On Wings Of Eagles

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Day 2 WHEN WE PRAY


Proverbs 3:1-6 (ESV)
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life
    and peace they will add to you. 
3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
    bind them around your neck;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good success
    in the sight of God and man. 
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.

I have heard it said, in one way or another, that prayer is good but that ultimately you have to do something. Although I completely agree with that statement, I have to admit that in my own life, I’m typically very good at “doing something,” From my perspective, we are quick to act and slow to pray when it ought to be that we are quick to pray so that our activity is directed by the clarity and understanding we receive when God aligns our hearts with His.

I’m no car mechanic, and I know just little about car maintenance, but I do know that proper alignment is essential to keeping a vehicle moving in the right direction without constantly pulling one way or the other. In the same way, alignment is integral to the life of the believer. Prayer is about aligning our heart’s preferences with God’s will.

When Jesus teaches the disciples to pray, he begins by saying, “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, they will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Notice that before we petition God to meet our daily needs or to forgive our sins, we align ourselves with the glory of God and His will for His kingdom.

In your journey today, do you feel your soul pulling to the left or the right? Is your life full of activity but without clear direction? Seek God in consistent prayer, and He will align your steps with His purpose for your life.

Dear Lord, we pray today that You will align our steps in a way that is pleasing to You.  We pray for a clear direction from You today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Day 1 WHEN WE PRAY


Matthew 13:31-32 (ESV)
31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

Show me a praying person, and I’ll show you a person full of faith!

Before we talk about prayer, we must first address faith. In fact, the prayers we pray say a lot about the faith we possess. It takes faith to pray. Faith is the foundation on which we build our knowledge of the reality of God. Faith is the currency of heaven, and prayer is the means by which we exchange sorrow for joy, ashes for beauty, and spiritual deadness for supernatural power.

When we attempt to fulfill ourselves by placing our faith in anything other than God, we always come up empty. Instead of praying and receiving the joy of the Lord as an outflow of our relationship with Jesus, we try to purchase joy and peace by other means. Life becomes one social escapade after another—buying as much stuff as our credit card limit will allow, hanging out with friend after friend after friend, filling our lives with shallow relationships and meaningless things—and all the while, true joy and real peace and genuine companionship and lasting satisfaction are waiting to be found in an intimate relationship with Jesus, a relationship which is initiated and sustained by faith.

Jesus speaks of faith as a “grain of mustard seed.” In this parable about the mustard seed, Jesus is sharing an important idea with us: faith begins in seed form. Faith in God is planted in the soil of our hearts and cultivated by the Spirit of God, and over time, it produces joy, peace, humility, fulfillment, power, and every other rich quality of the character of God. Faith is the source of these blessings, and prayer is the way that the source gets into the soil.

Some people do not feel inclined to pray because often times, prayer just looks like a seed. Nothing too thrilling about a seed, right? But through the eyes of faith, we don’t just see our prayers for what they are when we’re praying them; we see the potential of what they can become when God answers them! Great prayer reveals great faith, and great faith releases great prayers. Great faith isn’t measured in magnitude but in our resoluteness to believe God against all odds.

Jesus tells the disciples to have faith in God and to speak to mountains without any doubt in their hearts. Perhaps instead of seeds of faith, you’ve had seeds of doubt and fear planted in your heart. Pray for the Spirit of God to uproot those things today and activate your faith through prayer.

Dear Lord, we thank You that we can come to You anytime trough prayer. Help us to get rid of the seeds of doubt and fear that are planted in our heart. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, October 12, 2018

U2 Front Man Bono Extols Love of Psalms, New Testament Through Song Lyrics


Matthew 6:10 (ESV)
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.

It’s difficult to argue that any general market band has injected the Bible into its songs more than Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legends, U2. From the opening track of its 1981 sophomore release October to its 2017 album Songs of Experience the iconic Irish foursome has consistently gone back to its spiritual roots as former members of the Shalom Fellowship in Dublin.


There’s no better example than “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” from the 1987 platinum album The Joshua Tree. Not only did the song provide U2 with its second U.S. #1 radio single, but it was also loaded with biblical references:


I have spoke with the tongue of angels (1 Corinthians 13:1)


I believe in the Kingdom Come (Matthew 6:10)


You broke the bonds/And you loosened the chains (Psalm 107:13-14)


Carried the cross of my shame (1 Peter 2:24)


Four years later, U2 dedicated an entire song from Achtung Baby to Judas (one of the original 12 disciples) and his betrayal of Jesus. “Until The End of the World” begins with a scene from The Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:17-30), continues in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is betrayed (Matthew 26:36-56), and concludes with a guilt-ridden Judas taking his life (Matthew 27:3-5).


