The Soaring Eagle

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


Leave a comment

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.

————-

 

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

All I need

“But he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)

Reflection:
All my life I have lived in an environment of work and rewards, failure and consequences. A poor self-image did not help, and left me vulnerable to either fearing the worst or willing to believe the tempter’s whispers that I was not good enough. Any success or popularity surprised me and I could imagine that it would not last. Always there was the thought that I had not done enough to earn or retain God’s love. Sin devastated me – not just because of what it was, but because I felt that I might now be cast off by God. Why should He love me, and continue to love me, when I knew how unlovable I was, and how unworthy.

Slowly I began to learn that it was not all about me. It was about God. It was not a question of what I was like but of what God is like. It was not a test to see how much I loved God, but a revelation of how much He loves me. It was not even a matter of how much I achieved for Him, but of what He can achieve for me and through me and around me. That’s the trouble with insecurity and sin, it makes us the centre. The wonder of love is that someone else is the centre.

God’s grace at work – not telling us that sin does not matter; not telling us that our weaknesses are good. Just loving us, accepting the tiny amount of love for Him and faith that we have, and pouring out His smiling, laughing, thrilling, loving and forgiving Grace all the time. And, calling us always forward and closer to Him into the life that is truly Life, the way that is the only Way, the Truth that is beyond all truths.

Hear these words:

  • “I have loved you with an everlasting love”  (Jer 31:3)
  • “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” (Eph 2:10)
  • “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9)
  • Nothing “in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:39)

Response:
Just trust Him – His love, His sacrifice and His grace. Ask Him to help you. Stop looking at yourself – look at Him instead.

Prayer:

Father, Thank You for a love and grace that is beyond understanding. Please help me to allow You to fill me with Your love and grace and to live in their reality. Amen.

—————-


Leave a comment

You are mail

“You show that you are a letter from Christ,
the result of our ministry,
written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God,
not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
(2 Corinthians 3:3)

 

Reflection:
 I really miss getting hand-written letters. There was something very personal and warm about them – far more so than with much of today’s instant mail.

 How wonderful it is that God did not send out impersonal tweets, texts or bulk mail when He had something important to say. He spoke directly, He spoke through the prophets and He has spoken most revealingly through His Son. Even Scripture as the divinely inspired written record is filled with carefully chosen words and descriptions – all designed to help reveal to us more of the Lord Jesus and to point us to Him.

He speaks also through us. We become His letters – living messages that can be seen, examined and spoken to. His message is not written on the cold screen of the latest tablet with all of its high definition and artificial colour, but on the living and pulsating hearts of His people. He who said that if we had seen Him we had seen the Father would want to say of us that if people wished to see Him they should look at us! With His light within us we become ‘the light of the world!’ We are called to be living and speaking witnesses of His Way, Truth and Life.

People read us all day and every day. We leave an impression on everyone – like footprints in the sand. We affect them. And a part of the good news is the fact that the message of God’s perfect love and grace is carried within the visibly imperfect envelopes of our lives. If God loves us then He can love anyone.

Response:
Tread with love through the lives of others today.

Prayer:

Lord write Your message on my heart – and may it be the only one that shines out from me. Amen.

——————

 


Leave a comment

Who I am

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus”
(Ephesians 2:10)

Reflection:
 I am not what the world has made of me. I am who and what God created me to be, and into which He is leading me and expressing through me.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

However, this newness is not something or someone that God has recently dreamed up. My true identity and nature goes back into the mists before our time began. And God is restoring me into that image which has all the beauty of something new and untarnished – a someone I have never seen or even imagined.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will”
(Ephesians 1:4-5)

George Appleton, in his beautiful and deeply insightful prayer, expressed it like this,

“Give me a candle of the Spirit,
O God,
as I go down into the depths of my being.
Show me the hidden things,
the creatures of my dreams,
the storehouse of forgotten memories
and hurts.
Take me down
to the spring of my life,
and tell me my nature and my name.
Give me freedom to grow,
so that I may become that self,
the seed of which  You planted in me at my making.”

———————-


Leave a comment

My Lifebelt

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
(1 Corinthians 2:2)

Reflection:
In the early stages of my then new journey with Christ I encountered a very real period of darkness. My beliefs, and even the Scriptures themselves, were attacked by others. They took it upon themselves to show me where both I and the Bible were wrong. I did not know enough to debate with them, even although something within me said that they were incorrect. I felt myself foundering, as if my ship of faith had sunk, and I was drifting alone in a sea of doubt.

It was then that I ‘remembered’ this statement of Paul’s. I can so clearly recall thinking that if it was good enough for Paul then it was good enough for me. This Jesus who had died on the cross for us would not let me drown. The picture that formed in my mind was of these words painted on a red and white life belt – the sort that hung on passenger liners. I mentally hooked my one arm through it, grasped my wrist with the other hand, and determined to hold on to this Scripture until God did something. I allowed myself to float along spiritually – just waiting. I did not think about the issues that had been raised, I just focussed on this one verse, waited and trusted. I kept attending church, and ceased having conversation with the people who sought to torpedo my faith.

