The Soaring Eagle

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


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One Truth Only

 

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

Reflection:
“What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus. We might well hear that question being asked today.

One recent headline stated that ‘We are not living in a ‘post-truth’ world, we are living lies.’ Another tells us that a prominent politician is known for the lies that he tells. A further article states that a purpose of some international activity is not to promote an alternative truth but to so confuse us that we are not able to identify truth at all. Add to this the different beliefs and philosophies that are current and many will end up thinking that the only truth is that there is no truth.

Jesus didn’t answer Pilate’s question with words but with a definitive action. He walked into a suffering and death that He could have avoided. In so doing He underlined with His blood the revelation that He had given to His disciples – making it stand out in a way that could not be missed.

“I am the way and the truth and the life”

In a world on the verge of darkness He proclaimed Himself as the way forward. In a time when power was the ultimate authority He revealed Himself as the truth that would live through death and into eternity. In an age when life was cheap He stood out as the one and only life-giver and life-sustainer. And when they closed the door on His life in this world He opened the door into life in the next.

Truth is not a statement but a Person. We find the truth about ourselves and the truth about the way forward and the truth concerning the questions of life in Him – and Him alone. Anything else is a passing shadow.

Where others tell us what to believe – He asks us to ‘believe in Me’. Where others direct us along human paths He calls us to ‘follow Me.’ And where others tells us to grin and bear it – He invites us to ‘come to Me.”  These truths are not for this life only for in the same breath He tells us that

“No one comes to the Father except through me”

Jesus Christ is our Way through this life and our Way to the Father. He is the Truth about this life and of the life to come. And He is Life itself – the wonderful gift of eternal life that begins in this life and carries on into the endless future in the creative and glorious love of God.

As we reflect on His truth and truths under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and build them into our individual and corporate lives, we will begin to see His hand at work – for these are the ways that God will bless.

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
(John 8:31-32)

Response:
What is truth? – “I AM!”

Prayer:

Lord Jesus please take my hand – and in every situation of my life lead me along Your Way through Your Truth and into Your Life without end. Amen.

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Hope

 

“Those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.”
(Isaiah 40:31)

 

Reflection:
Depression, despair and dread can rob us of strength and the ability to think. They may cause us to withdraw into ourselves. Whilst the support and encouragement of others does comfort and help us they cannot deal with the issues themselves. These are our problems, concerns and weaknesses. They largely remain so unless something happens within us that enables us to confront and deal with them.

The prophet Isaiah is encouraging the people to remember their God, who and what He is and His great love for them. We need to do the same.

He is the all-powerful Creator of all that is, seen and unseen. He knows us intimately – every thought of our minds, every one of our feelings and exactly who we are and why we are as we are. He cares for us and has given all that He is to make it possible for us to know Him and enter into His love and life.

His words are not just superficial helps. They carry with them the power and truth of the One who spoke them – which is why the centurion could say to the Lord Jesus, ‘just say the word and my servant will be healed!” And it is His Spirit at work within us Who brings new life, light and love into the dark areas of our existence.

Our God is a living, loving and life-giving reality.

As we turn to Him, in whatever situation we find ourselves,
He will respond.

As we look to Him for help and guidance
He will respond.

As we hold out our hands to Him
He will respond.

And we will find our strength renewed
because,

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

When our Lord promised to be with us always He did mean always. And whatever the situation is that might be confronting you at the moment He, and He alone, is your way, your truth and your life. He will guide you and see you through every moment of it. Look to Him and hold on to Him.

Response:
Practice being constantly aware of God. Talk to Him. Take ‘deep breaths of Him!’

Prayer:

Father You love me with an everlasting love. Please help me to rely on You in all the circumstances of my life – and to acknowledge Your presence. Amen.

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One Way Only

“O LORD …. please grant success
to the journey on which I have come.”
(Genesis 24:42)

Reflection:
Life is a journey – a journey with a beginning, a middle and an end. We had no say in its beginning and have little, if any, say in its certain end. However we do live in a vital part of it – the middle that joins the two.

God initiated our journey. He purposed and planned to give life to each one of us – you and me. We were each a part of His plan from all eternity. He chose to give us life, and chose also where and when that life should begin.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”(Jeremiah 1:5)

God desires to be a part of our journey. He has not made us and abandoned us – in fact He is with us. We may ignore and forsake Him but He never turns away from us.

  • “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there” (Psalm 139:7-8)
  • “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
  • “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)

God knows the right way. The ways of the world are not the ways of God. He calls us to a different path, a higher and less obvious way and to the narrow gate that leads to Life. It is the way that He has laid out for us and along which He Himself will guide us.

  • “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matthew 7:13)
  • “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:9)
  • “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)

Only God can promise success to our journey of life. The world cannot deliver what it appears to promise. God’s ways and life will deliver what He promises. And, of supreme importance, only God’s Way will lead us home – home to God and the place and life that He has prepared for us.

  • “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10)
  • “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3)

And on this journey the one work to which me must devote our primary effort is this,

  • “Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29)
  • “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Response:
Walk close to the Lord, and in His ways, all day.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus You called us to follow You. Please help me to stay very close to You, to discern Your guidance and to trust and follow Your lead as we journey together. Amen.

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Together but different

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net
that was let down into the lake
and caught all kinds of fish.”
(Matthew 13:47)

 

Reflection:
Jesus compared this story, which has the fishermen throwing away the bad fish, to the end of the age. This is when the angels would come ‘and separate the wicked from the righteous.” His point is that this separation takes place at the end. Until then the good and the bad, the righteous and the unrighteous, the believers and the unbelievers are all together.  

It would be so good at one level if we could bring about that separation now. However we are not given that option. Instead we are left with two challenges.

