The Soaring Eagle

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


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Finding my face

“The LORD would speak to Moses face to face,
as one speaks to a friend”
(Exodus 33:11)

Reflection:
C. S. Lewis in his book ‘Till we have faces’  makes the comment,

‘How can (the gods) meet us face to face till we have faces?’

He goes on to say that ‘a human must be speaking with its own voice (not one of its borrowed voices) expressing its actual desires (not what it imagines it desires), being for good or ill itself, not any mask.’

In other words the real God desires and looks to meet with the real person – not the actor or actress, hiding behind the mask of a false image. It is only the real person to whom God can extend His love – and only the real person who can partake of His salvation.

It is informative that Jacob’s meeting with God was on his way back from the years spent away from his family – and when he was facing the real possibility of being confronted by a very angry elder brother whose birth-right he had taken.

It is also telling that God’s meetings with Moses – not only in the burning bush but also face-to-face in the tabernacle – were when he was no longer a prince of Egypt but firstly a shepherd in the back of beyond, and then one who had learned to obey the Lord completely.

It can be that the hardest part of our journey to salvation is to allow ourselves to identify and meet the real ‘me’ – to allow ‘me’ into the light – and to bring ‘me’ to the Lord who is waiting and watching for ‘me’.

Response:
Not who you think you are – nor who you fear you are – allow yourself to reveal the beloved of God.

Prayer:

Find me Lord – “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10)

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Just say the word

“They were terrified and asked each other,
“Who is this?
Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
(Mark 4:41)

Reflection:
Jesus had been asleep in the stern of the boat when a storm threatened it. Awoken by His disciples

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still.” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” (Mark 4:39)

If Jesus, although fully human, was also the divine Son of God, then we would expect Him to reveal some of the same power and authority. The account of creation in the first chapter of Genesis reveals the majesty and power of God as He speaks creation into existence. (Note here that the focus of the Bible is always more upon ‘Who’ than on ‘How’ – which is the focus of science. God was setting out what He wanted and God then got what He wanted and was pleased with the result. Whether the process took six days as we know them or thirteen billion years as we know them is not the point.)

Jesus exercises this same majestic authority over creation when He commands the wind and the waves to be quiet and still. The result was such that the disciples were terrified and asked each other who this could be – for they realised the implications of what they had just seen.

There was no attempt to question how He had controlled the elements – no discussion on things like high or low pressure areas. They knew what they had seen and experienced, and that they were in the presence of someone terrifyingly like God!

The centurion was aware of a similar supreme authority when He amazed Jesus by saying

“Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8)

Response:
All the words of Jesus Christ are majestic and true – do I receive them as such?

Prayer:

Lord Jesus You speak words for a purpose – help me to give honour and attention to Your words and allow them into my life and living. Amen.

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Checking me out

“The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away”
(Matthew 13:47-48)

Reflection:
Jesus is referring in this parable to the present and future aspects of the kingdom  and to the time when the true character of the people will be revealed and judged. It is similar in meaning to that of the sheep and the goats which also refers to a judgement and a separation.

However it is also pertinent to our present day situations. As we have journeyed through life our nets have scooped up many associations, influences, beliefs and activities. Some will jostle for position and recognition with those things that are of God and the fruit that the Holy Spirit is seeking to produce. We may, or may not, be aware of them. However they will have an effect upon us and will take up the space and time that could better be used by other thoughts, words and activities.

If we are taking both God and our Christian life seriously then now is the time to begin to take an audit of our lives and living, asking God quite simply to show us the associations, habits and other things that are not of Him, that do not honour Him and that get in the way of the good stuff!

What we prune out with His help He will replace with good and wholesome fruit that will become a blessing to Him, to others and to us.  And we will feel much better about ourselves too!

Response:
Set aside some time now – when you will be able to meet quietly with the Lord and have a look at you.

Prayer:

My Father I want to be holy just as You are holy, and to bring honour and pleasure to You. Please draw my attention to those areas and things in my life that are not good or helpful – and strengthen me to deal with them as I surrender them to You. Amen.

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Eat well

“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)

Reflection:
Food does no good whilst it remains on the plate. If anything it increases our hunger. It must be taken into our systems and absorbed there before we receive the benefit.

