A Good Word, but is it God’s Word

Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.

14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.       2 Timothy 3:12-17 (my emphasis)

All Scriptures are useful and inspired by God. That is a comforting, wonderful statement. It keeps me going back to this book from God day after day with anticipation and expectation that He is going to speak His words into my heart. And He does. But reading Scripture is not picking and choosing what I will believe and what I won’t. And there is where the Scriptures really become a learning tool.

I am extraordinarily blessed to be married to a man who has spent most of his life studying the Scriptures. He would tell you this is not necessarily an entirely good thing. He has a gift for learning languages (many of them!) and so he reads the Bible in Hebrew and Greek like I read it in English. He worships God as he studies the Scriptures. But he also came out of seminary a non-believer. He knew so much about God that the relationship was rung out dry as a desert. Today, it is so awesome to just talk with him about God’s Words. I learn so much about history and read familiar passages that become new and powerful with knowing who the people group were and how they functioned as a society and how God interacted with His children.

I have learned that no one verse in the Bible stands by itself. It is connected to the whole. Like the passage above.

Too often I would take a single verse like #16 above and it becomes so familiar and means I should enjoy the poetry of Psalm 23 and the poetry of the genealogies. (Say, what??!!) Paul is speaking to a young man that he has mentored for some years. Paul knows that his time with Timothy is growing short, so he begins to push Timothy into some Scripture that will not be easy to hear. There are Scriptures that aren’t easy for me to hear. I share some of the troubling ones with my paraphrase:

Everyone who wants to live a godly like, be a disciple not just a believer, is going to be persecuted.             2 Timothy 3:12

Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it will only be a single grain. But if it dies, it will bring much fruit.                 John 12:24

I am the door through which you enter to be saved forever. I come so that you may have this abundant life.                 John 10:9-10

All three of those passages are wonderful, feel good Scriptures until I take them in context and realize that Jesus and Paul are lovingly and passionately telling me, a disciple, that walking in the steps of Jesus are not for the faint or easily discouraged. There will be persecution as my brothers and sisters in the Middle East and Asia and Africa know. God gave His Son so that I might live. If it is God’s plan that I would die, whether through direct persecution or that my life be a testament to the courage and strength that God gives to those with cancer and other maladies, who am I to argue about His plan?

God is looking from Genesis, His time with Adam and Eve, to the eternal moment when He brings His children to their eternal home. We see this as thousands of years. God sees it as only moments when compared to the eternity that He has planned for us.

Let us draw near to God, my sisters and brothers. Let us set our time with God in prayer and study as the #1 priority in our lives. Let us learn the sweet songs of love and compassion as well as the difficult tenants of a true warrior. We’ve read the final chapter. We know how the story will end. It will be a forever abundant life with our Father God. Forever? I don’t even know what that means – but I’m learning.

Thy Word written and sung by Amy Grant

Posted in 2 Timothy, John | Comments Off on A Good Word, but is it God’s Word

Time With Jesus

Dear Jesus,
Help me to surrender my anxiety today,
to quiet my mind and stop my striving,
so that I may see that you are God.
(from the K Love morning radio show)

Someone posted this on FaceBook yesterday. It touch my heart and spirit with its simplicity and truth. And so I share this with you today and these Scriptures that are like a balm of God’s true peace.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea…

“Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.”

11 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.                 Psalm 46:1-2, 10-11 (NLT)

[Jesus said,]“If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. 29 Take the yoke[f] I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest.30 This yoke is easy to bear, and this burden is light.”             Matthew 11:28-30 (CEV)

[Father God says,]“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”           Jeremiah 31:3 (NLT)

And now go to John 16:15-26. Take the time to look it up and just soak in the fact that in His last prayer, Jesus prayed for you and me. Jesus knew what was coming in the last hours of His life and yet He prayed for us. How extraordinary is the fact that Jesus loves us so much that He would pray for us and continue to this very day to stand before the Father and cover us with His righteousness!

Time with Jesus is a precious gift that continues to give all through the day. Thank You, Father!

Be Still My Soul written by Michael & Stormy Omartian & sung by The Imperials (Russ Taff)

Posted in Devotional, Jeremiah, Matthew, Psalms | Comments Off on Time With Jesus

What Can We Do?

14 So one night the king of Aram sent a great army with many chariots and horses to surround the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha.

16 “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!”17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.                 2 Kings 6:14-17 (NLT)

Unless you have been in Disney World and only watched “Mickey TV,” you are aware of the killing going on in Iraq and Gaza. The pictures of children killed by militants who seem to have no moral compass is difficult to understand. Politicians line up on both sides of any given question, more often than not, making their decisions based on what will further their own agendas. And we as Christians fall to our knees and echo the words of Elisha’s servant, “Oh, sir, what will we do now?”

