Exhale to Inhale

Exhale to Inhale

Psalm 104:30-33 (NLT)

When you give them your breath, life is created, and you renew the face of the earth. May the glory of the Lord continue forever! The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made! The earth trembles at his glance; the mountains smoke at his touch. I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath!

You give them your breath. (Genesis 2:7) Life is created. (Job 33:4) You renew the face of the earth. Man, I needed this today. Ever just feel a funk coming on, you know you feel a little down or out of sorts for no apparent reason. Maybe your nerves are a little too close to the surface or patience already at the end of your rope, but you do not know why? Some call it the blues. I have absolutely no reason whatsoever to feel that way this week…but I did. Work was busy. Schedule full. Kids bickering. Chores to be done. Really nothing out of the ordinary yet still felt like I was fighting for joy and peace when there was no reason to be unsettled. I longed for the Glory of the Lord to continue in my life wrapping me up in His Presence, surrounding me with joy, overtaking me with His Love, and covered by His Peace with a made up mind. With my attitude, it would take a whole lot of His Grace to find such a place. The plateaus in life can be hard. We must resist the downward slide into stagnancy and strive to move closer to Christ. I think sometimes these places are by design so that we will stop the doing and think about what we are doing and who we are doing it all for. The Lord takes pleasure in us. The earth responds to a single glance from its maker. What will be my response on those days that the wall of my rut seem too high to climb out of?

To inhale I must exhale. Seems like simple science and it is. Our lungs cannot breathe in fresh air until we let out all the stale air or carbon dioxide in its place. When I hold my breath, my body uses the fresh air to feed my blood cells, keep my brain functioning, etc. But when it becomes toxic, I must let it out to take in more fresh air keeping the process going that keeps my body alive. God’s Spirit lives inside of me. He was breathed out when Jesus died on the Cross to freely circle about the planet. (John 19:30) On the Day of Pentecost, He was directed into the bodies of all God’s People to enrich and empower ordinary people to do extraordinary things by the Power of the Living God. (Acts 2) What about those days when I feel like a weakling? When I don’t feel like a Child of God? When life feels so ordinary? When nothing special is going on? What do I do then? It is time to exhale and breathe again.

Psalm 33 (NLT)

Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord; it is fitting for the pure to praise him. Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten-stringed harp. Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy. For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does. He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth. The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. He assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs. Let the whole world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him. For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command. The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people he has chosen as his inheritance. The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do. The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior. Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory—for all its strength, it cannot save you. But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.

 

I kept trying to pare down this psalm to an acceptable length. But sorry folks, I need it all. I am a Martha kind of person who gets lost in her tasks. Doing is my comfort zone. Just let me do something, anything but wait Lord. Martha trusted God as far as her logic would take her. She was a thinker, doer, and organizer of life with little boxes in her head to compartmentalize her tasks, feelings and thoughts. I understand her very well. When Lazarus died, Jesus told her that he would live again. She brushed it off to the Resurrection of all mankind. Martha did not think that Jesus was talking about that very day. When the Lord asked them to open the tomb, Martha was thrust from her comfort zone reminding Jesus that they body had lied there for days and would stink horribly. The limits of her faith revealed, Jesus changed her mind that day. I believe that every breath we take is about finding more faith and developing confident hope. Every single detail of our life means something, but we cannot get so caught up in those details that we stop breathing in and out in the Lord. His Spirit is constantly moving in us to secure more and more faith. When it makes us uncomfortable, we hold our breath. Why? Fear. We don’t think we are scared but fear is disguised as worry, stress, anxiety, depression, or maybe you call it the “blues”.

As I type this morning, I have my little Chihuahua on my lap. She is very small less than five pounds. I have repositioned her several time. One time, she was about to fall off my lap. Other times, she likes a certain position that is more comfortable for her but impossible for me to reach the keyboard so I move her. She moves right back. Could it be that sometimes this feeling is a response to God repositioning me or the people around me for my benefit? I know, the Lord speaks to me in the weirdest ways but any way He can to get His Message to my heart is welcomed.

