When Eagles Go Bad

5 eagles, (pic, Homer News)

“I am coming soon. Continue strong in your faith so no one will take away your crown.”

Rev. 3:11, NCV

Some of you know I have lived in Alaska for almost 30 years.  It is always so beautiful, even in places you don’t expect. Admittedly it does have an “edge” as well. It can get very cold, and we can have snow piled up waist high in just a few hours. The winter nights can be excruciating long and dark. (Bad news for depressives like me.)

But my freezer is full of salmon, halibut, caribou and of course, moose meat. We pick berries in the summer, with a wary eye for bear.  We kayak, ski and snow machine for fun. My son snowboards. We get chased by moose.

I have always had a connection with eagles. You can find them throughout most of North America, from Alaska and Canada to northern Mexico. About half of the world’s 70,000 bald eagles live in Alaska.  And that is a lot.  You can see them everyday here if you want. (And you never let your small dog out, he can become dinner for the eagle. Seriously.)

I’ve been thinking about eagles. When I went to the dump recently I saw several of them working the trash heaps.  I don’t know, but it really bothered me.  They had the form of an eagle; the wing span and the aloofness, but they were pathetic.  Their feathers were matted down, and they looked completely disheveled.  They were scrounging for scraps, competing with the crows. The dump here is like a “crack house” for eagles.

A hard day’s night

And perhaps the saddest thing was they were losing their distinctive white heads. They had given it up for dump food.  This is a big problem in many towns here in Alaska.  Their heads turn in color to a dark grey.  You have to look a little closer to see that they are still bald eagles.

In the Bible, God is identified with being an eagle. But so are Christians. There is something quite unsettling and tragic to encounter a believer addicted and controlled by their appetites. Soon they will change, as they grow more pathetic and disheveled.  They give up soaring and become wretched souls, without joy or purpose.

Those of us who struggle can’t live out of a landfill.  We don’t belong, and it isn’t who we are. You see, we were meant to soar, strong and free.  No matter who you are– addictions, compulsions, or mental illness. We can still become eagle Christians.

But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again.
    They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; 
       they will run and not need rest; 
       they will walk and not become tired.

Isaiah 40:21, NCV

I often struggle with debilitating depression and and nasty paranoia.  But I never want to surrender to it.  I resist living out of the dumps.  It is a heavy struggle at times, but we were re-created to soar.  Please, never forget that.

aabryscript

cropped-christiangraffiti1-2

The Difference the Holy Spirit Makes

Chesterton-disciple

I like this quote. The early Church was all of these things: Fearless, happy, and very much in trouble. Luke wrote of the nascent exploits of this group of people in the Book of Acts, and while some believers will debate different aspects of theology, none can diminish the reality. These were human beings irrevocably touched by the Holy Spirit.

Some have even suggested that the title of the book be changed to “the Acts of the Holy Spirit.” (Instead of “Acts of the Apostles”).

When the fire of the Holy Spirit meets the dry tinder of the heart, it explodes into a conflagration that can’t be contained. It boils over and touches everyone around it. The disciples became fearless. Their boldness could not be diminished or diluted. They were so courageous (and contagious) that they preached to both kings and beggars.

They were “happy.” Once they had surrendered their personal ‘agendas’ they became immune to the negative issues of life. They soared with the eagles of contentment and joy. They no longer lived in the ‘mud’ of human life. They were ‘Teflon’ to that which can be so sticky. Happiness is the deep evidence of a personal contact with God’s own spirit.

But they ‘were in constant trouble.’ There may never been a people so maligned and persecuted. The apostle Paul faced daily obstacles. As the de facto leader of the church, he absorbed a lot of hatred and wrath that was focused on the early Church. Everywhere he went this darkness would descend, and each time God met him.

I suppose that we might ask ourselves, is this our experience? Am I fearless, and happy? Am I in ‘constant trouble” for the sake of the Gospel? (Do the police have my ‘mug shot?’)

Honest reflection is in order I think. We should really determine if we have the very same spirit that the early Church possessed. Whether or not, we should amend our relationship with the Spirit of God, and seek to be more tractable to His work. We start by believing the truth about our hearts and lives. The Truth is stronger than the lies.

This post was not intended to condemn. If you have read that into these words, I ask forgiveness. But reading this over, I will retract nothing. But I still ask that you ‘spiritually check’ each thought. Is it biblical, and does it glorify the Lord Jesus?

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33, NLT

 

aabryscript

 

cropped-christiangraffiti1-3