The Soaring Eagle

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


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Living Word

“When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and 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 7:37-38)

Reflection:
There a two ways in which we can respond to the words of God. We can treat them as information or as a pointer to the Living Word – our Lord and Saviour.

Jesus challenged the religious leaders for failing to recognise the true significance of the Scriptures.

  • “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40)

On the other hand He recognised and applauded the woman who had not only been convicted by His words but had recognised that they pointed her to Him as the only source of her salvation.

  • “Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48)
  • “Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50)

As important as the Scriptures are our salvation and new life do not lie in them but in the Lord Jesus Himself.

  • “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)
  • “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13)

The Scriptures are vital because they tell us of God and point us towards Him. But Forgiveness and Salvation, Life and Truth are found only in the Lord Himself. His words are powerful because He is powerful – and not by themselves. That is why prayer is so important – it connects us with Him!

Response:
Jesus called people to “Come to Me.” Be one who lives in His presence.

Prayer:

Lord God I thank You for Your word in Scripture. Please help me to learn from it but always to seek You the God of the Word. Amen.

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My Child

“And as he was praying, heaven was opened
and the Holy Spirit descended on him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven:
“You are my Son, whom I love;
with you I am well pleased.”
(Luke 3:21-22)

 

Reflection:
We read so many words. They enter into our minds where a few stay and others merely pass through. But some are vital. Take these words spoken by God into Jesus as He was baptised in the Holy Spirit. There are three very important truths the Father wished the Son to know and carry within Him at all times during the days and years to come.

  • You are My Son
  • I love You
  • I delight in You

These words speak of the reality and intimacy of His relationship with the Father, of the Father’s great love for Him, as well as the pleasure and delight that the Father takes in Him.

As Christians we are baptised in the Holy Spirit and given a new life. And Scripture makes it clear that God wishes us to know His love and the delight He takes in His children; for example,

  •  “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”  (Zephaniah 3:17)

This is not what we have earned or deserve, it comes instead from the heart of God. To each one of His new children He says the same words that He spoke to Jesus, and also that He said to His people – wanting us to know these truths for ourselves and to carry them within us.

  • You are My Son/Daughter – I love you – I delight in you
  • “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” ( Isaiah 43:1)

To read and even remember them is not enough – they must become a part of us, something on which we feed spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  For this to happen we need to water these seeds with our prayers and attention until they open up within us and release their beauty, fruit and fragrance. Treasure and cherish them by saying them over and over whilst recognising that God is looking at you and speaking them into your life. They may be changed slightly on occasion to get the full impact

  • I am His son/ Daughter – He loves me – He delights in me
  • He has called me by name – I am His.

Response:
Help the words to move from mind to spirit where they will both live and bring life. Say and pray them there and do not cease before they delight you in turn.

Prayer:

Father thank You so much for choosing me, reaching out to me and taking me for your own. May I also know deep within me the wonder of Your calling me Your child, giving me Your love and delighting in me – even me. Amen.

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Dawn from on high

“By the tender mercy of our God
    the dawn from on high will break upon us”
(Luke 1:78 NRSV)

Reflection:
There is nothing quite like the birth of a new day. Where I live it is a lovely process for the sun does not suddenly leap into the sky but announces its arrival through a gentle lifting of the light. The quality of the darkness changes. Black becomes grey before the first touches of colour bless the drifting clouds. And the birds! Unseen they herald this new dawn. Small bulbuls lift their heads to pour from tiny throats the most glorious and liquid songs of praise to our God. Weavers chatter amongst themselves and the crested barbet worships in long and breathless arias of love.  These are holy moments indeed. And they call us to rise from our slumbers. Not with minds restless and cluttered with the uncompleted and unfulfilled remnants of yesterday – but open and eager for the light and love and life-inspired opportunities that await us, with all their potential and possibility. This is not an old day recycled but a new day to be lived and blessed.

Our Lord Jesus so often comes into our lives as He came into the world. He came slowly and in small beginnings, not striding through the heavens in glorious and terrifying majesty. He came to love and win our love through gentleness, tenderness and compassion – with heart and arms open to the ragged and tattered and soiled souls that were drawn to Him.  And so He begins to reach into our spirits like the first beginnings of the dawn, touching lonely and desolate darkness with the first touches of light and the first hints of new life.

By the grace of God a new day keeps dawning. By His grace the dawn of His love keeps appearing outside of the windows of our spirits. By the grace of God there are sights and sounds and scents that make us pause with a wistful hope. It is the Lord – looking and longing and loving as He seeks to awaken us and attract us to step out with Him into this new dawn of life.

We are not called to be yesterday’s sadness but todays blessing and tomorrows hope. In our own strength this might seem so impossible. However, as we takes deep breaths of the Holy Spirit who is God’s great gift to us, we are reminded that nothing is impossible for this God of ours – not even us! He comes to us like the rising sun,

“to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
(Luke 1:79)

Response:
Wherever and however I am He calls me to look forward and to build life with Him

Prayer:

Lord help me to be aware of You in the deep dark areas of my life – and to open myself to Your love, light and life in quiet trust. Amen.

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Core Value 1

Jesus answered, “It is written:
`Worship the Lord your God
and serve Him only”
(Luke 4:8)

Reflection:
 We need core values by which we live our lives – values that are different from those of the world. Jesus established some of His during the temptations after His baptism. Others appeared during His ministry.

