On Wings Of Eagles

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Most Powerful Muscle in Your Body

James 3:6 (ESV)
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

We don’t often consider it, but when we watch an athlete’s performance, we are watching an amazing symphony of a dozen human systems seamlessly working together, including the circulatory, respiratory, skeletal and muscular systems. If we just consider the muscular system, we have approximately 650 muscles performing the actions we are consciously undertaking such as walking or lifting, but also many which are constantly working unconsciously to perform tasks such as maintaining our posture or circulating blood or other materials around our body. A common question is “what is the strongest muscle in the body”?  And there isn’t one answer to this question because it depends on how you are measuring it.  According to Everyday Mysteries, the following are muscles that have been deemed the strongest based on various definitions of strength.

Eye Muscles   In 1 hour of reading the eye muscles make 10,000 coordinated movements

Gluteus Maximus - largest muscle in body keeps trunk of body in erect position

Heart - hardest working muscle pumps about 2,500 gallons of blood each day

Tongue - the hardest worker it is constantly working but never tires

 I found the above list interesting and noted that one of those muscles gets specifically mentioned in the Bible as being extremely powerful; however, as athletes, it’s probably not one that we frequently consider.  James 3: 1-12 does a wonderful job of explaining the power of the tongue.  After reading this passage you can’t help but nod your head.  It likely allows you to consider things you have said to others, or what others have said to you. James sums it up in verses 9 and 10 by saying: “9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

How is it that our tongue can move so quickly from producing something fragrant to producing what James calls “poison” (vs. 8)?  When I consider times where I am not doing well in this area of my life, I can generally see that there is a deeper issue going on in my life.  Our words are typically just symptoms and not root causes.  Jesus explains: “The good man brings good things out of the good treasure of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45).  While we are “new creations” (2 Corinthians 5:17), as Christians we continue to walk the journey of sanctification, where we battle our old self (Romans 7: 15-20), and the “evil” inside us usually comes out through our words.  In James 3:8, we read:   but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  But God can tame our tongue, as long as we remain humble and invite him to continually sanctify us to become more like him.  When your tongue spews poison, be quick to repent and pray daily that your powerful tongue can instead be used to dispense medicine in a hurting world.

Dear Lord, help us to tame our tongue. Give us the strength we need so that we can bring honor to You in all that we do and say. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Training wheels

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

Do you remember the day you learned to ride a bike without the training wheels? The sensation of trying to balance on two wheels without toppling over. Those first tentative pedals as you gratefully felt your parent’s hand on the seat of your bike. The first fall as you tried to take off on your own. The second fall, the third… Then, finally, riding on your own.

The training wheels taught you how to balance and gave you support as you learned to pedal and steer. They helped you trust in your abilities as you learned to ride faster and faster. Yet, they were never intended to stay on forever. They were simply temporary supports as you developed the skills to ride on your own.

The Christian life is learned, much like learning to ride a bike.
As we begin growing in faith, God often gives us training wheels. We lean into community with other Christians, we study the Bible, and we learn to pray. In time, we learn to hear God’s voice and listen for his direction. As we learn to go to God for everything, we learn to rely on following where he leads. At some point, though, he wants us to take off the training wheels and learn to use what we’ve learned.

Training in faith sets us up to live more confidently as Christians
That’s the thing about training. You learn as an apprentice for a time, with the intent to learn to it on your own eventually. When our kids are little, we guide each and every step, but as they grow we push them ever closer to independence. As much as we love helping them, we know it’s our job to equip them to live on their own, making sound decisions based on the values we’ve instilled in their hearts. God does the same with us. He wants to train us and guide us, intending eventually for us to be able to make some decisions on our own.

The Christian life is learned, much like riding a bike. Sometimes, we need to remove our faith training wheels and practice what we've learned. Is it time to remove yours and put what you've learned from God into practice? God wants us to trust him and stay close, but like a good parent he also wants to train us to make good decisions
It’s not that God doesn’t want us to ask for guidance and help, but he does want us to develop the wisdom and good judgment to make some decisions on our own. He wants to set our hearts in the right direction and let us take off.

