The Soaring Eagle

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


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Great Promise

“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
(Genesis 12:2-3)

Reflection:
Here is another great and unsolicited promise of God.

God doesn’t need much. He created everything out of nothing – that is, nothing as we know it existed before His creation. He made man from the dust of the earth. And now He commenced His great plan of salvation by calling out one man. To this man He gave the most remarkable prophetic promise.

Abraham was not a particularly special or gifted or deserving man – nor was he at times very trusting of God. But God knew his heart and knew that Abraham would allow God to work in and through him. Abraham ‘uttered no prophecy, wrote no book, sang no song and gave no laws.’ Yet he alone is spoken of as ‘the father of the faithful’ and as ‘the friend of God.’ It has also been said that he is ‘the only type in Scripture of God the Father.’ Such was his love and faith that he was prepared to sacrifice his God-given son in what was to be a prophetic glimpse into the terrible sacrifice that God Himself would make. He had grown to love and trust God completely.

Note how in the purpose for which Abraham was called everything was focussed on what God would do for him and through him: “I will make you;” “I will bless you;” “I will bless those;” “I will curse;” and as a consequence of which “you will be a blessing” and “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” It was all about the grace of God from start to finish.

Abraham was followed by numbers of other individuals in and through whom God was able to work in wonderful ways as they put their trust in Him. There were Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, John the Baptist and Mary to name just a few. In all of their lives the focus was on what God was doing and not on their own contributions.

Much of this was picked up by Jesus in His very telling picture and explanation of the Vine. He is the Vine itself and we, His disciples, are His chosen branches. As long as we remain attached to Him His life and power will flow into us and will, in consequence, produce fruit for the benefit of others. The closer and more open our relationship the more He will be enabled to produce ‘much fruit’ both in and through us. The wonder of the grace and glory of God is that others will almost always be able to see far more fruit than we perceive in ourselves. This is how it should be for it is God’s fruit and not ours.

Question:
Who fills my life – God or me?

Response:
It is only God’s fruit that will last

Prayer:

Lord Jesus please help me to draw closer to You, be more open to You and allow You to direct and fill my life. Amen.

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Victory is Certain

 

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
(Genesis 3:15)

Reflection:
Here we have one of the great promises of God.

Adam and Eve had been tempted to sin. They and all of humankind to come were a part of this fall from grace, separation from God and condemnation to death. And, as we know sin, has been rampant in the world ever since and we have not been able to defeat it. But right here at the beginning of the exile comes the promise of God that there would come a time when He would overcome the power of sin and totally destroy its source.

God’s power and authority and victory over sin is triumphantly revealed and proclaimed  in the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And although sin is still operative in the world it is only for a time – and then Satan and sin will be permanently removed from our lives. This is of great importance to us as we grapple with the business of living in this fallen world. Covered by the righteousness of God through our faith in Jesus Christ we can indeed continue with our own personal battles knowing that they are not forever. The end will come and victory is assured for the individual and the corporate Body of Christ.

And although this great promise of God is not always thought of in terms of covenant yet it is accompanied by similar signs. For there is the sacrifice of what was probably a lamb – and the first sacrifice of recorded Biblical history. For God Himself clothed them in garments He had made – and they went out into the world under this covering.

“The LORD God made garments of skin
for Adam and his wife and clothed them”
(Genesis 3:21)

Response:
Evil has been defeated and one day will be extinguished. Stand firm against its temporary presence.

Prayer:

Lord God as You clothed Adam and Eve so clothe me in the saving presence of Jesus Christ and  the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, so that I may in faith stand firm against the world, the flesh and the devil. 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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One Way Only

“O LORD …. please grant success
to the journey on which I have come.”
(Genesis 24:42)

Reflection:
Life is a journey – a journey with a beginning, a middle and an end. We had no say in its beginning and have little, if any, say in its certain end. However we do live in a vital part of it – the middle that joins the two.

God initiated our journey. He purposed and planned to give life to each one of us – you and me. We were each a part of His plan from all eternity. He chose to give us life, and chose also where and when that life should begin.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”(Jeremiah 1:5)

God desires to be a part of our journey. He has not made us and abandoned us – in fact He is with us. We may ignore and forsake Him but He never turns away from us.

  • “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there” (Psalm 139:7-8)
  • “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
  • “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)

God knows the right way. The ways of the world are not the ways of God. He calls us to a different path, a higher and less obvious way and to the narrow gate that leads to Life. It is the way that He has laid out for us and along which He Himself will guide us.

  • “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matthew 7:13)
  • “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:9)
  • “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)

Only God can promise success to our journey of life. The world cannot deliver what it appears to promise. God’s ways and life will deliver what He promises. And, of supreme importance, only God’s Way will lead us home – home to God and the place and life that He has prepared for us.

