The Soaring Eagle

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


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Can I Help?

“Carry each other’s burdens,
and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”
(Galatians 6:2)

Reflection:
Many years ago whilst travelling away on holiday we came across a woman toiling up a country hill with a large sack of potatoes balanced on her head. My father stopped the car and offered her a lift, saying that the potatoes could easily travel on the roof-rack. A bit hesitantly she accepted the offer and joined us inside. We travelled easily up the hill and along the sand road for a while until she pointed out the cluster of round huts where she lived. Very gratefully she took up her load again and walked more easily away across the fields.

For the three boys in the back seat who had to crush together to accommodate the extra passenger, who was both large and obviously very strong, the end came not too soon. However even we could appreciate the difference between our slight discomfort and the strain she had been under for so much longer.

Sometimes helping someone is as simple as that. At other times it might involve some greater time and involvement – or even less, such as a smile and a friendly greeting and appreciation of some act of service. And then of course there is the added option of praying with someone or just for them as God draws our attention to them and we notice a sadness or expression of pain.

Everyone we meet will be carrying a personal burden of one form or another. There are so many ways in which we can lighten their load, or their sense of their load, with a bit of imaginative caring. When Jesus told us to love one another He was really telling us to engage with each other in ways that were life giving, life enhancing and life healing. For as He came that we might have life and have it to the full (John 10:10) so He wants to express that some focus in us and through us.

Response:
Look at the people around you – and listen to their silent voices, and to God’s prompts.

Prayer:

Father You have blessed and helped me in so many ways over so many years and through so many people, Please help me to be a blessing to others so that their hearts  may be lifted and their lives made easier as a result. Amen.

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Spirit of Fruit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
(Galatians 5:22-23)

Reflection:
Jesus said, “By their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:16) The fruit that people produce tells us much about them, their priorities, values and characters. If we wish to know more about God we can look to some of the fruit of His life.

Paul tells us that “what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” (Romans 1:19-20)

He also tells us that the fruit of the Holy Spirit – who is God – is the qualities listed above. This is the fruit that He wishes to reproduce in us, so that increasingly we reflect more and more of Him, as we were created to be and do.

  • Love – “God is love” (1 John 4:16)
  • Joy – Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”(John 15:11)
  • Peace – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” John 14:27)
  • Patience – “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience.”(1 Timothy 1:16)
  • Kindness – “in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”(Ephesians 2:7)
  • Goodness – “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.” (Psalm 31:19)
  • Faithfulness – “For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” (Psalm 57:10)
  • Gentleness – “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”(Matthew 11:29)
  • Self-Control – “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!”(Philippians 2:6-8)

Notice how they all flow from Love and feed into each other. It is as love begins to grow in our lives that it feeds the other areas as well. God wishes this fruit to be visible in our lives because this is what He is like. It is the fruit of God and not of man. As with a fruit tree it comes only from within. It is the fruit of the Spirit who lives within us and comes from Him as we submit to His ministry and guidance. The closer our walk with God the more abundant and lasting the fruit will be (John 15:5 & 16).

As we look at the world around us we can see clearly that the fruit of the Spirit is not generally evident – which is all the more reason for us to pray that God will bless us with it all. We might also pray particularly for those areas where He shows us that we are lacking in a particular way.

Response:
What is my fruit and where do I need more of God in my life?

Prayer:

Father, these are some of Your qualities that You wish to be reproduced in me. Please grow them in me through the blessing of the Holy Spirit, and help me to embrace them more and more. Amen.

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Have we fruit?

2017-02-09

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
(Galatians 5:22-23)

 

Reflection:
Jesus said, “By their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:16) The fruit that people produce tells us much about themselves, their priorities, values and characters. If we wish to know more about God we can look to some of the fruit of His life.

Paul tells us that “what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” (Romans 1:19-20)

He also tells us that the fruit of the Holy Spirit – who is God – is the qualities listed above. This is the fruit that He wishes to reproduce in us, so that increasingly we reflect more and more of Him, as we were created to be and do.

  • Love – “God is love” (1 John 4:16)
  • Joy – Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)
  • Peace – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” John 14:27)
  • Patience – “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience.” (1 Timothy 1:16)
  • Kindness – “in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”(Ephesians 2:7)
  • Goodness – “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.” (Psalm 31:19)
  • Faithfulness – “For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” (Psalm 57:10)
  • Gentleness – “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
  • Self-Control – “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8)

Notice how they all flow from Love and feed into each other. God wishes this fruit to be visible in our lives because this is what He is like. It is the fruit of God and not of man. As with a fruit tree it comes only from within. To try and produce it ourselves will not be effective and we may end up more like a Christmas tree. It is the fruit of the Spirit who lives within us and comes only from Him as we submit to His ministry and guidance.

Response:
What is my fruit and where do I need more of God in my life?

Prayer:

Father, these are some of Your qualities that You wish to be reproduced in me. Please grow them in me through the blessing of the Holy Spirit, and help me to embrace them more and more. Amen.

