On Wings Of Eagles

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Friday, February 14, 2020

The middle in the chocolate


Psalm 34:8 (ESV)
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Everywhere you look near Valentine's Day, there's chocolate: boxes of chocolate in all the stores, chocolate on tv promising to be the only love you need, chocolate girl scout cookies--CHOCOLATE! I think that's what led me to remember the famous quote from Forrest Gump: "Life is like a box of chocolates...you never know what you're gonna get."

In reality, that phrase can be true in many ways. We wake up every morning completely unsure of what the day may hold for us. We've made our plans. Sometimes they even happen the way we make them. But we never know for sure, do we?

The days that come with caramel in the middle are my favorite. The ones with the strawberry goo are just so so--but the ones with coconut--YUCK! I'd rather go back to bed. Then there's the days where tragedy or difficult times come out of nowhere, and the chocolate sits in the pantry untouched...there's no sweetness to be had in those moments.

God knows that life as it pertains to circumstances is uncertain for us. That's why He comforts us and reminds us so many times that He is our constant companion, our steadfast friend, our consistently loving God and Savior. He doesn't keep promises the way we do:

You see, no matter what chocolate we are "in the middle of" right now, He is there--with the certainty of His promise today as well as His hope of heaven in the future

We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus.

I love the visual picture of grabbing on to Him with both hands as He runs ahead of me to the Father. That makes me able to get up today and praise Him for whatever comes my way. This faith, this confidence, this hope is our unbreakable spiritual lifeline--HIS love for us no matter what, when, how or why. Let's binge on His priceless box of chocolates today...the sweetest and most satisfying of them all.

Dear Lord, we thank You for Your promise that You are always there with us no matter the chocolate filling we are going through. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Love God and love others


Matthew 22:40 (ESV)
On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

None of us likes to be upstaged by anyone. It makes us feel dumb, especially if others are watching. No one wants to be embarrassed. The Pharisees were not going to be stomped on by some “fly by night” rabbi named Jesus. They were the real scholars; they had been to the best schools, studied under the best professors, and graduated at the top of their class. The Pharisees had the question they believed would stop Jesus in his tracks: “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” They thought, “This will trick him, and then people will know that he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.”

The Pharisees based their lives on acquiring knowledge to boost their egos and reputations. Jesus used his knowledge to bring sinners to the Father’s love. The most important answer to the question is quite simple: love God and love others. The Pharisees were not loving God for God’s sake, but for their sake. They loved God with their minds but refused to love people God’s way.

How would you answer the question if you were asked? Are you loving God with all of your passion, intelligence, and strength? It requires a childlike faith in the One who first loved us. Are you loving your neighbors on your block and at work Jesus’ way? It requires experiencing the abundant love that Jesus has lavished on us. It’s a question worth answering!

Dear Lord, we struggle to love You with all are heart, soul, and mind. Help me to love you and others your way today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

God can give peace


Philippians 4:7 (ESV)
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

There was a time in my youth, when elephant jokes were all the rage, a friend challenged me not to think of pink elephants for the next five minutes. “I bet ya can’t keep ’em out of your mind,” he said.

But Christ’s followers, says Paul, can and should direct their thoughts, in the power of Christ, to things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Martin Luther said about temptations, “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” The peace of God should guard our hearts and minds.

There have been times when I was oppressed by desolate thoughts going around in vicious circles. And I have seen people walking the streets snarling to themselves, tortured by some nameless horror.

Forgiveness from God is the beginning of breaking the vicious circle. In turn, when we follow Christ’s command to forgive those who have wronged us, we are freed from the chains of lifelong grudges and bitter thoughts. And it helps to know that the love of the Creator of the universe surrounds us. That knowledge changes the world we inhabit, lifts us out of the slimy pit, and puts a new song in our mouth (Psalm 40:2-3). A life of joy and peace dawns after we leave the dark night of sin that enslaved us.

Dear Lord, pour the healing peace of the Holy Spirit on our troubled souls so that we may we be a blessing for others who seek peace and refuge with You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Truth is important


Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Carl had a steady job, and his income was just enough to cover his family’s expenses. He also had a debit card that he loved to use for lots of little things like snacks and drinks. His wife, Becky, who was trying to balance the family budget, would often ask how much he was spending. “I don’t remember; I forgot to get the receipt,” he would answer. His lack of honesty about the money was causing serious friction in their marriage.

