Inhale / Exhale

Job 33: 4

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Let’s return to the breath. I should have shared this with you long ago. My friend Chuck Goldberg taught me this, so here we go.

I have shown you that the Breath of God is the Holy Spirit. Step one complete. Step two – we have talked about the name of God before, Yahweh. Now, Chuck has taught us that the name of God is actually the breath. What? Step three.

Okay, so here is the lesson. Divide the name Yahweh into its two syllables: Yah – weh. Now take a deep inhalation and as you do pronounce Yah. You may think you cannot utter a syllable while inhaling but I think you will surprise yourself. Breathe – Yah. When you exhale say “weh.” Inhale Yah – exhale weh. Your breath is connected to the name of God. Your breath is connected to the very person of God.

I have said for years that you breathe in the Holy Spirit and exhale out impurity. Chuck has shown us this is literally true. Inhale. But here is a cool thing that I understand better through this teaching. We exhale on the second syllable of God’s name. Does that mean we are expelling God? Well, that makes no sense. No, here is the revelation I have on that. The reason we still connect to God on the exhalation is because all effective transformation must be connected with our maker. Let me clarify. Let’s say the thing you want to exhale is anger. If you want transformation in your life as it relates to anger you need to be connected to God; you need His help. So, it is important that we solicit God’s help in expelling the things we do not want in our life. It is to put that thing under His authority. When we exhale, being conscious of the thing we want to leave us, His breath takes it away and insulates us from it. So, I may want to exhale sickness, but it is the Father’s Spirit who must assist me in that, so in my exhalation, I give it over to him and to His authority. Does that make sense?

If you practice deep breathing or yoga, I entreat you to use this technique. Combine your breath with the Father’s name. It makes your breath a holy connection with God. That connection always brings health and wholeness. If you suffer from anxiety, this can really help you. Sit down in a comfortable chair or lay down on the floor and breathe in God. Breathe deeply getting all of Him you can. Don’t worry if it feels like not enough because you are going to get another breath in a few seconds. Just receive all you can in this moment. Breathe! “Yah.” Then exhale, long and slow. Keep pressing the air out of your lungs until you think there is not one minuscule bit left. Think about that thing you want to send away and keep exhaling until you are empty. “Weh.” In, out, repeat. You have a new meditative device that will break the stranglehold of stress, anxiety or nervousness.

I love this so much and it has more application and is more effective than I have the ability to share. We can be, literally, connected to the breath of God. I pray that you employ this technique. You’ve got a lot of breaths in a single day. Think what that adds. It is mind blowing! Thank you Chuck!

Receive the Breath

John 20: 21 – 22

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Why in the world did Jesus breathe on his disciples? After yesterday’s Word of the Day, I bet you know the answer. Let’s ponder this just a moment though. Yesterday we saw that the breath is the Spirit. We also saw that where this breath is there is life and when there is the absence, there is cessation of life. So, I suggested that everything which has life has a measure of the Holy Spirit. I also wrote that there are different measures of the Spirit. That reality is shown in today’s verses.

John 3: 34 reads, “For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit.” This verse is about Jesus and says that God gave him the Holy Spirit in unlimited measure. In John 20, Jesus breathed a new measure of the Spirit upon his disciples. I’m thinking, “Inhale deeply.” As he breathed on them, he said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Wouldn’t you think this to be the end of the story regarding Jesus giving them the Spirit? It’s not. Later, in the first book of Acts, Jesus gave further instructions regarding the Holy Spirit to these same disciples, “Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now,” (Acts 1: 4 – 5).

I find all of this interesting. We know the connection between the breath, specifically God’s breath, and the Holy Spirit. People who don’t know that the Spirit is the breath of God probably don’t recognize the importance of Jesus breathing on them. In fact, it probably looks odd to them but then Jesus did spit to make clay for a blind man’s eyes, so he has reasons we don’t always recognize the fullness of.

The most interesting thing is this conferring of the Spirit. You get the sense from today’s verse that Jesus was passing his anointing to them. In Acts, it was all about the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Clearly, the two acts are related but there must be some nuance in that Jesus is using two events to give the disciples the fullness of the Holy Spirit. So, every person has some of the Breath of God. Jesus has an unlimited measure of the Spirit and I believe it is this fullness, this unlimited measure that he transfers to us at some point.

The thing to ponder is these different measures. Why? If we recognize we can have a bit, some more, and then a fullness, it might move us to pray for the unlimited fullness of the Holy Spirit that Jesus desires for us. So, let’s all get filled up with the Breath of God.

Breathe

Psalm 104: 29 – 30

You hide Your face, they are dismayed; You take away their spirit, they expire and return to their dust. You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the ground.

You might not know it to just read these two verses, but they contain a couple of insights into the Divine Trinity and creation. In order to show the revelation which is contained here, let us first read this passage from a different translation. “When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust. When you give them your breath, life is created.” That rendition is from the New Living Bible. Did you see what happened between the two translations? The word “spirit” changed to “breath.” If you check the footnotes in any of the translations, you will find the other word footnoted. So, what does this mean?

