Bob Hamp

The Breath of Life

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By: Bob Hamp

Only moments earlier, a lifeless object had lain on the ground.  In a moment, everything shifted, and now, standing boldly in the light, a man stared intently upward and gasped in new air.  What had been dead tissue was now bright pink lungs, rising and falling with every vigorous breath.  Muscle, sinew and bone formed the sturdy framework of the man whose eyes, now bright with life, stared at his Father.  In his first moments of consciousness, Adam was receiving from God the Breath of Life, and all that came with it. Focus, energy, adrenaline…all these had his body and soul shouting, “I AM ALIVE!”

This storyline repeats throughout the Bible.  Chaos and death fill the atmosphere.  Hope lies, without breath, a casualty of the moment.  The absence of life is like a weight in the air. Then everything shifts.  What had been death is replaced with the vigorous life that comes from the Breath of God, the very Breath of Life.   A widow’s son, a nation’s hope, a dead man named Lazarus, and, of course, the lifeless body of Jesus in a sealed tomb; countless moments soaked in death turn around in a second.  And every one of these moments has one thing in common:  The Breath of God.  The Breath of Life.

The dilemma for us all is that we once traded in this transformational power source, the Breath of Life, for a cheap and ineffectual substitute: our knowledge.  Specifically, we traded the power of our Present God for our knowledge of good and evil.   As we recognize evil, we apply our best knowledge of good in an attempt to fix the evil we see.  Adam and his wife sought every way possible to hide their evil.  From fig leaves to family conflict, they did all they could to cover their mistake.  But as always, their knowledge – our knowledge – is completely inadequate to restore the flow of Life. 

We are not so different.  When things begin to fall apart, when we come face to face with the condition of our lives, we scramble to find an answer, a solution.  We bring our knowledge of good to full force in our circumstances.  And just like the man and woman who began it all, no amount of our good knowledge can restore life to the death in our moments. 

The Breath of Life is a force like no other.  The life of God is far more than just the absence of death and the presence of a heartbeat.  Like the power plant from which we draw all of our electricity, the Breath of Life is the source and sustenance of all that is good and right.  Life from God is a tangible substance filled with aliveness, and therefore the power to overcome death and darkness.  Life existed before living beings, and it was this substance that God inserted into beings to make them alive.  It was this life that God inserted into Lazarus to make him alive, into lepers to make them well, and into Zaccheus to make him love again. It is this life that God wants to insert into our present circumstances.

Listen to the words of the Apostle John describing Jesus: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (John 1:4)

Jesus brought with Him the very thing we need the most.  Not a strategic plan or a set of steps to restoration, but Jesus brought the Breath of Life.  And everywhere Jesus went, every place He set His feet, He delivered what we needed most.  To the grave of His friend Lazarus in Bethany, He brought the Breath of Life.  To the bodies of the crippled and the souls of the oppressed, He breathed the Breath of Life.  To the woman at the well, He delivered rivers of Life.  Everywhere He saw the impact of death and darkness, He breathed the Breath of Life. 

Listen again to the words of Jesus: “The thief comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I come that you might have life, and life abundantly.” (John 10:10)

We must remember in our ground-level lives that the God we believe in is the same God who spoke the world into existence with a Word, and brings change to our circumstances just by showing up.  The force of His nearness changes everything.  While we ask Him to rearrange a few pieces of life, He desires deeply to breathe power into our moments.  His desire is not so much to change our moments, but to help us become the kind of people that in the face of death and darkness turn again to our Source and not to our ideas.  His desire is to help us become the kind of people who can stand defiantly in the midst of chaos and confusion while every fiber of our mind, will and hearts shouts at the darkness, “I AM ALIVE!”

Wherever you are today, stand up, breathe in deeply the Breath of the Living God, and look your circumstances in the eye.  Tell them that you serve the God who spoke everything into existence.  Tell them that they, too, serve this God, and then serve them notice.  In spite of the worst that hell has to throw at you, tell your circumstances, “I AM ALIVE!”

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Bob Hemp

Bob Hamp is the Executive Pastor of Pastoral Care at Gateway Church and helped develop their Freedom Ministry.  Bob and his wife, Jackee, live in Keller, Texas.  He is also the author of the book Think Differently Live Differently: Keys to a Life of Freedom Find the book and read more at www.bobhamp.com.

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What do You Want to talk About?

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By: by Bob Hamp

The Journey Continues….

We could easily spend several months writing on the “how does God talk to us, and why am I having a hard time hearing Him…” conversation.  I hope we have at least gotten most of us over that hurdle, so that we can move on.  I also hope that I at least pointed you to some resources that can help further.  But we need to get on to the question, “What does God want to talk to us about.”

Again, the set up for our “stuck-ness” is an interplay between our circumstances, our soul, and the spiritual realm.  So watch for these same elements on the journey to freedom.

The kind of things that God brings up in conversation are almost almost surprising, and yet amazingly insightful Go back and look at the comment from Josiah C, on “The way Out” (two posts ago.  He provides us with excellent examples of what appears to be God changing the subject.  The reality is, it is we who are not familiar with our subject.  Often God wants to talk to us about the specifics of our own personal set-up. I have seen countless times where people are completely taken by surprise at the moments, memories, or relationships that God brings to mind.  But once we examine the lie that was believed, and the defenses that were implemented it begins to make perfect sense.  More than making sense, it often produces the very change we have been seeking.

Carl Jung has been quoted as saying that most human suffering comes from our attempts to avoid legitimate suffering.  This is his way, (and yes, I did just quote Jung….) of saying that our solutions can quickly become worse than our problems.

When talking to an alcoholic, what do you think their problem is?

More often than not, we think the problem is alcohol.  I would submit that the problem is actually pain.  Alcohol is simply a bad solution, or an attempt to avoid the legitimate suffering of life circumstances.  So if you wee to ask God to talk to someone struggling with addiction, what do you think He would talk about?

Follow This

Talking about the symptom usually produces shame and frustration, so God usually does not talk about the symptom.

Talking about the root problem may or may not be helpful.  Knowing the diagnosis does not always equal treatment. So God often does not want to talk about root problems.

Talking about positive things can often simply provoke unconscious defenses when we have believed negative things. So God seldom gives pep talks.

If God talks about Himself and how He feels about you, it can provide safety, nurture, and power in the midst of our fear and powerlessness.

If God tells you what He made to be true about you, it begins to make you feel safe, and loved.  Feeling safe and loved allows us to begin to drop our protections.

Problems can actually go away when we see and hear God talk about His Nature, His Love for us, and how He made us.

What do you think God wants to talk about?


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Bob Hamp