Dear Lord, thanks for the guidance that you give to each of us. Help us to take the training wheels off and use what we have learned. Keep us learning as we travel through this life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Power of Pizza

Luke 9:23 (ESV)
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Generally speaking, there are three steps to making a pizza — buy the ingredients, put them into the form of a pizza and then cook it.

Consider three ingredients: onions, pepperoni and mushrooms. They all taste pretty good on their own. They are like the nuggets of wisdom that God provides us during the day, if we’re open to them.

The second step of making a pizza is putting the ingredients onto the pizza. If we take the “ingredients” of prayer and put them onto the “pizza” — ourselves — we might get a bite or two that tastes even better than the ingredients did on their own.

But it takes the third step for a pizza to become worthy of the name — it must be cooked in the oven, in a fashion that is both structured (turn to 400 degrees, for 25 minutes) and organic (how many of us calculate exactly how each pepperoni or pepper will settle into the cheese?).

Likewise, we can only grow closer to God the more time we spend with Him, in prayer styles that combine structure and our own individual path — the “oven” of prayer, if you will.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would make it a priority in our life to draw closer to You through prayer. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, September 16, 2019

3 ways your faith is like your car

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Today I had the fun of helping my son with replacing the breaks on his car. It got me to thinking about faith and my car.

Just like you drive your car often – possibly daily, even – and just like you take care of your car well…shouldn’t you treat your faith and your relationship with God in the same way? And shouldn’t your view through the lens of a Biblical worldview be the vehicle by which you travel this earth?

I want to point out three ways in which faith and cars are actually quite similar.

1. Just like a car has many parts, God has many facets to know.
In order to successfully drive a car, you have to know where key features are, like the gas pedal, the brake pedal, the gas gauge, and more. It’s the same with your relationship with God; in order to know Him well, you need to know His characteristics and attributes, and also what He has to sa.  In turn, we need to allow God to search us and know our hearts in the same way. For example, say you’re driving in the rain. You need to know where your windshield wiper switch is located so you can drive safely over wet roads. In your relationship with God, you need to know how He has handled situations with His people, so that you can trust Him fully when the going gets rough, knowing that He has outlined your path and made it straight.

2. Just like we need to prepare our car by filling it with gas to go places, we need to be spiritually equipped to handle the world around us.

We do this by engaging deeply in the study of God’s Word. We need to do this because we don’t want to be left high and dry without a defense of our faith if someone were to question it, or if they were to ask us why we believe a certain way about certain topics, like homosexuality, transsexuality, racism, and even more. We should take on David’s attitude when we store scripture in our hearts: “Your word I have hidden in my heart,that I might not sin against You”. 

This way, we’ll be more equipped to share those scriptures when the time comes.

What happens when you’re pulled over on the side of the road, panicking because you had barely enough gas to get off the highway? You call for help, of course, whether that means finding a gas station or calling a loved one. In the same way, we can call upon God whenever we’re in distress and feel that we can’t navigate a particular situation.

3. Just like we need to be aware of others around us when we drive, we need to be aware of what’s going on in the world, and what God has to say about it.

Sometimes, there are drivers on the road who disregard others around them by speeding, cutting them off on busy intersections, or generally making them feel uneasy. Should that keep us from the road, though? No; we just need to be aware of them so that if a situation should arise that they mistreat us or anyone else by being inconsiderate, we can move on our way and continue to our respective destinations safely. It’s the same way in real life; when people mistreat us, we should still continue to be nice to them, or keep ourselves safe and move on.

In the same way, we need to be aware of our own actions when it comes to others around us. We don’t need to be in such a hurry as to completely disregard the needs and safety of others. We need to reach out to help if and when we can, just as the Good Samaritan helped a complete stranger and his polar opposite. So, when others show mercy to and are considerate towards us, we should do as Jesus tells His followers: “Go and do likewise”.

At the end of the day, if we treat our faith in God like we treat our cars – checking up on it to make sure it’s well cared for and equipped for the road ahead – we will be able to travel the pathway God has given us, not only with confidence that He is guiding us, but with Him as the focus and forefront of our minds and hearts.