Another example can be found on “Yahweh” from the 2004 release How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. The song title itself references the biblical name of God usually written as Lord in modern English Bibles), which is found in the Hebrew Bible well over 5,000 times and first appears in Genesis 2:4. Then, towards the end of the song, there is this refrain taken from Matthew 5:14-16:


Take this city


A city should be shining on a hill


Take this city


If it be your will


While three of its four members grew up around the Bible, lead singer and primary lyricist Bono is often credited for bringing its content into U2’s musical offerings. His love for the book of Psalms is especially apparent and has even impacted the band’s live performances in unique ways. Bono noted this in the 2016 documentary The Psalms, in which he was featured along with Eugene Peterson, author of The Message.


“In the dressing room before a show, we would read the psalms as a band and then walk out into arenas and stadiums—the words igniting us, inspiring us,” Bono revealed.


The lead singer has also been known to read Psalm 116 from The Message before the band kicks into opening set. Then, at some point in the concert, U2 will play its earliest biblically inspired song, “Gloria” (from the 1981 album October), which references Psalm 51:15. Another popular tune for concertgoers is “40” (from the 1983 album War), which is literally taken from Psalm 40:


I waited patiently for the Lord


He inclined and heard my cry


He brought me up out of the pit


Out of the miry clay


Bono explained his admiration in the introduction to the book Selections From the Book of Psalms.


“At 12, I was a fan of David, he felt familiar…like a pop star could feel familiar. The words of the psalms were as poetic as they were religious and he was a star…He was forced into exile and ended up in a cave, facing the collapse of his ego and abandonment by God. This is where David was said to have composed his first psalm—a blues. That's what a lot of the psalms feel like to me, the blues…Words and music did for me what solid religious argument could never do, they introduced me to God, not belief in God, more an experiential sense of GOD. As a result, the Book of Psalms always felt open to me and led me to the poetry of Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, the book of John.”

Dear Lord, we thank You for the Bible.  We thank You for all the lessons we can learn from applying to all aspects of our life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Journey Songwriter Jonathan Cain Injects Biblical Themes Into Legendary Catalog


John 8:32 (ESV)
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Known for their unforgettable rock anthems (e.g. “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Separate Ways,” etc.) and chart-topping power ballads (e.g. “Faithfully,” “Open Arms,” etc.) Journey has been a significant part of America’s pop culture for over 40 years.


The casual fan, however, might not be aware that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band has at times laced its lyrics with biblical references. On the 1978 breakout album Infinity, the hit song “Wheel in the Sky” had some critics and fans speculating that the title might be taken from Ezekiel 1 and the prophet’s elaborate vision.


While the band has never confirmed a direct correlation, there have been other more obvious instances such as the song “Believe” from the 2005 album Generations, which utilizes a portion of John 8:32.


I believe in you, believe in me

I believe in you, believe in me

Oh, I believe the truth will set you free

I believe in you, believe in me


The most obvious shift towards biblically themed lyrics, however, can be found on the 1996 album Trial By Fire, which featured the songwriting team of Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain for the last time before Perry parted ways with Journey. According to Cain, Perry brought his Bible into the studio and the two pondered what would happen if they used some of its text as their inspiration.


One such song was the lead track, “Message of Love,” which included these two lines from the bridge:


I hear…but I never listen


I see…and still I’m blind


Those bars invoked the words of Jesus who explained to the disciples why he used parables to share his message:


“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” (Matthew 13:13, NIV)


Another biblically inspired song was the title track, “Trial By Fire,” which invokes Psalm 66:10 and 1 Peter 1:6-7 and includes direct references to 2 Corinthians 4 within the first three lines of the first verse:


Treasures in the jars of clay (v. 7)

Let the light shine out of darkness (v. 6)

Fallen down but not destroyed (v. 9)

It's just another trial by fire


“There I am with a Bible on my console,” Cain recalled. “It was profound and wonderful, and we wrote this beautiful song.”


In 2016, Cain recorded the solo album What God Wants To Hear and for the first time wrote all of the songs based on the Christian faith and the Bible.


“I’ve always been seeking out songs since I was young,” Cain said. “I never had any idea how rich the Bible was with imagery. I got lost in it.”

Dear Lord, we thank You for the way Your word finds its way into the may stream. We pray that those that hear the words will be open to the message. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Bible Finds Its Way Into The Rolling Stones’ Music Despite Lack of Belief


Matthew 16:19 (ESV)
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

For more than 60 years, rock and roll music has been one of the most pervasive forces within popular culture. Concurrently, the Bible has consistently influenced rock artists and their songs. This has even been true for many who don’t necessarily ascribe to a particular religious belief system.


