The Soaring Eagle

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


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My Shelter

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD,
“He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
(Psalm 91:1-2)

 

Reflection:
There is a terrible amount of stress in life. Much of it comes from our sense of being alone in situations, and of being unsure of how we will cope. Some of it may have come about because of actions of ours that have proven to be unwise.

The psalmist’s advice is clear. Those who stay close to the Lord will be comforted by the awareness of His presence. It will be like a shelter over them in the midst of any storm. The knowledge that He is with them will bring a new hope and encouragement – based not upon their own capabilities or the hope of ‘good fortune’ but upon His majesty, power and love. When their problems cast a pall over their lives they will become aware of them being overshadowed by the Lord’s presence. Turning towards Him He becomes a refuge and a stronghold into which they can enter. Everything becomes different with the knowledge that ‘God’s here with me.’

And there we find that indeed,

“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:
Seek to stay close to Him throughout the week. Pray to Him, chat with Him, thank Him for His presence, support and blessings and feed yourself upon His Word.

Prayer:

Father, You are always with me. Help me to be always with You, and aware of You. Amen.

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All I Need

“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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My Strength

“I love you, O LORD, my strength.”
(Psalm 18:1)

Reflection:
This verse is so helpful as a daily reminder and focus.

“I Love You” – is a constant reminder of our decision and need to place God first at every moment and in every situation that we face. Our choice, and in response to the Great Commandment, is to have Him as the first priority in our lives. It also reminds us that we love Him because ‘He first loved us!’ We are His priority – and there is no clearer indication of this than the great statement of our Lord’s – and note that little word ‘so!’

“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)

“O Lord” – is the focus for our love and service. He is God Almighty – the Trinity of God the Eternal Father, God the Son our Saviour and God the Holy Spirit who is with us and within us always. He is the God who had no beginning and has no end, the glorious and supreme Majesty who has desired us and sacrificed Himself for us so that we might receive, enjoy and respond to His Love. Our lives and work become an offering to Him.

‘My strength” – is our acknowledgement that without God we have nothing and cannot achieve anything of any great value. It is God in us who equips, empowers and enables us to live the life to which He has called us, and to do so in a fallen and unbelieving world. He gives us the love, the faith, the strength and the perseverance that we need – and from Him too comes the peace that passes understanding and the joy that is beyond any momentary happiness of the world.

Response:
Write the words into your diary (or somewhere you will see them often). Learn them, say them, pray them through the week – and let them guide your thoughts, words and actions. Live them.

Prayer:

Lord God, please help me to love You more and to have you as my first priority, to do everything as an offering to You, and to look to You for all that I will need every day this week. Thank You so much for Your great love for me. Amen.

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Home again

“I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever”
(Psalm 23:6)

Reflection:
This is a wonderful ending to a glorious and special psalm.

The Shepherd who leads us and looks after us has a particular end in view all the time. He is leading us home, to the place where God dwells. As we look back at the psalm through the eyes of the Gospels we can understand more fully that this is the place to which we really belong. It is ‘My Father’s house’ Jesus tells us where He has gone to prepare a place for us.

It is here that there will be ‘no more death or mourning or crying or pain’ for we will live in the eternal presence of our great and glorious God. There will be the beauty of Life, the wonder of Love and the glory of Light beyond our wildest imaginations and hopes. And for the very first time in our lives we will be perfectly and beautifully complete in every possible way. Indeed

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”
(1 Corinthians 2:9)

As we look back on our journey from its glorious fulfilment we will discover a wonderful and marvellous truth. No matter what it seemed to us at the time, every part of the journey has been a part of the revelation of the love, life and grace of God. It has all been woven into the beautiful tapestry of our lives – as He has worked in all things to the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)

Response:
Make the most of the journey – and never lose sight of the end

Prayer:

Good Shepherd lead me onward through this life and bring me safely home – to the sparkling joy and heart-stopping completeness that awaits me in the eternal life and love of God. Amen.