In any relationship, there can be no trust without truth. Our society’s legal system cannot function without people being sworn to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Suspicion and frustration replace peace between people when they tell lies and break promises.

Truth is precious to followers of Jesus Christ. He is the source and substance of truth from God.

The first truth we need to know is that, although God created us to love and glorify him, we are sinful and unable to save ourselves from eternal destruction. The second truth is that God gives forgiveness and everlasting life through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus. The third truth is that once we have believed in Jesus, we must walk in truth, being honest with one another.

Have you ever damaged a relationship by lying? How important is the truth to you?

Dear Lord, we believe that You are the way, the truth, and the life for us. Teach us how to speak the truth in love always. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Debt of love


Romans 13:8 (ESV)
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

If we are trying to live the Christian life and we fill it with Christian things—Christian books, conferences, music, movies—there may be something missing. If we leave no room in our life to be inconvenienced by service to others, we are missing a vital part of Christlike living. What we do, how we live, and how we treat others comes down to a matter of love. Paul notes this in our passage today, describing it as a permanent debt we owe—a debt owed every day.

Love involves more than an action shown to another person. Love consists of an underlying attitude and mindset that motivates our actions toward others. It’s not an attitude reserved only for fellow believers; it’s also for everyone who is not part of the community of believers. It is an ongoing theme that Paul continues to talk about in many of his ­letters.

Pursue love today. Let it guide the way you think. Let it be evident in your patience and kindness. Let it lead you toward forgiveness, truthfulness, and endurance. In everything you think about today, and everything you say and do today, let love be the motivation. Filled with God’s love, we can’t help overflowing with love and care for others.

Dear Lord, help us to love others because we are filled with Your love. Enable us to give this gift regardless of how we have been treated; may we follow Jesus’ example in all we do. In the Name of Jesus,  Amen.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Spreading His grace


Acts 8:30 (ESV)

So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”


Believers and nonbelievers both hear the word "witnessing" and want to run. Many church people will bake a pie, work a sound booth, change diapers in nursery, even clean the bathroom, but they don't want to "witness." If you attend a neighborhood barbecue and say the word "evangelism" a bit too loudly, you just might not receive an invitation next time.

Philip had a lot of reasons not to walk up to the Ethiopian and his chariot:

·       Philip wasn't Ethiopian; they were worlds apart culturally.

·       Philip was out of his league. The Ethiopian was a high government official, the secretary of the treasury.

·       Philip's friend Stephen had just gotten killed as a result of "witnessing."

Yet Philip obeyed. Why? Maybe he heard the Spirit whisper, "I will give you the words to tell about me." We do know God prepared the Ethiopian's heart, leading him to read a text about Jesus and to ask Philip what it meant. And God caused the man to believe.

If God leads, will you follow? If we think of "witnessing" less as marketing and more as listening--to God and to the people he puts in our path--maybe our courage will grow. And maybe God will use us to help change someone's life for eternity.

Dear Lord, please prepare people's hearts with earnest, spiritual questions and lead them to us. Please also give us the answers we need in order to share your truth and love. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Garbage


Philippians 3:8 (NLT)
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.

On our roadways we find lots of garbage—empty and broken bottles, plastic bags, wrappers, broken pieces of stuff we can barely identify. All of it was once useful but is no longer needed or is just broken or lost. Though it ought to be cleaned up, it’s clear that no one really needs it.

Paul writes about many things that he once thought he needed—for example, his flawless Jewish heritage. According to the law of God, this Pharisee was about as righteous as anyone could be. But Paul now considers all this “a loss.” This is the same word used in Acts 27:21 for a ship’s cargo that is tossed into the sea in a vicious storm. It has value, but compared to saving a person’s life, it is, as Paul bluntly calls it, “garbage.” Far more valuable, he says, is “to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings.”

Often we also place too much value on the wrappings of our faith and miss the real gift. Maybe it’s our status as a church leader, or our membership in a popular church. Or maybe we think our own gifts and talents are better than others’. In comparison to really knowing Jesus, these other things are merely garbage. Of course, we shouldn’t toss them out, but we must place them at the foot of the cross, asking Jesus to infuse our church, our lives, and our ministry with his love, purpose, and power.

Dear Lord, if we have placed too much importance on the wrappings of our faith. Please fill our lives with your love and power. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.