Such is the case with iconic English rockers, The Rolling Stones. Lead singer Mick Jagger and lead guitarist Keith Richards have written most of the band’s songs including several that make direct references to the Bible even though both have had a tempestuous relationship with the Bible.


“I read the Bible sometimes but it bores me to death,” Richards told reporters at a 2008 press event for the Martin Scorsese documentary, Shine A Light.


Jagger, who was raised in the Church of England and has practiced in several religions, echoed his band mate’s sentiment during another interview:


“I don’t have belief in the Holy Book,” he said.


Despite public rejection, the Bible has managed to find its way into The Rolling Stones’ music on multiple occasions. Early in the band’s career, the Bible had a significant impact on the 1968 album Beggars Banquet. For instance, the song “Prodigal Son” (written and originally recorded by Reverend Robert Wilkins) presented a literal retelling of Jesus’ parable found in Luke 15:11-32.


Then, on the controversial song “Sympathy For The Devil,” Jagger and Richards presented a tongue-and-cheek narrative from the perspective of the Bible’s original and most pervasive antagonist. Within the lyrics, Lucifer takes credit for a number of historical events such as the Russian revolution, World War II, and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.


The opening of “Sympathy For The Devil” includes references to Jesus praying in the Garden (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-41; Luke 22:3-46) and the trial before Pilate (Mark 15:1-15 and Matthew 27:11-26).


Nearly 30 years later, the Rolling Stones released Bridges To Babylon (1997) in which the title not only contained a reference to a key city mentioned in the Bible, but also housed another example of the Bible’s influence on their music. On “Saint of Me,” Jagger sings about three men who would eventually receive sainthood from the Catholic Church, two of which were prominent New Testament protagonists:


Saint Paul the persecutor

Was a cruel and sinful man (Acts 8:1-3)

Jesus hit him with a blinding light

And then his life began (Acts 9)


John the Baptist was a martyr

But he stirred up Herod's hate (Mark 6:17-18)

And Salome got her wish

To have him served up on a plate (Mark 6:19-29)


Bible themes have also shown up in Jagger’s solo material including the title track from his 1993 album Wandering Spirit. The song is from the perspective of a man who is struggling to find his place in the world. Its theme is ripe with biblical allusions, for example:


When all the twelve Apostles try to ring me on the phone

Take a message but I won't return their call

For I have no eyes to see him (Psalm 135:16; Isaiah 44:18) and I thought I lost my way

And I know I've lost the keys to your door (Isaiah 22:22; John 10:9; Matthew 16:19)


On his fourth solo album, Goddess In The Doorway (2001), Jagger wrote and performed a duet with U2 front man Bono. “Joy,” although not explicitly biblical, it referenced common Bible concepts such as joy, grace, light and darkness, and Jesus Christ. In a 2007 interview with Independent, Jagger gave a hint as to how an artist who doesn’t ascribe a belief in the Bible can still find biblical premises showing up in their music.


“It has religious overtones, which is why I asked Bono to sing. He sings religious songs, doesn’t he?” he rhetorically responded. “I’m very ambivalent about religion. When you write songs, you think it’s going to be about one thing and something else creeps in, and you make that the theme.”

Dear Lord, we thank You for Your powerful word and the way it finds its way into all aspects of our life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Personal Bible Provides Elvis Presley Creative, Personal Inspiration


Luke 9:25 (ESV)
For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

In 2012, Elvis Presley’s Bible was sold at an auction for $94,000. Presley received the Bible from his aunt and uncle on his first Christmas at Graceland in 1957 and used it until his death in 1977.


The contents provided an enlightening look into the King of Rock & Roll’s religious curiosities. For instance, Presley underlined Luke 9:44 and at the top of the page wrote this paraphrasing of Luke 9:25:


“For what is a man advantaged if he gain the whole world and lose himself or be cast away.”


Presley’s upbringing in church has also been well documented, but that influence rarely manifested in his original music. One exception was in the tongue-in-cheek song “Hard Headed Woman” (by songwriter Claude Demetrius), which shot to #1 on the radio charts in 1958.


In the 12-bar blues flavored tune, Presley opines that mankind’s troubles can be traced back to what he believes are strong-willed and stubborn women and provides examples from the Hebrew Bible such as Eve (Genesis 2:7–3:6), Delilah (Judges 16:4-21), and Jezebel (1 Kings 16:29-33).