There are several revelations in this. First, and probably most obvious, is that God’s Spirit, i.e. the Holy Spirit, is the breath of God. Now, if we were in church together, I could do a three-week series on that alone. What does it mean that breath is synonymous with God’s Spirit? A beginning point to answer that question is that every place in the Bible where you see breath or Spirit, you can, and should, mentally exchange the words. When you see that God “breathed” on something, you should hear, “Holy Spirit.” Somehow the Holy Spirit of God was involved in what was going on.

Second, God’s breath is life. We see that from these two verses, but it is evident from the creation story as well. “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being,” (Genesis 2: 7). So, it was the Holy Spirit of God which gave human beings their life. That is exactly what these two verses say. If we have the breath of God, the Spirit, then we have life. If the breath departs, so does life.

Now, I think that is easy enough to accept and understand at a basic level, but let’s take it to the next level. If a person has life, then doesn’t that mean he/she has a measure of the Holy Spirit? Besides which, Jesus is the life, so it is not a far reach to say that every living being has a measure of God’s Spirit, albeit, not in the fullness thereof. This does have a tendency to set our theology on its head, especially a theology of favoritism. It, on the other hand, explains why God thinks of us all as His children, even before we are saved. Whatsmore, today’s passage speaks explicitly of animals acknowledging that God gives them breath and life and feeds them by His own hand. So, through this we come to understand at a much deeper level how God views the earth and all of its creatures.

I am not saying that there is no difference between animals and humans. God does not call the animals His children nor has He given them authority. None the less, there is a wee bit of His own spark within them which is how they have life. We know this from today’s verses which speak specifically of God’s breath, the Holy Spirit. Second, I am not saying that we all have the Holy Spirit in the same measure. If you read the verses on the Holy Spirit you will see there are also different measures of “life.” This passage does not refer to the spiritual, newborn life, or even Spirit-filled life. It speaks to biological life of both humans and animals. So, don’t use these verses to overreach. They mean what they mean but don’t confer meaning beyond the text. They should bring enlightenment without us having to jump off a bridge. What they should speak to us is that we all have a bit of God within us giving us life. Some of us have come to know God personally; others have not. None the less, we are all brothers and sisters. We need to be gracious and inviting towards one another. We are blessed that we have been given truth for which we give the Lord praise.

Lastly, what I hope you will take out of this verse is the absolute connection between God’s Holy Spirit and breath. When you pause to take a deep breath, I hope, in your mind, you will connect that breath to God’s Spirit. Think on drawing more of the Spirit down into your lungs where that breath will be absorbed and distributed through your body. Let the breath of God increase in your being. And when you exhale, perhaps you exhale out injury, sickness, anger, or unforgiveness. Let the Spirit bring you revelation in and with your breath and find your stillness and peace in that breath. Shalom!

Creative Breath

Psalm 104: 30

You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the ground.

Yesterday we began a glimpse into scriptures about the Holy Spirit. In my studies I have found 248 verses which speak about the Holy Spirit. They all give us insights into who he is and what his role is in the Kingdom of God. The first thing we need understand about the Spirit is that he is God. That is the great epiphany of the Trinity.

Today’s verse is particularly interesting in the study of the Holy Spirit. An alternate reading for the word “Spirit” in this verse is “breath.” Think about that for a moment. This construction yields, “You send forth your breath, they are created.” Doesn’t this sound like the Genesis account of the creation of human beings? “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2: 7). The Chumash reveals much about this passage. The breath of God created humanity. The Chumash tells us that this imparted a portion of God into the created being. People were made from matter from the earth and the breath of God, so we are part God because the breath inside us was given by the Holy Spirit. That impartation made us living souls or as the Chumash reveals, speaking spirits. In other words, God gave us his breath which is the Holy Spirit.

If you look up today’s verse you will be referred to two other verses relating the Holy Spirit as the breath of God, Job 33:4 and Ezekiel 37:9. Job reads, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Certainly, that makes clear the creative, life giving power the Holy Spirit wielded in creating humanity. Perhaps it raises some new interest as well. There is another pertinent passage from Job, chapter 32, verse 8, “But it is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.” Jesus called the Spirit our teacher. As we see from this passage in Job, it is from the Spirit that we gain understanding.

Consider also Job 27: 3 – 4, “For as long as life is in me, and the breath of God is in my nostrils, my lips certainly will not speak unjustly, nor will my tongue mutter deceit.” The footnote for the word “life” in the first phrase reveals the literal translation of this word is “breath.” The footnote for “breath” reveals the word to be “Spirit.” So, here is how it reads literally, “For as long as breath is in me, and the Spirit of God is in my nostrils . . ..”

Ezekiel 37: 9 is equally intriguing, “Then He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath,’ Thus says the Lord God, ‘Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.’” The Old Testament folks realized two things that we may have lost. First, they recognized the Spirit as life giving. They also knew him as the breath of God. He is the creative force resident within us that gives us life.

