Soar Like an Eagle

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Bald Eagle in Flightby Helen Grace Lescheid

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They  will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.Isaiah 40:31

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by life’s problems? You want to soar above them but you feel yourself being sucked under. During one such time, a chaplain’s true story gave me hope.

“A friend and I were paddling down a river. To one side, high on a cliff, sat a bald eagle, its white head feathers glistening in the sun. As we watched, it soared into the blue sky, then swooped into the water, thrusting its strong talons into a big fish.

But then, the eagle got caught in the rushing current. Up and down it went with its beak firmly in the fish. Then both fish and eagle were sucked under the water. Why doesn’t he let go of the fish, I thought why does he insist on keeping it?

We were startled by a commotion downstream. “The eagle,” I shouted “It’s come up again.”

Sure enough, the majestic bird had broken free of the fish and the deadly torrent and headed for the surrounding rocks.  For a moment the bird rested in the sun preening its soggy feathers. Then it spread its enormous wings and rose above the tree tops into the sky.

Aren’t we like that?” the chaplain asked. “At times we feel sucked down into life’s raging torrents. Is there something that’s dragging you down? Like the eagle who wouldn’t let go of the fish, are you  hanging onto a weight of resentment or bitterness or unrealistic expectations of what life should be like? Release it. It’s a weight that will drag you down into despair. Let the spirit of the Risen Christ buoy you up and give you strength to rise above your circumstances.

You are not meant to be tumbling in the undertow; you are meant to soar. Because Christ lives in you, you can live triumphantly.”

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is an offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23,24).

You can comment on this devotional online at:
http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2014/04/24/hl_soar-like-an-eagle/

To read more of Helen’s writings go to http://www.helenlescheid.com
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Who Knows Me?

Water fallby Skip Moen, D. Phil.

I will rejoice and be glad in Your loving kindness, because You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul.” Psalm 31:7 (NASB)

Known “Omniscience“. Oh, it’s a great doctrine. God knows everything that can be known.  It’s a significant statement about the scope of His observation and understanding. But it’s kind of sterile.  It’s one of those big ideas that lends itself to debates like, “If God already knows what I am going to do tomorrow, can it really be my free choice“?”  I wonder if David ever concerned himself with such cognitive issues.  David’s approach is far more personal.  God knows the troubles of my soul.  When it comes to my relationship with the Lord, this might be all I really need.

The verb is quite familiar.  Yada covers the widest range of knowing in Hebrew, from knowing the facts about the enemy army to knowing the sexual intimacy of marriage.  It’s worth reflecting on this range.  We have many distinct verbal expressions for different kinds of knowledge.  We categorize our information.  There’s a box for facts, a box for opinions, a box for theories, a box for observations, a box for involvements, etc.  Nice, neat compartments where we can “know” the right thing in one area but never let it touch the things we feel or observe in another area.  But yada reminds us that everything is connected.  It isn’t possible to “know” something and keep it neatly separated from the actions that make up who we are.  If God knows the troubles of my soul, certain implications about this fact must follow.

God knows the distress I encounter, the adversities I face, the troubles life hands me and the vexations that plague me.  God knows these things.  That does not simply mean He observes them as facts. Yada-ata.  He knows them.  He experiences my troubles.

Think about this.  When I weep, is God weeping with me?  When I rejoice, does He dance?  When I shake with fear, is He there beside me?  When I battle with decisions, does He fight for the right?  Yada says “Yes.”  The full range of relationship dynamics is known to Him.  He is not the God of disengaged research or the moral policeman.  He is as close as my breath, my sight, my thoughts and my sighs.  He is the God in my need.

Would it make a difference in our struggles for righteousness if we contemplated the God of yada?  Would we feel His comfort, His guidance or His warning just a little more intensely if we engaged the Hebrew umbrella of knowing.  David worships a God who is intimately involved in life.  He doesn’t sit on His throne in Zion waiting for quarterly reports on our progress.  He sits by our side, asking us to lean on Him.  He is the ‘ezer’, the benefactor who comes to our aid in times of need.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2014/04/24/sm_who-knows-me/

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Words that Saved My Life

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Tree in Springby Mike Woodard

When I was about ten years old, my older brother and I were riding our bikes on a trail that was the “back way” to a small store in order to avoid the main route that was along a busy highway. One section of the trail was a narrow path that ran along the edge of the bank of a river.

My bike had the old-fashioned saddle bag wire baskets on either side of the back wheel. I had a six pack of pop in one basket that gave me a slight sensation of being off balance. The path that ran so close along the river made me nervous without this added challenge of weighty cargo in my basket.

Well, as you may have guessed, the bike, pop and I ended up sliding off the path and falling over the bank into the river. The drop down to the water was about a meter and a half. My bike got caught on a root so did not get washed away.

I had also landed in the water and was thrashing around yelling, “Help, I’m drowning!” My brother yelled back at me, “Stand up.”

While I had fallen into deep water that was over my head, through my thrashing I had moved to a place that was not. To this day I wonder if I could have drowned in the shallower water if my brother had not told me to stand up.

Words are powerful for good or for destruction. Words can bless or wound deeply.

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.”   Proverbs 25:11-12. (NIV)

There may be someone around you who is thrashing in the currents of life and is in need of some life giving words today, a word of encouragement to help them see how to extricate themselves from an overwhelming situation. Or, you, yourself may need a life giving word from someone close to you, who sees a bigger picture than you do.

For all who wrestle with seemingly life threatening challenges, God’s word, the Bible is his love letter to us. Open it often and listen to God’s instructions, drinking deep because it is the source of true and life giving words.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2014/04/23/mw_words-that-saved-my-life/

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You Make a Difference

Flowersby Holley Gerth

I’m thinking of you this morning, wherever you are, and of the difference you’re making.
You might think it’s small.
You might think no one really sees.
You might think you should do something bigger, better, more spiritual.

But lean in and listen close…
The best gift you can offer this world is you.

And that’s what you’re doing–
just putting messy, glorious, imperfect, made-new you out there.
In your home, your family, your office, your community, your world.

We’d miss you if you weren’t there. It just wouldn’t be the same. And no one could take your place.

So keep it up, my friend. Keep giving and loving and living right where you are.
It matters more than you know, more than you see.

{And you do too.}

You can comment on this devotional online at:
http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2014/04/23/hg_you-make-a-difference/

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Posted in Thoughts by All, thoughts by Holley Gerth, Women's Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments