The Soaring Eagle

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


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Listen for Me

“Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me,
awake and ready for me each morning,
alert and responsive as I start my day’s work”
(Proverbs 8:34 MSG)

Reflection:
There are three voices that speak to me at the beginning of every day.

One is my own, telling me of all my needs and wants and fears. The next is the world’s sending a flood of mixed messages – immersing me in the lives, events and traumas around the globe together with an unending stream of advertisements about things that could make my life more worthwhile. And then there is the quiet whisper of the Lord, telling me to slow down as I read His word and to listen for the message that He has for me today.

Sometimes it is hard to remember that the God of the ages, the Lord God Almighty, wishes to talk with this little being, one of the smallest grains of sand on the vast beaches of humanity. At other times it is almost inconceivable that the Saviour who hears the cries of those caught up in the latest natural and man-made tragedies should come to ‘sit awhile with me’ in the quiet stillness of the early hours. And yet He is always ‘there’ – always with me, always listening and attentive, always with a response, even if it is just the special silence of companionship.

Time and again He has something for me, some word of encouragement or direction, some insight or inspiration, some reminder of His great love and provision. And the notebook that is my almost constant companion is filled with these snippets of love and life. Some are words for the day. However others are treasures that have become foundational to the future as well.

Blessed indeed are those who listen for God and to Him – in His Word, in prayer, in creation and through the day. For they will come to know the joy of His voice and presence.

Response:
Don’t fret or strain – practice listening at all times

Prayer:

“Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” And like Samuel help me Father to hear You as You speak to me and to learn to recognise Your voice more and more. Amen.”

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Thank You!

“Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed?
Where are the other nine?
Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
(Luke 17:17-18)

Reflection:
Whenever I read this account I am convicted of how very much I take for granted.

Jesus has just healed 10 lepers. He sent them off to show themselves to the priest to be declared healed and able to take their place in society again. As they went, the record tells us, ‘they were cleansed.” The effect on them must have been remarkable – for they were healed not only physically but of their being social outcasts, having only other diseased people as there companions and friends.

One of them returned to Jesus ‘praising God in a loud voice’ and ‘threw himself at Jesus feet and thanked Him.’ Looking at him, a Samaritan, Jesus asked the question – “Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” By implication most, if not all, of the others had been Israelites. The sadness was that as much as they may have rejoiced in their healing they ignored the One who had healed them and given them back the gift of life and living.

Every day is a day of the wonder and grace of God. Each one is an occasion when we may look for Him and find Him in new ways. Each moment offers us the opportunity to return our thoughts to Him and to speak to Him of our lives and His love. And there is so much for which to thank Him – from the wonder of our minds and bodies to the awesome extent, detail and beauty of His creation, from the ongoing blessing of His forgiveness, cleansing and healing of our spirits to the people who have been and are a blessing in our lives.

Response:
Take a moment now to thank God for something or someone who has blessed you – and maybe to thank them as well.

Prayer:

Thank You Father for the life You have given me, for my new life in Jesus Christ, and for the countless ways in which You have reached out to me in love and blessing. Thank You so very much. Amen

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Who I am

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus”
(Ephesians 2:10)

Reflection:
 I am not what the world has made of me. I am who and what God created me to be, and into which He is leading me and expressing through me.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

However, this newness is not something or someone that God has recently dreamed up. My true identity and nature goes back into the mists before our time began. And God is restoring me into that image which has all the beauty of something new and untarnished – a someone I have never seen or even imagined.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will”
(Ephesians 1:4-5)

George Appleton, in his beautiful and deeply insightful prayer, expressed it like this,

“Give me a candle of the Spirit,
O God,
as I go down into the depths of my being.
Show me the hidden things,
the creatures of my dreams,
the storehouse of forgotten memories
and hurts.
Take me down
to the spring of my life,
and tell me my nature and my name.
Give me freedom to grow,
so that I may become that self,
the seed of which  You planted in me at my making.”

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Listen

“Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law”
(Psalm 119:18)

Reflection:
“What about me!” When things get tough and I’m feeling down it is so easy for that cry to rise to my lips.

This morning in my reading it struck me how often some of the kings of Israel would immediately turn to the Lord in a problem. They went to find out what He had to say – and not only to plead for help. Sometimes His response was challenging where they had been guilty of ongoing sin – whilst at others it was encouraging and affirming.

I know for myself that when I have gone seeking Him in prayer and Scripture He invariably responds with a direct word or a biblical passage. Sometimes the response has been immediate whilst at others He has quietly waited until He has brought me to a better spiritual place – often where I am quieter and prepared to listen!

Again and again He has spoken to me through a word that has caught my attention whilst reading. As I have paused, there has come a stillness and quietness within and I have been comforted, encouraged and strengthened by His presence and response.

He does not always remove the problem but the knowledge of His intimate and loving presence has given me peace. And I have walked forward with Him.

Response:
What God wants to say in a situation is more precious than my demands

Prayer:

Father, You are with me always – and You care so much for me and about me. Help me to stay close to You and to trust You with all of me. 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:
We may call Jesus Saviour and Lord but that does not mean that all areas of our lives are in submission to Him. This becomes a process that takes place over time as we journey with Him. We may be aware of some of these areas whilst others may appear on the way and take us by surprise. As long as they remain independent they will hinder our life with the Lord and prevent us from enjoying the fullness of the life that He has for us.

