The Soaring Eagle

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


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Listen

“Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law”
(Psalm 119:18)

Reflection:
“What about me!” When things get tough and I’m feeling down it is so easy for that cry to rise to my lips.

This morning in my reading it struck me how often some of the kings of Israel would immediately turn to the Lord in a problem. They went to find out what He had to say – and not only to plead for help. Sometimes His response was challenging where they had been guilty of ongoing sin – whilst at others it was encouraging and affirming.

I know for myself that when I have gone seeking Him in prayer and Scripture He invariably responds with a direct word or a biblical passage. Sometimes the response has been immediate whilst at others He has quietly waited until He has brought me to a better spiritual place – often where I am quieter and prepared to listen!

Again and again He has spoken to me through a word that has caught my attention whilst reading. As I have paused, there has come a stillness and quietness within and I have been comforted, encouraged and strengthened by His presence and response.

He does not always remove the problem but the knowledge of His intimate and loving presence has given me peace. And I have walked forward with Him.

Response:
What God wants to say in a situation is more precious than my demands

Prayer:

Father, You are with me always – and You care so much for me and about me. Help me to stay close to You and to trust You with all of me. Amen.

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Speak Wheat not Weeds

“Let your conversation be always full of grace,
seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
(Colossians 4:6)

Reflection:
We have something so valuable to contribute when we are with others. As people of grace, loved, called and saved by the Lord, we can share aspects of His love and beauty with them.

There is no call for us to enter into conversations of destructive gossip or negativity. With the salvation and hope that we have in Jesus Christ we are the ones to share hope, affirmation and understanding instead.  We have been accepted by God, we do not therefore have to look for acceptance from others by joining them in what they are doing.

As the light of the world and the salt of the earth our contribution in any situation should be positive and uplifting, particularly in what we say and the way in which we say it. Accordingly we must be very careful to avoid deliberate, or careless, criticism or slander of anyone else. Bad language, swearing and blasphemy should not be a part of our speech on any occasion, no matter how great the provocation. If any of this is happening around us, and we do not feel able to challenge it, then we need to consider walking away from it. Failing even that, we can keep silent and pray!

Throughout the day most of us will meet with a variety of people. Some we will know well, others casually and some will be strangers to us. In every case there is the opportunity, in the way that we speak and in what we say, to leave a positive impression. It is often so easy to bring a smile to someone’s face by a deliberate appreciation of something that they have done, even by an acknowledgement of their name and presence. And remember that if someone is angry or critical towards us, either with or without cause, there is no reason for us to become angry and abusive in return. We can choose our response remembering that,

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

If we set out in the morning with the intention of speaking love and encouragement into people’s lives, we will end the day having made a marked difference in many of them. For some it may have completely transformed their day and attitude. Not a bad result!

Response:
Just do it!

Prayer:

Father, I know what a difference it makes in my life to receive affirmation, encouragement and compliments. Help me to be a Love-giver into the lives of those around me – for Jesus sake, Amen.

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Ask

“Asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
 (Colossians 1:9)

Reflections:
We are told by Paul that in everything we should present our requests to God. (Philippians 4:6) However prayer should also include our praying for the things that God wants. Some of these are set out for us in the Lord’s Prayer where we can join our desires to those of God.

Now Paul turns his attentions to our individual and corporate growth and maturity – praying that God will fill is with the knowledge of His will – obviously in all things – through our growth in spiritual wisdom and understanding. This comes through the work and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit within us as well as through our growth in knowledge and understanding as we walk with God along the path that He has set for us. The more we know of God and His ways, and the more we get to know Him personally, the deeper will be our understanding of His will and ways in our life situation.

Because we can trust that He is the God of Love we can trust His will and His ways for us. They are designed to draw us closer to Him and into a deeper and more fulfilling relationship.

  • “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)

The purpose of this prayer of Pauls is not only to bless us but to enable us to more readily and purposefully fulfil the will of God both for us and through us.

  • “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” (Colossians 1:10-12)

Response:
We are called to make Paul’s prayer for the Colossians our own prayer for ourselves and our Christian community.

