The Soaring Eagle

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


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Who I am

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus”
(Ephesians 2:10)

Reflection:
 I am not what the world has made of me. I am who and what God created me to be, and into which He is leading me and expressing through me.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

However, this newness is not something or someone that God has recently dreamed up. My true identity and nature goes back into the mists before our time began. And God is restoring me into that image which has all the beauty of something new and untarnished – a someone I have never seen or even imagined.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will”
(Ephesians 1:4-5)

George Appleton, in his beautiful and deeply insightful prayer, expressed it like this,

“Give me a candle of the Spirit,
O God,
as I go down into the depths of my being.
Show me the hidden things,
the creatures of my dreams,
the storehouse of forgotten memories
and hurts.
Take me down
to the spring of my life,
and tell me my nature and my name.
Give me freedom to grow,
so that I may become that self,
the seed of which  You planted in me at my making.”

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That’s Me

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people,
holy and dearly loved”
(Colossians 3:12-14)

 

Reflection:
Our new life in Christ grows from this truth – we are “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.”

It must live at the heart of our lives. We are chosen, we are set apart and, of paramount importance, we are dearly loved by the Lord God Almighty Himself.

In this love of God, and within our relationship with Him, is our healing, fulfilment and completion. It is because of this that we can bear with pain, suffering and rejection – and even the hurt caused by other Christians. God, in Christ, is our Life. From this centre we grow, develop and bear fruit.

It is not enough to read it and pass on. To become meaningful it must be noted, personalized and prayed into life within us. It is a seed to be planted intentionally, watered with our prayers, warmed by our thoughts and contemplation, and strengthened by our acceptance and trust. This should continue – not just until this great Love has burst into flower within us, but afterwards as well.

Response:
Give yourself time to remember, believe and to receive what God has given.

 Prayer:

Father thank You so very much for Your great love – not just for the world but for me too. Help me to open myself to receive, recognise and respond to Your love and to live within it, in Jesus name, Amen.

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Jesus Insulted

“Those who passed by hurled insults at him,
shaking their heads and saying,
“You who are going to destroy the temple
and build it in three days,
save yourself! Come down from the cross,
if you are the Son of God!”
(Matthew 27:39-40)

Reflection:
How quickly praise has changed to insults. A few days before the crowds had shouted “Hosanna”. Then it was “Crucify!” Now they threw His words back at Him and ridiculed Him.

Notice how similar this challenge is to the one issued by the devil as he began the temptations in the desert.

  • “The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” (Luke 4:3)
  • “Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

Both challenged Him to prove His identity as the Son of God by performing a miracle. Both challenges were also focussed on His physical need. Both were rejected by the Lord whose vision and purpose where far greater.

We all face challenges and temptations in our lives – including those that will establish us as significant in the eyes of others. We would be mortified if we were to lose our reputation and be discarded as worthless – particularly if it happened in such a public and humiliating way.

Jesus suffered this as a part of His sacrifice of Himself on our behalf. There was no glory involved at the time.

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Go Higher

2016-09-23

“God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles
the glorious riches of this mystery, which is
Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
(Colossians 1:27)

Reflection:
Christian lives can feel less like that of a soaring eagle and more like being constantly attacked by little black crows. They can irritate us, distract us from our identity and purpose, and even make us sound like them with snappy caws! The temptation is to stay on their level and focus on fighting them, instead of rising powerfully to heights that are beyond them.

Of course they will always be around somewhere. However, our calling is not to concentrate on resisting or fighting them, but to look and live above and beyond them – always moving forward, always drawing closer to the Lord, always crowding sin and temptation out of our lives by the presence of God and the goodness, beauty and activity into which He calls us.

The first step is to remember that God is not ‘out there’ somewhere. He is within His sons and daughters. He loves us, draws us and transforms us from the inside. Our salvation, in the form of our Saviour, has come from without and enters into those who receive Him. God the Holy Spirit has come to dwell within us. We are the people of God not just because we follow Him but because He has entered into us and expresses Himself through us.

Being God’s people means that our focus must always be above the things of the world and on the God and Saviour of the world. Look again at the words that Paul uses – “the glorious riches” so different from the vindictive little black shadows that chase us; “Christ in you” – this is God of whom he is talking – His presence might be a mystery but it is certainly a reality; “The hope of glory” – our sure and certain hope is in the reality of this Christ within us.

You don’t become an eagle by fighting the crows. You soar with God to where the little black shadows can’t go. Cleansed by His blood, with His Spirit within you, the presence of God is where you belong. Focus on Him and trust in the certainty of His love, His provision and His protection. Don’t let sin drag you down, but allow God to lift you up. Trust Him, He will do it. Remember always that although we are physically limited there is no limit to the heights to which our spirits can go with the Lord.

