The Soaring Eagle

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


Leave a comment

I Believe

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
 that whoever believes in him shall not perish
but have eternal life”
(John 3:16)

Reflection:
Consider these three key statements.

  • “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”  (John 3:16)
  • “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”  (John 1:12)
  • “Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”  (John 6:29)

It is important to note that we are not told to believe about Jesus but to go much further – to believe in Him. We can believe about something without it impacting our lives. To believe in something – or in this case someone – is to have it as a central core and foundation of our lives. James made this clear when he wrote that even the demons believed about God.

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder” (James 2:19)

When we celebrate the birth of Christ at this time of the year it is not because it is fun – nor is it because it is a great historical event – nor even because it gives us pleasure, like the warmth of the sun after a cold night. We celebrate the birth of the Saviour of the World, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the One who is to die in our place and who rises again to give us new and eternal life. Our lives are to be so closely bound up in and interwoven with Him that His life becomes our life and ours an expression of His.

We are not asked to admire Him as some rare creation preserved and seen through the protective barrier of a glass cage – nor are we to get excited about Him as if he were a great entertainer performing for our delight and amazement on a distant stage. Instead we are expected to come to Him, to engage with Him, to open our live to Him and to invite and allow Him into every part of us – giving to Him the authority to do whatever He wishes and trusting Him that it will all be for the best.

In other words we are asked to place our full trust and faith in Him – believing in Him to such an extent that we can surrender our past to Him, live our present with Him, and entrust our future to Him, no matter what may be happening in our world at the time and in the world around us.

Response:
Faith is a decision and not a feeling. And so the great Creed begins with  “I believe in God …”

Prayer:

Lord Jesus I do believe in You – help me to believe in You at all times and in all situations no matter how I may feel at the time. Amen.

———————–

 

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Victory is Certain

 

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
(Genesis 3:15)

Reflection:
Here we have one of the great promises of God.

Adam and Eve had been tempted to sin. They and all of humankind to come were a part of this fall from grace, separation from God and condemnation to death. And, as we know sin, has been rampant in the world ever since and we have not been able to defeat it. But right here at the beginning of the exile comes the promise of God that there would come a time when He would overcome the power of sin and totally destroy its source.

God’s power and authority and victory over sin is triumphantly revealed and proclaimed  in the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And although sin is still operative in the world it is only for a time – and then Satan and sin will be permanently removed from our lives. This is of great importance to us as we grapple with the business of living in this fallen world. Covered by the righteousness of God through our faith in Jesus Christ we can indeed continue with our own personal battles knowing that they are not forever. The end will come and victory is assured for the individual and the corporate Body of Christ.

And although this great promise of God is not always thought of in terms of covenant yet it is accompanied by similar signs. For there is the sacrifice of what was probably a lamb – and the first sacrifice of recorded Biblical history. For God Himself clothed them in garments He had made – and they went out into the world under this covering.

“The LORD God made garments of skin
for Adam and his wife and clothed them”
(Genesis 3:21)

Response:
Evil has been defeated and one day will be extinguished. Stand firm against its temporary presence.

Prayer:

Lord God as You clothed Adam and Eve so clothe me in the saving presence of Jesus Christ and  the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, so that I may in faith stand firm against the world, the flesh and the devil. Amen.

———————-


Leave a comment

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.

———————


Leave a comment

Yes I Can

“I can do everything
through Him who gives me strength”
(Philippians 4:13)

Reflection:
Towards the end of a journey that incorporated many trials and much temptation, suffering and rejection, Paul could say with confidence that, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11) This had come about because of his faith and trust in Christ, and the knowledge of the God who was with him at all times. He was certain that God would never abandon him or lose control of his situations. This was the peace that passes understanding. He was in God’s hands and nothing could snatch him away from God’s great hold on him – whatever the world might do.

Now in prison he could affirm that he had been, and was still, able to do everything that God wanted of him – whatever that might be and whatever challenges that might lead him into. God was with him and would give him whatever was needed in a particular situation – wisdom, words, faith, courage, perseverance.

As you and I look ahead these words come to us, both to inspire us and to build our faith. Whatever the trials and challenges are that we might face, we can meet them, live through them and come through them in the strength and with the help that God will give us. In anything and everything, from the traffic, to health and work, family and relationship issues, to failures and financial difficulties, to insecurities, rejection and abuse, national and international turmoil, God is with us. Whatever else He might do, He will strengthen and guide us as we look to and trust in Him.

