The Soaring Eagle

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


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Press on

“Train yourself to be godly”
(1 Timothy 4:7)

Reflection:
Generally we do not grow up as Godly people. We may be raised and trained to behave within the boundaries of ‘common decency’ but that does not make us Godly – no matter how closely some of those values might relate to Scriptural standards. Even then amongst them all we will be amazed at how many of the principles and ways of the world have become a part of our lives and living, together with what Paul has just referred to as ‘godless myths and old wives tales.’

Godly living means looking for the commands and teachings of God, Jesus and the apostles in Scripture and intentionally seeking to make them a foundational part of our values and practices. It would include looking at the example of Jesus Himself and seeking to live after that model – for to be Godly is to be like God. In essence therefore everything that we think and say and do should increasingly be to God’s pleasure and glory.

We see the importance of this as we recognise that we are no longer children of the world but the daughters and sons of God Himself. Whilst salvation can be an immediate transformation our different way of life has to be learned and lived, consciously and purposefully, until it becomes a natural expression of our new and God-given identity. The closer we draw to the Lord Himself the more natural and inspired this will become – although there will still be some inward battles where we need to pray and keep on praying for the help and strengthening of the Holy Spirit.

Like Paul we know that we have

‘not .. already been made perfect, but I press on.’

Response:
Sanctification is a life-long journey. Take another step today.

Prayer:

Lord God help me to desire to be more like You and not to slumber in the ways of the world around me. Please inspire and strengthen me every day and protect me from falling back again. Amen.

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Holy Lord

2015.06.22

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

(Isaiah 6:3)

Reflection:
The life-changing moment for Isaiah was that of his great vision of the Lord. It was through this clearer understanding of the absolute holiness of God that he saw the truth about his own sins and sinfulness far more clearly. Overcome by God’s glory, majesty and holiness he cried out –

“Woe to me!” .. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:5)

But God was ready for him. In response to this great cry of acknowledgement and need a seraph came and ministered to him with the words ‘your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’ Forgiven and cleansed he was ready to be God’s spokesman – to speak of His glory, majesty and power as well as His love, intimacy and forgiveness.

He prophesied and proclaimed the great truths about God and His relationship with His chosen people.

God is One – there is no other. Where the idols who were worshipped could not even move themselves about ‘the Holy One of Israel’ can lift and carry His people. As God declared ‘apart from Me there is no God.’
God is Sovereign over both creation and history – His will and purpose will be achieved. ‘The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.’ ..‘He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.’
God is Holy – sin cannot be condoned or allowed into His presence. He is not human but totally different. The ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ of the vision, the word repeated three times, underlines God’s separateness, absolute purity and total power.
God is Judge – He, and He alone, will judge humankind according to His standards and His perfect knowledge. All people and all nations are accountable to Him.
God is Redeemer – there is no other with such power and love. He called upon His Servant to take His message of redemption to all people. This Servant would delight in God – and in his eternal kingdom righteousness and peace would prevail. He would be the one who would suffer and die willingly, and then experience the victory beyond death, the victory of the redemption of humankind – for whoever would believe.

This is our great and wonderful God who is totally beyond our comprehension in holiness, majesty and power. Yet out of His great love for us He has revealed Himself to us, taken His righteous judgement of us upon Himself and committed Himself to us for all eternity. And He has invited us to approach Him freely in prayer.

Response:
Keep looking and praying for your vision of God to grow in truth.

Prayer:

Lord God, please increasingly open my eyes and understanding to the wonder of Your majesty, holiness and love. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Me Holy?

2015.05.08

“For he chose us in him
before the creation of the world
to be holy and blameless in his sight.”

(Ephesians 1:4)

Reflection:
“He chose us… to be holy and blameless.” Holy starts by meaning different – and blameless without blemish or fault. God is different to us. A church is different to other buildings. The Sabbath is different to other days. We are called to be different to the others – the non-believers – around us. If the world is in darkness our difference is that we are the light. The contrast should be clear and without doubt, wherever we are and whatever we are doing.

Having become united with Christ God sees us as different, as Christ is different. As we respond to His great love and our great salvation that should surely become reflected in our lives and living. We live to a different standard because we know we are different people.

We now belong to Christ and to His body the Church. We have a place, position, purpose and potential that is meant for us and we have been gifted and empowered accordingly. Our holiness comes not just from our efforts to avoid sin but more from the quality of our relationship with Him and our co-operation in His purpose for us.

And when we fall or fail, or danger and disaster threaten, we have someone to Whom we can turn.

Response:
Seek to walk with God – not the other way round

Prayer:

Lord God I am yours. Please help me to trust You and allow You to live in and through me. Amen.

