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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Breathe (08/19/10)

TITLE: Breath of Life
By Edmond Ng
08/23/10


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Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life."'" (Ezekiel 37:9 NAS)
The RT television network reported on August 3, 2010 that intense temperatures and the worst dry spell for generations continue to pound parts of Russia, with at least forty lives already claimed by wildfires. Hundreds were injured. Seven of the hardest-hit regions were in a state of emergency and one of them was the greater Moscow area.

“There is no air to breath in Moscow,” said Andrey Pozhalov, a Moscow resident who spoke to BBC News about living in the smog. “There is a smell of burning everywhere. Most offices switch off air-conditioning systems to prevent smoke flowing into the building, but the temperature immediately goes up. The only way to survive is to wear a gauze bandage, but it doesn't help when you are in the street because it dries out in a few minutes. Apart from coming to work, I try to stay indoors as much as possible. I have stopped going out jogging in the morning because it is just impossible.”

We know what it means to be out of breath when we over exercise or when air pollution becomes so bad we can hardly breathe. As one suffering from hypoxia, I understand this very well. Hypoxia is the condition in which the body as a whole or in part is deprived of adequate oxygen supply often resulting in breathlessness. This is why I always avoid places that have low air flow. Avoidance however may not be possible all the time, especially when onboard the airplane. In such situations, all I would do is simply stay calm to be at peace and find rest as I go through it.

Much like the wildfires in many parts of Russia, the Bible also reported of a time when Lot, the nephew of Abram, had to flee from Sodom to catch his breath because of brimstone and fire falling out of heaven (Genesis 19:14-25). In the same way, just as Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, so the day of the Lord will be when the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:28-30). There will be no way for the yet unsaved to prevent the rising temperature of the eternal fire from hell or avoid the smog of death (Revelation 19:20; 20:10; 21:8), for only in Christ can they survive (Romans 8:1).

In that day, it will not help even if the unsaved have done many good deeds in their lives, because salvation can only be received by grace through Christ and not by works (Romans 5:1-2; Galatians 2:16). Apart from receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior, there is no other way to salvation (John 14:6). Even if they have lived holy and decent lives, and have stopped doing whatever is wrong or sinful, it is still impossible for them to receive eternal life without Christ in their hearts and Jesus as Lord of their lives (Matthew 19:16-24). As believers therefore, we should not neglect to preach Christ and bring as many as possible to our Lord.

Just as we know what it means to be lifeless without Christ as Lord of our lives, let us also not fall into the condition of ‘hypoxia’ to be found lacking in spirit the breath of life (Ezekiel 37:1-4). Instead, let us be empowered and filled with the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 37:5-14; John 20:22). Let us take clear steps to avoid situations that can stifle our spiritual lives. If avoidance is not possible, then let us stay calm to be at peace before the Lord and find rest in Him as we go through every situation in His strength.

Thank You, dear Lord, for always being present with us wherever we are, and especially at the time of our need. Though we may at times be caught in the smog of spiritual lifelessness, O God, we know You will never let us be without help. Lead us therefore dear Lord and do not allow us to fall into situations that stifle our spiritual lives and become breathless. Instead, renew us by Your Holy Spirit, Lord. Grant us the ability to stand strong and stay clear from the heat of temptation that we may with Your peace find rest in You to go through every difficult situation.


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This article has been read 430 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Heywood08/26/10
Excellent! I loved how you wove very current events with ancient ones (Lot) and of those to come. Personally, I find it interruptive when thoughts are broken up with numerous Scripture references. I know that you're merely backing up what you have to say, and it's probably just a matter of preference. I would rather read a complete thought, though, w/o all the references. This was well done and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Good work!
Tina Leonard08/26/10
Since I joined the membership I have been reading numerous challenge entries and writing them myself as well. Reading your entry this week was refreshing to me. Everyone has different styles of writing that they enjoy and I have yet to find what feeds me until today. This was great from start to finish and I love the scripture references. Kudos~ and you have a new fan.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/27/10
This is a great devotion. You pulled me in when talking about the present and weaving it with events of the past.
Barbara Lynn Culler08/30/10
Living in Southern California, I am well acquainted with heat and fire and smog.

Your devotional rings so true.
Genia Gilbert08/30/10
Reminds me of a chorus we used to sing at out church:
"...Holy Spirit, breathe on me; Take Thou my heart, cleanse every part, Holy Spirit, breathe on me.
Charla Diehl 08/31/10
You did a great job with the topic in this piece. I liked the present time being compared to Biblical times and your ending prayer made this a beautiful devotion.
Caitlyn Meissner08/31/10
The news of fires in Russia and the interview with the Russian man really pulled me into this article. I like how you used it to illustrate your point.

The last sentence in the fourth paragraph struck me as awkward. Instead of saying "In such situations, all I would do", could you say "In such situations, all I can do"? I think the "can" might make it sound a little more forceful, and keep us in the moment.

And I loved how you fit the message of salvation into this. Well done!
Mona Purvis09/01/10
A lot to ponder in this very well-written message. The Russia part I found especially interesting.

Mona
Cheryl Harrison 09/01/10
I like the way you intertwined the condition of the air in Russia with the breath of life that only God can give. Keep writing.
Nancy Sullivan 09/01/10
I truly enjoyed your original approach to the topic. Very timely and challenging. Great job.