There are many situations in our world, not just in the Middle East, where innocent people are in the midst of a war or are murdered because they are living their lives and someone decided to kill them. No reason given. There are people, good people, who are battling cancer or other painful, life-ending diseases. These horrific events do not seem to care about age, race, economic means or faith beliefs. Drownings in backyard pools and beaches, motor vehicle accidents with drunk drivers, and shootings in “good” neighborhoods make for confusing thoughts and challenges to our faith. Why, God?! Why?!

What can we do? Is God asking Christians to pick up guns and go into battle? Does God want us to write our congress members? What can I do?

Pray. And here comes an outcry – What does that do? We’ve done that and do not see God answering our cries.

I submit to you that we haven’t prayed enough. We need to sit down with God and talk to Him, but we need to listen more. I believe God has a Word and a plan for us and we are so bent on our own agenda and reasonings that we have not listened. We do not yet see Who is standing with us. We do not have confidence that God Almighty will execute His plan. We do not live in the knowledge of God’s love for us and know that His plan, His way, is best. Do we see God’s Army around these conflicts? Are we praying with that power and knowledge? Remember the despair of Friday night when Jesus Christ laid in the tomb? The disciples lay awake in fear and certainty that all was lost in God’s Kingdom. But – then – came – Sunday – morning!

May we pray with the power and truth of God before us! May we pray with eyes that see and a heart that is full of God’s love and compassion for all His children!

My Heart Will Trust written by Rueben Morgan & sung by Hillsong Worship Team

Posted in 2 Kings | Comments Off on What Can We Do?

Living As Brothers And Sisters

How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!
It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard,
Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.
It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion.
Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.        Psalm 133 (The Message)

Lectionary texts for August 17: Genesis 45:1-15, Psalm 133, Romans 11:1-2, 29-32, Matthew 15:10-28

When I was a child growing up, I had cousins and friends with big families. By that I mean, there were at least five children in the family and compared to our home, theirs was a noisy, never-a-dull-moment place. One of my friends who came from such a family is still a close friend and says she loved to come to my house because “it was so wonderfully quiet!”

This psalm is often used to admonish us as Believers to work together and get along as brothers and sisters working in God’s Kingdom. But I wonder if we all understand what it means to get along as brothers and sisters.

Big families. If we read the genealogies (some of my favorite passages!) and stories in the Bible, we know that most families had many children. Certainly kings needed large families to help them maintain control of their kingdoms through marriage and sons who would maintain the bloodline. Large families also worked together to maintain the crops and livestock.

Live together. Unlike today’s families who may live thousands of miles apart, most families in biblical times lived in the same “camp” or within a day’s travel of each other. They often married cousins or marriages were arranged between families who had known each other all their lives.

Care for each other. The word “care” here is used in a much more active way than we might think. The way families cared for each other was with a communal spirit. If someone became ill, the rest of the family took over their jobs, cooked for them and whatever else was needed. They worshiped together as they all believed in Yahweh and followed the Law of Moses.

As a Family of Believers, we have much to change if we are to truly be a family. To come together and work in unity, we must stop our petty bickering. We must have respect and obedience for our Father and stop considering our needs before others.

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.                  Philippians 2:1-8 (The Message)

Can we agree that God is our Father and Jesus our Savior? And the rest of it – as Paul says, we will have that made clear to us someday (Philippians 3:15). This world needs us as God’s hands and feet. More and more people are realizing that they cannot “handle” the problems which come into their lives. The self-help books, education, money and whatever else they think to lean on isn’t working. The fields are ripe with harvest and it’s time to bring it in to the LORD. We must work together, brothers and sisters, in unity by the power of His Spirit.

Put Your Hand in the Hand written by Gene MacLellan & sung by Ocean

Posted in Philippians, Psalms | Comments Off on Living As Brothers And Sisters

Even When I Cannot See

[reprinted from June 5, 2012]

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, saying, “Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves to you. If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from the furnace. He will save us from your power, O king. But even if God does not save us, we want you, O king, to know this: We will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”        Daniel 3:16-18 (NCV)

I believe the single most troubling aspect of my relationship with God – is how He decides to work in a given situation. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego summed it up for me in these few verses.

God can do all things. Period. There is nothing in my life that He cannot handle. He has set all the stars in their respective orbits. He has every beat of my heart continuing on until He says “stop”. Every tiny piece of kelp and every multi-ton whale is in the ocean where they are supposed to be.

