When Life Becomes Moment-by-Moment (Psalm 31:14-15)

In the Model Prayer, Jesus prays, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah affirms that God’s mercies are new every morning.

These passages help us live in a day-to-day reliance on God in Christ. But what about those seasons in life when we are simply trying to somehow make it moment-by-moment?

In Psalm 31:14-15 David says this. “But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God. My times are in your hands….’”

My times are in Your hands.

No matter what time increment best fits our journey, God’s immediate presence is available. Day-to-day or hour-to-hour or minute-to-minute or second-to-second…God has us. God has us when we are clinging. God has us when we have let go for a while.

God, our times are in Your Hands.

God, this moment is in Your Hands.

God, this breath is in Your Hands.

God, I choose to be in Your Hands.

Grace and peace,

Rick Jordan (www.rickcarlajordan.com, rickjordankcmo@gmail.com

 

The Jesus Who will put us through whatever it takes (John 9)

Reading the Gospel of John chapter 9, I am stunned as I watch everything Jesus put that blind beggar through.

Jesus spat on the ground next to the man, which was something Jewish people commonly did to disabled beggars to convey their disgust and to communicate their opinion that God had cursed the person with the affliction because of something the beggar’s parents did or something the beggar did. In the case of this man born blind, we would be talking about prenatal sin – like perhaps the embryonic baby had a porn stash in his mother’s womb.

THEN Jesus smeared muddy spit paste over the man’s blind eyes and told him to grope his way to the pool of Siloam. Jesus didn’t even guide him there! What abuse must the man have endured from people as he crawled or stumbled to the pool?

After the beggar’s eyes were opened, Jesus vanished from the scene, leaving the man to tell his story repeatedly to religious leaders whose interrogation intensified until finally those leaders barred him from the synagogue because he had the audacity to let some controversial Rabbi miraculously heal him on the Sabbath, committing two code violations the leaders had added to the laws in the Hebrew Scriptures.

But by the end of John’s Gospel chapter 9, the formerly blind former beggar could physically AND spiritually see! Notice how the man’s courage grew and his perceptions about Jesus brightened each time he repeated his story.

Is it possible Jesus knows what He is doing? Can it be that Jesus will stop at nothing to open our eyes and develop our faith? Can it be that Jesus will put us through whatever it takes to open our eyes and develop our faith?

I emphatically believe so.

When I measure these truths about Jesus alongside my prayer life, I wonder how often I ask God to take me the easy way through (or give me the easy way out). That path-of-least-resistance praying comes up short when compared to the formidable dimensions of John 9. God must know that, if God took us the easy way through, we might arrive sooner. However, that version of ourselves showing up at the destination would not be up to the challenge or that version of ourselves would not see clearly enough with the eyes of faith to trust and obey vigorously. So maybe our prayer lives need a new gear. The new gear might sound like this – “God, please put me through whatever it takes to open my eyes and develop my faith. Thank You for not taking me the easy way. Thank you for loving me enough and dignifying my journey enough to be as hard on me as you were on that guy back in John 9.”

I am reading an article from the Sojourner’s website about Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head). He discovered CTE while examining Mike Webster, the NFL center whose life ended tragically because of multiple concussions. In the interview with Sojourner’s Bradford William Davis, Omalu says this – “I let the Spirit of God percolate into my being. Everything I do, I do through the eyes of faith.”

WOW.

May you and I become people who let God’s Spirit percolate into our beings so thoroughly that we do everything through the eyes of faith – no matter what it takes.

In Jesus’ name,

Rick Jordan (www.rickcarlajordan.com, rickjordankcmo@gmail.com)

 

An Inductive Study Guide for John 9

We don’t see things the way they are as much as we see things the way we are.

We don’t see people the way they are as much as we see people the way we are.

We can have physical or spiritual or social or emotional blind spots. John chapter 9 is full of eyes that are opening and eyes that are closing. It contrasts light and darkness.

