The Soaring Eagle

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


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Hear my song

“Where morning dawns and evening fades
you call forth songs of joy”
(Psalm 65:8)

Reflection:
I have loved and still love God’s great gifts of morning and evening, sunrise and sunset, dawn and dusk. And I understand fully the translation which proclaims,

“The gates of the morning and evening
sing Your praise.”

I have been fortunate enough to know times when I could sleep next to the ocean with curtains wide. And, as the sun began to show its golden rim above the distant horizon, I have sprung from my bed and gone out to greet the dawn.  There with the surging and whispering sea I have welcomed the morning with wonder and praise. Every part of me has thrilled to the sense of God as He has ushered in another opportunity to know and enjoy His love and life.

At other times I have stood knee-deep in the swirling surf and watched in awe as the sun went down in a sky-wide blaze of glorious colour. And as I gazed in speechless and almost tearful wonder the Artist produced another range of colours from His palette. With gentle hand and loving touch He painted the silent clouds again and again with ever-softening hues – turning often to watch my face and smile.

Eugene Peterson translates it like this.

‘Dawn and dusk take turns
calling ‘come and worship’

It is a message for all to see and hear – if only we will. For a glorious moment it lifts our eyes and our spirits from the obsessions, the pain and the burdens of the moment. It offers us an injection of cleansing beauty, of enlightening truth and of blessed hope. It’s a space in which to pause and say’, ‘Of course; Thank You,’ and to be still. For silence also is praise to You, our great God of love.

Response:
Make time to look and wonder at the God of creation.

Prayer:

Lord help me to hear the voice of Your creation as it reaches out to me in love and blessing. Amen.

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My Song

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

 

Reflection:
Part of the victory song of Moses, after the great triumph of God in the Exodus through the sea, 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 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 song.’ Humans have over the years composed many songs, not a few of which have been to glorify themselves. However, as our eyes are opened to the wonderful truth of the Lord and our hearts and spirits respond to the revelation of His love and salvation, we may discover that one song rises joyfully above all the others. The praises of God are the sweetest of all, and often it is enough just to sing out the name of Jesus. For me true worship must rise like a soaring eagle up into the heavens, and then descend into complete and holy silence where it is enough just to whisper again and again the one precious ‘name above all names.’

‘He has become my salvation.’  This Lord, who is at once Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not one who merely watches from a distance but is the God who has come to us – to seek us, find us, help us and lead us home through His awesome death and resurrection. Everything promised and prophesied in the Bible has found its truth and completion in the Lord Jesus. And, He has sought, called and embraced each one of His beloved in His eternal love – from which no one and nothing can ever separate us, once we have given ourselves back to Him.

I love you, O Lord,
my strength, my song
and my salvation.

Response:
Learn it – reflect on it – sing it

Prayer:

Thank You Lord – so very much. Amen.

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Delight in the Word

“Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night”
(Psalm 1:1-2)

Reflection:
Following on from Jesus statement yesterday that,

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”  (Matthew 4:4)

We find the same truth expressed in the first of the Psalms.

“Blessed is the man (whose) … delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night”  (Psalm 1:1-2)

Importantly the Psalmist is not talking of a wilful obedience but of a delight of the heart – a joy and an inspiration. These are strong and influential words related more to love than to gritted determination. He tells us that we find this in the revelation contained in ‘the law of the Lord.’

The law referred to in this instance is not the merely the commandments and other laws given to the Israelites but the entire revelation of God, including very importantly the fact that He has provided for our forgiveness and salvation. He has also revealed truths and directions to help us in our life and living. All of it tells of the great love, commitment and faithfulness of God to His people – those who put their trust in Him. For example,

  • “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered”  (Psalm 32:1)
  • “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17)

If we soak ourselves in the Scriptures and allow God to use them to speak to us we will begin to discover the reason behind some of David’s great exclamations.

  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105)
  • “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counsellors”  (Psalm 119:24)
  • “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long”  (Psalm 119:97)

There is no doubt that David was passionate about the word of God.  It is all summed up for us as follows

  • “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11)

Response:
Read the Word expecting to discover some new truth, direction or assurance

Prayer:

Lord open Your Word to me, and me to Your Word, that I may delight in Your revelation of Yourself. Amen.

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God of Love 13

“Give thanks to the LORD,
for he is good.
His love endures forever”
(Psalm 136:1)

Reflection:
God is a God of Love.

There is a passage in the Psalms that is often used at funerals to signify the brevity of human life.

“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more” (Psalm 103:15-16)

And as quickly as a flower of the field may be forgotten so does the world move on when we pass away – remembered by only a relative few. However the Psalm continues and reminds us of the Lord’s love which does not move on and forget.

