The Soaring Eagle

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


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God’s Gifts

“Be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart;
consider what great things he has done for you”

(1 Samuel 12:24)

Reflection:
If we were not so caught up in the modern attitude of self-absorption we might be able to see more clearly and with far more appreciation.

The essential person within each of us is unique and a gift from God. The created order in which we live is a gift from God. Our ability to see it, and appreciate it, and understand it, and work within and with it are gifts from God. Each one of our senses is a gift from God. Our abilities and talents are gifts from God. Our sensitivities and emotions are gifts from God. Our abilities to know, understand and communicate with each other are gifts from God. Love is a gift from God.

Things like electricity, plumbing, computers, television, smartphones, microwaves, medicines, medical equipment, motor vehicles, aeroplanes, ships and so many other things are gifts from God – built into the created order that He has made available to us.

The sun, the moon and the stars are gifts from God. Birds and bird-song, the fish of the seas and the animals of the earth are gifts from God. Plants, grass and crops are a gift from God. Rain and wind are gifts from God. The seasons are gifts from God. The towering mountains and the shaded valleys, the rivers and the seas, the forests and the plains are gifts from God.

God is a gift from God. Jesus Christ is a gift from God. The Holy Spirit is a gift from God. Our relationship to the Father as His sons and daughters is a gift from God. The Holy Bible is a gift from God. The Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension and the Second Coming are gifts from God. Salvation is a gift from God.

Response:
“Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” (1 Chronicles 29:14)

Prayer:

Lord open my eyes that I may see, marvel and be grateful. Amen.

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Salt please

2016.06.27

“You are the salt of the earth”
(Matthew 5:13)

Reflection:
So many foods taste that much better after the application of some salt. Tomato wedges, hard-boiled eggs and soups – to name only three – are just not the same without salt. Very often in the home or eating out we will hear the request, “Please pass the salt.”

One of the meanings that Jesus wishes us to understand in His teaching is that Christians are to be like salt in the lives of those around them – adding flavour to their lives, helping release and bring out the flavour in their lives and helping people to find purpose and quality in their lives. So many lives could do with more salt!

The world seems to embrace the attitude ‘take as much as you can, wherever you can, for as long as you can’ without being too concerned about the effect that this has on others. Jesus approach was patently different – He came to serve, not to be served by the world. Wherever we find Him in the Gospels someone is normally being helped in some way – even on the cross.

Wherever we are we can add flavour to somebody’s life – by being more friendly, more considerate, more helpful, more interested, more understanding and less hasty, critical and judgemental. It does make a difference, even if we do not see it at the time. And in a strange way, as we become saltier, more people will be attracted to us and want some of our salt in their lives.

Response:
Be intentional – Pass the salt around

Prayer:

Lord as I have received Your Salt in my life help me to spread some of it in the lives of those around me. Amen.

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(Image: preachersinstitute)

 

 


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Light of God

2013.05.14

“In him was life, and that life was the light of men.”

(John 1:4)

(Tuesday’s Treasure Chest)

 Reflection:

The first words spoken by God into creation were “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3). Life began.

Now the Word spoken into the darkness of the sin-separated world – the Word that became flesh – was Light. New life began.

“The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”         (John 1:9)

  Jesus is “the Light of the World.” (John 8:12). Without Him there is nothing but downward spiralling chaos. With Him there is everything – there is Life with its beauty, hope and joy.

  Jesus is the Light that reveals. He reveals the darkness. He shines in the darkness illuminating everything and dispatching the dark to the edges of existence. He reveals what is good, pure, and holy – all that flourishes in His Light. He shows what is shameful and destructive – all that hides away from the Light and flourishes where it cannot be seen for what it is.

  Jesus is the Light of revelation. He is the revelation of the Truth, the Beauty, the Love and the Grace of God. He is the revelation of Forgiveness and Cleansing, Hope and Healing, Relationship and Restoration, Life and Eternity.  He is the Creative Majesty, the Laughing Intimacy and the Gentle Compassion of God. We need look no further,

“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

 Jesus is the Light of Direction. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. In Him is the only sure and certain Way to God, to the Truth and to Life itself. He is all and everything that we need and can desire. He is the Way to live out the Way of the Journey. He is the complete Truth and the expression of that Truth. And He is the Source and Sustainer of Life and the expression of everything that Life is meant to be.