Bible study questions:

  • How did the disciples see the blind man?
  • What was wrong with the disciples’ questions about the blind man? In what direction did their questions take the conversation?
  • How did Jesus change the direction of their thinking? What is the difference between “why?” and “so that?”
  • Because poor blind beggars were considered cursed, Jewish people walking by them would sometimes spit on the ground beside the beggars to shame them and communicate their disgust with them. This man born blind would be conditioned to the sound of human spit splashing the ground and he would know what it meant. Why did Jesus choose to use a mixture of spit and mud on the man? How did Jesus change the act of spitting on the ground from a curse to a blessing?
  • Why did Jesus require this man to grope his way to the pool of Siloam with muddy spit paste all over his face? How would the people he walked by react to him? Why didn’t Jesus just zap him like He zapped others? What does this teach us about God’s role and our role in relationship?
  • Where do you see evidence that Jesus not only set the man free from his condition but also set him free from what he used to do because of his condition?
  • This newly healed man had to tell his story several times, mostly under the duress of interrogation. How do you see his view of Jesus expanding with each narration? What does this teach us about the potency of our faith story? How much expertise do we need about Jesus in order to start telling our story?
  • How did the religious leaders view the man?
  • How did the religious leaders view God?
  • Legalism is the elevation of rules and regulations over God. How did the religious legalism of the Pharisees cause them to bury the lead? What were they unwilling to see and appreciate?
  • How do you interpret the response of the parents to the religious leaders’ questions? Why would they throw their son under the bus? What does this say about the power of legalism?
  • Verse 34 indicates the religious leaders still viewed the man as cursed even though he had been miraculously healed. What does that tell you about the way religious rigidity affects how we see other people?
  • How do you interpret Jesus’ disappearance? Why didn’t Jesus stick with the man during the interrogations or at least show His face so the man would know what his new Eye Doctor looked like? Why did Jesus wait until the man had been kicked out of Jewish worship life before finding him? Does their encounter at the end of the chapter give you any clues about Jesus’ curious behavior? What do you think of the idea that Jesus is faithful but not predictable?
  • The fact remains, Jesus DID look him up. What does this teach us about God’s heart?
  • Jesus was the only One who viewed and treated this man like a human being and like a child of God. What are the evidences of this in the chapter?                                                                   
  • This man experienced two miracles in one day, and he got to participate in both of them. What was the second miracle?
  • How could you use this man’s story to help somebody understand what it looks like to follow Jesus?
  • How did Jesus view the religious leaders? What does this teach us about God’s heart?

C.S. Lewis “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.” (from The Weight of Glory)

Application questions:

  • Scotosis is the technical name for a hardening of the mind or heart against unwanted wisdom. Scotosis is an unwillingness to see. There are four forms of scotosis in this chapter. Where do you see the blindness of desensitization to the plight of other people? Where do you see the blindness of legalism? Where do you see the blindness of prejudice? Where do you see the blindness of self-preservation?
  • What is the role of Jesus in your story?
  • What is your version of the two most important words in John 9 (v.1 – “He saw…”)? How does Jesus see you differently than anybody else sees you?
  • What is your version of Jesus changing a curse into a blessing, sometimes using the same physical or emotional or relational material?
  • When in your journey have you experienced Jesus being faithful not NOT predictable? When have you thought Jesus was being too hard on you? Have you reached the end of that story yet? If you are in the middle of that story, what keeps you going?
  • When / how has God in Christ opened your eyes? What is your version of the man’s “so I went there” statement of obedience in verse 11?
  • What is your story of how you used to be one way and now you are becoming another way (v. 25)?
  • What is your version of the statement “When Jesus found the man” in verse 35? When/where/how has Jesus intentionally found you in order to open your faith-eyes and change your identity?
  • To whom are you telling your story?
  • The Pharisees were blind to Jesus’ identity because He did not do things their way. What are some current examples of this same form of blindness, a blindness that says God can only be God if God does things our way?
  • In what ways are your eyes still closed, especially when it comes to how you view certain individuals or people groups? What are your blind spots and how did you acquire those blind spots?
  • Are you willing to do whatever it takes to have your eyes opened by Jesus?
  • When Jesus heals us from forms of blindness He also sets us free from whatever lifestyles we engaged in because of that condition. Are you willing for Jesus to set you free not only from your blindness but also from what you have been doing because of your blindness?
  • How is the Holy Spirit using John 9 to give you new reality checks or insights about the life of faith? Are you willing to let Jesus do whatever it takes to grow your faith?

