The Soaring Eagle

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


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Pentecost

“Be filled with the Spirit”
(Ephesians 5:18)

 

Reflection:
Pentecost is essentially about life. It is not just about the same old person with a new opportunity. It is all about a new person commencing a new life with a new focus and a new life force within them – that of God Himself.

Jesus spoke about our being born again of the Holy Spirit. He taught that the Holy Spirit would live within us in an intimacy of relationship beyond that which was possible with Jesus in His earthly ministry. He explained too that when the Holy Spirit came He would bring to God’s people a new strength – a new power – that they had not enjoyed before.

The absolute importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives is put very clearly by Paul.

  • “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9)
  • “You received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:15-16)

It is the Holy Spirit who brings us to the Lord Jesus, who opens our understanding to the forgiveness and salvation to be found only in the Lord Jesus, who guides us to open our lives to the Lord and who then helps us to live out the life that God has purposed and planned for us.

We cannot ask the Holy Spirit to come into our lives to co-exist with the life of the world which is already there. We are asking Him to come in to be the Lord and Master of our lives and to show us how to live, equip us for that life and give us the strength and faith to live it. We also ask Him to identify, cleanse and heal us of any evil and its consequences that He finds there. It is all a part of His establishing His complete Lordship in and over our lives and clearing us out and cleansing us for the new life God has given us. The Holy Spirit does not come to help us to live our lives but to help us to live the life God has planned and prepared for us.

This Life in the Spirit is a life of following Christ and that is what’s vital. Any experience of being baptized in the Spirit and of our own Pentecost is an important beginning but not an end in itself. Different people will have different experiences at different times for a whole variety of reasons – including the fact that God treats each of us as an individual and not part of a mass production line. Our greatest danger will be that we ignore the Holy Spirit or relapse into our old default setting of the way of the world – trying to live in our own strength, slowly closing in on ourselves and losing contact with the Spirit.

Because we are human, and because all this is a process that having begun continues for the rest of our lives we will need to keep turning to God for a ‘fill up’ or fresh release of the Holy Spirit – because on the one hand we ‘leak’ and on the other we cannot avoid becoming clogged now and then by the dirt of the world in which we live. We will need forgiveness when, not if, we sin, and healing of the pains and hurts that we will encounter on the journey. However ‘in Christ’ and with the Holy Spirit our end is certain and secure and no one can change that.

Response:
One Lord of my life

Prayer:

Father thank You for the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit please come and fill my life – cleanse me and set me free from the sins and stains of the past and bring me into the fullness of the life that You have for me in Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour. Amen.

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Be Filled

2016.05.13

“Be filled with the Spirit.”
(Ephesians 5:18)

Reflection:
There are certain truths we need to grasp about what Paul is saying to us. The first is that it is written in the imperative mood – that is it is not a suggestion or some spiritual advice but an authoritative command addressed to us by an apostle of Jesus Christ writing under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit. It becomes, therefore, a responsibility that we are not at liberty to avoid. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is not optional but necessary for all followers of the Lord Jesus.

Secondly, Paul is addressing himself to the whole Christian community – made up of each individual. All of us, singly and together, are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This fullness is not something reserved for an elite few but is available to, and required of, every individual.

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)

Thirdly, it is written in the passive voice and is interpreted in the New English Bible as ‘Let the Holy Spirit fill you.’  As the Holy Spirit comes to us as the gift of the Father and the Son He is not something that we earn but on the contrary are not to avoid, block or hinder. In fact we are to seek more of His presence and fullness and open ourselves to Him at all times.

Fourthly, Paul is writing in the present imperative tense, the meaning of which is to go on being filled. The gift of the Holy Spirit is not a once-off experience but ‘a privilege to be renewed continuously by continuous believing and obedient appropriation.’ We need to be filled with the Spirit and go on being filled every moment of every day. In this way our relationship with the Lord will deepen and develop.

“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)

We can ask God every day to continue to fill us, we can turn to the Spirit for guidance, wisdom and strength, and we can soak ourselves in the Scriptures – particularly the New Testament. The Spirit cannot be separated from the Word that He inspired and will never act or have us act contrary to that Word. By a regular and prayerful reading of Scripture we open ourselves to God and allow the Spirit to both inform and form us in the process.

The Holy Spirit is God within us – seeking to transform us more and more into the living reality of the sons and daughters of God.

Response:
Read the New Testament (again) praying that He will speak to you personally as you read.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, please fill me and continue to fill me with the wonderful gift of Your Holy Spirit –and help me to recognise and to be attentive to Him. Amen.

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Spirit of Revelation

2016.05.12

“God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.”
(1 Corinthians 2:10)

Reflection:
The living truths of God cannot be established and received without the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who reveals and gives life to these truths within us at a spiritual level. There they become not just knowledge but life-changing and liberating reality.

The Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

“All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16)

The Bible can be read and studied as historic literature in the same way as any other and certain truths may be identified and established. However the danger is that they remain a store of knowledge to be used and abused as it suits us. Jesus challenged the religious leaders on this when He exclaimed,

“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)

As we read these same Scripture under the guidance and revelation of the Spirit, who inspired them in the first place, we discover that they are both a revelation of God and a revelation within us from God. They are not meant to be merely an historical record and a list of do’s and don’ts – they are meant to be God  speaking His eternal love, light and life into our individual and corporate lives today and every day. We need God’s help because

“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

The Scriptures both invite and demand a response from us – for throughout them the message rings out calling us back to the Living God and into His love, forgiveness and grace. It is a call to abandon the ways of a fallen world and to embrace the Way of Christ. It is an invitation for us to leave the world’s darkness and to enter into the glorious Light. It is an assurance that we no longer have to search for love but to receive Love. It is the comfort of knowing that when we can’t God says simply “I can.” It is the liberating wonder of knowing, when we fear that we will never be good enough for Him, that He is good enough for us!  For

“We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us”  (1 Corinthians 2:12)

Response:
Keep asking the Holy Spirit for guidance and understanding

Prayer:

Almighty Father pour out Your Spirit on us today that we might walk in Your light, life and love and by Your grace know Your presence. Amen.

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Spirit of Truth

2016.05.11

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes,
he will guide you into all truth”
(John 16:13)

Reflection:
The Spirit of God has to be the Spirit of Truth. There can be no untruth in God at all and so Jesus described Himself as “ ..the Truth..” (John 14:6)

As a first priority the Spirit will focus on Jesus Christ in whose birth and baptism, life and ministry He was so involved. So Jesus said,

  • “He will testify about Me” (John 15:26)
  • “He will bring glory to Me” (John 16:14)

The Holy Spirit will also act to do something that the world and humankind is incapable of achieving.

“When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment”   (John 16:8)

He will convict the world not only of sin itself but of the greatest sin which is that “men do not believe in Me” – the Me being Jesus Christ and God’s greatest gift.

He will convict the world of righteousness – the rightness of Jesus Christ as the Lord and Saviour of the World and the only Way to God.

He will convict the world of judgement – in that Jesus Christ has supreme authority over all of creation and He will come again in great power and glory to judge the living and the dead. In this regard the ‘prince of this world now stands condemned’ through the glorious revelation of Jesus Christ.

Both the Church and the world have gone very soft in all of these areas. This means that today the first focus of the Holy Spirit must be to glorify the Lord Jesus, and do His work of convicting, within the Church itself and the individual lives of its members. The world will not be convinced or convicted until the truth and life of the Spirit is revealed in those who believe.  Therefore those who know the Lord must take sin seriously before those who don’t know Him will do the same. When that happens our glorious message will ring out and be heard as we

“go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:76-77)

Response:
It starts with me

Prayer:

Holy Spirit of God please help me to open myself to You so that You may glorify the Lord Jesus within me and lead me into the knowledge of the Truth in Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

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Fire of Life

2016.05.09

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit”
says the LORD Almighty.”
(Zechariah 4:6)

Reflection:
Next Sunday the Christian Church celebrates the Day of Pentecost. It commemorates how on a real day, in a real room, in a real city, real men and real women, received a real blessing and a real experience that impacted and changed their lives in a real way.

In fulfilment of the promise of both Jesus Christ and the Father, and as prophesied by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit entered into the lives of the believers. It was at once the final act of the saving ministry of the Lord Jesus (before His second coming) as well as the inauguration of the new era of the Holy Spirit.

It marks another crucial moment in the history of humankind. For without it, without the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit, the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus would no longer have any real and personal relevance in the lives of people today.

Nothing of significance happens without the Holy Spirit. He was present and involved in all of the great acts of God, as evidenced in the accounts of

  • the Creation [Genesis. 1:2]
  • the Annunciation [Luke. 1:32]
  • the Baptism of Jesus [Luke. 3:21-22]
  • the Pentecost transformation [Acts 2:1-4]
  • the new birth of believers [John 3:5]

We see the Holy Spirit repeatedly engaged in His activity of making the will and word of God into a reality. He is the One who continues to do so today and our lives as Christians are blessed, enriched and given a new purpose and worth through His ministry.

Response:

Blessed are You, creator God,
to You be praise and glory for ever.
As Your Spirit moved over the face of the waters
bringing light and life to Your creation,
pour out Your Spirit on us today
that we may walk as children of light
and by Your grace reveal Your presence.
Amen.

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The Holy Spirit 1

2015.05.18

“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:
On next Sunday 24 June the Church celebrates the Day of Pentecost – on which the promised Holy Spirit was given by God to the followers of Jesus Christ. He transformed the lives of Jesus disciples and has continued to do so ever since.

John the Baptist is recorded in each of the four gospels as teaching that the one who would come after him would “baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” This teaching is particularly significant in that it is recorded in each of the gospels and at the very beginning of Jesus ministry. It is clearly intended to be taken seriously and to be seen as a major purpose of Jesus Himself.

Towards the end of His ministry Jesus promised that He would ask the Father who would “give you another Counsellor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16) who would be in us. He also cautioned His followers immediately prior to His ascension to “stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) This His disciples did, staying “continually at the temple, praising God.” (Luke 24:53)

Then on the never-to-be-forgotten occasion the Holy Spirit came.

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-4)

This is the same Holy Spirit who has played such a significant role in the purposes of God and who is still available to believers today.

“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 2:39)

Response:
Is the Holy Spirit a part of my life?

Prayer:

Thank You Father for the precious promise of the Holy Spirit. May we be completely open to His ministry and guidance. Amen.

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