The Soaring Eagle

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


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One Truth Only

 

“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:
“What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus. We might well hear that question being asked today.

One recent headline stated that ‘We are not living in a ‘post-truth’ world, we are living lies.’ Another tells us that a prominent politician is known for the lies that he tells. A further article states that a purpose of some international activity is not to promote an alternative truth but to so confuse us that we are not able to identify truth at all. Add to this the different beliefs and philosophies that are current and many will end up thinking that the only truth is that there is no truth.

Jesus didn’t answer Pilate’s question with words but with a definitive action. He walked into a suffering and death that He could have avoided. In so doing He underlined with His blood the revelation that He had given to His disciples – making it stand out in a way that could not be missed.

“I am the way and the truth and the life”

In a world on the verge of darkness He proclaimed Himself as the way forward. In a time when power was the ultimate authority He revealed Himself as the truth that would live through death and into eternity. In an age when life was cheap He stood out as the one and only life-giver and life-sustainer. And when they closed the door on His life in this world He opened the door into life in the next.

Truth is not a statement but a Person. We find the truth about ourselves and the truth about the way forward and the truth concerning the questions of life in Him – and Him alone. Anything else is a passing shadow.

Where others tell us what to believe – He asks us to ‘believe in Me’. Where others direct us along human paths He calls us to ‘follow Me.’ And where others tells us to grin and bear it – He invites us to ‘come to Me.”  These truths are not for this life only for in the same breath He tells us that

“No one comes to the Father except through me”

Jesus Christ is our Way through this life and our Way to the Father. He is the Truth about this life and of the life to come. And He is Life itself – the wonderful gift of eternal life that begins in this life and carries on into the endless future in the creative and glorious love of God.

As we reflect on His truth and truths under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and build them into our individual and corporate lives, we will begin to see His hand at work – for these are the ways that God will bless.

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
(John 8:31-32)

Response:
What is truth? – “I AM!”

Prayer:

Lord Jesus please take my hand – and in every situation of my life lead me along Your Way through Your Truth and into Your Life without end. 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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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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