Dear Lord, we thank You for faith we have. We pray that we would work on allowing it to grow stronger and stronger each day. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Don't just bring it - read it

2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

It’s easy to bring a Bible to school or work. But we should also use this event to challenge ourselves personally about whether we are making a daily habit of studying God’s Word. Many students and families have very busy schedules. But are we making time for the Bible between all our activities?  Here is an email that’s been making the rounds and cuts to the core of the issue:

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through it several times a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What if we treated it like we couldn’t live without it?

What if we gave it to friends as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go….hmm…where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don’t have to worry about our Bible being
disconnected, because Jesus already paid the bill. Makes you stop and think, “Where are my priorities?”.

Have there been times when you’ve panicked over your missing cell phone? By comparison, do we have the same reaction when we lose our Bible? What do you think is meant by the statement, “we don’t have to worry about our Bible being disconnected, because Jesus already paid the bill”?

Dear Lord, we pray that we would make our Bible important in our life. Help us always take the time to study it and apply it to our life. In the Name Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Every moment matters

1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

What does it even matter? It’s just Algebra. Like you’re ever going to use Algebra in your life! Then again, what’s the point of any of your classes? Dependent and independent clauses? Give me a break!

The same goes for your job. You get paid so little to ask, “Would you like fries with that?” And this certainly isn’t your future career. Who cares if you slack off a bit to eat up the time clock? What does it matter?

Well, actually it does matter. A lot. Every moment does.

Satan wants nothing more than for us to think that every moment of our lives is meaningless. If he can convince us of this, soon he’ll convince us to indulge in a selfish laziness in those moments—an attitude of, “What does this matter if I don’t like it or it doesn’t benefit me?” But as soon as he has you trapped in thoughts of meaningless monotony, he will then push for the death blow of you doubting God and his purpose for your life. “If these moments don’t matter, what do I matter? If I don’t matter, what kind of God is he anyways?”

The apostle Paul reminds us in this verse that the opposite is true. Actually, every single moment of your life matters. Why? Because you mattered to God. God came for you. God lived for you. God died for you. God rose for you. Jesus gave everything of his life for yours as he washed you and bought you with his blood. He did so in order to make you a prized possession of our God—his own dear child.

Knowing this value your life has to our God means that every moment of your life also has value, because every moment is an opportunity—an opportunity to live to the praise and glory of a God who has loved you so much.

So do your quadratic equations and do them well. Flip burgers with all you’ve got. Take notes with all the intellect you’ve been given. Compete and perform with every ounce of strength and ability. In fact, live every moment now and into the future with your best and to the fullest. And know that when you do, it matters. It matters because you are glorifying your Savior God.

Dear Lord, fill us with the joy of Your love found in Christ so that our heart spills over with thankful living for You and Your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

All we need to do is trust Him

Luke 8:22 (ESV)
One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out.

Many of the disciples were ex­peri­enced fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. They had often weathered sudden squalls and treacherous waves. They knew that storms could come out of nowhere. So when Jesus suggested rowing to the other side of the lake, they knew they had to be ready for anything.

In the seas of life, we grow to learn that storms can sneak up on us. A bill out of nowhere can take a bite out of your pay­check. A parent suddenly be­comes ill, and you become a caregiver. A child’s bad decision can lead to a day in court and a prison sentence. Such storms cause our anxiety to rise to dangerous levels. We look for help from someone to calm us down, fix the problem, and restore life to the way it was.

The disciples never stopped to think what it meant to have Jesus in the boat with them. And, to them, he wasn’t doing anything! But, of course, he was sleeping—not worrying or getting frantic about the storm. The disciples spent so much energy trying to save themselves from the storm on their own power that they forgot to be still and recognize that Jesus is God, who had their lives in his hands. Jesus was in their boat. All they needed to do was trust in him.

You and I cannot control the sudden storms of life. That’s the way life is. But Jesus is with us. And that’s the best thing.

Dear Lord, thank You for being in our boat. Your resting does not mean inaction; it reminds us to place all our anxieties on you because you care for us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.