Response:
Confess sin, and keep pressing into God.

Prayer:

Father, sometimes I feel as if I am dragging myself through the dust and dirt. Please help me to look from myself to You, and allow Your smile and love to lift me up again and again. Amen.

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Own your identity

2016.07.04

“But our citizenship is in heaven.
And we eagerly await a Saviour from there,
the Lord Jesus Christ”
(Philippians 3:20)

Reflection:
Jonathan Sacks makes the statement in his book, Not in God’s Name, that ‘the twenty-first century has left us with a maximum of choice and a minimum of meaning.’ He goes on to state that ‘the most fundamental of human needs (is) the search for identity.’ The world around us is filled with people seeking or attempting to establish an identity in many different ways, including corruption and violence.

Jesus meets this very great need in His life and death and in His teachings and ministry. And it is small wonder that He drew to Himself so many of the lost, lonely and marginalised of society – those who no longer were found to be acceptable or included – whose lives had lost value and meaning. No one and nothing else has anything of lasting value to offer.

Consider these statements:

  • “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
  • “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
  • “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”  (John 1:12)
  • “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16)

Here is an identity beyond and above all others that we might have or to which we might aspire. Through faith in Jesus Christ we become the daughters and sons of the Lord God Almighty. This is an eternal and intimate relationship which nothing and no one can reverse or destroy. No matter what upheavals there may be in the world, our nation, community or personal and family life that identity, once established, is eternal.

  • “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)
  • “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 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 14:2-3)

In the Lord Jesus Christ we have the certain promise, underlined by the gift and witness of the Holy Spirit in our lives, that through faith in Him we become and are for eternity the sons and daughters of the living God, our beloved Father. Our response is to accept and own that gift and promise. It gives us our true and eternal identity.

Response:
I belong to God – He will never lose me or let go of me.

Prayer:

Lord God Almighty, You are my Father and I am Your child in Jesus Christ. Please help me to accept and own that wonderful gift of my new and eternal identity, and in it to be at peace. Amen.

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My Friend

2016.02.03

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you”
(John 15:15)

Reflection:
A servant is there to do a job. A friend is a companion on the journey of life. Someone to walk with, share with, think with, argue with, laugh with, cry with, work with, play with, be silent with, trust and enjoy, and on whom to depend.

One of the greatest complements that one can pay to another person is to say of them, “They are my best friend.” It is not automatic with siblings and spouses – but it can be. Not everyone has such a friend, but where they do it is a very special relationship.

Jesus is sharing something remarkably significant and special with us here. He wants us to be His friends. He not only wishes to share His eternal life’s journey with us – He also wishes to share everything that He has, and will have, with us. This includes the beautiful and heart-lifting truths that He has received from the Father. Nothing is to be withheld from us in this relationship.

As He walked the hills and valleys and dusty roads, and sailed the stormy seas, with His disciples – so He wishes to travel with us. As He sat with them in the evening, watching the sunset over the hills and talking about the day – so He wishes to sit with us. As He listened to them so He will listen to us. As He shared Himself and His truth with them so He wishes to share with us. As He broke bread with them – so He wishes to break bread with us. Everything.

We can treat Him as a name on the pages of a book or as a misty someone somewhere. Or He can be our constant Companion, Comforter and Guide – Our Healer, Encourager and Life.

Response:
“What a Friend we have in Jesus …”

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I really do want You to be my friend – help me to be Yours too. Amen.

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Identity

2016.02.01

“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:
Our identity is important to us. Who we are, where we come from and what we do has a significance not only in our own eyes but in the eyes of the world as well. The world has its own scale of values in this regard and assesses us accordingly.

For the Christian there is a new identity that surpasses any other in value and in significance. In receiving Christ as our Saviour and Lord we become ‘children of God’ – His daughters and sons. To be the son or daughter of God invests us with a completely new identity and significance. It should also give us a new and unshakable conviction regarding both our present and our future. For as Paul reminds us,

“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)

To be the child of the Lord God Almighty is to be unshakeably identified with Him – united in a relationship that no power in the world is capable of breaking, not even death itself. The fact that God wishes us to both know and be secure in this relationship is underlined as part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:15-16)

Response:
Own your identity. Keep reminding yourself that “I am a daughter/son of Almighty God.” Humbly live in the security of this glorious truth. You are very special and deeply loved.

Prayer:

Thank You Father for reaching out and drawing me into Your life and love. May the truth of our relationship sink into the depths of my being and give new meaning to my life and living. Amen.

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