The Soaring Eagle

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


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Resurrection

“I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die”
(John 11:25-26)

Reflection:
This is one of the key statements made by our Lord Jesus. Our hope of any resurrection and of eternal life with God is in Jesus Christ and comes from Him. It rests in no one and in nothing else. No quality of life can earn it – and once received no one is able to remove it.

He revealed His authority over death in His resurrection of Lazarus and others. Their gift of life was, at that stage, only temporary for Jesus had not yet completed His mission. His great and life-giving expression of His power for the resurrection to eternal life came in His own resurrection from the dead. Here the power of death was defeated as He rose never to die again.

“I lay down my life–only to take it up again.” (John 10:17)

Those who are united with Him by faith in His death and resurrection have nothing to fear from the death that lies in front of everyone. It is merely a door through which we pass with Him into the new life that He has promised us. So Paul could say,

“I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23)

The love and power of God – the eternal Father, the glorious Son and the life-giving Spirit – is such that nothing and no one can stand in the way of its expression. God is so Almighty that it is both unthinkable and impossible for His commitment and promises to fail. His will has been expressed and it will be done. He has committed Himself to it and to us. And He has founded it upon the great sacrifice and resurrection of His Son. Paul expresses it this way.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

We need to remember too that His promise of life is not only for some future date but for our present lives as well. So many people are living within their own darkness and exist where there appears to be no light or life. Jesus speaks into these situations as well. As He did when He walked amongst us He is able to bring a resurrection life into these areas too. His ‘Come to Me’ means bring your life to Me now so that I may bring Mine to you.

Response:
Ask God to bring His life into yours wherever and however you are – and keep asking and believing

Prayer:

Lord God, You are my strength and my song, and You have become my salvation. Please come with Your light and life into the dark and lost areas of my life so that I too may find new life in You. Amen.

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Our Exodus

“Then Moses said to the people,
 “Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt,
out of the land of slavery,
because the LORD brought you out of it with a mighty hand”
(Exodus 13:3)

Reflection:
The Lord God rescued the Hebrews from their slavery in Egypt and their bondage to Pharaoh. He brought them to Himself at Sinai where He gave them the choice of becoming His special people. From there He led them to the Promised Land – the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and to Jacob whom He renamed Israel.

This Exodus from Egypt which commenced the formation of the nation as the people of God prefigures our own spiritual journeys as God calls us out of our human bondage and slavery to sin – into which we were born as the sons and daughters of Adam.

Their passing through the waters of the sea under the pillar of cloud became known as their baptism into Moses, foreshadowing our baptism into Christ by water and the Spirit. In both cases the old life is to be left behind and the new life embraced.

  • “They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Corinthians 10:2)
  • “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)

At Sinai the people were given the Law which was to govern their relationship with God and was their contribution to His Covenant.

  • “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5-6)

Not only were they completely unable to keep the provisions of the Law but we know that we are too. There is no pass mark under the Law other that 100% and only Jesus was able to achieve that. So the Law shows us our weaknesses and prepares us to acknowledge our desperate need for a Saviour. In truth we will never fully appreciate and value Grace until we have battled and fallen before the Law.

  • “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)

Our journey with God, therefor, brings us to a different mountain-top, the one crowned with a cross. And here we meet the end of the Law and the establishment of the New Covenant of Grace. Jesus spells it out for us –

  • “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
  • “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13)
  • Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29)

And when the Israelites came to the Promised Land for the second time they entered not on the basis of their works but because they believed. And when we turn to the Lord we enter into His salvation not because we have earned it but because we believe in the love and provision and the wonderful grace of our Lord. What an amazing God is this!

Question:

Am I saved only by grace through faith – or am I trying to earn it?

Prayer:

“Lord I believe – help my unbelief.” Amen

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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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Not Condemned

“Jesus straightened up and asked her,
“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared.
“Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:10-11)

Reflection:
“The God who sees me” sees everything.

The teachers of the law and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery. The Law given by God through Moses stated that she should be stoned to death. They now confronted Jesus with the question, “What do You say?”

Jesus saw the woman and He saw her sin. Jesus also saw the religious leaders and knew that they were really trying to trap Him into an action or statement that they could then turn against Him – using it as a basis for putting Him to death. So He confounded them by acknowledging and supporting the Law but challenging them with their own sinfulness – “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Of course there was no one there who could claim to be without sin, and particularly not in His presence. So one by one they slipped quietly away. Left alone with the woman Jesus turned and looked at her once more. In the absence of the ‘two or three witnesses’ required by the Law He would not judge or condemn her – even although they both knew her to be guilty.

