Continuing a thought from our previous post, Psalm 46:10 says, Be still, and know that I am God. The Japanese translation for the word “be still” here is “yameyo.” It is the command form of speech to STOP.
Let’s ask a question: What is one of the things YOU feel most every day? Is it not that you feel tired?
Tiredness is rampant in Japan. There are TV ads for drinks that give instant and renewed energy. The expression “O tsukare sama desu” has become a national way of greeting by praising and thanking an individual for their undying initiative to work. No matter how tired one might be, he feels obligated to keep on going, and going because of being praised and thanked for his determination to work. We live in a society that will not allow us to stop! We live in a FAST FORWARD society. We need to learn how to PAUSE.
Remember the Coca Cola commercial from years ago that said, “the PAUSE that REFRESHES.” If we don’t pause and be still, how then can we know God anymore intimately?
One of the main causes of tiredness is worry and stress. Worry and stress affect our breathing, appetite, physical strength and even blood pressure. Yes, it constricts our blood vessels and stops the normal flow of oxygen to our entire body, causing it to become tired. Tired bodies NEED more oxygen.
Japanese Pastor Yoko Izumi told me years ago when he was asked by a Kita Kyushu City mental hospital to come and counsel patients, that he noticed something peculiar about some of the more severe patients. He noticed they would not breathe through their noses. Instead they were breathing through their open mouths. Genesis 2:7 says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Izumi-sensei thought this breathing pattern was unnatural. Their mouths and lips were dried out, causing some of them to cough. He immediately began teaching them to breath through their noses, just as God had ordained in the beginning and noticed a change begin to take place.
If you happen to swallow something and it goes “down the wrong pipe,” do not gasp for air through your mouth. This will only cause you more stress and panic. Try breathing through your nose and you know, you’ll sense the gasping, fear and stress of the situation naturally begin to dissipate. This is God’s ordained way of breathing. Slowly inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.
Let’s look at the Japanese “kanji” for “breath.”
The top half of this character expresses the concept of “my own.” The bottom half shows a “heart.” Thus the character the ancient Chinese used to express “breath” was the concept of God breathing His very own heart into the nostrils of man, and as a result “man became a living soul.” Breath, or oxygen is the very life God — and it makes our ticker tick. (God) “giveth to all life, and breath, and all things . . . For in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:25, 28.
Let’s consider here for a moment God’s presence as His breath. Luke 1:19 says, “And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.” This word “presence” is pronounced eno-pion (ἐνώπιον) in Greek and simply means the place that is before you, the FACE. When God knelt down and breathed into Adam His breath, His very own heart, it was a face-to-face encounter. God made husbands-wives, brothers-sisters, aunts-uncles, cousins, friends — all of us human beings to look at each other when communicating.
More than anything I want in this life of living as a Christian, I would not want money, possessions or even new friends. What I want most of all is the presence of God. However, I must take time to meet God, inhale the presence of the Holy Spirit, and learn to STOP and LISTEN in order to KNOW Him more intimately.
Let’s consider God’s Holy Spirit as being the oxygen we breathe. He is everywhere and brings life to those who breathe deeply. Breathe in deeply and exhale. Worry, stress and tiredness will be relieved. You’ll become a healthier, happier person, AND your church will become a healthier, happier church.