Psalm 33 gives us insight for those times of discomfort. When the things that the Lord is doing in us and through us make us a little uncomfortable so we respond naturally instead of faithfully … p.s. this is for me. First, the Word of God holds true. (vs. 4-5) The Word of God is one of the two most important things that we are given. The Word will always hold us when we are wavering. We must know it. Read it. Study it. Always to have a strong foothold of faith when doubts and fear threaten our position and we waver a bit. There is power in the “breathed word” of the Lord. (vs. 6-9) The Power of God in His Spoken Word is matchless. When He says something, it changes everything. He is Life. He is Love. He is Creation. We can count on Him. What He says, He will do because His Word will not return to Him void. It has to do what He says it will do or He is not God. His Plans stand firm and His Intentions cannot be shaken. (vs. 11) God watches us always. He knows us because He made us. He pays particularly close attention to our heart. Our bodies are born dying. The things that come and go from our life are of no real worth. It is what our heart believes about God, His Son and His Spirit that matter. Even when I am weak, He makes me strong. He understands that I don’t have it altogether no matter how hard I try to make others think I do. He caters to me by giving me grace on the days when I hold my breath and refuse to move from my comfort zone. He simply makes me uncomfortable over and over again. Why? Why does He do all this? His Love for us is unfailing. Even when we give up or mess up – God couldn’t love us any more than He already does.

Our hope is in the Lord. When we put our faith and trust in Jesus, His Love becomes our help and shield in life. Our hearts can rejoice even in the toughest times during the darkest days. We trust Him. We know that He will never let us down because His Word has built a wall around our heart protecting us from every single fiery dart. His Spirit is circling round about rousting anything that would come against us as a Child of God. We must exhale to inhale. We must let go of those things that are troubling us and release them to the Lord…letting them go. Not picking them back up or trying to help God work it all out. We must let them go completely. Hidden sins work against the revival of our body, soul and spirit. To harbor such a fugitive will only weaken our resolve so go ahead and release those, too. It is all or nothing if you want God’s Very Best. I want God’s Very Best. I hate the blues. I hate when I am not filled to overflowing with His Spirit but wait all I have to do is exhale to inhale.

What is the first part of Psalm 33? ”Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord; it is fitting for the pure to praise him. Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten-stringed harp. Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy.” Praise exhales so we can inhale. I work in a home office in the basement of a house. The owner’s wife is a musician who is learning to play the piano. She is a quick study and will begin with just a few random keys but within a short time it becomes a familiar song. I think praise is the same kind of thing. It can be shaky in the beginning but the more we practice and remain committed to becoming full-time “praisers” it will happen. There is something about praise that wakes up your heart. When I am headlong in a funk plunging deep into the dark, it is like a little lightbulb goes off in my head to praise God. I quickly find my phone loaded full of praise and worship to release it into the atmosphere. I may not be ready to sing along yet, but fight begins. The more I hear them sing about God’s Love and Faithfulness, the Spirit of the Living God starts working their words through my heart and brain reminding my soul of His Unfailing Love. Suddenly, something breaks every single time. It often feels like a deep breath after hours of not being able to breathe as God relieves the burdens of my heart and fills the void with His Word, His Promises and more faith.

Job said, “As long as I live, while I have breath from God, my lips will speak no evil, and my tongue will speak no lies.” (Job 27:3-4) Not many have experienced the depths of tragedy that this man did in a single day, but we are given the choice in each day what we say and do. Do not discredit your plight of journey of faith by comparing it to others. God designed your life so that you would discover the greatness and faithfulness of His Love and take hold of it. He knows what it will take to make that happen. He knows every foul and evil thing that the enemy will bring against us. The Lord has promised to make good from every single detail of our life. (Romans 8:28) We have to surrender our moments breath by breath to receive the restorative, renewing Power of God in our life. We have the power to choose whether we live or die in that moment.

Luke 23:45-46 (NLT)

The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.

 

What a beautiful example in His Darkest Hour is given by Jesus! “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And then it says, “And with those words he breathed his last.” I think we are supposed to do the very same thing that Jesus did in that moment. We must trust our spirit into God’s Hands fully. It is a daily surrender of our life to His Love. It is in that moment, “we” breathe our last breath and take in His Spirit fully and completely. We all will have challenging days. Trying times of testing that develops strength of character and teaches us to endure. These are the days that more than ever we must breathe our last and breathe in Jesus. Praise exhales all the fear and doubt allowing us to take in more and more of the Lord as we express our confidence in His Word, Will and Way. It fights every stronghold and spiritual force coming against the wall of love protecting and surrounding our heart. Total faith and complete confidence allows the Light of His Love to chase away every dark shadow. The flow of His Love and Grace in us and through us allows us to keep moving down the Highway of Holiness closer to Jesus. The closer we get the better it gets. We just have to keep walking step by step and breath by breath in the Presence of God.

Psalm 150:6 (NLT) Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!

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