There is no “furnace” of suffering that can be thought of by any despot of evil that God cannot stop with a thought and destroy without lifting a finger. The One who gave my grandchildren such beautiful blue or green eyes has enough love inside of Him to surround us with His love for eternity.

Why does God allow millions to be slaughtered in concentration camps, prisons, in the streets by people who are just plain evil?

Why are children dying every day from abuse and cancer?

I know this is a ‘fallen world’ and evil does exist. But the suffering of the ‘innocent’ ones is difficult to accept. I know that God’s understanding of how everything is to evolve and ‘end’ cannot be compared to my limited understanding. I know it is God who has the wisdom to bring everything together for ‘good’.

When I am walking down the path that God has chosen for me and has sent Jesus and His Spirit to guide me, I walk in this way with Him and wondered how God is planning to unfold this aspect of my relationship with Him. God can heal and save – but is that in His plan and will He do it? Suddenly I am no longer discussing a theological point. I am living it.

So often I am talking about my relationship with God in these devotions. When the road gets rough and ‘bad things happen to good people’, I find myself drawing closer to God. I strain to see His nature and who He is more clearly. I already know from experience that I cannot meet with Him and get in His face. I can shake my finger at Him and know that He will not turn away. I have learned through my living with God that even when I do not understand, I will not change my allegiance to Him. I may cry out to Him and weep for the suffering that I see. But I know that even in these times of troubling tribulation, God will be there to hold us and listen to all the questions, and even answer a few.

So if you are going through a difficult time or are reading stories of great suffering and wonder, “Where is God in all of this?” God is the same place He was since the beginning of time. Right here. Ready to give strength to the weak and comfort to those who have a great need.

Do you believe when God can and does? More importantly, will you praise Him when He doesn’t?

Peace Like A River, an African-American Spiritual sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Posted in Daniel, Devotional | Comments Off on Even When I Cannot See

God’s Mission for Me

Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. 2 I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. 3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law.4 For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.          Romans 10:1-4 (NLT)

Paul was given a mission from God. That mission was to take the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. But Paul’s heart was with the Jews. He was sad the Jews refused the gift of Jesus’ blood sacrifice. They wanted a relationship with God but they wanted to do it their way, the “way it had always been” by trying to obey the many laws, not just the ones God had given but all the ones they had added in an effort to make themselves acceptable to God. Paul knew they were doomed to fail.

Paul’s mission is the same as mine; the same as yours. We are to share the Good News that Jesus has accomplished a way for all of us to have a relationship with our Father God. But too often we, in the Church, spend our time debating doctrines and judging others to make sure “sinners” do not infect our fellowships, whether in the pews or the pulpits. Didn’t Jesus say that He came to find the lost (Luke 19:10)? Didn’t He say it was the sick who needed Him (Matthew 9:12)? Our fellowships are to be open to all who are sick with sin.

We are to be Jesus’ hands and feet to our lost world. It isn’t enough when we take Thanksgiving baskets to the poor and blankets to the homeless. We are to build a relationship with them and make them feel welcome inside our churches. The Good News is not just a list of “do’s and don’t’s” but my testimony of how Jesus cleaned my stinky sin and made me brand new – and continues to do so every day as I meet Him in prayer.

Oh, my brothers and sisters, let us throw off the pride and self-righteousness which we use as cloaks over our own sins and reach out to others, regardless of who they are or their circumstances, and say, “Come! Come, let us meet with Jesus and learn from Him because His burden is easy and light!”

Love the LORD your God with ALL your heart, spirit and strength.

Love your neighbors as you love yourself.

Let us get up every day and ask Jesus to help us fulfill our mission He has for us that day and leave the judgment to Him. And if, while working together, on some point of doctrine we disagree – let us allow Jesus to speak to us in Spirit and Truth.

I wasn’t familiar with this song. Old Time Southern Gospel is not a favorite style of mine but I love the prayer which has been set to music. The lyrics are printed below.

Teach Me, LORD, to Wait written by Stuart Hamblen & sung by Gaither singers

Teach me, Lord to wait
Down on my knees
Till in your own good time
You will answer my pleas
Teach me not to rely on what others do
But to wait in prayer
For an answer from You

They that wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings like eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint
Teach me, Lord, to wait

Teach me, Lord to wait
While my heart is all aflame
Let me humble my pride
And call on Your name
Keep my faith renewed;
Keep my eyes fixed on You
Let me be on this earth
What You want me to be

They that wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings like eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint
Teach me, Lord to wait

Posted in Romans | Comments Off on God’s Mission for Me

When I’m Weary

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”            Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

My email inbox and Facebook tags are filled with prayer requests and cartoons which try to find humor as people “hang on” in the midst of very difficult situations. The final picture I saw before I began to write this was from a local news service which had posted a picture from a motor vehicle accident. The pieces of the car were scattered about. The accident must have involved a great deal of speed.

