The Soaring Eagle

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


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New Life

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’
says the LORD Almighty”
(Zechariah 4:6)

 

Reflection:
The Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of Life.

Nothing of significance happens without Him. Essentially He receives the expressed will of God and gives it life – makes if happen – a living reality – fulfilling the desire and purpose of God.

We see Him first at work in Creation and when God breathed Him into man to give him life (Genesis 2:8). He was present at the Annunciation to give effect to the word of God to Mary (Luke 1:32). He was there at Jesus Baptism and led Him forward into His ministry (Luke 3:21-22; 4:1; 4:14). He came to the disciples at Pentecost and the beginning of the Church’s life and ministry (Acts 21-4). And He is the agent of new birth and new life for each Christian (John 3:5).

This life is vividly portrayed by Jesus in the illustration of the Vine and the branches. The branches attached to the Vine (Jesus) draw their life and sustenance from and through Him. Like the sap the Spirit flows into us from and through our association with the Lord. Those who are not attached to – or a part of the ‘Body’ of the Lord – cannot and do not receive this life force and so ‘wither and die” for there is no ‘life’ in them. Paul would therefor teach us that

“if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9)

It is through the Holy Spirit that this union or new birth takes place (John 3:5-6). And it is the Spirit who keeps us in and builds us up in this relationship so that in character we become more and more like the Lord. It is His power that enables us to face, forgive, live in and minister to the world around us. And it is through Him that the cleansing, healing, purifying and life-giving love of God is poured into our lives (Romans 5:5)

Without Him both body and spirit are withering away. With Him our spirits have begun a new life and journey that will expand and develop in the love and blessing of God throughout eternity – they will never die.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

It is important to note that He will give life to what is of God. That means it is important for us to join our lives to the Lord Jesus by asking Him to be our Lord and Saviour – and then seeking to live our lives according to His standards, directions and example. To do this we need to be soaking ourselves in the Scriptures as the word of God as well as developing and maintain contact with Him in prayer. It is a life-long journey and experience.

Response:
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)

Prayer:

Father thank You for the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit. Please (continue to) pour Him into my life and help me to be open and responsive to Him at all times. Amen.

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Free Fuel

2017-01-19

“’Not by might nor by power,
but by my Spirit,’
says the Lord Almighty”
(Zechariah 4:6)

Reflection:
Nothing of significance in God’s eyes happens without the Holy Spirit.

In the beginning God’s creative word was spoken into the Spirit’s presence and creation took place. The conception and birth of Jesus happened through the creative power and action of the Holy Spirit. Jesus ministry commenced when the Holy Spirit came into His life at His baptism in the Jordan to guide and empower Him. And the Christian Church was formed and empowered by that same Holy Spirit at Pentecost. So important is the Spirit that John the Baptist prophesied that an essential part of Jesus ministry would be His baptising His followers in the Holy Spirit. And Jesus Himself taught that it is impossible for anyone to enter the kingdom of God without the action of the Spirit in their lives.

  • John answered them all, “.. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16)
  • Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5)

Every Christian becomes a Christian through the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit who is the great gift promised to each of His followers by Jesus Himself.

  • “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17)
  • “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38)

As cars need liquid fuel and bodies need material food so our spirits need spiritual food on a regular basis. We have been made that way. Unless we keep being refueled we can discover that we have been running on empty or very little. That means we are reverting to our own ways and our own strength. Therefore every day we should ask  the Holy Spirit to fill us anew, guide us, strengthen us and empower us for the day and ministry that lies ahead.

  • “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)

Response:
Pray for the Spirit and take a few very deep breaths as your way of inviting Him into the very depths of your being.

Prayer:

Father please fill me with Your Holy Spirit to continually bring to me the wonderful freshness of Your Life and Light and Love –and to lead and strengthen me through my day. Amen.

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Fire of Life

2016.05.09

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit”
says the LORD Almighty.”
(Zechariah 4:6)

Reflection:
Next Sunday the Christian Church celebrates the Day of Pentecost. It commemorates how on a real day, in a real room, in a real city, real men and real women, received a real blessing and a real experience that impacted and changed their lives in a real way.