God in Christ – Please open our eyes to see what You see. Please open our ears to hear what You hear. Please open our minds to receive what You know. Please open our hearts to trust where You lead, especially when You are being faithful and unpredictable. Please transform us into people who love like You love. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Grace and peace,

Rick Jordan (www.rickcarlajordan.com, rickjordankcmo@gmail.com)

 

“Direction and Directions” (Psalm 23:1-3)

Last summer our three-piece band, Tasmanian Grace, had the honor of playing music for Boy Scouts and their families at the Kansas Speedway. I drove to the area late that afternoon. I’ve been to the Legends often, so I know how to get there, and the Speedway is impossible to miss. But there was a very specific way for band members to enter the Speedway. Even though I had directions, I couldn’t figure it out. Confession time – when it comes to logistics and directions, I wake up in a brand new world about every 13-15 seconds. I get turned around easily. One time I got lost trying to exit the North Kansas City Hospital enclosed parking garage. On another occasion I got lost driving around in the downtown Chicago highway loop.

After trying for approximately 30 minutes to enter the Kansas Speedway, I was thoroughly disoriented within plain sight of my objective. I called the bass player, Joe, because I knew Joe and Jim (the drummer) had already arrived. Joe handed the phone to Bill. Bill said, “Drive to the Nebraska Furniture Mart parking lot and wait for me. I will lead you in.” I protested; I did not want to divert Bill from his other responsibilities. Bill chuckled and said, “Don’t worry about it at all. I counted on this happening.”

So I found the Nebraska Furniture Mart parking lot and waited. Bill arrived soon after, issued me a parking pass, and led me in. He could have spent the rest of the evening explaining it to me over the phone; I never would have made it.

Friday night, Bill reinforced to me some important truths about who God is as our Shepherd and what God does as our Shepherd.

Psalm 23 begins with these familiar words. “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” The shepherd stays ahead of the action, anticipating what the sheep need before they are aware that they need it. In our lives, God stays ahead of the action, counting on us needing guidance. The Hebrew word translated “want” is rooted in the word “lack,” which is why so many translations say, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need” or “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.” It reminds me of Peter’s aggressive declaration that Christ’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our relational knowledge of Christ Who has called us by His own glory and goodness (2nd Peter 1:3).

Psalm 23 continues in verse 2-3 – “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” The shepherd is an expert at calming and leading skittishly disoriented sheep. Giving a sheep directions would be an exercise in futility. The shepherd must become the direction, like Bill did for me. I relaxed when I saw Bill’s pickup truck pulling into the parking lot at Nebraska Furniture Mart. I knew I had what it took to follow him in.

God’s presence is uniquely reassuring.

I cannot think about Psalm 23 without pairing it with John 10, where Jesus identifies Himself as the Good Shepherd Who gives His life for the sheep. In the person of Jesus, God takes us by the heart and leads us. Jesus does not give us directions; He becomes the direction through relationship.

Are you directionless? Are you turned around? Are you disoriented? We don’t have what it takes to lead ourselves, but we do have what it takes to follow Jesus. We start where we are by saying, “Help!” We continue by cooperating with the help, and the help turns out to be a relationship with God Who loves us like crazy and leads us from a position of ultimate strength and wisdom.  

I hope Psalm 23 and John 10 benefit you in seeking the Good Shepherd, the One Who says it is okay, the One Who counted on us needing Him. May you and I allow Jesus the Good Shepherd to come and get us, to be our direction in life.

Grace and peace,

Rick Jordan (www.rickcarlajordan.com, rickjordankcmo@gmail.com)

 

Perspective Matters (Psalm 34:1-8)

Psalm 34:1-3 confesses and encourages a buoyant life of grateful praise. In this God-crediting life we are bowing down before God in worship at all times and on all occasions. Our mouths continually express adoring appreciation to God. We are giving God credit for everything we have and everything we are. We cannot keep this life of grateful praise to ourselves; in fact our God-boasting is so compelling that broken people around us are drawn in and positively affected. We are magnifying God so noticeably that our God-magnification invites others to join us. We are lifting God up so irrepressibly that our God-exaltation invites others to join us.

