Isn't it great to know that life isn't about politics and our daily battles in this life? As we move toward the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, it is wonderful to know that our life is really about knowing the Lord and having the privilege and pleasure of worshipping the Lord with all of our hearts and minds in spirit and in truth. That is the Lord's joyful call to everyone. With that in mind, this week's edition of the Carlson Report is about our life of worship and praise of the Lord. I hope you enjoy this article about worship and pass it along to somebody you love and care about today.
Are you breathing right now? If you are, then there is good news...you are still alive! As long as breath goes in and out of our lungs each moment, we are among the living. Our breath is a profound thing, because a lot of things have to go right in our bodies for it to happen at all. Breathing is largely an automatic thing we do without ever thinking about it. However, from time to time, each of us can control our breathing to decide to speed it up or slow it down. As an example, have you ever tried to see how long you could hold your breath? Most of us have done that at least once in our lives. But under normal circumstances, when our body needs oxygen, it gets us to breathe. The average person takes in about 23,040 breathes a day, more than anyone would ever guess. Bottom line: Breath is life and at the heart of some amazing insights to the Lord's purposes in our lives.
One of the things that is often missed when we think about breathing is the fact that our breath is needed so we can even speak. Our vocals chords are designed to work as air moves over them. So, without our breath, and air moving over them, we couldn't say a word to anyone. As we stop and think about it, this connection between breath and words contains some very deep and profound things about life and our relationship to God. It turns out that breathing is not only about keeping us alive, but really also about communicating with others and letting them know who we are and what is important to us. Breath is what empowers our words and is the medium in which we reveal ourselves to others.
Now the Bible speaks about our breath from the beginning of the Creation Story. Breath is our first connection to God. In Genesis 2:7 we hear, "the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being." This passage is amazing because it tells us something that we might not have guessed. It turns out that God has breath too, and somehow that breath connects us to the Lord and reveals God to us in a way that makes every breath meaningful and significant. We see that God also uses His Breath to express His words and life to the Creation. This parallel between the "breath" of God and Man is a wonderful witness to the fact that we are created in God's Image in Genesis 1:26.
In Genesis 1:2, before God speaks to the world for the first time, His Breath or Spirit begins to move over the Creation. But it is only after God's Breath begins to move that we actually hear God speaking to us in Genesis 1:3 saying, "Let there be light." So, God's Breath comes before His words to the world, just as our breath comes forth and begins to move before our words are heard by others.
All of this comes to a wonderful clarity when we see that the main way God communicated to the world was through the work of His Spirit bringing God's words to us in the Bible. So, when God's Spirit moves, His Word comes to His people. That is why we hear in 2 Timothy 3:16 that, "All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." So again, it is God's Breath or Spirit that allows us to hear His words, just as our breath brings our words to others as well.
But the ultimate goal of God's Breath or Spirit was not just to have us hear God's words in the Bible, but also to allow us to know God in Person, face to face, and talk with Him as we would talk with any other person. This is the ultimate goal of Creation, namely for God's Word to be more than words, but to be seen and known as God. So, when God spoke in Genesis 1:3, "Let there be light," those words became the Word that was God according to John 1:1, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This fact is beautifully seen when the Lord connects His words to us in Genesis 1:3 to Himself and rephrases it in John 8:12 when He spoke to the Creation in Person and said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." Jesus is not just speaking for God, He is God. The Creation Story truly does repeat itself when God's Spirit moves over and through our lives, as was done in Genesis 1:2, and allows God to personally speak His Word to us.
Now one of the mysterious things about our breath is that it makes a very quiet but important sound we need to hear and understand. Have you ever realized that our breathing is not totally silent? As we take that deep breath and exhale it, it makes the gentle sound of "Ha." If we breathe faster, pant or breathe rapidly our breath starts to sound a little like laughter...Ha Ha Ha. Who ever thought breathing could be so funny?
But the sound of "Ha" is not about laughter, but something much more profound. You see the sound "Ha" is the first syllable and sound of the Biblical word "Hallelujah," which means "Praise the Lord." So, every breath we take leads us to bring forth a hidden form of worship, a song and an expression of praise to God. That means that about 23,040 times a day we are praising the Lord, even when we are asleep.
This hidden storyline of life means that everyone on Earth tonight has the potential ability to praise the Lord each day, whether asleep or awake, whether at work or at play. As long as people are taking breaths there is some potential form of "worship" going on, even if people have no idea what they are doing and are not Christians. And equally amazing is the fact that "Hallelujah" is the only word in Hebrew Bible that is not translated into other languages. So, in every other translation of the Bible, the word "Hallelujah" is translated "Hallelujah." The reason for that is because praising God is the one thing that is universal, no matter where a person might live or what language they might speak. Praising God is the universal language of the human spirit, breath and life.
If you follow this issue further, you also realize that joyful laughter is nothing more than a form of rapid breathing. So, when people are laughing out of control, or having what is called a "belly laugh", it really can be seen as a joyful expression of praise flowing out of a person. After all, laughter is a contagious form or joy. That, by the way, is the definition of worship, a contagious joyful heart that is praising the Lord with our lives. This also reminds us that comedians are secular "worship leaders". Their goal is to lead their audience into laughter and bring joy to their lives, even if the Lord is not the focus. Could it really be any different for the Lord and the goal of true worship?
So, in a surprising way then, every person on Earth is potentially singing some personal version of the "Hallelujah Chorus" by Handel each day, one "Hallelujah" or breath at a time. And when we stop and look at the way the Lord designed our bodies, we come to discover that we were given the breath of life in the Garden to enjoy the Lord and worship Him each moment with our lives. As a result, worship is not just something we do in a religious service once in a while, but worship is the reflection of who we were created and meant to be.
When we stop and look as the worship book of Israel, as recorded in the Psalms, we can begin to understand why the last Psalm, Psalm 150, ends in verse 6 with these amazing words, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord (hallelujah). Praise the Lord (Hallelujah)." The very last verse of the last Psalm in Israel's praise book connects these glorious truths together so we can see that our every breath and goal in life is the joyful and wonderful gift of praise to the Lord.
All of this ties together in so many wonderful ways. God's Spirit brings us His Word, our Lord, so that our lives might be blessed and changed for His honor and glory. So too, the breath in our lungs brings forth praise, worship and words about the Word and His love for us. When our words and voice come forth from a life that has been changed by the Lord, our words and life will bless others as well.
And finally, the moment we begin to see that blessings and curses are in our words and mouth, as the Bible teaches us in James 3:9-10, we have an entirely new view of speech and how we can use it in new ways to glorify God. Sadly, many of the problems in our world today come from people that use their life and breath to hurt others. But when we finally discover that we are "Walking Hallelujahs," we can bring the Lord to the world in new and fresh ways and fulfill the purpose of our lives so that each one of those 23,040 breathes gives glory to God each day. May that be so for the Lord's honor and glory.