Thursday, April 26, 2012

Breath of Life

Not long ago, I was teaching the respiratory system of the human body in my AP Biology class. We discussed the difference between oxygen rich blood in our arteries and oxygen deficient blood in our veins. We talked about the process of blood picking up oxygen in the lungs and dumping off carbon dioxide for us to breathe out. One of my students asked the question about CPR. They questioned why do we breathe into their mouth, if what we breathe out has little oxygen. Why would that not do more damage than good. I explained that even when we breathe out, there is still oxygen, albeit a very small amount, but it is still there. And that is better than nothing at all. This got me to thinking about God's breathing. And I did a little research and this is what I found.

Genesis 2:7
"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."

God breathed life into Adam. God formed Adam from dust. He formed everything that would be needed to live, and then gave him the "breath of life." He caused air to move into his body, so that he could live. There are two main ways, I think, that you could teach this breath of life. One, you could talk about the physical. Without a good supply of oxygen, we would cease to exist. We would be nothing more than flesh and bone with no life. We can see this example in Ezekiel in the vision that was given to him from God.

Ezekiel 37:1-10
"The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.’ Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.’” So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. 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.”’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army."

The second way we could view this is in a spiritual since. You see, God does not only breathe a physical life into us, but He can also send a spiritual one as well. This is best seen on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:1-4
"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance."

On that day, God fulfilled a promise that He would send a Helper to the disciples. That helper was the Holy Spirit. It gave them power and utterance to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It provides us with that same power. When we are born again, God sends the Holy Spirit to us as well. It helps us. It guides us. It gives us power, courage, and strength. Without it, we are like Adam before life was breathed into him. Like the valley of dry bones, we are nothing without this breath of life. We walk this earth condemned, guilty, and dead.

John 3:16-18
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

Have you received the breath of life? Or are you walking this earth in spiritual death? If that is so, I pray that you seek to know Jesus as your Savior. If you would like, you can click the Plan of Salvation tab at the top of this blog, and it will explain the need we have of Salvation and how to obtain it.

Thanks for reading, and God bless you all this week.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Peace with God

I really love my church. I enjoy the people, the prayer time, and mostly the bible study. Our pastor does a wonderful job of going verse by verse in the scriptures on Sunday nights. We look at what the words means, where else is it used, the grammar of the verse, and so much more. I have learned so much over the years from this kind of study. One of the things that we have looked at lately is having peace with God. I have often heard of people saying that they were going to try to make peace with God before they die. Or they feel at peace with their lives. I want to share with you some of what I learned about how to be at peace with God.

Romans 5:1
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,"

The only way that we can have peace with God is by justification by faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Another way to put it, unless you are born again, you cannot be at peace with God. Anyone who is not saved is considered to be of the world. Those people that are of the world are considered enemies of God.

James 4:4
"You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

Until we accept His free gift of salvation, we are considered His enemies. But that does not mean that He does not love us still. That does not mean that He will not give us a chance to change. A chance to be at peace with Him.

John 3:16-18
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

Christ came into the world for anyone who would choose to accept Him. He saw us lost and hopeless. We were in our sins. We were apart of the world. We were enemies of God. Bust He still loved us enough to die to give us a chance.

Romans 5:6
"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly."

Romans 5:8
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:10
"For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."

But we as Christians accepted the call to not be apart of the world anymore. Thus we obtained peace. Jesus did not come to earth to judge us. He came to save us. The only way we receive judgement is by choosing not to accept Him as Lord and Savior. Thus we choose to be enemies with God.

God's love is truly amazing. It is sometimes hard to believe that He really loves me enough to forgive me of my sins. It is hard to believe that He loved me, even before I choose to submit my life to Him. And I know now that I am at peace with God. Now I still will fail. I will still fall into sin everyday, as is the nature of man. But, because of my submission to God, through my acceptance of His Son Jesus, because I am at peace with God, He is faithful to forgive me.

Are you at peace with God? If not, I pray that you will seek Him today.

Thanks for reading, and God bless you all this week!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Need a Refill

One of the biggest problems that I have with my soccer teams is cramping up on the field. My first question to them is always, "How much water have you drank today?" I always begin the season reminding my athletes of the importance of keeping well hydrated. It prevents cramps, dehydration, and helps them to play better and not be as tired. I tell them that every time they go by a water fountain, to take a sip. I also tell them to lay off the sodas and energy drinks, as they produce the opposite effect. They can cause you to cramp easier, dehydrate sooner, and tend to lessen the amount of energy available during a match. Once I get them off the field, they go straight to the water cooler. This reminds me of a story in the New Testament about the importance of water.