LORD, so many of Your children are in pieces. They are hurting and do not know how to put their lives, their emotions, back together. Bless them as You know they need. Bless me, LORD. I am so very thankful.

When the storms rage in our lives and we become so very weary, calling out to God does not require a detailed prayer. It does not require that I even know what to say or what to ask God to do! It just requires my heart to turn to Him. It is letting go – and letting God. That may seem like it belongs on a greeting card or bumper sticker, but it is the unvarnished truth. My pride or need to “handle” my life is what keeps the heaviness of burdens on my own shoulders and the confusion and chaos in my spirit.

A very popular song right now from the Disney movie Frozen is “Let it go!” I finally watched the movie about a month ago. The scene in which this song becomes the backdrop is when the Queen let’s go of trying to make everything right by being someone she is not. Do I hold God back from being my LORD and Savior by trying to solve my problems and live my life without being totally dependent on Him? Do I invite Him to share most of my life but tell Him “not to bother” with other parts that I should be able to handle?

I want to be strong and wise. I can do that by leaning on Jesus. I can do that by seeking the counsel and wisdom of His Holy Spirit. Every day. Several times a day!

Take time today or tonight and Let it go. Cast all your burdens upon God because – He loves you (1 Peter 5:7). Simple. Straightforward. See how God works. And then, give thanks. There is nothing I can do to earn God’s love and help. If you feel unworthy of God’s love, that’s normal. I can’t balance a scale that is totally tipped in one direction by love which cannot be equaled. God sealed my life in eternal fellowship with Him through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. I am God’s child and He takes care of His own. And when we people ask “How are you doing?” tell them Who it is holding you up and carrying you forward.

Give Thanks written by Henry Smith & sung by Don Moen

Posted in Matthew | Comments Off on When I’m Weary

What is Important?

Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.         Matthew 14:22-23 (NLT)

Lectionary texts: 1 Kings 19:9-18, Psalm 105, Romans 10:5-15, Matthew 14:22-33

The Lectionary texts for next week are an interesting mix. The Old Testament passage tells of Elijah’s great fears and his meeting with God. Then the psalm is a glorious song of praise for the promises God has made and continues to keep throughout the generations. The excerpt from Paul’s letter to the Roman’s affirms God’s plan to free His all children from their sins through the sacrifice of His Son. “But how can His children know about this gift unless we tell them?”

In Matthew’s passage for this week, Jesus walks out on the water and Peter takes his step of faith to do the same. But for me, the story has an important point in the first two verses of the selection before anyone takes a walk on water. Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, takes time to pray.

Jesus is God. In my limited ability to understand God and how He is Creator, Spirit, and even came in the flesh for 33 years, I pause every time I read in a gospel account that Jesus, God Himself, spent time in prayer. It must be important.

Prayer is focused time with God. It is time to bring Him all that is my life – the sorrows, the questions, the worries, the uncertainties, the joys and the thanks. Do you ever feel weighted down and overwhelmed? Oh, I have! It is usually because I am carrying so much in my spirit, in my heart for people I love or situations in the world which are just so very wrong. God wants to carry my burdens. He wants me to give them to Him. He also wants me to confess my sins and receive His forgiveness.

It is also time to read His Word in a quiet meditative way. I can go to any chapter in the Bible, no matter how familiar they are to me, and when I take the time to read them and allow the words to roll around in my mind and spirit, there is always something new to learn. The circumstances of my life when I read a passage a year ago are not the same circumstances in which I now live. God wants to speak in my life today. He wants to have an ongoing relationship with me.

And prayer is a time to listen. This is the part of prayer which I believe is most important. I close my eyes and just open my heart to hear what God has to say. It is time to be quiet and let the Holy Spirit speak His truths and guidance to me.

Prayer is also when reconciliation occurs between me and Father God. When I confess my sins and He gives His mercy, I am able to come close to Father God again and the time is even more sweet.

I have tried to just “chat” with God throughout the day. But at night when I prepare to lay down, this is the best time, for me, to get quiet and really pray, confessing to Him, thanking Him, and just being quiet as the day ends.

Preaching, teaching, evangelizing are all important to building God’s Kingdom. But prayer is the all important ingredient in every facet of God’s plan. It cannot be neglected. Take the time.

Let the Weight of Your Glory Fall written & sung by Paul Wilbur

Posted in Matthew | Comments Off on What is Important?

