The Soaring Eagle

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


Leave a comment

Reality we can know

“I always thank God for you
because of his grace
 given you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Corinthians 1:4)

 

Reflection:
Our relationship with God is all about reality. It is based on His reality and the fact that He has intervened in our reality.

This is the reality of our everyday lives, as well as the reality of our past and our future. Whilst the world offers us concepts, philosophies and ultimate loneliness and death, God offers us truth, personal relationship with Him, and eternal life and healing. Where the world tells us what we must do, God shows us what He has done. Where the world will sell to us, God gives to us freely. Where the world gives no visible proof, God gives us His Son. Where the world offers no guarantees God sends His Spirit to live within us. Whereas the world ultimately discards us, God promises us resurrection and life.

The wonder of our relationship with God is that everything that He has done for us, and that He offers us, is done out of His great, unlimited and unconditional love.

This love of God is not revealed only in words, it is revealed in the gift and sacrifice of His Son on our behalf. There could be no greater gift or example of that love. And, because it is only through the grace of God flowing from this love that we have a future and a hope, Jesus Christ stands also as the revelation of this grace. We become personal recipients of it as we believe and trust in Him. We receive not only God’s love but the salvation and ever-present relationship with Him that flows from it.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”  (Ephesians 2:8)

From beginning to end the reality of God, and the relationship that we can have with Him, is revealed and assured in the reality of Jesus Christ who entered into the reality of human life to bring to it a new and eternal reality with God. It is this reality that we enter into through faith, be it initially as small as a mustard seed – which itself is a gift from God

Response:
Consider the reality of the cross. God speaks through it to each one personally.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, help me to look not to myself but to You, and to continually receive the wonder of God’s grace and love. Amen.

———————–

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Choose Life

“Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth,
no one can enter the kingdom of God
unless he is born of water and the Spirit”
(John 3:5)

Reflection:
God warned Adam and Eve that if they disobeyed Him and ate of the forbidden fruit they would die. Satan tempted them by casting doubt upon God’s integrity and told them “you will not surely die.”  Eve considered the matter and ate of the fruit, giving some also to Adam who was with her. Physically they did not immediately die – but spiritually they did. Their spiritual union with God was broken and the consequences vividly demonstrated in their expulsion from the Garden of His presence. Jesus was to illustrate this truth in another way when He taught about His being the Vine and believers the branches. If a branch became separated from the Vine, and so from its life force, it would die.

This action of Adam and Eve’s was not just one of naughtiness but a deliberate rebellion. They listened to the voice of the opposition and then acted on what they had heard – even although they clearly knew what God had told them. In effect they changed sides – and went into the camp of God’s enemy. A consequence of this act of rebellion was that every person born to them and their descendants was born like them – in the wrong camp and with a body and soul but no Godly spirit.

  • “For as in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22)
  • “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1)

It is for this reason that Jesus taught Nicodemus that a new spiritual birth was essential for anyone to be able to enter the kingdom of God. It is also the reason for all four Gospels emphasising the point that an indispensable part of Jesus ministry was to ‘baptize with the Holy Spirit’ (John 1:33).

Jesus made it clear that we cannot serve two masters, we have to choose. And so to become a follower of Jesus, and a child of God, we must be prepared to change camps and then to live accordingly.

“The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.”(John 6:29)

We only realise our spiritual poverty through the ministry of the Holy Spirit – which becomes a real blessing! (hence the first Beatitude). As we do so the Lord leads us away from the world’s camp (and from the ‘prince of this world’) – having overcome the power of death and the enemy – and into His own presence and Life. In doing so He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit of God who revitalises our spirits and re-establishes us in a living relationship with God Himself.

Response:
Have I got both feet in the right camp?

Prayer:

Lord God, once again I decide for You. Help me please to draw closer and closer to You and give me the discernment and strength to avoid the temptations of Your enemy. Amen.

———————-


Leave a comment

Open the Bottle!

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

 

Reflection:
As we are made in God’s image, even although it may be a fallen and distorted image, the primary quality that should be evident in our lives is that of love.

The commandments that Jesus underlined as the Great Commandments, as well as the new ones that He gave us, all have this in common:

  • “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
  • “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34)
  • “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44)

Because it is of the nature of God Himself we should not be surprised at two vital truths.

  • It is the first aspect of the fruit, or consequence, of the Holy Spirit in our lives
    • “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • To enable us to live out the commandments in a fallen and selfish world we need first to receive love, for we cannot live in this way be ourselves, so
    • “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5)

Finally

  • “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
  • “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35)

Love is so vital and foundational that Paul says, quite categorically, that anything we do that is not done in love has no value whatsoever in the eyes of God. Without it,

  • I am only a noise
  • I am nothing
  • I gain nothing.

To top it all, without love I am unhappy, unfulfilled and desperately lonely – whether I acknowledge it or not. With love, especially the love of God, I am a different person. For the Christian God’s love is already with and within us in the Holy Spirit. The questions are – is it running freely or is it ‘bottled up’?

Response:
Ask God to set His love free within you – and live it

Prayer:

Wonderful Father, thank You so very much for Your great love, revealed to us in the life and death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord. Please help me, more and more, to acknowledge that love, receive Your love, and to share Your love with others. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

—————————


Leave a comment

Identity 5

“Now you are the body of Christ,
and each one of you is a part of it”
 (1 Corinthians 12:27)

Reflection:
Something dramatic has happened to us as believers. We have received the Holy Spirit of God. He makes our new relationship with the Father into a living reality. He also unites us to Christ in a new way as we become a part of the Body of Christ – the visible sign of His presence in the world, directed and controlled by the Lord Himself as the Head.

