Monday, February 22, 2010

The Breath of Life

God formed the man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The man came alive – a living soul. Genesis 2:7

Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:22

Breathing has my attention these days because I spent every night, for approximately 10 years, fighting for my life as I ceased breathing 400-500 times a night. A few weeks ago I wrote to you about my diagnosis of sleep apnea. The CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine) has become my friend at night. As I begin to fall asleep each night, I feel the continuous air gently forcing me to breathe. In the first week I began to see it as God’s kiss on my mouth, breathing life into me, just as He did with Adam in the Garden long ago.

The physical became spiritual. I realize how true it is that I am dependent on God for my very next breath. It is a gift, not a right. I had taken that for granted until my diagnosis. I smile as I fall asleep knowing God is giving me the loving gift of His breath. Night turns to day and I awake. As I do, I have begun to realize I am breathing differently through the day. The CPAP machine is training me to breathe right. The result is a decrease in anxiety, which I have fought for years. It turns out it is one of the symptoms of sleep apnea. Another gift is God’s grace setting me free from years of guilt and self-condemnation. During the day as in the night, I recognize every breath as the loving kiss of God.

If we don’t breathe, we die. We breathe and we live. And God provides the breath. After the resurrection, Jesus commissioned His disciples for ministry. He took a deep breath and breathed on them. That breath was the Holy Spirit. No Holy Spirit, no ministry. With the Holy Spirit, you have ministry! It is that simple.

Does your ministry ever feel like it is on life support? Do you feel you have been running so hard that you can’t catch your breath? You are out of breath. You and I need to stop and be still and let God kiss us with the gift of His breath, the Holy Spirit. Just as we can’t breathe on our own, we cannot do ministry on our own. We can make strategic plans, we can craft great clubs, and we can work hard and use our gifts and talents. We can do all of this and our ministry can still be on life support and die. Only the kiss of God bringing His breath of the Holy Spirit can give our ministries life and us.

My friendly CPAP machine is God’s nightly devotional to remind me of His breath on my physical life, my spiritual life, and my ministry. Holy Spirit, breath of God, we receive you. Kiss me lover of my soul, breathe life into my tired body. Breathe life into my marriage, my family, my friendships, my leaders, my finances, my committee, my club and my campaigners. Breathe on our kids, your kids. Yes God, breath on YL Capernaum and give it abundant fruit filled life.

Breathing with you,

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