John 4:7-14

"There *came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus *said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman *said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She *said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”"

In this set of verses, Jesus talks about a water that He could provide that is much different than the water we rely on for life. You see, water that we drink physically is a necessity. The average human being could not survive much more than two days without water. Our bodies depend on it for survival. Therefore, we always have this thirst. This need to rehydrate our bodies. It is an instinctive response to ensure our survival. The water that Christ is referring to is a living water that only He could provide.

I believe that Christ here is making reference to the Holy Spirit. Once we become saved, the Holy Spirit dwells in us. It helps us, and guides us. It provides us comfort when we need it. And unlike the constant need for water, the Holy Spirit never diminishes. It does not have to be refilled. How about that for eternal security! Once we truly are filled with this water, we will never thirst again. With this new water comes a new "thirst" however. One that gets a taste of the living water desires to know more about it. We can never seem to get enough of the Word of God. We have a desire to study and find what God has planned for us, and how we can serve Him better. We also have a desire to let others know about this water. We have a desire for others that we know to be able to drink from this water also.

John 4:27-30

"At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?” So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and *said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” They went out of the city, and were coming to Him."

John 4:39-42

"From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”"

So my question to you today is, "How much water have you had today?" Have you been drinking from the living waters that provide life everlasting? Or are you putting your faith in the world that will drag you down like the sodas do to my athletes that I spoke of above. If you read this and are relying on the world to satisfy, and the world to see you through, I invite you to come to the well.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless you all this week!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Personal Time

You know, it is not easy to get a chance to spend quality time with my wife. She is an amazing woman, and deserves all that I can give to her. But it just seems that something always gets in the way. Sometimes it is the kids. We have three wonderful children and I would not trade them for the world. But we stay so busy with them, that we are wore out by the time we get them in the bed. And if I do hug or kiss my wife, they want to be apart too and squeeze their way in between us. Sometimes its my job. Working as a high school teacher and a varsity coach, my schedule is never set. Sometimes I get home around 4:30 in the afternoons, and sometimes I am lucky to get home before midnight. Life always seems to get in the way of continuing to grow our relationship. I find that the same is true with God. How often do we try to grow our relationship with God?

Matthew 22:36-38
"“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment."

Here in this passage we see Christ quoting from the book of Deuteronomy on the greatest commandment which is to love God above all else. I noticed while reading this verse that it is meant for an individual. "You" should love God with all "your" heart, soul, and mind. Not, your family should love. Not, your church should love. Not, your spouse should love. But you should love Him. This denotes that we as individuals should be devoting ourselves, by ourselves, to loving God. It has to be personal. I know of many individuals who only pray when with family, and they never talk to God unless it is a large group doing so. Now don't get me wrong, coming together as brothers and sisters for worship and prayer time is a great thing. However, it should not be the only time that we set aside to develop that relationship. A proper relationship takes individual time and devotion to cultivate.

A good way to see this is in the relationship of King David and God. The Psalms of David give us an insight into the personal time and devotion that David spent with God. Now David still had his problems. He is also known as a man after God's own heart. There was a true relationship there. He still had his sins and shortcomings that He had to deal with. And we can see this in the lament of some of his prayers to God in these Psalms. But that is true of everyone's relationships. Even between my wife and I, we sometimes fall short. There are a lot of times that we have to apologize to each other. And that will never change. This difference between our relationship with each other, and our individual relationship with God is that He will never fall short. He will never fail us in any way.

So what do we need to do to grow our own relationship? We need to do a few simple things. 1) We need salvation. We cannot have that relationship with God unless we accept His Son and make Him the Lord and Master of our lives. 2) We need to humble ourselves before Him. We need to come to a place where we truly see who God really is, and what we are not. Sometimes we come to pray and do so selfishly. We pray for what we think is right, and what we want, instead of praying for the will of God to be done. 3) We need to set aside and guard our personal, private prayer time. By getting alone daily to pray and commune with God, we can develop that relationship with God. 4) We need to spend time each day in the Word. Whether it is a devotional book, Christian websites that teach scripture, or just opening the book and studying, we need to individually learn everything we can about God. We do the same when we try to date that guy, or that girl. We learn everything we can about them so that relationship can grow. What better way to learn about God, than to read His Word.

So, how is your personal relationship with God right now?

Thanks for reading, and God bless you all!