So it is with the word of God. Jesus told us that

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

The word of God needs to travel from our eyes and ears into our minds and from there to our hearts and spirits. Intellectual knowledge and assent does not of itself change lives. As James reminds us,

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder”  (James 2:19)

To put our belief and trust in something is to make it an essential and central part of our lives. It is to change direction with the expressed intent that ‘I am going this way now.’ Such decisions are not taken lightly but because something has resonated at a deep level within us. For the word of God to excite and stimulate us and cause us to change the way we live it must have sparked at our very core – otherwise it may just become another legalism.

I find that I need to keep chewing on the Word – examining it again, personalising it, extracting its meaning and implications and praying over it. I begin to understand how and why David was so passionate about it. It brings not only a deeper understanding but flowers into new life inside me, causing me to pause in wonder, praise and gratitude.

Response:
Read the Bible as a banquet of revelation – not a dead history

Prayer:

Lord God help me like David to become increasingly excited and passionate about Your revelation of Yourself and Your love revealed in Your word – and to drink deeply from its truth and message. Amen.

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He Knows You

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you
while you were still under the fig tree
before Philip called you.”
(John 1:48)

Reflection:
‘I saw you before I called you’ is what Jesus is saying to  Nathanael. It is what He says to each and every one of us whom He has called into His salvation and life.

This intimate knowledge of us is what David picked up on and in which he found such comfort.

“O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD” (Psalm 139:1-4)

There is nothing in our past, present and future that is unknown to the Lord. There is nothing about us that will surprise and shock Him. He knows where we have been, where we are now, and where we will be tomorrow…

Knowing us this intimately He still reaches out to us and invites us to come to Him. He does this not believing that we will earn our new relationship with Him and so justify our selection. He does it because He knows what He will be able to do for us, and in us and through us. He asks us to give Him our lives – such as they are – so that He can give us His life, with all that it is.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight”  (Ephesians 1:3-4)

This new life is both immediate and a journey of transformation – live it with Him.

“This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15)

Response:
Come to Him again – and again – and keep coming

Prayer:

Lord Jesus I open myself to You again – do come in and live Your life for me. Amen.

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The Truth

“I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me”
(John 14:6)

 

Reflection:
The truth to which Jesus refers is not merely a concept or peripheral reality. It is central to, and an essential element of, life itself – and in particular the new life that He offers us.

In fact it is so much a part of that life that its true reality and expression is found only in a Living Person – the Lord Jesus Himself. He does not say that He is just the clearest expression of life but that He is that Life – the Source, the Reality and the ongoing Supply of it. We only receive and enter into that Life as we become a part of Him, and of His Life – rather like a branch being grafted into a Vine.

He is the Way to that life and the Way in which it is lived. He is the Truth about the reality and fullness of that Life – of the height, and depth, and breadth and width of that Life with all the love and fruit and joy and peace and fulfilment that it encompasses.  He is the Life that is forever new and unending, forever complete and developing, forever God and forever us.

He is Life – and He reaches out to embrace us within His Life and to fill us with that Life – for He is God with us.

Response:
In Jesus my new life starts now

Prayer:

Lord God, please open my eyes to the Truth who is Jesus – and help me to soak in and take in the New Life that He brings even in this world. Amen.

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Belt of Truth

“Stand firm then
with the belt of truth
buckled around your waist”
(Ephesians 6:14)

 

Reflection:
Paul is describing the armour of God to be worn by all God’s people. The first piece of equipment to be put on is the belt of truth. Buckled around our waists it is central to our life and living –and so much else will depend upon it.

There are two complementary strands to this belt of truth. The first is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ and in Scripture. Day and night we need to be clothed with the Word of God to keep us safe from the lies of the enemy, to feed and strengthen our faith and to guide us in the way we live.

The second strand is that of our own sincerity and integrity. As people of the Truth we are called to be those who live truthfully and honestly at all times and in all areas.

There may be times in life when we need to ‘tighten our belts’ as we face some particular challenge. This would mean holding on to a central truth – rather like Paul when he said that,

“I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2)

This belt of truth worn at the centre of our being reminds us that we are to

“Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11)

Response:
Is my belt secure and strong – or are there holes in it?

Prayer:

Lord God, as Your redeemed and beloved child, help me to embrace the truth with delight, and seek to make it a part of my everyday life to You honour and glory. Amen.

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