The Soaring Eagle

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


Leave a comment

Because I choose to

“The obedience that comes from faith.”
(Romans 1:5)

Reflection:
Paul is quite clear in this great letter that justification before God is by faith alone. However, he is also quite clear that faith is an active and not a passive state. If we have faith in Jesus as Saviour we must also have faith in Jesus as Lord – the two titles cannot be separated.

The sin of disobedience brought about our fallen state and separated us from God. It cannot be expected for a moment that we should continue in that state, but now with a cloak marked ‘justified’ over us. The Scriptures reveal that a radical change is expected to take place:

  • “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom 12:2)
  • “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph 4:22-24)
  • “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”(1 Pet 1:15-16)

Having been justified by grace through faith our proper response now is to put our complete faith and trust in God by turning away from the ways of the fallen world. We choose instead to live according to the ways of God – not as if they were imposed laws, but because our belief is that His ways, and His ways alone, are the ways of life – not only in the life to come but in this life as well. We are called to a new life and a new way of living. Jesus is Saviour and Jesus is Lord. “Follow Me” is a call both to direction as well as to method. They go together.

Now having found it impossible to live out the old Godly way of life there is no reason to expect that in our own strength we can live out the new. So God has taken that in hand for us.  He has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit  to both guide us and strengthen us. Therefore in His New Covenant commitment He  promises that,

  • “I will put My laws into their minds and write them on their hearts” (Hebrews 8:10)
  • “I will be their God” (Hebrews 8:10)
  • “I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12)
  • “I will give you a  new heart and put a new spirit in you”” (Ezekiel 36:26)
  • “I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:27)

 It’s all about God and what He does. Our work is to believe, receive and let Him live it out through us. And although God does gives us both the desire and the strength to do His will it still remains our choice.

  • “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13)
  • “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)

Response:
We are saved by faith – now we live by faith and not by our own efforts and strength,

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, please help me to perceive the truth and to live by it. Help me to look at Your teachings, recognise them and accept  them into my everyday life – to Your honour and glory. Amen.

———————–

Advertisements


Leave a comment

My wish for you

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,
for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
(Matthew 7:12)

Reflection:
What has been called the Golden Rule of Scripture completes and summarizes the Old Testament teaching. It places the emphasis on relationships and not rules. The religious leaders taught this in the negative form of not doing to others what you would not want done to yourself. However Jesus turns it round into a positive statement aiming for positive relationships and not negative fear.

This teaching can be placed right next to His commandments about love. Loving God, loving our neighbour, loving one another and loving our enemies are all things that we would like to see in others, and especially as they relate to us. Jesus is therefore telling us to start by being just that sort of person and to get on with the business of loving – just as He did. We do not need meetings and debates about what it means, for we know how we wish to be treated.

Society as we know it, both around us and around the world, seems to be singularly lacking in such qualities. Very often the opposite appears to be true. If we wish to see significant change then we all need to look at our own attitudes and actions. If we are guilty of destructive thoughts, negative words, rejecting actions, carelessness, thoughtlessness and a lack of understanding, compassion and  reaching out concerning others then we will know where to begin. 

What would you like someone to do for you today? Try doing it for someone else.

We can all make a difference.

Response:
The first step is always prayer. Pray for God to show you the truth, pray for healing and pray for love. Remember love is also a decision.

Prayer:

Father please show me where I am being unloving and unhelpful. Please fill me with more of Your love and help me to love others in positive and helpful ways. Amen

——————


2 Comments

Shed some weights

“Let us throw off everything that hinders”
 (Hebrews 12:1)

Reflection:
Everyone who has ever been on a long hike will understand the handicap of trying to carry too much baggage – as will any athlete. So it is with our Christian walk – our journey with Christ.

There will be things that we have accumulated over the years – attitudes, habits, associations and indulgences – that weigh us down and distract us.  They will even prevent us from experiencing to the full the love and intimacy of the Lord, and fulfilling His desire for us.

Some things are easy to lay aside when we recognise them. Others may be more difficult. Some we may not wish to lose. Yet Jesus made it clear that He is offering us a choice that does not involve ‘both – and.’ He taught that we cannot have two Masters – we need to choose one. He affirmed in the Great Commandment that we cannot have two Lovers. And He did not come to offer us two lives, but one eternal life starting here and now. Until we make the choice, and invest our lives in the One great Love, we will be our own worst enemy, juggling our way through two lives – the one focussed on us and the other on the Lord. Neither will prove to be satisfying.

As we fill our lives with more of the Lord in all that we think and say and do we will have less space and time for other things and can begin to let them go. We will also recognise what is hindering us and dragging us off course and can look at pruning them away. There is One Lord who is the One Way, the One Truth and the One Life – and that is all there needs to be.

Response:
Make/Affirm your choice. Tackle your excess baggage one piece at a time. Pray for guidance and help. Keep at it.

Prayer:

Lord, please help me to recognise and lay aside the things that weigh me down and distract me in my journey with You. May You increasingly become my all in all and my great eternal Love. Amen.

