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Monday, January 21, 2008

Carved eagle
Eagle carving by Tom Jenkins

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"Soaring Like Eagles"

"But 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).

Several weeks ago I shared in an encouragement message that I saw an eagle fly high over our home and I've seen it several times since.  Yesterday Brooksyne and Ester spotted one on the way home from church and we kept an eye on it as it soared high above us with wings spread appearing to enjoy the bitterly cold weather.  It seems I never have the camera ready when we spot the eagles - it would probably be too far away for an effective shot anyway.

The daily Scripture text is among the first verses I committed to memory as a young Christian. It was a popular chorus at that time and really still should be, since it's merely singing the very words of Scripture.  It has so often been a source of assurance and strength in my life.

Isaiah 40 is recognized by many to be among the most powerful chapters of Scripture and even many secularists acknowledge the superb literary beauty of this passage.

The daily text is the final verse in this great chapter. What an encouraging promise! Read it slowly and aloud if you are able. "Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength."  Isaiah, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote these words some 2,700 years ago. But the Word of God is living and active and this is a present unchangeable truth.

It presents an essential key to personal renewal - hoping in the Lord. We may look back and recall when we accepted the Lord, first placing our hope and trust in Him. That's wonderful. But this verse refers to an active, present tense hope and trust in the Lord.

The Full Life Study Bible has this note concerning the passage: "To hope in the Lord is to trust Him fully with our lives; it involves looking to Him as our source of help and grace in time of need.  Those who hope in the Lord are promised: 
1) God's strength to revive them in the midst of exhaustion and weakness, of suffering and trial;
2) The ability to rise above their difficulties like an eagle that soars in the sky; and
3) The ability to run spiritually without tiring and to walk steadily forward without fainting at God's delays.  God promises that if His people will patiently trust Him, He will provide whatever is needed to sustain them constantly."

Soaring eagle (photographer unknown)The image of a soaring eagle is used. "They will soar on wings like eagles."  Many have observed the ability of the eagle to soar above the storms and likewise through our hope we can soar above the storms of life.

By God's grace may you hope in the Lord, may your strength be renewed and may you spiritually soar above the inevitable storms of life!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, we look to You for hope that renews our faith and restores our strength.  In the midst of situations that challenge  and weary us, Your power and strength never diminish.  You never tire of us coming to You but rather You expect it.  The promise of Your strength helps us rise above life's detours and difficulties.  We place our confidence in You, unchanging God, and develop the fruit of patience as we wait on You to fulfill the promises You've made in Your Word.  Amen.

Note: The version used for the chorus mentioned in the message is the King James and rather than hope the KJV uses wait, "They that wait upon the Lord…"  The Amplified Bible is helpful in expressing the depth of the Hebrew word, "those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him.]"

Eagle reflection (photographer unknown)
I wish I could tell you I took this outstanding photo but I didn't! My sister Genelle sent it to me in a collection of beautiful photos.

Small group leaders meeting
Saturday morning we had a breakfast gathering in our home for the small group leaders chaired by our pastor, Bob Verno, who is at the top of the photo. Pastor had a great sermon yesterday on simple living and in the course of the message illustrated a point that sure gave the church a good laugh. He was illustrating extravagant purchases and showed his watch that he had purchased at a discount store. He said (to the effect) "This works just fine, it tells time as well as a Rolodex." Of course he meant Rolex!

YWAM young adults
Yesterday, several of Darrel's friends who served with the Youth With A Mission program had come up to visit and were gathered at our church. They were from Tennessee, Massachusetts and Maryland. These young people had been in the program at the same Colorado center where the murders occured last month.  It was nice to visit with them and hear of their heart to live for the Lord.  (Darrel is holding his niece.)

Today's Suggested Music

I was unable to find an audio of the chorus I mentioned in the message based on Isaiah 40:31 although I am sure many of you have sung it.  I did find some great music with this theme as I searched though!

"For This Cause"  (Audio) This is a beautiful song of commitment.

"They That Wait On The Lord"  (Audio)

Some More Related Resources

Here's a video of a Bald eagle soaring and landing on rock.

Here's a very interesting website that has videos of cameras mounted on an eagle for a fascinating view. I find it interesting that the narrator speaks of the eagle's "superb aerodynamic design." It's so hard to avoid the recognition of a Designer!

Here is an excellent message drawing spiritual meaning from an eagle. This is one of the most researched articles on this matter I have ever come across.

The Story of the Carved Eagle

Carved eagleThe wood carving of the eagle featured in the photo at the very top of this message was sent to me by Tom Jenkins, a professional woodcarver, whom I know only from this online writing ministry going back many years. Knowing of my interest in eagles he sent me the carving as a gift and I am so pleased!  Tom has a wonderful testimony of deliverance and shares it in a written insert with each order. He has given me permission and would be pleased if I shared it with Daily Encouragement readers:  

"For thirty years I was a drunk; an intelligent drunk.

I always worked and was good at my job, but I drank every day; from the time that I got off work until I went to bed and on the weekends, from the time I got up until I passed out.

I admired good drinkers and only hung out with the drinkers.  I wouldn't go anywhere that I couldn't drink.

It's not as uncommon as you might think; no matter where I went I was able to find people just like me.  It was a way of life and I liked it.
The only problem was I couldn't do anything else...at least, not well.

I loved woodcarving but could only do it for a few hours at a time.  I knew myself well enough to know that I could never do it for a living. It would get in the way of my drinking.

My wife started going to church and she chose to attend a church 60 miles away in Phoenix.  She always asked me if I wanted to go but never pushed.  I eventually gave in so she packed me a 6-pack; three beers on the way to church and three beers for the ride home; a pretty good deal for me.

I was content and my wife was glad that I was going to church.  But then after several months of this on Super Bowl Sunday in 1997, half way to Phoenix I started to cry.  I told my wife that I had to be prayed for, that I had to quit drinking.

I was prayed for and I confessed my sins to Jesus.

That was the last day that I drink any alcohol.  I had no side affects; no shakes, no bad dreams, no sleepless nights and no desire to drink. Jesus took it all away and I am free today.

That's why I'm able to be here.

My carvings are signed "T&J" for Tom and Jesus because I couldn't be doing this without Jesus."

Tom's website.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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