The Soaring Eagle

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


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God is Holy

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory”
(Isaiah 6:3)

Reflection:
God is Holy. The Holy One of Israel became Isaiah’s favourite expression for Him. In His revelation of Himself to Isaiah God showed that His holiness stood in the sharpest possible contrast to human sinfulness. We are reminded of this difference when we see the blazing and blinding light of the sun in comparison to the pale and reflected light of the moon. Such is this raging holiness, this blinding purity and this consuming glory that God would say to Moses,

  • “You cannot see My face, for no-one may see Me and live.” (Exodus 33:20)

To say that God is holy is to acknowledge that He is distinct and separate from all other beings and absolutely unique.  There is no one and nothing that can compare to Him. God points this out Himself.

  • “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25)

God is not merely a bigger and better version of humankind. He is ‘transcendently separate, in a class by Himself,’ subject to no one and to nothing else, and accountable only to Himself. David honoured Him in these words,

  • “Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvellous deeds; you alone are God”  (Psalm 86:8-10)

Habakkuk and Isaiah describe their experience of God like this,

  • “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled” (Habakkuk 3:16)
  • “Woe to me!” I cried. “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)

And the writer to the Hebrews

  • “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29)

In God there is no darkness at all (1 John1:5). But not only that. His light is a perfect and complete light – a light that would blind and paralyse us. His truth is a total and absolute truth – nothing missing, overlooked or incomplete. His will is an overwhelming and irresistible will that will not rest until it has completed what He wishes. And such is the total hatred that He has for sin that it causes a violent reaction within Him that desires to leap out and destroy all that is not of Him.

  • “The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up and the Lord said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish. Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.” (Exodus 19:20-24)

There is only one thing that stands between us and the consuming holiness of God – and that is the Cross of Christ, the great revelation of His perfect and holy love.

Prayer;

Open my eyes Lord to the glory of Your Being, and help me to worship You in the beauty of holiness. Amen.

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Trust and Obey

“I am the Lord,
and there is no other”
(Isaiah 45:6)

Reflection:
In the uncertainties and pains of this world remind yourself of three things

God is still God, He is still in control and He always will be.

  • “I am the Lord, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:6)
  • “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (Isaiah 46:10)

Jesus Christ His Son is, and always will be, the Answer to all life’s challenges and needs – in each and every situation.

  • “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6)
  • “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND Lord OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16)
  • “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)

We are called to live in faith and obedience to God. Faith is an active response and it is revealed through our obedience – whilst to disobey is a rejection. So we start by putting our faith and trust in Him, and continue by expressing it in our obedience.

  • “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29)
  • “If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:16-17)
  • “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him”  (John 14:23)

Whatever the state of our lives at this moment we need not be alone. The Lord God, the Almighty Father, is with us, the Crucified, Resurrected and Ascended Saviour is with us, and the Life-giving, Fruit-growing and Transforming Holy Spirit is within us.

Response:
Acknowledge Him, Speak to Him, Listen to Him, Trust and Obey Him

Prayer:

You are God and there is no other. You are the God of my life and my situations. Bless me Lord for I need You so much. Guide me, strengthen me and grow me in faith and obedience and the knowledge of Your love. I entrust You with me in my today and tomorrows. Amen.

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This is the way

“This is the way; walk in it.”
(Isaiah 30:21)

 

Reflection:
God made the world and He made us according to His purpose. He put the natural and spiritual laws in place to support this purpose. He therefore knows the best way for it to be achieved. And, because He loves us and wants us for His daughters and sons, His ways will be the best for us – as well as the only ways.

From Adam to Abraham to Sinai and to Jesus Christ God has, in one way or the other, been telling humankind that the way that He shows us, and in which He instructs us, is the way to live. Jesus continued with that message.

  • “Come, follow me,” Jesus said” (Matthew 4:19)
  • Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, … teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20)

To follow is to journey with as well as to do things the way that He does and directs. Jesus underlined it in His teaching on prayer. He showed us that the primary prayer at all times and in all situations and circumstances is for

  • God’s name be honoured
  • God’s Kingdom to come
  • God’s will to be done
  • And all of it to happen on earth just as it does in heaven

It’s the way that He lived. It’s the way we should. Trying to live without God, or to do things our way, invites ruin.