Prayer:

Lord fill me with the knowledge of Your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that I may live a life worthy of You in every way. Amen.

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He’s Here!

“As they talked and discussed these things with each other,
Jesus himself came up and walked along with them”
(Luke 24:15)

 

Reflection:
On the day of the Resurrection two of the disciples were walking away from Jerusalem and towards the village of Emmaus – a journey of about seven miles. They were discussing ‘everything that had happened’ including the accounts of the empty tomb and the women’s report of ‘a vision of angels, who said He was alive.’ As they proceeded on their way ‘Jesus came up and walked along with them.’

How easy it is to be aware of great events and fail to appreciate their personal significance. Jesus ministry and death were important enough to occupy their thoughts and discussion. They were aware of the empty tomb and the angels report that He was alive. Yet they still walked away from the centre, presumably back to their homes, not appreciating the possible impact upon their lives of one of the most significant events in history. And, when Jesus appeared and walked with them, they did not recognise Him. It was only after He had been revealed to them that they could not wait to return to the others in Jerusalem, bursting with the good news.

We can fall into the same trap and fail to recognise the importance of a personal relationship with the Lord, the personal significance of His life, death and resurrection and the personal reality of His presence in our lives.

The wonder of it is that the risen Jesus comes to find us with the purpose of revealing Himself to us – even when we are walking in the wrong direction.

Response:
Jesus is right with you – be aware of Him.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus please help me to be aware of the reality of Your presence – and not to treat You as an object of interest. Amen.

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Faith Prayer

2017-02-27

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you”
(Psalm 32:8)

 

Reflection:
Years ago when I was praying one morning the Lord suddenly interrupted me with the words,

“Do not come to me as a beggar, come as a son!”

Apart from startling me His words gave me a lot to think about. A beggar pleads – hoping to persuade. A son asks – confident in a positive response. A beggar does not know what he may or may not request. A son does because He knows his Father.

God has given us a number of promises. One of these is,

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go”

When we are in need of direction we can ask the Lord for guidance because of His promise. As His children we can keep on praying until we receive the answer – but not as one begging and trying to stir the Lord into action. After our initial request our prayer can change from asking to believing, for now it is not a question of ‘If’ but ‘When’. Something like this,

Father, you have promised to instruct and teach me in the way that I should go (or act or respond in these circumstances). Help me to recognise and receive Your guidance as it comes.

It keeps the prayer alive – which is good for a number of reasons. It is also a statement of faith to the Lord and a reminder to ourselves. Then we watch and wait for the answer – through Scripture, in a word, through a new understanding, a word of advice etc.

Another promise of God’s is that,

“in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”
(Romans 8:28)

Here again we need to ask God to do so in some of the situations that worry us. Then we should look to change our request to a positive affirmation. For example,

Lord You have promised to work for our good in all things. As You work a blessing through this situation open my/our eyes to see Your hand at work.

Finally, try praying the other side of the Lord’s Prayer as well, such as,

  • Lord I believe that somehow Your will is being done in me and in my times – please help me to be a part of it.
  • Lord Jesus I believe that behind all this Your Kingdom is being established in a glorious way – help me to be a part of it
  • Lord God Almighty I believe that Your name will be universally honoured above all other names – help me to be one who does so now.

Prayer:

Lord help me to look for You in all the areas that cause me to fret and, holding them and myself before You, trust that You are with me. Amen.

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My Guide

2017-02-23

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes,
he will guide you into all truth ..
 and he will tell you what is yet to come”
(John 16:13)

Reflection:
There is only one person who knows and understands everything about the past, all that will take place in the future, all that is happening in the present and everything about us. He also is ensuring that His plan and purpose continues to unfold despite the best efforts of others to frustrate it.

We need Him to bring His light of revelation into our own lives and situations. He will reveal to us our own great needs and the ways in which these are best addressed – to enable us to have the relationships and live the lives that are most fruitful and blessed. He will point us to and draw us into an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus Christ Himself and, through Him, to the glorious and loving Father.

