The Soaring Eagle

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


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Delights in me

“He rescued me
 because he delighted in me”
(Psalm 18:19)

Reflection:
It is so easy to allow ourselves to think of God as a distant reality who frowns whenever He chances to catch sight of us. Yet Scripture is at pains to introduce us to a completely different picture.

Delight is a lovely word. It brings to mind a lifting of the heart, a face breaking into a smile, and eyes widening and sparkling with joy. It is the response that we can experience ourselves when we catch sight of someone whom we love. It is not dependent upon their having done something to please us but is a heart-felt expression of love and affection and joy. This is the understanding of the psalmist.

A similar image appears in the book of Zephaniah when he declares,

“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)

God made us to love us, for us to know His love and to love Him in return. That is why the fruit of the Spirit gives love pride of place, as do the Great and New Commandments. It is also the reason for the Holy Spirit having love as a major ministry,

“because God has poured out his love into our hearts
by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us”
(Romans 5:5)

We can only love God because He first loved us, and the depth and extent of that love is revealed most fully in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. This love of God is not merely a word or an intellectual exercise – it is a heart-filled and eternity long passion and delight in those who have responded to Him and entered onto His new life as His beloved children.

This includes you. He has rescued you from the darkness of sin and takes great delight in you.

Response:
Savor the wonderful truth – He delights in me!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, You delight in me – even me. You love me with an everlasting love. You forgive me and build me up as your beloved child through the Holy Spirit whom You have given me. Thank You so much Father – please help me to trust in and enjoy Your love and delight. Amen.

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The Heavens Declare

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.”
(Psalm 19:1-2)

 

Reflection:
I walked outside one night and looked up. It was a cloudless night and, even in our suburb, enough of the sky was visible to make me pause in awe and wonder. The stars shone out from the dark depths of space like diamonds on the deep blue cloak of God. I stood in stillness and let His glory touch me for those precious moments. How great is our God indeed,

 “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.”

(Psalm 33:6)

It is a mighty and marvellous act of creation – by an almighty, beautiful and loving God. They sing His praises in sounds and words that we cannot hear and reduce us at last to the silence of true worship and adoration. I found myself longing for less of me in my life and more of God – more than I knew I could handle but not more than I could desire. I have a longing sometime to just disappear into His love and glory – like a wave on the beach slips back into the vast and all-embracing ocean.

“As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

(Psalm 42:1-2)

How much more precious were those moments and the thoughts and feelings that they prompted, than everything that the world has to offer in terms of pleasure, wisdom and achievement. How much more to hold onto in the times of pain, sin and sorrow.

God speaks to us in so many ways, not least in and through our everyday exposure to His creation. It is a message worth perceiving, believing and receiving. It is worth our deepest response.

“O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the works Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.”

Response:
Look, Listen, Worship

Prayer:

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

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Hold Me Lord

“Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am alone and brought very low.
The sorrows of my heart have increased”
(Psalm 25:16)

Reflection:
Lonely and with an aching heart can be a terrible experience – as even King David discovered. No one to confide in,  and without even adequate words with which to express the empty darkness engulfing us. The hollow chatter of nearby people can make us long to escape – escape to a quiet place in which to hug ourselves and our misery. Or if we are fortunate, into the healing comfort of safe arms, a warm heart and the silent understanding of someone trusted -who seems to whisper that it will be okay.

A little girl of five came to spend the day with me recently. She was trying to recover from a stomach bug that had left her feeling unwell and discontented. During the day as I watched her move sadly away from an activity, I asked her if she wanted a hug. Her response was immediate – and she climbed onto my lap, snuggled against my chest and very soon drifted off to sleep within my warm and encircling arms. It was just what she needed, and had not realised that she wanted.

No matter how ‘big and strong’ we might be, or appear to be, there is still a little child within us. He or she needs from time to time to be able to escape into the comfort and security of our Father’s embrace – and to rest there as He comforts and reassures us. Later, as we return to our own world again, we know that He stays with us.

 “Be still, and know that I am God” of your yesterdays, todays and tomorrows.

Response:
Take time to be quiet with God. Sitting quietly before Him, leaning into His enfolding arms and listening to His love – and whatever else He might communicate. Do it often so that it becomes a part of your life with Him.

Prayer:

Father, I need Your love and reassurance – even as the deer longs for streams of water. Bless me Lord as I sit quietly with You – for I put my trust in You. Amen.

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You Know Me

“O Lord, you have searched me
and you know me”
(Psalm 139:1)

Reflection:
There are three verses in Psalm 139 that stood out for me recently.

“You have searched me and You know me.” It is the most wonderful blessing to be fully known by someone and still to be fully accepted by them – especially when that person is God. I do not have to tell Him anything about me, explain anything or try to excuse anything. He knows all there is to know about me – who I am and why I am, what I have done and will do and why. I am an open book to Him at all times – and still He loves me.

“You are there.”  Whether in the heavens or in the depths or on the far side of the sea God is with us to guide us and to hold us fast in His right hand. Jesus would later say that no one is able to pluck us out from the hand of God. We cannot escape from or be lost to His presence, for He is closer to us that our next thought or prayer.

“When I awake, I am still with You.” Whenever I wake after a sleep or a nap I find that God is still present, and has not left me for a moment. The same will be true when I close my eyes for the last time on this earth. When I open them again He will still be there and I will still be with Him – but even closer.

Response:
Hold on to and dwell on these truths

Prayer:

Father help me to grasp more of Your great love and Your absolute commitment to me – and to rejoice in awe. Amen,

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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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