The first is to live out our new life whilst still surrounded by the old. We are different now as the sons and daughters of God and His treasured possession. We are called to be holy and to minister to the Lord God Almighty. We are the ones who are now the light of the world and called to make a difference in the world around us. God has given us His Spirit and directions and looks to us to acknowledge and respond to them both.

The second challenge is not to allow ourselves to be contaminated and dragged back into the darkness of the world. It is so easy to be influenced by all that goes on around us, to begin to see it as the norm and to soak in the opinions and morality amongst which we live. Our mission and ministry is to bring light into the world not to let its darkness quench our light, and life and love.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
(1 Peter 2:9)

We need to note that God’s Kingdom net at this stage surrounds everyone. Everyone has been embraced by the salvation that is in Christ Jesus and may accept and respond to it. However some will not and will remain in the interior darkness of a fallen world with all the consequences.

Response:
Acknowledge and be aware of God’s presence all the time. Offer Him all that you are and do.

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” Amen.  (Psalm 19:14).

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My Big Brother

“Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me,
for I have not yet returned to the Father.
Go instead to my brothers and tell them,
`I am returning to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.'”

(John 20:17)

Reflection:
There is a most wonderful and meaningful progression in the way that Jesus refers to His disciples. In the story of The Vine we see the first progression when He tells them that

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15)

Originally they would have been His servants. Now they have been elevated to the position of friends – which would have been very significant and a great honour. But more was to come and this could only happen after He had dealt with their sins on the Cross and brought them into a completely new relationship with God as their eternal Father. Now He could, and indeed did, refer to them as “My brothers”.

This was their, and is now our, true and complete relationship with God. We are His eternal sons and daughters and Jesus is our eternal brother. So complete is this adoption that we have now become joint heirs with Christ of all that God is and has.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:15-17)

This must affect the way in which we think about God and relate to Him in our thoughts and prayers. I am no longer on the outside – looking hopefully in through the window. I am now forever entitled to be in His presence, freely and welcomed, honoured and blessed. I am the son/daughter of the Living God and His Son is my Brother.

And note that Jesus puts us on the same level as Himself when He refers to “My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.” We are not second class family members we are there at the top with our Lord Jesus – from the moment that we give our lives to Him as our Saviour and Lord.

Response:
Let the truth sink in  – and thank and praise God for the wonder of it.

Prayer:

Father, my Father, my Abba, my Dad – thank You so very much for loving me back into life and bringing me home to You. You are so amazingly wonderful!

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At His Name

“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth”
(Philippians 2:10)


Reflection:

A great many people battle with invasive thoughts. Appearing to come in from nowhere they are unwelcome and intrude into our prayers and into our lives. They may be angry, fearful, negative, critical, lustful and even insulting to God. No matter how hard we try to ignore them, push them away or concentrate they seem to find a way through. We may end up feeling guilty, angry with ourselves and inadequate as Christians. We may despair of ever overcoming them.

The first step towards healing is to realise that this is a spiritual battle. As such it cannot be fought and won in our own strength of mind – which is what we so often try to do. What we need is the power of the Lord which He makes available to us.

  • “For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15)

  • “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.
    On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4)

    “and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:19)

The second step is to use the weapons He gives us. It is at the name of Jesus that every knee must bow. Repeating that ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ is a statement of faith and a statement of His power. When they meet it any foreign spiritual activity must give way.

People have found this to be immediately helpful in two ways. Firstly, when entering into any activity where there has been a problem in the past – such as praying – it helps to start by saying to oneself a number of times, “Jesus Christ is Lord.” Repeat it again if you sense that you are becoming vulnerable or if any unwelcome thoughts come through. The difference it has made has been remarkable – Praise God! Secondly, if you find yourself under attack at any time during the day in any way repeat again “Jesus Christ is Lord” a few times – silently or aloud.

Response:
Use the resources and power that God makes available – don’t try to live without them.

Prayer:

Father thank You so much that You make available to me all that I need for my life with You. Help me to walk in Your love and power and to know the freedom that it brings. Amen.

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Stay Close

“What kind of man is this?
Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
(Matthew 8:27)

 

Reflection:
The disciples had been on an amazing journey with the Lord. They had listened to the awe-inspiring Sermon on the Mount, watched Him cleanse the lepers, heard Him heal the Centurion’s servant from a distance, looked on as he healed Peter’s mother in law, drove out demons and healed the sick.

Now when their boat was in danger of sinking in the storm on the lake He ‘got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.’  If all that had gone before was not surprising enough this display of power and authority stunned them. Amazed they asked,

“What kind of man is this?”

What kind of man is He to us – this ‘Son of God’, ‘Son of Man’, ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’, ‘our great God and Saviour’?

In the strange world in which we live He has become to some a pale and distant figure, a casual acquaintance, a legalistic judge and a lifeless word. And yet He is a vibrant reality. He is the revelation of the Father, the One through whom all things were made, the bearer of our sins, the risen and ascended Saviour and the King eternal. He is the One –

“God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
(Philippians 2:9-11)

He is the Father’s response and solution to every single situation and condition of humankind – both corporate and individual. It is no wonder that He said Himself,

“Apart from me you can do nothing”
(John 15:5)

Whatever challenge we might be facing or burden we might be carrying or sin we might be battling the Way forward, the Truth that sets us free and the Life that lies ahead is to be found in and through the Lord Jesus and our relationship with Him.

Response:
Honour Him, worship Him, pray to Him, trust Him and obey Him.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus I turn to You in my need and the needs of those dear to me. You alone are everything that I seek and desire. Please help me Lord through Your great love and mighty power and authority. Amen.

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