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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Don’t waste it

“Mark a life of discipline and live wisely;
don’t squander your precious life”
(Proverbs 8:33 MSG)

Reflection:
I was very struck by these words this morning. As I reflected on them so I was reminded that life is precious. My life is precious. The minutes and hours go by in a steady pace and, once having passed, there is no bringing them back again or changing the way in which we filled or did not fill them.

Each one of us lives in a different context and with different pressures, challenges, burdens and opportunities. It does not help us to moan about our situations, to wish that we were like somebody else, or to pass the time with private day-dreams. At this moment in time we are who we are in a very real situation and in very real relationships.

It is also not merely a question of filling our time with activities or passing pleasures. Somehow these things often provide us with only a temporary satisfaction or sense of achievement. Often they leave us with an urgent need for more.

“The psalmist underlines our deepest need for us when he exclaims,

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God”  (Psalm 42:1)

In turn Jesus answer Him when He calls out,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”  (Matthew 11:28)

This rest that He talks about is not primarily a rest for our bodies or minds. It is the deep rest of the spirit that transforms everything else. It is the rest of being in His presence, trusting His love and depending upon His power to carry us through the hills and valleys of life and bring us safely home again. It is the belief that no matter how we see things at any moment in time He will achieve His purpose in and through us and make good our short-comings.

Then, as we let go of the pressure to make our lives count in terms of the world’s ways, we can focus instead on how God may be wanting us to live, and on what He may be calling us to do, right where we are and how we are. He invariably amazes us with what He can do with us, in us and through us when we let Him in more intentionally.

Response:
Spend time with God- He is with you right now. Talk to Him about you and give Him space to talk to you about Himself.

Prayer:

Dear Father, forgive me for my deep yearnings and dissatisfactions with myself and my life and living. Help me to find my purpose and value not in worldly achievements and involvements but in You and in the things that You have prepared for me. 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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Trust

“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)

 

Reflection:
To ‘lean on our own understanding’ is to limit everything to the level of our perception.  When life is painful we tend to fear that it will always be that way – or even worse.  A good example of this is the account of the Israelites in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. No matter how much God did for them they never trusted Him for the next challenge.

So here we are urged to lift our eyes, to change our focus and enlarge our vision.  The one who loves us and has called us to Himself is the Lord God Almighty. He is the all-powerful one; He is the one who is called ‘Love’; He is the one who at huge personal cost has invited us to become His daughters and His sons; He is the one who in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit has promised to be with us always. He is also the one who in any and every situation and circumstance knows the best way forward –

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)

In every road on which we find ourselves, in every challenge we face, in every situation that threatens us, in every task we undertake, in every relationship in which we are involved  – in fact ‘in all our ways’ – we need the Lord. Our first step is to acknowledge Him with His love and His power, and then to ask Him for His guidance, help and strength. The answer is then certain – He will become involved and He will take us forward and He will bless us.

The sooner we start with involving the Lord in our everyday lives, decisions and responses the more natural it will become if and when things get really challenging.

Response:
Whatever you do, feel or think today – ask the Lord to guide and help you.

Prayer:

Lord God my life is in Your hands and any merits that I might appear to have are in fact Your mercies. Please be with me and guide and help me through the light and the darkness, the days and the nights of my life – and help me to stay very close to You at all times. Amen.

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Lips Closed

2016-11-24

“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out”
(Proverbs 17:14)

Reflection:
It only takes a word – a momentary impulse – an emotional reaction – a thoughtless remark. And like many things they can never be withdrawn or erased. There are no delete or rewind buttons on our mouths. And the flood and counter-flood that result can be beyond expectation or understanding.

Words and actions come from somewhere – as do responses. We might find that all sorts of thoughts and emotions have been stirring within us and building up behind a fragile partition for some time. Hurt, anger, and feelings of inadequacy are just three of the raw areas within us that make us ultra-sensitive to ourselves and very insensitive to others at the same time.

