The Soaring Eagle

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


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You are Mine

“I have summoned you by name;
you are mine”
(Isaiah 43:1)

 

Reflection:
One night, in the early hours of the morning, I was up looking out at the quiet, moonlit silence. The Lord prompted me to pick up and open my Bible. I did so and found myself reading these words – the first to appear at the top of the page.

“I have summoned you by name;
you are mine”

I stood and pondered their profound and wonderful significance. For indeed He had called me by name and here was the deeply personal reminder of that calling – together with the marvellous and intensely touching affirmation – “You are Mine!”

In a world of great insecurity where to be accepted and acceptable today is no guarantee of tomorrow, where the hurts, failures and rejections of yesterday cloud our vision of today and wrap the future in a shifting mist – where the loves and lovers of this day might be gone by the next – in the midst of all this painful uncertainty – I belong. I am owned and valued. There is a Someone who says of me with love, certainty and everlasting significance, “You are mine.”

 In fact the truth is that He looked for me, tracked me down, called and reached out to me, and took me into His life and His heart. It was no passing whim, no sudden impulse to be forgotten and ignored – but a deliberate and conscious decision and act that had eternity in mind.

What is true for me is true also for each and every one of the sons and daughters of this great and wonderful God. Whatever our earthly state the eternal truth remains and will never end either here or throughout the blissful endless ages to come.

“I have summoned you by name;
you are mine”

Response:
Take a moment to receive, accept and own this tremendous truth

Prayer:

Father God I am Yours – and I rejoice with humble awe and wonder. You have called me and are transforming me day by day into the person You always intended me to be –and You will never ever let me go. Thank You so much. Amen.

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Come Home

“I will set out and go back to my father
and say to him:
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you”
(Luke 15:18)

Reflection:
Again and again I return to this amazing illustration of the love of God – painted for us by Jesus Himself. This time God surprised me by drawing my attention to the faith of the lost son.

He had done everything possible to alienate himself from his father. He had demanded his inheritance early, thereby indicating that his father was living too long. He had walked away from his father, his family and his home. He had ‘squandered his wealth on wild living’ and ‘with prostitutes’ and had ended up a ragged beggar in the gutter, with nothing to call his own and with no means of supporting himself. Everything had been lost including his social status and self-respect.

 However, there was one precious item that remained – one that only surfaced right at the end. That was his knowledge of his father’s character. And, Jesus tells us, it was ‘when he came to his senses’ that he found it and knew that there was in fact one place to which he could go. He could go home to his father. He believed that his father would not turn him away.

This is the blinding truth that the Lord Jesus holds out to us. Whatever we  have done, wherever we have been, and wherever we find ourselves to be – when the truth hits us that we have got it all so wrong –  there  remains for us always one safe place to which we can turn – we can go home to God our Father. We can return – not to the servant’s quarters – but into the arms that have never been closed to us.

Finally we look away from ourselves and we look at God – and we see – and we find all that we have longed for ….

Response:
Do I need to go home from anywhere?

Prayer:

Help me come Lord Jesus, dare I stay away!

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Reality we can know

“I always thank God for you
because of his grace
 given you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Corinthians 1:4)

 

Reflection:
Our relationship with God is all about reality. It is based on His reality and the fact that He has intervened in our reality.

This is the reality of our everyday lives, as well as the reality of our past and our future. Whilst the world offers us concepts, philosophies and ultimate loneliness and death, God offers us truth, personal relationship with Him, and eternal life and healing. Where the world tells us what we must do, God shows us what He has done. Where the world will sell to us, God gives to us freely. Where the world gives no visible proof, God gives us His Son. Where the world offers no guarantees God sends His Spirit to live within us. Whereas the world ultimately discards us, God promises us resurrection and life.

The wonder of our relationship with God is that everything that He has done for us, and that He offers us, is done out of His great, unlimited and unconditional love.

This love of God is not revealed only in words, it is revealed in the gift and sacrifice of His Son on our behalf. There could be no greater gift or example of that love. And, because it is only through the grace of God flowing from this love that we have a future and a hope, Jesus Christ stands also as the revelation of this grace. We become personal recipients of it as we believe and trust in Him. We receive not only God’s love but the salvation and ever-present relationship with Him that flows from it.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”  (Ephesians 2:8)

From beginning to end the reality of God, and the relationship that we can have with Him, is revealed and assured in the reality of Jesus Christ who entered into the reality of human life to bring to it a new and eternal reality with God. It is this reality that we enter into through faith, be it initially as small as a mustard seed – which itself is a gift from God

Response:
Consider the reality of the cross. God speaks through it to each one personally.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, help me to look not to myself but to You, and to continually receive the wonder of God’s grace and love. Amen.