“But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him” (Psalm 103:17)

God’s love is not short-lived and fickle. He loved us before we were born, He has loved us throughout our lives, He has loved us into His kingdom, and He will love us for all of eternity. And when the ‘wind blows over’ our place here and takes us with it God will be there for us with His arms open wide.

Our God is the Lord God Almighty. He is good. And His love endures forever. This needs to be at the forefront of our minds at all times. David recognised it when he prayed,

 “Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD” (Psalm 25:7)

Response:
I am loved  with an everlasting love by the God who is both holy and eternal.

Prayer:

Father my mind knows that You are good and that You love me. Please may this truth sink into the depths of my spirit as well and give new meaning to my life. Amen.

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God of Love 12

“The earth is filled with Your love O LORD;
teach me Your decrees”
(Psalm 119:64)

Reflection:
God is a God of Love.

What do we see when we look at the world around us – a glass almost empty or one filled with wonderful things? I know when I look at my garden I tend to see the gaps – and when I look at somebody else’s garden I focus on the plants. Just so, it is easy to bemoan the problems and difficulties in my life and to overlook, or take for granted, the blessings and privileges.

Paul reminds us that,

“since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.(Romans 1:20)

The poet William Blake began his poem Auguries of Innocence with a ‘quatrain which captures how the beauty of nature and the universe is often in the small everyday details’:

“To see a world in a grain of sand,
And heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour.”

I have walked through the lashing rain, with the thunder crashing around me, the lightening flashing through the night, where the wind was a ‘torrent of darkness’ and the moon ‘a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.’ I have watched the sun-kissed waves surging powerfully across a purple ocean; listened to the haunting cry of a fish-eagle piercing the morning mist; watched a daffodil shoot break through the wintry ground and felt the sunny beach warm between my toes. I have heard the contented murmurings of birds in the early morning light, marvelled at the soft and the passionate sun-sets, looked in wonder at a single flower in a vase, studied the intricate tracings on a leaf, and been struck with awe at the fragile medallions created by a spider as they glistened on the soft lake-side grass in the early morning light.

Their message is always the same. God is alive – and He is so good.

Response:
Turn from the clamour of the world for a while and look at God’s creation  –  let it speak.

Prayer:

Father help me to see, to marvel and to hear – for You reveal Yourself in what You have made. Amen.

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Love of God 11

“Help me, O LORD my God;
save me in accordance with your love”
(Psalm 109:26)

Reflection:
God is a God of Love.

Life is not fair. So it is not uncommon to think that we ‘deserve better than this.’ However, it is not an argument that we can have with God – for very quickly we discover that we deserve nothing more than judgement and separation. The prodigal son had it right when he realised that

“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:18-19)

But such is the love of God for us that He has not been watching us in stony silence. Instead He came to find us in His Son and to take upon Himself the sin and also the consequences that we deserved. He reached out to offer us eternal life with Him in the intimate relationship of Father and child. And with that we are to share in the inheritance that is Jesus by right. All this is not fair – but love is not too concerned with fairness, only with what is best for the beloved.

So we don’t ask God to save us in and from whatever situation is troubling us because we deserve better. We ask Him to help us because He loves us.

“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)

Response:
Learn to trust the love of God – it is far greater than we imagine.

Prayer:

Father I do know that Your love for me is beyond anything that I can imagine – yet there are times when I feel very lost and lonely. Please help me Lord and sustain me out of that great Love that knows no limit or barrier. Amen.

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Love of God 10

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever”
(Psalm 107:1)

Reflection:
God is a God of Love.

As we continue with the Psalm we discern that every one of us, as the daughters and sons of God, has a unique history with Him. We have come on an individual journey in which He has met with us and taken us forward. He has brought us to know and put our faith in His Son and has given to us the gift of His Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the One who pours the love of God into our hearts (Romans 5:5), gives to us specific gifts (1 Corinthians 12) and leads us into the particular works that the Lord Jesus has for us  – whether we are aware of them or not – (Ephesians 2:10).

This unique history of ours with God becomes the foundation of our witness and testimony to His love. It does not matter if it seems to us fairly bland and devoid of excitement – this is the truth of God’s work in and with us and it is the account that He will bless, for it is also His story.

Response:
Write down the account of your own history with God. Then prune it until you have something clear and concise that you could easily share if you were asked to.  Thank God for His hand in your life.

Prayer:

Father I thank You so much for coming into my life and making Yourself real to me. Thank You for Your love and presence. Please help me to trust and walk with You at all times – until You bring me safely home. Amen.

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