The Soaring Eagle

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


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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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Open my eyes

 

“Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes.
Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored,
and he saw everything clearly”
(Mark 8:25)

Reflection:
There is this fascinating and unusual incident in which a man’s sight is restored in two steps by the Lord. In its context it takes on a new significance.

Jesus had fed the 4000, warned the disciples against the worldly leaven of Herod and the legalistic leaven of the Pharisees and then healed this man. It is after this that Jesus asked His disciples who people said that He was. He then put the vital and challenging question to them,

“Who do you say I am?”

Peter, responding to a divine impulse, blurted out, “You are the Christ.” He then almost immediately showed that he had no understanding of it by rebuking Jesus for talking about His persecution and death. In effect He was telling the person whom he has acknowledged as the Messiah that He was talking rubbish – for Messiah’s don’t do that sort of thing! Jesus own rebuke was swift and direct,

“Get behind Me, Satan!
You do not have in mind the things of God,
but the things of men.”

The disciples who had seen the miracle of the feeding of the 4000 and the miracle of the healing of the blind man failed to appreciate their message.  Instead they allowed themselves to remain influenced by the world that they knew – the leaven against which Jesus had warned them. They had seen a truth dimly, but had not seen the Truth clearly. That was still to come.

We have to remind ourselves that we too have not comprehended the completeness of the truth about Jesus Christ. What we have seen and received is precious, but there is so much more. We must not try to force the Lord into some sort of preconceived mould and expect Him to act accordingly. We will then be restricted in our faith and in our relationship with Him.

God was quite clear about this when He spoke to Moses and said,

“I AM WHO I AM”  (or)
 “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE”
(Exodus 3:14)

We are on a journey of discovery with and about our Lord. On it He will reveal to us more and more of Himself – pray that we will see it. Pray too that like the man who was blind we will begin to see more and more clearly, and not assume that our clouded vision is as good as it gets.

He is God – without boundaries or limitations, and beyond human conception and understanding. He is the One of whom the angel said to Mary,

“Nothing is impossible with God”
(Luke 1:37)

Response:
Open my eyes Lord – I want to see Jesus

Prayer:

Lord help me to perceive more and more of the truth of Jesus Christ – and what I do see may it enter into my heart and spirit, and into my life and living. 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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Keep Going

“Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
 let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles,
and let us run with perseverance
the race marked out for us”
(Hebrews 12:1)

Reflection:
We are not alone in this life. We know from His promise that the Lord is with us, and the Holy Spirit within us, at all times. But there are more. There are the living memories of those who before us were faithful witnesses to the truth and glory and salvation of God. Some of them suffered enormously but they held on to their faith and trust in God to the very end.

However it seems that the writer also presents them as being now witnesses to our lives and living. He portrays them as former athletes filling a great stadium and cheering and urging the present athletes on as they strive with every fibre of their being to successfully complete the race for which they have been selected. It is a magnificent picture and one that should fill us with hope, faith and encouragement.

Then of course there are also our fellow athletes. Life is not a competition against them but alongside our fellow believers against the distractions and prejudices and participants in a fallen world. The encouragement we receive along the way from someone running next to us, and the encouragement we can give to others by our words and example, are of inestimable value.

So as you face the future don’t give up or ease off. No matter the dark clouds around you, or the sense of isolation that comes and tempts you with hopelessness, keep going. Lift you heart to the whispered encouragement of the Lord, turn your ear to the calls of encouragement from Abraham, Joshua and David, Mary, Mary Magdalen and Peter and press on.

There is no going back, your starting point does not exist anymore. You are a pilgrim well into your journey and the goal gets closer every day.

Response:
With God’s help I can

Prayer:

Lord help me to be aware of You as I run my race, to know that You are always with me and that You will give me the strength and encouragement that I need and can pass on to others. Amen.

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Step Out

“Put out into deep water,
and let down the nets for a catch.”
(Luke 5:4)

Reflection:
Jesus had been teaching the people from Simon’s boat. When He had finished He told Simon to move it into deeper water for a catch of fish. The reason was quite simple – you don’t net large schools of big fish in shallow water.

So many people exist in the shallows of life. However Jesus lived a different type of life and called His disciples to follow Him into it.

  • He promised to grow them in new ways – “I will make you..” (Matthew 4:19);
  • He gave them the life-changing empowerment of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2);
  • and He provided them with special gifts (1 Corinthians 12).

Clearly they were not going to spend their time ankle-deep in life – in fact they would all ‘walk on water’ many times. He also has a grand purpose and great plans for each of us,

  • “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

The key is the call of Jesus. He always meets us where we are and then calls us to follow Him into a new way of living, and a better one.  We are not all expected to be great public figures, but we are all intended to be involved in blessing someone’s world and in bringing change and healing into some situations. The more we follow Him the more we will notice Him at work – and the deeper we allow Him to take us the greater the acts of God that we will see. Jesus is establishing His Kingdom.

There is no greater satisfaction, when you look back over your life, than knowing that you have been allowed to invest it in something significant – and in ways that has been a blessing to others. To catch a glimpse of how the Lord has been at work in, through, around (and in spite of !) us is humbling and wonderful. What a privilege, what a blessing and what an experience. Praise God indeed!

Response:
Where is Jesus calling you to go deeper with Him? Ask Him.

Prayer:

Thank You Lord Jesus for calling me into Your life and purpose. Please help me to follow You out from ‘the valley of the shadow of life,’ and into Life itself. Amen.

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My Shelter

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD,
“He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
(Psalm 91:1-2)

 

Reflection:
There is a terrible amount of stress in life. Much of it comes from our sense of being alone in situations, and of being unsure of how we will cope. Some of it may have come about because of actions of ours that have proven to be unwise.

The psalmist’s advice is clear. Those who stay close to the Lord will be comforted by the awareness of His presence. It will be like a shelter over them in the midst of any storm. The knowledge that He is with them will bring a new hope and encouragement – based not upon their own capabilities or the hope of ‘good fortune’ but upon His majesty, power and love. When their problems cast a pall over their lives they will become aware of them being overshadowed by the Lord’s presence. Turning towards Him He becomes a refuge and a stronghold into which they can enter. Everything becomes different with the knowledge that ‘God’s here with me.’

And there we find that indeed,

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

Response:
Seek to stay close to Him throughout the week. Pray to Him, chat with Him, thank Him for His presence, support and blessings and feed yourself upon His Word.

Prayer:

Father, You are always with me. Help me to be always with You, and aware of You. Amen.

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All I Need

“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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