On Wings Of Eagles

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Saturday, January 25, 2020

A smile and outstretched hands


1 John 4:9 (ESV)
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

John Calvin noted that we are moved to repentance not by the threat of God’s law but by the promise of his grace. The threat of the law will only make us run from God, unless we know that he will receive us when we turn back to him in repentance.

I read a story told by Dr. Robert Schuller. He was invited on a mission trip to the wilds of the Amazon. A missionary had been working with a tribe that had a great fear of white people, having had little positive contact with them. Schuller and the missionary trekked further and further into the jungle with no sighting of this reclusive tribe. “Where are they?” Schuller asked. The missionary replied, “They’re all around us, but they won’t come out until they know it’s safe.”

Finally, the travelers arrived at a clearing. The missionary said, “Here’s what you have to do. Sit on the ground, stretch out your hands, and smile.” So that’s what Schuller did. For what seemed hours, he sat and smiled with outstretched hands. At last, a single native crept silently out of the jungle and shyly touched Schuller’s hand.

On the cross, God, in effect, stretched out his hands and smiled, showing that he loves us. Only the cross has the power to draw sinners out of the darkness of sin into the light of life.

Dear Lord, thank You for the invitation, through Jesus, to come out of the darkness into the light of Your love. Help us to believe that Your love is completely trustworthy. In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Rejoice always


1 Thessalonians 5:16 (ESV)
Rejoice always.

Our verse for today is one of the shortest in the Bible. But what a big message these two words convey!

This verse is a command, which means joy is not optional for Christians. Joyless Christians are disobedient Christians. Not only that, this verse tells us to rejoice always. But how can we possibly do that?

The main thing to consider is the source of our joy. Sometimes we’re tempted to think that the level of our joy is directly related to the situation we are in. The more pleasant our environment, the greater our joy will be. The problem with that way of thinking is that we can’t always choose or control our circumstances. Our health may decline; we may lose our job; a loved one may pass away. What’s more, there’s no guarantee that a happy environment will always produce a happy heart. The playwright George Bernard Shaw once said there are two sources of unhappiness in life: the first is not getting what you want, and the second is getting it.

The only reliable source of joy is Jesus Christ. The external realities of our lives will change, but the internal reality of having Jesus dwell in our hearts never changes.

If we stay connected to Jesus, the command to be joyful takes care of itself.

Dear Lord, help us to see our relationship with You as the most important part of our lives, and to find joy in You despite difficult circumstances. Thank You for your faithful love. In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

God's garden


Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

It’s interesting how often the Bible uses the imagery of gardening or fruitfulness to describe believers in Christ. The Old Testament prophets described God’s people as a garden or vineyard (Isaiah 5; Ezekiel 19). In the Psalms, the faithful believer is compared to a tree planted by water, yielding its fruit in season (Psalm 1).

Jesus himself spoke of the human heart being like hard soil, rocky soil, thorny soil, and good soil for the seed of God’s Word to grow in (Mark 4). He also talked about himself as a vine, and he said believers are like its branches that bear fruit (John 15).

Paul writes about spiritual fruit as well—“the fruit of the Spirit.” God chose these pictures of gardening and farming to describe the life of a believer because they help us see the style of the Holy Spirit’s work in our life. The Spirit’s work in us is a process—a budding, blossoming, ripening, growing, maturing process like that of a viny plant or fruit tree. Once we belong to Jesus by faith, the Spirit begins a lifelong process of spiritual growth within us!

Dear Lord, thank You for Your Son, Jesus, who gives us life in a way like a vine supplies life to its branches. Thank You for working in us by Your Holy Spirit for Jesus sake. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The gift of hope


Proverbs 13:12 (ESV)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Is there hope? Have you ever asked parents who just buried a teenage daughter? Or a man diagnosed with cancer? Or someone in the grip of depression?

Not only is hope a basic ingredient in life; it is the hunger of every human heart. Someone said, “Keep hoping; you keep living. Stop hoping; you die—inside.”

What is the hope that enables people to go on living, even when things go terribly wrong?

