Come Nap

Matthew 11: 28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

I guess this passage has been on my mind much more than I realized. This year has been, for me, a year of trying to balance work, rest, and play. I over-burdened my life, and it took a toll on me. Our Lord blessed me with this scripture back in March and it has remained so pronounced in my mind and heart that I could not believe I had not written on it this year. I would have bet the farm that I had. Today, in journaling, Father reminded me of it as a suggestion for the Word of the Day. I can believe many of you have worn yourself out by this time of the year. We begin so fresh in January. Apparently, I made it all the way to March before I began to burn out. What about you?

Are you tired? Have you taken on more responsibilities than a normal human can possibly handle? Is it time your Superman/Superwoman cape overdue to go to the dry cleaners? Please allow me to share some other translations with you:

Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.”      God’s Word
Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke.”     Living Bible

The three versions certainly paint a vivid picture. I see myself in that scene. Do you?

Interestingly enough, this is really a passage about partnership. On the one hand, the simplest part is that Jesus wants to soothe and comfort you. “Come,” he says, “and I will give you rest.” In March I had to jump at that if nothing else. I needed rest. Whether you need physical, emotional or mental rest, Jesus truly is the way. I discovered that even physically, I was never resting as well as I should because my mind was in a constant whirlwind of ideas, thoughts and to do’s. Even when I rested, I didn’t rest. I needed, and you might too, his rest. He gives us rest for our minds and rest for our spirits. He touches our minds and souls with his anointed rest so that we sleep restfully. He gives us his peace so that we are able to slow down our minds. The truth is, we will find it very challenging to hear His voice if we don’t have stillness. The other sad truth is that we actually get less done when we operate outside of peace. Yes, I am a high functioning multi-tasker and I like it that way but I also have to realize there is a time to slow down and let the deeper work take place. The creative process needs a quieter mind to work with. Mine was so jumbled with pages of to do items that I had a hard time keeping single line focus. I had to keep a pad next to me to write down the ideas and to do’s so that they wouldn’t continue to derail the project I was attempting to work on at that moment.

Here is my best advice. Breathe. Take some moments to breathe, deep breaths. Exhale until you cannot exhale any more. Let your heart rate come down and then, once you have achieved a level of calmness, talk to Jesus. Really do it. Talk aloud to him. Tell him that you are there to receive his rest. He promised it, so receive it. Allow yourself to inhale his peace. He said he gives you his special peace so let’s have it and live in it. Now, maintain this divine peace as long as you can, but fear not. Anytime you find yourself getting wound up again, repeat these steps.

Next week let’s talk about why this is a partnership passage.

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.


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!

Breathe, Meditate

Joshua 1: 8

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

This is one of those “stand out” verses in the Bible. Some Christian circles use it a lot while others don’t teach it quite as much. Even fewer teach what it means to meditate or how to do it. I am going to use it today as a practicum.

This week I have sent you two emails that encourage quiet, contemplative time with God. In other words, meditation. God told Joshua that this was the key to success. The problem is, most of us were not taught how to meditate. As for slowing ourselves down so that we can hear God’s voice, well, that’s just not a strength either, though that is what Psalm 46: 10, our verse from yesterday, directs us to do.

The Holy Spirit is the breath of God, so I find the easiest way for me to relax and quiet my inner self is to take a couple of slow, deep breaths. When you breathe deeply and slowly, you signal your body that you are safe. It does not have to keep itself primed for fight or flight. This is a super powerful tool! Breathe. Anytime you feel anxious, angry, worried or any other energy emotion, just breathe deeply and slowly. Focus on exhaling out every last bit of air in your lungs. This is actually healthy for your lungs too because many of us breathe in the middle volume of our lungs which means we never empty it of the stale, used up air. If you, at the same time, imagine yourself meeting the Father in a safe place of your own choice you will likely feel yourself connecting with Him.

Picture a place you like. For some people it is their own kitchen table with cups of coffee steaming nearby. Others like to walk on the beach, sit in the woods or wade in a creek. Better still, sit by a creek, in the woods, in the mountains with a cup of coffee and your Father. Now that sounds heavenly to me. Wherever you choose, make it a place of supreme safety and comfort. When you meet your Father in that place you will notice that many of the barriers which block good communication are automatically lowered. Don’t go to His throne room where He looms gloriously in His majesty because you may find it hard to approach Him. Go there when you want to see His glory and worship Him. Instead, sit down in your own living room with Him.

Now, here is another secret. Once you are connected with the Father, you don’t actually have to speak with Him. You can actually think of other things, do other things. See, the big objective is to live with Him day and night. Well, you certainly wouldn’t talk non-stop with a person you were with all of the time. Healthy relationships do not depend on non-stop chatter. Sometimes it is nice to just be with Yahweh in the quiet of your mind and soul. Having said that, still we need those very still, quiet times. Then they swell into the ever present “now” with the Father.

So for today we have learned two things to help us in our meditation or restated, our quiet time with the Lord. First, breathe. Second, visualize yourself in a tranquil, peaceful place with your Father at your side.

Tomorrow, we will explore a bit further into this idea of reflective time with the Lord.