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Hello List Members. I am posting this message one day early because I will not have access to internet for a few days
Another imminent “lock down” hovers menacingly over Canada, and nerves are already frayed, because there are many other problems going on at the same time, for most people.
As I have considered this unpleasant fact, and many other things that are competing for our attention, I have realized that there is H.O.P.E. Hope which we can still have. Hope that we can travel forward with, in the midst of an alleged “pandemic.” Regardless of personal beliefs on that, which we may have regarding such an event, it is important, for me at least, to find some kind of Light. I have grown to expect “Light In Every Cloud.” And that is my H.O.P.E.
I get to travel in remote wilderness areas as a photographer and one of the most beautiful birds to photograph seems to fly my way every once in a while. Now, this bird is claimed to be the “national emblem” of the United States of America; but Scripture has used the mighty eagle to represent eternal truths to every person, of every age.
But before I get into that, let us examine what H.O.P.E. could stand for.
I am finding that as I look for that “light in the clouds,” how H.O.P.E. literally floods the heart and mind, and so the recommendation for this week would be for everyone to start looking for that light in your clouds, and then “Let your light shine” for others whom God has set in your path. Thats really all that “evangelism” is, and it should be the major driver in the church for actually sharing the good news, that no true Christian can just “hide under the bushel”
“YES. I have found a little bit of heaven on earth. Jesus has entered my heart. Let me tell you a bit about this.” (1 John 1:1-3)
I initially got some of the ideas for this week’s email from an experience I had in a remote forested area recently. I saw a Bald Eagle perched in a tree and was able to observe it for a little while going about their activities of daily living, and to recall some words of scripture about the Eagle.
Here are a few thoughts on the Eagle. You will find quite a number of similarities in the life of a Christian who knows and loves Jesus. Many more thoughts on this subject could be said that are not written here; but, all I know is that:
“Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like Eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31
The mighty eagle has what could be termed as “binocular vision.” An eagle has the amazing ability to very accurately judge how far away things are. Their eye sight is much more superior than that of other birds.
If you were to walk in the woods where this mighty bird lives, the eagle would usually be hard to see; but you can always know the eagle’s presence, by it’s very distinctive noise.
With a wing span of up to 7 ½ feet, eagles are built to effortlessly soar upon the air currents. As soon as the eagle spots a prey, they descend down at a dizzying speed of up to 100 miles/hour, using their sharp talons to snatch their prey, with unmatched speed and precision. I have a modern vehicle that won’t even go that fast!
Perhaps, there are times when we need to be like the eagle with critical church members who are creating a storm? Or maybe a perfect storm at home?
The eagle represents a species of birds that have overcome and adapted to a very damaged environment. In recent history, the eagle’s egg shells were developing far too thin, and their population was thus fast decreasing. The common use of DDT at the time, was doing it’s grim work. But, somehow, the eagle has survived, even though their environment has been tainted with killer poison.
Did you know that an eagle knows when the storm is approaching long before it breaks? Even before we know? The Eagle does this in order to harness the power of the coming storm. The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it.
The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm. When the storms of life come upon us – and all of us will experience them – we can rise above them by setting our actions, our minds, and our belief toward God. The storms do not have to overcome us. We can allow God’s power to lift us above them.
God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure and disappointment, criticism, and church politics in our lives. We can soar above the storm. Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them.
The Bible says, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”
They will soar on wings like eagles.”
Overcoming Our Difficulties. Preparing For The Approaching Storm
Not unlike the Eagle, our spiritual environment has become tainted with deadly poison. There is a famine, everywhere for the word of God. But God uses the Eagle to show us what we need to know.
Deut. 32: 11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:
12 So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.
God always has some important lesson for us in the habits of various things in nature. The eagle is no exception.
The eagle always picks the very tallest of the trees to build their nest; and, now a days, the eagle can even be seen the odd time building her nest around some cities. I had the thrilling experience of seeing two bald eagles touch down in a river, to pluck a fish out of the water. I will be coming back to this experience later in this story.
