The Soaring Eagle

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


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True Me

“Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth”
(1 Corinthians 13:6)

 

Reflection:
Love cannot rejoice over what is not true – or over what is plainly evil and destructive. It would be a total contradiction of what love is all about.

Love plainly desires what is the best – what is positive, healing, constructive, encouraging and a blessing. All of that has to be based upon truth, for if any of those were found to be merely lies the end result would be counter-productive and very destructive.

If we are prepared to face and admit the truth about ourselves we also discover the real person whom God loves. It is that person to whom He holds out His hand and says ‘Come to Me’ and ‘Come with Me.’

It was his real person that David kept bringing before the Lord and who received the blessing. It was the people who knew the reality of their fallenness who came so sincerely to the Lord and who received His blessing. It was the ‘white-washed tombs’ who missed out by keeping their truth hidden even from themselves.

  • “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me” (Psalm 139:1)
  • “As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them” (Luke 7:38)
  • “On the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:28)

Jesus is the truth about God – telling us that having seen Him we have seen the Father. When His truth meets our truth there is forgiveness, healing and salvation.

Prayer:

Lord, hidden away inside me is a lonely little person thirsting for love and security. I offer that person to You. Please love them into life. Amen.

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Show your face

“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free”
(John 8:32)

 

Reflection:
Lies mislead us and confuse us. If they are a part of our own lives they envelop us in a web of deceit and fear. Many people attempt to hide their true selves behind a mask or false front which becomes its own bondage. Freedom comes only from living a life of truth and openness. The wonder of the Lord God is that He does not take us merely at face value but He knows and understands the testimony of our hearts – that is, the truth about us. We do not have to pretend with Him.

 “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7)

But whilst that is true, Jesus is talking also about another level of truth – the truth about us as sinners and about God as both Holy and Forgiving, Loving and Merciful, Righteous and Sacrificial. This truth about God is the truth that carries with it the power to set us free from our bondage to sin and death – and enable us to enter into the inheritance that God has provided and prepared for His adopted daughters and sons.

For all (y)our sins and failings, and the lies we both utter and try to live, God’s love is that much greater. Knowing our potential if He can live within us, loving us enough to want us with Him and willing enough to shoulder the blame and penalty that is ours – He holds out His hand to us through His Son and says simply, “Come.”

Come from darkness into the Light, from death to Life, from the lies of a blind world into the Truth of the God of Love. Come home.

Response:
The false me is limited by my fears – the real me is limited only by the vision of God

Prayer:

Father God, please help me to walk with You – simply and trustingly – believing that even although You know me more intimately than even I know myself, You have and always will love me with Your everlasting love. Amen.

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I am with you

“You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you”
(Isaiah 26:3)

Reflection:
In the state of the world in which we live peace is not a natural or normal condition. There is far too much on the personal, national and international stages clamouring for our attention and demanding to be addressed or worried about.

God does not guarantee that there will be peace around us – in fact the Lord tells us that the opposite will often be the case. However God does offer us peace within us – as a gift from Him.

  • “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27)
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)

The account of Peter walking on the water and then sinking illustrates the point beautifully. As long as his focus and attention was on the Lord he walked over the sea. It was when he took his eyes off Jesus and focussed on the threat of the wind-whipped waves that he began to sink. Jesus did not calm the storm before calling Peter to walk to Him – He came and called Him in the storm, and only calmed everything once they were back in the boat.

So it is with the storms in our own lives. The Lord comes to us and calls to us from within the storm. As we come to Him by focussing our attention on Him (steadfast minds) He walks with us through the storm to wherever He chooses to take us. The peace that He gives us is of His presence and control. As with Peter He will not walk away from us and, even when we think we are sinking, will be there to reach out and support us.

There will be storms – but there will always be the Lord with us in the midst of them.

Response:
If you have a storm in your life ask the Lord to help you to focus on Him and trust Him

Prayer:

Lord Jesus You will never desert me. Please help me to look to You and to trust You at all times – no matter what might be raging around me and even within me at the time. Amen.

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Thirsty People

“If your enemy .. is  thirsty,
give him something to drink”
(Romans 12:20)

Reflection:
Jesus Christ had a completely different approach to people. He welcomed them all and saw beyond the external attitudes into their hearts.

Henri Nouwen tells of how a week spent in an AIDS clinic with those facing ‘a certain and agonising death’ changed the way that he prayed for people. In that week he heard ‘hints of a thirst for love that had never been quenched.’ From then on he prayed,

“God help me to see others not as my enemies or as ungodly but rather as thirsty people. And give me the courage and compassion to offer Your Living Water, which alone quenches deep thirst.”

All the people around us, including those who offend us in any way, have a thirst at the centre of their lives. It is often unrecognised but it has a marked effect on their thinking and their actions. You will know what it is.

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1)

Hold back the ungodly responses that sometimes leap up within. Quietly pray for them instead.