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Look and See

2013.10.15

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

(Isaiah 6:3)

Reflection:

The life-changing moment for Isaiah was that of his great vision of the Lord. It was through this clearer understanding of the absolute holiness of God that he saw the truth about his own sins and sinfulness far more clearly. Overcome by God’s glory, majesty and holiness he cried out –

“Woe to me!” .. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:5)

 But God was ready for him. In response to this great cry of acknowledgement and need a seraph came and ministered to him with the words ‘your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’  Forgiven and cleansed he was ready to be God’s spokesman – to speak of His glory, majesty and power as well as His love, intimacy and forgiveness.

 He prophesied and proclaimed the great truths about God and His relationship with His chosen people.

  • God is One – there is no other. Where the idols who were worshipped could not even move themselves about ‘the Holy One of Israel’ can lift and carry His people. As God declared ‘apart from Me there is no God.’
  • God is Sovereign over both creation and history – His will and purpose will be achieved. ‘The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.’ ..‘He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.’
  • God is Holy – sin cannot be condoned or allowed into His presence. He is not human but totally different. The ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ of the vision, the word repeated three times, underlines God’s separateness, absolute purity and total power.
  • God is Judge – He, and He alone, will judge humankind according to His standards and His perfect knowledge. All people and all nations are accountable to Him.
  • God is Redeemer – there is no other with such power and love. He called upon His Servant to take His message of redemption to all people.  This Servant would delight in God – and in his eternal kingdom righteousness and peace would prevail. He would be the one who would suffer and die willingly, and then experience the victory beyond death, the victory of the redemption of humankind – for whoever would believe.

 This is our great and wonderful God who is totally beyond our comprehension in holiness, majesty and power. Yet out of His great love for us He has revealed Himself to us, taken His righteous judgement of us upon Himself and committed Himself to us for all eternity. And He has invited us to approach Him freely in prayer.

Response:

Keep looking and praying for your vision of God to grow in truth.

Prayer:

Lord God, please increasingly open my eyes and understanding to the wonder of Your majesty, holiness and love. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Start Building!

“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”

(Jude 1:20-21)

Reflection:

Jude has just reminded us that “in the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” It makes it more difficult for us when our belief is ridiculed, our standards rejected as narrow-minded, legalistic and unhelpful, and the ways of the world move further and further away from those that we believe are the ways of Christ. The first temptation, that of Adam and Eve, is still the similar temptation of today, as seemingly learned people tell us that there is no God, or that He did not mean what Scripture says, or that what people desire will be good for them.

 He encourages us not to be led astray or weakened by these things. Rather, to recognise them for what they are, the mouthings and activities of people who do not have the Spirit of God within them, who are therefore not led by the Spirit, and are not therefore the sons and daughters of God. We are to look to our God and our own faith and, instead of allowing ourselves to be confused by others, seek strengthen our faith, its Scriptural basis and daily expression. It is a ‘most holy faith’ because it is so different from the worldly view of things just as God is totally different from the world and its ways. Our faith is not in our intelligence but in our God!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isaiah 55:8-9)

 

Even in our prayers we must seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and, when we do not know what to pray or how to pray, allow Him to pray through us as we lift ourselves and the affairs of the world to God. For “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  (Romans 8:14)

 But there is more. Jude tells us to “keep yourselves in God’s love.” Jesus has told us that the way to do this is to live in the way that He has taught us.

“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”  (John 15:10)

 

Obedience is the sign and demonstration of our love for Him and our trust in Him –the opposite of Adam and Eve’s response.

 Three things that we are called to do, and on which we must focus on as the world slides away:

  • Build ourselves up in  faith – through the Word, prayer and obedience
  • Prayer prompted and led by the Spirit
  • Living the way Jesus has taught us

 Response:

Read the New Testament – focus on Jesus teachings and instructions. Keep looking at the ways of the world in comparison and seek to choose and live the Jesus Way.

 Prayer:

Lord Jesus, please help me to be aware of the dangers of the world and its ways. Guide me please in Your ways and give me the love, strength and courage to follow You. Amen.

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To Be In Christ

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”

(Ephesians 1:4)

Reflection:

We did not just happen. Whatever some of the modern thinking says, we are not accidents of nature nor the result of random mass production. Within each one of us is a God-created identity – “For You created my inmost being” (Psalm 139:13a) That identity was known to God before the creation of the world, when we were chosen to be a part of the Body of Jesus Christ – the Christian Church.

 “He chose us”. Jesus emphasises this point in the story of the Vine – “You did not choose me, but I chose you.”(John 15:16) We talk of ‘accepting Christ’ and of ‘asking Him into our lives’, but the truth is that such things would never have happened if He had not chosen us, chosen to reach out to us, chosen to reveal Himself to us, and chosen to call us to Himself. In the Great Commission He has chosen us to continue the process in the power of the Holy Spirit. The fact that He did so “before the creation of the world” gives great purpose, value and significance to our lives.

