On Palm Sunday we read this passage in Church;
Luke 23:44-46 (NASB)
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour,
45 because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two.
46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT." Having said this, He breathed His last.
I was stirred to research 'breath'. Out of a treasure of insight, these thoughts stand out.
Genesis 2:7 (MSG)
GOD formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive—a living soul!
The 'breath of life'. What a interesting distinction from the rest of creation. When God breathed into us, we became not just alive, but also a living soul. When man is shaped and formed he has the breath of life breathed into him and it animates humans in a way that no other creature shares.
But this mention of breath is not the first appearance.
Genesis 1:1-2 (NASB)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit (ruach) of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
Did you know what the Hebrew word (ruach) for 'Spirit' means? breath, wind, spirit: (New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). The breath of God moved over the surface. Like oxygen is to fire, so the breath of life was to creation.
“Breath is used in the Bible as a powerful symbol of the life-giving presence of God. Like God Himself, the air we breathe is invisible, odourless and tasteless—it cannot be perceived at all unless it moves. It is usually peaceful and still, but it is a reservoir of enormous power. The air is a massive ocean—invisible, yet completely necessary for our life, for we are quickly dead without it. It seems reasonable to suggest that one reason God created the air—and respiration—was to show us graphically how great and immediate is our need for Him.”
That very picture is described by Jesus to Nicodemus;
John 3:5, 8 (MSG)
Jesus said, "You're not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the 'wind hovering over the water' creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it's not possible to enter God's kingdom.
...You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it's headed next. That's the way it is with everyone 'born from above' by the wind of God, the Spirit of God."
While Scripture says life is in the blood, it is because blood depends on the injection of oxygen from our lungs. Someone has said, “Water (H2O), the liquid of life contains oxygen. Carbon dioxide (CO2), the metabolism of life contains oxygen. Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, the food of life contains oxygen.” Oxygen permeates every element of our being. We were also created to have the breath of life permeate every part of our being. A outside, invisible source that sustains us. Just as our physical life depends on breathing oxygen, so our soul depends on the breath of God. You might say man cannot live on oxygen alone.
Just as a runner pants for air, the exertion of life also causes us to pant for God. Eastern mystics teach meditation upon one’s breath as a way of controlling body functions and gaining inner peace. As Christians we can also benefit from meditating upon the breath of life, a powerful biblical metaphor used to speak of His very presence. Psalm 150:6 (NASB)
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
Just as the air we breath serves a dual purpose enabling us to speak, the breath of life speaks out the living Word of God.
2 Timothy 3:16 (MSG)
Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way.
We don't have time to go into it, but what a picture of God speaking creation into existence, and the power of our words.
The significance of this Easter day and the breath of life was prophesied to us;
Ezekiel 37:1-5 (MSG)
GOD grabbed me. GOD's Spirit took me up and sat me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones. He led me around and among them—a lot of bones! There were bones all over the plain—dry bones, bleached by the sun. He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "Master GOD, only you know that."
He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones: 'Dry bones, listen to the Message of GOD!' " GOD, the Master, told the dry bones, "Watch this: I'm bringing the breath of life to you and you'll come to life.
What died in the fall was the breath of life God breathed into man. Which is why this event after the Resurrection has such great importance;
John 20:22 (MSG)
Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. "Receive the Holy Spirit," he said.
The restoration of the breath of life.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Friday, February 24, 2012
by Gregory Kirschmann
believe denying marriage to a relationship
will prevent love
demand any committed relationship
has to be called marriage
claim rights and benefits can only be acquired
by a imposition on marriage
equate the diversity of two genders
with the redundancy of same genders
desecrate the sacred tradition of all major religions
and violate the historic practice of every single culture in history
believe a fundamental change to the building block of society
will have absolutely no effect
think a law can change
the reality of crucial distinctions in relationships
pretend duplicating sexuality
is the same as blending masculinity and femininity
condemn some children to parents of only one gender
and deliberately deny some children one natural parent
ignore the design of sexual union
to manipulate a harmful act
violate evolution's law of reproduction
to equate a genetic dead end
risk the healthiest human relationship
to include one of the unhealthiest
parallel the sole birthplace of every other relationship
with one that can reproduce none
dilute all these things
down to just 'a committed relationship of two people'
Then, and only then, can you equate same-sex unions with marriage.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Genesis 2:18 (MSG) GOD said, "It's not good for the Man to be alone; I'll make him a helper, a companion."