  • “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:3)
  • “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink”  (1 Corinthians 12:13)
  • “And he is the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18)

Now when we become united to Christ in His body we also become united to those who are also a part of that body. Our relationship with them becomes completely different as well for we are now brothers and sisters of each other and with the Lord Jesus, and are children together of the same Father.

 “In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others”  (Romans 12:5)

What this means is not that other people have become like us, or we like them. What has happened to us all, and what we need to embrace, is that we have all left our previous backgrounds and identities and have stepped together into a new foreground in which we begin to explore our new relationship with the Lord and with each other. That this is important and what the Lord desires could not be clearer.

  • “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34)
  • “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35)
  • “This is my command: Love each other” (John 15:17)

It is a journey of which we are all a part and in equal relationship. And if we are to discover and enjoy the blessings and fruit of our new identity and these new relationship we will let go of what will not be helpful.

In summary – the Holy Spirit leads us into and witnesses to the reality of our new identity in Christ and as a part of the Body of Christ. He works with us to unite us to the Lord and to each other. And He produces the blessings and fruit that God has prepared for us all and that are found only in Christ Jesus.

Response:
I cannot have two identities for I cannot have two Masters. Choose the one that gives life

Prayer:

Lord forgive me for holding onto the things and ways of my old world – help me to embrace freely the people and ways of Your new world and to enjoy all that You have prepared for me. Amen.

———————-

 


Leave a comment

True Me

“Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth”
(1 Corinthians 13:6)

 

Reflection:
Love cannot rejoice over what is not true – or over what is plainly evil and destructive. It would be a total contradiction of what love is all about.

Love plainly desires what is the best – what is positive, healing, constructive, encouraging and a blessing. All of that has to be based upon truth, for if any of those were found to be merely lies the end result would be counter-productive and very destructive.

If we are prepared to face and admit the truth about ourselves we also discover the real person whom God loves. It is that person to whom He holds out His hand and says ‘Come to Me’ and ‘Come with Me.’

It was his real person that David kept bringing before the Lord and who received the blessing. It was the people who knew the reality of their fallenness who came so sincerely to the Lord and who received His blessing. It was the ‘white-washed tombs’ who missed out by keeping their truth hidden even from themselves.

  • “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me” (Psalm 139:1)
  • “As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them” (Luke 7:38)
  • “On the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:28)

Jesus is the truth about God – telling us that having seen Him we have seen the Father. When His truth meets our truth there is forgiveness, healing and salvation.

Prayer:

Lord, hidden away inside me is a lonely little person thirsting for love and security. I offer that person to You. Please love them into life. Amen.

——————-

 

 

 


Leave a comment

New Creation

“He is not here; he has risen,
just as he said”
(Matthew 28:5-6)

 

Reflection:
Whatever else the empty tomb may say to us one more message rings out – “Life should never be the same again.”

Jesus Christ died upon the cross to reveal the full extent of the love of God as He provided for the forgiveness of our sins. Now He has risen again to introduce and extend to us eternal life as the daughters and sons of the Almighty Father.

He revealed some of His power and authority during His ministry. Now He has demonstrated that they extend over life and death and all eternity. And He calls us to rise from the darkness of our old lives into the light of our new lives with Him and to journey with Him into this life and new way of living.

“Jesus rolled the stone away so that the disciples, you and I, could enter and face our deepest fears, our disordered histories, our shameful pasts, and all the things that hold us in bondage and which disempower us and render us dysfunctional. When we enter our own everyday tombs, we are faced with a God who has emptied them of the power that holds us in those places. We are faced with a God who sees beyond the tomb to what we can become.” (Archbishop Thabo Makgoba)

And although He will always meet us in the tomb He calls us to come to Him outside in the garden – where He brings us back into the garden of the presence of God from which we were expelled so many years ago.

He calls out to us to join Him, to engage in a different narrative – to move on from our old life histories and to join Him in the new story of His eternal life.

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

Response:

“Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Romans 13:14)

 

Prayer:

Yours Lord is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

———————– 

 


Leave a comment

No Sin Left

“For what I received I passed on to you
as of first importance:
that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures”
(1 Corinthians 15:3)

 

Reflection:
Another message from the empty tomb is this one. Jesus Christ died for our sins. He died for all of our sins. He died for all of the sins of all of the people. And He died for all of the sins of all of the people for all time – past, present and future.

There is no sin or accumulation of sins left over in the tomb in a box marked unresolved – not one. There is no container marked with your name and the narration ‘not this one.’  As the ‘Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29) He duly took away the sin of the world fully and completely.

The absolute wonder of it all is that when we recognise our sin and turn towards Him in grief-stricken repentance He leads us to the cross on which He died and the tomb in which He lay. There He tells us that He has already dealt with the sin that is causing us such pain. He shows us that it is gone, and that the tomb that wanted to claim us is not closed and dark but light-filled and empty. Then He takes us through into the life that lies beyond it, starting here and now.  And He does this every time.

John tells us very clearly that,

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)

He does not say that Christ may forgive us but that He will. This is because that sin has already been dealt with. Our confession is the first step in our entering into the forgiveness that has already been provided and which awaits us. That’s why the full meaning of confession is to agree with God that we have sinned and to also agree with Him that forgiveness is already available to us through faith in Jesus Christ. 

We may well weep our shame and grief before Him but we do not need to beg Him to forgive us –as if we were trying to persuade Him. If anything our plea should be for His help, for us to believe and receive His grace and loved-filled forgiveness and cleansing.

Response:
Don’t hold on to your sin and shame – take them to Him

Prayer:

Lord God please help me not to wallow in shame and grief.  Draw me to You so that I may be set free to have another go at the life You have been pleased to grant me. Amen.

——————–