In fulfilment of the promise of both Jesus Christ and the Father, and as prophesied by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit entered into the lives of the believers. It was at once the final act of the saving ministry of the Lord Jesus (before His second coming) as well as the inauguration of the new era of the Holy Spirit.

It marks another crucial moment in the history of humankind. For without it, without the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit, the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus would no longer have any real and personal relevance in the lives of people today.

Nothing of significance happens without the Holy Spirit. He was present and involved in all of the great acts of God, as evidenced in the accounts of

  • the Creation [Genesis. 1:2]
  • the Annunciation [Luke. 1:32]
  • the Baptism of Jesus [Luke. 3:21-22]
  • the Pentecost transformation [Acts 2:1-4]
  • the new birth of believers [John 3:5]

We see the Holy Spirit repeatedly engaged in His activity of making the will and word of God into a reality. He is the One who continues to do so today and our lives as Christians are blessed, enriched and given a new purpose and worth through His ministry.

Response:

Blessed are You, creator God,
to You be praise and glory for ever.
As Your Spirit moved over the face of the waters
bringing light and life to Your creation,
pour out Your Spirit on us today
that we may walk as children of light
and by Your grace reveal Your presence.
Amen.

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Advent – John the Baptist

2013.12.13

Reflection:

God had made a prophetic promise to Zachariah and Elizabeth. As a result of that promise Elizabeth had fallen pregnant, and now the child had been born. As the angel had said the child was a boy and, as instructed, they named him John.

 It would still be some years before his short and extremely significant ministry began, but already the hand of the Lord was upon him. His father, recovering his speech again, now had a word from God concerning John and his ministry,

“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”  (Luke 1:67-79)

 Here now was the ‘prophet of the Most High’ and the one called to go before Him to prepare the way for Him. He would ‘give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.’ The entry of the Christ into the world, in an act of God that would divide history into Before and After, was very close.

 There is a sense in which all Christians take on the ministry of John. We too are sent out with a Great Commission – to proclaim the saving love of God in Jesus Christ and to ‘give people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.’ We too are, like John, appointed to point out the Saviour to the people who walk in darkness,

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

 The sadness is that the world generally no longer recognises anything as sin. And yet, there are countless numbers of people who battle with a terrible separation in their lives – between who they are and who they could be – without knowing what it is.

Response:

You have a gospel to proclaim – ask God to show you how to do it in your own way.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, please help me to be true to Your Great Commission – and equip and empower me through the Holy Spirit within me. Let me think, speak and live to Your honour and glory. Amen.

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Advent – Prophecy 5

2013.12.09

Reflection: 

The Hebrew people lived in Egypt for about 400 years. It was a time that became more and more difficult for them as the spiritual darkness seemed to increase and, with it, the hardship of their enslaved lives. God had apparently been silent. Then, suddenly for them, God began to act and within a very short space of time they were being led out by Moses into a new life and a new relationship with God.

 Now about 400 years had passed since God had spoken through Malachi – and He had been very quiet. No prophetic voice had been heard in the land. Suddenly again things began to change, even if very few people were aware of it. It commenced with an angel appearing to Zechariah, a priest of God, whilst he was busy at the altar of incense in the Temple. He told Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth, who was well past the age of having children, would become pregnant with their first child.  He would be the one who would go before the Lord to prepare His way.

 Although no mention was made of the coming of the Messiah it was clear that it was fairly immanent. Although God had been quiet He had not been absent, and He had made His plans.

Things were beginning to happen. A new beginning was just around the corner.

 Zechariah did not respond too well when he asked how he could be sure that all this was true, since it was humanly impossible. For this doubt he was struck dumb until the child was born – but God still acted in accordance with His word.

 We too can go through periods of doubt and darkness when God seems distant, and our fears are raised. Times when the voice of God, and the Word of God, has not been very evident or valued in the world in which we live. Nevertheless He is still with us as He promised He would be. Individuals still honour and bear witness to His love, light and life as He works in, through and around them.