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Yes Today

2016-12-23

“But when the time had fully come,
God sent his Son”
(Galatians 4:4)

Reflection:
It was some 2000 years after God called Abraham and promised through him to bless all the families of the world.  Now, Paul tells us, this was the right time. We do not know the full answer but there are certain factors that made this time suitable from a human perspective.

Firstly, there was a general peace in the Roman empire. The legions were everywhere keeping law and order and protecting travellers both on land and at sea.

Secondly, the common language of the empire was Greek – and the Old Testament in Greek, the Septuagint, was available.

Thirdly, there was an increasing spiritual hunger. The Roman gods had lost their attraction and the so-called mystery religions had a more personal appeal.

Finally, there were the outsiders who were attracted to the idea of the Jewish God and the high ethical standards that were a part of their faith.

Within this context Paul was able to minister effectively and during a short period of ten years was able to see the church established in the four Roman provinces of Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia and Asia.

Certainly God had chosen a good time – and may even have been influential in bringing it about! And how blessed we are that some 2000 years later we can look back on it and enjoy the fullness of its meaning.

Question:
Has the Lord become fully a part of my life?

Response:
“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation”  ( 2 Corinthians 6:2)

Prayer:

Today Lord Jesus, enter more fully into my life to rule and reign there in the fullness of your light, life and love. Amen.

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I’m not least

2016.06.29

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”
(Galatians 3:28)

Reflection:

In God’s eyes His Church is a community of His people in which every individual stands as equal in His love. The distinctions of the world which separate and segregate people are of no account. Racial, social and sexual differences become of no significance. All His children have equal access to Him through Jesus Christ.

Although in this life some of these differences are visible – men are men and women are women – they are not to be considered as conferring on the one more value or significance than the other. That immediately becomes a challenge to us in terms of our attitudes towards others – particularly those of different social standing and nationalities.

This equality is conferred upon us by God at our conversion when He adopts us as His sons and daughters – giving us a new identity. If this is the way in which He sees us then two consequences become clear. The first is that I must not look upon myself as having less value and standing in God’s eyes than anyone else. The second is that if God sees all His adopted children in this way then I have no right or reason to look down on, or reject, any one of them. He loves them as much as He loves me.

Response:
God loves … (them) …  as much as He loves me

Prayer:

Father, thank You that I am not the outsider in Your family. Please help me not to treat anyone else as if they are. Amen.

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Fruit of Self-control

2015.06.11

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

(Galatians 5:22-23)

Reflection:
Self-control is the spirit that has been transformed and no longer concentrates on self with its desires, love of pleasure and self-pity, focussing instead on the love and will and pleasure of God. Like a top athlete the aim is to bring everything under control for a specific and desired goal. It is a life-long journey and process, with many ups and downs, successes and failures. We learn a great deal about ourselves and our weaknesses, and about God and His grace and love, in the process. It only happens through the Holy Spirit working within us and with our co-operation.

“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” (Philippians 3:8)

• “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
(1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

In Christ we are a new creation, moving steadily towards our revealed completion as the sons and daughters of our Almighty Father. We are not alone but are guided, gifted and empowered by the Holy Spirit who is within us. He gives to us the specific gifts needed for our path and ministry in this life, He brings about within us the changes that make us increasingly into the likeness of Christ, and He brings into reality the ‘much fruit’ that is a part of our calling. Our part in it is to believe and to follow His lead and directions – continually aiming to have our focus on our Lord and not on ourselves.

“because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

Response:
You know the fruit that the Holy Spirit wants to bring out of your life – ask Him for them specifically.

Prayer:

Holy Spirit, please help me to desire the fruit with which You want to adorn my life, in its individual segments and in its entirety. Please help me to begin living the fruit. Amen.

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Fruit of Gentleness

2015.06.20

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness.”

(Galatians 5:22-23)

Reflection:
Gentleness must never be confused with weakness. True gentleness comes from an inner strength. It is at its best when it grows out of the true knowledge of being loved by God and no longer having to strive for recognition. It is a truly blessed quality,

“the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)

Gentleness is not arrogant, proud or self-seeking. It does not lash out in anger or retaliation. It is considerate and caring. It sees the fragility in others and looks to comfort and heal. There are many examples of the gentleness in Jesus, who was also quite capable of challenging others and of being demonstrably angry at times. He rode into Jerusalem not as a proud conqueror on a horse but, “gentle and riding on a donkey.” (Matt 21:5). He said of Himself,

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)

He was wonderfully gentle with the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, and with Simon Peter both before and after he had betrayed Jesus. On the cross He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

When Paul wrote to the Philippians he highlighted the source of true gentleness – it was because of God, His power, love and salvation and the fact that He is always so very close to us.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” ( Philippians 4:4-5)

To be gentle we need to allow the love of God to be poured into us and lift us above a concentrated focus upon ourselves – and to look instead at those around us, hearing the silent screams that come from so many lives. Gentleness is of the Spirit, and another segment of the fruit that God wishes to see in our lives.

Response:
Did I bruise anyone today – by action or inaction?

Prayer:

Father, I know how easily I can be hurt – please help me to be a comfort and a blessing to those who need it today – in Jesus name. Amen.

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