“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 2:7
My father-in-law once told me people are prideful if they do no take time to thank God for the very breath they breathe each and every day. I try to start my mornings by thanking God for allowing me to serve Him one more day and by asking Him what I can do for Him each day. Life is not about pursuing our own agendas, but about pursuing God and His plan, purpose and will for our lives.
I was reminded yesterday just how important it is to thank God for these things. A friend told me a very scary story yesterday of what happened to her husband over the week. He was hand selected by the company he works for to take part in a special getaway and bonding time in a cabin and on a rafting trip in Colorado. He was one of several employees selected to join the company president. The weekend was going very well until the rafting trip. Everyone was in two rafts on the Colorado River in frigid waters in Class II and III rapids. Well, something happened to the second raft and everyone on board fell into the water. The raft guide was in shock, so he couldn’t help anyone. Everyone on the first boat stopped to help everybody on the second boat. My friend’s husband and the other raft guide helped pull everyone to safety. One person was experiencing early stages of hypothermia and the raft guide on the tipped boat was walking aimlessly in circles. The one woman who was on the trip coughed, cried and then she had a blank stare on her face. She wasn’t breathing. My friend’s husband and the raft guide administered CPR for an HOUR until the paramedics FINALLY arrived to the remote location. It was too late for this woman; tragically, she died right there on the spot.
As humans, we tend to think that those kinds of accidents won’t happen to us. They happen instead to other people. We live with the thinking we’ll grow to experience old age. Some people do, but not everybody is meant for long years on Earth. I was reminded of this recently with the death of a very young youth pastor who died from a bee sting who was known and loved by many of my friends back at home. He was in his mid-twenties, married and left behind a two-month-old child. We should be thankful for every breath God gives to us! You can do this with the following steps:
1) Upon waking up each morning, thank Jesus for the opportunity to serve Him another day on Earth and for the blessings He has given to you. Each day we are alive is blessing in and of itself and should not be wasted. If we look around us, we can see many blessings God has given to us. Thank God for the little things — the breath of life, sunny weather, flowers in bloom, birds chirping, clean water to drink, a wonderful spouse and/or family, good friends, food to eat, and a roof over your head. If we appreciate the simple things in life, it will help us keep everything else in perspective. If God has blessed you in a big way recently, be sure to specifically thank Him for what He has done. Remember too that each day is a gift and should not be spent to please ourselves. We are here on Earth to please God — to magnify Him, honor Him and bring glory to His name.
2) Spend time morning, noon and night meditating on God’s Word. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. He left us His instruction manual as a blueprint for how to live our lives each day for Him. It is full of wisdom, and it surpasses any knowledge we can gain anywhere on this planet. It is so easy to get distracted. Satan is the master of distraction, and he will do all he can to prevent you from cracking open you Bible each day. We must remain focused and committed to reading, studying and mediating on God’s Word. Sometimes we may only make time to read a scripture or a passage. This is a good start. Eventually, you can learn to study the whole Bible from end to end. (Something I am working on right now!) God often speaks to us through His Word. Maybe a verse leaps off the page, and you know the Holy Spirit is prompting your heart to listen to what it says. Perhaps a passage rolls off your tongue at just the right time that you didn’t even know you actually knew when a friend needed to hear it. God’s Word will never come back empty. It brings hope and provides guidance and direction for our lives.
3) Pray to God and ask Him to show you what He wants you to do each day. Each day we have our to-do lists and our agendas. We are often too busy to be used by God in the ways He wants to use us. When He uses us, He not only shows others who He is, but He also helps us to develop our character and to perfect us a little more each day. God doesn’t always work in our time table. Sometimes He may ask you to do something that seems really inconvenient. He doesn’t always ask us to do what seems comfortable for us. You will never regret stepping out of your comfort zone for Jesus! We must be open to whatever God has in mind for us whenever He wants us to do it. If He is really the author and Lord of your life, you must learn to submit and obey.
4) Cast all your cares and worries upon Jesus, and leave them forever at His feet. If you trust God and have faith in Him, you know that He is able to more than even the greatest human on Earth. He created the universe and the heavens, and He is capable of handling even your greatest trials and tribulations. If the doctor tells you you have a life-threatening illness, you should first and foremost remember that God is our Great Physician and Healer. If you are struggling with a difficult relationship or circumstance, remember that God is our Wonderful Counselor. If your finances are in trouble, remember that the Lord provides. If you are scarred from abuse, remember that God is our Heavenly Father and Comforter. I find it helpful when I am going through a hard time in my life to study the names of God and to meditate on His attributes and His many promises for our lives.
5) Do not waste opportunities to share the love of Christ with those who do not yet know Him. You never know if it will be your final opportunity with someone before they pass away. My coworker Belinda died of brain cancer about a year and half ago. She was fifty years old. She left behind a husband and two young, grown daughters and a six-month-old granddaughter. She died in less than a year from her diagnosis. She was at work one day and fighting for her very life the next day and gone in such a short time. It is easy to put off having a conversation with others about Christ. We should always ask God for the right opportunity to approach others He has placed in our lives who do not know Him. We should also ask God for wisdom on how to approach people. When the time is right, do not hesitate. You do not want to live with regrets later that you missed an opportunity God placed right in front of you.
6) As you go to bed each night, reflect upon what God has done in your life that day. God does amazing things each and every day of our lives. He does things to us, through us, around us and for us. Ask God to help you remember some of the significant things that were said and done that day. Ask Him to show you how and where He is using you, where is He perfecting you into His image and where you still need to grow and what you still need to do. God gives each one of us a vision and purpose for our lives. He has given us each unique traits and personalities and gifts that should not be squandered. When you meditate on what God has done throughout the day, you will feel blessed and encouraged. You can even end this reflection by writing down what God has revealed to you in a journal and saying a word of prayer to God. (Journals are great to look at later as the next trial comes into your life.)
7) Praise Him and worship Him for who He is! Above all else, God desires that we praise and worship Him with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength. God is truly incredible, and we are incredibly loved! Our thought life should give Him praise. Our words should bring Him praise. Our actions should bring Him praise. Our hearts should show Him praise. Our very souls should bring Him praise. Our whole lives should reflect Jesus in every way. Can others see Jesus in you as they get to know who you really are? Do you reflect Him in your life? Are you submitting and obeying to His calling for you today?
One church song called “Lord, I Give You My Heart” says this:
This is my desire
To honor You
Lord, with all my heart
I worship You
All I have within me
I give You praise
All that I adore
Is in You
Lord, I give You my heart
I give You my soul
I live for You alone
Every breath that I take
Every moment I’m awake
Lord, have Your way in me
Let these be your words today!
Pray this Prayer: “Jesus, I thank you for the breath of life. I thank you that I am here today. May I use every opportunity handed to me today to praise, worship, honor and serve you. May your Word give me guidance, wisdom and direction for my life. Please make me more like you. I thank you for all of my blessings. May I be a faithful steward with all of my earthly provisions. I cast all of my anxieties on you knowing full well you hear my cries and are able to do more than I can even comprehend. I pray for boldness to share your love with others, and I pray that You and Your light will be reflected in me. I am grateful and privileged for today and the chance to be in your very presence. Thank you for all you have done and are continuing to do in my life. Amen.”