He is still active and we must ensure that we do not fall into the trap of imagining that the state in which we find the world and ourselves is too much for God to handle – or that He has got bored with the whole idea.

 Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, the Holy Spirit is our Guide and Comforter, and the Father is, as always, the God of Love. We press in to them more and more every day. We wait, and keep on waiting, in the certain hope of  Christ’s coming again in fulfillment of His word.

Response:

Read the Word, pray continually, live for the Lord.

Prayer:

Father, Your Word speaks to me every day, for my guidance, strength and encouragement. Please help me to read, mark, learn, and digest all that it says to me. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

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Living With God

2013.10.28

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.”

(Zechariah 4:6)

Reflection:

The revelation of Scripture is that nothing of significance happens without the Holy Spirit. He is the third person of the Holy Trinity together with God the Father and God the Son. We find Him particularly in the Great Beginnings recorded in the Bible.

  • The Beginning of Creation
    • “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)
  • The Beginning of Jesus humanity
    •  “The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
  • The Beginning of Jesus Ministry
    • “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22)
  • The Beginning of the Christian Church’s ministry
    • “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-4)

 In each case the Holy Spirit took the expressed will of God and worked to make it a living reality. As God has said,

“so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

 The wonder and glorious truth is that the same Holy Spirit is the gift of God to His people today.

  • “If you then though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Lk 11:13) 
  • “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Cor 12:7)

 He still works His ministry of love, grace and life in and through those who will receive Him, and brings us deeper and deeper into the reality and love of our Lord. Without Him we could not know or respond to our Lord. Without Him we would have no gifts or empowerment for our life and ministry. With Him there is the light, life and love of God revealed to us.

 The more closely we walk with Him the more real our relationship with God will be – and the more purposeful, effective and fruitful our lives will grow.

Response:

As we need food, drink and rest every day so do we need to seek and receive the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Practice being more aware of Him and ask Him for guidance and help.

Prayer:

Holy Spirit, I ask You to continually fill my life, draw me closer to Jesus, and lead me in the purposes of God, each and every day. Amen.

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Pentecost

2013.05.17

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.”

(Zechariah.4:6)

Reflection:

On Sunday the Christian Church celebrates the Day of Pentecost. It is a major day in the Christian calendar as it recalls the enlivening and empowering gift of the Holy Spirit to the disciples of Jesus. It marks the beginning of the life and ministry of the Christian Church, as the Body of Christ, after the Ascension of the Lord.

 It was an event that Jesus had foretold when He informed the disciples,

“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”  (Luke 24:49)

 It was also the fulfilment of the prophecy of John the Baptist. Each of the four gospels has John specifically stating that a key part of the ministry of Jesus would be to baptise people with (orig. Greek ‘in’) the Holy Spirit. This significance must not be overlooked as it underlines the importance of what was to happen by associating it with Jesus salvation ministry.

  • “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11)
  • “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”                         (Mark 1:8)
  • “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16)
  • “He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit”                        (John 1:33)

 The revelation of Scripture is that nothing of significance happens without the Holy Spirit. He is the third person of the Holy Trinity together with God the Father and God the Son. We find Him particularly in the Great Beginnings recorded in the Bible.

  • The Beginning of Creation
      • “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)
    • The Beginning of Jesus humanity
      •  The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
    • The Beginning of Jesus Ministry
      • “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22)
    • The Beginning of the Christian Church’s ministry
      • “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-4)

 The wonder and glorious truth is that the same Holy Spirit is the gift of God to His people today.

  • “If you then though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:13) 
  • “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)

 He has been taken for granted and even ignored, and the state of the Church bears its own witness to this unhappy truth. However, He still works His ministry of love, grace and life in and through those who will receive Him, and brings us deeper and deeper into the reality and love of our Lord.

Without Him we could not know or respond to our Lord. Without Him we would have no gifts or empowerment for our life and ministry. With Him there is the light, life and love of God revealed to us.

Response:

Pray that He will continually fill you too. As Christians we must neither ignore Him nor confine Him.

Prayer:

Holy Spirit, I ask You to fill my life, draw me closer to Jesus, and lead me in the purposes of God, each and every day. Amen.

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