the greater glory of the name of Jesus Christ. We look ahead to the day when

“at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11)

It is ‘The gospel of God – promised .. through His prophets … regarding His Son … Jesus Christ our Lord … for His Names sake .. to call people from among all the Gentiles .. to the obedience that comes from faith.’

Response:
We do this by our thoughts, words, prayers and the lives that we live.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, may Your gospel of Jesus Christ be proclaimed in and through me to the greater glory of His Name. Amen.

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Faith to Obedience

“Through him and for his name’s sake,
we received grace and apostleship
to call people from among all the Gentiles
to the obedience that comes from faith”
(Romans 1:5)

Reflection:
Salvation is by faith and not by works.

  • “Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29)
  • “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no-one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Obedience is the response that is expected to arise from our faith and out of our love for the Lord.

  • “The obedience that comes from faith” (Romans 1:5)
  • “Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching” (John 14:23)

In the Great Commission Jesus sets it out clearly. First we are to bring people to faith in the Lord and then teach them to obey His teaching.

  • “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations …. teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Obedience is the expression of our faith and love. To disobey the Lord would be to reject Him and walk away from Him.

  • “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (John 15:10)

This is what we pray for in the prayer Jesus taught us – which is really the Believer’s Prayer

Our Father in Heaven
Hallowed be Your Name
Your Kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as in heaven

Response:
Live out your faith in, and love for, our Lord

Prayer:

Father God, please build my faith and  pour Your love into my heart by the Holy Spirit – so that my greatest desire will be to walk with You in Your ways all the days of my life. Amen.

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This is the way

“This is the way; walk in it.”
(Isaiah 30:21)

 

Reflection:
God made the world and He made us according to His purpose. He put the natural and spiritual laws in place to support this purpose. He therefore knows the best way for it to be achieved. And, because He loves us and wants us for His daughters and sons, His ways will be the best for us – as well as the only ways.

From Adam to Abraham to Sinai and to Jesus Christ God has, in one way or the other, been telling humankind that the way that He shows us, and in which He instructs us, is the way to live. Jesus continued with that message.

  • “Come, follow me,” Jesus said” (Matthew 4:19)
  • Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, … teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20)

To follow is to journey with as well as to do things the way that He does and directs. Jesus underlined it in His teaching on prayer. He showed us that the primary prayer at all times and in all situations and circumstances is for

  • God’s name be honoured
  • God’s Kingdom to come
  • God’s will to be done
  • And all of it to happen on earth just as it does in heaven

It’s the way that He lived. It’s the way we should. Trying to live without God, or to do things our way, invites ruin.

God’s Way leads to life – the ways of the world do not.

Response:
Trust God  and follow Him – not the world

Prayer:

Lord God help me to be faithful to You and to Your Word – for in Jesus alone is the way, the truth and the life. Amen.

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Fitting In

 

“Through him all things were made;
without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was life, and that life was the light of men”
(John 1:3-4)

Reflection:
This is God’s world.

He made it and then He made us to fit into it. Or alternatively – He made it as a place suitable and prepared for us, the people whom He intended to make. Whichever way we look at it this world and human beings were made by God for each other. They were a part of His plan and purpose in the beginning.

This world and all the created order belong to God. They are His. He made them, and He redeemed them in and through Jesus Christ His Son. We all belong to God – everyone and everything. We are all subject to His majesty, power and authority – whether we acknowledge it or not. He is God over us all – there is no other. Some may ignore Him – but it does not change Him. Nor does it diminish Him in any way. It is the freedom of choice that He gave to us in the beginning.

God made us for His purposes and for the revelation of His glory and love.

“In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will- to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves …. for the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:4-6, 12)

This life is not all about me. It is about God – and His relationship with me, and mine with Him. I am very special to Him. Jesus shows us just how much. The closer I come to Him the more I will know it.

Response:
Keep your eyes on Him – even when its ‘cloudy’

Prayer:

Father God I belong to You. In Jesus You have given Yourself to me. Now by Your Holy Spirit knit us together Lord. Amen.

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Bow Down

“Come, let us worship and bow down,
 and kneel before the LORD our Maker”
(Psalm 95:6)

Reflection:
I came across this verse again the other day. Reading it I felt moved to do what is says. So I knelt, bowed my head, and worshipped the Lord. They were very precious moments.

