Holiday Devotional - December 28, 2016

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B R E A T H E

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Genesis 2:4-7

Do you ever think about the air you breathe? What about how many breaths you take in a minute? Did you know that the average adult takes anywhere from 12-20 breaths per minute? I often find that I am telling myself and others to "BREATHE. Just breathe." It is usually stemming from the need to calm down, slow down, and just take things moment by moment. Stop trying to do five things in the space that is only big enough for one. It's a relaxation tool.

But then the other day, I had the thought, what am I really doing when I tell myself to breathe? What am I really craving when I need to breathe? I am craving more of God. More of God in me (inhale Him), flowing through me and out of me (exhale). More knowledge that I am not in control, but He is. And He is FULLY capable of handling all that I am and all that I have to accomplish.

These thoughts brought me back to Jim Branch's Blue Book, to the chapter on The Breath of God. The week begins with a prayer asking God, who breathed us into being, to breathe His Divine Breath into us again so that we might be filled with His life and guided by the winds of His Spirit. Does that make you want to sit and take some deep breaths? Breathe in and out slowly, know He is here with you. Genesis 2:4-6 tells of God's creation, and then in verse 7 we see God create man. God breathed into him and gave him life. We breathe because of the breath God put into our lungs… from His own. Oh… I wish I was so aware of Him filling me! Even the breath I breathe is His.

When I start to contemplate the wonder of this, I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed that His breath flows into and out of me. Overwhelmed at my forgetfulness (and really my pride) that this life is not mine. His breath, not mine. This calms, relaxes, and empowers me. I can move with His power and His strength throughout the day. When I am frazzled and impatient with those around me, I can breathe. When I am impatient with myself, I can breathe. Breathe God in. Breathe God out. Breathe Him in and know that you are His very good creation, His beloved, His child. Breathe Him out onto those around you. Give them a taste of His love and affection. Give them Him.

The act of breathing is instinctual to us. We are not usually even aware that we are breathing. How aware are you of God's continuing presence with you? Do you know that He is as close as your next breath? As vital to your survival as the breaths you take? Take some time and breathe. Acknowledge that He is the sustaining power of your life. He is what you are craving. Breathe Him in. Allow His presence to calm, relax, empower you. Breathe Him out. Allow His Spirit to guide you; in interactions with others, in how you plan your day, in how you define yourself. When you are running around and too busy to even know you are busy, breathe. Breathe His Spirit in deeply this season. Use your breathing to become more aware and awed by the knowledge of His love and desire for you. May you know that God is with you, our Emmanuel. May His Spirit fill you (inhale) and flow out (exhale). BREATHE.

Rebekah Peterson
CSPC Associate Director of Women's Ministries