The Soaring Eagle

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


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Your Way

“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them,
and they said, “We’ll go with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.”
(John 21:3)

Reflection:
Jesus had already appeared to the disciples more than once. They knew of His resurrection but, unlike previously, He was not with them all the time, teaching and giving them instructions. For days at a time they were on their own.

 Peter the man of action, probably restless and uncertain of what came next, went off to do what he had done previously. He went fishing, not just to try and catch one or two, but to throw out his nets to catch fish that he could then sell. He and the others fished all night but caught nothing.

  Jesus appeared on the beach the next morning and told them to throw their nets on the other side of the boat. Immediately they were filled with fish – 153 large ones. What a difference it made when they were doing what Jesus told them to do. After all, He had said of Himself,

“but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (John 14:31)

 There are two lessons here. The first is that to go off on our own, as Jesus disciples, and to do our own thing will not necessarily bring any rewards. We always need His guidance and blessing. The second is that Jesus is not against honest labour and is prepared to guide and bless those involved in it, if they will listen to Him – note the word ‘exactly’ in His statement. He is to be Lord of all our lives, at all times and in all things.

Response:
Look for Jesus guidance and involvement in all that you do this week

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, please help me to discern the way forward and to seek to do everything the way that I believe you would want me to – for Your glory. Amen.

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Nothing to fear

 

“And now, dear children, continue in him,
so that when he appears we may be confident
and unashamed before him at his coming”
(1 John 2:28)

Reflection:
John reminds us of what we know but are inclined to treat lightly – Jesus Christ is coming again.  He will come in glorious power and majesty and we will see Him as He truly is. Whether our bodies have already died or whether we will still be living here when it takes place it will be an unimaginably momentous occasion.

When it happens we do not want to be amongst those who try to flee in terror – nor do we wish to be amongst those who are nervously hopeful. Instead John holds out to us the possibility of our being ‘confident and unashamed’. Not fearing for ourselves we can enjoy the breath-taking spectacle of His glory and worship Him with tears of joy and wonder. This is our Lord and God – He is ours and we are His and everything is beauty, wonder, love and joy.

The way for this to be our response is for us to ‘continue in Him’ here and now – for every moment of our earthly lives. This of course picks up what he records Jesus as saying in his Gospel.

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you”
(John 15:4)

When we come to Him as our Saviour and our Lord we become a part of Him – like a branch being grafted into a vine. From then on we draw our life from Him and He expresses His life through us. Both Jesus who calls on us to ‘remain in Him’ and John who urges us to ‘continue in Him’ are talking of an ongoing and personal relationship which, having started, is to have no separation or end. The way to develop and express this new relationship is quite clear – we are to take Jesus and His teaching and increasingly make them a part of our lives as our Way and Truth and Life.

“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love,
just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love”

(John 15:10)

Note that we do not earn His love by our obedience for we have already entered into it.  Instead we express our love, gratitude and faith though our subsequent obedience and trust. As we become used to living in this intimate and life-giving relationship with the Lord His second coming can hold for us no fear – only the promise of an even closer and more wonderful life with Him in all its completeness and fullness.

Response:
Stay close to the Lord in this way and He will stay close to you

Prayer:

Lord You have made me a part of Your Life – help me to live in such a close and trusting relationship with You that neither death nor Your coming again can hold any fear for me. Amen.

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Live up to your Life

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”
(1 John 3:2-3)

 

Reflection:
We are not just lifeless pieces of clay in the process of transformation. In fact we have a part to play in which we both co-operate with and facilitate the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The Christians who have focussed their hope and expectation on the glorious return of Christ will want to both prepare for it and move towards it. Our desire should increasingly be to purify ourselves – to leave the sin and depravity of the world behind – and become more and more like Christ. This is our response to the love that God has lavished upon us in Christ and to our eternal salvation and life. It is both gratitude and an awareness of the need to honour God in the way we live out our new life. Although only His blood “purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7) we play our part in purifying ourselves from its influence.

  • “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)
  • “Keep yourself pure.” (1 Timothy 5:22)
  • “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:7-8)
  • “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” (1 Peter 1:22)

Peter gives us a wonderful hint here, that a key part of this journey involves the move from selfishness to selflessness.

As the moon is glorious when it fully reflects the sun and is not partly hidden by the earth, so are we when the Son is more fully revealed in us.

Response:
Ask God where you need to start and step up from there.

Prayer:

Father, please help me to truly desire to become more and more like Jesus. Please continue to pour Your love into my heart by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5). In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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Check yourself

“Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.”
(Proverbs 3:7)

Reflection:
The only one with complete knowledge and total understanding is God. He is also the only one who has total and absolute power and authority.

