The Soaring Eagle

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


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Yes I Can

“I can do everything
through Him who gives me strength”
(Philippians 4:13)

Reflection:
Towards the end of a journey that incorporated many trials and much temptation, suffering and rejection, Paul could say with confidence that, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11) This had come about because of his faith and trust in Christ, and the knowledge of the God who was with him at all times. He was certain that God would never abandon him or lose control of his situations. This was the peace that passes understanding. He was in God’s hands and nothing could snatch him away from God’s great hold on him – whatever the world might do.

Now in prison he could affirm that he had been, and was still, able to do everything that God wanted of him – whatever that might be and whatever challenges that might lead him into. God was with him and would give him whatever was needed in a particular situation – wisdom, words, faith, courage, perseverance.

As you and I look ahead these words come to us, both to inspire us and to build our faith. Whatever the trials and challenges are that we might face, we can meet them, live through them and come through them in the strength and with the help that God will give us. In anything and everything, from the traffic, to health and work, family and relationship issues, to failures and financial difficulties, to insecurities, rejection and abuse, national and international turmoil, God is with us. Whatever else He might do, He will strengthen and guide us as we look to and trust in Him.

Response:
Give God your situation and the road ahead. Pray particularly for the difficulties that you foresee and the people involved. Ask God for guidance, strength and an awareness of His presence. Keep praying and listening. Memorise and keep saying today’s scripture.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, please help me to face every day in the confidence that, with Your help, I can face and do all the things that You want me to. Please help me to commit everything to You and to seek Your guidance and strength. Thank You for always being with me. Amen.

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God’s Home

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple
and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”
(1 Corinthians 3:16)

 

Reflection:
God looks upon temples as His places, set aside for His use and for His glory. When anything not of Him is introduced into them it is seen as a desecration.

Those who worship God in churches normally like to see them as not only clean but suitably furnished and decorated as well. Spotless linen, polished silverware, fresh flowers and well prepared services are in place not just for the congregations but as indications that the church is set aside for the worship and glory of God. By the same token there are activities that would not be considered suitable. Wild parties, organised fights, gambling, abuse of individuals and immorality would be totally out of place.

As Christians our bodies are also temples of the Holy Spirit.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

We have to be careful on two fronts. The first is that we do not engage in activities that would not be acceptable to God and His people. The second is that we do not allow such things to continue to take place within us. Anger, bitterness, rejection of others, unforgiveness, selfish ambition, envy, greed, impurity and others all contaminate and diminish us and prevent us from being the person we could be with God’s help. They also, on a corporate level, prevent the church from being what it should be.

We know many of the thoughts, emotions and activities that have no place within our lives. These areas of our lives we can continually bring before the Lord, admitting our weakness and asking Him to cleanse, heal and strengthen us. As we do so we may ask Him to help us to transfer our thoughts to other and more suitable things.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”(Philippians 4:6-8)

This is an ongoing journey in which the Holy Spirit works to transform us and to make us more completely who we were created to be as God’s lovely daughters and sons.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Response:
May every part of me be open and available to God to reflect His beauty and love

Prayer:

Father help me to offer myself to You to be cleansed and healed of all impurity and lovelessness. Please keep pouring Your love, light and life into me, in Jesus name, Amen.

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My Big Brother

“Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me,
for I have not yet returned to the Father.
Go instead to my brothers and tell them,
`I am returning to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.'”

(John 20:17)

Reflection:
There is a most wonderful and meaningful progression in the way that Jesus refers to His disciples. In the story of The Vine we see the first progression when He tells them that

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15)

Originally they would have been His servants. Now they have been elevated to the position of friends – which would have been very significant and a great honour. But more was to come and this could only happen after He had dealt with their sins on the Cross and brought them into a completely new relationship with God as their eternal Father. Now He could, and indeed did, refer to them as “My brothers”.

This was their, and is now our, true and complete relationship with God. We are His eternal sons and daughters and Jesus is our eternal brother. So complete is this adoption that we have now become joint heirs with Christ of all that God is and has.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:15-17)

This must affect the way in which we think about God and relate to Him in our thoughts and prayers. I am no longer on the outside – looking hopefully in through the window. I am now forever entitled to be in His presence, freely and welcomed, honoured and blessed. I am the son/daughter of the Living God and His Son is my Brother.

And note that Jesus puts us on the same level as Himself when He refers to “My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.” We are not second class family members we are there at the top with our Lord Jesus – from the moment that we give our lives to Him as our Saviour and Lord.

Response:
Let the truth sink in  – and thank and praise God for the wonder of it.

Prayer:

Father, my Father, my Abba, my Dad – thank You so very much for loving me back into life and bringing me home to You. You are so amazingly wonderful!

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Remember

“Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced”
(1 Chronicles 16:12)

Reflection:
God’s people have been called to remember the great things that He has done for them. Some of these are recalled in the great feasts of the Israelites that celebrate, amongst others, the Passover, the Exodus and the Giving of the Law of the Covenant at Sinai.

The Christian Church celebrates the Birth of Jesus, His Death, Resurrection and Ascension, and the Day of Pentecost as major events that need to be remembered and for which we honour God. In addition, when He celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples, Jesus made it clear that they were to continue to remember Him the same way.

In each of our lives there will be moments where God has intervened and/or revealed Himself or a new truth to us. These are incredibly special and personal events that must not be forgotten or taken for granted. Our great God has recognised and loved us as individuals. When we remember them and rejoice over them again our faith is strengthened and our relationship with the Lord affirmed.