Response:
Affirm your place in God’s love so that you do not need to prove anything

Prayer:

Father You love me with an unfailing and everlasting live. Secure within the strength of Your love may I be free to love those who hurt and offend me. Amen.

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Who am I?

“You are my Son, whom I love”
(Luke 3:22)

 

Reflection:
God spoke these words to Jesus at His baptism in the River Jordan. Immediately afterwards He went into the desert where He faced the three major temptations known to man. All of them had something to do with identity –and it was from the secure foundation of His own identity in God that He was able to recognise and refute them.

We find a similar situation in the very first Psalm which stands as a gateway into the rest of the Psalms.

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2)

The person who is blessed is the one who has established their identity as a man or woman of God. That means that they can recognise and say ‘No!’ to the advice and ways of the world and instead base their lives and living on the word of God.

The need for and reality of this new identity is stressed by Jesus and Paul.

  • “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3)
  • “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”(Romans 12:2)

The key question, therefore, is ‘Who am I ?’ Am I a man or woman of God and living according to His word and ways – or am I still a child of the world and subject to its influence and ways? As Jesus said,

“No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24)

Response:
Who am I?

Prayer:

Lord God I acknowledge You as my Lord and Saviour. Please help me to delight in the revelation of Your love and will in Scripture and to live in Your Way. Amen.

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My Song

“The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.”
(Psalm 118:14)

 

Reflection:
Part of the victory song of Moses, after the great triumph of God in the Exodus through the sea, is captured and sung again in this wonderful Psalm. It was still just a foretaste of the glorious salvation to be revealed by God in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 The dependency of man and the magnificent love and provision of God Almighty is reflected in three ways.

 ‘The Lord is my strength’. Not for the first time has man discovered that that his greatest asset is his relationship with God, for whom nothing is impossible. In comparison with the majesty, power and wisdom of God we have nothing to offer that is of any comparable significance. Our great learning and achievements, using the abilities given to us by God, are as nothing in the light of His glory. Indeed at times we are totally helpless in the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional situations in which we find ourselves – as Moses discovered when he and the Israelites were trapped between the sea and the approaching Egyptian army. The warrior king David reflected all this in his Psalm 18 which opens with the humble and rejoicing acknowledgement,

“I love you, O Lord, my strength.”

‘The Lord is my song.’ Humans have over the years composed many songs, not a few of which have been to glorify themselves. However, as our eyes are opened to the wonderful truth of the Lord and our hearts and spirits respond to the revelation of His love and salvation, we may discover that one song rises joyfully above all the others. The praises of God are the sweetest of all, and often it is enough just to sing out the name of Jesus. For me true worship must rise like a soaring eagle up into the heavens, and then descend into complete and holy silence where it is enough just to whisper again and again the one precious ‘name above all names.’

‘He has become my salvation.’  This Lord, who is at once Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not one who merely watches from a distance but is the God who has come to us – to seek us, find us, help us and lead us home through His awesome death and resurrection. Everything promised and prophesied in the Bible has found its truth and completion in the Lord Jesus. And, He has sought, called and embraced each one of His beloved in His eternal love – from which no one and nothing can ever separate us, once we have given ourselves back to Him.

I love you, O Lord,
my strength, my song
and my salvation.

Response:
Learn it – reflect on it – sing it

Prayer:

Thank You Lord – so very much. Amen.

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Open God’s Hand

“You will show me the path of life.
 In your presence is fullness of joy.
In your right hand there are pleasures forevermore”
(Psalm 16:11)

Reflection:
The Bible is full of treasures that speak to us in particular ways at different times. This one has always been a great friend that seems to keep appearing before me.

It reminds me that God is involved in my life. As the Good Shepherd, and as the Lord, He always goes before me and tells me to follow Him. In this way He will show me the way to go. It will not be merely a good way, or just a pleasant way, or even the easiest way. It will always be the best way for me in any situation. It will be the way of life now that is a part of the Way of Life that brings me fully and finally into His eternal presence and love.

But I may also know the reality of His presence even now – today and every day. Jesus promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:20) and the Holy Spirit whom He has given us resides within us. This means too that I may know the pleasure of this presence. In fact it is far more than pleasure, it is joy – and joy to the fullest possible extent known to humans. Jesus said to us that

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

The final promise always raises a picture for me that comes from my childhood. My father would come home and sometimes hold out his closed right hand to me to indicate that there was a gift inside. I would take his great hand in my own small one and try to peel open his fingers so that I could access the treasure within. Whenever we are in God’s presence He has a gift for us that is either relevant to our need of the moment or is just a love token from our Father of great love. It is there for us to find and grasp.

We miss out on so much if we dash in and out of the presence of God. There do need to be times when we soak in His presence and His Word – allowing Him to draw closer and to give us more of Himself.

Response:
Ask Him to open these words to you – and for you.

Prayer:

Father help me to enter more fully into Your presence and allow You to choose how to bless me today. Amen.

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