As Christians therefore our starting point must always be with God and in our having a very healthy respect for Him. As the Psalmist says,

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10)

It follows then that whatever the Lord says needs to be taken seriously. What He calls evil is, therefore, evil and should be shunned. What He calls good is good, and should be embraced. God does not adjust His opinions and values on the basis of our debates, desires and decrees. The Gospels and Epistles have some very clear teaching on Christian living to which we need to adapt our living. They are there for our guidance and to prevent us from falling into the trap of our own reasoning and desires.

The Message puts it very helpfully his way.

“Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil!”

Response:
Do a faith check this weekend to see where you might be casual, ignorant or worldly in your attitude to life and to the Lord.

Prayer:

Holy Spirit please lead me deeper into the truth – and draw me closer to the Lord in thought, word and deed. Amen.

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Press on

“Train yourself to be godly”
(1 Timothy 4:7)

Reflection:
Generally we do not grow up as Godly people. We may be raised and trained to behave within the boundaries of ‘common decency’ but that does not make us Godly – no matter how closely some of those values might relate to Scriptural standards. Even then amongst them all we will be amazed at how many of the principles and ways of the world have become a part of our lives and living, together with what Paul has just referred to as ‘godless myths and old wives tales.’

Godly living means looking for the commands and teachings of God, Jesus and the apostles in Scripture and intentionally seeking to make them a foundational part of our values and practices. It would include looking at the example of Jesus Himself and seeking to live after that model – for to be Godly is to be like God. In essence therefore everything that we think and say and do should increasingly be to God’s pleasure and glory.

We see the importance of this as we recognise that we are no longer children of the world but the daughters and sons of God Himself. Whilst salvation can be an immediate transformation our different way of life has to be learned and lived, consciously and purposefully, until it becomes a natural expression of our new and God-given identity. The closer we draw to the Lord Himself the more natural and inspired this will become – although there will still be some inward battles where we need to pray and keep on praying for the help and strengthening of the Holy Spirit.

Like Paul we know that we have

‘not .. already been made perfect, but I press on.’

Response:
Sanctification is a life-long journey. Take another step today.

Prayer:

Lord God help me to desire to be more like You and not to slumber in the ways of the world around me. Please inspire and strengthen me every day and protect me from falling back again. Amen.

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Choose Life

“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice,
and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life”
 (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Reflection:
Very clearly were the two options set out before the Israelites. They could choose to go their own way or that of the Lord. God’s way came with His promise of His presence and blessing – whilst the other way would inevitably lead to death and destruction.

Every day we are faced again with the same choice. Do I walk God’s way or the way of the world – for it is very clear that much of the world had chosen another path.

God calls us to love and honour Him, to listen to what He says and to obey Him, to hold on to Him and never let go – in fact to walk in intimacy and trust with the majestic God of all creation. In doing so the nation was promised that His blessings would flow to both them and their children – a most wonderful bequest.

Depending upon where we are in life it can sometimes be a lonely decision – but individually we need to decide and to trust the Lord for His strength and protection. For indeed He is our life and there is no life without Him.

Response:
Choose God at every step of the way – it is much easier than trying to recover lost ground.

Prayer:

Lord God I do choose You, and I  Know that you have chosen me. Please help me to remain true to You as You will always be true to me. Amen.

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Rich Food

“Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day …
They are not just idle words for you–
they are your life”
(Deuteronomy 32:46-47)

Reflection:
Moses addressed the Israelites a final time just before he died. He passed on to them God’s instructions, and ended with these words. Their challenge and warning is still valid to us today as we read Scripture and look into the teachings of God through His Son and through the apostles as well.

Our God does not use words lightly and without real meaning and significance. In fact He expects His words to be heard and to have a life-changing effect. This is what He said through the prophet Isaiah,

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 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 55:10-11)

Jesus put it as strongly, but in a more personal way, when He said,

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4)

And the greatest of the kings, David, wrote,

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105)

Notice that the emphasis is not on God’s words as a litany of life-spoiling ‘donts’ but rather on life-feeding and life-enhancing aids. Walking in God’s ways brings God’s blessings – and very clearly in a way that the world cannot give. Walking in the ways of the world not only avoids His blessings but is a rejection. Walking in response to God’s directions affirms and honours Him, whilst deepening our relationship.

Response:
We should check ourselves against God’s commandments and teachings – are they foundational to our lives and living?

Prayer:

Lord God, please help me to give to Your words the honour and obedience that they deserve, for Your Name’s sake. Amen.

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