Week 1 Monday

Breath of Life

Today’s scripture selection: Genesis 1-3

Key verse: Genesis 2:7

When was the last time you felt out of breath?  If it was just recently – join the club.  As a pastor one of the most frequent responses I hear when I innocently ask “So, how’s it going?” is a labored sigh followed by an almost breathless comment.  “O.K., I guess.”  And then the real honesty shows.  “But I am just SO TIRED!”  If I have shown the good sense to not interrupt, but just nod in sympathy, what follows is usually along the following lines.  “I don’t know, I just run all of the time.  I can hardly catch my breath!”  Then I usually hear something about missed deadlines; or ball game practices; or dance recitals; or dental appointments or…you get the picture.

Maybe you can identify with this modern day malady.  If so – let me make a suggestion.  Right now, while you are reading these words, just take a long, slow, deep breath.  If you need to, take another one.  Then, as you feel the color coming back into your face and your pulse slowing, utter a short prayer of thanks.  Thank God for filling your lungs, and your life, with His breath of life.

It all began a long time ago.  Exactly how long ago isn’t really all that important.  But our faith proclaims that at some point the Creator started something very, very good.  And along with making the Sun and the Moon; that beautiful mountainside or lovely beach; all the animals in all their glorious complexity; all the plants in all their beauty – along with all that – God made US.  You personally came along a lot later.  But on that glorious day of holy creation – God made us all – male and female – breathed His breath into us – and said, “Now THAT is really good!”

So the next time you are stressed to the max; the next time you are gasping for air, trust that the answer is not to be found in doing more, or even necessarily doing less.  It is to be found in realizing and giving thanks for God’s constant loving and empowering presence in your life.  He gives you strength and hope and purpose and the peace that passes all understanding.  Today – take a deep breath – and give thanks.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for creating me and breathing your Spirit into my life.  Teach me to walk daily in the peace that comes from knowing you are only a breath away.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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