But even more, Jesus saw in front of Him just such a person whom He had some to save – and for whose sins He would die. So again He would not condemn her but would die in her place instead.

  • “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
  • “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17)

When Jesus looks at you He does not see a sinner to be condemned, but rather one to be saved.

Response:
Let Him have your sins and weaknesses – and accept his forgiveness and life.

You might like to watch this: https://youtu.be/rFyymEvM6Dw

Prayer:

Lord Jesus I hold out my hands to You. Please forgive me for all that offends You and keeps me from being the person whom I was created to be. Please cleanse, heal and strengthen me and help me to stay close to Your side. Amen.

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He Cares

 

2016.08.22
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
(1 Peter 5:7)

Reflection:
Christians are not just ordinary people – even if they once were. They are now extraordinary and need to see themselves in a new light.

We are not called to some spiritual mediocrity or to a sense that God is not that concerned about us or our condition. On the contrary the Bible makes it clear that God knows us intimately and that through Christ He wants to extend His authority over every part of our lives. That is not to make us unwilling puppets but willing and trusting expressions of His great love.

No part of our lives and being are omitted – nothing is outside of His concern. Indeed, because sin has affected and discoloured every area of life, and of our lives, His great desire is to remove that stain everywhere. He is not just a God of our Sundays but of our every moment. He is not only concerned about our Sunday liturgies but about every second and aspect of our daily lives. He is not a God of compartments but of everywhere and everything.

Our (re-) starting point is to remind ourselves of this. Then, using the picture of our lives as the houses in which we live, to keep inviting Him into each and every room, even the ones we keep most tightly closed because of the darkness, pain or fear within them. As we do we can ask Him – the Lord who died and rose again for us – to fill them with His Light, Life and Love, and to cleanse and heal them and make them a part of His eternal Kingdom.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Response:
Don’t stay as you are – ask God to heal, help and hold you.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus you stand and knock at all the doors in my life. Please come in and fill them with Your light, life and love. Amen.

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Heavenly Fragrance

“But thanks be to God,
who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ
and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance
of the knowledge of him.”
(2 Corinthians 2:14)

 

Reflection:
Many years ago, as a young teenager, I was out with the rest of the boys in my form on a class picnic. In those days the only odour that meant anything to me was the delicious smell of a Sunday roast drifting out from the kitchen.  However coming down the side of the mountain I encountered a fragrance that stopped me in my tracks. Try as I might I could not find it again but its exquisite beauty was something that I have never forgotten.

Years later when I was reflecting on my journey of faith the Lord brought that incident to mind. He revealed to me that the fragrance was of Him as He passed by me – His intention being that He could later show me that even then He knew me and was calling me to Him.

Whenever I read the verse above I am reminded of that incredibly special moment. It seems to me that as Christians following in the triumphal footsteps of our great Lord we should bring to those around us a sense of that same beauty. There should be something so special attached to us in our being and our journey of life that it causes them to pause and try to identify what it is.

As disciples of our Lord, children of the heavenly Father and temples of the Holy Spirit there is every opportunity for the beauty of the Lord to colour our lives and to shine through them. It is not that we are special – but that the One who is with us and within us is.

Allow yourself to feed on the beauty of the love and grace of our Lord. Be conscious of Him as you live through your days – and seek to do everything as an offering to Him. Wherever possible leave behind you that gracious sense of peace and blessing which comes from our God who is with you.

Response:
Cover your life and your day with prayer – pray a blessing on each person and situation that you encounter, and on everything that you do.

Prayer:

Father how greatly You have blessed me – help me to be a blessing to others as well. Amen.

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Such Love

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!”
(1 John 3:1)

 

Reflection:
God has made a covenant with us. No one made Him do it – He committed Himself because He wished to. He reached out because He wanted us – you, and me and them. This was not the craving of acquisition and hoarding – it was and is His great desire founded upon His deep and everlasting love. So powerful is this love that He does two amazing things.

  • He removes the barrier between Him and us in the great sacrifice for sin of Jesus Christ
  • He offers us the freedom to become His sons and daughters – not just second-rate children but ‘co-heirs with Christ’ of all that He has.

It is small wonder then that John, the beloved apostle, should marvel as he does,

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!”

There can be no possible doubt about this for at the beginning of his gospel John proclaims,

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
(John 1:12-13)

To be a child of God – His son, His daughter – what an amazing privilege, what an unsought and unimaginable blessing, what an enormous and incalculable sacrifice – what love!

Response:
Take time today and through the weekend to contemplate, unpack and savour these great truths for yourself. Begin to own them.

Prayer:

Lord open my spirit and my heart to the wonders of Your great love – for me and for all humankind. Help me “ to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that (I) may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:18-19)

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