On Wings Of Eagles

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Tangible way to serve the Lord

Hebrews 13:15-16 (ESV)
15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

The call of the Christian is to care for those in need--a tangible way to serve the Lord.

We are blessed when we feed the hungry and provide water to those who are thirsty; when we welcome strangers and refugees; and when we clothe the naked, take care of the sick, and visit those in prison. Because as we serve those people, we encounter Jesus in them.

It is a blessing and honor that we have the privilege of being God's hands and feet, and ambassadors of Christ in this world. And as we serve, visit, feed, and clothe those in need, we experience “the reality of saving faith exhibited in serving love.” (Excerpt from The Radical Disciple by John Stott.)

Not only should we continually pray for people who are suffering, but we should show practical support and care as well.

Tearfund, an international humanitarian and development agency, works tirelessly around the world to help communities realize their own potential and lift themselves out of poverty, escaping the most dire of circumstances, and giving people around the globe a reason to practice Thanksgiving everyday.

This Thanksgiving, why not practice gratitude by extending your compassion to someone who needs.

Dear Lord, open our eyes so that we can see those around us that we can bless with a meal. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Tragedies and Thanksgiving

Psalm 28:6-8 (ESV)
6 Blessed be the Lord!
    For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
    and with my song I give thanks to him. 
8 The Lord is the strength of his people;
    he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

The Civil War was at its height when President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. On October 3, 1863, amidst 50,000 fallen soldiers, destroyed battlegrounds, and an entire population at odds with each other.

Recently, the United States has endured several tragedies: hurricanes, large-scale fires, mass shootings, a heroin epidemic, terrorism.

Perhaps this year you are struggling to find something to be thankful for. Or maybe this season has always been difficult for you.

A brutal war had torn America apart when Thanksgiving was declared, just after the battle of Gettysburg had just been won. A battle that changed the course of American history, paving the way for freedom and democracy.

Has God ever called you to give thanks during a season of conflict and turmoil?

Dear Lord,  help us to practice gratitude in such seasons of our life no matter how bad things look. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Mother of Thanksgiving

1 Thessalonians 5:18  (ESV)
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Known as the Mother of Thanksgiving, Sarah Josepha Hale was born in 1788, a native of New Hampshire. She wrote several books, but is mostly recognized as the poet who created the nursery rhyme about a girl named Mary and her lamb, which you probably sung as a child.

What is not widely known about Sarah is how she campaigned for 36 years to see the government declare a day solely dedicated to gratitude. “At this season every family, almost, in our land has the comforts of life, and nearly all have the hope and prospect of living thus comfortably through the coming seasons.”

Scripture says we can offer thanksgiving as a sacrifice, and doing so glorifies God. Being able to recognize God’s goodness, despite our circumstances, is an act of worship which pays homage to his attributes--his grace, patience, love, and provision. 

Sarah Josepha Hale was an advocate of thanksgiving, and became the catalyst for the United States implementing a day of gratitude as a national holiday. While not everyone has the same benefits and comforts afforded to others, as Christians, we can be challenged that whatever our circumstances, Thanksgiving is a day in which we can offer worship to an amazing, good and holy God.

God loves a thankful heart.

Dear Lord, help us to each have a thankful heart. Help us to be thankful for the things that You have given us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Hosanna youth choir

Matthew 21:15-16 (ESV)
15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, 16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
    you have prepared praise’?”

Jesus’ disciples had a problem with Jesus’ child followers, and ironically so did his enemies. The crowds of people who welcomed King Jesus to Jerusalem, his royal capital, on Palm Sunday with their palms and psalms had set up a rhythmic Hebrew chant: ba-RUCH ha-BA’ b’SHEM adoNAI. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Psalm 118:25,26). Hosanna means “Save us now!” The kids loved it. All the rest of that day and into Monday they played with the leftover palms and kept the “Hosanna” chant going.

Jesus’ enemies hated it: “When the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were indignant. ‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked him. ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, “From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise”?’” (Matthew 21:15,16).