God’s Way leads to life – the ways of the world do not.

Response:
Trust God  and follow Him – not the world

Prayer:

Lord God help me to be faithful to You and to Your Word – for in Jesus alone is the way, the truth and the life. Amen.

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More Lord

“Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
 and to our God, for he will freely pardon”
(Isaiah 55:6-7)

Reflection:
These are hugely encouraging verses.

Firstly, the Lord may be found. He is not a God who hides from us. Although He does not parade Himself around for the entertainment of the masses – like Jesus if He had leaped from the pinnacle of the Temple – still He is accessible and knowable. Indeed He said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). He is here for us to find if we are sincere. We were created into a relationship with Him, and He has not changed.

Secondly, the Lord is not far away, from where He has to be called back. He is near. As Alfred, Lord Tennyson, wrote, “Closer is He than breathing and nearer than hands and feet.” He is so near to us that He knows our every thought and the numbers of hairs on our heads.

Thirdly, when we do turn to the Lord and seek to put our sins behind us, His delight, which arises from the unfathomable depths of His love, is to have mercy on us and to freely pardon our sins. He has already dealt with them in the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf.

God does expect those who come to Him to repent. That is not just to confess their sins but to be prepared to start walking away from them – to forsake them, to leave them lonely and abandoned behind them on the highway of their life, no matter how long it might take – and to seek to walk in the ways of the new and better life that God holds out to them. In this they will have His help.

Response:
Be aware of the closeness of the Lord – talk with Him and seek to do everything as for Him.

Prayer:

Father, forgive me for those things that stand between us, and which I have not yet abandoned. Please help me to seek and turn to You with more purpose than before and to walk in the way of my new life in Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Full of His Glory

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
(Isaiah 6:3)

 

Reflection:
When I take time to look, listen and be aware I find that Creation is filled with expressions of God. It is as if He passed by and

  • The storm revealed His majesty
  • The sunset revealed His glory
  • The sunrise revealed His purity
  • The gentle breeze revealed His tenderness
  • The sun-kissed clouds revealed His beauty

As He journeyed on He scattered not only His Word but His gifts of Himself. And so

  • The eagle soared
  • The lark sang
  • The lion roared
  • The wind whispered through the trees
  • The little brook chuckled … and
  • A small child laughed

Paul writes,

  • “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Romans 1:20)

Look! Can you see it – hear it – feel it?  Be still and know He is right there – here – now. In it all.

Response:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord,
God of Power and Might,

Heaven and Earth are full of Your Glory,
Hosanna in the Highest.

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Came the Light

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
(Isaiah 9:2)

 

Reflection:
The advent of the Messiah was seen as the equivalent of a great light entering into a deathly darkness. The quality of the light is stressed by the use of the word great. It is not the flickering of a candle seen across the midnight fields but more the sudden rising of the sun after a moonless night.

This same idea is picked up by John in the first verses of his gospel.

  • “That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5 HCSB)
  • “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world” (John 1:9)

The darkness of the world to which both the prophet and the apostle refer is the spiritual darkness that blankets and smothers life and hope, which destroys relationships and peace, turns love into a sadness and encourages all that is vile and destructive. In this darkness the only person we often can see is ourselves and this can become the focus of the individual, the community and the nation. For many life is a living death and death a fearsome obliteration.

The coming of the Messiah as ‘the Light of the world’ couples together both light and life.

  • “In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:4)

The light which transforms our lives is the new light that is in Jesus Christ. It draws us to Him and although it may not immediately change our present situation it can transform us within our situation, which in itself will bring change.

This light and life is associated with another word – love. They come from the God almighty who is described to us by John as love. The three belong together – love, light and life. It is this trinity that God wishes to impart into our lives and situations.

Whoever and wherever we are today this is the gift that God wishes us to receive from Him.  As we celebrate the birth of the One who is both Saviour and Lord, Life and Light, and the fullest expression of Love,  we celebrate the greatest Gift known to humankind.

Question:
Do I see darkness and/or light in my life?

Response:
Whatever I have of the Lord I need more.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus may Your Light within me grow ever stronger as I walk in trust and obedience with You – and may I become more of Your light in the world around me. Amen.

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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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