Our primary value must be God – revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This keeps being emphasised throughout Scripture,

  • “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”  (Matthew 22:37)
  • “You shall have no other gods before Me”  (Exodus 20:3)
  • “No one can serve two masters … You cannot serve both God and Money”  (Matthew 6:24)

To worship God is not to merely say the words but to live it out in our lives.

  • “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • “Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29)
  • “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2)
  • “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men .. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24)

God is to be first and foremost in our lives.  God is to be present in, and the focus of, all that we think and say and do. God is to be the One whom we trust for all that we need at all times and in all situations. God is to be the object of our deepest love, highest honour and most reverent adoration.

It doesn’t happen overnight. In fact it cannot happen at all without the guidance, strength and blessing of the Holy Spirit Himself. However, as under His inspiration we set the sights of our lives upon the Lord, He will take us on a journey towards the fulfilment of God’s desires for us. On it God will begin to wean us away from the things of the world and the flesh and to purify us in such a way that His love may be poured into us without impediment.

Prayer:

‘Most High and Holy God, enthroned in fire and light, burn away the dross of our lives and kindle in us the fire of Your love, that our lives may reveal the light and life and love we find in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Amen.

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Come Home

“I will set out and go back to my father
and say to him:
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you”
(Luke 15:18)

Reflection:
Again and again I return to this amazing illustration of the love of God – painted for us by Jesus Himself. This time God surprised me by drawing my attention to the faith of the lost son.

He had done everything possible to alienate himself from his father. He had demanded his inheritance early, thereby indicating that his father was living too long. He had walked away from his father, his family and his home. He had ‘squandered his wealth on wild living’ and ‘with prostitutes’ and had ended up a ragged beggar in the gutter, with nothing to call his own and with no means of supporting himself. Everything had been lost including his social status and self-respect.

 However, there was one precious item that remained – one that only surfaced right at the end. That was his knowledge of his father’s character. And, Jesus tells us, it was ‘when he came to his senses’ that he found it and knew that there was in fact one place to which he could go. He could go home to his father. He believed that his father would not turn him away.

This is the blinding truth that the Lord Jesus holds out to us. Whatever we  have done, wherever we have been, and wherever we find ourselves to be – when the truth hits us that we have got it all so wrong –  there  remains for us always one safe place to which we can turn – we can go home to God our Father. We can return – not to the servant’s quarters – but into the arms that have never been closed to us.

Finally we look away from ourselves and we look at God – and we see – and we find all that we have longed for ….

Response:
Do I need to go home from anywhere?

Prayer:

Help me come Lord Jesus, dare I stay away!

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Identity 2

“John answered them all, “I baptize you with water.
But one more powerful than I will come,
the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”
(Luke 3:16)

Reflection:
All four Gospels testify to the fact that Jesus Christ will baptise His followers with the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit, whom we understand to be God, was poured out in a completely new way on the Day of Pentecost. He transformed the spiritual lives of the disciples and the way that they lived. He also equipped them with the gifts and power that they would need for their new lives and ministry. And when in response to Peter’s Pentecost sermon the crowds were convicted and cried out, “What shall we do?” Peter’s response was brief and explicit,

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call”  (Acts 2:38-39)

This is the fulfilment of the prophecy of John the Baptist, it is the fulfilment of the promise of the Lord to send another “Counsellor, the Holy Spirit” and is the fulfilment of His word to Nicodemus concerning being born again through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

New life does not come without the Holy Spirit and yet He is freely available to all believers – not only as a once off blessing but as a continuing source of life and love and light.

  • “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)
  • “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5)
  • “But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26)

Finally as Paul makes clear “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9)

Our new identity comes about because God has called us to Himself and given to us the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the One who brings about the transformation in our lives from being children of the world to becoming children of the Most High God.

Response:
Keep on praying for more of the Holy Spirit in your life and invite Him into all your areas of concern

Prayer:

Holy Spirit of God please fill me with Your presence, pour the love of God into my heart and teach me all that I should know as I journey onward with You. Amen.

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Found It!

“Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says,
`Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin”
(Luke 15:8-9)

Reflection:
What constitutes one of your most precious possessions?

For the woman in Jesus story it was a coin that was probably a part of her wedding headdress. For others it might be something like her family charm bracelet, with small objects commemorating important members and events. To lose one is to leave a gap of association that cannot be filled. These icons open windows into bigger pictures and memories and have a significance far exceeding their monetary value. Whatever these important items may be, to lose one will probably result in some committed and ongoing searching until, hopefully, it is found and restored happily to its proper place.  And although we may not throw a celebratory party we will certainly want to share this good news with others.

The point of the story is to show us how significant and important we are, individually as well as collectively, to our God and Father and our Lord and Saviour. If any one of us is missing or even distant the gap is noticed and He looks for us. Notice that we do not have to search for the way back but only to turn around and find that He is there. Most of the time our sense of lostness comes from looking away from God towards something else.

 If you are feeling distant or disconnected from God know that He is aware of it and wants the relationship to be restored and deepened. Ask Him to show you where your focus has been and to help you bring it home to Him again. He is not sitting there in a huff but watching and waiting to celebrate your return as He draws you back again.

Response:
Only God can satisfy your thirst and need  – not the world

Prayer:

Lord God I look to You for my life and meaning – please help me to draw closer to You so that You can draw closer to me. Amen.

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