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Hunger, Thirst and Breathe!

I attended a baptism on Easter Sunday. There was an incredible testimony. It was probably the most awesome baptism I have been a part of including my own son’s baptism. While I was sitting there, I felt God moving and I could not hold back tears as hard as I tried. This is what being the Church is about!!!!!  Then a phrase came to my mind.  It was, “Get out of the way.” Off-hand I do not think it was directed at any individual or me.  I did begin to reflect in the days after that that often we do stuff that we think is right and helping when God is moving, but we are just rocks in the stream.

Then a couple of weeks later, this happened.

I picked up a stomach bug sometime during a trip up from Kentucky to drop my dad back off in Pennsylvania. The worst was over on Thursday morning and I was able to break my fever by Friday morning which allowed me to mask up and travel (fly) back at that time. A delay in my flight out of Scranton, PA, meant I would be arriving in Charlotte,NC, when my connecting flight to Kentucky was scheduled to take off. Thankfully I had to go to the counter to check in for some reason so it was caught and fixed when I checked in so I didn’t have to figure it out afterwards like a bunch of other people. But it meant that my 6.5 hour door-to-door trip turned into a 12 hour door-to-door trip while I was still weak from not eating or drinking much for two days.

Now because God can use anything… I was sitting in the airport in Charlotte (really long layover) and the phrase “hunger and thirst for righteousness” came to my mind. I had never really thought about what that actually meant until I was sitting there in a weakened state needing to eat and drink, but wary of doing so and wary of what kinds of food to put in my body while traveling. Then it really hit me. 

To actually “hunger and thirst for righteousness” is to want righteousness above almost anything else. It is to be weakened spiritually without it. Sure we can function for a while without it, but it is not sustainable. We will not grow, thrive, and actually live into what God has called us as His followers to be and become. 

What one thing is needed before righteousness? It is the breath of God. Without that we die fast. We cease to be. It is no accident that “Jesus breathed on his disciples and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.'”. It is not, as the book or movie title states, that people are “Waiting to Exhale.” It is that many people are instead waiting to inhale. They are looking for something that will fill them with life, that will sustain them, that will in fact help their entire being move and live again. 

So some people go through the motion of breathing without realizing that what they are taking in does not help them, but actually hurts them (like carbon monoxide, where people can breathe it in and not realize they are slowly being poisoned). Others feel the breath of God on their face, but like the rushing wind when we stick our heads out the window of a moving vehicle, they become afraid because it is just too much to take in, so they wait to inhale. They look for something easier, something calmer, something more in their “comfort zone” and they wait to inhale whilst dying a little with each passing minute. 

Here is the amazing part… God is willing to give His Spirit to us ALWAYS. We have only to do one thing: Inhale. Once we are back to life, we naturally hunger and thirst for the one thing that will nourish, sustain, and invigorate us: Righteousness. This righteousness is not a political agenda. It is not us fighting some doctrine which we think doesn’t line up with Scripture. It is a way of life. It is living into and continuing the kingdom which God began when he sent His Son to earth. “The kingdom of heaven is among you.” It is not something that will happen in the future. It is not something to look forward to one day when Jesus returns. It is something that the followers of Jesus create and sustain through their relationship with the Head of the Kingdom every minute of every day in every interaction with God’s creation and especially with those who have been created in His image. It takes work.  It takes effort.  It is costly.  It sucks often. It doesn’t look right to those on the outside. There are no armies, physical weapons, or people riding their high horses into battle. It is a person riding a donkey to their demise so that others can join the Kingdom of God. But even then, God has the last word for that person and they are raised again because they were righteous. They join Him and live on forever in a redeemed body where communion with God is easy and they no longer “see through the veil dimly”, but are able to see Him “face to face”. 

Well, that is what I was taught while sitting in my weakened state in the airport on that Friday. The God we serve is crazy and amazing and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  So, inhale, breathe deep, and receive the Holy Spirit, Church, then ride the wind, because God is moving.

Alfred belongs to an Inspire House Fellowship in Kentucky, USA. 

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