The Breath of Life – Finding the Rock to Hold on to in the Groundlessness of Existence - Purity 592
Purity 592 12/03/2021 Purity 592 Podcast
Today’s photo of the edge of a rock wall and a rainbow in the foreground of the natural wonder that is Victoria Falls from the vantage point of the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park in Livingstone, Zambia comes to us today from my photo archives as I captured this view at the end of a vacation mission trip in February of 2016.
Yeah I am diving into the archives of my photos lately for a few reasons.
I normally share photos that I “borrow” from my FB friends and acquaintances. I do this because I think the photos my friends share are beautiful, give God glory, and I feel that it is nice to share them with a wider audience. “Others would enjoy these photos! My friend won’t mind if I share their awesome photo!”
I also feel that it connects me to my friends in a small way. It’s sort of a “Hey, I see you! I think what you are doing is awesome! Thanks for sharing your experience with me!”
When I share a photo, if I remember where I got it (ha-ha), I share information about the location and some general details of the context in which it was taken but I usually refer to the photographer anonymously as a nameless “friend” to protect their privacy. If the photographer is professional or a group, I give credit where credit is due and mention them by name to possibly market their services or FB group.
I use the photos I share to tell a story – to maybe share some general details of what a friend is doing or where they have been, to point to the beauty in the world, and to point to the God that provided both the beautiful scene and the friend that captured it.
I do this to encourage my friends and anyone who sees my blog or listens to my podcast to enjoy their lives by getting out there and seeing the world and to raise the level of their quality of life by coming into relationship with the Lord and by bringing Him along wherever they go, thus walking and talking with God on a continuous basis: which also known as living life in God’s presence or walking in the Spirit.
I have been sharing my friends and acquaintance’s photos and offering encouragement 6 days a week for over a year, without the express permission from my photo taking friends. I was following the above guidelines and was operating under the assumption that “the Lord had need of” the use of my friend’s photos as a part of my purpose to encourage people to enjoy their lives and to connect with the Lord.
This week I borrowed a friend’s photo without asking and they commented that I should ask permission to do that. They didn’t ask that I remove it, but I decided to do that anyway and offered an apology. While they didn’t respond to my apology, I did notice that I was no longer their FB friend. So my rag tag ways and assuming has cost me another FB friend.
So right now I am diving into the archives because I am a little gun shy. My daily posts and podcasts are not intended to offend anyone, and it honestly pained me to receive even the mildest criticism of how I do what I do, and it shook me to think that I could lose friends because of what I do.
So to all the friends and acquaintances from whom I borrowed photos from in the past, I wish to thank you for your “views”, and I would like to formerly apologize for not getting your express permission to use them. If you would like me to never share your photos again, please contact me via FB messenger and give me a heads up and I will not share your photos in the future. I would rather lose the permission to share your photos than to lose your friendship.
However, although I am currently a little gun shy, I fully intend to continue to share my friends’ photos to connect me to them and to encourage people to enjoy their lives and to live in the presence of the Lord. These posts are a small part of what I believe to be my purpose in life and unless I receive an indication to stop in my spirit from the Lord the messages will continue. I believe I am answering God’s call on my life and will not stop.
That’s one reason I have been using my photos over the last couple of days.
Another reason is that I am on FB less and, quite frankly friends, there hasn’t been a whole lot to “borrow” from my friends lately. So get out there and show us what you got! The pickings have been slim lately and I hope that this message encourages my friends to get out in the world and capture some of God’s wonderful creation to share.
I understand that it is now the holiday season and things are constantly in flux. I am continually amazed at how my individual days can seem to last forever but some how pass with such rapidity that weeks and months seem to pass in the blink of an eye.
It’s quite the paradox that I am experiencing. My days are FULL, all caps, but paradoxically they just seem to be slip sliding away as we move ever closer to Christmas and the new year beyond.
The passage of time and the constant activity and changes in our lives can make us fee that there is nothing we can hold onto. It can seem that there is no solid ground to stand on as circumstances just cause us to keep moving and we may not even have any certainty of where our lives are going.
But the good news is that there is something we can stand on in the seemingly groundless state of existence that we live in where things seem to come into being and then are absorbed into eternity as we age and watch our children grow and our older friends, family, and acquaintances shuffle off this mortal coil. Or more accurately, there is someone we can hold on to: God.
Genesis tells us that God was “in the beginning” and Revelation tells us that He will call into existence a new heaven and a new earth. This tells us that God is self-existent, eternal, all powerful, and is well aware of the changes that are happening as He is directing all things for His purposes.
That is why it is so important to establish a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. God is the one that we can always count on and the One who we can place our trust in. We can stand on the Rock, through our faith in Jesus, and not be shaken.
While these theological and spiritual realities could give our minds a sense of peace if we reflect on them and personalize them by reminding ourselves of who we are in Christ, we may want something more tangible that we can focus on or feel to tell us that God is with us.
While I use photos of nature to tell people that God’s creation is a great example of God’s handiwork and presence, I would like to remind all of my friends today that we are also a part of God’s created order and that we have been made in His image and have all been given something in ourselves from God that can ground us in our experience and connect us to the peace that God wants us to have.
