The Soaring Eagle

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


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Getting Ready

“I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.”
 (Isaiah 46:10)

 

Reflection:
We can so quickly forget what our life and our salvation is all about. So we need to be reminded, to celebrate the wonder of it all, and to honour the God at it centre. This is why the Church has certain seasons and festivals.

The season of Advent is a time of preparation to commemorate the coming of the Saviour Jesus Christ whose birth will be celebrated at Christmas. It is also a time to reflect on why we need a Saviour, to prepare ourselves for His second coming, and for the moment when we will see Him face to face. It is a period within which to focus on reality – our reality, the reality of the world around us, the reality of sin and the reality of the awesome love and power of God. It is to acknowledge that in our present personal, local, national and international situations we really, really need a Saviour.

The world has trivialised God in turning these great celebration into commercial carnivals from which it is slowly removing the name of the Lord. On the other hand we, to whom the Lord has given the grace of faith, need to pause, to look at the true reality of what has taken place and to acknowledge with deep humility and gratitude that it has been done for us. The darkness, strife, violence and abuse that clouds the world and shatters the lives of so many will not prevail. The Light of God is already in the world and will indeed overcome and banish this darkness and all who live by it.

The true wonder of the season is not that a virgin should bear a child. It is that the Lord God Almighty, the Holy, Majestic and Everlasting One, should come amongst us in human form – to live as we live and to suffer and die in our place and for our sins.  Each celebration of this season is a reminder of the great love that God has for each one of us – and how He came to seek and to find us.

Question:
Is my life aimless or a journey with a purpose and destination?

Response:
Thank God that you do not walk this life alone, that you have a mighty God to guide, lead and watch over you –God whose purpose and plan will be fulfilled in every way.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I thank and praise You for Your great love, Your mighty power and Your wonderful promises that have and will be fulfilled in Jesus – the one true Light of the world. Amen.

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Not Condemned

“Jesus straightened up and asked her,
“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared.
“Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:10-11)

Reflection:
“The God who sees me” sees everything.

The teachers of the law and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery. The Law given by God through Moses stated that she should be stoned to death. They now confronted Jesus with the question, “What do You say?”

Jesus saw the woman and He saw her sin. Jesus also saw the religious leaders and knew that they were really trying to trap Him into an action or statement that they could then turn against Him – using it as a basis for putting Him to death. So He confounded them by acknowledging and supporting the Law but challenging them with their own sinfulness – “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Of course there was no one there who could claim to be without sin, and particularly not in His presence. So one by one they slipped quietly away. Left alone with the woman Jesus turned and looked at her once more. In the absence of the ‘two or three witnesses’ required by the Law He would not judge or condemn her – even although they both knew her to be guilty.

But even more, Jesus saw in front of Him just such a person whom He had some to save – and for whose sins He would die. So again He would not condemn her but would die in her place instead.

  • “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
  • “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17)

When Jesus looks at you He does not see a sinner to be condemned, but rather one to be saved.

Response:
Let Him have your sins and weaknesses – and accept his forgiveness and life.

You might like to watch this: https://youtu.be/rFyymEvM6Dw

Prayer:

Lord Jesus I hold out my hands to You. Please forgive me for all that offends You and keeps me from being the person whom I was created to be. Please cleanse, heal and strengthen me and help me to stay close to Your side. Amen.

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Make your choice

“Jesus looked at him and loved him.
“One thing you lack,” he said.
“Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
(Mark 10:21)

Reflection:
“The God who sees me” sees everything about me – even the things of which I might not be conscious.

The man ran up to Jesus, fell on his knees before Him and asked Him what he must do to inherit eternal life. This tells us something of the urgency and importance of the question that burned within his heart – even although there is a sense that he was caught up in the emotions of the moment. When Jesus referred him to some of the commandments the man responded by saying that he had kept them since he was a boy. It must be noticed however that the commandments Jesus referred to were mainly negative and to which the general response was that ‘I have never done anyone any harm.’ From what followed we can see that Jesus was also questioning him with ‘Yes, but have you ever done anyone any good?’

Obviously touched by the man’s sincerity Jesus ‘looked at him and loved him.’ And, looking into his heart, perceived the one thing that stood between the man and a whole-hearted worship of God. So He told the man to sell his possession and give the proceeds to the poor – in other words to get rid of the idol in his life and make a difference in the lives of others. Then he invited the man to ‘come, follow Me.’

It was obvious that Jesus had put His finger right on the problem for ‘the man went away sad, because he had great wealth.’

On the one hand it is a tragic story. There were many who asked to follow Jesus and were told to stay where they were. Only a few were called to journey with Him – and this man received just such an invitation. In addition there is the lovely and unusual comment that ‘Jesus looked at him and loved him.’ It seems that he could have been very close to the Lord.

The Lord knows of the things in each of our lives that stand in the way of a whole-hearted relationship with Him. He will keep challenging us in these areas because He wants to see us set free to both receive and share the great love that He has for us. The last thing that He would want for any one of us is for us to only know some of His love ‘from a distance.’

Response:
Ask God to open your eyes to the truth of the barriers in your own life – and that He will give you the love and strength to walk away from them into a deeper relationship with Him.

Prayer:

Lord God, please open my eyes to the greatness and wonder of Your love – and to anything in my life that stands as competition. I choose to turn to You more fully – please help me to draw closer and closer. Amen.

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Fill Me

“Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give him will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life”
(John 4:14)

Reflection:
‘The God who sees me’ is also the God who sees all about me.

Jesus was waiting for the Samaritan woman at the well outside of the town. Being a town it would have had a well within its boundaries where the women would have gathered to fetch their water and to chat. Given the life that the Samaritan woman had led it is probable that she had been excluded from the society of the other woman, and so chose to visit this isolated well instead.