 “He chose us… to be holy.”  Holy starts by meaning different. God is different to us. A church is different to other buildings. The Sabbath is different to other days. We are called to be different to the others – the non-believers – around us. If the world is in darkness our difference is that we are the light. The contrast should be clear and without doubt, wherever we are and whatever we are doing. We live to a different standard because we are different people.

 “He chose us…to be blameless.” When related to a sacrifice the word means without blemish. Any animal found to have a blemish was considered to be unsuitable for sacrifice and was rejected. Only the best is good enough for God – so our standard, as His people, is not just respectability… but perfection. Second best is never an acceptable standard.

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.(Matthew 5:48)

 “In His sight.” This means far more than an impartial observance or acceptance. He has chosen us ‘in Christ’ and He looks at us in and through Christ, who has become our “righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Cor 1:30) We do not have a righteousness of our own, but a righteousness

which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”(Philippians 3:9) Christ is our new life, we are only acceptable to God in terms of our unity with Jesus – the reality and depth of our relationship with, and faith in Him. God sees us ‘in Christ’, either as an inseparable part of Him, or as totally separate.

 Christ has done for us what we could not do, and cannot do, for ourselves. He has taken our sin with its stain and guilt and dealt with it on the cross. As we put our faith and trust in Him we become a part of His life and reality and are seen by God in that context. Out of gratitude, and a redeemed vision, we seek to live out our new identity and relationship with God by presenting to Him our love, worship, adoration and best endeavours. Where we fall short the difference is provided by Christ. It is no excuse for poor standards or self-indulgence – only our best response is worthy of God and His Son, Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord.

 Response:

Christ calls you, as you read this, today. Come closer to Him, or come to Him for the first time. He, and He alone, is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

 Prayer:

Lord Jesus, You call me by name, with a purpose that started before time began. You hold out Your hand to me. I take Your hand now and turn to walk with You. Please hold on to me and never let me go. Amen.

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Living Holiness

“I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.”

(Leviticus 11:45)

Reflection:

We are called to be Holy as God is Holy – not just because it seemed like a good idea to God. The call to be like Him is a call back to the image of God in which humankind was first created. It is a call back to the original vision, the original relationship, the original identity and the original potential. It is a call to step onto the Way of the Lord and to journey in the Way in which He journeys – to become more and more like Him as the journey continues.

To be holy is not to refrain from some ways of life and living, it is to replace them with others. It is not to be like a pane of glass that has been cleaned, and on which no stain is evident. That pane is neither going anywhere nor doing anything – it is merely waiting to become grimy again. To be holy as God is holy is to be filled with a passion for true life in all that it involves, with its creativity, beauty and magnificence. It is to be on fire with love, life and light.

Scripture tells us that:

  • God is love (1 John 4:16)
  • Jesus is the Life (John 14:6)
  • Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12)

It tells us also that our “God is a consuming fire.”(Hebrews 12:29)

It paints a picture of vibrancy and almost explosive delight in being – a being that is actively expressing itself all the time. The passion that created the universe in the first place is the passion that keeps it expanding and developing – and a passion that wishes to continually be rejoicing in new expressions of “It is good!” No wonder that Jesus, in the Revelation letter to the Church in Laodicea, could not stomach the thought of luke-warm Christians, and said that He would ‘spit you out of My mouth.” ( Rev. 3:16) (Some translations translate the word as “spue” or “vomit”) The expression a luke-warm Christian is a contradiction in terms – a Christian should be a person who has discovered what true life and living is all about. The fire of the Spirit should be flaring up within them. As sin should make them weep as Jesus wept, God should make them rejoice as Jesus did –

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)

 

To be holy is to enter into life in its fullness, God’s life, – both to live it and to give it. As Jesus said that, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) so He intends that our life should reach its fulfilment in bringing life to the people and the situations around us. To truly live is to set others alive – just as a fire gets other fires going. In the process the passion for life and living consumes the darkness and degradation around it.

To be holy is not dependent upon context and circumstances. For Isaiah, for Jesus and for Paul –as well as others – the road and the human countryside through which they travelled, could and would be often hard, unattractive and unappealing. The fruit of their labours was sometimes hard to see, if not invisible, at the time. But the God who brought His people out of Egypt and through the desert to the Promised Land, is the Holy God at all times – as should be His “holy nation.” (Ex 19:6)

Response:

Take another step – ask God to pour His light, love and life into you, and to heal your spirit.

Keep looking for signs of God around you.

Prayer:

Father, please open the eyes of my spirit, and open me to the life, light and love of Your Spirit. Amen.

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