  • “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10)
  • “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3)

And on this journey the one work to which me must devote our primary effort is this,

  • “Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29)
  • “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Response:
Walk close to the Lord, and in His ways, all day.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus You called us to follow You. Please help me to stay very close to You, to discern Your guidance and to trust and follow Your lead as we journey together. Amen.

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I will make you

“The LORD had said to Abram,
 “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household
and go to the land I will show you”
(Genesis 12:1)

 

Reflection:
There are two incidents in the life of Abraham that are of significance to each one of us today.

The first is God’s call. Essentially God was calling him to leave his past behind him and to travel with God to a place that God would reveal. It is very similar to Jesus call of His first disciples.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)

We all have a past that we carry with us. It will contain successes and failures, pain and joy, hopes and fears. Jesus calls us into a life which is focussed on Him. It is a new life and not to be crippled by the things of the past. It is a life in which He forgives and heals us of the burdens of the past and opens to us the potential of the present and the future.

The second is God’s call to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. This was the more startling because Isaac was the child of promise. It was to be through Isaac that God’s promises to Abraham were to be fulfilled and the future nations blessed for all eternity.

In both cases God’s challenge to Abraham and to us is to let go of the shadow of the past (which we cannot change) and the vision of the future (which we cannot bring about) and to live only for God each day. Jesus put it like this,

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”  (Matthew 6:25-34)

He is not suggesting that we be lazy or careless but that we get our focus right and then live accordingly with God instead of for ourselves.

Response:
Who is really my priority?

Prayer:

Lord I know the truth and the Truth – please help me to surrender my past into Your forgiveness and my future into Your provision and live with You today. Amen.

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True Lamb

“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
 “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said,
“but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
(Genesis 22:7)

Reflection:
In response to God’s command Abraham was on his way to Moriah to sacrifice his son Isaac. One cannot imagine his feelings both with regard to the sacrifice of his only son as well as the fact that it was through this son that God had promised to fulfil His covenant promise to Abraham. Nevertheless his response to Isaac was the response of faith in his God. “God Himself will provide the lamb.”

As it turned out God stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac and provided a ram for sacrifice instead. Now both Isaac and Abraham speak of a lamb – which is quite different from the ram that appeared. It was not that a ram was as good a sacrifice as a lamb but that God had something else planned. This becomes clear years later when John the Baptist looking up and seeing Jesus said to his disciples

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
(John 1:29)

Here was the lamb provided by God – the one who would suffer death as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. In this way the prophetic incident with Abraham and Isaac is linked to the real event involving God and His Son. The great difference of course is that there was no one to stop the hand of this Son’s executioners.

It is also believed by many commentators that this mountain of Moriah is in fact the same mountain on which Jerusalem is built (New Bible Dictionary). And it was there that Jesus was crucified.

God’s purpose and plan was not in response to the fall and sin of man. It pre-dated creation itself. There is one purpose and plan of God that remains unchanged and that He is working out and will bring to fulfilment. Again and again what we see in the New Testament has its beginnings in the Old. And what God started before Jesus appeared has its fulfilment and explanation in His life, death, resurrection and ascension.

Response:
‘Your will be done on earth as in heaven’’

Prayer:

Lord God thank You so much for the scale and detail of Your purpose and plan – which are being worked out in ways that we can see and at which we marvel and rejoice. What a mighty God we serve!

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Called

2016-12-06

“I will bless you … and you will be a blessing. …
And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
(Genesis 12:2-3)

Reflection:
The Messiah to come would be a descendent of Eve. He would also be a descendent of Abraham.

Abraham was the first of the three great patriarchs of God’s chosen people – the people of the covenant. To him God gave these significant promises –

  • I will bless you
  • You will be a blessing
  • All people will be blessed through you.

The blessing that was to flow from Abraham to ‘all people” was not the land that God also promised. It was a seed or descendent of Abraham in and through whom God’s promises were to be fulfilled. And Paul writing to the church in Galatia makes it quite clear that this blessing was in fact to be the Messiah.

  • “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ” (Galatians 3:16)

It is through our union with Christ by faith that we become recipients too of these promises and blessings.

  • “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29)

God called Abraham out of nowhere as the start of His establishment of a covenant people with whom He would journey into the future. Very clearly He shows that His actions are built around His purpose and plan for a Saviour – as He had prophesied in Eden. The Messiah is implied  here as God continues also to lay down the human line of Jesus which would establish Him as truly the Son of Man.

Question:
Do I realise that I too am blessed – and a blessing – and a revelation of God?

Response:
God called me to be a part of His purpose

Prayer:

Lord God, please help me to acknowledge and respond to Your call – and to walk with You in trust and love as You lead me forward. Amen.

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