 Jesus is the Light of Certainty. He is the Light over the gate that is the entrance into the Kingdom of God. He is also the Gate itself (John 10:9). He is our focus, our destination and our sure and certain reward.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2-3)

The great and glorious truth that still thrills and delights the hearts of His people has recently been celebrated

“The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”         (John 1:9)

 He is here.

 Reflection:

Look to the Light – and not the darkness

 Prayer:

Lord Jesus be the light and life in my life more and more every day.

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Jesus 5 – Follow Me

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you ……”

(Matthew 4:19)

 (The Fifth in the Monday Series – “Obey everything I have commanded you”)

Reflection:

God’s intention was never that people should stay as they were, in the bondage of their fallen state. In Jesus He came to save them, and to lead them into a new identity, new relationship, and new way of life and living. He did not aim to achieve this by issuing them with a new set of laws. The freedom from sin and separation, and the gift of a new life, was achieved for us by Jesus. The new life itself, and the will and empowerment to live it, is through the gift of the Holy Spirit.  It is significant that in each of the four gospels John the Baptist is recorded teaching that a key purpose of Jesus ministry was to baptise His followers in the Holy Spirit.

 The encounter that the first disciples had with Jesus, when He called them to Him, hints at what was to follow. He called them to ‘Come’ to Him and to ‘Follow’ Him. He then promised that on the journey He would transform them, that He would ‘make you’ into someone and something different. In the case of Peter and Andrew the change would result in their becoming ‘fishers of men’.  For others the outward focus would be different, although always in line with what would be His own ministry and His great commission. In each one of them He would work His change.

 This change was not a miraculous transformation from imperfect to perfect. It was instead a journey of discovery – one in which they would learn and experience more about the Saviour and more about themselves. In Peter’s case particularly that would include both excitement and humiliation, joy and tears. Many followers down the centuries have had similar experiences.

 A part of Jesus work in our lives is to introduce us to truth and reality. He is the Truth and He is real so we cannot expect anything else. He will lead us to know and acknowledge the truth about Himself –a glorious and unimaginable truth as we meet and

 “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,” (Ephesians 3:18)

 Jesus will also begin to introduce us to the truth about ourselves, and we will discover and acknowledge things that we have attempted to ignore, that we did not want to admit, and that we did not know existed, as well as the tender and fragile beauty that longs for the light and the warm blessing of the sun.  He will gently get us to peel away the masks behind which we hide until we allow ourselves to reveal our reality to Him. He does this not to shame us but to heal us and to lead us to understand that the person He loves and for whom He died is the real ‘me’ with all my faults and imperfections, and not the other.

 God will be always at work in our lives, to the extent that we will allow it. His aim is to make us into the person that we could really be, and to be significant in ways that have an eternal impact.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

 God made us in the beginning. His vision for us has not been changed into something less.

Response:

Talk to God about the real you, and ask for His blessings.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, You have called me and continue to call me to You. Help me please to stay very close to You and to trust You with every area of my life – even my sin. Amen.

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Undivided Heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

(Matthew 5:8)

Reflection:

The heart, in Scripture, was seen as the centre of the personality. It was the centre of everyone’s being and the source of every activity – whether mental, physical or emotional. Man’s troubles were seen to stem from this centre.

“The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?  (Jeremiah 17:9.KJV)

 Jesus criticised the Pharisees accusing them of being ceremonially clean externally but with unclean hearts, full of extortion and wickedness. He compared then to ‘white-washed tombs’- good looking on the outside but filled with death within. Luther, commenting on this beatitude, said that in fact it did not matter if men such as labourers and blacksmiths were clothed in dirt as those who pondered God’s word and obeyed it would be ‘pure in heart’ in His eyes.

 However, in its context within the Sermon on the Mount, and with reference to the rest of Scripture, it seems that Jesus would have had more in mind. Without excluding the inward and moral aspects of it He would be referring also to the whole question of their relationship with God. Professor Tasker has explained it as ‘the single-minded, who are free from the tyranny of a divided self.’ This would relate also to Jesus later comment that a person cannot serve two masters,

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)

 The single-hearted person is seen as being ‘utterly sincere’ in his whole relationship with and commitment to God – as well as with himself and others. His heart will be totally focussed on and devoted to God. So David would pray,

  • “Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.” (Psalm 86:11-12)
  • “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

 It also explains the first Great Commandment which calls us to love God ‘with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Another way of putting it would be to say with every fibre of your being.

 Clearly this is beyond both our honest will and our own ability. However, by the grace of God, we have divine help in the form of the Holy Spirit. As we look increasingly towards God for help and open ourselves to Him, the Spirit is enabled to work.

  • “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
  • “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)

 Here at the central point of the Beatitudes we find this vital and telling truth. It reminds us that we cannot afford to be casual about our relationship with God, nor can we afford to be casual about our attitude to sin in our lives. In His love He has dealt with our sin. By His grace we have His Holy Spirit to transform us from within. New life with God is ours for the living – how can we hold back!

Response:

Turn to God and ask for help.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to give you an undivided heart and to live in and from Your love. Please help me. Amen.

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No one but God

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

(Psalm 62:1-2)

Reflection:

There are a great many things that attract us in this life. Some of them change as we grow whilst others remain the same. Some are more attractive in the desiring than in the possessing, others turn out to be quite harmful to us and to others, and a few give us continual pleasure and encouragement. There is only one, however, that has the capacity to give us peace, joy and beauty at all times. That one is God.

 We were made for God, made with a desire within us that only He can fully meet, made to crave a beauty that only He can reveal,  made with a longing to love and be loved that only He can satisfy. The Great Commandments, and the ones that Jesus gave, should reveal this to us. We are called to love God with every fibre of our being because only that will release and fulfill us, and bring us peace. We are called to love our neighbours because only that will bring satisfaction. We are called to love one another as Christians because through that we will affirm each other in our identities as the children of God. We are called to love our enemies because in this we become like God, and reveal Him.

 The beauty of God is the beauty of love, the beauty of His love. It is a love revealed in the magnificence of creation, in the awe of salvation, in the presence of everyday and the promise of eternity. It is the glory of majesty, the laughter of intimacy, the splendour of holiness and the peace of loveliness. In Him we are completed and complete. He is our life from yesterday into tomorrow and forever. In His love we rest and are at peace.

Response:

Do not settle for the artificial decorations – seek and find the One true Gift.

Prayer:

Father, please draw me to You and into the wonder of Your great love. Open the eyes of my heart and my spirit and fill them with love. In Jesus name, Amen.

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God IS making me!

  “ confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

(Philippians 1:6)

Reflection:

Have you ever looked at yourself and wondered whether you have made any progress in your life with God – or whether you may in fact have gone backwards?

 It is quite difficult sometimes to assess ourselves. One of the reasons is this – the closer we get to God the closer we are to His holy and pure light. That means that it shines more brightly and revealingly into our lives and reveals more clearly things that we may not have known were there, or that we were trying to forget and ignore. These can sadden us, together with those areas where we are seemingly unable to finally evict something from our lives or are battling to gain a final and complete victory.

 What we are often unable to remember is the state in which we were when we first responded to the Lord. In fact, we would not have been able to truly appreciate our spiritual condition or the majesty, glory and holiness of God. Both become more apparent on our journey towards and with Him. The tempter would love us to feel that we are getting worse and worse and therefore further away from the Lord. The truth is that we are in reality drawing closer to Him, and He to us, which is the reason that some of our shortcoming are more clearly seen.

 God, however, whilst He does indeed want to help us to deal with these issues calls us to focus less on them and more on Him! Jesus is our salvation and our righteousness – in Him is our life and peace. As with the early disciples our journey with Him has many ups and downs. However, as we keep our attention on Him, allowing Him to guide us and lead us and trusting Him to deal with the darkness in our lives, He will begin to involve Himself more actively in the areas that need attention and in the order that He knows to be best.

 To trust in the Lord is to trust Him with every aspect of our lives all the times. The promise of Scripture is that as we do so He will complete in us what He has already begun. As with all the work that He completes it will be ‘very good!”

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

 Response:

Trust is a decision, take it. A mustard seed of faith is enough for a great God.

 Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank You so much for what You have already done in my life, and for Your most wonderful sacrifice on the cross. Please help me to trust You more and more – knowing that You have not finished Your work in me yet, but that You will. Amen.

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