WOW! The Psalmist sets the bar so high that it feels like pole-vaulting praise, doesn’t it? Carla follows a Twitter account called #ThoughtsOfDog. The account tries to capture in 280 characters what dogs might tweet if they could. One such tweet says, “Sometimes you have to spin in circles to appreciate all that’s around you.” Psalm 34 seems like that, doesn’t it?

But…

According to the superscription, David wrote these soaring words IN A CAVE!!! He was probably at the lowest point in his young life. King Saul was after him – again. David had wiped out many of Saul’s enemies but in doing so David had become more popular than Saul (we’ll call that oops #1). Insecure monarchs are easily threatened and they prioritize the decisive elimination of those threats. David had the advantage of being chased by a king who was a lousy aim with a spear. However, Saul was maniacally relentless, so much so that David and his friends were cornered and had to take refuge in Gath, which was Goliath’s hometown (we’ll call that oops #2). The Gathians didn’t want their giant’s killer living among them and they complained to their leader, King Achish (he is called Abimelech in the superscription). To save his skin, Goliath’s killer pretended he was insane, and he was so convincing that Achish told his people to chase Goliath’s drooling and pathetic killer out of Gath – he wasn’t worth the energy it would take to kill him.

Talk about a reversal of fortunes! David had gone from being Israel’s rising star to being a humiliated fugitive hunkered down with his buddies in the slimy confines of a cave. In such circumstances would you and I be lost in grateful praise to God? It’s important to understand that the context for a life of grateful praise is the triumphant internal movement of God’s Spirit in the midst of suffering. Perspective matters, and we always get to choose what perspective we take. Let’s keep perspective in mind as we read Psalm 34:4-8. In these verses, I have enclosed the Hebrew meaning of certain words in parentheses. David is taking us on a guided tour of the context for a life of grateful praise. The contexts are terror, shame, desperation, and vulnerability.

v.4) I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me (snatched me) from all my fears (haunts, terrors). Perspective matters when we are TERRIFIED or HAUNTED. David had ample reasons for both. God delivers our souls from terror and dread. 1st John 4:18 promises us that perfect love casts out fear. God in Christ loves the terror out of us, directly and through our relationships in the community of faith.

v.5) Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. Perspective matters when we are ASHAMED. David was shamed in Gath. If we are ashamed, it usually means somewhere back there in our history we have been shamed. But when we have been shamed, it does not mean we have to be ashamed. Being ashamed is a choice that quickly sets in as a malignant identity. According to this verse, faces are instrumental in recovery from shame. In the Hebrew Scriptures, relationship with God frequently plays out in some form of pre-technology facetime. God can and does heal our souls from shame, but these days God’s actual face is largely invisible. Our faces, however, are highly visible. Never underestimate what faces can do! God can use our faces to communicate divine love and grace. What if God heals shame through our facetime with each other? When I look into your eyes and I see the warmth of acceptance based on the love of Christ, there is in that look an invitation for me to “look into” the face of God and discover that there is no condemnation for those who are in union with Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).  

v.6) This poor soul (desperately) cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble. Perspective matters when we are DESPERATE. David was desperate. But did God really save David from every trouble? Does God really save us from EVERY trouble? Join me in pumping the brakes here, because on the surface we know God does not save us from every trouble. So what gives? Biblically speaking God does not promise to take care of the outside of us in the same way God promises to take care of the inside of us. People of faith still become sick, still have accidents, and still suffer the cruel sucker punches that are inevitable in a fallen world. People of faith still face death, not to mention whatever injury or health breakdown precedes death. God delivers our souls from the bigger trouble of desperation so that we become more than conquerors, sometimes in the ominous thick of the same difficulty that is making us desperate (Romans 8:28-39).

v.7) The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him (those who relate to God with reverent love), and delivers them. Perspective matters when we are VULNERABLE. I can only imagine how vulnerable David felt. God comes around us and brings to our souls a sense of secure peace that this world cannot take from us, and once again God does this in part through human relationships. Sometimes in the Hebrew Scriptures the angel of the Lord is exactly that – an angel. At other times, however, the angel of the Lord is a manifestation of God in the Person of the preincarnate Christ. Psalm 34:7 promises us that God shows up in our vulnerabilities and delivers us by holding us through.

v.8) O taste (judge) and see (by experience) that the Lord is good; blessed are those who take refuge in (hide in) him. A God-crediting life starts here, where we choose the goodness of God. We decide God is good WHILE WE ARE STILL IN THE CAVE! Perspective matters.

