The Soaring Eagle

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


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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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Your Bequest

2016.06.03

“A good man leaves an inheritance
for his children’s children”
(Proverbs 13:22)

Reflection:
What will people miss about us when we are gone – and what stories will they tell of us to their children and friends?

We have a great influence on the lives of those around us. This is not only through what we do but through who we really are and the way that we conduct our lives and relationships. Most of our families and friends know more about us than we might imagine, have opinions that might surprise is and memories of which we are unaware.

We help create today the memories that people will have of us tomorrow – if any. Our influence and the beginnings of their stories of us are already being formed. May their memories of you be rich and rewarding.

Response:
Take the time to love

Prayer:

Help me Lord to love – and to express it creatively and happily. Amen.

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For You Lord

2015.07.17

“Honour the LORD with your wealth,
with the first fruits of all your crops”

(Proverbs 3:9)

Reflection:
All and any wealth that we have, individually and collectively, comes from God’s gracious provision. He created all the natural resources, and built into His creation all the possibilities for development, scientific discovery and technological advancement that we enjoy. He has blessed us too with the intelligence to learn, plan, envision and manage.

To honour God with our wealth is to acknowledge that it does, in all reality, come from Him. To do so with the first-fruits of that wealth ensures that He is honoured with the best that we have available and not the ‘spare change’ that might be left at the end. That He expects the best is obvious in the Old Testament where He instructed that any offering made to Him should be ‘without defect.’ To give Him anything less would in fact be to dishonour Him. And then in the New Testament we discover how He provided for us the ‘one, true sacrifice’ that was without blemish in Jesus Christ. There was nothing withheld in that offering.

Both in the next verse and in Malachi (3:10) God makes it clear that if we do honour Him properly in this way then He will respond with additional blessings. By opening our hearts to Him we open the door to His desire to bless even more.

“then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:10)

However, we must not fall into the trap of thinking that the way to get more wealth is to give God some of what we have – rather like a good investment. That can be manipulative and self-seeking. Instead we honour and thank God because He deserves it and can be trusted with the future. Where we don’t we may be cutting ourselves off from any further blessings on His heart.

Response:
Where do I stand?

Prayer:

Father God, all that I have has been provided by You. Thank You so much. Please help me to honour You from all that You give me, and to be loving towards those who are in need, Amen.

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