Isn’t it ironic that these kids figured out deep spiritual truths that the religious professionals could not see? They were applying Psalm 118’s messianic prophecy to the humble man riding on his little donkey and giving him worship and praise that belonged only to Israel’s king. This Hosanna choir, these child champions, were giving the Lord the praise, he deserved.

Dear Lord, help us to hear children’s voices praying and singing in our church. Help us to take the time to listen and encourage. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Jesus’ little friend

Matthew 18:2-4  (ESV)

2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus’ disciples on occasion were a little too full of themselves. Jesus was a child magnet—they loved his tone and presence—but the disciples viewed the children as a nuisance and tried to shoo them away. They thought that discussing the faith was grown-up business.

Jesus saw children as his champions: “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’” (Mathew 18:2-4).

Jesus praised child-faith for two powerful reasons: 1) its simplicity. Children haven’t yet learned all the scientific reasons why the Christian faith is unbelievable. They don’t stall and argue. They just accept it. 2) its humility. Children are used to being marginalized and ignored by adults, and so they don’t think too highly of themselves. Jesus’ tone was sharp with his disciples. Not only could children have saving faith, but their faith was to be a model for adults. In fact—outrageous concept—without childlike faith it is impossible to enter the kingdom! Not only do children bring value to God through their service; their humble posture is to be a model for big people.

Does Jesus have any child champions in your life who can inspire and guide your mind-set?

Dear Lord, thank You for those little champions that You have placed in our life. Help us to take the time to nurture them and help mold them into the Young men or women You have planned for them. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Josiah, the boy king

2 Chronicles 34:1 (ESV)
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem.

Was there ever a child champion like Josiah, who became king of Judah as a second grader? His father, an evil man, was assassinated after a short two-year reign, and suddenly Josiah’s little head had to bear the weight of a big crown: “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years” (2 Chronicles 34:1).

This little guy had no normal childhood. He had to grow up terribly fast. And though he obviously had advisors and personal tutors, his youth did not hold him back from a reign of enormous and positive impact on God’s people. At the age of high school sophomores, he began a serious quest to learn about the God of Israel. At an age when American college students are drinking a lot of beer, Josiah led a huge spiritual reformation in the country, tearing down the shrines and altars of Baal and Asherah that had been corrupting the Israelites for centuries. And at age 26 he led a capital campaign to rebuild the temple of the Lord, which had fallen into sad disrepair.

King Josiah’s personal leadership, authority, and example brought about spiritual renewal throughout Israel, brought God’s protection and blessings, and undoubtedly extended the time of Israel’s independence. He was the last good king; the evil of his four short-lived successors brought about Israel’s collapse.

Keep your eyes peeled for the talent that God has loaded into his child champions in your world.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the children in our life. Help us to remember to lift them up in our prayers so that they may become the people You would have for them to be. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Little Samuel

1 Samuel 1:21-22 (ESV)
21 The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the Lord and dwell there forever.”

A woman named Hannah, living in the tribal territory of Ephraim in the 11th century b.c., had a tough life. Not only was she unable to have a child; she was part of a polygamous marriage, and her rival wife had many sons and daughters and taunted poor Hannah cruelly because of it. Hannah prayed repeatedly for a child and nothing happened.

But then—her miracle. She bore a son, a gift from God, and she named him “Sh’mu-El,” Samuel, which means “heard by God.” Whereupon she decided to do the most amazing thing, so great was her overwhelming gratitude to God: “When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow, Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, ‘After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always’”.

Astonishing! She took her little miracle boy to the town of Shiloh, current location of the ark of the covenant and altar of sacrifice to the Lord, and placed him into the care of Eli, the high priest. What a sacrifice! Even more amazing is the child champion who made the best of his new home. What a brave little man! Do you suppose he ever cried, “I want my mom!”?

Samuel grew up to be one of the greatest prophets in Israel’s history.

Dear Lord, help us to be like Hannah and see our children as gifts from You. Help us to teach them to love and serve You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.