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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Who I am

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus”
(Ephesians 2:10)

Reflection:
 I am not what the world has made of me. I am who and what God created me to be, and into which He is leading me and expressing through me.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

However, this newness is not something or someone that God has recently dreamed up. My true identity and nature goes back into the mists before our time began. And God is restoring me into that image which has all the beauty of something new and untarnished – a someone I have never seen or even imagined.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will”
(Ephesians 1:4-5)

George Appleton, in his beautiful and deeply insightful prayer, expressed it like this,

“Give me a candle of the Spirit,
O God,
as I go down into the depths of my being.
Show me the hidden things,
the creatures of my dreams,
the storehouse of forgotten memories
and hurts.
Take me down
to the spring of my life,
and tell me my nature and my name.
Give me freedom to grow,
so that I may become that self,
the seed of which  You planted in me at my making.”

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Is Mine Mine?

“For by him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things were created by him and for him”
(Colossians 1:16)

 

Reflection:
All things were created By Him and for Him. He made everything that has been made – and it belongs to Him. That is important for us to remember when we seek either consciously or unconsciously to claim anything as ‘mine’ – including material possessions as well as spiritual gifts and talents. David had it right when he acknowledged,

“For all things come from you,
and of your own have we given you”
(I Chronicles 29:14 ESV)

The Lord has created not only the natural world as we know it – the visible – but the spiritual world as well – the invisible. In these worlds He also made structure and rules for their security and good order, as well as for our security, order and well-being. If we operate within the structure then good will follow – but if we choose to ignore it then we find the reality of the ‘law’ and the consequences.

An example is the law of gravity. If we ignore the directions and walk off the edge of a mountain then we discover both the law and the consequence of ignoring it. In the same way if we ignore the command not to steal we will likely discover why it exists and what breaking it can do to our relationships with God, others and ourselves.

God made what was ‘very good’ and specifically designed and intended as a blessing. We cannot complain if our contrary actions bring different results.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time”
(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

God gave directions suitable for His creation and for those to whom He gave it. Neither as the fallen nor as the redeemed should we hope for blessing if we ignore them. But if we live as He intended then there will be blessing.

“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:
Which commands do I keep and which do I ignore?

Prayer:

Lord You are God and Your Ways have to be the best. In fact in the Lord Jesus we see the Way, the Truth and the Life. Help me Lord to commit myself to You and in faith to walk in Your ways. Amen.

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That’s Me

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people,
holy and dearly loved”
(Colossians 3:12-14)

 

Reflection:
Our new life in Christ grows from this truth – we are “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.”

It must live at the heart of our lives. We are chosen, we are set apart and, of paramount importance, we are dearly loved by the Lord God Almighty Himself.

In this love of God, and within our relationship with Him, is our healing, fulfilment and completion. It is because of this that we can bear with pain, suffering and rejection – and even the hurt caused by other Christians. God, in Christ, is our Life. From this centre we grow, develop and bear fruit.

It is not enough to read it and pass on. To become meaningful it must be noted, personalized and prayed into life within us. It is a seed to be planted intentionally, watered with our prayers, warmed by our thoughts and contemplation, and strengthened by our acceptance and trust. This should continue – not just until this great Love has burst into flower within us, but afterwards as well.

Response:
Give yourself time to remember, believe and to receive what God has given.

 Prayer:

Father thank You so very much for Your great love – not just for the world but for me too. Help me to open myself to receive, recognise and respond to Your love and to live within it, in Jesus name, Amen.

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One Truth

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form”
(Colossians 2:8-9)

Reflection:
The world is full of theories, philosophies, and get-rich-schemes – and the world is not in a good place. The people of the world are poverty stricken – physically, mentally and emotionally. Fantasy and escapism, through sport and entertainment, sex, drugs and alcohol are huge attractions – but they don’t last. Again and again the world persists in believing the lies of the devil, with which he distracted Eve and Adam originally – that to ignore and disobey God would set us free and make us like Him. They didn’t, and they don’t. They still lead to death – physically, emotionally and spiritually. 2000 years after Christ died on the cross for us, the world still wants to do everything ‘my way.’