When God speaks of the eagle stirring up her nest, in Deut.32:11, He desires to teach us several valuable lessons.
The eagle makes their nest out of thorns, covers the thorns with soft things, such as wool and down; and there, the eagle lays her eggs. When the eggs are hatched, the eaglets are on soft, comfortable down.
But, when the time comes for the eaglets to fly, the mother eagle reaches into the nest with her great, sharp talons, and scratches off this soft covering of the nest, stirring it up until the thorns come through, and thus making the little ones get out of the nest and fly!
The eaglets start out by “fledging,” standing on the edge of the nest, fluttering their wings and flying in short bursts above the nest and back down again. Soon, most of the cute and pudgy looking eaglets reach the point where they actually jump off the nest, and begin to fly. If they happen to be a bit shy in getting started, the mother eagle will push them over the side of the nest, until they fall right out. They usually flutter about with great fanfare, trying to use their wings, and then , as needed, the mother eagle will fly under them, and catch them on her wings, bearing them back up to the nest. Then, they do it all over again. This is how the eagle learns to fly. Is there a lesson here for God’s people today?
To many, the eagle is a symbol of nobility, with some cultures using it as a symbol of a king. They do this in Persia, Egypt, and Greece, as a few examples. To me, the great bald eagle, is a symbol of strength, and hope.
Climbing The Mountain
I remember the time I climbed Mount Allen. It is sometimes referred to as Nakiska Ski Resort, in the Rocky Mountains 90 minutes north of Calgary. There is an established path that goes up one side of the main mountain there, and then down the other side. But, being a bit of an independent, and adventuresome sort; I decided to take a non-Christian friend with me to make our own path up the mountain. I’ll call him John. John and I set out early one Sunday morning from the base of the mountain. It was in the month of June. There was no snow at the base, or on the mountain as we climbed, except right at the very top…There was still a lot of ice and snow. We had to be careful to stay on the rocks, as the snow patches were very dangerously deep and soft.
The closer we got to the half day’s journey to the top, the colder and windier it got. We didn’t think much of it as we climbed in glee; eagerly anticipating the climbing of our first mountain. The wind was at a pretty stiff clip at the top; but the beautiful view of nothing but mountain tops for miles around was worth it in our minds. I was just admiring out loud, the beautiful deep valleys, and the herd of Elk on the face of a neighbouring slope, and the daring little Marmots peaking out of their holes, and from behind rocks to keep a watchful eye on us.
Suddenly; the stiff wind turned into a very severe gust that frightened us both out of our wits. John and I were in very real danger. I lost track of him for a few minutes as I clutched tightly to a rock to avoid being blown over the edge of the mountain. I am a strong man, I lift weights, and I don’t usually have too many problems with physical tasks; but I was becoming concerned that I would lose my grip on the rock. I have never been in a wind like that before.
Something made me turn my face towards a large, deep green and beautiful valley where we had just seen the Elk far below. As I was hanging on for dear life to the rock; I noticed John also hanging on to the rock and facing the valley just like I was. It was at this time that an amazing sight greeted our frightened eyes…Riding effortlessly on the currents of the storm, was a large bald eagle. It was so amazing to us that we were hanging on with all our strength; and the eagle was using very little, if any strength…his (or her) great wings were spanning either side, straight out, and not even moving! The eagle was totally relaxed, just out cruising for one of those Marmots to make lunch with! And yet, this mighty bird of prey knew how to harness such strength in the storm, and it had plenty of energy to rise above it, using the storms own strength and power!
Even above the loud sounds of the roaring gale; I could hear John yelling over to me: “Oh! Wow! This is absolutely amazing! This is reality! David! There just has to be a God! There just has to be! Look at that!” Tears welled up in my eye, as at that stormy moment, the Word (Heb 4:12) had the chance it was waiting for. Isa 40:31
“They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength….they shall mount up with wings as eagles….”
Both my friend and I were thinking: “What a way for the Word to come alive!”