Recently I noticed a wall plaque that contains the popular expression, “It’s all good.” I’ve used the expression before. It can be a positive affirmation, but we also use it to counter the reality that it’s NOT all good. Life can be bad. Life can stink. “Taste and see that the Lord is good” is not a form of denial or a way to blunt the edges of suffering. When it is not all good, but we can still affirm that God is good, the cave becomes a holy place.

Sometimes God demonstrates divine goodness by eliminating our terror, dread, shame, desperation, or vulnerability. Most of the time God demonstrates divine goodness by being present in us more deeply than our terror, dread, shame, desperation, or vulnerability. In either scenario, and in all of the scenarios between those two extremes, God is good.

Verses 7 and 8 belong together. Verse 7 says God holds us. Our affirmation that God is good motivates us to take refuge, which means we want to be held by the One holding us, like an upset baby who while crying eventually relaxes into mom’s strong and warm embrace and becomes calm. In this state of being we enter a God crediting life, which loops us back into verses 1-3.

I don’t think David and his buddies were throwing a pity party in the cave. I think they were worshiping. It reminds me of Paul and Silas singing praise songs in a Philippian jail after the city officials had them stripped naked and severely beaten with rods because Paul and Silas had cooperated with the Lord Jesus in delivering a young girl from demons and depriving the economy of the girl’s “entertaining” ways. Oh – the jail where Paul and Silas were chained and bleeding on the floor was a cave the Romans had converted to a jail.

David’s faith friends were right there with him in the cave. Nothing in Psalm 34 is individualistic. God calls us to be in this Christ-following life together, no matter where it takes us. Paul’s admonition to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15) tells us the most powerful gift we can offer one another is the gift of our facetime willingness to keep company with each other in life’s existential caves. Our companionship with one another in those caves can become the way we start discovering God’s goodness.

In 1st Peter, Simon Peter comes alongside David when he says, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1st Peter 2:2-3) In this passage the Lord is the second member of the trinity, Jesus Christ. We know Jesus is good because He atoned for our sins on the cross and three days later busted out of…a cave.

Are you in a cave? What is the name of your cave? Taking Psalm 34 to heart – when we are in a cave the most significant battle may be the battle to keep the cave out of us. How? We taste and see that the Lord is good. How do you know God is good? Go on a spiritual treasure hunt. Where are the signs of God’s goodness in your life these days? Take notes. Ask around. Choose God’s goodness. That choice can transform your perspective, whether you are in the cave, out of the cave, or trying to not cave in.

Can it be this simple? There is one way to find out, and I believe the goodness of God is a decent place to start.

Blessings,

Rick Jordan (www.rickcarlajordan.com, rickjordankcmo@gmail.com)  

 

Guitar Picks and Flexible Gratitude (Psalm 34:1-3)

Due to nerve damage I sustained in a January 2015 automobile accident, I lost the ability to play guitar with a pick. I’ve adapted to playing nylon string guitar with my fingers.

During the past 3½ years I have occasionally visited guitar stores, purchased all kinds of guitar picks, and tried again to play that way, to no avail. I can’t feel the pick, so it falls to the floor. A couple of Fridays ago I tried one more time. I stopped at one of my favorite musical instrument stores. This time I saw a kind of pick I had not come across before. In fact, Rob at Music Gear told me these picks are no longer made. The wide end of the pick is rough so that you can hold on better, but plenty of picks have rough edges. This pick has a little scooped out indentation for the thumb. I tried it in my hand and it stayed! I bought the last two they had.

