Wednesday, November 22, 2017
   
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Intro: Eagle Flight to Higher Heights

Every time we see an eagle in flight, we should be reminded of the power that God has made available to us. The flight of an eagle also teaches us how essential it is that we spend time with God, and that we gain a personal and accurate view of who He is through our time with Him! The problem is, we aren't exercising our opportunities to be with Him; thus we don't know Him or His power.

 Do you know some eagles don’t fly?

The story is told of a man who found an eagle’s egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.

All his life the eagle, thinking he was a prairie chicken, did whatever the other chickens did. He scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. He clucked and cackled. And he flew in a brief thrashing of wings and flurry of feathers no more than a few feet off the ground. After all, that’s how prairie chickens were supposed to fly.

Years passed. The eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky. Hanging with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents, it soared with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings. "What a beautiful bird!" said the eagle to his neighbor. "What is it?"

"That’s an eagle...the chief of the birds," the neighbor clucked. "But don’t give it a second thought. You could never be like him."

So the eagle never gave it another thought. And it died thinking it was a prairie chicken—Larry Tomczak, Last Days Magazine, 1989, pp. 23-24.


The questions that arise from this story are obvious:

  • How often is this the biography of Christians?
  • How far below our potential are we living?
  • What would we accomplish, and what would we see if we lived as God intended?
  • How would we live our lives if we had a biblical view of ourselves and God’s intention for us?

We hope to discover the answer to these questions as we explore an "Eagle Flight—An Inner Journey to Higher Heights With God." The "Flight" is inspired by the very familiar passage in Isaiah 40:31. "…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."

What can we learn from this passage about the flight of an eagle?

The power available to man is illustrated in a flight of eagles.

Every time we see an eagle in flight, we should be reminded of the power that God has made available to us. The flight of an eagle also teaches us how essential it is that we spend time with God, and that we gain a personal and accurate view of who He is through our time with Him! The problem is, we aren't exercising our opportunities to be with Him; thus we don't know Him or His power.

One of the best ways to know if we have neglected our flight time is to listen to ourselves talk. If we easily launch into a tirade of complaints, or begin to cast God's character and nature in our image, then we are betraying our lack of soaring time with God. As an example, listen to the correction that was offered to Israel after its people began to complain about God.

"Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, 'My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God?'"—Is. 40:27.

Grounded eagles need to review who God is.

What's the solution to these complaints? Isaiah 40 tells a grounded believer how he/she can quickly soar with the eagles and stop the negative comments, by taking some time to review who God is.

Notice the soaring believer's view in vv. 28-29. He focuses on:

  1. God's eternal existence. v. 28a—"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God…"
  2. His creative power. v. 28b— "…the Creator of the ends of the earth."
  3. His infinite energy. v. 28c—"He will not grow tired or weary…"
  4. His immeasurable understanding. v. 28d—"and his understanding no one can fathom."
  5. His provision of strength and power to the weak. v. 29—"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."

Here's the view from a spiritual Eagle's Flight. The true God is eternal. He's our infinite, immeasurable Creator, and He doesn't grow weary. After this flight, however, Isaiah contrasts his description of God with the state of the grounded eagle.

 

  1. Youths grow tired and weary. v. 30a—"Even youths grow tired and weary…"
  2. Youths stumble and fall. v. 30b—"and young men stumble and fall…"

 

When we are looking from the ground up, we are limited by our humanity, and thus become weary—not merely physically or mentally, but spiritually. What can be done about this condition? The cure of man's condition continues. v. 31a—"but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength."

The root of "hope" means to wait, or to look for with eager expectation. This waiting with steadfast endurance is a great expression of faith. It means enduring patiently in confident hope that God will decisively act for the salvation of His people—Gen. 49:18. It involves an expectation that comes from the very essence of a person's being: His soul—Psalm 130:5.

This waiting, however, doesn't involve inactivity. Israel was encouraged to hold fast to love and justice; i.e., they were to follow the Law faithfully; to consistently maintain the standards of justice, while at the same time preserving an attitude of joy—Hos. 12:6; Ps. 37:34.

How will this hope and waiting benefit the weary, worn, and complaining person? The consequences to man are fantastic. Verse 31b promises the one who hopes in this fashion will be renewed in strength—v. 31b. This verse implies they shall exchange their strength for God's strength so they can continue to serve the Lord—Is. 40:31. Their faith will also be strengthened and developed even in testing—Ps. 27:4 and all God has promised will be realized in their lives—Is. 49:23; Ps. 37:9.

Specifically, it means they will be soaring saints—v. 31c. Therefore, we should be encouraged. We need not stay earthbound, without perspective or hope.

In addition, notice the specific order for our development. Isaiah makes it clear we fly before we walk. In other words, we take our place in heavenly realms above every principality, power, condition, complaint, circumstance, and defeat, so that we can run and not become weary—v. 31d, and walk and not feel faint—v. 31e.

Every time you see an eagle, or the likeness of one in a picture, lithograph, or sculpture, remember this is the picture of the strength and power God has made available to every Christian. We don't need to be weary or complaining. We can fly above our natural and weak condition in God's strength! We need not be content to live with the chickens when God has meant for us to soar.

 

Specifically, the wind that will enable a believer to "soar on wings like eagles" will be a variety of the following "flight-enabling" activities which give height to our flight time with God.

  • Listening to God/solitude
  • Praying in a wide variety of ways, e.g., especially the Lord's prayer
  • Journal writing and reflective exercises
  • Studying and applying the Scripture through inductive study
  • Meditating on the Scripture or great themes in the Bible
  • Memorizing Scripture
  • Fasting
  • A Spiritual Checkup with the Ten Commandments
  • Planting Good Theology in our Hearts
  • Spending a Day with God in Prayer
  • Spending an Hour with God in Prayer
  • A Worship, Prayer, and Listening Experience
  • A Spiritual Checkup through the Ten Commandments
  • Planting A Garden of Praise

These spiritual exercises will enhance, bolster, and in many cases take the person deeper and higher in their spiritual journey with God.

All of these Inner Journey exercises might be handled through one of the following options. First, decide how much time you want to spend each day in your Eagle Flight.

  • 10 minutes a day using one of the exercises and changing the exercise each day, i.e., 70 minutes a week.  
  • 20 minutes a day using two of the exercises and changing the exercise each day—140 minutes a week.  
  • 20 minutes using one every day for a week, and changing to another exercise the next week.  
  • 30 minutes using one to three of the exercises, etc.  
  • For variety, or to go deeper, only take one of the exercises. By doing this you can extend your time. You may only do these in-depth exercises periodically, e.g., fasting, spending a day with the Lord in prayer.  
  • For a period of 70 minutes, you might want to attempt to do up to seven segments regularly or for a special day.  
  • You may take an extended period of time to do a special project or spiritual retreat.  
  • On days where you receive teaching from others, apply what you hear as a first priority, before or instead of any other spiritual disciplines.  
  • Other