The prodigal son’s whole life had imploded on him and this is what eventually brought him to his senses. In his spiritual shame and isolation he did the only thing left open to him – he went home. There to his astonishment and delight he was welcomed, embraced and celebrated. The healing had begun.

When we realise that there are parts of our own lives that are distant from the Lord the most important response is for us to pick them up and take them back to God. This is where they belong and this is where the healing and restoration can happen. The longer we try and cope or fix them by ourselves the more difficult it may become.  As we take them to God we meet His love, His acceptance of us, His embracing and supporting arms, and His strength and help.

It might happen that in parts of our lives we keep wandering off again – pursuing some pleasure or giving in to some weakness. If this is the case and as soon as we are aware of it we need to go back with it to the Lord and ask Him for His forgiveness, healing and strength. Keep going home until you never leave again. This is not an invitation to become casual in our life with the Lord but an acknowledgement that some battles are harder and longer than others, for a whole variety of reasons.

Your home is in the Lord. Your forgiveness and healing is in the Lord. Your life and fulfilment is in the Lord. Bring all of yourself to Him all of the time – He will never reject you.

And now realise too that you are surrounded by people whose lives, or a part of whose lives, are distant from God. Some of them will feel isolated from Him whilst others will have no sense of Him at all. Inside each one of them somewhere is a lonely son or daughter who also needs love and encouragement as well as help. It might be that you are their only link at this time. Ask God to point out to you the one/s He wishes to reach and start by holding them faithfully in your prayers – asking for God’s light and blessing in their lives.

Response:
Have I any desert areas? Take them to the Lord now.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus I come to You as I am and ask You particularly to forgive, heal and set me free in these  areas of my life ……  Please accept them and bring them under Your Lordship and authority, for Your glory.  Amen.

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And God said

“Let me hear of Your loving kindness in the morning,
for in You I put my trust”
(Psalm 143:8)

Reflection:
On Monday I went for blood tests for a condition that had all the possibilities of turning out to be very nasty. The results were due the next day but were delayed until Wednesday morning. On Tuesday night whilst praying these words from the psalm reached out to me in a special way,

“Let me hear of Your loving kindness in the morning,
for in You I put my trust”

They seemed to reach into my spirit where I embraced them and held on to them. In the morning, despite the occasional twinge of anxiety from which I chose to turn away, they remained with me. And eventually the news came that there was in all probability no condition that could not treated with medicines. Praise God indeed – or with a bit more enthusiasm, “Yay God!”

It is so special when God gives us a word, speaking into our situations. It underlines the importance of being close to Him, open to Him and in conversation with Him. This God of everlasting love is concerned about us as individuals and so often has a word for us of ‘strength, encouragement and comfort.’ (1 Corinthians 14:3) And the word that we have in Scripture is still a living word which He uses to speak to us and into our situations today.

Response:
Involve God in conversation about Your affairs and read His word expectantly.

Prayer:

Help me to be open to You Lord, to be alive to the possibility of Your speaking to me and to hear You when You do. Amen.

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(Photo: (c) Catherine Bondonno)


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God Speaking

“The seed is the word of God”
(Luke 8:11)

Reflection:
The parable of the sower is one of such amazing good news. To see it we must make it personal.

Jesus is the Sower – He is also the one who said that He would be with us always. The field that belongs to Him is the world but, making it personal, it is our particular world. It is into our personal lives that He is sowing His seed – day in and day out, sunshine and rain, daylight and night-time. As the Word and Revelation of God He is speaking to us one way or the other all the time. And into every area of our lives.

He speaks into the hard and insensitive areas of our lives. And although His words might quickly disappear and have no apparent effect they are nevertheless there in our history. One day we might remember them in awe.

He speaks into the shallow areas of our lives – where the boulders of sin and selfishness sit firmly entrenched. And although His words attract us they cannot establish themselves because our desires are elsewhere. But they are there – and one day we will remember in awe.

He sows His word into the frantic and stressful areas of our lives – where there is so much clamouring for our attention. However the urgent calls of the world distract us and we fail to remember them amongst the weeds. But they are there even although choked out for the time being. One day we will notice them and remember in awe.

And of course He continues also to sow into any areas where we will notice, receive and attend to His word and presence now.

God is sowing into our lives every moment of every day. And this without our specific intention or invitation, but just because He is God and through His great love for each one of us. He sows through the wonder of His creation – if we would pause to look and listen. He sows through His Scriptures – if we would pause to read and reflect. He sows into our prayer life – if we choose to include Him. He sows though the good times and the hard times, the joy and the pain, the busyness and the quiet, the social pleasures and the lonely times.

God sows because He cares and longs to produce blessing in our lives.

Response:
Keep asking God what He is saying to you – He knows what you need to hear.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus You are speaking and teaching into my life. Please help me to practice being aware of You,  to still myself to listen for Your word, to recognise and receive Your word, and to trust and respond to Your word. Amen.

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