I was very thankful to God that I had found these picks! I was thinking that maybe now I could return to playing steel string acoustic guitar which would give me more versatility and enable our band to get back together. I showed Carla the picks as soon as she got home. I sat down and started playing. Sure enough, the pick didn’t sail across the room or fall out of my hand. But the loss of sensation in my fingertips and thumb prevented me from keeping the pick where it needed to be, even though I had found one I could hold. I tried and tried that evening, but eventually I realized no amount of practice would change the reality that I could not control the pick anymore. I was disappointed but I realized my little adventure answered once-and-for-all the question about playing guitar with a pick. Once that realization sank in I was very thankful to God for what I had learned, because now I can exclusively concentrate on the way I AM able to play guitar. I’m actually quite excited.

Does it seem to you that the first gratitude should have canceled out the second gratitude? I mean, how can I be thankful for both of those developments? For me, there is no contradiction, because it was never about the picks or my hands. It was always about my heart. With God, everything becomes an inside job.

David begins Psalm 34 by saying, “I will bless the Lord at all times; God’s praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt God’s name together!” (Psalm 34:1-3) The apostle Paul declares something very similar. In Ephesians 5:20 Paul says, “And give thanks for everything to God the Father and to the Lord Jesus Christ.” In 1st Thessalonians Paul says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

On that Friday my heart won twice, because I chose to be grateful twice. A life that gives credit to God is a life that can flex and breathe.

What do Psalm 34:1-3, Ephesians 5:20, and 1st Thessalonians 5:18 say to you about gratitude? How do these passages stretch you in your life of faith?

Blessings,

Rick Jordan (www.rickcarlajordan.com, rickjordankcmo@gmail.com)

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Just Breathe! (Psalm 104, Psalm 150, Ezekiel 37:1-6)

When You give them Your breath, life is created, and You renew the face of the earth. I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath! (Psalm 104:30, 33)

We have an enormous backyard, and in some places there is more dirt than grass. As I was mowing recently, the mower began sputtering and coughing. It would barely run. I stopped, pulled off the filter cover, and saw the problem. The filter was clogged with dust. I did not have a new filter, so I knocked and blew the dust out of the old one and put it back.

Note to self – when you blow into a filter, make sure you first gauge the wind direction.

I started the mower and it instantly ran like it was meant to run. Mowers cannot function unless they can breathe.

Neither can people.

The Hebrew word translated “breath” is also the Hebrew word translated “Spirit” and “wind.” God created oxygen, and us, and our lungs. We must breathe in order to live, but how we breathe affects our quality of life.

Ready for an anatomy lesson? Our lungs occupy a significant portion of our torso. They extend nearly as far down as our ribcage. When we take a deep breath we fill those lungs, instantly supplying oxygen throughout our bodies. When we take a shallow breath we do not fill our lungs; in fact, we deprive oxygen throughout our bodies.

The more stressed out or anxious we are, the less of our lungs we use. We breathe anatomically higher, only using the upper section of our lungs. Our wound-up emotions produce oxygen deprivation, forcing our bodies to work harder AND giving our bodies less of what they need.

Since God has given us oxygen and breath and lungs, why not take full advantage of these gifts when we need them the most? If we can condition ourselves to breathe deeply, combining that breathing with Scripture and prayer, we are using what God gave us AND we are seeking God’s peace and strength with every breath we take. Deep breathing lowers blood pressure, slows down the pulse, and clears our minds. Deep breathing also makes us more available to God.

There is a breathing exercise simply called 4-7-8. You breathe in through your nose to a 4 count. You hold your breath for a 7 count. You breathe out through your mouth to an 8 count. You can repeat several times, combining the 4-7-8 breathing with a very short “breath prayer…”

…“Jesus, thank You for being my peace.”

…“God, I let go and let You.”

…“God I need You.”

…”Jesus I trust You.” (That’s my go-to breath prayer.)

Your heart will usually tell you what you need to pray, but you cannot go wrong using Scriptures. You can apply this breathing discipline literally anywhere at anytime, but you may want to start at home by yourself so that you can become acquainted with it. And if you have pulmonary issues or are on medication for anxiety, please consult your doctor first.

God can use our breathing to empty us of anxiety and fill us with His Spirit.

I love what Ezekiel 37:1-6 says about breath. Here it is:

The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “You alone know the answer to that.” Then He said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

God puts breath in us, we come to life, and we know God is God. I love that sequence!

Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:6)

Blessings,

Rick Jordan (www.rickcarlajordan.com, rickjordankcmo@gmail.com)