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Abundant Love

“My cup overflows”
(Psalm 23:5)

 

Reflection:
The cup from which we drink in our everyday lives is bitter-sweet. There is pain and disappointment and the pleasures though many are fleeting.

David however had seen his life touched by God in numerous and different ways. He was humbled and overwhelmed by the love, personal involvement and privilege – as well as by the glory, majesty and power that was revealed. In need God was more than sufficient, in sin God’s forgiveness was absolute and complete, in blessing God’s provision was abundant.

Where the world in which we live is temporary and imperfect, and has nothing better to offer, God is different. He is eternal, sovereign and loving and relates to us accordingly. Even where He involves Himself in our worldly lives and affairs His actions carry with them the mark of eternal significance for they reveal His glorious presence and engaging love. His is the one life and love that meets us here and carries us into His eternity. It is a love and life that does not diminish but grows. The world may distract us from it but cannot take it away.

In the Old Testament to eat and drink at someone’s table created a bond of mutual loyalty. This was especially true in the case of a covenant – and is one of the hallmarks of God’s covenants with His people. We see it again in the Last Supper where, after eating, Jesus passes the cup to the disciples with the words “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (1 Corinthians 11:25) As we accept Him our lives are opened to the realty, presence and commitment of the Lord Jesus to us – as Lord, Saviour and Friend.

The deeper and stronger our relationship with Him the more His blessings can be identified and enjoyed. The closer we draw to Him the more that we see that He is our all in all.  And the God who is “I AM WHO I AM” reveals Himself to each one as the God whom we need in our particular lives and situations.

Response:
Pause to identify God’s revelation of Himself in creation and in your own life.

Prayer:

Father open my eyes to Your glory and love more and more each day. Help me to treasure, accept and enjoy the wonder of Your revelations to me. Amen.

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My Shadow

“Surely goodness and love
will follow me all the days of my life”
(Psalm 23:6)

 

Reflection:
There are two lovely points to bear in mind here.

Firstly, as we follow Jesus and allow Him to care for us, the beauty and love of the Lord will come after us. They will seek to enter into us and transform our lives through our thoughts, words and deeds. We know this because we are intended to be in the image of God. We are called to be holy as He is holy, filled with the Light of His Life and Love.

Secondly, beauty and love will be our shadows. These are the realities that we will leave behind us as we pass through life and people’s lives and situations. The fruit of the Holy Spirit will appear in and upon our lives. Like all fruit it is an indication of the loveliness of the fruit tree itself. However the fruit is borne not for the benefit of the tree but for those around it.

In our relationship with our Lord we are intended to receive His beauty and love, become beautiful and lovely of spirit, and pass it on to those around us.

Response:
Don’t share the world – share the Lord

Prayer:

Lord God help me to seek and to embrace Your loveliness and share it with others through my life and living. Amen.

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Anointed

“You anoint my head with oil”
(Psalm 23:5)

 

Reflection:
Oil was used to anoint people for a number of reasons. It was, and still is, used in healing ministries. James teaches

“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14)

Isaiah prophesied that one of the ministries of the Messiah would be

 “to bestow on them … the oil of gladness instead of mourning” (Isaiah 61:3)

Samuel was instructed to anoint David as the next King of Israel

“So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power” (1 Samuel 16:13)

In all instances it is seen as a sign of blessing – whether of healing, favour or honour. In the psalm it would have elements of each one. The Shepherd checking the health of His sheep would look to heal them wherever there was a need. In terms of relationship God looks with favour on His children and wishes to bless them with His love and His joy. In terms of ministry God blesses and anoints us for the tasks to which He has raised us and gifted us. David knows he has been greatly blessed in his life and likens it to God having anointed His head with the oil of favour, healing and honour.

In all cases it is ‘an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.’ God as our Father, Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and Guide, wish to bless us – not only where we have a need but from the depths of their love as well.

Response:
Ask for and look to identify His blessings.

Prayer:

Lord God You have blessed me and do bless me. Please help me to be aware of these blessings and to treasure them as David did. Amen.

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