It is He who will discern the gifts and ministries that He needs us to have and equip and empower us for these. He will also provide the opportunities for us to exercise them with Him. These are ‘the good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do.’ And He is the One who will reveal to us the hints of what is to come where it would be helpful to Him and to us to have this information.  This revelation will have more to do with the establishment of the Kingdom of God and the needs of people than the ups and downs of the Stock Market!

We may look around us in bewilderment and concern at many of the things that are taking place in our societies and across the world. Many of the works of ‘the world the flesh and the devil’ are disturbingly evident and uncomfortable. They need to be recognised for what they are and held before the Lord for His intervention.

In the face of such things the revelation that we continually need to embrace is that,

“the One who is in you is greater
than the one who is in the world.”
(1 John 4:4)

This Holy Spirit of whom Jesus was talking has already come, and He is with us and in us today. He is both our guarantee of our redeemed relationship with God and our eternal salvation, as well as our strength and inspiration for the present and the future. If He indeed is closer to us ‘than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet’ (Tennyson) then that closeness should be embraced and enjoyed.

Response:
Be still, listen for His word in Scripture and in quietness – and talk to Him.

Prayer:

Holy Spirit I turn to You, to acknowledge You within me and to enjoy Your presence. Bless me Lord and open me to Your love, Your truth and Your will, in Jesus name. Amen.

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Looking forward back

2017-01-23

“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me”
(Psalm 139:1)

Reflection:
When we become Christians we are called from our old worldly ways into a new and Godly way of living. This transformation does not take effect immediately and without any contribution on our part. It is a process in which we are very much involved with the Lord.

One of the necessary consequences is that we should frequently take stock of and review our journey and the way we are living out our faith with the Lord. In doing this we will not only discover more about ourselves – including our strengths and weaknesses and gifts – but we will discover more of what the Lord is doing in and through and around us.

Many Christians down through the years have practised a regular, often daily, review with the Lord and found it to be a great blessing and encouragement. Generally there are six steps involved.

  1. Sit quietly with the Lord

At the end of one day or the beginning of the next draw aside for this purpose. Acknowledge the Lord’s presence and make a journal note of the events and people involved in the past day. Include a note of your own feelings and emotions at the different stages

  1. Look back with gratitude

Walk through the day with God and note its joys and delights, its blessings, your work and your interaction with people. Think over the quality of these relationships and whether others were blessed by their interaction with you. What was the gift that you may have given to them? Dwell on some of the smaller things – food, sights, sounds and other pleasures. All good things come from the Lord.
Allow Him to draw your attention to any sins, weaknesses and failures. Ask Him what you should do about them.

  1. Identify your feelings then and now

What were your emotions at different stages of the day and what caused them? Be real. Could God be telling you something through them? – about yourself, others or your situation? Ask Him what it could be. Our emotions can tell us about ourselves and something of God.

  1. Ask God to highlight one area of importance

This will be His opinion not ours! It could be a feeling, an encounter, a moment of pleasure or pain or even something seemingly insignificant. Accept what He brings to mind and prayer a heartfelt response – praise, repentance, gratitude, intercession, whatever it might be.

  1. And now tomorrow

Look ahead and tell the Lord how you feel about the day to come. Identify the areas that you look forward to and those you don’t – and tell Him why. Prayer for them and ask Him to give you His guidance and wisdom, His strength and understanding, His perseverance and love, to enable you to journey through them with Him.

  1. Finally

Talk with Him. Thank Him for His presence and help. Ask for forgiveness and healing where you need it. Pray for the continued infilling of the Holy Spirit.

Don’t be concerned if you do not hear Him clearly in all the areas all the time and don’t agonise over the issues. This is a gentle review with a loving Father designed to help you live out your relationship with Him and others more suitably tomorrow. The more you practice it the more valuable it will become and the better you will learn to identify and hear the Lord as He speaks.

Response:
Try it quickly now

Prayer:

Thank You Lord that You are always with me. Help me to live every moment in the knowledge of Your love for me and presence with me, and guide me in the Way and the Truth and the Life. Amen.

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