The Soaring Eagle

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


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God is Almighty

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

 

Reflection:
God created everything from nothing. And whilst God is everywhere within His creation He is not bound by it. He is also around and beyond it. In fact His creation only continues to exist because He wills it and sustains it. He could extinguish it at any moment without damage to Himself – for He is God and He is Supreme.

He is the God who brought the plagues upon Egypt by His word. He brought the Israelites out of Egypt, saved them by parting the waters of the sea and closing them again over their enemies. He  looked after them for the forty years in the desert – providing them with food and drink – and brought them safely to and into the Promised Land where He established them.

In and through Jesus Christ He continued to show His absolute power and authority by healing the sick, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, cleansing the lepers, empowering the lame to walk, casting out demons, walking on water, calming the storms, feeding the crowds and raising Jesus from the dead into eternal life.

Again and again, from “Let there be light” to “Get up and walk” He has shown us that He has only to say the word for His will to be done.

  • “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11)
  • “The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8)

Truly, as the angel said to Mary, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

Response:
Think on these things – is this your God?

Prayer:

“I do believe! Help my unbelief.”  (Mark 9:24)

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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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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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