But as Christ Himself told us,

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

Human wisdom and ideas will never come up with a plan or scheme that will compete with or replace the will and purpose of God. It will never invent anything that will give all people the potential of peace and everlasting life in the love of God. Only God, our Creator, Redeemer and almighty Father, is able to do so – and He has done it.

  • “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)
  • “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:13-14)

There is only one way to peace and salvation, one truth in which to believe, and one life that is eternal – and it is all Christ. He has proved His love by His death, proved His power by His resurrection and proved His commitment by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us. The ways of the world just cannot compare or compete with our Saviour, Redeemer and Friend.

Response:
Soak yourself in the Gospels – and what they reveal of God.

Prayer:

Father Almighty, by Your Holy Spirit, please lead me into the Truth, and open the eyes of my understanding, through Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Find the treasure

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.
When a man found it, he hid it again,
and then in his joy went and sold all he had
and bought that field”
(Matthew 13:44)

Reflection:
Hidden somewhere in the darkness of a fallen world is a glorious treasure. He knows that it is there and He knows that He wants it – but to all intents and purposes it is dead and buried to Him. Separated from the Vine of Life it has withered and died – but still He wants it for He knows that He can cleanse it, heal it, and give it new life as He restores it to its place in Him.

So He came to seek and to find, to save and to redeem, to restore and to cherish, to transform with a new Spirit into a new Life and Love. And He found it – and having found it He gave everything that He had so that He might own and possess it. He gave His life, He gave His future and He gave His divine inheritance.

We are that treasure – individually and collectively. We are His beloved, created to be like Him and for Him. We are the children of the Father, the bride of the Son and the temples of the Holy Spirit. We are the focus of His love, the recipients of His grace and the reflection of His beauty. And if we have not yet seen it in ourselves it is because we have yet to truly see it in Him for we can only love because He first loved us. He can only be our treasure when we have discovered that we are His. We can only seek first the kingdom of God when we appreciate that He has first sought and found us.

Having discovered this for himself Paul would first exclaim and then pray,

  • “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ .. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:8-10)
  • “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19)

You are not what the world makes you – in Christ you are a child of the Most High God.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine”

(Isaiah 43:1)

Response:
Buried within you is a great truth. Dwell on God’s love and word – until it resonates within you.

Prayer:

Father I so want to know more of Your love and light and life – help me please to receive what You have for me and to treasure it even as You treasure me. Amen.

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Pearls not Paste

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.
When he found one of great value,
he went away and sold everything he had and bought it”

(Matthew 13:45-46)

 

Reflection:
Jesus portrays Himself as another searcher. Here He wants us to see three things.

One is that we are, individually and together, the pearl of great value. To have this pearl He is prepared to give everything that He has, even – as we know – His own life. We need to reflect on our value in His eyes, as He sees us not just as we are now but as we can and will be when transformed by His love and care. Indeed He might well ask, ‘When will you begin to believe how much I love you – and how precious you are to Me?”

Another insight is gained when we consider the parable from the point of view of ourselves as the searcher. What am I looking for in my life – in what am I investing my time, effort and wealth? It is not necessarily answered by what we would say but in the way we live and what it reveals about our ‘treasures.’  The contents of our homes, the things we wear, the cars we drive, the work we do and the hours we spend on work and other activities tell a real story of the person involved and of our priorities. To what end are we devoting our life?

The third insight is gained when we look at the people around us. Each one of them is pursuing something – whether they have consciously identified it or not. What would it take for them to be able to identify and if necessary realign their focus whilst they can? There is the devastating story of the man who said that he had spent all his life striving to get to the top of the ladder – only to eventually find that it was leaning against the wrong wall!  Do they see anything different in me?

Jesus great teaching on life was that we should not have the things of this world as our priority for, after all, they will have no value when we leave it. Instead, He says,

  • “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”  (Matthew 6:19-21)
  • “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”  (Matthew 6:33)

Response:
Live for eternity – and let your life be a witness to others

Prayer:

Forgive me Lord where I focus on myself and this life and become careless of others and the next life. Help me please to have my heart where the true treasure lies – and not to miss out through being world-wise. Amen.

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