I yelled agreement to John, and I just started to praise the Lord, and pray about all kinds of things…when all of a sudden; I noticed the wind had died down! It was completely calm again. We were now able to start our descent.
Today; I am caught in another storm…a church storm. Is that even possible? Its starting to feel like that storm at church as the “pandemic” invades us.
I am hanging on to the Rock; because I feel like I am going to get blown away by the storms of apathy, criticism, negativism, and deceptions, shunning and all manner of other evils. And as I hang onto the Rock; I await the renewal of my strength, that I may fly like the eagle, in the deadly atmosphere of sin. Everywhere I go, the church environment is being tainted with the killer poison of criticism, and judgment.
“As trials thicken around us, both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks. Some who are now ready to take up weapons of warfare; will in times of real peril, make it manifest that they have not [held onto] the real Rock, they will yield to temptation. Those who have had great light, and precious privileges, BUT HAVE NOT IMPROVED THEM, will, under one pretext or another, go out from us.”
Special private ministries, or self-appointed individuals. Watching for mistakes. Setting the errors or the weaknesses before the general public. Waiting on Satan, and taking many innocents with them as they are blown away by the storms of the last day deceptions…the doctrines of devils. (1 Tim 4:1). Buzzards. Not eagles. Thriving on the husks of other people’s failings in the church.
Are You The Eagle?
” But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa.40:31, KJV).
“The Eagle of the Alps is sometimes beaten down by the tempest into the narrow confines of the mountains. Storm clouds shut in this mighty bird of the forest; their dark mass separating her from the sunny heights where she has made her home. Her efforts to escape seem fruitless. She dashes to and fro, beating the air with her strong wings, and waking the mountain echoes with her cries. At length, with a note of triumph, she darts upward, and piercing the clouds, is once more in the clear sunlight, with the darkness and tempest far beneath.
So we may be surrounded by difficulties, discouragement, and darkness. Falsehood, calamity, injustice shut us in. There are clouds that we cannot dispel. We battle with circumstances in vain. There is one, and [only] one way of escape. The mists and the fogs cling to the Earth; beyond the clouds, God’s light is shining. Into the sunlight of His presence we may rise on the wings of faith.” (Education, pg.118).
And as members of Christ’s Church, we must wait on the Lord that we may renew our strength, and mount up with wings, as eagles…maybe even eaglets in some cases; but God will come through! He has not failed us thus far; and he will not fail us now!
What does it mean to wait on the Lord?
Remember the last time you went to a restaurant to eat? Did someone “wait on you?” Of course. If you were in a really popular place; the staff would have been extremely busy “waiting” on tables. In the Bible, “wait,” is not necessarily passive. It is almost always very active:
“If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better. How many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ. Do you expect to become better through your own efforts?…There is help for us only in God. We must not wait for stronger persuasions, or for holier tempers. We can do nothing of ourselves. [John 14:6, 15:5].
But we do have the “precious promises,” and one of such is enclosed below:
“Cast thy burden on the Lord and He shall sustain thee.” Psalms 55:22
This is the promise for whats coming. This is the promise for a “pandemic.”
“Have mercy on me O God, according to Thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.” “Create in me a clean heart O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.” (Psalms 51:1-4, 10-13, KJV).
The malicious winds of strife will come and go. Hanging onto the Solid Rock, our strength will be renewed; and we shall mount up with wings as eagles…” because we will see Jesus in our clouds!. He is coming soon. He is coming “on the clouds.” We will rise up together “in the clouds” to meet our Lord on that grand resurrection morning! Are you as ready as you think?
My friend “John” that I mentioned above started attending church shortly after our mountain top adventure. I didn’t ask him to in any way. But he decided, from what we saw, that Jesus is real, and he just started going to church on his own!!
The way of the eagle, IS our H. O. P. E. Isa 40:31 describes for us how Heaven. On. Planet. Earth. begins.
As we, The Church, prepare for the storms of the coming weeks, what will we do? Will we be Eagles, or Buzzards?