We benefit ourselves so much when we remember our own journey of faith with God. Go back as far as you can in your life and journey slowly forward again – making notes as you do. Ask and allow Him to remind you of the special times when He has reached out to you or responded to you or drawn your attention to something that He has done. Recall the Scripture verses that have been special and helpful, relive the moments of beauty and wonder, recognise His hand in the pain and fear, and acknowledge where He has saved, helped, forgiven and blessed you – in fact everything that He has done.

Response:
“What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:4)

Prayer:

Dear God, thank You so  much for being a part of my life – for loving and caring for me every step of the way – and for the way that You have revealed Yourself and Your beauty to me. As little as I can I want to say ‘I love and trust You Father’. Bless You. Amen.

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Today

“This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it”
(Psalm 118:24)

Reflection:
Yesterday has gone beyond reach and tomorrow is always just over the horizon. I cannot go back and I cannot go forward. Today is all that I have.

However the dawn found us this is our day. This is our now.  It is here, in these few precious hours, that tomorrow’s yesterdays are formed and a foundation laid for the future. These are my defining moments.

The minutes that are ticking by are the ones in which I may ask for and receive from God forgiveness for the past and new hope and strength for the way ahead. It is now that I may turn to Him again and be still for a while in the truth of His presence – letting His cleansing and healing Spirit wash through me.

Today is also my day to change a world. All around me there are people in need of something – whose silent screams for love are heard by God – and by me if I will listen with my eyes and my spirit. I can help one of them – with prayer, with words of acknowledgement, recognition and encouragement, with time, and even with a gift. I can reach out.

And of course today is also my day for me. I need someone to tell me that I am precious in God’s eyes and dearly loved by Him. I need someone to count and cherish the tears of my heart and to hug the fears of my mind. I need someone to love me and to tell me that I matter.

And so I will spend time with my Father. I will tell Him what’s on my heart and then, when I have finished, I will rest my head against His chest. I will think that I feel the beating of His heart, the softness of His breath on my cheek and His hand in my hair. And I will rest there whilst He sings softly of His love.

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”
(Zephaniah 3:17)

Response:
Just do it.

Prayer:

Lord let this day be our day – so that we may both look back on it and say that it was good. Amen.

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At His Name

“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth”
(Philippians 2:10)


Reflection:

A great many people battle with invasive thoughts. Appearing to come in from nowhere they are unwelcome and intrude into our prayers and into our lives. They may be angry, fearful, negative, critical, lustful and even insulting to God. No matter how hard we try to ignore them, push them away or concentrate they seem to find a way through. We may end up feeling guilty, angry with ourselves and inadequate as Christians. We may despair of ever overcoming them.

The first step towards healing is to realise that this is a spiritual battle. As such it cannot be fought and won in our own strength of mind – which is what we so often try to do. What we need is the power of the Lord which He makes available to us.

  • “For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15)

  • “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.
    On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4)

    “and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:19)

The second step is to use the weapons He gives us. It is at the name of Jesus that every knee must bow. Repeating that ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ is a statement of faith and a statement of His power. When they meet it any foreign spiritual activity must give way.

People have found this to be immediately helpful in two ways. Firstly, when entering into any activity where there has been a problem in the past – such as praying – it helps to start by saying to oneself a number of times, “Jesus Christ is Lord.” Repeat it again if you sense that you are becoming vulnerable or if any unwelcome thoughts come through. The difference it has made has been remarkable – Praise God! Secondly, if you find yourself under attack at any time during the day in any way repeat again “Jesus Christ is Lord” a few times – silently or aloud.

Response:
Use the resources and power that God makes available – don’t try to live without them.

Prayer:

Father thank You so much that You make available to me all that I need for my life with You. Help me to walk in Your love and power and to know the freedom that it brings. Amen.

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Stay Close

“What kind of man is this?
Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
(Matthew 8:27)

 

Reflection:
The disciples had been on an amazing journey with the Lord. They had listened to the awe-inspiring Sermon on the Mount, watched Him cleanse the lepers, heard Him heal the Centurion’s servant from a distance, looked on as he healed Peter’s mother in law, drove out demons and healed the sick.

Now when their boat was in danger of sinking in the storm on the lake He ‘got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.’  If all that had gone before was not surprising enough this display of power and authority stunned them. Amazed they asked,

“What kind of man is this?”

What kind of man is He to us – this ‘Son of God’, ‘Son of Man’, ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’, ‘our great God and Saviour’?

In the strange world in which we live He has become to some a pale and distant figure, a casual acquaintance, a legalistic judge and a lifeless word. And yet He is a vibrant reality. He is the revelation of the Father, the One through whom all things were made, the bearer of our sins, the risen and ascended Saviour and the King eternal. He is the One –

“God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that 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 2:9-11)

He is the Father’s response and solution to every single situation and condition of humankind – both corporate and individual. It is no wonder that He said Himself,

“Apart from me you can do nothing”
(John 15:5)

Whatever challenge we might be facing or burden we might be carrying or sin we might be battling the Way forward, the Truth that sets us free and the Life that lies ahead is to be found in and through the Lord Jesus and our relationship with Him.

Response:
Honour Him, worship Him, pray to Him, trust Him and obey Him.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus I turn to You in my need and the needs of those dear to me. You alone are everything that I seek and desire. Please help me Lord through Your great love and mighty power and authority. Amen.

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