With good reason Jesus directs us towards the law of love – to love God, to love one another and to love our neighbours and our enemies. The Holy Spirit is focussed on the state of our hearts and Paul advises us to be careful about our thoughts. Then James puts it very bluntly.

  • “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5)
  • “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things” (Philippians 4:8)
  • “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (James 1:26)

If a dispute arises we need to remember that it is not always useful or necessary for us to be proved right, or even to vindicate ourselves – particularly at the time. Being ‘dead right’ is a small consolation if a relationship has ceased to exist or a family life has been blown apart.

Our words and actions should be aimed at building up and not breaking down. James again speaks very clearly.

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:19-20)

Response:
Keep the floodgates closed

Prayer:

Lord please fill me with Your love and with the fruit of the Holy Spirit and help me to build good relationships and not bruise or destroy them. Amen.

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Trusting God

2016.09.06

“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)

 

Reflection:
To ‘lean on our own understanding’ is to limit everything to the level of our perception.  When life is painful we tend to fear that it will always be that way – or even worse.  A good example of this is the account of the Israelites in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. No matter how much God did for them they never trusted Him for the next challenge.

So here we are urged to lift our eyes, to change our focus and enlarge our vision.  The one who loves us and has called us to Himself is the Lord God Almighty. He is the all-powerful one; He is the one who is called ‘Love’; He is the one who at huge personal cost has invited us to become His daughters and His sons; He is the one who in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit has promised to be with us always. He is also the one who in any and every situation and circumstance knows the best way forward –

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)

In every road on which we find ourselves, in every challenge we face, in every situation that threatens us, in every task we undertake, in every relationship in which we are involved  – in fact ‘in all our ways’ – we need the Lord. Our first step is to acknowledge Him with His love and His power, and then to ask Him for His guidance, help and strength. The answer is then certain – He will become involved and He will take us forward and He will bless us.

The sooner we start with involving the Lord in our everyday lives, decisions and responses the more natural it will become if and when things get really challenging.

Response:
Whatever you do, feel or think today – ask the Lord to guide and help you.

Prayer:

Lord God my life is in Your hands and any merits that I might appear to have are in fact Your mercies. Please be with me and guide and help me through the light and the darkness, the days and the nights of my life – and help me to stay very close to You at all times. Amen.

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Real Wisdom

2016.07.29

“But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared.”
(Psalm 130:4)

 

Reflection:
The Psalmist gives as the reason for his statement the fact that forgiveness of sins is found with God, and with God alone. The whole of Scripture supports his view, and would therefore agree that God should be treated with the greatest reverence and respect. The writer of Proverbs tells us clearly that,

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10)

Anyone who treats God casually, lightly, disrespectfully and without the deepest reverence has clearly no idea of the majesty and holiness of God – nor of just how much we need and depend upon Him for this life and the next. More than one writer has expressed the conviction that our proper place would be on our faces before Him – something that is brought out dramatically in Revelations.

Although God would certainly strike terror into the heart of an unbeliever or unrepentant sinner it is not terror that the writers have in mind – for the love of God casts out fear.  It is instead a deep and awe-filled reverence, a hushed acknowledgement of His absolute power, majesty, authority and holiness, and a willing obedience to His slightest wish and command.

Coupled with this now would be the dumb-struck awe of His love, His grace, His sacrifice and His humility – as He stoops down to reach out to us, to cleanse us, to take our sins upon Himself to the cross and the grave, and to rise again in glory so as to bless us with new and eternal life.

This would bring us to a tear-filled joy that the God of holiness unsullied could love a sin-sodden wastrel, and wish to transform him and her to a child of pure and transparent beauty in whom the image of the Almighty Father is clearly evident.

God is to be treated with reverence for who He is and because He holds our lives in His hands –hands that are scarred with our salvation. Indeed,

“He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

Response:

Think on these things – and how you look at God.

Prayer:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name..”  Amen

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