Take My Life

27″I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. 28 Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.           1 Samuel 1:27-28 (NLT)

You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;

in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.           Psalm 16:11 (NRSV)

This week has been a time of finding the place on the mountain where God and I have sat and talked. For some time I felt I have been walking up a tall and difficult mountain path and so to find this place of rest with my Father is welcome.

Monday, God reminded me of the many times we have talked. There have been quick 30 second chats as I moved through a day. There have been middle of the night sessions when I was drawn to Scripture and read and then listened to what God had to say to my spirit.

Wednesday, I remembered how God has molded and shaped me into a workable instrument for His Kingdom. What I thought 20 years ago I would be doing when my children were grown and gone is nothing like I am actually doing now! God has taken me and pounded me on the potter’s wheel and He isn’t done yet! I am learning every day, especially when I talk less and listen more!

And then yesterday I rejoiced at the precious gift from God of His Spirit who teaches, reminds, and guides me with wisdom. I have only to ask when I need wisdom or more grace and mercy, and here comes the refilling! God surrounds me with comfort and His strength.

The Scriptures today come from the story of Hannah, who wants a child so much. She promises God that if He answers her prayer, she will dedicate the child to Him and His service. She gives birth to a son and keeps her promise, literally giving her son up to God. It isn’t an easy thing to give my child to God and trust Him when all I can see is the pain.

And when those times come when I sense that God is asking a great deal from me, I can go to my quiet place and ask God for His strength to face what is coming. When I do not have the strength to give my life to Him to do as He will, I can say, “Take my life, Father! I trust You with it!” and He is kind and faithful to lead me, never letting go. Jesus was born in a barn when He could have been in a palace. Jesus was deserted by all His followers when He could have commanded a whole division of angels. Jesus shows me how to call out to the Father and He walks with me every step. Jesus knows how to navigate through every circumstance. I can count on Him.

Spend time with Jesus. When life is difficult, even overwhelming, go to a quiet place and pour out your heart and do not leave that place until He blesses you! If life is good right now, spend time with Jesus and give thanks. Soak up His words that may very well be a preparation for a time to come. What a precious gift to spend time with God Himself!

In Your Presence written & sung by Paul Wilbur

Posted in 1 Samuel, Psalms | Comments Off on Take My Life

Breath of God

Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.      Genesis 2:7 (NLT, my emphasis)

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said,“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”22 Then he breathed on them and said,“Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”               John 20:19-23 (NLT, my emphasis)

From Genesis to Revelation God uses His breath to bring His life into His children. I am told that everything that is a living being, is alive because of the breath God breathes into them. God’s breath is creative. But there is more.

Intimate. When I think about receiving someone’s breath, that is a very intimate thought. Breath can be sweet and “minty fresh” but it can also be foul. I never considered the intimacy of breath until I was married and suddenly there is someone who may truly love me but my “morning breath” is – well, in need of alteration! God is intimate with His children. He could have created everything in the world black or white. He could have made our eyes see only shades of gray! But instead there are colors and textures and smells which we respond to in positive or less than positive ways. I can’t look at the delicacy and color of a kitten or puppy and not consider how God made each one. And then there are the many colors of His children. Each beautiful and alive because of the breath that God Himself gave to him or her.

Powerful and Cleansing. Some where I saw a cartoon with God portrayed as a huge old man that blew hurricane force winds, blowing down trees and everything in His path. As I have read more about God and His breath in the Bible, I do not see the power in the force but in His presence. When God comes near, all that is not “clean” or “holy” has to leave. And the first place which needs cleaning is inside of me! James said that clean water cannot come from a salty stream (James 3:9-12) and neither can my witness to Him come from inside a life that does not allow His Spirit to cleanse me of sin.

God is faithful and will respond when I ask Him to create in me a clean heart (Psalm 51). If I open myself for Him to clean, it will be done! It will involve not only openness on my part, but change to living in His Way.

Comforting. I remember lying down on my bed as broken as I have ever been in my life. My young son had died about four hours ago. I knew where he was in that moment. I knew he was well and whole and playing his drums in the Throne Room of God. But I was here in a silent home. Tired and exhausted didn’t describe my body, mind and spirit. And then came such a soft and comforting peace. I felt like a child being held and rocked in the strong arms of her Father. No more pain. Tears fell but they soaked the shirt of the One who loved me. I could hear the Breath of God in my ear. And I slept better than I had in many weeks.

It may seem like a strange thing to ask God to “breathe” on me but it is another way for me to attempt to understand how I, as a finite being, is able to intimately interact with my infinite LORD. Michael W Smith wrote a song that really makes sense to me and I hope it helps everyone today to get a deeper insight into just how much our Father God loves us, His children.

Breathe written & sung by Michael W Smith

Posted in Genesis, John | 1 Comment