Our bodies are a part of us and we use them all the time to communicate our feelings. Their attitude at any one moment can also influence the way that we express ourselves. So kneeling humbly to the Lord is both an expression of worship as well as laying the foundation for the way that our hearts and minds and mouths themselves speak.

To worship the Lord from this verse, I found, is to acknowledge Him as the One True God, the Mighty Creator of Heaven and Earth. He is the One who gave us life and placed us here in an environment that He had prepared for us – and for which He had formed and equipped us. He has surrounded us with the most amazing beauty, variety and abundance – so much of which we can enjoy and appreciate freely. In it, and through it, He reveals so much about Himself to those who look and listen and feel and taste and marvel at the One who created all of it.

In these times we can become over casual in our attitude to the Lord. As good as some familiarity is it can take us away from the awe, wonder and reverence which should also accompany our relationship with Him.

Response:
Try it a few times and see. Let your own words come freely. If you cannot kneel then do so in your mind and heart.

Prayer:

Lord God You really are amazing, filled with beauty and love. Thank You for allowing us to share in the wonder of Your creation – and that we are able to do so. Please keep opening our eyes to new appreciations of Your glory. Amen.

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Pray Again

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
(Timothy 2:1-2)

Reflection:
There is an enormous burden of responsibility resting upon the shoulders of the present national leaders. From global warming to fragile economies to internal unrest and ongoing wars, coupled with a seeming deterioration in honesty and integrity, nothing is simple. For better or for worse these are the men and women who will influence the lives of millions over the next few years.

It is no wonder that Paul calls us to prayer, and to pray specifically for ‘all those in authority.’ The reason is simple, so that we all ‘may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.’ We know what they need – God’s help and direction, whether they are aware of it or not. Solomon prayed for wisdom so that he might govern and lead God’s people properly. His prayer pleased God who not only gave him such wisdom but many other blessings as well.

It is easy to bemoan the current state of affairs and to criticize the people in power. But, whether that criticism is justified or not, it will not change anything. Prayer might.

God has invited and instructed us to pray. The epistles call upon us to pray. Prayer asks God to be involved and to bring His will and wisdom to bear. Prayer tells God, and reminds us, that we need Him. Scripture records many instances where God has heard and responded to the prayers of His people. The world really needs it now – particularly as God seems to have been increasingly side-lined.

As Christians we are called to pray, and to pray intentionally that God’s will is done. We must not stop until it is.

Response:
Focus on some key leaders in your nation and church and pray for them every day. Pray that God will guide and lead them. Pray that they become believers. Ask others to join you.

Prayer:

Father, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven – in me, in my church, and in the leaders in our land. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

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More Lord

“Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
 and to our God, for he will freely pardon”
(Isaiah 55:6-7)

Reflection:
These are hugely encouraging verses.

Firstly, the Lord may be found. He is not a God who hides from us. Although He does not parade Himself around for the entertainment of the masses – like Jesus if He had leaped from the pinnacle of the Temple – still He is accessible and knowable. Indeed He said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). He is here for us to find if we are sincere. We were created into a relationship with Him, and He has not changed.

Secondly, the Lord is not far away, from where He has to be called back. He is near. As Alfred, Lord Tennyson, wrote, “Closer is He than breathing and nearer than hands and feet.” He is so near to us that He knows our every thought and the numbers of hairs on our heads.

Thirdly, when we do turn to the Lord and seek to put our sins behind us, His delight, which arises from the unfathomable depths of His love, is to have mercy on us and to freely pardon our sins. He has already dealt with them in the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf.

God does expect those who come to Him to repent. That is not just to confess their sins but to be prepared to start walking away from them – to forsake them, to leave them lonely and abandoned behind them on the highway of their life, no matter how long it might take – and to seek to walk in the ways of the new and better life that God holds out to them. In this they will have His help.

Response:
Be aware of the closeness of the Lord – talk with Him and seek to do everything as for Him.

Prayer:

Father, forgive me for those things that stand between us, and which I have not yet abandoned. Please help me to seek and turn to You with more purpose than before and to walk in the way of my new life in Jesus Christ, Amen.

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