Most of Presley’s biblically inspired lyrics, however, are found in his popular gospel albums, which tallied over five million record sales. His Hand In Mine (1960) included an adaptation of the African-American spiritual “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” taken from Joshua 6:15-21 while the title track from How Great Thou Art (1967) invoked an array of Bible references (Psalm 8:3, Psalm 145:3, Romans 8:32, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, John 1:29, etc.).


Presley released his third and final gospel album in 1972. The title track, “He Touched Me” (by songwriter Bill Gaither) had already been made popular by Doug Oldham, The Imperials, The Blackwood Brothers, the Cathedral Quartet, and J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quarter, but Presley’s rendition brought the song to an international audience. It also garnered him the 1972 Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance.


“I believe in the Bible,” Elvis once said. “I believe that all good things come from God. I don't believe I'd sing the way I do if God hadn't wanted me to.”

Dear Lord, we thank You for the talents that You give to each of us.  Help us to use them for You today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Lost: Multiple Bible References Dot Iconic Drama Series


John 3:16 (ESV)
For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

When ABC introduced the survival-themed serial drama Lost in September 2004, there was no way to predict the cultural impact it would have over the next six years.


Part of its appeal was the ensemble cast that featured well-known actors like Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Dominic Monaghan, and Michael Emerson, and introduced rising stars like Jorge Garcia, Josh Holloway, Ian Somerhalder, and Michelle Rodriguez.


Ultimately, however, it was the thematic elements of adventure, mystery, science fiction and the supernatural that kept viewers coming back for more. Based mostly on an uninhabited island somewhere in the South Pacific, Lost follows the survivors of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 as they attempt to navigate a host of treacherous adversaries.


While the first season spends most of its time on the beach, the castaways eventually make their way deeper into the island, and that’s where the Bible becomes increasingly prominent throughout the series. In fact, Bibles are physically used as props or visible in at least eight episodes including “Ab Aerterno” when Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) is seen reading Luke 4, the story where Satan tempts Jesus in the wilderness.


The Bible is also represented in Lost through several of its episode titles including “Numbers,” “Exodus, Part 1,” “Exodus, Part 2,” “The 23rd Psalm,” “Fire + Water” (Matthew 3:11), “Stranger in a Strange Land” (Exodus 2:22), and “316” (John 3:16). Several of the characters have biblical names (Seth, Jacob, Ben, Aaron, Naomi, Ruth Sarah, Rachel, David, Daniel, etc.), as well, and some entertainment pundits were convinced that these references were purposefully inserted.


“It’s not a mistake that (baby Aaron) is named after the brother of Moses,” pastor and author Chris Seay said. “It’s not a mistake, clearly, that Jacob, also known in the Bible as Israel, plays a prominent role in this narrative. And ultimately I think the finale and the journey still very much echoes the narrative of the Exodus. We’ve got one group of people moving from slavery to freedom and to abundance.”


One of the most intriguing sources of biblically inspired narrative is found in an enigmatic character named Mr. Eko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) who is revealed to be a Nigerian warlord and drug smuggler turned self-made priest. In the Season Two episode “What Kate Did,” he tells John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) a story about King Josiah based on 2 Kings 22 before handing him a Bible that has been hollowed out and used to conceal an instructional film for the mysterious Swan station.


Then, on two separate occasions, Eko recites Psalm 23—the first time as he sets fire to the crashed plane that houses his brother’s remains (in “The Cost of Living”), and a second time right before the island’s nefarious Smoke Monster kills him (in “The 23rd Psalm”).


Even after death, Eko’s influence on the other castaways remains thanks to his walking stick that Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan) nicknamed the “Jesus stick.” Crafted from a branch retrieved on the beach, Eko carved various Bible verses into the wood such as Psalm 23, Acts 4:12, Habakkuk 1:3, Revelation 5:3, Romans 6:12 and Galatians 3:16.


Locke retrieves the stick and intends to use it as a marker for Eko’s grave, but first notices the inscription, “Lift up your eyes and look north,” a paraphrasing of Genesis 13:14. Next to the inscription is the oddly-constructed Bible reference “John 3:05.” Locke deduces that Eko has left a clue (a compass bearing) for finding another secret hideout on the island.


“The biblical narrative is a big part of the larger story,” Chris Seay told Fox News.


In another interview to promote his book The Gospel According To Lost, he also conveyed a story he heard from an entertainment reporter.


“I went to Sunday School a few times when I was a kid, but I’ve never owned a Bible,” the journalist said. “ I’ve had to borrow one from the religion editor because they keep bringing up Scripture on Lost. I’m reading the Bible all the time now.”

Dear Lord, we thank You for the freedoms we have to share Your love though media. We pray that we would continue to be bold with the good news and share it any way we can. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.