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Spirit Life

“So I say live by the Spirit
 and you will not gratify
the desires of the sinful nature”
(Galatians 5:16)

Reflection:
A new journey begins when as believers we acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. He will start to lead us away from sin – firstly by drawing our attention to it and them by beginning to convict us of its presence in our lives. By the grace of God He does not overwhelm us immediately with the sum total of it all, but rather begins to peel away the layers one by one. We may well experience some form of internal warfare that will surprise us – for we remain human surrounded by all the fleshly desires, temptations and weakness of the world. He will work to set us free and to empower us to overcome and avoid them – but we will need to co-operate and to walk with Him. This in itself will be a challenge at times for we may find to our distress that our wills are weak and we are inclined to stray.  It will mean that we need to continually return to Him to allow Him to pick us up, heal and cleanse us, and lead us onwards.

He offers us His gifts, power and guidance and expects us to follow Him – remember He is God and knows the way and the ways that are best for us in our situations. One of His gifts is to produce in us the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. He does so because they are the characteristics of the Father – in whose image we are being re-formed – and because we need them as we live and minister in a world which does not reveal them naturally.

It is a life-long journey of co-operation. He does not overwhelm and force Himself on us. Neither can we produce the fruit by ourselves. As we allow Him to work in us and respond to His guidance He will produce the fruit that we bear. We show our faith in Him by beginning to pray for and live these qualities in our everyday lives, believing that He is indeed forming them within us.

Response:
I believe that I am increasingly becoming a person of love …

Prayer:

Holy Spirit I ask and invite You to continue your healing and life-giving work within me, and pray that You will help me to recognise and respond to Your direction. Amen

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Identity 4

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit
that we are God’s children”
(Romans 8:16)

Reflection:
Such is the desire of God that we should be redeemed as His children – and know it for ourselves – that He has given us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is not to be with us as a companion but within us as a living Presence.

Here the Spirit has a number of functions.  The first is to testify to and with our spirit that we are God’s children. This is so important that God has not left us to believe only in His spoken Word for He knows how easily we can doubt not only His Word but ourselves. So He witnesses Himself, by the Spirit, to our own spirits of the truth of our new and eternal relationship with Him. This is one that cannot be broken. God desires, accepts and commits Himself to it for all eternity. And He wants us to know it, receive and trust it, and live within it always.

An allied work to which the Spirit is committed is that of introducing us to the fullness of God’s love for us.

  • “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5)
  • “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19)

This testimony by God to our new identity, and of His great, unconditional and unending love, is vital to our relationship with Him – and of course to our relationship with ourselves.

Response:
The Holy Spirit is speaking to you at your deepest level. Are you listening and giving Him the space to be heard?

Prayer:

Holy Spirit of God please help me to listen, to hear and to respond to Your precious presence and marvellous message. Amen.

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Click across to It Came To Pass for a good free recording of The Psalms!


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Identity 2

“John answered them all, “I baptize you with water.
But one more powerful than I will come,
the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”
(Luke 3:16)

Reflection:
All four Gospels testify to the fact that Jesus Christ will baptise His followers with the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit, whom we understand to be God, was poured out in a completely new way on the Day of Pentecost. He transformed the spiritual lives of the disciples and the way that they lived. He also equipped them with the gifts and power that they would need for their new lives and ministry. And when in response to Peter’s Pentecost sermon the crowds were convicted and cried out, “What shall we do?” Peter’s response was brief and explicit,

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call”  (Acts 2:38-39)

This is the fulfilment of the prophecy of John the Baptist, it is the fulfilment of the promise of the Lord to send another “Counsellor, the Holy Spirit” and is the fulfilment of His word to Nicodemus concerning being born again through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

New life does not come without the Holy Spirit and yet He is freely available to all believers – not only as a once off blessing but as a continuing source of life and love and light.

  • “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)
  • “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5)
  • “But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26)

Finally as Paul makes clear “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9)

Our new identity comes about because God has called us to Himself and given to us the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the One who brings about the transformation in our lives from being children of the world to becoming children of the Most High God.

Response:
Keep on praying for more of the Holy Spirit in your life and invite Him into all your areas of concern

Prayer:

Holy Spirit of God please fill me with Your presence, pour the love of God into my heart and teach me all that I should know as I journey onward with You. Amen.

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Identity 1

“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)

Reflection:
Jesus came to offer to us a new identity – in line with God’s original intention in creation.

No longer children of the Fall with all its consequences, through faith in Christ we become children of the Lord God Almighty Himself. John made it clear at the beginning of his gospel that this was not a natural but a supernatural event.

This new birth is important for us to acknowledge, to believe and to own. In coming to faith in Jesus Christ we are no longer to see ourselves as a product of our past – our human genealogy, our culture and our lives – but instead, and in all humility, as a daughter or son of God. This comes about not by our own actions but by the action of God Himself, and through the agency of the Holy Spirit. It is one of the reasons for the Church’s celebration of Pentecost – observed yesterday.

This has enormous implications for the way in which we see ourselves and other Christians and, vitally, the way in which we see God and our relationship with Him.

We will explore this further during the week.

Response:
For today as a Christian – live with the truth that ‘I am a child of God’

Prayer:

Heavenly Father – our Father – my Father – thank You for adopting me as Your own son/daughter. By Your Holy Spirit please help me to believe and receive the wonder of this truth and to live within it. Amen.

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