For the Christian, it begins with the vision that Jesus rules the world today; Christ’s rule calls for making all things right so that everyone can live fully, as God intends. This hope leads to the passion that everyone will know God’s love and forgiveness and Jesus’ victory over sin and death. And this hope is revealed in mission—bringing the joyful light of Jesus into every dark corner of this world, especially into people’s hearts.

Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He is the one way to hope and full life!

If we know this is true, can we put this hope aside and keep it to ourselves, knowing that many will never know the way to true life and peace? That would be a strange response to the hope-filled vision, passion, and mission of Jesus himself.

Can you confess this hope: “In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song”?

Dear Lord, thank You for shining the light of Your grace into the darkness of our soul. Continue to fill us with Your hope so that we may share it with others.  In the Name of Jesus,  Amen.

Monday, January 20, 2020

He knows our deeds


Revelation 2:2 (ESV)

I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.


Do you ever feel that the work you do is unseen or at least unacknowledged? How about your service as a believer and as part of the church of Jesus? In reality, Jesus knows exactly what’s happening in church communities—he even knows them better than they know themselves.

In this personal letter to the church in Ephesus, Jesus reveals how close he is to this community of believers. He identifies himself as the One who “holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.” In a figurative way, Jesus expresses that he holds these communities in the grip of his hand. And he walks around in the midst of these churches.

This is a picture of Jesus intentionally being close to each congregation. Jesus is so close that he knows us in all our ways.

Jesus knew the church in Ephesus, and he begins this letter with rich compliments. He says this church has been a guardian of the truth. False teachers and false teachings found no foothold there. Perseverance in the truth defined this church.

Jesus could say, “I know you, and I know all you are doing for me!” He says this about your church too. Jesus knows everyone in your church community because he holds you all in the grip of his hand and continues to walk where your church serves.

Dear Lord, forgive us if we have supposed that you confine yourself to heaven. Thank you for loving each of us and your church communities. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Rest


Psalm 23:2-3 (ESV)
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name's sake.

Whether we’re traveling or just making it to the end of a busy week, it’s probably time for some weekend rest and relaxation. God calls us to stop and rest at least once a week, so we can take a break from our everyday work and busyness, so we can gather with his people for worship, so we can have a time of communion with God and with other believers. This helps to refresh and restore our souls.

In Psalm 23 we meet the good shepherd who cares for his sheep. A shepherd does this so that his sheep may produce an abundance of precious and useful wool. Yet sheep are not always cooperative—they are apt to devour pastureland and grub for unhealthy weeds. Sheep that graze in green pastures and drink from clean water have been led there by a good shepherd. We have a good shepherd in the person of Jesus Christ (see John 10:11-18).

We may at times feel tired and lost, and our minds or bodies may be polluted with unhealthy things. At times we may even feel forsaken by God, as David expressed in Psalm 22:1.

So we must listen to the voice of the good shepherd. Jesus will bring us to the green pastures of his Word and to the living water that only he can provide (John 4:10-14). He will bring restoration and healing to our lives.

Dear Lord, we are sorry that we have not always cared for our physical or spiritual lives the way we should. Lead us to the green pastures of Your Word and to the living water found in You, our shepherd and Savior. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

What does your heart treasure?


Matthew 6:20-21 (ESV)
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

At the deepest part of our being lies a longing. A hope. A dream. Something more important to us than anything else. Whatever it is that we treasure most, we will build our lives on it. Whether it is our job, our wealth, our standing in the community, our looks, or something else, we will go to great lengths to gain this treasure. Money and wealth are particularly dazzling treasures that hypnotize many into chasing after its false promises and empty security.

Sadly, much of what we treasure is like a mist. Some treasures are gone in an instant, and others slip away over a lifetime. But only one treasure lasts forever. Jesus wants to be the treasure of our hearts. He wants to be the unrivaled Master that we serve wholeheartedly.

The way to be free from chasing worldly treasures is through worship. In worship we treasure the infinite value of Jesus, who gave his life for us. In worship we delight in the goodness and mercy of our God. We set our hearts on the beauty of our Savior, who loved us when we were unlovable.

When our hearts treasure Jesus through prayer, meditation, song, and Scripture, we are reoriented to what is truly priceless for us. We make an investment that will last forever.

What does your heart treasure?

Dear Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth. Since you treasured us first, help us to treasure you as the Lord and Master of our lives. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.