The God-Given Breath of Life

Behold, You have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before You. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah  (Psalm 39:5)

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Penetrating cold. The mother shivers and heads back inside to add more layers, returning to brave the weather with the little boy who has begged to go outside all morning. The cold doesn’t seem to penetrate him though, as he laughs and plays in the snow. Happiness wraps him in warmth, while his breath expels odd shapes in the air. His mittened hand reaches out to hold captive the puffs which only elude him, dissipating too soon in the air. Yet, the hand reaches out again and again to try and capture those fading wisps in the frigid air.

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Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. (Psalm 144:4)

Someone described seeing your breath when it’s cold “like a puff of warm fog intruding on the cold air.”1 That warmth is the visible presence of life in a cold atmosphere. It is the proof that we are alive, yet it is, also, the warning that this breath lasts only a little while before it expires and is no longer visible. We cannot grasp it in the air and hold onto it.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. (Proverbs 27:1)

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The young boy and his mother return inside to the warmth of the house, huddled close on the rocker. He blows outward, but sees nothing and asks his mother why this is so. She ponders how to answer and, finally, tells him that God provides the warmth of a home secure from the cold, so he can’t see his breath inside. She asks him to breathe deeply, hold his now unmittened hand in front of his mouth, and expel the breath. He feels the warm air and blows again and again. This is life, his mother tells him. When we can see and feel the breath from inside of us, we know God has blessed us with more time to be together. The boy smiles at his mother, snuggling closer, the mother capturing the moment in her heart, knowing this time will only last a little while.

For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. (I Chronicles 29:15)

The time of our sojourn here,

Though transient,

 Is a blessing from God.

Breathe deeply. Exhale.

Smile and laugh.

Thank God for the moments.

 

1 Anonymous. Uk.answers.yahoo.com/questions

(Sharon G. Tate  blog 01/14/18)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Turning our Hearts to the Eternal: The Things We Left Behind

treasures in heaven

“All that is not eternal is eternally useless.” 1

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Spring cleaning is upon us. Time to clean out that garage, those closets, the chest of drawers, a dusty attic, the musty basement—and purge. But, oh wait, what’s this. Why I remember when I first got this—and what about this—or this. I might just need- or want- to have these around.  And all the rest of these things…well, there is always next spring, right?

 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:13-15)

Things. We all have them. They comprise our present comforts, current wants, newest gadgets, oldest memories. The things we have hung in closets, laid in drawers, stored in cupboards,  packed away in boxes, hooked up to charging adaptors, plugged into wall outlets, or framed in pictures will never accompany us on our eternal journey.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Things:Transients Housed Inside Nesting Growing Sprouting

“Things” are external items which can gain entrance internally and occupy parts of our hearts and minds to the point of becoming our gods, because we spend so much time, money, and even devotion to them. It is more difficult for us today to separate ourselves from our things, because we have so much access to material items. Our culture promotes the latest fads, the newest cars, the most up-to-date tech gadgets, the must-have apps. We are constantly bombarded through ads, sales, and the propaganda of self to purchase things—and more things.

This “occupation of things” in our hearts and minds eventually affects our souls, leaving little room for God. Where there is storage of the temporal and transient, the true treasures should be housed and allowed to nest, grow, and sprout inside, so we can turn our hearts and minds to the eternal and everlasting.

Time for spring cleaning—before our dust becomes a mist that vanishes, and all we have to show our God are the things we left behind.

1 C.S. Lewis. Unsorted Quotes, Devotional Bits – Calvin College.https://www.calvin.edu/.

 

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/24/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word