Nothing dramatic happened but, as the weeks and months went by, I felt as if in a real way the ‘ocean floor’ was rising to meet me. The water was getting shallower and shallower and, one day, I knew that I had walked out of the sea of doubt. I was safe again on firm ground. The Jesus Christ who was crucified for me had brought me through the darkness, loneliness and confusion, to the simplicity of it all – Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Lord. He was my sure foundation and belief. It was not just knowing about Him, but getting to know Him, that brought light, life and love. He was with me.

I came to realise too that I could look at Scripture in a new way – from His side, instead of from the side of men.

He had rebuked the people when He said,

“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”  (John 5:39-40)

It was not their study that was wrong. It was that they had stopped short by focussing only on the words, and not on the God who gave the words. And they missed out on Him who was now come as the Living Word. This is always the first, and most important, step – to come into a relationship with the Living Christ. The vital Scriptures, which point to Him, then become alive in a new and vibrant way, as the Emmaus disciples found.

“For I resolved to know nothing …. except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

Response:
Wherever you are in life, look to Jesus and ask Him to help you to draw closer to Him.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”  (James 4:8)

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, in the darkness of this world, which so affects me, please shine Your light, life and love into me, so that I may know You, love You and follow You more nearly. Amen.

——————-


2 Comments

Think like this

“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”
( 2 Corinthians 10:5)

Reflection:
It struck me early this morning that there are ‘obviously’ two aspects to this word.

The first is that all my thoughts should be held before the Lord to be tested for their truth and whether or not they honour Him. Given that my mind is full of thoughts, worries and responses to feelings and emotions this may seem like an impossible task. And yet as we walk with the Lord much of it happens fairly quickly if we are open to it and to Him. The challenge then becomes one of responding to His correction.

The second is that this must as obviously apply in our Christian community and group situations – as well as, for us, in our work and ministry. The group’s opinion of what is true, relevant and of the Lord should also be tested before Him. Very often we have found that where there is one dissenting voice in a situation the process needs to be slowed down, re-examined and sometimes re-worked until all can say ‘that’s good.’ After all we are called into Christ’s ministry and not He into ours!

As we look at ‘perfecting holiness out of reverence for God’ this all becomes far more important. It is where the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit is so important and such a blessing.

Response:
Be aware of your thoughts – look at some of them with the Lord – persevere

Prayer:

Lord God, I offer my mind and thoughts to You – help me that I too may be transformed by the renewing of my mind, so that its thought may honour and bless You. Amen.

——————-


Leave a comment

Holy for God

“Since we have these promises, dear friends,
let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit,
perfecting holiness out of reverence for God”

( 2 Corinthians 7:1)

Reflection:
Being a Christian is not merely a matter of staying as we were but with a new cloak covering us. It is about a new life that starts within us and develops and influences everything that we are, and think, and say and do. This new life will become apparent to others as well as to us.

As we recognise our new identities as the daughters and sons of God we are called to live out these identities and live up to them. Therefore just as Jesus cleansed the Temple of everything that degraded and shamed it as the Temple of the Living God, so we are to be involved in the same cleansing of our own temples of the Holy Spirit – ourselves. When God calls us to be holy He means also that we become a place suitable for Him to live in.

This cleansing begins as we recognise that the Spirit is within us. As we do so He will begin to draw our attention to the things in our lives that do not honour God. This is not a once off ‘spring cleaning’ but an ongoing process. Some things will be dealt with quickly whilst others may take longer and have deeper roots. As this goes on we will probably also discover attitudes, habits and desires of which we were unaware. This is the Spirit working more deeply and extensively within us. His purpose is not to shame or depress us but to free us from the things that prevent us from more fully entering into this new life that God has for us. He also wishes to take us deeper and deeper into the reality of our new relationship with the Father and with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

This is not a strange new process that God has initiated. He has built the understanding into our lives. For those who are focussed on and committed to a particular goal are generally the ones who will show the most progress. However the good news is that where in our secular lives we may have been unable to find and apply the focus, self-control and energy, we now have in our lives the Holy Spirit of God who is giving us the focus, developing our understanding, and empowering us to press forward, press on and to persevere.

Our reason is not so that we may gain the salvation of God but that we may honour Him in the salvation and new identity that He has given us in His great love. We are in fact seeking to live up to and live out the image of Himself that He has imparted to us.

Response:
I can live more and more as a son/daughter of the Lord God Almighty.

Prayer:

Holy Spirit I want to be more like the Lord Jesus, please help me.  My desire is to have the Father rejoice in my honouring Him. Amen.

——————–