I hope this has been eye opening and inspiring. I hope it permanently changes your perspective and enlightens your thinking about the Spirit of God. And, the next time I write, “God is as close as your next breath,” I hope it will mean something special to you.” Be blessed.

In Stillness

Psalm 46: 10             KJV

Be still, and know that I am God.

This is one of those verses which I like and often quote from the King James Bible. It is also probably the one scripture that did more for my ability to converse with God than any other. To come to know God, I had to be still. The NASB version is very instructive on this verse. It reads, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” This rendering of the verse spoke loudly to me. I was very frustrated with my inability to hear God speak to me. It turned out that I needed to not try so hard. I just needed to be still physically and mentally, then I could and did hear him.

You have heard me mention Dr. Mark Virkler’s Four Keys to Hearing God’s Voice and Dr. Jim Richard’s Heart Physics. Each of these are good tools for helping you calm yourself down so that you can hear God speaking  inside of you. My favorite tool of all is breathing. Yep, I said breathing. I have learned how to take a deep breath and clear the stress and anxiety from my mind so I can hear Him speak. Sometimes my mind is so active that it is like a pinball game inside my head. That is when I just need to take a deep breath and relax. In the beginning it might take me a while to settle but now I can usually notice a difference with one big breath. I also turn my mind to a picture of Jesus. Usually in times of busyness and chaos, there are lots of pictures and words running through my mind. So, I take a deep breath and perhaps picture Jesus seated next to a mountain stream. In a moment I join him there and the rest of the world slips away for a few minutes.

You will learn about journaling in the Four Keys. Check out, also, some examples of my journaling at http://www.bornofthespirit.today/learning-to-hear-directly-from-god/. Journaling is another good way to calm your mind. When you give your mind and hands something focused to do the chaos calms.

Once I could hear Father speak to me, our relationship began to change quickly. I began to recognize Him as a Dad every bit as much as God. From there I soon recognized His presence with me. More and more He became an integrated part of my life and more and more I yearned to have Him in every moment of my day. He and Jesus have become my friends. They are who I like to talk with. I point out my observations to them and they share their perspective with me.

As, I said, I have not arrived at the end of the journey by any means, but, becoming more intertwined with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit has changed my life, as you would expect it would. I find I long for them even more because life with them is good. Life has stress but when you have best friends like Yahweh and Jesus, it sure helps. They fill me with their peace and take my stress. They take my judgment, replacing it with compassion. Living in them and with them is just better than life without them.

I have shared some of my journey to getting to know the Holy Trinity and how I am intertwining my life with theirs. I invite you to share your experiences and successes so others may find a closer walk with Jesus. Simply click the link below to share your thoughts. Thanks.

Inhale

Isaiah 7: 14

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

Immanuel, or Emmanuel, the name means God is with us. Right now, as you read these words, God is with you. There is a superficial understanding of this and then there is the revelation of God with you.

Most of us readily accept the name given to Jesus and its meaning which is repeated in Matthew and revealed in John. We know that Jesus came to earth and showed himself as God with humanity. I am not here to bring you this “general” understanding, though. The purpose of writing this daily devotional is to continually encourage you into a deeper relationship with this God. I want you to receive the revelation of this scripture and the name Immanuel as a personal message to you from God.

Immanuel – God with YOU! When you read the book of John you see God’s intent to be with us every minute of every day. He talks about abiding. What does that mean? He wants to move in. Wow! Right now, even as you read this, your Father is right there with you. He is so close that He hears you breathe.

God sent His son, Immanuel – God with us, so that forever and ever He could be with us. Jesus bought that for Him and for us. I love thinking of Him as being in my breath. He is that close. Inhale! God is with you.

God is . . . hopeful

1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things.

Love has an indomitable spirit. Synonyms for indomitable are: invincible, unconquerable, unbeatable, unassailable, invulnerable, unshakable, unsinkable; indefatigable and the list goes on. This is the quality of God’s staying power. Hope never dies in His heart. The flame of hope does not ever even flicker. His hope is unassailable. This hope is so strong that it very closely allies itself with faith. Love, and hence God, trusts. Our Father actually trusts us. He also knows about the effectiveness of His son and His Spirit who are at work in our lives. That alone is enough for Him to never give up hope.

The question is, is that enough for us to never give up hope. One would think it should be. If God will never stop hoping and we are intertwined with Him then maybe we can hold on to our hope even in the dark hours. That hope is really vital to our well-being. It is stronger than a wish. Hope leans forward. It has expectation in its wings. It has confidence in tomorrow, every day. No disappointment rises above hope. We may have to catch our breath at times but hope picks us up even if we fall. Hope always refocuses our eyes on the horizon, not on the ground.

Maybe yesterday was a challenge. Maybe this morning was without sunshine. Not to worry. Our God is right there in the very next breath you take and each subsequent breath. He will renew our hope and encourage us with each breath, if we allow Him. You can turn around your day in a breath. Stop. Breath. Expect God to fill you with hope and encouragement. Remind yourself of His words and wonders. Let the God of hope, the God of love restore you, right now!