The gift that God gave mankind and that can be used to ground us in peace is our breath.
The word tells us in:
7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
God literally breathed His “breath of life” into the first man and that breath has continued on to all of Adam’s descendants.
That is why so many practitioners can find moments of peace and clarity simply by focusing on their breath. When we focus on our breath we become grounded in our bodies that are made in God’s image and are focusing on God’s first gift to man.
So if the holiday season has got you stressed, or if some dude borrowed your photo for use in some Christian message to give God glory and it offends you, remember the gift of the breath of life that God has given you, focus on that, and find the peace that God wants you to experience in life.
Taking a few deep breaths relaxes us. If you ever wondered why that is, now you know. The reason we find peace from focusing on the rhythmic process of inhaling and exhaling is because it is in this process that we are grounding ourselves in the gift God has given us.
This gift is available to all of mankind because God loves all of us and wants all of us to have peace. However, the gift of the breath of life only can give us a measure of peace while we are on the earth.
God also sent the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, to reconcile us to Him and to atone for our transgressions. So remember to be completely grounded on The Rock who is Jesus Christ and be assured that even if your breath is taken away as you are called into a spiritual state beyond this life, you can know that you will have everlasting life and the peace that comes from becoming a member of God’s royal family and eternal kingdom.
So breath in and breath out and say I have peace now and I will have peace forever more because I have made Jesus my Savior and Lord!
Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Malachi 3:6 (NLT2)
6 “I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.
Today’s verse reminds us that God is the only One that does not change.
The late David Bowie sang about all the “CCHHCHAHAHA Changes” that come in life. As I have stated in the past. Our natural and scientific observations of existence would logically lead us into despair because the universe is continuing to expand, and everything is aging and slowly dying or falling apart.
How can we find peace or meaning in this world that is passing away? As I stated above, we can focus on our breath but honestly the higher levels of peace and joy that is available to all Christians is to renew our minds with the word of God and to become fully grounded in our identities of who we are in Christ.
Because our identities in Christ, require that we be in relationship with God though our faith in Jesus Christ. In Christ, we align ourselves with the One who is constant, the One who doesn’t change :God.
When we receive the Holy Spirit at salvation, we receive everlasting – eternal – life: a life that transcends our mortal bodies, a spiritual life that endures, a life doesn’t change. The One Constant in our life is the Lord and when we come into relationship with Him the fruit of the Spirit grows and gives us peace.
The second part of this verse points to the fact that those in relationship “the sons of Jacob” are not to be destroyed. God used the nation of Israel to carry His Word and through their lineage was used to bring the Messiah to earth. The sons of Jacob were saved by God’s grace and for His purposes and likewise Christians are saved eternally and will be a part of God’s purposes in eternity.
So rejoice! Through Christ we have eternal life, and we can trust that we will not be destroyed because God is faithful to keep His promises and He never changes.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we begin sharing from A.W. Tozer’s Advent Devotional – From Heaven, starting on Day 7, as I started late and want our sharing to lead us up to Christmas Eve.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Tozer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.
TAKING UP HUMANITY
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity …
John Wesley pointed out that it is a dark mystery how God could swoop down and become man and bridge the yawning gulf and join Himself to flesh and limit the limitless. Wesley also said that we should distinguish the act from the method by which the act was performed, and not reject a fact because we do not know how it was done.
I think that is very wise, and it would be very becoming to us if we should enter the presence of God, reverently bowing our heads, and singing carols and saying, “That it is so God, but we don’t know how. We will not reject the fact because we do not know the operation by which it was brought to pass.”
Now, this much we can know: the incarnation required no compromise of Deity. The gods of the Roman pantheon, the gods of Greece, and the gods of the Scandinavian regions were gods that would compromise themselves. The old Valhalla was full of gods that were compromisers, and the Elysian Fields and the Pantheon and all that—wherever the gods were, they always were gods who had to compromise themselves one way or another.
But the holy God—who is God, and all else not God—that God, our Father who art in heaven, could never compromise Himself. So that the incarnation—this deep, dark, yawning mystery—was wrought and accomplished without any compromise of the Deity. God did not degrade Himself by this condescension. He did not in any sense make Himself to be less than God. He remained God, and everything else remained not God. The gulf still existed even after Jesus Christ had become man and had dwelt among us. So that instead of God degrading Himself when He became man, He by the act of incarnation elevated mankind to Himself. He did not degrade Himself to mankind. That’s pointed out very carefully in one of the old creeds, the Athanasian Creed. The old church fathers were very cautious here, and they would not allow us to believe that God, when He became flesh, became flesh by a coming down of the Deity into flesh, but by a taking up of mankind unto God. And thus we do not degrade God, but we elevate man, and that is the wonder of redemption.
Now we can know this again: that this unison or union with man and God is effected under perpetuity. God can never back out of His bargain. God can never cease to be, in that sense, man. The second Person of the Trinity can never un-incarnate or de-incarnate Himself. He became incarnated forever. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
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