Do you realize that God made Adam, took 'him' apart, and then put 'them' back together as one in marriage? You might say that what was originally a simple life form became a much more complex union! God designed husband and wife to be 'accessories' that complement each other.
I love what the definition of complement explains;
1. something that completes or makes perfect
2. the quantity or amount that completes anything
3. either of two parts or things needed to complete the whole; counterpart.
4. full quantity or amount; complete allowance.
To complement is to provide something felt to be lacking or needed. It is often applied to putting together two things, each of which supplies what is lacking in the other, to make a complete whole.
To supplement is merely to add to. A same-sex union can only supplement what is already primarily a duplication. The diversity of marriage is as some have graphically described, the union of Mars and Venus.
Another interesting distinction is the difference between complement and compliment. While they are pronounced alike and originally shared some meanings, they have become separate words with entirely different meanings.
1. an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration.
2. a formal act or expression of civility, respect, or regard.
3. compliments, a courteous greeting; good wishes; regards: He sends you his compliments.
4. Archaic; a gift.
So to complement is 'to complete, round out', where compliment is 'to praise or admire'. You might say that when we compliment our mate, we end up also complementing them. I like that!
It is important to note that the Antonyms of compliment is: blame, censure, complaint, criticism, denunciation, insult, libel, slander. How we fail God's design and purpose when we criticize our marriage instead of complimenting it in a way that complements each other!
I have marveled over the years that of all the counsel Paul could have given husbands and wives, he simply emphasizes a single instruction to each. Listen to how forcefully he states it; Ephesians 5:33 (NASB) Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
Husbands, how can you look good on your wife? Listen to how Paul explains it; “love his own wife even as himself.” Did anyone ever tell you how to love yourself? Probably not. We men tend to naturally do that pretty well...
Early in my marriage, a wise friend counseled me when my wife and I were struggling. At the end of our time together, I very humbly but magnanimously asked him to confront me if he ever noticed me being insensitive to my wife. His words were iron sharpening iron. “If you love her, I won't have to.”
I don't have to wake up in the morning and think about how to love myself. It's just there. If you are one with your wife, loving her ought to just be there too. You are on her like a clothing accessory, complementing her, because everything you do has her in mind. I like to use the word 'cherish' because it encompasses the awareness of great value.
Most people forget about the husband in Proverbs 31. What was he doing? Standing at the gate bragging about his wife.
Please be aware, this is a 'task' that is never finished. Partly because wives don't want it to ever be finished... But mostly because wives are a unique gift that God gives us fresh every day. Sandy is not the girl I married thirty-five years ago. Everyday I am challenged to be a accessory that matches the fresh surprise and gift of who she is today.
How does a wife complement her husband?
There might be a few wives reading this who say nothing they are goes with their husband. What a wonderful place to be! You have been specially chosen by God to model a new fashion! God intends for your marriage to stand out! You even have the Holy Spirit to daily assist you in making your 'accessory' work. Where people say, “I never thought they would go together... but it works. I like it!”
First, cut out the complaining and replace it with compliments.
If you want to have a happy marriage, learn the art of the compliment. Someone said, “Compliments are like magnets, and the more you compliment your husband the more he will be attracted to you.”
There have been times in my life where I as a man was 'beside myself'. I would look over and think, I can't stand being next to this guy. I can honestly say there is not one time I can remember experiencing Sandy agreeing with me.
It is specifically at those times that the complement of a honoring wife moves a man to virtue. You might say that a wife possess from God the only seed that grows great men.
The power of this principle is reflected in a negative way in the story of Abigail's dishonor of her husband Nabal resulting in his death (I Sam 25).
A friend of mine showed up one time at a church event wearing a red plaid shirt with camouflage pants. I asked him who in the world told him that goes together. He didn't think I was funny. I wasn't trying to be funny, it hurt my eyes.
We live in a time where marriage is not fashionable any more. How we need husbands and wives who are profoundly striking complements of each other!