Response:
Give God your situation and the road ahead. Pray particularly for the difficulties that you foresee and the people involved. Ask God for guidance, strength and an awareness of His presence. Keep praying and listening. Memorise and keep saying today’s scripture.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, please help me to face every day in the confidence that, with Your help, I can face and do all the things that You want me to. Please help me to commit everything to You and to seek Your guidance and strength. Thank You for always being with me. Amen.

 —————-


Leave a comment

Only by Grace

“And the God of all grace,
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast”

(1 Peter 5:10)

Reflection:
When the truth of this breaks into our lives it is breath-takingly wonderful.

God’s grace is not a weak and temporary thing. It is God’s life-giving love and saving power in action, reaching out to embrace us. It is free, unmerited, unrestricted and unconditional. And it is for me!

It is through God’s grace that we are called into ‘His eternal glory in Christ’. It is His love and power that has made it possible and it is His love and power that will bring it to a perfect fulfilment. It is not even us using His power to bring about this great salvation – it is His power-filled love working on and within us that makes it happen.  Our only contribution is the repentance and acceptance, and then co-operation, that this great love draws out. We are quite unable to achieve anything more no matter how hard we try – as try we will.

So when David had sinned he did not pray that God would help him to try harder in the future. Instead He asked God to do in him that which he knew he could not do in or for Himself.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10)

This heart-broken prayer is in fact directly in line with what God wishes to do for us.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26)

One thing that suffering can teach us is our helplessness and weakness – including our inability to properly recognise and avoid sin, and the devastating effect it can have in our lives and in our relationship with God, ourselves and others.

Only God is able to transform our lives – to cleanse us and make us ‘strong, firm and steadfast.’ He wants to and He will, for He is both willing and able. And, He is the only one who can do it. However the way He has chosen is to take us on a journey of discovery – and where we are today is a part of that journey. The best is still to come.

  • “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen”( Ephesians 3:20-21)
  • “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6)
  • “And the God of all grace, .. will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast”

Prayer Response:

Forgive me Lord for my efforts to be my own guide and saviour. Please create in me a pure heart, renew my spirit and make me strong, firm and steadfast in You and to Your great honour and glory. Amen.

———————– 


Leave a comment

Help

“The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.”
(Psalm 118:14)

Reflection:
In the light of recent events – when so many people are completely at the mercy of a power so much greater than anything man has to offer – there is still One to whom we can turn.

Part of the victory song of Moses, after the great triumph of God in the Exodus through the sea, it 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 the first of 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 strength. He is the One to whom we can turn and on whom we can rely. He may not change things as dramatically as He did for the Israelites, but He will be with us every step of the way – comforting, encouraging, strengthening, inspiring and protecting. And even if our bodies should succumb to the powers raging around us our eternal spirits are safe and secure in the heart and hands of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

 Give Him the week with its challenges. Involve Him at every turn and in whatever you do. Ask Him for guidance, strength and everything else you might need. Be conscious of Him, and chat to Him, throughout the day and week. And, remember to thank Him!

And at this time please pray, and keep praying, for those who are caught up in the midst of such traumatic destruction and devastation.

Response:
“Yours Lord is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”

Prayer:

Almighty Father, remember Your great love and compassion and at this time reach out Your invincible arm and Your life-giving hand to rescue, relieve and redeem those whose lives have been traumatised and threatened – for You alone are strong to save, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

———————


Leave a comment

Look to the Lord

“Therefore, 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:
Firstly, there are spectators. There to watch, to support, to encourage and to applaud, they are keenly interested in and supportive of our Christian lives and ministries. This should also make us pause if we are tempted into something which is unhealthy, unhelpful and unholy!

Secondly, there is the training involved. We cannot possibly merely drift along in the great race of the Christian life. Like all serious athletes we should be looking at a regular and healthy balance in our life-style as well as discarding surplus weights and activities. Some of these may not be wrong in themselves but may hinder us in our particular journey. Others may well be directly detrimental to our spiritual and physical lives and efforts. Through it all we are expected to practice our own particular ‘disciplines’ or gifts and be aware and concerned about our fellow travellers.

Thirdly, there is the finishing line. The race of life is all about how and where we are going. This involves recognising and avoiding distractions and keeping our focus and attention on the Lord at all times so that we continually end up in the right place at the right time.

    “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3)

It is small wonder the fruit of the Spirit includes self-control. If we are to run our particular race faithfully and to the end – there to receive not just the applause of the spectators but the ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ from a smiling Lord Jesus – we will need the self-discipline required to make the journey less of a trial and more of a joy.

Response:
I have been chosen – let me own and finish my race

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, You have chosen me to be a member of Your team. Help me to run my part of the race faithfully, and with commitment and self-control, living at all times to Your honour and glory. Amen.

————————–