Without being told Jesus knew that here was a person with five failed marriages behind her and a current partner to whom she was not married. Here was a person empty of all that made life worth living. No female friends, no male friends who would care to be seen with her, no position of respect or acceptance, a history of rejection and exclusion and, therefore, no self-respect. She probably merely existed from day to day and with no light on her horizon other than death itself.

Jesus seeing all this not only astounds her, as a Jew, by talking to her but holds out to her the unbelievable offer of a new life filled with the living water of the Holy Spirit – God Himself. She had done nothing to warrant it and had nothing to offer Him except her dark and lonely emptiness. Yet not only did He change her life but “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.” They would go on to tell her that “we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.”

In just a few moments her life was transformed. There would still be issues that she had to work through and resolve but suddenly a new Light had entered into her. And she, together with the townsfolk, had something new and precious in which they shared and which could change their relationships.

Such is the wonder, the glory and the truth of the grace of God – His life-giving love and saving power in action, freely reaching out to embrace us.

Response:
Ask the Lord into the areas of darkness and emptiness in your own life – and trust Him to respond.

Prayer:

Lord God, please come into these areas of darkness, emptiness and pain in my life – and pour out upon them Your life-giving, life-restoring and life-healing waters of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Always Found

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.
Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country
and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”
(Luke 15:4)

Reflection:
‘The God who sees me’ is also the God who sees me when I am not where I should be.

In the case of the Lost Sheep He notices who it is that is missing and goes off to see where it is. And, having found it, He brings it back to its proper place with joy in His heart. This is wonderful news for us because, like sheep, we have a tendency to wander off on our own and can end up in strange places. There we may have no sense of how to return and even if such a return is possible.

There is another lovely illustration in Scripture. Jesus on coming to Bethany, after being called back as Lazarus was sick, arrives after his death and burial. He is met by Martha but, we are told, “Mary stayed at home.”  Jesus obviously noticed that the sister who had once sat at His feet was not present for when Martha returned to the house she told Mary that “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.” Whatever it was that had caused Mary to hang back was dealt with and “she got up quickly and went to Him.”

The moment that we are not where we should be in terms of our relationship with the Lord He is immediately aware of it. He sees us where we are – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – and reaches out to us. This is what Love does!

We may feel lonely and isolated, wretched and despairing, condemned and abandoned – but He is with us. He has already found us and is reaching out to us – because that is what Love does!

And, if we feel that He is not speaking to us at the moment, it is far more likely that we are not listening to Him but are instead listening to ourselves.

Response:
Wherever you are feeling lost or hesitant before the Lord, ask Him to find you and to lead you onward.

Prayer:

Lord God, please come into the dark and lonely areas of my life with Your Light and Love – confirm Your presence to me and lead me forward. Amen.

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He sees me

“She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her:
“You are the God who sees me,”
(Genesis 16:13)

Reflection:
Hagar was Sarai’s Egyptian servant. When Sarah could not fall pregnant she told her husband Abram to “sleep with my maidservant, perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram did so and Hagar became pregnant. She then began to despise Sarai who treated her so badly that “she fled from her.”

The ‘angel of the Lord’ found her and came to her as she sat near a spring in the desert. He asked her where she had come from and where she was going. When she replied that she had run away he told her to go back to Sarai and then shared with her something of what the Lord would do for her son whom she was to call Ishmael.

Hagar called the Lord “You are the God who sees me.”

It is a wonderfully encouraging episode for us all – and in particular for anyone who feels that like Hagar they are in a lonely and desert period in their life with no one who cares and understands them and their pain.  The truth is that God does care and that He has a plan and purpose for our lives – even when we feel that we are outside of His main plans and purpose.

Hagar could tell Him where she had come from but not where she was going. God then gave her the directions she needed and, to her credit, she heard and obeyed Him. God always has a plan, purpose and direction for our lives.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you”
(Psalm 32:8)

Wherever we are physically, emotionally and spiritually the Lord sees us. He sees us in our completeness, in our yesterdays, our todays and our tomorrows. He sees and knows the lonely outcast in us for whom He cares.  And, He has a word for us – a word of direction and of encouragement – even if it is, like with Hagar – to remain where we have been for the time being.

We will know that He is with us and that our lives and times are within His hands.

Response:
Give the Lord some moments during your day. Tell Him where you are and how you feel. Ask Him for His help, strength and direction. Then spend some moments in a quiet stillness trusting His presence.

Prayer:

Lord God You see me and everything about me. Help me please Lord for I need Your love, Your direction and Your healing in my life. Amen.

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Chosen and Loved

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people,
holy and dearly loved”
(Colossians 3:12-14)

 

Reflection:
The foundation of our new life in Christ is that we are “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.”

That truth must lie at the heart of our lives. We are chosen, we are set apart and, of paramount importance, we are dearly loved by the Lord God Almighty Himself.

In this love of God, and within our relationship with Him, is our healing, fulfilment and completion. It is because of this that we can bear with pain, suffering and rejection – and even the hurt caused by other Christians. God, in Christ, is our Life. From this centre we grow and move out in relationship to others and in witness to the world.

Because of our security in God’s great love we can then clothe ourselves with the fruit of His character and change our way of acting and re-acting to others. So the passage continues

“clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

These are not legal requirements but an appropriation and expression of the love and grace of God in which we now live. We will begin to discover that from the love that is deepening within us we will forgive and bless because we want to – not just because we have to. We will have discovered a new depth to love.

Response:
Look to the Lord, not to yourself

 Prayer:

Jesus, be the centre
Be my source, be my light
Jesus

Jesus, be the centre
Be my hope, be my song
Jesus

(Chorus)

Be the fire in my heart
Be the wind in these sails
Be the reason that I live
Jesus, Jesus

(Vineyard)

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