————————


1 Comment

This Way Out

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6)

Reflection:
Jesus is the Way. This says two things to us.

Firstly He is the direction and the road that we should travel. Only He knows the way to the Father and only He can take us there. There is no other way.

Secondly He is the manner in which we should travel that road. He is the Way in which we should live upon the Way.

He calls us to Himself with the words “Follow Me” and then instructs us to “Stay with Me.” As we do so we learn from Him directly and from the way in which He lived His life.

  • There was a time for learning – and He spent many years learning and applying His faith and His trade, and observing and learning about people.
  • There was a time for prayer – and He would spend much time in individual prayer.
  • There was a time for laying the foundations of life – and he went into the desert to establish His and affirm His core values
  • There was a time for listening – so He could teach that He only said and did what the Father instructed.
  • There was a time for action – and He stepped out into ministry, teaching and caring for people.
  • There was a time for rest – and He would withdraw from the crowds to lonely places.
  • There was a time for discipleship – and He would teach and develop key followers.
  • There was a time for submission – and He would be quiet and allow God’s will to unfold.
  • There was a time to stay and a time to move on.
  • There was a time to leave.

He was never in a hurry. He was not dependent upon the opinions of others. He did not seek the crowds and was content with whoever was near. He possessed very little yet gave more than any other person. He had a vision and a purpose yet lived each day at a time. When His world exploded into rejection and pain He entrusted Himself to God. He trusted God at all times. He is remembered for His love, His peace and His integrity.

Response:
Wherever and however we are – He is the Way of the present and the future – today and tomorrow.
Whatever our problems and concerns He is the Way through them and onward.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus help me to learn from You. Please be my Guide and my Shepherd at all times and help me to trust You in all the circumstances, challenges and opportunities of this life. Amen.

——————————-

         


Leave a comment

Check yourself

“Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.”
(Proverbs 3:7)

Reflection:
The only one with complete knowledge and total understanding is God. He is also the only one who has total and absolute power and authority.

As Christians therefore our starting point must always be with God and in our having a very healthy respect for Him. As the Psalmist says,

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10)

It follows then that whatever the Lord says needs to be taken seriously. What He calls evil is, therefore, evil and should be shunned. What He calls good is good, and should be embraced. God does not adjust His opinions and values on the basis of our debates, desires and decrees. The Gospels and Epistles have some very clear teaching on Christian living to which we need to adapt our living. They are there for our guidance and to prevent us from falling into the trap of our own reasoning and desires.

The Message puts it very helpfully his way.

“Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil!”

Response:
Do a faith check this weekend to see where you might be casual, ignorant or worldly in your attitude to life and to the Lord.

Prayer:

Holy Spirit please lead me deeper into the truth – and draw me closer to the Lord in thought, word and deed. Amen.

———————-

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Choose Life

“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice,
and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life”
 (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Reflection:
Very clearly were the two options set out before the Israelites. They could choose to go their own way or that of the Lord. God’s way came with His promise of His presence and blessing – whilst the other way would inevitably lead to death and destruction.

Every day we are faced again with the same choice. Do I walk God’s way or the way of the world – for it is very clear that much of the world had chosen another path.

God calls us to love and honour Him, to listen to what He says and to obey Him, to hold on to Him and never let go – in fact to walk in intimacy and trust with the majestic God of all creation. In doing so the nation was promised that His blessings would flow to both them and their children – a most wonderful bequest.

Depending upon where we are in life it can sometimes be a lonely decision – but individually we need to decide and to trust the Lord for His strength and protection. For indeed He is our life and there is no life without Him.

Response:
Choose God at every step of the way – it is much easier than trying to recover lost ground.

Prayer:

Lord God I do choose You, and I  Know that you have chosen me. Please help me to remain true to You as You will always be true to me. Amen.

———————–

 


Leave a comment

Ask

“Asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
 (Colossians 1:9)

Reflections:
We are told by Paul that in everything we should present our requests to God. (Philippians 4:6) However prayer should also include our praying for the things that God wants. Some of these are set out for us in the Lord’s Prayer where we can join our desires to those of God.

Now Paul turns his attentions to our individual and corporate growth and maturity – praying that God will fill is with the knowledge of His will – obviously in all things – through our growth in spiritual wisdom and understanding. This comes through the work and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit within us as well as through our growth in knowledge and understanding as we walk with God along the path that He has set for us. The more we know of God and His ways, and the more we get to know Him personally, the deeper will be our understanding of His will and ways in our life situation.

Because we can trust that He is the God of Love we can trust His will and His ways for us. They are designed to draw us closer to Him and into a deeper and more fulfilling relationship.

  • “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)

The purpose of this prayer of Pauls is not only to bless us but to enable us to more readily and purposefully fulfil the will of God both for us and through us.

  • “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” (Colossians 1:10-12)

Response:
We are called to make Paul’s prayer for the Colossians our own prayer for ourselves and our Christian community.

Prayer:

Lord fill me with the knowledge of Your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that I may live a life worthy of You in every way. Amen.

————————-