April 4, 2017

Life

Searching for Life

  • Powerful telescopes search far out into space looking for signs of life.
  • Powerful microscopes peer into the smallest of spaces looking for the mysteries of life.
  • Here on earth scientists scrape the surface and probe the depths of this globe for clues of how things and people lived and died before our time.
  • Secular prophets study current trends and
  • pagan fortune tellers read palms to try and see how life will be lived in the future.

For the follower of Christ the search is simple—life is a gift from God.
The breath in our bodies came from the Spirit of God, giving us a life that is unique in all of creation—one that lasts for all time.  This life must not be lived as an animal lives, following instinct:

  • the will to survive, and
  • the avoidance of pain.

Neither is our life like that of plants: thoughtless, responding to wind and rain and sunlight only to perish with the passing of time.

Ruach— Hebrew for the Breath of God
The breath of God in us, first given to Adam and now passed through the generations to each of us, gives purpose to the life we live.  We are not the center of our world.  As the solar system revolves around the sun, the believer’s life revolves around the Son of God.  His will is our highest goal, not our survival and pleasure.  Wealth and prominence are not the measures of the life we are called to live for Jesus.  Jesus’ approval is the reward we seek.

The life we are called to live for Jesus is one of joy, an unusual joy that gives strength.  We have a guaranteed eternal destination and s daily walk with God to take us there.  We share a community with others who follow Jesus, and we are noted for the love we share together.  This life is more than physical systems: air coming and going through us, blood coursing in us, and the systematic transformation of food into energy.

It is even more than the sum total of our thoughts and words spoken each day.

  • Our real nourishment comes from the Bread of Heaven.
  • Our wisdom is from the Living Word.
  • The animating spirit within us is itself animated by the Holy Spirit.
  • According to scripture, we have the mind of Christ.
  • The life we live we live by faith in the Son of God.
  • Our innocence before men, healing through time, and justification before God are ours the through the power of the Blood of Jesus.

We have no need of telescopes or microscopes to find the life we enjoy.  We simply inhale the Breath of God, gaze into our hearts, and find Jesus there.

Scriptures

Romans 6:23 NKJV
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Luke 12:15
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Genesis 2:6-7
…the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Psalm 16:11
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Matthew 10:39; 19:17
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
… If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
Luke  21:19
By standing firm you will gain life.

Prayer of Confession:
John’s Testimony of Christ
John 1:1-5; 1 John 1:1-3; John 1:10-14
(from The Book of Daily Worship, adapted SRP)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Song:
My Life Is In You
Words and Music: Daniel Gardner

My life is in You, Lord,
My strength is in You, Lord
My hope is in You, Lord
In You, it’s in You. (Repeat)

I will praise You with all of my heart.
I will praise You with all of my hope.
With all of my life, and all of my strength.
All of my hope is in You.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

February 7, 2017

Breath

It is more than air, this breath we breathe.
There is something in us, the breath of life, that was imparted to us at the moment of the creation of Adam, that is different from the breath of animals. With this transfer from the being of God to the lifeless form of Adam, freshly fashioned from earth, Adam became a living being, a living soul, as the Old King James Version says. This was a separate act of creation; God spoke everything else into existence but Adam and Eve were handcrafted by Him. One of the definitions of “breathed into” is “inflated.” Spiritually, Adam was like a deflated balloon, flat, useless, full of nothing. But the breath of God changed all that. This is so personal, this personal inflation of a created being with the breath of its Creator.

Why? Why a separate creative process? Why so personal an impartation of life from God to mankind?

“The One Most Beloved”
There is a biblical term that has found its way into common use meaning for “the one most beloved;” “the apple of my eye.” God calls Israel this and expects us to consider His Word to be the apple of our eye.” “Most beloved” status in the heart of God is the result of this moment in the Garden of Eden when Adam came to life. This breath of life has been passed down to each of us, the children of Adam and Eve. We are designed to thrive on the breath of God, the Holy Spirit. One of Hebrew words for spirit is ruach, meaning the breath of God—His very life!

ruach OT:7307, “breath; air; strength; wind; breeze; spirit; courage; temper; Spirit.” (Vine’s Dictionary)

The breath in us is God’s living Spirit!

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” the Psalmist says. Praise is our purpose, the reason we have breath to breathe. We praise Him with:

  • Our songs of praise and worship,
  • Our witness to His story and His grace in our lives,
  • The integrity of our hearts,
  • The work of our hands, and
  • The obedience of our walk with Him.

So, when the music starts and you are given a song to sing with the Saints—go for it! Give it all you’ve got.

This is the reason you have breath within you!

Scriptures:
Genesis 2:7 NKJV
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Psalm 150 NIV
Praise the LORD.Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.
Mark 12:29-31 NIV
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I will praise You today! I will praise You whether I like or even know the songs we are asked to sing. My praise shall be as authentic in me as my breath. At Your holy inflation, my life was filled with Your life. When sin had caught me and left me struggling for air, You rescued me and returned me to Your Holy Presence, where I can breathe the clear air of heaven. I will not waste my breath on curses, or vile words, or empty musings that do not smell of Your sweetness. I will use the breath of life within me to sing of Your virtues, to proclaim Your excellence, to shout Your praise and to tell Your story! All for You, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Song:
Let Everything That Has Breath
Words and Music: Rich Gomez
(
from Ron Kenoly’s album  “Lift Him Up”)

Let everything that has breath Praise the Lord
And let the living proclaim
Let everything that has breath Praise the Lord

Let every instrument Sound His praise
As all His people adore
Let everything that has breath Praise the Lord

I will open up my mouth And He will fill it with praise
I will magnify His name The name that stands
Above all names is Jesus

High sounding cymbals and trumpets of brass
The sound of one accord
Let everything that has breath
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord

My Lord has put a new song in my heart
It’s a song of praise to my God
And everyone who hears it will rejoice
Let everything that has breath
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved